Donbas region: The second phase of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began this week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced on Friday, adding that its goal was the “complete liberation” of the entire Donetsk and from Luhansk. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his late night speech Friday that Ukraine’s armed forces were deterring attacks in the east and south. “The direction of Izyum, Donbass, Pryazovia, Mariupol, Kherson region are the places where the fate of this war and the future of our state are decided,” he said.
Kharkiv region: Ukraine’s armed forces warned on Friday of a possible Russian offensive in the area, where Ukrainian defenders have intelligence that the Russian military is carrying out aerial reconnaissance near the town of Izyum.
Mariupol: A day after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared victory in the destroyed Ukrainian port city, the European Council president said he had “strongly urged” Putin to immediately open humanitarian access to residents. A small pocket of resistance, about 1,000 Ukrainian fighters and citizens who remain entrenched in a steel mill, is surrounded. Additionally, newly emerged footage of two mass graves near Mariupol underscored the scale of the devastation.
Kyiv region: A majority of towns around the capital – where residents who fled are now returning – have suffered massive destruction of civilian infrastructure, the United Nations confirmed with satellite images on Friday. About 77% of Horenka, 71% of Irpin and 58% of Hostomel, all neighborhoods in the city, were damaged or destroyed by the end of March, UN spokesman Eri Kaneko said.
Sloviansk: Shelling by Russian forces in the eastern Ukrainian town damaged a secondary school building and residential buildings on Friday, the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office said on Telegram, announcing an investigation into the use of missiles fragmentation, prohibited by international law.