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Live Reporting

Edited by Ben Tobias

All times stated are UK

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  1. Russian negotiator raises prospect of prisoner swap for Mariupol defenders

    A Russian armoured vehicle drives in front of a convoy of coaches carrying Azovstal fighters

    A Russian negotiator has suggested Moscow would consider exchanging Ukrainian soldiers captured after the fall of Mariupol for a jailed Ukrainian politician seen as an ally of President Putin.

    Leonid Slutsky said Russia would "study the possibility" of swapping some of the more than 2,000 prisoners taken at the Azovstal metal works for Viktor Medvedchuk. The pro-Russian politician and businessman was arrested by the authorities in Kyiv in April.

    Slutsky later appeared to backtrack on his comments - writing on the Telegram messaging app that the fate of Ukrainian fighters from the controversial Azov regiment should be decided by a tribunal.

    Russia said on Friday that the last Azov fighters and other Ukrainian soldiers had surrendered at the Azovstal plant - meaning occupying forces had gained total control of Mariupol.

  2. Which factors could tip the balance of the war?

    A Ukrainian flag flies in front of a damaged building
    Image caption: Both military and economic factors could prove decisive

    Fighting grinds on in eastern Ukraine - with both sides making gains and suffering setbacks.

    The BBC's defence correspondent Jonathan Beale has been looking at some of the factors which could ultimately prove decisive in the conflict.

    He suggests that:

    • Both sides are landing heavy blows with artillery - but ultimately the Ukrainians are outgunned despite weapons donations from Western countries
    • Fighting in towns and cities tends to favour Ukraine as the defending force - though Russia has shown an ability to wear down resistance, as seen in Mariupol
    • Russia's use of "Frankenstein forces" - cobbled together from the remains of various battered units - suggest its army is noticing shortages of fighters
    • But the war's outcome is unlikely to be settled by military might alone. Both sides are taking economic damage - though it's not clear how long the West will help prop up the Ukrainian side

    Read Jonathan's piece here.

  3. 'Extremely difficult' situation in the east - Zelensky

    President Zelensky speaks at a press conference on Saturday
    Image caption: The president said Ukrainians were repelling attacks around Slovyansk and Severodonetsk

    The situation in Ukraine's eastern Donbas remained "extremely difficult" as the Russian army was trying to advance towards the cities of Slovyansk and Severodonetsk, President Zelensky said in his regular evening address to the nation last night.

    "The Armed Forces of Ukraine are deterring this offensive," he said in a video.

    He added that each day his forces managed to disrupt Russian plans would help bring about "the desired day which we are all waiting for and fighting for so badly - the day of victory."

    The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has said in its morning update that Russian forces are trying to break through Ukrainian defences to reach the administrative borders of Luhansk Region.

    Map showing russian advances in the Donbas
  4. Russia deploys Terminator tanks - UK

    A line of Russian Terminators drive through Red Square
    Image caption: Terminators pictured during a Russian military parade in 2020

    Another reflection of the intensity of fighting around the eastern city of Severodonetsk now - from the UK's Ministry of Defence (MoD).

    Russia is believed to have deployed the only operational company of its BMP-T Terminator tank support vehicles in this part of the prized Donbas region.

    The MoD update says:

    • Severodonetsk remains one of Russia's top tactical priorities at the moment
    • The use of Terminators suggests a Russian formation known as the Central Grouping of Forces is present here - a formation which suffered heavy losses around Kyiv earlier in the war
    • Terminators were developed to give protection to battle tanks following the Afghan and Chechen wars
    • But with no more than ten of the vehicles deployed, they are unlikely to have significant impact on the campaign
  5. Russia attacks Severodonetsk from four directions - governor

    Smoke rises above rooftops in Severodonetsk
    Image caption: The eastern city has been under Russian shelling

    Russia has attempted to break into the city of Severodonetsk from four separate directions, says Serhiy Haidai, the governor of Ukraine's easternmost Luhansk region.

    Writing on the Telegram messaging app, Haidai says the attempts were unsuccessful - but that shelling of residential areas continued.

    He added that a bridge connecting the city to nearby Lysychansk had been destroyed.

