25 April 2022, 08:51 PM

61st day of Putin's war. Russians attack Vinnytsia, Poltava, Rivne oblasts, seize Kherson city council

Today, April 25, is the 61st day of Ukraine's defense against a full-scale Russian invasion.  

2046: Russian soldiers seized the Kherson city council building, removed the Ukrainian flag from it, and took the keys from security guards, Ihor Kolykhayev, the mayor of Kherson has reported. 

He added that the occupiers allowed him and other city council workers to go home, but did not explain their actions. Kherson city council would not be working from tomorrow. 

Kolykhayev remained one of the few pro-Ukrainian mayors, who stayed in the occupied cities. Others had to either flee or were captured by the occupiers.

Previously Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has stated Russia does not intend to occupy Ukrainian territories.  

2006: Russian troops, bombers, submarines, and ships focus on launching missile strikes against military and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, Ukraine's Armed Forces General Staff has reported.

According to General Staff, the invading forces clearly aim to destroy the ways of supplying military assistance from Ukraine's Western partners. 

Earlier Ukraine announced it will soon start getting heavy weapons it needed so much from the West.

2001: Russians have launched two more cruise missiles on Odesa from the territory of the occupied Crimea, Odesa governor Maksym Marchenko said in a video statement.

One rocket fell into the sea, another one was shot down by the Ukrainian air defense systems.

In Donetsk Oblast Russians killed four more civilians on April 25 - in Lyman, Mariinka, and Yampil towns, Donetsk governor Pavlo Kyrylenko has reported. According to him two of the murdered civilians were children – a 9-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl.

1721: Russia attacked infrastructure objects in Zhmerynka and Koziatyn, towns in Vinnytsia Oblast, the local authorities have reported. Five people were killed and 18 were wounded in the attack. 

Meanwhile, the Russians continue shelling attacks in Kharkiv Oblast. Today they killed at least three people in Derhachi, Kharkiv Governor Oleh Synehubov reported.

1428: President Biden announced that Bridget Brink will be his nominee for the new U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, reads a White House statement published on April 25.

Bridget A. Brink, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, currently serves as the U.S. Ambassador to the Slovak Republic.

Before her, Ukraine had not had an official U.S. ambassador for more than two years after Marie Yovanovych left the post under pressure from former U.S. President Donald Trump. Kristina Kvien has served as charge d'affairs at the US Embassy of Kyiv since 2019.

1358:  Ukraine's Defense Ministry Main Intelligence Directorate has reported that the Russians are planning to use chemical weapons against the remaining Ukrainian defenders and civilians sheltering in the Azovstal steel mill in Mariupol.  

According to the Ukrainian intelligence the occupiers have been planning to use chemicals to force Ukrainians to leave their shelter, which the Russian invaders have been trying to storm without success.

At the same time, AFP reported that Russia has announced a ceasefire around the AzovStal steel factory on Monday to allow civilians to leave the plant. A day before, the Russians agreed to provide a corridor for evacuation into Ukraine, but at the last moment they announced the buses would head to occupied territory in Donetsk Oblast instead.

Ukraine has not commented on the latest ceasefire yet.

Earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that if Russia kills the remaining Ukrainian forces in Mariupol, Ukraine would withdraw from the negotiations process.  Despite Putin's public order to stop the attacks on AzovStal and blockade it instead, Russian invaders kept bombing the plant.

1254: Two Russian cruise missiles flew over Khmelnytskiy Nuclear Power Plant, Energoatom nuclear energy company has reported.

"Yet again the Russians sporadically shoot at a critically close distance to our nuclear objects," Energoatom has said in a statement.

In Luhansk Oblast, the occupiers shelled Kreminska electricity distributing station, leaving the whole region without electricity, Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai has said in a statement.

1104: Russian invading forces have been demanding money from relatives of Ukrainian POWs, Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to the Ukrainian President's Office head, reported on Twitter.

He said the invaders had sent a video to a mother of a captive Ukrainian soldier, demanding she pay them EUR 5,000 euro to keep him alive. The woman said the Russians threatened to send a video of her son's execution to her if she doesn't pay them.

Morning Digest

Yesterday evening U.S. Secretary od State Antony Blinken and Lloyd Austin, the United States secretary of defense, visited Kyiv and met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.  In Kyiv, the U.S. officials announced $713 million in additional military aid for Ukraine and the appointment of a new ambassador. They also said U.S. diplomats would soon return to Kyiv.

Meanwhile, Russian invading forces continued to attack Ukraine during Easter weekend. The occupiers have continued to storm Popasna in Luhansk Oblast and AzovStal steel factory in Mariupol, where several thousand Ukrainians, including soldiers and their families, are hiding in the plant's underground shelters.

Nine Russian missiles struck a local power plant and an oil depot in Kremenchuk, a city in Poltava Oblast, local governor Pavlo Lunin has reported on Telegram. "One person has been killed, and seven more people wounded in these attacks. Buildings were destroyed. Unfortunately, there's no hot water (in the city) because of the attack on our power plant," Lunin wrote.

In the morning, residents of Lviv, Rivne, and Vinnytsia oblasts heard blasts. Ukrainian authorities refuse to reveal any details that might help the Russians correct their fire. But Lviv Oblast Governor Maksym Kozytskiy has said Ukrainian air defense systems were working in the region all morning. Meanwhile, Ukrzaliznytsia chairman of the board Oleksandr Kamyshin reported that the Russians struck five railway stations in central and western Ukraine in one hour. "More than 16 passenger trains have been delayed. Casualties have been reported," Kamyshin said, revealing no more details. 

In Russia, a fire broke out at two oil bases of the Druzhba oil pipe that transports Russian oil to Europe, the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry has reported. No casualties have been reported so far. 

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