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Ukraine takes back part of Severodonetsk; revered church engulfed in flames

Borodyanka, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on Saturday. Investigators have exhumed more than 1,300 bodies of civilians in the region. (Natacha Pisarenko/AP)
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Russian troops were destroying bridges Saturday to prevent Ukraine from moving in reinforcements to Severodonetsk, regional governor Serhiy Haidai said, as the battle for the strategic city dragged on. Nonetheless, he said Ukrainian forces were regaining land and now control about half of the city.

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In the neighboring Donetsk province, Ukraine accused Russian forces of bombing a towering wooden monastery that is part of a revered centuries-old Ukrainian Orthodox Church site. Video showed the ornate building engulfed in flames. Before the war, the All Saints Monastery drew tourists and pilgrims. Moscow denied any involvement.

As Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unsparing invasion grinds past the 100-day mark, calls for a negotiated settlement are growing. United Nations Secretary General António Guterres reiterated the need for an immediate cease-fire, urging diplomacy. But the head of Ukraine’s negotiating team, David Arakhamia, says Kyiv is awaiting the delivery of new weapons from Western countries before it engages in fresh peace talks with Moscow.

Here’s what else to know

  • Ukrainian prosecutors trying to build a genocide indictment against Russia are examining allegations that Ukrainian children have been forcibly deported to Russian-controlled territory since February’s invasion, Kyiv’s top prosecutor said.
  • Ukrainian investigators have exhumed more than 1,300 bodies of civilians in the Kyiv region as part of the nation’s ongoing investigation into potential war crimes. The identities of more than 200 people found dead have not yet been determined.
  • Belarus, a close ally of Russia, said it is open to letting Ukrainian agricultural products be shipped to Western ports via Belarusian rail in return for an easing of sanctions on its exports. Russia continues to blame the West for the hunger crisis.
  • The Marriott hotel chain said it is suspending all of its operations in Russia after more than 25 years, citing “restrictions” imposed by the United States, United Kingdom and European Union.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel.