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What Happened on Day 88 of the War in Ukraine

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A Ukrainian soldier on Sunday in a trench at the front line in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region.Credit...Finbarr O'Reilly for The New York Times

DONETSK REGION, Ukraine — Ukrainian and Russian forces traded fresh blows on Sunday near Sievierodonetsk, military authorities and analysts said, as Moscow renewed its push toward the city, one of the last major Ukrainian strongholds in a key part of the east.

The battle for Sievierodonetsk has emerged as another crucial point in the war, as Russia struggles to notch victories. Following its failed assaults on the capital, Kyiv, and the country's second largest city, Kharkiv, Russia's military has regrouped and now appears concentrated on capturing the Donbas region in Ukraine's east. A victory in Sievierodonetsk would give Russian forces control of Luhansk, one of two provinces that make up the region.

Moscow has already sustained heavy losses in its push toward the city, but capturing it could allow its forces to mount an assault on Kramatorsk, Ukraine's regional military command in the region. At the same time, Ukraine's Western allies are racing Howitzers and other long-range weapons to the front line to bolster the resistance.

The ongoing fight is also a sign of Moscow's narrowing military objectives as the war reaches the three-month mark. Capturing all of Ukraine at once has proved out of reach for Moscow, but Russian forces have found success in slowly chipping away at the country, working their way east to west.

In Sievierodonetsk on Sunday, Russian forces attempted to breach the city's defenses from four directions. But neither side has been able to move the front line substantially in its favor throughout the chaotic battlefield landscape, which is dominated by farmland and small mining towns and villages that are mostly deserted.

Serhiy Haidai, the head of the Ukrainian military administration in Luhansk, said Russian forces retreated to their previous positions, repelled by Ukrainian forces. The Russian military continued to fire mortar shells at residential areas of Sievierodonetsk, damaging at least seven houses.

Earlier on Sunday, Mr. Haidai said that Ukraine's National Guard forces had destroyed a piece of heavy artillery, a Pion, that Russian troops had used to shell Sievierodonetsk and to destroy a bridge connecting it to the city of Lysychansk on the other side of the Seversky Donets river.

Mr. Haidai said that Russian propagandists had bragged about the weapon's whereabouts, enabling the city's defenders to target it more precisely. "The punishment was quick to come," he wrote on Telegram, a messaging app.

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A fighter jet, most likely Russian, fired flares on Sunday over Ukrainian positions on the front line in the eastern Donetsk region.Credit...Finbarr O'Reilly for The New York Times

Ukraine's military said it had also destroyed Russian vehicles and a pontoon bridge over the Seversky Donets near the town of Serebrianka, which lies about 20 miles west of Sievierodonetsk. A Ukrainian military statement described the Russian plan to cross the river as "mission impossible."

The 650-mile-long river, which originates in Russia and meanders southeast through the Donbas region, has presented a significant natural obstacle to Russia's offensive. Some of the invasion force's biggest losses of the war so far have come during an attempt to cross the river this month.

In a sign of the offensive's importance to Moscow's strategic planners, Russia has deployed a company of Terminator armored vehicles to the fighting that were part of the failed offensive against Kyiv, according to a British military intelligence report released on Sunday.

"However, with a maximum of 10 Terminators deployed, they are unlikely to have a significant impact on the campaign," the report said.

The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington research body that tracks the conflict, said on Saturday that Russian forces had "intensified efforts to encircle and capture Sievierodonetsk," an effort that was likely to continue because their advances remained largely stalled elsewhere in the Donbas region.

Russian forces in the city of Izium, farther west, have been trying to push south into the Donbas region for weeks, but their offensive has been stalled by stiff Ukrainian resistance.

For weeks, Ukrainian and Russian troops have been engaged in a grueling war of attrition, often fighting fiercely over small areas. One village may fall into Russian hands one day, only to be retaken by the Ukrainians a few days later.

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A Ukrainian sniper placed a suppressor on his rifle on Sunday at a small base near the front line in the Kharkiv area of Ukraine.Credit...Finbarr O'Reilly for The New York Times

On Sunday, Ukraine's military said Russian forces had attacked several places along the front line in the east. In an assessment of the war published early Sunday evening, it described intensive artillery fire on mostly deserted towns and villages.

To the north of the city of Sloviansk in Donetsk, which Russian forces have sought to capture, Russian artillery bombarded Ukrainian positions and staged probing assaults that were rebuffed, the Ukrainian military's report said.

Farther east, Russian forces attacked two frontline villages — Prudnovka and Aleksandrovka — with mortar and artillery fire but also failed to advance, according to the assessment.

On Sunday, Ukrainian troops at positions south of Izium kept watchful eyes on the front line as artillery and mortar rounds pierced the sky.

"They are trying bit by bit, all the time," said Oleh, 56, commander of a unit of volunteers south of Izium, who asked that their frontline position not be identified precisely, according to military protocol.

"But we are holding," he added.

Ukrainian troops have held positions south of Izium for two months, he said, adding that he was confident of staving off further attacks as long as Western military assistance kept coming.

"We are ready for anything," Oleh said, "but we need more heavy weapons, and on this we rely on our allies."

As the war approaches its fourth month, Western nations have substantially increased their aid to Ukraine, an effort to tip the balance as the conflict grows more protracted and costly.

Late last week, the U.S. Senate approved some $40 billion in aid to Ukraine, including lethal assistance, and it was signed by President Biden on Saturday. The package, combined with aid approved in March, amounts to the largest package of foreign assistance passed by Congress in at least two decades.

Russia's government has warned that Western nations will pay unspecified consequences for aiding Ukraine. On Saturday Moscow's Defense Ministry claimed that it had struck a military depot west of Kyiv filled with Western military equipment, an assertion that Ukraine's government did not address.

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Navigating through a barricade on a bombed-out street in the eastern Ukrainian town of Barvinkove, on Sunday.Credit...Finbarr O'Reilly for The New York Times

On Sunday, Jake Sullivan, Mr. Biden's national security adviser, said he could not confirm whether the weapons depot had been hit because he had not had the chance to consult Ukraine's government.

"What I can say is that we have what we believe to be a diverse and resilient supply chain for these weapons in Ukraine," Mr. Sullivan said.

"So even if there is a circumstance where the Russians are able to target and hit some shipping on the ground in Ukraine, that's not going to fundamentally, from a strategic perspective, disrupt the military assistance we're providing," he said.

In a visit to Kyiv on Sunday, Poland's president, Andrzej Duda, said that Ukraine alone should determine its future and that the international community must demand Russia's complete withdrawal.

It would be a "huge blow not only for the Ukrainian nation, but also for the entire Western world," Mr. Duda said, if even a tiny part of Ukraine were sacrificed in a peace deal.