    It wasn't possible for the BBC to independently verify the claims.

  6. Talks may only happen when one side loses the fighting

    Joe Inwood

    Reporting from Kyiv

    View of a damaged military vehicle and buildings in Mariupol
    Image caption: The Russians have won Mariupol - but the Ukrainians have made gains elsewhere

    I think it’s worth putting into context those comments from Ukraine that Kyiv won't agree to a ceasefire deal that involves giving up territory.

    They have always said that negotiations are an option. But the question is what will the preconditions be for both sides.

    If you look at what the Ukrainians would accept - all Russian troops off their territory – and you look at what the Russians want, which is frankly to annex quite a large portion of territory, there isn’t really any middle ground.

    So, for now, I think the only time we’re going to see negotiations is when one side feels it’s lost on the battlefield.

    When President Zelensky said negotiations are an option, he also said these would follow lots of bloody fighting. Both sides accept that the only time we’re going to see peace deals is when one side is forced to the table – and at the moment neither side feels that they’ve reached that point.

    The Russians are making advances in the south. They’ve taken Mariupol, and they’re advancing into the Donbas region at the moment.

    But the Ukrainians are taking territory around Kharkiv in the north. They’ve had great military successes around Kyiv, the capital. And they also are also receiving huge amounts of Western aid, of Nato equipment.

    Both sides feel they’ve got a fighting chance. And while both sides feel they’ve got a fighting chance, I don’t think negotiations are going to be happening.

    Map showing areas of Russian control in Ukraine's east
  7. Ukraine refuses to give up land in any peace deal

    A Ukrainian tank drives through Severodonetsk

    The Ukrainian government says it won't agree a ceasefire deal with Russia that involves giving up territory - in an apparent hardening of its position.

    Presidential adviser Mykhaylo Podolyak said Kyiv would not follow calls in the West for an urgent ceasefire that involved Russian forces remaining in territory they occupy in the south and east of the country.

    He said making concessions would result in Moscow starting an even larger, more bloody offensive in the longer term.

    His comments come as Russia continues its attempts to encircle Ukrainian forces defending the eastern city of Severodonetsk.

  8. Welcome back to our live coverage

    Good morning and thanks for joining us. We’re resuming our live coverage and will be bringing you the latest developments and analysis of the war in Ukraine throughout the day. Here's a round up of some of the main stories:

    • The Ukrainian government says it won’t agree to a ceasefire deal with Russia that involves giving up any territory
    • A presidential adviser says making concessions would backfire on Kyiv because Moscow would immediately escalate the war after any break in fighting and “start a new offensive, even more bloody and large-scale".
    • Russian forces have continued their attacks on the eastern Donbas region following their capture of Mariupol.
    • They are said to have made limited advances towards Severodonetsk – where it is thought they are planning a new siege
    • Russia has likely deployed 'terminator' tank support vehicles to the area as part of their offensive in Donbas, according to the UK’s Ministry of Defence.
    Map showing the area around Severodonetsk
  9. That's all for now...

    We are pausing our live coverage of the war in Ukraine for a few hours.

    Thank you very much for joining us, we'll be back again on Sunday morning Ukraine time.

  10. War in Ukraine - evening update

    A man with a scooter takes a photo of a burnt-out tank
    Image caption: Destroyed Russian tanks have gone on display in Ukraine's capital, Kyiv

    Thank you for joining our live coverage of the war in Ukraine. If you're in need of a quick recap, here are some of today's latest developments:

    • President Zelensky has said the war can only be fully resolved through diplomacy and negotiations, despite his confidence that Ukraine can prove victorious on the battlefield
    • Ukraine's First Lady, Olena Zelenska, has given a rare TV interview, admitting that her family was "torn apart" by the war, like so many other Ukrainian families
    • Russia has intensified its efforts to capture the whole eastern region of Luhansk
    • Fierce fighting has been reported around Severodonetsk - a city which the regional governor says is being "destroyed"
    • Moscow has revealed its list of nearly 1,000 Americans banned from entering Russia - including President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken
    • Biden has signed off a bill that confirms nearly $40bn (£32bn) of fresh American aid for Ukraine
    • A further €250m (£211m) has been pledged by Portugal, whose leader visited Kyiv today
  11. Ukraine's First lady gives rare interview

    Ukraine's First Lady Olena Zelenska has given a rare interview with her husband, President Volodymyr Zelensky.

