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Russia-Ukraine war at a glance: what we know on day 649

<span>Photograph: Valery Melnikov/Reuters</span>
Photograph: Valery Melnikov/Reuters
  • Ukraine has launched an inquiry into what it said was an “execution” by Russian forces of two unarmed Ukrainian soldiers who were surrendering. Video showed the Ukrainian soldiers’ last moments as they emerged from their trench near the town of Avdiivka. One raised his arms in the air before they were both shot at close range. Russia’s military command began a major offensive against Avdiivka in October, and has been trying for nearly two months to encircle the town. There has so far been no breakthrough, despite huge losses of infantry and armoured vehicles.

  • Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko hailed his country’s “reliable” friendship with China on Monday as he held talks with counterpart Xi Jinping on his second trip to Beijing this year. Lukashenko, a staunch ally of Moscow, arrived in China on Sunday for a visit expected to last at least two days. He and Xi will discuss issues including “trade, the economy, investment and international cooperation”, his office said on Sunday. Lukashenko last came to China in February, a trip that drew scrutiny given Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. “Belarus is, was and will be a reliable partner for China,” Lukashenko told Xi on Monday, according to a readout of the talks from the office of the Belarusian presidency.

  • President Volodymyr Zelenskiy reported “intense battles” at dozens of frontline locations, with the most severe in the eastern towns of Maryinka, Avdiivka and Bakhmut, but also reported heavy fighting in Kharkiv region and in the south. “Brutal” shelling rained down on “buildings, streets, our hospitals” in Kherson, he said, and offered condolences to families of those killed, noting Kherson region alone had suffered 20 shelling incidents in one day.

  • Russia launched 23 drones and a cruise missile against Ukraine overnight, Ukraine’s air force said on Monday, adding that its air defence systems destroyed 18 of the drones and the missile before they reached their targets.
    Anti-aircraft defences were deployed in at least nine regions of Ukraine, the air force said on the Telegram messaging app.

  • Ukraine said at least three people were killed and four injured in the latest Russian shelling. In Donetsk region, the prosecutor general’s office said a 69-year-old woman was killed on the spot and a 70-year-old woman suffered gunshot wounds in the town of Kostyantynivka. In Kherson region, shelling in the village of Sadove killed a 78-year-old man in a private garage, the local military administration said, adding, “He died on the spot from the explosive injury.” Kherson region officials said on Sunday their air defences downed 10 Russian drones.

  • British foreign secretary David Cameron will travel to Washington DC on Wednesday, in his first visit to the US since taking up the position last month. Cameron will meet US secretary of state Antony Blinken among other officials, and will take part in discussions focusing on supporting Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression, a UK Foreign Office statement said.

  • Ukraine and Poland will open an additional border crossing for empty trucks on Monday in order to open up a much-needed route for Kyiv, with some crossings blocked by weeks of protests by Polish drivers, Ukrainian authorities said on Sunday.

  • Russia launched 12 drones and a cruise missile at Ukraine, Ukraine’s air force said on Sunday, with air defence systems destroying 10 drones before they reached their targets.