"Worrying voices have appeared, saying that Ukraine should give in to Putin's demands," Mr. Duda said of the Russian president in what was the first address by a foreign leader to Ukraine's Parliament since the war began. "Only Ukraine has the right to decide about its future."

Mr. Duda's remarks came as the German, French and Italian governments have suggested a cease-fire, calls that Ukraine has rejected angrily as selfish and poorly timed. Ukrainian officials — backed by some eastern European governments — say that Russia is hardly ready for serious peace talks and must be dealt a decisive blow to end the conflict once and for all. Kyiv asserts that its forces have the momentum in the war, despite considerable losses.

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Relatives, friends and town residents at the funeral of Oleksandr Panichenko, a 28-year-old soldier, in Borodyanka, Ukraine, on Sunday.Credit...Nicole Tung for The New York Times

Carlotta Gall reported from the Donetsk region, in Ukraine; Matthew Mpoke Bigg from Krakow, Poland; and Maria Abi-Habib from Mexico City. Andrew E. Kramer contributed reporting from Pokrovsk, Ukraine, and Zolan Kanno-Youngs from Tokyo.

May 22, 2022, 11:53 p.m. ET

May 22, 2022, 11:53 p.m. ET

Austin Ramzy

Reporting from Hong Kong

"Russia's aggression against Ukraine undermines the foundation of global order," Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan told President Biden during a meeting Monday in Tokyo. "We can in no way allow whatsoever such attempts to change the status quo by force wherever it may be in the world."

May 22, 2022, 10:31 p.m. ET

May 22, 2022, 10:31 p.m. ET

Austin Ramzy

Reporting from Hong Kong

An American delegation is scheduled to hold talks in The Hague this week on "responses to atrocities committed in Ukraine," the State Department said. While the Biden administration wants to see Russia held to account, American laws limit what assistance the government can provide to the International Criminal Court.

May 22, 2022, 10:00 p.m. ET

May 22, 2022, 10:00 p.m. ET

Erika Solomon

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Statues and monuments of cultural significance around Lviv, Ukraine, were wrapped with foam and plastic sheeting in March to protect them from possible bombardment.Credit...Ivor Prickett for The New York Times

Ukraine's culture minister said Sunday that Russian forces have destroyed or damaged more than 350 cultural and historic sites since invading the country in late February.

Three months of fighting has killed thousands of civilians in Ukraine and razed countless buildings. Oleksandr Tkachenko, the culture minister, said that the toll on Ukraine's historic sites was also severe, with more damage being recorded nearly every day.

"The cultural heritage of the Kharkiv region has suffered the most," Mr. Tkachenko said in a statement posted on Facebook on Sunday.

The northeastern region, home to Ukraine's second-largest city of Kharkiv, had seen 94 strikes that affected cultural sites, he said.

Since the invasion, cities such as Lviv in the west and Odesa in the south have worked swiftly to fortify and protect their architectural and cultural treasures. Sandbags and metal cages encircle old statues, while wood paneling covers churches' stained glass windows.

But in many places, though, such protections have not been enough in the face of sustained shelling.

Mr. Tkachenko noted that recent strikes had severely damaged the recently renovated House of Culture in the Kharkiv region and a hermitage in the Donetsk region.

"The constant shelling, rockets, and bombings have destroyed 21 monuments of national significance, 88 of local importance, and seven recently discovered heritage sites," he said. "We are already working with international partners on a plan to protect our cultural heritage."

May 22, 2022, 9:00 p.m. ET

May 22, 2022, 9:00 p.m. ET

The New York Times

Dmytro, 8, walks through the rubble of his home while his friend Andri, 11, watches on, in the village of Novoselivka, Ukraine, on Friday.

According to a local doctor, the population of the village in southern Ukraine was about 900 people before the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. Between 100 to 150 people are now in the village, with some families having returned.

Vadim Shyshymarin, 21, is seen during the first war crimes trial against a Russian soldier in Ukraine at a court in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Wednesday. Shyshymarin, has pleaded guilty to shooting Oleksandr Shelipov, 62, an unarmed civilian who was on a bicycle in the village of Chupakhivka in the Sumy region of Ukraine on Feb. 28. Mr. Shelipov's wife, Kateryna, was present in the courtroom.

The family of Yurii Huk, 41, his daughter, Darynka, 8, his niece and other relatives, mourn at his funeral outside the Saints Peter and Paul Garrison Church last Monday in Lviv. Mr. Huk died after artillery bombardment in eastern Ukraine on May 9.

A cat approaches the body of a Russian soldier outside a school destroyed by bombardment in the village of Vilkhivka, which was occupied for weeks by Russian forces, east of Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, on Thursday.

May 22, 2022, 7:45 p.m. ET

May 22, 2022, 7:45 p.m. ET

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The PCK oil refinery in Schwedt, Germany, last month. The refinery processes oil coming from Russia via the Druzhba pipeline.Credit...Hannibal Hanschke/Getty Images

The war in Ukraine will undoubtedly dominate this week's World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, and Daniel Yergin, the energy historian, is among those whose insights are likely to be sought by that gathering's global elite.

An expert and respected commentator on the energy markets and geopolitics, as well as an entrepreneur and business executive, Mr. Yergin is now vice chairman of S&P Global, a New York-based financial services firm.

Mr. Yergin, who is 75, has been attending World Economic Forum meetings since the early 1990s and has helped shape the Davos approach to energy. He was recently interviewed by phone in Washington, D.C.; these are edited excerpts from the conversation.

What will be on the agenda this year?

There will be a sense of high urgency at Davos this year, beginning with the Ukraine war and the risks of escalation. There's a real need to develop a deeper understanding of how sanctions on Russian energy will disrupt energy flows and how the disruption and logistics can be managed to reduce the overall economic impact.

Energy security will certainly be back on the agenda, along with energy transition and sustainability. Front and center overall will be the economy — how intractable inflation has been and how likely it is that there will be greater economic slowdown, and why the supply-chain disruptions continue to persist.

And there will be a focus on the big impact on developing countries from the double crises in energy and food. In addition to the war in Ukraine itself, I expect we will see at Davos the initiation of a dialogue on the reconstruction of Ukraine — whenever that can begin.

Has the invasion changed energy politics in the United States?

Starting in November or so, the Biden administration became much more focused on domestic oil and gas production and wanted to see it increase. There has definitely been a change, and it has been driven by prices and by disruption.

May 22, 2022, 7:08 p.m. ET

May 22, 2022, 7:08 p.m. ET

Anushka Patil

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine is set to give a virtual speech on the first day of the World Economic Forum in Davos on Monday. Russia will be noticeably absent from both the forum and the city this year — Ukrainian artists have turned "Russia House," the prominent main street venue that the country's delegation normally uses for meetings, into the "Russian War Crimes House." The exhibition of the war's devastation has been arranged by the foundation of Ukrainian steel magnate and art collector Victor Pinchuk, who also helped create an exhibit on Ukraine at the Venice Biennale.

