A Ukrainian negotiator says peace talks have been suspended for the time being. Russia is currently considering a ban on the exchange of prisoners of war, and Moscow says that 959 Ukrainian soldiers have surrendered at the Azov steel plant since Monday. All news about the attack on Ukraine can be found here in the ticker.

8:58 p.m .: According to information from Kiev, Russian troops fired on Wednesday from Russian territory at the north-eastern Ukrainian regions of Sumy and Chernihiv. The Ukrainian border guard reported seven attacks using heavy machine guns, automatic grenade launchers, and tube and rocket artillery. The village of Shostka near the border in the Sumy region was shelled with mortars for more than an hour. But there were no victims. The reports were initially not independently verifiable.

After the Russian attack on February 24, northern Ukraine was initially occupied by Moscow troops. After heavy losses, however, they withdrew to their own territory or to Belarus. The fighting shifted further south to the Donbass. The Russian Ministry of Defense has also reported rocket attacks on northern Ukraine in the past few days.

8:42 p.m .: According to its own statements, the Ukrainian army has made another gain in territory in the eastern Ukrainian metropolis of Kharkiv. Due to an advance, the village of Dementijivka was liberated north of the megacity, the general staff announced on Facebook on Wednesday. The village is about eight kilometers from the Russian border. In recent weeks, the Ukrainian army has pushed back Russian troops in northern and north-eastern Kharkiv. However, the Russian military is said to be attempting a counterattack near Ternowa, north-east of Kharkiv.

On the border with the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, there was also fighting for the village of Dowhenke, about 25 kilometers from Sloviansk. Heavy fighting continued at Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka and at Sievjerodonetsk in the neighboring Luhansk region. The Russian troops would be supported by heavy Luftwaffe bombardments at various sectors. However, they would not have achieved territorial gains.

7:41 p.m .: The war against Ukraine is costing Russia a lot of money. According to preliminary data from the Treasury Department, spending on the military increased by almost 40 percent in the first four months of the year. Accordingly, the government in Moscow spent 1.7 trillion rubles (a good 25 billion euros) on the military from January to April. This corresponds to almost half of the funds earmarked for the whole of 2022.

5:38 p.m .: According to pro-Russian separatists, a good thousand Ukrainian soldiers, including their commanders, are still in the besieged steelworks in the Ukrainian port of Mariupol. Initially, more than 2,000 fighters were on the site of the Azov steelworks, said separatist leader Denis Puschilin from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic on Wednesday in Mariupol. Since more than 900 Ukrainian soldiers have surrendered since Monday, “just over half” are still at the plant.

“Commanders and senior fighters of the Azov regiment have not come out so far,” said the separatist leader, speaking to journalists during a press trip to Mariupol organized by the Russian Defense Ministry.

Pushilin said the Ukrainian soldiers ran out of supplies and had no choice but to surrender. “The first option is to raise the white flag and lay down your arms. The second option is to die there, just die. You chose the first option,” he said.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, 80 people were injured. They were taken to a hospital in the city of Novoazovsk in Russian-controlled territory. Pushilin said some of the wounded were also being treated in the city of Donetsk. The others were taken to a prison camp.

4:24 p.m .: Russia has acknowledged difficulties and mistakes in its war of aggression against Ukraine, but has announced that the fighting will continue. “Despite all the difficulties, the military special operation will continue to the end,” Deputy Secretary of the National Security Council Rashid Nurgaliyev said on Wednesday. Despite the arms deliveries from the West to Ukraine, the operation is continuing. All “tasks – including demilitarization and denazification as well as the protection of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics – will be fully implemented,” said the former interior minister.

The head of the Russian republic of Chechnya in the North Caucasus, Ramzan Kadyrov, even spoke of “mistakes” at the start of the war against Ukraine that began on February 24. “In the beginning there were mistakes, there were some shortcomings, but now everything is 100% according to plan,” Kadyrov said at a political forum. The tasks set by President Vladimir Putin would be fulfilled in full.

Kadyrov’s troops are fighting in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk. He said around 200 other volunteers had signed up to serve in Ukraine. The Chechen fighters, who were also deployed in Syria, are notorious for their brutality.

