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Kharkiv counter-offensive continues

(CNN) — A Ukrainian counterattack in the north continues to disrupt Russian supply lines.

Russian forces “did not carry out offensive operations in the Kharkiv direction. The main efforts were focused on preventing the advance of our troops in the Vesele settlement area,” the Ukrainian General Staff said on Friday.

The Ukrainians have taken several villages in this area east of Kharkiv.

CNN reported earlier this Friday that two bridges in the area had been demolished, according to satellite images. It seems likely that the Russian units destroyed the bridges in an effort to protect their supply lines from further Ukrainian advances.

Elsewhere in the Kharkiv region, the Russians appear to be using artillery sporadically but to deadly effect.

This Thursday, the shelling of the city of Derhachi killed two people, according to the local administration, and destroyed the humanitarian center and medical facilities.

Derhachi is about 16 kilometers north of Kharkiv, which is the second largest city in Ukraine.

Russia uses “strategic aviation” and reinforces units in the south

The Ukrainian General Staff said Russian forces continue to “launch artillery and air strikes on Mariupol” while blockading Ukrainian units near the Azovstal plant.

Azovstal has been under constant shelling by Russian forces for about two months, and although a Ukrainian official inside the facility said all trapped civilians have likely been evacuated, Ukrainian fighters are still holding out.

“In order to establish full control over the city and suppress the resistance of the Ukrainian defenders, it uses strategic aviation. Given the evacuation of local residents, an increase in fire is to be expected in the near future,” the General Staff said.

The Azovstal steel plant in the port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, badly damaged on 12 May. (Photo: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

Zaporizhia: In the south, the Zaporizhia regional administration said there are signs the Russians are trying to bolster their units by bringing in more equipment and troops. He said that a new Russian contingent had arrived in Mykhailivka, just south of the current front lines.

Enerhodar: In the nearby city of Enerhodar, occupied by Russian forces since early March, the regional administration reported this Friday that “the city is almost out of medicine and humanitarian aid is not always available.” Residents of Enerhodar, he said, “are already afraid to go to protests and organize rallies” due to constant patrolling and intimidation by Russian soldiers.

In his daily speech on Thursday, President Volodymyr Zelensky said the Russian offensive was hiding behind missile, air and artillery attacks.

“Russia’s strategic defeat is already obvious to the whole world and even to those who are still in communication with them. Russia simply lacks the courage to admit it so far. They are cowards,” Zelensky said.

“Therefore, our task is to fight until we achieve our goals in this war,” he said.

The first trial for war crimes against a Russian soldier in Ukraine begins in Kyiv

A 21-year-old soldier will become the first Russian to stand trial for war crimes in a trial in Kyiv on Friday.

Vadim Shishimarin will appear before the first war crimes trial since Russia invaded Ukraine in February. He is accused of killing a 62-year-old man in Ukraine’s Sumy region, according to the country’s prosecutor general’s office.

Finland closer to joining NATO 1:02

The investigation alleges that Shishimarin fatally shot an unarmed civilian riding a bicycle by the side of the road in the village of Chupakhivka on February 28. According to the prosecutor, Russian troops entered the village in a stolen car with flat tires after their convoy was attacked by Ukrainian forces.

When they saw a man on his bicycle on his way home while talking on the phone, one of the group members ordered the sergeant to kill him so that he would not report them to the Ukrainian army.

Shishimarin allegedly fired a Kalashnikov multiple times through an open window at the civilian’s head, prosecutors say.

“Shishimarin is currently in detention. Prosecutors and SBU investigators have gathered sufficient evidence of his involvement in violation of the laws and customs of war, combined with premeditated murder,” Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said in a statement on Monday. Facebook.

If convicted, Shishimarin faces between ten years and life in prison.

China complains about UN “double standards” in Ukraine war

China’s Foreign Ministry criticized the UN Human Rights Council after it adopted a resolution on Russian abuses in Ukraine, saying the body shows “double standards.”

At a press conference on Friday, spokesman Zhao Lijan accused the Council of tolerating aggression by some nations while condemning others.

The UN Human Rights Council approved a resolution on Thursday to investigate alleged human rights violations committed by Russian troops in Ukraine. All members except China and Eritrea voted in favor of the resolution.

“Political double standards and selective practices are increasing in the Human Rights Council. The reason why China voted against Ukraine is based on China’s principled position on the Ukrainian issue,” Zhao said.

“The Human Rights Council frequently holds special meetings in some countries, but has not been able to take action against others,” said Lijian, questioning the UN’s record on unrelated issues such as misinformation, racism, armed violence and abuse of migrants.

Russian government says Brittney Griner’s detention is based on ‘objective facts and evidence’

Brittney Griner's arrest extended in Russia

Russia denied the US State Department’s claim that the detention of basketball player Brittney Griner is “unlawful”, stating that her arrest was based “on objective facts and evidence”.

A statement issued to CNN on Thursday said: “She was caught red-handed while trying to smuggle hashish oil. In Russia, this is a crime. According to paragraph “c” of part 2 of article 229.1 of the Code Criminal of the Russian Federation (drug smuggling), he faces a prison term of up to 10 years.”

According to the statement, Griner was detained based on the decision of the Moscow Region Khimki District Court on February 18 and is being held in one of the detention centers.

“The charges are serious, based on objective facts and available evidence. The State Department’s attempts to cast doubt on the validity of B. Griner’s detention are explained solely by the desire to influence justice by politicizing a situation generally understandable,” the ministry said.

“The final point in this case must be taken by the court,” the statement added.

A bit of context: Griner, who plays for the Russian team UMMC Ekaterinburg during the WNBA offseason, was arrested by Russian authorities in February at a Moscow airport and charged with smuggling significant amounts of a narcotic substance, a crime punishable by up to 10 years. from prison

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