May 22, 2022, 5:02 p.m. ET

May 22, 2022, 5:02 p.m. ET

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A fighter jet, most likely Russian, fires flares over Ukrainian frontline positions in the eastern Donetsk region on Sunday.Credit...Finbarr O'Reilly for The New York Times

DONETSK REGION, Ukraine — Two fighter jets flew low over Ukrainian positions in the eastern part of the country on Sunday afternoon, dropping flares, then sweeping around in an arc and disappearing. Ukrainian soldiers crouched low, watching and waiting, unsure if the jets were friendly or enemy aircraft.

Half an hour later, the sounds of incoming mortar fire whistled further along the hillside.

After failing to secure a quick victory in northern Ukraine early in the war and retreating from areas around the capital, Russian forces have shifted focus and firepower to the east.

Russian troops are pushing south from the city of Izium and from positions to the east in an attempt to encircle the Ukrainians and seize the entire Donbas region in eastern Ukraine, which consists of Donetsk and its neighboring province, Luhansk.

The battles have been bloody, but neither side has been able to move the frontline substantially in their favor throughout the chaotic battlefield, a landscape dominated by farmland and small mining towns and villages that are mostly deserted.

For weeks, Ukrainian and Russian troops have been engaged in a grueling war of attrition, often fighting fiercely over small areas, as one village falls into Russian hands on one day only to be retaken by the Ukrainians a few days later.

On Sunday, Ukraine's military said Russian forces had attacked several locations along the front line in the east. In an assessment of the war published early Sunday evening, it described intensive artillery bombardments on mostly deserted towns and villages.

To the north of the city of Sloviansk in Donetsk, which Russian forces have been seeking to capture, Russian artillery bombarded Ukrainian positions and staged probing attacks that were rebuffed, the Ukrainian military's report said.

Farther to the east, Russian forces attacked two frontline villages — Prudnovka and Aleksandrovka — with mortar and artillery fire but also failed to advance, according to the assessment.

"They are trying bit by bit, all the time," said Oleh, 56, the commander of a unit of volunteers manning positions south of Izium, a Russian-controlled city that Russia is using as a staging ground for its offensive in Donbas. He asked that his surname and the location of specific frontline positions not be identified, according to military protocol.

Frontline positions were under persistent artillery fire, he said, "but we are holding."

Ukraine has released few details about military casualties, but President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday that "from 50 to 100" soldiers are dying each day in eastern Ukraine, according to Ukrainian media.

Oleh, the commander, said that Ukrainian troops had held their positions for two months and that he was confident they could stave off further attacks — as long as Western military assistance keeps coming.

"We are ready for anything," he said, "but we need more heavy weapons, and on this we rely on our allies."

May 22, 2022, 4:05 p.m. ET

May 22, 2022, 4:05 p.m. ET

The New York Times

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Exhuming bodies that had been buried in a mass grave near a church in Bucha, Ukraine, last month.Credit...Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has generated enormous demand in both Ukraine and friendly Western governments for an accounting of Russian military actions that could be prosecuted as war crimes.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, The New York Times has been collecting evidence of brutalities. While many acts of war are disturbing and regrettable, some — especially those that show disregard for the lives of civilians — are considered by the International Criminal Court and other international organizations to be especially heinous, in some cases rising to the level of war crimes.

Times reporting has found evidence of several potential war crimes, including the executions of civilians, the targeting of civilian areas and the apparent killing of captured soldiers.

May 22, 2022, 3:21 p.m. ET

May 22, 2022, 3:21 p.m. ET

Diego Ibarra Sanchez

Reporting from Lviv, Ukraine

At a shelter in Lviv, Ukraine, Paul Karlits, 31, gives a violin performance for displaced Ukrainians. "Music is an integral part of humanity," he said. "It is important in good times, and bad ones even more." In the audience are Anna, 33, and her 2-year-old son, Pasha, who fled their home in the Donetsk region in the east. "The music today let me calm down, to relax a little," she said.

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Credit...Diego Ibarra Sanchez for The New York Times

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Credit...Diego Ibarra Sanchez for The New York Times

May 22, 2022, 2:01 p.m. ET

May 22, 2022, 2:01 p.m. ET

The New York Times

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CreditCredit...The Associated Press

Buyers and sellers returned to a flea market in the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on Sunday, where months of shelling had halted business.

Two weeks ago, Ukrainian troops finally pushed Russian forces away from the outskirts of the city, Ukraine's second largest, providing a respite to the sustained Russian attack.

There were rocket strikes there this weekend but after three months of constant shelling, some residents say it feels like things are returning to normal.

"I am glad that the fighting is calming down," Viktor Don, a market vendor, said. "Little by little, the city is coming back to life."

May 22, 2022, 12:29 p.m. ET

May 22, 2022, 12:29 p.m. ET

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President Andrzej Duda of Poland and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine at a news conference in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Sunday.Credit...Sergey Dolzhenko/EPA, via Shutterstock

In a visit to Kyiv on Sunday, Poland's president said that Ukraine alone should determine its future and that the international community must demand Russia's complete withdrawal from its territory, in the first address by a foreign leader to Ukraine's Parliament since the war began.

President Andrzej Duda of Poland spoke to a packed chamber decorated with Polish flags. He said it would be a "huge blow not only for the Ukrainian nation, but also for the entire Western world," if even a tiny part of the country was sacrificed in a peace deal.

"Worrying voices have appeared, saying that Ukraine should give in to Putin's demands," Mr. Duda said. "Only Ukraine has the right to decide about its future."

Lawmakers repeatedly interrupted his address with standing ovations, a sign of the bond that has developed between the two countries since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. More than three million people have fled Ukraine across the border into Poland, and many Ukrainians say they feel inordinate gratitude for the reception they have received.

Since Russia's invasion, Mr. Duda has been one of the most ardent supporters in Europe of Ukraine's government. He has repeatedly pressed for tougher sanctions against Russia and called for a ban on Russian energy imports. In apparent retaliation, Russia abruptly halted gas exports to Poland last month.

Mr. Duda's remarks appeared to be in response to recent suggestions by some European leaders that Ukraine should consider a potential peace deal that could ultimately allow Russia to hold onto some territory in the Donbas region.

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine praised Mr. Duda for his solidarity, saying that Poland is "one of the leaders not only in supporting our state, but also in protecting and promoting sanctions that are necessary to force Russia to peace."

Mr. Zelensky has ruled out any peace deal that would involve ceding territory, but he acknowledged recently that the war would require a diplomatic solution.

Talks between the two sides on a cease-fire have been stalled for weeks. Russia failed in its attempt early in the war to seize the capital, Kyiv. After a more recent failure to capture the country's second-largest city, Kharkiv, the war is now centered in the Donbas region.

