For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.
The latest developments in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. All times EDT.
3:00 a.m.: The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC+, said it is working on compensating for a drop in Russian oil output, two OPEC+ sources told Reuters on Thursday, as Russia’s production has fallen by around 1 million barrels per day in recent months as a result of Western sanctions on Moscow over Ukraine.
One OPEC+ source familiar with the Russian position told Reuters that Moscow could agree to other producers compensating for its lower output, but it may not happen at a Thursday meeting and might not be in full. A Gulf OPEC+ source also said a decision on the matter was “highly possible” at a meeting on Thursday, Reuters added.
2:30 a.m.: The Slovak Defense Ministry said Thursday that the country will deliver eight self-propelled Zuzana 2 howitzers to Ukraine under a commercial contract which a state-controlled producer signed.
The Zuzana 2 howitzer, a modernized version of an older model, uses 155-mm rounds and has an effective range of 40 km (25 miles) to more than 50 km (30 miles) depending on the ammunition type.
2:15 a.m.: The British defense ministry cautioned Thursday that Russian troops might turn their focus to the Donetsk region now that they have made significant gains to capture the key Luhansk city of Sievierodonetsk.
“Russia has taken control of most of Sievierodonetsk. The main road into the Sievierodonetsk pocket likely remains under Ukrainian control but Russia continues to make steady local gains, enabled by a heavy concentration of artillery,” the ministry said in its daily report. But the ministry said Russian gains weren’t “without cost, and Russian forces have sustained losses in the process.”
1:30 a.m.: During an interview with Newsmax, the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Andriy Yermak, praised his boss for his devotion to his country.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy is “brave, he’s intelligent, and he’s smart,” Yermak said. “Many people recognize him as a leader not just of Ukraine, but of all of the free world.”
Since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Zelenskyy has inspired his citizens by staying in Kyiv to lead the fight against Russia’s aggression, captivating much of the world with impassioned speeches. VOA’s Senior Diplomatic Correspondent Cindy Saine looks at how he has evolved into a wartime president.
12:04 a.m.: Russian forces continue their siege of Sievierodonetsk, an industrial city in eastern Ukraine, The New York Times reported. “A local official said on Wednesday that Russian forces controlled about 70 percent of the city, where only about 12,000 residents remain out of a prewar population of 100,000 after weeks of intense shelling.” the Times report said. “Ukrainian soldiers there are at risk of being surrounded. With bridges over the Seversky Donets River destroyed or under fire, resupply has become tenuous. Ukrainian officials have been candid about the army’s travails while arguing more rapid deliveries of Western weaponry will resolve them. Every day in the current heavy fighting, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in an interview with Newsmax this week, 60 to 100 Ukrainian soldiers are killed and another about 500 soldiers are wounded in combat.”
12:01 a.m.: When she helped launch The Kyiv Independent in November, chief editor Olga Rudenko had no idea that six months later she would be on the cover of Time magazine. But her team’s reporting on Russia’s war in Ukraine propelled their English-language site into the spotlight, with Time describing The Kyiv Independent as the “world’s primary source for reliable English-language journalism on that war.”
Rudenko says she feels she has a great responsibility to her audience, “to be the world’s window into Ukraine.” In this interview with VOA, she shares her commitment to fact-based reporting and how that has been essential in a war where disinformation is high, and journalists find themselves reporting on atrocities happening so close to home.
Some information in this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.