Cause of blast that killed soldier and woman unclear; president says ‘new priorities’ set after sacking Tetiana Ostashchenko
Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s live coverage of the war in Ukraine.
A Ukrainian soldier and a woman have died after a grenade exploded in a Kyiv apartment, police in the Ukrainian capital have said, but the cause of the blast, which injured a second man, was not immediately clear.
The Ukrainian army said it had pushed Russian forces back “three to eight kilometres” from the banks of Dnipro river, which if confirmed would be the first meaningful advance by Kyiv’s forces months into a disappointing counteroffensive. Ukrainian and Russian forces have been entrenched on opposite sides of the vast waterway in the southern Kherson region for more than a year, after Russia withdrew its troops from the western bank last November.
A Ukrainian teenager who was taken to Russia from the occupied city of Mariupol during the war and prevented from leaving earlier this year returned to Ukraine. Bohdan Yermokhin, who turned 18 on Sunday, appealed to Zelenskiy this month to help bring him back to Ukraine. “I believed I would be in Ukraine, but not on this day,” Yermokhin told Reuters while eating at a petrol station after crossing into Ukraine.
About 3,000 mostly Ukrainian trucks, including those carrying fuel and humanitarian aid, were stuck on the Polish side of the border on Sunday due to a more than 10-day blockade by Polish truckers, Ukrainian authorities said.
Polish truckers earlier this month blocked roads to three border crossings with Ukraine to protest against what they see as government inaction over a loss of business to foreign competitors since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Air defence units in Moscow intercepted a drone targeting the city late Sunday, mayor Sergei Sobyanin said. Sobyanin, writing on the Telegram messaging app, said units in the Elektrostal district in the capital’s east had intercepted the drone. No casualties or damage were initially reported. Air defences had also thwarted a drone attack on the Russian capital overnight to Sunday, authorities said earlier.
Russia launched 20 Iranian-made Shaded drones targeting Kyiv and the Cherkasy and Poltava regions overnight to Sunday, the Ukrainian military said, of which 15 were shot down. The overnight strikes on Kyiv were the second attack on the Ukrainian capital in 48 hours, said the city’s military administration spokesperson, Serhii Popko.
Five people including a three-year-old girl were injured in Russian artillery shelling of Kherson on Sunday morning, Ukrainian interior minister Ihor Klymenko said. “All of them sustained shrapnel wounds. The child and the grandmother were walking in the yard. Enemy artillery hit them near the entrance,” Klymenko said on the Telegram messaging app.
Pro-war Russian nationalist Igor Girkin, who is in custody awaiting trial for inciting extremism, said he wanted to run for president even though he understood the March election would be a “sham” with the winner already clear. Girkin, who is also known by the alias Igor Strelkov, has repeatedly said Russia faces revolution and even civil war unless President Vladimir Putin’s military top brass fight the war in Ukraine more effectively. A former Federal Security Service (FSB) officer who helped Russia to annex Crimea in 2014 and then to organise pro-Russian militias in eastern Ukraine, Girkin said before his arrest that he and his supporters were entering politics.