May 22, 2022, 10:22 a.m. ET

May 22, 2022, 10:22 a.m. ET

Matthew Mpoke Bigg

Reporting from Krakow, Poland

Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, has extended martial law and a general mobilization for another 90 days, until Aug. 23, acording to the Ukrainian national news agency. Martial law and the mobilization were first introduced when Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

May 22, 2022, 9:38 a.m. ET

May 22, 2022, 9:38 a.m. ET

Diego Ibarra Sanchez

Reporting from Lviv, Ukraine

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A D.J. played music as Ukrainians danced on the terrace of a bar in Lviv on Saturday.Credit...Diego Ibarra Sanchez for The New York Times

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A woman and girl dancing on the rooftop terrace.Credit...Diego Ibarra Sanchez for The New York Times

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Anhelyna, center, 19, from Lviv.Credit...Diego Ibarra Sanchez for The New York Times

Liza was in a bad mood. But on Saturday, having been dragged out by friends, she danced on a rooftop in Lviv, in western Ukraine, to beats spun by a D.J. at sunset.

"I stopped thinking about my problems," said the 20-year-old from Kharkiv, the northeastern city that Russian forces targeted at the start of the war, and from which they have recently retreated.

"I see other nice people," she said. "Despite all bad things I'm feeling better now."

The rooftop party on Saturday drew Ukrainians who have fled to Lviv in search of relative safety. It was another example of how the historic city has become a haven of normality on the fringes of a war raging in the east of the country.

"Today in the dance I feel relaxed, detached from everyday problems," said Roman, 21, a radiology student and graphic designer from Kyiv, the capital, who has stayed in Lviv for the past month. "And it's really precious."

Anhelyna, a 19-year-old from Lviv, came to have fun. "Despite everything bad that happens, all the grief in our country, we need to maintain a certain spirit, more or less positive, with good emotions," she said. "This is why we are here."

May 22, 2022, 7:58 a.m. ET

May 22, 2022, 7:58 a.m. ET

A day after President Biden signed a mammoth package of economic and military aid for Ukraine, Russian forces renewed their assault against a key eastern city, a sign of Moscow's narrowing military objectives as the war reaches the three-month mark.

A pocket of dug-in Ukrainian troops pushed back Russians attacking from four directions toward Sievierodonetsk, one of Ukraine's main strongholds in the eastern Donbas region, a senior regional official said. After retreating from northern Ukraine, Moscow has made the battle for Sievierodonetsk a priority as it tries to capture the entire Donbas, and it has deployed heavier artillery and armored vehicles in an effort to break through Ukrainian defenses.

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine described the situation in the Donbas as "extremely difficult" but said that Ukrainian forces were holding their ground as he pressed his allies for even more military support.

While Mr. Zelensky thanked the United States for completing a $40 billion aid package, one of the largest foreign assistance efforts in decades, he said that more weapons were needed so Ukraine could open ports and transportation routes that have been shut off by Russia. The blockage of Ukrainian exports of grain and other food supplies has contributed to spiraling global inflation and food prices.

The battle for Sievierodonetsk was emerging as another crucial point in the war, as Russia struggles to notch victories in the east while Ukraine's Western allies race Howitzers and other long-range weapons to the front line to bolster the resistance. Moscow has already sustained heavy losses in its push toward the city, but capturing it could allow its forces to threaten Kramatorsk to the west, the headquarters of Ukraine's regional military command.

Here are some other major developments:

May 22, 2022, 6:48 a.m. ET

May 22, 2022, 6:48 a.m. ET

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A destroyed bridge connecting the city of Lysychansk with the city of Sievierodonetsk in the eastern region of Donbas, Ukraine, on Sunday.Credit...Aris Messinis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Ukrainian and Russian forces have traded fresh blows near the city of Sievierodonetsk, military authorities and analysts said on Sunday, as Moscow renewed its push toward one of the last major Ukrainian strongholds in a key part of the east.

Russian forces attempted to breach the city's defenses from four directions but were repelled, according to Serhiy Haidai, the head of the Ukrainian military administration in Luhansk, the province that contains Sievierodonetsk. The Russians retreated to their previous positions but continued to fire mortar shells at residential areas in the city, damaging seven houses, Mr. Haidai wrote in a post on the messaging app Telegram.

Fighting has increased in recent days around the city, which is the last Ukrainian stronghold in the Luhansk region. Military analysts say Russia is attempting to control Sievierodonetsk so that it can mount a push toward the city of Kramatorsk to the west. Kramatorsk is the headquarters of Ukraine's military command in the east, where Russia has been focusing its efforts since failing to seize the capital, Kyiv, earlier in the conflict.

The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington research body that tracks the conflict, said on Saturday that Russian forces had "intensified efforts to encircle and capture Sievierodonetsk," an effort that was likely to continue because their advances remained largely stalled elsewhere in the eastern Donbas region, including those from the Russian-controlled city of Izium farther west. The Donbas region consists of Luhansk and a neighboring province, Donetsk.

In an earlier post on Sunday, Mr. Haidai said that Ukraine's National Guard forces had destroyed a piece of heavy artillery, a Pion, that Russian troops had used to shell Sievierodonetsk and to destroy a bridge connecting it to the city of Lysychansk on the other side of the Seversky Donets River.

Mr. Haidai said that Russian propagandists had bragged about the gun's whereabouts, enabling the city's defenders to target it more precisely.

"The punishment was quick to come," he wrote.

Ukraine's military said it had also destroyed Russian vehicles and a pontoon bridge over the Seversky Donets near the town of Serebrianka, which lies about 20 miles west of Sievierodonetsk. A Ukrainian military statement described the Russian plan to cross the river as "mission impossible."

The 650-mile-long river, which originates in Russia and meanders southeast through the Donbas region, has presented a significant natural obstacle to Russia's offensive. Some of the invasion force's biggest losses of the war so far came during an attempt to cross the river earlier this month.

In a sign of the importance of the offensive to Moscow's strategic planners, Russia has deployed a company of Terminator armored vehicles to the fighting that had previously been part of the failed offensive against Kyiv, according to a British military intelligence report released on Sunday.

"However, with a maximum of 10 Terminators deployed, they are unlikely to have a significant impact on the campaign," said the report, which described the Sievierodonetsk area as "one of Russia's immediate tactical priorities."

May 22, 2022, 6:43 a.m. ET

May 22, 2022, 6:43 a.m. ET

Matthew Mpoke Bigg

Reporting from Krakow, Poland

Russian forces threatened to open fire on Saturday on a cargo ship transiting through Ukrainian waters near Snake Island, the Ukrainian Navy said. The island, seized by Russia at the beginning of its invasion, is important to Moscow's naval dominance of the Black Sea.

