Live Updates: Russia-Ukraine War

KYIV, Ukraine — BERLIN — German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Thursday dismissed the Kremlin-orchestrated referendums in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine as a “sham.”

Baerbock told a news conference in the German capital that people are being taken “under threats and sometimes even (at) gunpoint” to drop their ballots in transparent boxes.

She denounced the vote as a “dictated peace” that’s contrary to free and fair elections and warned that no citizen is either free or safe in Ukraine’s Russian-occupied territories as long as “this Russian diktat” prevails there.

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KYIV — Ukraine’s presidential office says that at least eight civilians have been killed and 16 others have been wounded by the latest Russian shelling.

The office said Thursday casualties include two adults and a child killed by a missile strike on the city of Dnipro Wednesday.

The attack injured five – including a 12 year-old girl pulled from the rubble – and damaged 60 houses, a street market and power lines.

Russian shelling also hit Nikopol across the Dnieper River from the Russia-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

In the eastern Donetsk region, Russian artillery barrages killed five civilians and wounded four.

Meanwhile, authorities in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk say 11 people have been wounded – one seriously – after four rockets hit the city. Thursday’s early morning attack damaged high-rise buildings and private homes.

STOCKHOLM — A fourth leak to the Nord Stream pipelines conveying natural gas from Russia to Germany has been reported off southern Sweden.

Earlier, three leaks had been reported on the two underwater pipelines. Seismologists detected two explosions were detected before reports of the leaks which officials believe were “deliberate actions.”

Some experts have said Russia is likely to blame for any sabotage — it directly benefits from higher energy prices and economic anxiety across Europe.

Sweden’s coast guards told Swedish news agency TT on Thursday that the fourth leak was off Sweden. All the leaks are in international waters.

KYIV — Authorities say Russian missile fire targeted the eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipro overnight, killing at least three people and wounded five others.

Valentyn Reznichenko, the governor of the wider Dnipropetrovsk region, said fire damaged homes, a market, cars, buses and electrical lines.

KYIV — Authorities say the hometown of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has again been targeted by Russian missile fire.

Ukrainian military officials said Thursday a Russian Kh-59 missile struck Kryvyi Rih on Wednesday night. The Russian fire struck a grain depot while others were shot down.

Kryvyi Rih is some 350 kilometers (215 miles) southeast of Kyiv.

KYIV — The Ukrainian military says it is sending undertrained fighters to the battle front as it tries to reinforce its positions in the eastern Ukrainian city of Lyman.

The Ukrainian military’s general staff said Thursday that of seven Russian tanks sent to Lyman recently, Russian troops crashed two of them on the way there.

It also said troops manning the tanks did not undergo training on how to use the vehicle’s weapons.

The Ukrainian military did not elaborate on how it knew about the tank unit’s condition. But Ukraine’s intelligence services have played purportedly intercepted phone calls of Russian troops complaining about their conditions on the front line.

KYIV — Britain’s military says the number of Russian military-age men fleeing the country likely exceeds the number of forces Moscow used to initially invade Ukraine in February.

The British Defense Ministry made the estimate in its daily intelligence briefing Thursday amid a Russian push to mobilize more troops to replenish losses its forces have suffered in Ukraine.

The ministry said those who are financially better off and better educated are over-represented amongst those attempting to leave Russia.

It added that the economic impact from the call-up as a result of a loss of labor in combination with a ‘brain drain’ “is likely to become increasingly difficult.”

KYIV — A Washington-based think tank says Ukrainian soldiers continue to advance around a key northeastern city occupied by Russian forces and may soon encircle it entirely.

The Institute for the Study of War, citing Russian reports, said Thursday that Ukrainian forces have taken more villages around Lyman, a city some 160 kilometers (100 miles) southeast of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city.

Lyman had been a key node in Russia’s front-line operations in the region before Ukrainian forces retook vast swathes of territory in the northeast earlier this month.

The institute said a possible collapse of the Lyman pocket would allow Ukrainian troops to “threaten Russian positions along the western Luhansk” region.

The institute suggested additional Russian losses would further erode morale amid a call-up of hundreds of thousands of men — the country’s first since World War II.

— Follow the AP’s coverage of the war at

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