Powerful explosions rocked the Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv early on Saturday, the mayor said. Air raid sirens sounded across the Mykolaiv region, which borders the vital exporting port of Odesa, before the blasts. “There are powerful explosions in the city! Stay in shelters!” Oleksandr Senkevich, the mayor, wrote on the Telegram messaging app. It was not immediately known what caused the explosions.
Ukraine’s state-run nuclear company, Energoatom, has restored its connection between the International Atomic Energy Agency and the surveillance systems of the nuclear plant in the south-eastern city of Zaporizhzhia. The connections had been down as a result of Russian occupation.
The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, denounced Russia’s attack on Friday on the southern resort town of Serhiivka as “conscious, deliberately targeted Russian terror and not some sort of error”. The strike on the town near Odesa, which killed at least 21 people, took place shortly after Russia pulled its troops off the strategic Black Sea outpost of Snake Island.
Ukraine’s army accused Russia of carrying out strikes using incendiary phosphorus munitions on Snake Island a day after Moscow’s withdrawal of forces. “Today at around 18.00 … Russian air force SU-30 planes twice conducted strikes with phosphorus bombs on Zmiinyi island,” it said on Friday in a statement, using another name for Snake Island.
Ukraine’s rebuilding plans will need to address restoring war-torn ecosystems, the European Union’s commissioner for the environment said. Virginijus Sinkevicius warned that the environmental cost of the conflict was “increasing every day” and said it could take “generations” to overcome.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy called Latin American leaders on Friday in attempts to obtain support from their countries. “I continue to establish relations with an important region, Latin America,” Zelenskiy wrote on social media regarding his conversations with leaders of Argentina and Chile.
A new Reuters investigation has found that at least 14 Russian weapons companies have not faced any western sanctions. “Nearly three dozen leaders of Russian weapons firms and at least 14 defence companies have not been sanctioned by the United States, the European Union or the United Kingdom,” the Reuters report said.
The US announced on Friday that it would provide Ukraine with an additional $820m in military aid. The new aid package will include new surface-to-air missile systems and counter-artillery radars to respond to Russia’s long-range strikes.
Ukraine’s outspoken ambassador to Germany, a talkshow staple who was central to the public debates that led Berlin to step up weapons deliveries to Kyiv, is facing criticism for defending second world war Ukrainian nationalist leader Stepan Bandera. An interview with journalist blogger Tilo Jung published on Thursday quoted the ambassador saying that Bandera was not a “mass murderer of Poles and Jews”, causing uproar from the Polish government and the Israeli embassy.
The British prime minister, Boris Johnson, has received the title of Honorary Citizen of Odesa, the Kyiv Independent reports. On Friday, Odesa’s mayor, Henadiy Trukhanov, signed an order that awarded Johnson with the Hryhoryia Marazly Honorary Badges of I, II, III degree, which automatically grants him the title.