May 22, 2022, 5:37 a.m. ET

May 22, 2022, 5:37 a.m. ET

Matthew Mpoke Bigg

Reporting from Krakow, Poland

Russian forces have destroyed 1,873 educational institutions in Ukraine since they invaded in February, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his overnight address. He described the loss as being on a "colossal scale."

May 22, 2022, 5:00 a.m. ET

May 22, 2022, 5:00 a.m. ET

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Cemetery workers helping forensic investigators to exhume the burnt remains of a family from a makeshift grave last month at a church in Bucha, Ukraine.

BUCHA, Ukraine — When the soldiers of Russia's 64th Motorized Rifle Brigade arrived in Bucha in mid-March, they brought a new level of death and terror to the city.

Over the next 18 days, in just one corner of this Kyiv suburb where the brigade took control, 12 people were killed, including all of the inhabitants of six houses where the soldiers set up camp.

Olha Havryliuk's son and son-in-law, along with a stranger, were shot in the head in the yard of their house. The Russian soldiers smashed the Havryliuks' fence, parked their armored vehicle in the garden, and moved into the house. They cooked in the neighbor's garden, killing and plucking chickens and roasting them on a barbecue while the men lay dead yards away across the alley.

By the time the troops pulled out at the end of March, two brothers, Yuriy and Viktor Pavlenko, who lived at the end of the street, lay dead in a ditch by the railway line. Volodymyr Cherednychenko was found dead in a neighbor's cellar. Another man, caught by the Russian soldiers as he ran along the train track and taken into a cellar of a house at the end of the street, was also found shot dead.

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The bodies of three civilians in a garden of a house in Bucha on April 4.

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The property of the Shypilo family in Bucha where six people are thought to have been tortured and killed at one end of Ivana Franka Street.

The story of Bucha and its horrors has unfolded in chapters as new revelations of Russian atrocities emerge, fueling outrage among Ukrainians and across much of the world. But prosecutors and military intelligence officials were investigating early on, collecting evidence to try to identify the perpetrators responsible for the mass killings, torture and rapes in the once tranquil suburb.

Working with war crimes and forensic experts from around the world, Ukrainian investigators have reached some preliminary conclusions, focusing in particular on the 64th Brigade. They have already identified 10 soldiers from the unit and accused them of war crimes.

Ukrainian officials say that the brigade was formed after Russia struggled in a 2008 war with Georgia, and that it was awarded an honorary title by President Vladimir V. Putin last month for its performance in Ukraine.

Yet the brigade took little part in any fighting, coming in after other units had seized control of Bucha and then tasked with "holding" it. The troops established checkpoints throughout the town, parking their armored vehicles in people's yards and taking over their homes.

"They imprisoned our people," said Ruslan Kravchenko, the chief prosecutor for the Bucha district, describing the actions of the accused soldiers. "They tied their hands and legs and taped their eyes. They beat them with fists and feet, and with gun butts in the chest, and imitated executions."

The name of the 64th Brigade and a list of 1,600 of its soldiers were found among computer files left behind in the Russian military headquarters in Bucha, providing investigators with an immense resource as they began their investigation. Dmytro Replianchuk at Slidtsvo.info, a Ukrainian investigative news agency, soon found the social media profiles of dozens of the names, including officers.

Three victims who survived beatings and torture have been able to identify the perpetrators from the photographs, Mr. Kravchenko said.

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Ruslan Kravchenko, left, the chief prosecutor for the Bucha district, leading a search in April of a Russian base set up in a boiler room in the suburb.

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Items left by retreating Russian forces have been collected and cataloged by Mr. Kravchenko and his team.

One of the victims was Yuriy, 50, a factory worker, who lives near one of the most notorious Russian bases, at 144 Yablunska Street. On March 13, a unit of the 64th Brigade came to search his house. He said that he had identified the soldiers when shown photographs by prosecutors. The soldiers were rough and uncouth, he said. "You could see they were from the Taiga," he said, referring to the Siberian forest. "They just talk to bears."

Yuriy managed to avoid suspicion, but on March 19, the soldiers returned and detained his neighbor Oleksiy. Like several others interviewed for this article, the men asked to be identified by only their first names for their security.

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An investigator identifying empty shell casings in April at a sprawling complex at 144 Yablunska Street, where eight people were executed by Russian forces in early March.

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The entrance of 144 Yablunska Street. The complex was the site of one of the most notorious documented mass killings in Bucha.

Oleksiy declined to be interviewed but confirmed that he had been detained twice by the Russian unit, interrogated in a basement for several hours and put through a mock execution when the soldiers fired a gun behind him. Still shaken, he said, "I just want to try to forget it all."

Based in Russia's far east, near the border with China, the 64th Brigade belongs to the Eastern Military District, long seen as the part of the Russian Army with the lowest levels of training and equipment.

The brigade has ethnic Russian commanders but consists largely of soldiers drawn from minority ethnic groups and disadvantaged communities, according to Col. Mykola Krasny, the head of public affairs of Ukrainian military intelligence.

In radio conversations that were intercepted by Ukrainian forces, some of the Russians expressed surprise that village roads in outlying areas of Kyiv, Ukraine's capital, were paved with asphalt, he said.

"We see it as a deliberate policy to draft soldiers from depressed regions of Russia," Colonel Krasny said.

Not a lot is known about the brigade, but Colonel Krasny claimed that it was notable for its lack of morality, for beatings of soldiers and for thieving. Drawn from a regiment that had served in Chechnya, the brigade was established on Jan. 1, 2009, shortly after Russia's war in Georgia, Colonel Krasny said. The goal was clear, he added: to build up a fearsome army unit that could instill control.

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A neighbor draped a blanket over a dead woman in April after the police had examined the body. She was found with a gunshot wound to the head, naked but for a fur coat, in a cellar outside a house in Bucha.

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An abandoned Russian post on a street in Bucha on April 3.

"The consequences of these politics was what happened in Bucha," he said. "Having no discipline, and these aggressive habits, it looks like it was created to scare the population."

He claimed that the Russian soldiers' disadvantaged backgrounds, and the fact that they could act with impunity, prompted them "to do unspeakable things."

It was not only the enemy who suffered their brutality. The Russian Army has long had a reputation for hazing its own soldiers, and on a cellphone left behind in Bucha by a member of the 64th, investigators found recent evidence of the practice: a video in which an officer is talking to a subordinate and then suddenly punches him in the side of the head while other soldiers stand around talking.

The Russian government did not respond to a request for comment on the accusations against the 64th Brigade but has repeatedly claimed that allegations of its forces having committed atrocities in Bucha and elsewhere are false.

Western analysts who have studied the Russian Army said that the behavior of troops in Bucha was not a surprise.

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A classroom in Bucha ransacked by Russian soldiers. The school was used as a base by the occupying troops.

