Russian President Vladimir Putin still intends to capture most of Ukraine, an ambition that is likely to make the war more protracted, National Intelligence Director Avril Haines said Wednesday. The most likely scenario for the near future is an extended conflict with no significant Russian breakthrough, Haines added, characterizing the outlook as “pretty grim.”
Here are some updates from across the country:
Lysychansk: Some 15,000 civilians remain in this eastern city, which has become the focus of Russian bombardment in Luhansk, the regional governor told local media Wednesday. Evacuation efforts are intermittently interrupted by Russian shelling, he added, and Ukrainian forces are fighting Russian invaders on the city’s outskirts.
Kremenchuk: Putin denied responsibility for a strike on a shopping mall that killed at least 20 people in this central Ukrainian city. He falsely claimed Wednesday that the Russian military does not hit civilian targets and does not conduct indiscriminate attacks on the civilian population. Eyewitnesses who spoke to The Washington Post described the devastation after the missile attack.
Mykolaiv: At least five people were killed Wednesday in a Russian attack on this southern city, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said, adding that all 10 missiles targeted civilian infrastructure. Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed its forces targeted a military base near Mykolaiv used to train foreign fighters.
Kherson region: Ukrainian fighters in recent weeks have been steadily regaining control of this southern region, in a sign the Russian military may be overextended on a front line that stretches about 300 miles. Moscow is trying to assert more control over this strategically key area, and Russian-backed authorities here said they are gearing up for a referendum on Kherson joining Russia.
David Stern, Annabelle Timsit and Isabelle Khurshudyan contributed to this report.