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Russia-Ukraine War: Don’t Allow Moscow To Sow Fear, Says Zelenskiy; Suspected ‘spying’ Raid In Albania – Latest Updates

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Guardian football writer Nick Ames reports on FC Kryvbas, a Ukrainian football club refusing to leave their city despite the threat of attack from Russia.

FC Kryvbas will not relocate to Kyiv, as others have done, even if areas on the city’s periphery are frequently being shelled and the troubling spectre of the Enerhodar nuclear power station looms 60 miles to the south-east.

The city is protected by four lines of defence and cannot be entered without passing a series of army checkpoints.

In June, the club told its rivals to forget any idea of playing league games abroad, saying there is “no other option, neither from a moral point of view nor from sporting principle” than to compete domestically.

The same month, Vernydub became manager. “It has to happen here, in our land,” he says. “It’s very important to our soldiers, our warriors, that we do it.”

Read the full report:

In more cheerful news for Ukraine, boxer Oleksandr Usyk retained his heavyweight world titles with a points victory over Britain’s Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia on Saturday night.

Oleksandr Usyk celebrates winning his fight against Anthony Joshua with the Ukrainian flag. Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Action Images/ReutersUsyk, who spent time before this fight serving in his country’s armed forces as part of their defence the Russian invasion, paid tribute to his comrades in his victory speech.

“I devote this victory to my country, to my family, to my team, to all the military defending this country,” the 35-year-old Usyk said through a translator. “Thank you very, very much.”

Read our fight report here:

Misha, a baby born prematurely at 33 weeks, is checked on by staff in a room fortified with sandbags in the window at the Pokrovsk Perinatal hospital, the only one under government control remaining equipped to care for premature babies. Photograph: David Goldman/APA girl with a Ukrainian flag stands on a destroyed Russian tank during an exhibition destroyed Russian military vehicles in the centre of Kyiv in Ukraine. Photograph: Maxym Marusenko/NurPhoto/REX/ShutterstockA Ukranian soldier watches a puppy at their position in a basement base, close to the frontline, in southern Ukraine. Photograph: AFP/Getty ImagesDaughter of Putin ally killed in a car bombA very interesting story is developing in Moscow where the daughter of a key ally of Vladimir Putin has been killed in a car bomb, according to multiple reports.

Darya Dugina, daughter of Russian political commentator Alexander Dugin – dubbed “Putin’s brain” – died when the Toyota Land Cruiser she was driving was ripped apart by a powerful explosion about 20km west of the capital at around 9.30pm local time.

Andrey Krasnov, a friend of Dugina and the head of the Russian Horizon social movement, confirmed the reports, according to the news agency Tass.

He said that the bomb could have been intended for her father.

“This was the father’s vehicle. Darya was driving another car but she took his car today, while Alexander went in a different way. He returned, he was at the site of the tragedy. As far as I understand, Alexander or probably they together were the target,” Krasnov said.

The head of the self-proclaimed, pro-Kremlin Donetsk People’s Republic, Denis Pushilin, blamed the Ukrainian government.

Full story here:

Two Russians and Ukrainian arrested in Albania ‘spy’ raidAnother intriguing story comes from Albania today where two Russians and a Ukrainian have been arrested after what appears to have been a spying raid gone wrong at a military base and arms factory in central Albania.

The Albanian defence ministry said on Saturday night that one of the suspects tried to disable guards with a paralysing spray when he was caught taking photographs at the factory.

Albania’s prime minister called it “suspected espionage”.

The full story is here:

Fighting has continued on several fronts across Ukraine in the past 24 hours, including new strikes on the Russian-annexed region of Crimea.

Authorities in Sevastapol said they had shot down a Ukrainian drone over the city on Saturday after what appeared to be a drone attack on Russia’s Black Sea fleet headquarters.

Damaged buildings in Voznesensk near Mykolaiv. Photograph: Mykolaiv Region Prosecutor’s Office HANDOUT/EPAVideo appeared to show Russian air defences attempting to destroy the drone and dark plumes of smoke rising from the city.

Also on Saturday, a Russian missile hit a residential area of a southern Ukrainian town not far from a nuclear power station, wounding 14 civilians, Russian and Ukrainian officials said.

The strike at the Pivdennoukrainsk (South Ukraine) nuclear station and fresh shelling near the Zaporizhzhia station, Europe’s largest, revived fears of a nuclear accident, Ukrainian officials said.

The attack on Voznesensk was “another act of Russian nuclear terrorism,” said state-run Energoatom, which manages Ukraine’s four nuclear energy generators.

