Ukraine war round-up: Carnage at the river and a war crimes trial

By Patrick Jackson
BBC News

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Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
A woman shows damage to her flat in the Chernihiv region

The toll of the fighting on both Ukraine's health sector and Russia's invading army made sobering reading on the 79th day of the war.

Russian forces were accused by Ukrainian MPs of completely destroying more than 100 healthcare facilities since the invasion started on 24 February.

British military intelligence said a single Russian battalion had recently lost almost all of its armoured vehicles during a failed attempt to cross a river in the eastern war zone. Aerial images showed dozens of burnt-out tanks and the remains of a pontoon bridge.

BBC News Russian has been able to verify the deaths of 2,336 Russian service personnel since the start of the invasion.

Moscow's forces made gains elsewhere, reportedly taking the strategically important town of Rubizne.

In Kyiv, Ukraine started its first war crimes trial since the beginning of the invasion, putting a 21-year-old Russian soldier in the dock and accusing him of killing an unarmed civilian.

Western sanctions on Russia got more personal when the UK placed travel bans and asset freezes on Russian President Vladimir Putin's former wife, Lyudmila Ocheretnaya, and his alleged current girlfriend, Alina Kabaeva.

And a Russian energy supplier said it would suspend deliveries of electricity to Finland from Saturday, one day after the Finnish president said he supported an application for Nato membership.

Learning a new language

An estimated 14 million Ukrainians have fled their homes since the invasion started. One of the six million or so who moved abroad is nine-year-old Marharyta, who spoke no English when she first arrived in the UK from her home city of Lviv.

She and her mum Larysa moved to Manchester after securing visas through the Ukraine Family Scheme, and now she is happily learning the new language.

Media caption,
Ukrainian refugee Marharyta, nine, is learning English as she waits to start school in Manchester

The UK government has plans to enrol up to 100,000 Ukrainian children who have fled the war. The National Association of Head Teachers is calling for urgent counselling support and access to specialist language tuition.

Russian arms supplies under question

India has not joined in the international condemnation of Russia's invasion, making clear it does not want to take sides.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
INS Trishul, a warship built in Russia, acquired by the Indian Navy in 2003

However, some defence experts believe it may find it has little choice other than to lessen its dependence on Russian military equipment, given the impact of Western sanctions.

In the last decade, it has bought more equipment from other countries - noticeably from France, but also from Israel and the US and, to a lesser extent, the UK.

But Sangeeta Saxena, editor of Delhi-based Aviation and Defence Universe, says the Indian army will keep buying from Russia - not just because its personnel are familiar with the equipment, but also because the relationship with Russia has withstood the test of time.

Why the volatile price of aluminium matters

The invasion has tightened global supplies of the metal, pushing up the price, which had already climbed during the coronavirus pandemic.

"A lot of buyers of aluminium in Europe are almost self-sanctioning and refusing to touch Russian aluminium if they can," says Uday Patel, senior research manager at consultancy Wood Mackenzie.

The metal is used in a bewildering variety of products, from door frames to aircraft, and some believe supply constraints are likely to continue for some time.

A war zone entry for Eurovision

This year's edition of Europe's glitziest celebration of pop music is marked by the war in the east, with Russia and Belarus banned from competing and Ukraine odds-on favourite to win.

Kalush Orchestra will be appearing in Turin on Saturday, fresh from visiting the war zone.

BBC Ukraine's Viktoriia Zhuhan joined them as they prepared for the contest in the war-torn city of Irpin.

Media caption,
The BBC joined Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra as they prepared for the contest amid the rubble of the city of Irpin

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