War in Ukraine: latest developments

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Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:

- Blame traded over strike on POW jail -

Russia and Ukraine blame each other for striking a jail holding Ukrainian prisoners of war in Russian-held Olenivka, with Moscow saying 40 prisoners and eight prison staff were killed.

Russia's defence ministry says Ukraine carried out strikes with US-supplied long-range missiles, in an "egregious provocation" designed to stop soldiers from surrendering.

It says that among the dead were Ukrainian forces that had laid down their arms after repelling Moscow's assault on the sprawling Azovstal steel works in Mariupol.

Ukraine's military denies carrying out the attack, blaming Russia's forces for "a targeted artillery shelling" on the detention facility.

- First grain ship loaded -

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visits the port of Chornomorsk in southern Ukraine to oversee the loading onto a Turkish ship of the first grain for export since Russia's February 24 invasion.

A deal last week brokered by the UN and Turkey to lift a Russian blockade of Ukraine's grain exports is aimed at helping mitigate a global food crisis causing prices to soar in some of the poorest nations.

"The first vessel, the first ship is being loaded since the beginning of the war. This is a Turkish vessel," Zelensky said, according to a presidency statement.

The statement says exports could start in "the coming days" under the plan aimed at getting millions of tonnes of grain from one of the top grain exporters to world markets.

- First war crime sentence slashed -

The Kyiv court of appeals reduces to 15 years a life sentence handed to a Russian soldier in May for pre-meditated murder in the country's first war crimes trial.

Russian soldier Vadim Shishimarin, 21 at the time of the ruling, was found guilty of war crimes for killing an unarmed civilian and handed a life sentence, in the first verdict of its kind after Russia's invasion.

The sergeant from Siberia had admitted to killing a 62-year-old civilian, Oleksandr Shelipov, as he was riding his bike in the village of Chupakhivka in northeast Ukraine.

Shishimarin claimed he shot Shelipov under pressure from another soldier as they tried to retreat and escape back into Russia in a stolen car on February 28.

- Five dead in bus stop strike -

Russian strikes kill five people and wound seven more at a bus stop in the heavily bombed city of Mykolaiv, the regional governor Vitaliy Kim says on social media.

Mykolaiv, near the Black Sea, has been shelled daily for weeks. It is the largest Ukrainian-controlled urban hub near the frontlines in the southern Kherson region, where Kyiv's army has launched a counter-offensive to regain control of the economically and strategically important coastal territory.

In the eastern Donetsk region, the current focus of Russia's fighting, governor Pavlo Kyrylenko says Moscow's forces have killed eight people and wounded 19 more in attacks over the previous day.

- Macron lobbies controversial Saudi prince -

French President Emmanuel Macron and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman agree to work "to ease the effects" of the Ukraine war, Macron's office says after a meeting in Paris.

Western leaders snubbed the 36-year-old prince over his suspected role in the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

But the heir to the Middle East's most powerful throne is being courted again as Europe and its allies urgently seek alternative sources of fossil fuels to replace lost Russian production.

Analysts say Saudi Arabia is one of few countries worldwide with the capacity to increase its oil production, though its margin for manoeuvre is seen as limited.


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