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A house in Bucha after being occupied by Russian troops. Ukrainian investigators have already identified 10 soldiers from the 64th Brigade and accused them of war crimes.

"It is consistent with the way they consider responding," said Nick Reynolds, a researcher of land warfare at the Royal United Services Institute, a military research organization in London. "Reprisals are part and parcel of how the Russian military does business."

Killings occurred in Bucha from the first days that Russian troops appeared. The first units were airborne assault troops, paratroopers and special forces who fired on cars and civilians in the streets and detained men suspected of being in the Ukrainian Army or territorial defense.

The extent of the killings, and the seeming lack of hesitation among Russian soldiers to carry them out, has led Ukrainian officials to surmise that they were acting under orders.

"They couldn't not know," Bucha's prosecutor, Mr. Kravchenko, said of senior military commanders. "I think the terror was planned."

Many of the documented killings occurred on Yablunska Street, where bodies lay for weeks, visible on satellite images. But not far away, on a corner of Ivana Franka Street, a particular form of hell played out after March 12.

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Volodymyr, 65, was detained and questioned in 144 Yablunska Street. He said that on March 4 he saw eight people with hands bound being led around a corner and that he then heard the gunshots as they were executed.

Residents had already been warned that things would get worse. A pensioner, Mykola, 67, said that the Russian troops who first came to the neighborhood had advised him to leave while he could. "'After us, such bad guys will come,'" the commander told him, he recalled. "I think they had radio contact and they knew who was coming, and they had their own opinion of them."

Mykola left Bucha before the 64th Brigade arrived.

The spring flowers are pushing up everywhere in Bucha, fruit trees are in blossom, and city workers have swept the streets and filled in some of the bomb craters. But at the end of Ivana Franka Street, amid smashed cars and destroyed homes, there is an eerie desolation.

"From this house to the end, no one is left alive," said Ms. Havryliuk, 65. "Eleven people were killed here. Only we stayed alive."

Her son and son-in-law had stayed behind to look after the house and the dogs, and were killed on March 12 or 13, when the 64th Brigade first arrived, she said. The death certificates said that they had been shot in the head.

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Olha Havryliuk, left, stands in front of her home with her daughter, Iryna. Olha's son, Roman Havryliuk, and Iryna's husband, Serhiy Duhliy, were both found shot dead, along with a stranger, in the yard.

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The garden of the Havryliuks' neighbors. Russian troops would use the space to cook on a barbecue, killing and plucking chickens and roasting them while dead bodies lay just yards away across the alley.

What happened over the next two weeks is hard to fathom. The few residents who stayed were confined to their homes and only occasionally dared to go out to fetch water from a well. Some of them saw people being detained by the Russians.

Nadezhda Cherednychenko, 50, pleaded with the soldiers to let her son go. He was being held in the yard of a house and his arm had been injured when she last saw him. She found him dead in the cellar of the same house three weeks later, after the Russians withdrew.

"They should be punished," she said of his captors. "They brought so much pain to people. Mothers without children, fathers, children without parents. It's something you cannot forgive."

Neighbors who lived next door to the Havryliuks just disappeared. Volodymyr and Tetiana Shypilo, a teacher, and their son Andriy, 39, lived in one part of the house, and Oleh Yarmolenko, 47, lived alone in the other side. "They were all our relatives," Ms. Havryliuk said.

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Nadezhda Cherednychenko, 50, with a photograph of Volodymyr, her 27-year-old son.

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The cellar where Volodymyr Cherednychenko, who was detained for three weeks by Russian troops, was found shot through the ear.

Down a side alley lived Lidiya Sydorenko, 62, and her husband Serhiy, 65. Their daughter, Tetiana Naumova, said that she spoke to them by telephone midmorning on March 22.

"Mother was crying the whole time," Ms. Naumova said. "She was usually an optimist, but I think she had a bad feeling."

Minutes later, Russian soldiers came in and demanded to search their garage. They told a neighbor to leave, shooting at the ground by her feet.

"By lunchtime they had killed them," Ms. Naumova said.

She returned to the house with her husband, Vitaliy, and her son Anton last month after the Russian troops withdrew from Kyiv. Her parents were nowhere to be found, but they found ominous traces — her father's hat with bullet holes in it, three pools of blood and a piece of her mother's scalp and hair.

There was also no sign of the Shypilos or of Mr. Yarmolenko, except trails of blood where bodies had been dragged along the floor of their house.

Eventually, French forensic investigators solved the mystery.

They examined six charred bodies found in an empty lot up the street and confirmed that they were the missing civilians: the Sydorenkos, the three Shypilos and Mr. Yarmolenko. Several bore bullet wounds but three of them had had limbs severed, including Ms. Naumova's mother, the investigators told the families.

Her father had multiple gunshot wounds to the head and chest, her mother had had an arm and a leg cut off, she said.

"They tortured them," Ms. Havryliuk said, "and burned them to cover their tracks."

Oleksandr Chubko contributed reporting from Bucha, Ukraine.

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Tetiana Naumova and her husband, Vitaliy, with photographs of her parents, Lidiya and Serhiy Sydorenko.

May 22, 2022, 3:11 a.m. ET

May 22, 2022, 3:11 a.m. ET

Austin Ramzy

Reporting from Hong Kong

President Andrzej Duda of Poland traveled to Kyiv on Sunday and plans to address Ukraine's parliament, the first such speech by a foreign head of state since the Russian invasion began in February, his office said. Mr. Duda previously visited Ukraine in April.

May 22, 2022, 1:07 a.m. ET

May 22, 2022, 1:07 a.m. ET

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A tractor spreading fertilizer on a wheat field near the Ukrainian village of Yakovlivka, outside Kharkiv, in April.Credit...Thomas Peter/Reuters

President Volodymyr Zelensky pressed his allies for even more military aid on Saturday after the United States signed one of its biggest war packages in decades, arguing that winning the fight against Russia would also help tame rising global food costs.

Hours after Mr. Biden signed one of the largest foreign assistance efforts in at least 20 years, Mr. Zelensky emphasized the international reverberations of the conflict, from energy markets to food prices. The weapons would allow Ukraine to open ports and transport routes shut off by Russia, freeing Ukrainian exports of grain and other food supplies.

Inflation has quickened to the highest in decades across the world, fueling concerns about a possible recession. Mr. Zelensky, who has been persistent in calling for more international help for Ukraine's fight, argued that food prices would ease if it could break Russia's grip on its ports.

"You can unblock them in different ways," Mr. Zelensky said. "One of the ways is a military solution. That is why we turn to our partners with inquiries regarding the relevant weapons."

Aid from the United States for Ukraine's fight against the Russian invasion now totals about $54 billion. The latest package includes the transfer of $11 billion in weapons and other military supplies, $6 billion for the support of Ukraine's military, $8.8 billion to help the economies of Ukraine and other countries affected by the war and $4.3 billion for refugee assistance.

