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Russian forces appear to have suffered more setbacks in Ukraine as Moscow faces mounting accusations of war crimes committed since its unprovoked invasion began.

Ukrainian forces managed to prevent an attempt to cross the Russian river into the Donbass, the British Ministry of Defense shelp in regularly updating information May 13.

The ministry said footage suggests Russia lost armored equipment and deployed bridging equipment while attempting to cross the Siverskiy Donets River west of Severodonetsk, the report said, adding that Russian forces did not failed to make significant progress in the region.

Russian commanders are therefore under increasing pressure from their superiors and are employing increasingly risky strategies on the battlefield, the report says.

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Ukraine also said it damaged a Russian Navy logistics vessel near Snake Island, a strategic outpost in the Black Sea.

Ukrinform, Ukraine’s national news agency, quoted Serhiy Bratchuk, a spokesman for the regional military command which includes Odessa, as saying in a telegram message that the ship had been set on fire.

The agency reported that the Russian Navy “lost” the Vsevolod Bobrov in the alleged strike off Snake Island.

The claim could not be independently verified and there was no confirmation from the Russian side of damage to any of its warships in the Black Sea.

The FleetMon sea tracking information website identifies the Vsevolod Bobrov as a 95-meter-long transport vessel.

Throughout the 11-week conflict, Russian forces have been accused of committing atrocities including the killing of unarmed civilians, torture and rape.

Documenting such atrocities, on May 12 the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) overwhelmingly approved a resolution to open an investigation into alleged abuses by Russian troops in areas of Ukraine which they temporarily controlled.

The UNHRC resolution cited apparent cases of torture, shootings and sexual violence, as well as other atrocities documented by a UN team on the ground.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, who leads the council, said earlier that thousands of bodies were found in the Kyiv region after Russian forces withdrew, which could be evidence of war crimes.

“The scale of unlawful killings, including indications of summary executions in areas north of Kyiv, is shocking,” Bachelet said.

The HRC resolution coincided with the release by CNN and the BBC of alleged security camera footage on May 12 showing a Russian soldier shooting two Ukrainian civilians in the back on March 16 on the outskirts of kyiv.

One man died on the spot, the other shortly after, according to the media.

On May 12, previously neutral Finland made a seismic policy shift, announcing it would seek NATO membership “without delay”, amid Moscow’s ongoing war in Ukraine, which President Vladimir Putin said he launched to prevent the expansion of the alliance, reshaping Europe’s security architecture. .

Finland, which shares a 1,340 kilometer border and a turbulent relationship with Russia, has stepped up cooperation with NATO since Russia illegally annexed Crimea in 2014.

The announcement from Helsinki prompted Russia to warn that it would have to take “military-technical” measures in response.

Helsinki will announce Finland’s official decision on a membership application on May 15, while another Nordic country, traditionally neutral Sweden, is also expected to announce its intention to join NATO in the coming days.

NATO officials have indicated that Finland’s and Sweden’s membership protocols could be signed when the alliance holds a summit in Madrid on June 28-29 if formal applications land on the secretary general’s desk. NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, by the end of this month.

Russian forces continue to shell a steel mill in the southern port city of Mariupol, which is the last stronghold of Ukrainian resistance, its defenders said.

Ukraine offered to release Russian POWs in exchange for the safe evacuation of seriously injured fighters trapped inside the Azovstal steelworks.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said negotiations were underway to release the injured. She said there were different options, but “none of them are ideal”.

Russia has not confirmed any discussion on the subject.

Officials have said in recent weeks that around 100,000 residents could still be trapped in Mariupol, which had more than 400,000 residents before the war.

Russian and Ukrainian authorities agreed to ceasefires to evacuate residents, but those efforts mostly failed.

As fighting raged in southern and eastern Ukraine, kyiv said it would not reopen the suspended Sokhranovka gas transit route between Russia and European customers until it had gained control of its gas transit system.

The flow of gas from Russia to Europe has meanwhile declined, raising fears for Germany and other economies heavily dependent on this energy source.

Russian energy giant Gazprom said it would stop supplying gas through the Polish part of the Yamal-Europe pipeline, while Kyiv said it would not reopen a pipeline route it closed this week unless he regains control of areas from Moscow-backed fighters.

With reports from AP, Reuters, AFP and dpa

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