Russia-Ukraine war latest: what we know on day 239 of the invasion

  • Moscow-backed self-appointed officials in Ukraine’s southern Kherson region have begun moving civilians into Russian territory, citing fears of a Ukrainian counteroffensive. The Russian-installed head of the key southern city Vladimir Saldo spoke of plans to move up to 60,000 people across the Dnipro River. Images of people using boats to flee the city were broadcast by Russian state TV.

  • Ukrainian officials described Russia’s announcements as “a propaganda show” and told people not to comply with the evacuation request. A number have reported receiving mass text messages warning the city would be shelled and informing them that buses would be leaving from the port from 7am on Thursday. Andriy Yermak, chief of staff to the Ukrainian president, described Russian announcements as “a propaganda show” as Kyiv said the population transfers amounted to “deportations”.

  • Russia’s recent admission that a “difficult situation has emerged” in the Kherson region is highly unusual and likely indicates that authorities are considering a major withdrawal of their forces from the area west of the Dnipro river, British intelligence has said.

Russia is planning mass removal of civilians from Kherson

  • Ukraine will begin restricting electricity supplies across the country starting from 7am today in response to Russia’s strikes against its energy infrastructure. Ukrainians will now need to prepare for “rolling blackouts” and people will have to conserve energy, the deputy head of the president’s office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, warned.

  • A Russian air strike that hit a major thermal power station in the city of Burshtyn in western Ukraine on Wednesday has caused “quite serious” damage, the region’s governor said on Thursday.

  • German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin was using energy and hunger as weapons but has failed to break the west’s unity and will not achieve his war aims through scorched earth tactics. “We will not let Moscow’s latest escalation go unanswered. Scorched earth tactics will not help Russia win the war. They will only strengthen the unity and resolve of Ukraine and its partners,” Scholz told the German parliament.

  • Nato allies will act if Sweden or Finland come under pressure from Russia or another adversary before they become full members of the alliance, Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday.

  • On Wednesday Vladimir Putin declared martial law in the four provinces of Ukraine where Russia controls territory. The law gives far-reaching emergency powers to the Russian-installed heads of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson provinces, which Russia recently proclaimed as annexed after sham referendums. Ukraine’s presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak described the announcement as the “pseudo-legalisation of looting of Ukrainians’ property”.

  • In his overnight address, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy urged residents not to comply with a military call-up in occupied areas.

  • Putin also ordered an “economic mobilisation” in six provinces that border Ukraine, plus Crimea and Sevastopol, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014. In televised remarks he said he was granting additional authority to the regional leaders of all Russian provinces to maintain public order and increase production in support of Moscow’s war. The law also limits the freedom to move in and out of the eight provinces.

  • Russia’s strikes on critical energy infrastructure are “acts of pure terror” that amount to war crimes, the head of the European Commission has said. Ursula von der Leyen’s remarks to the European parliament on Wednesday came after hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians were left without power or water as a result of Russian strikes.

  • Zelenskiy spoke of “significant results” in downing Iranian drones, claiming 233 Shahed UAVs and dozens of missiles were shot down during the month. Several Russian missiles were shot down over Kyiv on Wednesday afternoon, its mayor, Vitalii Klitschko, said. Greek diplomats have confirmed that the country’s foreign minister, Nikos Dendias, who is visiting Ukraine, was forced to seek refuge in a bomb shelter in Kyiv.

  • The cost to Ukraine of downing “kamikaze” drones vastly exceeds the sums paid by Russia in sourcing and launching the cheap Iranian-made technology, analysis suggests. The total cost to Russia of the failed drone attacks unleashed on Ukraine in recent weeks is estimated by military analysts to be between $11.66m (£10.36m) and $17.9m (£15.9m). The estimated cost to Ukraine to bring down the drones stands at more than $28.14m (£25m).

  • The EU plans to impose sanctions on three senior Iranian military commanders and the company that develops drones believed to have been used in Russia’s attacks on Ukraine. The draft sanctions list, seen by the Guardian, is expected to be agreed within days, indicating EU ministers do not believe Iran’s denials that it has supplied Russia with the low-flying lethal weapons.

  • Russia will reassess its cooperation with UN secretary-general António Guterres and his staff if Guterres sends experts to Ukraine to inspect downed drones that Ukraine and the west assert were made in Iran, Russia’s deputy UN ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy told reporters on Wednesday.

  • Putin will face “severe consequences” if he uses nuclear weapons in the war in Ukraine, Downing Street has said. Britain’s defence secretary, Ben Wallace, has been in Washington for talks with his US counterpart amid reports the Russian leader could detonate a nuclear warhead over the Black Sea.

  • The European parliament awarded the people of Ukraine its annual Sakharov prize for freedom of thought to honour their fight against Russia’s invasion. “They are standing up for what they believe in. Fighting for our values. Protecting democracy, freedom and rule of law. Risking their lives for us,” the European parliament president, Roberta Metsola, said.

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Samantha Lock and Martin Belam