May 21, 2022, 7:48 p.m. ET

May 21, 2022, 7:48 p.m. ET

Juston Jones

President Volodymyr Zelensky used the prospect of a global food crisis to appeal for weapons. Russia's blockade of grain shipments "will create a food crisis if we do not unblock the routes for Ukraine," he said. One of the ways to unblock them is a military solution, he said.

May 21, 2022, 5:00 p.m. ET

May 21, 2022, 5:00 p.m. ET

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Volunteers working at a charity outside of Lviv, Ukraine, on Friday. The war has now lasted three months, and an outcome in the conflict is unclear.Credit...Diego Ibarra Sanchez for The New York Times

President Biden on Saturday signed a new $40 billion package of military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine as the country braced for a drawn-out war of attrition in its eastern regions, vowing that it would not stop fighting until all Russian forces were expelled.

Yet on Saturday, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine acknowledged that ultimately the conflict would require a diplomatic solution, raising questions about exactly what that would mean.

Mr. Zelensky said that Russia had thwarted an initial attempt to end the war through dialogue and that now the conflict was "very difficult." Speaking on the third anniversary of his inauguration as president, he said that the war "will be bloody" but "the end will definitely be in diplomacy."

Despite a recent string of setbacks and a shortage of manpower and equipment, Russia pressed ahead with its military campaign in eastern Ukraine, and with its propaganda offensive at home, hours after claiming to have achieved complete control of the port city of Mariupol, in what would be its most significant gain since the war started.

Russia said in a statement late Friday that its defense minister, Sergei K. Shoigu, had informed President Vladimir V. Putin of the "complete liberation" of the Mariupol steel plant where Ukrainian fighters had made their last stand in the city before surrendering in recent days. Ukrainian officials have not confirmed the Russian claim.

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Damaged and burned vehicles on Monday at a steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine, which Russia said it had taken control of.Credit...Alexei Alexandrov/Associated Press

The Ukrainian military, for its part, said that in the past day it had repulsed 11 attacks in the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk, collectively known as the Donbas region, and had destroyed eight tanks as well as other Russian combat vehicles.

Overall, Mr. Zelensky asserted, Ukraine has "broken the backbone of the largest, or one of the strongest, armies in the world."

The war is now set to enter its fourth month, and while Moscow has been forced to retreat first from outside the capital, Kyiv, and more recently from the country's second-largest city, Kharkiv, neither side is currently making more than incremental gains.

With the conflict coming ever closer to a stalemate and both sides fighting in the Donbas region to gain the upper hand, calls for a cease-fire have grown louder, along with questions about what would constitute victory, or at least a suitable outcome, for Ukraine.

"A cease-fire must be achieved as soon as possible," the Italian prime minister, Mario Draghi, urged on Thursday, opening a parliamentary debate on Italy's role in backing Ukraine. He added that "we have to bring Moscow to the negotiating table."

German, French and Italian suggestions of a cease-fire have been rejected angrily and even bitterly by Kyiv as selfish and poorly timed. Ukrainian officials say that Russia is hardly ready for serious peace talks and that their forces — despite considerable losses in the Donbas and in Mariupol — have the momentum in the war.

For now, some in Ukraine are insisting that the only outcome it will abide is the restoration of all territory lost to Russia since 1991, when it gained independence from the Soviet Union. That would include both the Donbas in its entirety and Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014. But Mr. Zelensky has hinted that he would accept the status quo ante before the war.

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A Ukrainian captain surveying destruction from an airstrike at a factory in Slovyansk, in the Donbas region, last week.Credit...Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

Western diplomats maintain that this is a matter for Ukraine to decide. But their unanimity begins to break down when it turns to specifics.

On Friday, the U.S. ambassador to NATO, Julianne Smith, speaking at a conference in Warsaw, restated the United States' firm support of Ukraine. "In terms of the end state," she added, "we believe we will see Ukraine prevail, and we want them to protect their territorial integrity and their sovereignty."

But she added another objective: "We want to see a strategic defeat of Russia. We want to see Russia leave Ukraine."

For Eastern European and Baltic leaders, a durable peace settlement and an end to the conflict has to include a crushing military victory that spells an end to Mr. Putin's presidency. Anything short of his departure would merely pave the way for the next war, they say. They balk at suggestions from Berlin, Paris and Rome to lure Mr. Putin back to the negotiating table.

"Peace can't be the ultimate goal," Prime Minister Kaja Kallas of Estonia recently told The New York Times. "I only see a solution as a military victory that could end this once and for all, and also punishing the aggressor for what he has done."

Otherwise, she said, "we go back to where we started — you will have a pause of one year, two years, and then everything will continue."

"All these events should wake us from our geopolitical slumber, and cause us to cast off our delusions," Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki of Poland said on Thursday at the Warsaw conference. "I hear there are attempts to allow Putin to somehow save face in the international arena. But how can you save something that has been utterly disfigured?"

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Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki of Poland in Warsaw on Friday. Mr. Morawiecki has called for unity against Russia.Credit...Marcin Obara/EPA, via Shutterstock

"Russia can only be deterred by our unity, military capabilities and hard sanctions," he added. "Not by phone calls and conversations with Putin."

In a diplomatic salvo of its own, Russia's Foreign Ministry on Saturday released a list of 963 people who would be barred for life from entering Russia, among them Mr. Biden, the actor Morgan Freeman and the New York Times columnist Bret Stephens. The ministry described its move as "necessary" retaliation against the "hostile actions" of the United States.

Against the backdrop of an unfolding debate about what a final settlement might look like, Russian and Ukrainian forces dug in on the battlefield, conscious that every military victory would turn into a diplomatic advantage.

The Ukrainian military said on Saturday that Russia was demining the port of Mariupol in an attempt to get it running again. Reopening the port would tighten Moscow's control over the parts of southern and eastern Ukraine that it controls, as well as increase its economic leverage over the Black Sea, where its navy is dominant.

And Russian forces have become entrenched in areas outside of the city of Kharkiv, presenting a formidable obstacle to any Ukrainian efforts to press their advantage in that area.

Russia's military prepared on Saturday to attempt another pontoon crossing of an eastern Ukrainian river that has posed a formidable barrier to its aims in the region, Ukraine's military said, despite suffering one of its single most lethal engagements of the war in a previous attempt this month.

Russian forces were staging bridging equipment again near the Seversky Donets River, the Ukrainian military said in its regularly published morning assessment of the war. The stream's winding path cuts through the heart of the region where Russian forces are battling Ukrainian defenders — around the cities of Izium, Sloviansk, Kramatorsk and Sievierodonetsk — creating major obstacles to Moscow's offensive in eastern Ukraine.

