25 March 2023,   17:51
344th day of war in Ukraine - the list of key events

Russia is planning a major offensive to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the war in Ukraine on 24 February, said the country’s defence minister, Oleksii Reznikov, writes The Guardian.

A Russian rocket destroyed an apartment building in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukrainian. At least 2 people were killed and 7 injured, regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said. “Rescuers, law enforcement and public utilities are working at the scene to go through the rubble of the destroyed building. It is likely that people are still underneath”, - he wrote on Telegram. At least 44 people were killed last month when a Russian missile hit an apartment building in Dnipro.

Two more Russian missiles struck Kramatorsk on Thursday. The latest strikes have resulted in civilian casualties, said the head of the regional military administration, Pavlo Kyrylenko, but it is not clear how many. The city’s mayor, Oleksandr Honcharenko, confirmed there had been a strike and urged residents to stay in bomb shelters.

Two people have been killed by Russian shelling in Ukraine’s southern Kherson region, according to local officials. A 25-year-old man was killed in Kherson city and a 44-year-old woman was killed after Russian forces shelled a residential area in the village of Komyshany, the regional military administration said.

More than a dozen top EU officials, including the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, arrived in Kyiv on Thursday, with promises of more military, financial and political aid. It is a symbolic trip meant to highlight support for Ukraine as the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion nears.

Fierce fighting continued in eastern Ukraine, where Russian troops are trying to gain ground near the strategic logistics hub of Lyman, the Ukrainian deputy defence minister Hanna Malyar said on Wednesday evening. Russian forces are trying to make gains that they can show on the anniversary of their 24 February 2022 invasion, said Zelensky: “A definite increase has been noted in the offensive operations of the occupiers on the front in the east of our country. The situation has become tougher”.