    It is only the second time the couple have been seen together since the beginning of the war in Ukraine.

    Ms Zelenska said "no one takes my husband away from me, not even the war," but also that they had barely seen each other since Russia invaded Ukraine, and had been "torn apart" like other families.

    Video content

    Video caption: Ukrainian First Lady Zelenska in rare interview with husband
  12. Actor Morgan Freeman banned from entering Russia

    Morgan Freeman

    Actor Morgan Freeman is one of nearly 1,000 US citizens to be hit with Russian sanctions, including a ban on entering Russia.

    The full list of names was published by the Russian foreign ministry on Saturday, and includes President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

    "The famous actor recorded a video address in 2017 accusing Russia of plotting against the United States and calling for a fight against our country", Russia's foreign ministry explained.

    It is a reference to Mr Freeman's appearance in a video which accused Russia of meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, which Donald Trump won.

    There are 963 US citizens on the list of sanctioned individuals, including several politicians, doctors, activists and journalists. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg is also on the list.

  13. Former KGB agent Alexander Lebedev sanctioned by Canada

    Alexander and Evgeny Lebedev
    Image caption: Alexander Lebedev (L) with his son Lord Evgeny Lebedev

    The Canadian government has imposed sanctions on the father of the UK peer and media tycoon Evgeny Lebedev.

    Alexander Lebedev, a former KGB agent who made money in post-Soviet Russia, was included on the latest list of people considered close to the Russian regime by Canada.

    The list includes: "Russian oligarchs, their family members and close associates who were sanctioned for having directly enabled Vladimir Putin’s senseless war in Ukraine and bear responsibility for the pain and suffering of the people of Ukraine".

    Lord Lebedev, the owner of the Independent and the London Evening Standard newspapers, was given a peerage in 2020 after being controversially nominated by his friend, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

    But questions have been asked about security concerns that were reportedly raised about him at the time. Lord Lebedev has previously denied being a security risk and said he was a proud British citizen.

    Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said her party was clear that anyone with connections to the KGB should be sanctioned, and said the Conservatives had been "too slow and too soft" in issuing sanctions against those with links to Putin.

    She said Johnson was bending the rules to protect his friends and said he had failed to release critical information relating to the appointment of the junior Lebedev to the House of Lords, despite concerns from the security services.

  14. Millions of tonnes of food stuck in Ukrainian ports - Zelensky

    We mentioned earlier that Volodymyr Zelensky held a meeting with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa a little while ago.

    Following that meeting he said there is 22 million tonnes of food stuck in Ukrainian ports and various solutions are being considered to resolve the issue.

    The Interfax-Ukraine news agency quoted him saying that Russia had blocked "all the sea options for exporting food products" and that Russia was "quietly stealing it".

    "Grain is being shipped off to somewhere or other. We know where that somewhere or other is," Zelensky said.

    He added that ports could be unblocked by military means, and that was why Ukraine was appealing for weapons from allies.

    Read more on the food crisis that could result from the war here.

  15. Ukraine reports fresh Russian attacks across east

    Aerial view of a damaged building
    Image caption: A university building in Bakhmut, Donetsk region, is said to have been shelled

    Ukraine's armed forces have given their usual evening update, as Russia continues its efforts to capture the remainder of the eastern Luhansk region. Here are some of the key takeaways:

    • The greatest Russian action was confirmed to be in what Ukraine calls its eastern operational zone
    • Ukrainian soldiers and civilians have come under fire in the Donetsk region, as Russian troops attempt to reach the borders of neighbouring Luhansk
    • The Russian forces were also observed preparing further offensives on Slovyansk and Lyman, both in the Donetsk region
    • Strikes were also acknowledged in northern areas, including in the Zhytomyr region, west of Kyiv - following a Russian claim it had destroyed a large shipment of donated weapons there

    The BBC was not able to verify the claims.

