War in Ukraine

A woman reacts as she stands in front of a house burning after being shelled in the city of Irpin, outside Kyiv, on March 4, 2022. – More than 1.2 million people have fled Ukraine into neighbouring countries since Russia launched its full-scale invasion on February 24, United Nations figures showed on March 4, 2022. (Photo by Aris Messinis / AFP)

War in Ukraine: Latest updates

While Ukraine is doing everything to defend Donbas, Russia says ready to help food crisis following war in Ukraine if West lift sanctions

War in Ukraine

A woman reacts as she stands in front of a house burning after being shelled in the city of Irpin, outside Kyiv, on March 4, 2022. – More than 1.2 million people have fled Ukraine into neighbouring countries since Russia launched its full-scale invasion on February 24, United Nations figures showed on March 4, 2022. (Photo by Aris Messinis / AFP)

Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:

Russia confirms capture of Lyman town

Russia’s army confirms it has seized the strategic town of Lyman in eastern Ukraine, on the road to two key cities still under Kyiv’s control.

“Following the joint actions of the units of the militia of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Russian armed forces, the town of Lyman has been entirely liberated from Ukrainian nationalists,”

the defence ministry says in a statement, confirming an announcement a day earlier by pro-Moscow separatists.

Lyman is located between the city of Severodonetsk, which Ukrainian forces are battling to hold onto, and the eastern administrative centre of Kramatorsk.

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Ukraine doing ‘everything’ to defend Donbas

Ukraine says it is doing “everything” to defend Donbas, the country’s industrial heartland where an intensifying Russian offensive is prompting Kyiv’s forces to consider a strategic retreat from some key areas to avoid being surrounded.

In his daily address to Ukrainians, President Volodymyr Zelensky said the Russians had “concentrated maximum artillery, maximum reserves in Donbas”.

“We are protecting our land in the way that our current defence resources allow,” “We are doing everything to increase them.”

he added.

Media reports say US to send rockets

To further help Ukraine fight back against the invasion, Washington is preparing to send advanced long-range rocket systems, according to US media reports.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby did not confirm the plans to deliver the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System, a highly mobile system capable of firing up to 300 kilometres (186 miles) that Kyiv has said it badly needs.

“We are still committed to helping them succeed on the battlefield,”

Kirby said.

ALSO READ: Russia ready to help overcome food crisis only if West lifts sanctions

Australian aid worker killed

As Ukraine faces an increasingly desperate humanitarian situation, an Australian man was reported to have been killed this week while supplying aid.

A death notice appeared in Tasmania’s Mercury newspaper identifying the man as Michael Charles O’Neill, 47, with a tribute on Facebook saying he had been “driving the wounded and injured from the front line”.

An Australian foreign affairs department spokesperson confirmed the death in a statement but said they could not provide further details due to privacy concerns.

Orthodox Church cuts Russia ties

The Moscow branch of Kyiv’s Orthodox Church says it is cutting ties with Russia over the invasion, declaring “full independence” in a historic move against Russia’s spiritual authorities.

After holding a council focused on Russia’s “aggression”, the church declares “full independence” from Russian Patriarch Kirill, the second Orthodox schism in Ukraine in recent years.

Ukraine has been under Moscow’s spiritual leadership since at least the 17th century.

ALSO READ: War in Ukraine: Latest developments

Russia to boost grain exports

Russia says it plans to ramp up grain exports against the backdrop of a looming global food crisis exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.

Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev says Russia will increase its grain exports from over 37 million tonnes in the 2021-2022 season ending June 30 to 50 million tonnes in the new season starting 1 July.

Kyiv and the West blame Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports for stalling grain exports from Europe’s breadbasket.

Russian President Vladimir Putin tells Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer in a telephone call that the accusations are “groundless” and blames Western sanctions on Russia for spiralling food prices.

Russia expects energy revenue windfall

Russia says it expects to receive $14.4 billion (about R224.2 billion) in additional oil and gas revenues this year, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov says in remarks broadcast on state television.

Part of the windfall will be spent on Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine, he says.

© Agence France-Presse