“It is possible that this missile was aimed specifically at the Pivdennoukrainsk plant, which the Russian military tried to seize back at the beginning of March,” it said in a statement.

Zelenskiy warns Ukrainians to be vigilant ahead of independence dayAn exhibition of destroyed Russian military vehicles adorns the streets of Kyiv ahead of Ukrainian independence day on Wednesday. Ukrainians are saying that Vladimir Putin got his wish for a parade in their capital, but just not the one he wanted.

A woman and two young children look through the back of a destroyed Russian armored vehicle in Kyiv’s historic Khreschatyk Street. Photograph: Madeleine Kelly/SOPA Images/REX/ShutterstockVolodymyr Zelenskiy is obviously worried that Russia is going to try to spoil the celebrations and has warned his countrymen and women that Putin might try something “ugly” or “vicious” ahead of Wednesday.

“We must all be aware that this week Russia could try to do something particularly ugly, something particularly vicious,” Zelenskiy said in his nightly remarks on video on Saturday.

Security has been stepped up in the second city, Kharkiv, with the city’s curfew extended on Wednesday.

Full report here:

WelcomeGood morning/afternoon/evening wherever you are and welcome to the Guardian’s live coverage of the war in Ukraine.

The coming week looks set to be dominated – one way or another – by Ukraine’s celebrations of its independence from Soviet rule 31 years ago. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy warned on Saturday night that Russia might try to do something “ugly” to spoil the show.

Fighting continues to rage across the country with Ukrainian drone attacks on Crimea, and Russia missile strikes injured several people in an attack near Mykolaiv.

And there’s an intriguing story from Albania where three people carrying Russian and Ukrainian passports have been arrested after what appears to be a bungled spying raid on a military base.

Anyway, here are the main developments over the last few hours:

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has warned Ukrainians to be vigilant in the coming week as they prepare to celebrate their independence day on Wednesday. In his nightly video address on Saturday, Zelenskiy said Ukrainians must not allow Moscow to “spread despondency and fear” as they mark the 31st anniversary of independence from Soviet rule. “We must all be aware that this week Russia could try to do something particularly ugly, something particularly vicious,” Zelenskiy said.

The curfew in Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv, will be extended for the entire day on Wednesday, regional governor Oleh Synehub said on Saturday. The north-eastern city is regularly hit by Russian shelling and normally has a curfew from 10pm to 6am but extra precautions were required on independence day.

Ukraine launched a fresh strike on Russia’s Black Sea fleet headquarters at Sevastopol earlier on Saturday. Officials in the annexed Crimean peninsula said that at least one drone had been shot down and that the city’s air defence system had been called into action again on Saturday night.

Video shared on Twitter appeared to show Russian air defences attempting to destroy the UAV and dark plumes of smoke rising from the city.

Three people with Russian and Ukrainian passports have been arrested for suspected spying after trying to break into a military base and arms factory in central Albania, the Albanian defense ministry said on Saturday. Two Albanian soldiers were injured in the incident at the Gramsh base, the ministry said, adding the conditions of the soldiers was stable. Albania’s prime minister Edi Rama said the three individuals are “suspected of espionage”.

The US is planning to buy about 150,000 metric tonnes of grain from Ukraine in the next few weeks for an upcoming shipment of food aid from ports no longer blockaded by war, the World Food Programme chief has said. The planned shipment, one of several the U.N. agency that fights hunger is pursuing, is more than six times the amount of grain that the first WFP-arranged ship from Ukraine is now carrying toward people in the Horn of Africa at risk of starvation.

António Guterres, the UN secretary general, said he was moved by the sight of Ukrainian wheat being shipped from Turkey. Russian fertilisers and agricultural products must be able to reach world markets “unimpeded” or a global food crisis could strike as early as next year, he said.

Four children have reportedly been injured following a Russian strike on a residential building in the Mykolaiv region of Ukraine.

Russian entities and individuals were attempting to use Turkey to bypass western sanctions imposed over Moscow’s war in Ukraine, the US deputy treasury secretary, Wally Adeyemo, told Turkey’s deputy finance minister, Yunus Elitas, that the US treasury department said. In a phone call, the department said, the two also discussed efforts to implement and enforce sanctions against Russia, Reuters reports.

Ukraine’s defence ministry on Saturday said its forces had killed a total of 44,900 Russian personnel – a rise of 200 on the day before.

Olaf Scholz has praised Alexei Navalny on the second anniversary of the jailed Russian opposition politician’s attempted poisoning.

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