Belarus hikes up troops on the border
The Belarusian Defense Ministry said on Wednesday that Belarus had deployed a number of special operations units to its border with Ukraine.
Russia continues eastern Ukraine offensive
The Russian military continued its operations in eastern Ukraine in the Donetsk and Luhansk separatist regions, as well as in Kherson, with the ultimate goal of creating a land bridge between these regions and Crimea, the Ukrainian Armed Forces said in a Wednesday update.
These territories will be a part of Russia soon enough, said Crimea's Deputy Prime Minister Georgy Muradov in an interview with the Russian news site RIA.
Of particular interest to the Russian military is the city of Rubizhne in Donetsk, the army added.
The Russian assault continued on Wednesday on Mariupol and the Azovstal energy plant in particular. Ukrainians have been trapped in the city for weeks now and efforts have been underway to enable humanitarian activity in the area.
The leader of Ukraine's Russian-backed breakaway Donetsk People's Republic said on Wednesday there were no civilians left at the Azovstal steel plant in the occupied Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, Russian state media reported.
"According to our information, there are no civilians left there. Consequently, our units' hands are no longer tied," Russian state media quoted Denis Pushilin, whose separatist forces have taken part in the assault on Mariupol, as saying.
In addition, the state media stated that the annexation of Kherson will be done somewhat differently than the annexation of Crimea (which was not accepted by the world community, TASS news said quoting Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the military-civilian administration of the Kherson region).
The decision is up to the residents living in the Russian-occupied region of Kherson in southern Ukraine to decide whether they wanted to join Russia, but any such decision must have a clear legal basis.
We do not want a war in Europe - Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday that Moscow did not want war in Europe, but that Western countries were keen to see Russia defeated in its military campaign in Ukraine.
"If you are worried about the prospect of war in Europe - we do not want that at all," Lavrov said at a news conference in Muscat after talks with his Omani counterpart.
"But I draw your attention to the fact that it is the West that is constantly and persistently saying that in this situation, it is necessary to defeat Russia. Draw your own conclusions."
Losses since the beginning of the war
Since the beginning of the war the Russian forces have lost 26,350 personnel 1,187 tanks and a total of 2,856 armored vehicles, the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs published on Facebook.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) recorded 7,172 civilian casualties in Ukraine, 3,459 killed and 3,713 injured.
101 hospitals were bombarded to ashes by the Russian forces in addition to 200 ambulances that were shot or captured, the Ukrainian Ministry of Health posted on their Facebook page.
Fighting continues on Snake Island
Fighting between Russia and Ukrainian forces has continued on Zmiinyi Island, also known as Snake Island, with Russia repeatedly trying to reinforce its exposed troops.
"If Russia consolidates its position on Zmiinyi Island with strategic air defense and coastal defense cruise missiles, they could dominate the north-western Black Sea," the UK Ministry of Defence tweeted in a regular bulletin.
Russia's resupply vessels have had minimum protection in the western Black Sea, following the Russian Navy's retreat to Crimea after the loss of the Moskva.
Peace for Ukraine?
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday the time would come when there are peace negotiations over Ukraine, but he did not see that time in the immediate future.
"This war will not last forever. There will be a time when peace negotiations will take place," Guterres told a news conference with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen.
"I do not see that in the immediate future. But I can say one thing. We will never give up," he added, in remarks translated into German by an official translator.