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Damaged homes in the previously occupied village of Malaya Rohan outside of the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on Tuesday.Credit...Finbarr O'Reilly for The New York Times

"The enemy has not ceased offensive actions in the eastern operation zone with the goal of establishing full control over the territory of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions," the assessment said.

Ukraine's military has blown up bridges to force the Russians to build pontoon bridges, a tactic that has proved effective — and costly for the Russian army. Military forces are particularly vulnerable to artillery strikes as they congregate soldiers, armored vehicles and equipment while attempting a crossing.

In the battle for control of the Donbas region, Russian forces have attempted several pontoon crossings of the Seversky Donets, seen as an important tactical step toward the goal of surrounding a pocket of Ukrainian troops in and around the city of Sievierodonetsk.

On May 11, Ukrainian artillery struck a pontoon crossing with devastating effect, destroying the bridge, incinerating armored vehicles on both river banks and killing more than 400 soldiers, according to estimates by Western military analysts. The British Defense Ministry has issued statements corroborating the Ukrainian accounts, based on satellite imagery and aerial drone imagery posted online of the strike.

Whatever the ultimate outcome of the war, no one expects it to end soon, as each country's leader needs to be able to claim some sort of victory, particularly Mr. Zelensky.

"For Zelensky, there is no other path forward than to continue to fight and reconquer the territory they lost," said Andrew A. Michta, a German-based foreign policy and defense analyst. "The minute he agrees to any compromise, given the blood paid, he loses political credibility. The Ukrainians can't cut a deal just to stop the fighting, so this will be a long, drawn-out war."

Steven Erlanger reported from Warsaw, Andrew E. Kramer from Dnipro, Ukraine, and Katrin Bennhold from Berlin. Anton Troianovski contributed reporting from Istanbul.

May 21, 2022, 3:46 p.m. ET

May 21, 2022, 3:46 p.m. ET

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The business district in Moscow last month.Credit...Natalia Kolesnikova/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Russia's transport minister said on Saturday that international measures intended to cripple the Russian economy have "practically broken" logistics in the country, the state news agency Tass reported, in a rare acknowledgment by a Kremlin minister of the damage sanctions are doing.

In the three months since Russia invaded Ukraine, the United States, the European Union and other nations have imposed a variety of severe punishments on Russia and her businesses, including closing airspace to Russian planes and cutting off banks from Western markets.

"Those sanctions that are presently imposed on the Russian Federation have practically broken all logistics in our country," the minister, Vitaly Savelyev, said as he visited the city of Astrakhan in southern Russia.

Mr. Savelyev said that Russian officials had been forced "to look for new logistical corridors" for moving goods, including a north-south route that would pass through Astrakhan and two ports on the Caspian Sea, Olya and Makhachkala.

Hundreds of private companies also have curtailed their business in Russia or have withdrawn from the country entirely.

The Kremlin has stifled coverage of the war, including blocking access to Facebook and major foreign news outlets, making it difficult for analysts outside the country to gauge how Western sanctions are affecting Russia.

President Vladimir V. Putin has insisted that Russia's economy is weathering the measures, but signs of the trouble have emerged, among them shoppers complaining about rising prices, banks making receipts shorter in response to a paper shortage, and clothing manufacturers running out of buttons.

The Russian Central Bank has acknowledged that consumer demand and lending are on a downhill slide and that "businesses are experiencing considerable difficulties in production and logistics." And in April, Elvira Nabiullina, the leader of the central bank, gave Russian lawmakers a far-reaching, negative assessment of sanctions, noting that "practically every product" manufactured in Russia relies on imported components.

"At the moment, perhaps this problem is not yet so strongly felt, because there are still reserves in the economy, but we see that sanctions are being tightened almost every day," she said. "The period during which the economy can live on reserves is finite."

Since access to European markets has been sharply reduced since the war began, Russian officials have increasingly looked to Asia for business. In its article on Mr. Savelyev's remarks on Saturday, Tass reported that the north-south corridor he described connects Russia, "in particular," with Azerbaijan, Iran and India.

May 21, 2022, 2:12 p.m. ET

May 21, 2022, 2:12 p.m. ET

March bill

May bill

$13.6 billion

$40.1 billion

Traditional foreign aid

Economic Support Fund

$0.6

$8.8

Food assistance, health care and other aid

$2.7

$4.3

Military and security assistance

$0.0

$6.0

Grants and loans for military supplies

$0.7

$4.0

Migration and refugee assistance

$1.4

$0.4

Asst. for Europe, Eurasia and Central Asia

$1.1

$0.0

Other foreign aid

$0.3

$1.2

Other military

U.S. military deployments and intelligence

$3.0

$5.1

Weapons and other supplies

$3.5

$9.1

Other

Administration for Children and Families

$0.0

$0.9

Diplomatic programs and other

$0.2

$0.4

Enforcing sanctions

$0.1

$0.1

March bill

May bill

$13.6 bil.

$40.1 bil.

$0.6

$8.8

Food assistance,

health and other aid

$2.7

$4.3

Military and security

assistance

$0.0

$6.0

Grants and loans for

military supplies

$0.7

$4.0

Migration and refugee

assistance

$1.4

$0.4

Asst. for Europe,

Eurasia & Central Asia

$1.1

$0.0

Other foreign aid

$0.3

$1.2

Other military

U.S. military deploy-

ments & intelligence

$3.0

$5.1

Weapons and other

supplies

$3.5

$9.1

Other

Administration for

Children and Families

$0.0

$0.9

Diplomatic programs

and other

$0.2

$0.4

Enforcing sanctions

$0.1

$0.1

Source: Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2022; Additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2022 (discretionary funding)

The $40 billion package of new aid for Ukraine, approved by Congress earlier this week and signed by President Biden on Saturday, brings the total that the United States has pledged toward countering Russia's invasion to roughly $54 billion, when combined with a smaller package passed in March.

The money in the newly enacted package is nearly evenly divided between military and humanitarian aid.

It includes $8.8 billion for a fund to shore up the economies of Ukraine and other countries affected by the war. Those funds can be used to provide direct support to Ukraine's government, though they are subject to some safeguards and oversight.

The bill also includes about $4.3 billion to provide urgent support, health services and food assistance to Ukrainian refugees.

Additionally, it provides about $6 billion for support, weapons and training for Ukraine's military and national security forces, and $4 billion in grants and loans for military supplies.

It authorizes the transfer of $11 billion in American weapons and other military supplies and sets aside $5.1 billion for U.S. military deployments and intelligence. It also earmarks $9 billion in new spending to replace the military equipment sent to Ukraine from American stockpiles.

There are smaller sums in the aid package that will go to domestic U.S. agencies: $100 million for the enforcement of sanctions and export controls against Russia, $400 million for diplomatic programs, and $900 million for the federal Administration for Children and Families to support Ukrainian refugees.

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