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Russia-Ukraine War Latest: What We Know On Day 228 Of The Invasion

Vladimir Putin signed a decree late on Saturday tightening security for the Kerch bridge and for energy infrastructure between Crimea and Russia after the explosion that crippled the heavily guarded bridge. Russia’s federal security service, the FSB, is in charge of the effort. By Saturday evening, Russia said the rail link across the bridge was operational again but road traffic would remain constricted.

An adviser to Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the explosion that heavily damaged Russia’s road-and-rail bridge to Crimea was just “the beginning”. Mykhailo Podolyak wrote on Twitter: “Everything illegal must be destroyed, everything that is stolen must be returned to Ukraine, everything occupied by Russia must be expelled.” Three people were killed on Saturday after a truck bomb caused a fire and the collapse of a section of the Kerch bridge, Russian officials said.

Russian troops fighting in the Mykolaiv, Kryvyi Rih and Zaporizhzhia regions of southern Ukraine could receive all the supplies they needed via existing land and sea corridors, said Russia’s defence ministry after the Kerch bridge explosion. The road-and-rail bridge has been used to take Russian personnel and military supplies through the peninsula into other parts of Ukraine’s south.

The parliamentary leader of Zelenskiy’s party has stopped short of claiming Kyiv was responsible for the Kerch bridge blast but appeared to cast it as a consequence of Moscow’s takeover of Crimea and attempts to integrate the peninsula with the Russian mainland. “Russian illegal construction is starting to fall apart and catch fire,” David Arakhamia wrote on Telegram. “The reason is simple: if you build something explosive, then sooner or later it will explode.”

Russia has named a new senior commander of Russian forces in Ukraine. Sergei Surovikin is a notorious general who opened fire on pro-democracy protesters in the 1990s. He led the Russian military expedition in Syria in 2017, where he was accused of using “controversial” tactics including indiscriminate bombing against anti-government fighters.

Zelenskiy said Ukrainian troops were involved in “very tough fighting” near Bakhmut, a strategically important eastern town Russia is trying to take. Reuters reported that while Ukrainian troops had recaptured thousands of square kilometres of land in recent offensives in the east and south, officials say progress is likely to slow once Kyiv’s forces meet more determined resistance. Zelenskiy said in his nightly address: “We are holding our positions in the Donbas, in particular in the Bakhmut direction, where it is very, very difficult now – very tough fighting.”

Petro Kotin, the head of Ukraine’s state nuclear company Energoatom, said the diesel generators at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant had only a limited supply of fuel. Overnight shelling cut power to the plant, which needs cooling to avoid a meltdown, forcing it to switch to emergency generators. The United Natoins atomic watchdog has renewed calls for a protection zone at the plant, condemning the shelling as “tremendously irresponsible”.

The death toll from Russia’s attack on Zaporizhzhia city has increased to 19, Ukrinform reports. The body of the 19th victim was discovered underneath the rubble on Saturday, according to the outlet.

Ukraine’s GDP has shrunk by 30% in nine months, the ministry of economy said on Saturday. “Among the negative factors that affected the economy, the weather and the actions of the occupiers stand out,” it said.

France’s prestigious Bayeux War Correspondents’ Awards on Saturday largely honoured reporting on the Ukraine conflict, with Associated Press and Burkina Faso newspaper Sidwaya among the recipients. The photo prize went to Ukrainian photographer Evgeniy Maloletka for his work with video journalist Mstyslav Chernov on the fall of Mariupol for AP.

The series of explosions that rocked Kharkiv early on Saturday sparked a fire at one of the city’s medical institutions, the mayor of the eastern Ukrainian city said. Ihor Terekhov said on Telegram that the explosions were the result of missile strikes in the city centre, Associated Press reported. They also sparked a fire in a non-residential building.

The German defence minister has told Nato it must do more to bolster security, warning: “We cannot know how far Putin’s delusions of grandeur can go.” Christine Lambrecht said Germany had heard of Russian threats to Lithuania for implementing EU sanctions and that they must be taken seriously and be prepared, Reuters reported.

The UK has rejected Moscow’s call for a secret ballot in the UN general assembly next week on whether to condemn Russia’s move to annex four regions in Ukraine and requested that the 193-member body vote publicly. The general assembly is set to vote on a draft resolution that would condemn Russia’s “illegal so-called referenda” and the “attempted illegal annexation”.

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