    Map shows growing areas of Russian control in Ukraine's east
  16. Russia should be banned from football as long as the war continues - Shevchenko

    Sofia Bettiza

    Reporting from Kyiv

    Andriy Shevchenko

    Ukraine football legend Andriy Shevchenko has become the first ambassador of a charity created by Volodymyr Zelensky to support the country at war.

    Speaking to the BBC, the former Chelsea, AC Milan and Dynamo Kyiv striker pleaded for donations.

    “This war is cruel. It’s atrocious. It’s a genocide.” he said.

    “It was important for me to find a way to help my country. Ukraine is paralyzed, it’s impossible to run the economy, we are being shelled every day and people are dying.”

    He says all money raised by the charity United 24 will go straight into the national bank of Ukraine, and then will be distributed to help with the war effort.

    All sport has been suspended in Ukraine, because all mass gatherings are currently banned under martial law.

    But on June 1, Ukraine will return to competitive action in their delayed World Cup playoff against Scotland.

    “Many of them didn’t have the opportunity to train at all. But I believe a miracle is possible, because I know what kind of motivation they have.”

    When asked about his relationship with former Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, Shevchenko said he hasn’t spoken to him since the start of the war.

    Russian football clubs have been suspended from all competitions by Fifa and Uefa.

    “As long as there is a war in Ukraine, no Russian athlete should be allowed to participate in any competition” Shevchenko said.

    “Because of Russia, our athletes are deprived from doing any sports. And they could be killed at any moment.”

  17. Portuguese leader meets Zelensky in Kyiv

    Volodymyr Zelensky shakes hands with Antonio Costa
    Image caption: Antonio Costa was said to have reassured Zelensky of his ongoing support

    Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa has met his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky during a visit to Kyiv.

    Costa was said to have assured Zelensky of his country's ongoing support for Ukraine - tweeting afterwards that Portugal had agreed to send €250m (£211m) of financial assistance.

    During the two men's joint press conference, Zelensky reiterated hopes of Ukraine becoming a candidate to join Portugal and 26 other countries as full members of the European Union.

    There has been no consensus within the bloc over whether Ukraine should be allowed to fully sign up.

  18. Talks between Turkey, Finland and Sweden need to continue - Stoltenberg

    Nato's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says he's spoken with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the importance of Nato’s open door following bids by Finland and Sweden to join the military alliance.

    In return, Turkey's president told him that Ankara would not look positively on Sweden and Finland's applications, unless they clearly show cooperation in the fight against terrorism and other issues.

    As we reported earlier, Erdogan held phone calls with the leaders of the two countries today to discuss his concerns.

    Stoltenberg tweeted: "We agree that the security concerns of all allies must be taken into account and talks need to continue to find a solution.”

    View more on twitter
  19. Russia steps up assault on Severodonetsk

    A ruined military building with nearby rubble
    Image caption: A destroyed military vehicle in the Luhansk region pictured last week

    Fierce fighting has been reported around the Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk as Russia steps up its attempt to capture the whole eastern region of Luhansk.

    Local governor Serhiy Haidai said the Russians were "destroying" the city as they gradually surrounded it.

    Writing on the messaging app Telegram, he said his troops had repelled 11 attacks on the frontline - with eight tanks among the Russian vehicles destroyed. There was no independent confirmation of the claims.

    BBC correspondent James Waterhouse says Russia has increased its artillery and air strikes as well as missile attacks - gaining ground mile by mile in Luhansk while the Ukrainians are forced to retreat.

    He says the Russians are "enjoying much more freedom of movement" as troops get redeployed following a successful siege of Mariupol.

    Map shows Russian forces encircling the key city of Severodonetsk
  20. Russia reveals entry bans on Biden and other prominent Americans

    Antony Blinken and Joe Biden pictured together in March
    Image caption: Secretary of State Antony Blinken is on the list alongside President Biden and others

    Moscow has published its full list of more than 900 Americans who've been indefinitely banned from entering Russia.

    They include President Biden as well as Secretary of State Antony Blinken, CIA chief William Burns and hundreds of members of Congress.

    The Russian foreign ministry said the restrictions were in response to US sanctions - which were imposed after the invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.

    It added that "Russia does not seek confrontation and is open to honest, mutually respectful dialogue".