From Russian troops' continued bombardment of Kharkiv to rumours about Putin and Zelenskyy's ill health dismissed, here are some of the most important developments about the war in Ukraine.
1. Russian troops shell civilian targets in Kharkiv, killing at least two
Russian shelling pounded a densely populated area in Ukraine’s second-largest city Thursday, killing at least two people and injuring at least 21 with a barrage that struck a mosque, a medical facility and a shopping area, according to officials and witnesses at the scene.
Police in the northeast city of Kharkiv said cluster bombs hit Barabashovo Market, a public bazaar, international reporters on the scene said. Local officials said the shelling also struck a bus stop, a gym and a residential building.
The bombardment came after Russia on Wednesday reiterated its plans to seize territories beyond eastern Ukraine, where the Russian military has spent months trying to conquer the industrial region of the Donbas, located south of Kharkiv.
Ukrainian officials recently also aired their plans to try to recapture Russian-occupied areas near the country’s southern Black Sea coast.
Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov said the attacks early Thursday targeted one of the most crowded areas of the city, which had a prewar population of about 1.4 million.
“The Russian army is randomly shelling Kharkiv, peaceful residential areas, civilians are being killed,” Terekhov said. “Be careful!”
2. Kremlin's forces plan to seize Ukraine's second biggest power plant
Russian forces are likely closing in on Ukraine's second biggest power plant at Vuhlehirska, 50 kilometres north-east of Donetsk, British military intelligence said on Thursday.
"Russia is prioritising the capture of critical national infrastructure, such as power plants," Britain's defence ministry said in a regular bulletin.
The ministry also added that Russia is probably attempting to break through at Vuhlehirska as part of its efforts to regain momentum on the southern pincer of its advance towards the key cities of Kramatorsk and Sloviansk.
After switching its focus on the industrial eastern region of the Donbas, Moscow has captured several key areas in Donetsk and Luhansk, but it is yet to seize both areas completely.
3. CIA chief dismisses rumours of Putin being gravely ill
The director of the CIA has dismissed persistent rumours that Russian President Vladimir Putin is gravely ill, perhaps suffering from cancer, by saying Putin is "entirely too healthy."
Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado, William Burns stressed that this was "not a formal intelligence assessment," but given his expertise with Russia - Burns served as America's ambassador in Moscow from 2005 to 2008 - it will certainly give pause to those Putin opponents who hoped for signs that he could soon die from an undisclosed disease.
"There's lots of rumours about President Putin's health and as far as we can tell he's entirely too healthy," adding "that's not a formal intelligence judgment."
Burns said that Putin's own views about Ukraine, and especially the will of the Ukrainian people to resist the Russian invasion, were based on "some profoundly flawed assumptions."
"Putin really does believe his rhetoric, and I've heard him say this privately over the years, that Ukraine is not a real country. He believes that it's his entitlement, Russia's entitlement, to dominate Ukraine."
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4. Zelenskyy releases video to prove he is healthy after fake news spread about his illness
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted a video on Instagram from his office on Thursday to reassure Ukrainians that he is well after what he said was a fake news report about his health by Russian hackers.
Zelenskyy, 44, made his remarks on the same day as the Kremlin dismissed what it said were false reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin was unwell.
His Instagram post appeared after a Ukrainian media company said hackers had broadcast a false report about Zelenskiy's health on one of its radio stations following a cyberattack.
"Today, Russia launched more fake news that the (Ukrainian) state is not controlled by President Zelenskyy as he is in hospital, or rather, in intensive care because of a 'serious health condition'," Zelenskyy said.
"So, here I am in my office, and I have never felt as good as now," he said, sitting at a desk and wearing a khaki t-shirt. "And the bad news for those behind such fakes is that I am not alone. There are 40 million of us."
5. EU hits Russia with sanctions on gold imports, high-tech exports
The European Union has imposed more sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine after the bloc's member states backed a series of measures that would include gold imports and tighten export controls on some high-technology goods.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the “reinforced, prolonged EU sanctions against the Kremlin" send "a strong signal to Moscow".
"We will keep the pressure high for as long as it takes," she said.
The details of the sanctions are still unclear as they still need to be posted in the EU's official journal.
EU officials have been seeking all week to tighten the extensive package of sanctions on Russia and looking at ways to add a ban on gold exports in hopes that the measures might finally start to have a decisive impact on the war in Ukraine.
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