3:37 p.m .: According to its own statements, Russia is about to introduce a high-power laser for shooting down drones and light aircraft. “Our physicists have developed laser systems that are many times more powerful, which allows the burning of various targets, and are building them practically ready for series production,” Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said on Wednesday at a conference near Moscow, according to the Moscow state news agency TASS reported.

According to Borisov, the new laser weapon has a range of five kilometers and can shoot down drones at this altitude. The new system was tested on Tuesday and is said to have burned a drone within five seconds. Now it is slowly being introduced into the armed forces. “The first prototypes are already being used,” said Borisov.

The information could not be verified. No pictures were shown either. The laser is intended to replace anti-aircraft missiles, which clearly Borisov also praised the Russian laser weapon “Pereswet”, which does not shoot down drones, but can “blind” enemy satellite and reconnaissance systems and thus put them out of action. The range of “Pereswet” is therefore 1500 kilometers.

3:26 p.m .: The governor of the western Russian region of Belgorod has again accused Ukraine of shelling a village not far from the border. A young man was injured, said Vyacheslav Gladkov on Wednesday on his Telegram channel. The man is being treated medically but is not in mortal danger. According to Gladkow’s statements, six houses, a car and a power line were also damaged.

The place Solochi is located about ten kilometers from the border with Ukraine. According to Russian sources, Solochi was shot at once last week. At that time, an 18-year-old man was killed in the attack and seven other people were injured.

2:20 p.m .: A 21-year-old soldier has pleaded guilty to atrocities committed by Russian soldiers in Ukraine in the first trial. The young man is currently on trial in Kyiv. According to consistent British media reports, he confessed to having shot and killed an unarmed man in the city of Sumy.

The soldier, named Vadim Shishimarin, reportedly admitted to shooting dead a 62-year-old civilian in the village of Chupakhivka on February 28. According to “Mirror”, the soldier faces life imprisonment.

12:16 p.m .: The Ukrainian domestic secret service claims to have uncovered a network of five women suspected of being agents for Russia. You worked in the southern Ukrainian port city of Mykolaiv.

Intelligence spokesman Artem Dekhtyarenko explained that the group was created under the leadership of a Russian general. He was also involved in the invasion of Ukraine. The agents were tasked with paving the way for “enemy and reconnaissance groups” to Mykolaiv. In addition, they “collected information about the social and political situation in the region, as well as results about enemy rocket attacks on Mykolaiv,” said Dekhtyarenko. In order to get information, the agents made friends with Ukrainian soldiers in the area through “friendly talks”. A successful mission promised some women an evacuation to the Russian-occupied island of Crimea. On the other hand, Russia promised the agents leadership positions in the Mykolayiv region if Russian troops took them.

The five women are residents of Mykolaiv. You are charged with high treason. If found guilty, they face 12 to 15 years in prison. The information provided by the domestic secret service cannot be independently verified.

11:25 a.m .: In an update, the British Ministry of Defense has announced that fierce Ukrainian resistance in the city of Mariupol has caused Russian troops many casualties. In order to break the resistance, Russia is therefore making use of auxiliary troops. Among them are Chechen forces, which are deployed specifically in Mariupol and the Luhansk region.

Chechen troops are believed to be made up of both volunteers and members of the National Guard, who normally protect the ruler of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov. According to the Ministry of Defence, Kadyrov is to closely monitor the deployment of his national guardsmen. His cousin Adam Delimkhanov is said to be acting as field commander in Mariupol.

According to information from Ukrainian authorities, Kadyrov himself, who is considered “Putin’s bloodhound”, is to take over Mariupol. This is reported by the Ukrainian newspaper “Ukrainska Pravda”, citing an adviser to the mayor. Accordingly, the new “supervisors” of the city should come from Chechnya. The leader of the Chechens, in turn, is Ramzan Kadyrov.

11:15 a.m .: Western sanctions are aimed at isolating Russia politically and weakening it economically so that it can no longer finance this war. As correct and important as that is: the plan has a catch, argues Russia expert Stefan Meister in his analysis for FOCUS Online.

You can read more reports on the Ukraine conflict on the following pages.