Ukraine war latest: Situation in Kharkiv 'dire' - after world took 'eye off the ball' on Ukraine | World News | Sky News

Ukraine war latest: Situation in Kharkiv 'dire' - after world took 'eye off the ball' on Ukraine

The UN says it is "deeply concerned" about the situation in northeastern Ukraine, as Russia claims advances in the region. Defence secretary Grant Shapps has criticised the world for delays in getting support to Kyiv. Submit your question on the war for our experts to answer below.

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Scroll down to catch up on the latest developments in the conflict today.

Zelenskyy to visit Spain on Friday

Volodymyr Zelenskyy will travel to Spain on Friday for a meeting with King Felipe in Madrid, according to a royal palace statement.

'Extremely difficult' for Ukraine to hold ground against Russian forces

Ukraine's defence minister says it is "extremely difficult" for troops to hold ground in Ukraine as they remain outgunned by Russian forces.

Rustem Umerov made a renewed plea for more shells and military supplies as Russia intensifies its offensive in the country's northeast.

"We need more artillery shells as Russia is still many times ahead," he told the Copenhagen Democracy Summit 2024 in an online address.

"Under such conditions it's extremely difficult to hold the ground." 

Russia puts intercontinental missile into service

Russia has put its submarine-launched Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile into service, the TASS state news agency reports.

Russia's state media quoted the missile's chief designer Yuri Solomonov as saying its adoption was announced in a decree on 7 May, the same day that Vladimir Putin began a new six-year term in the Kremlin.

The Bulava was developed under a programme that started in the 1990s, and is designed to be deployed on Russia's Borei-class submarines.

Last November, the defence ministry said one of those submarines had successfully test-launched the Bulava, firing it from an underwater position in the White Sea off northern Russia.

TASS said Russia's Northern and Pacific fleets now include seven Borei submarines and each carries 16 Bulavas.

For context: Vladimir Putin has warned the West since the start of the war in Ukraine that direct intervention by NATO troops there could trigger a nuclear conflict. 

In March he said he did not believe the US was "rushing" towards this, but that Russia's nuclear forces were technically ready.

World taking 'eye off the ball led to the position we see in Kharkiv', Shapps says

The world taking its "eye off the ball" led to the position we see in Kharkiv today, defence secretary Grant Shapps has said. 

Speaking at the Sea Power Conference today, the minister reiterated the UK's complete support for Ukraine, saying Russia winning would be "unimaginable and unacceptable".

He said: "I've heard repeatedly, including said to me by [Ukraine's] President Zelenskyy, which is that without Britain, they wonder whether they would still have been in this war at all."

He listed the UK's commitments to Ukraine, and criticised the world for having taken its "eye off the ball" recently.

"The amount of time it's taken to get the rest of the funding through has directly led to the position we see in Kharkiv today," he said.

He added that he did not think the situation was "fatal", however, and said it was "an important lesson to the world not to lose attention about Ukraine".

Blinken: Ukraine must develop strongest possible democracy

Ukraine must develop the "strongest possible democracy", Antony Blinken has told officials during a working lunch in a pizzeria in Kyiv.

The US secretary of state said it was "imperative" that fighting corruption in the country continues along with fighting Russian aggression. 

He also said it was important Ukraine developed "the strongest possible democracy" that reflects its citizens and attracts investment.

Mr Blinken's surprise visit follows the approval of a long-delayed foreign assistance package for Ukraine by Congress.

The package sets aside $61bn (£48.1bn) in aid for Ukraine, much of which will go toward replenishing badly depleted artillery and air defence systems.

Russia claims capture of Kharkiv town Buhruvatka - report

Russian troops have captured the town of Buhruvatka in Ukraine's Kharkiv region, the defence ministry reports, according to Reuters.

The claim comes hours after Russia's TASS  news agency reported the western and northern parts of Vovchansk in Ukraine's Kharkhiv region had fallen (see post at 9.21am).

Sky News cannot independently verify these battlefield claims.

Kremlin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza loses appeal against treason sentence

Russia's supreme court has rejected an appeal by Kremlin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza against his 25-year jail sentence, according to Reuters. 

The prominent Russian opposition figure, who has both Russian and British passports, was arrested near his Moscow home in April 2022 and convicted of treason by a court in April 2023.

He has repeatedly condemned Russia's war in Ukraine, criticised Vladimir Putin, and lobbied for Western sanctions against Moscow.

In his appeal, Mr Kara-Murza had argued that he had committed no crime and was convicted solely for exercising his right to free speech by expressing public opposition to Mr Putin and the war.

"This whole case is based on the denial of the very concepts of law, justice, and legality," he said in a written submission to the court.

"But it is also based on a crude, cynical forgery - an attempt to equate criticism of the authorities with harm to the country; to present opposition activity as 'treason'. But there is nothing new in this, either; it is what every dictatorship does."

In pictures: Evacuations under way in Vovchansk

Evacuations are under way in the town of Vovchansk, in the northeast Kharkiv region.

Local officials fear that Vovchansk's fate may mirror that of Bakhmut and Avdiivka, Ukrainian cities where fierce fighting forced Ukrainian withdrawals.

The Kremlin's forces are aiming to exploit Ukrainian weaknesses before a big batch of new military aid for Kyiv from the US and European partners arrives on the battlefield, according to analysts.

Six children rescued from Russian-occupied Kherson region

Six children have been rescued from the Russian-occupied Kherson region, the area's governor Oleksandr Prokudin has said. 

Mr Prokudin said on Telegram the children - one girl and five boys - were "rescued from the camps of the Russian occupiers".

The Save Ukraine organisation worked on the rescue mission, he said.

"It was an extremely difficult rescue mission with delays at roadblocks and intimidation," the governor said.

"Fortunately, all the children are safe now. Doctors and psychologists work with them."

The children were aged between five and 12.