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Sat in a makeshift shelter on the outskirts of a frontline town in eastern Ukraine, the soldier – callsign “Zaur” – shared some rare, good news: new ammunition appeared to be arriving.

He did not know the precise details but said fresh supplies started to be delivered about a week or two earlier.

This was making a difference for his artillery team as they fought to defend Chasiv Yar from advancing Russian forces.

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“It allows us to do our job, to hold off Russian soldiers, to restrain them, and also to destroy them when they attempt counterattacks,” Zaur said.

Ukrainian troops have been losing ground in the Donbas and now face a reopened front in the northeastern region of Kharkiv as they run short of ammunition and weapons following delays in the delivery of munitions from their allies, in particular the United States.

Even though American weapons are finally arriving to the frontline, the wait has been costly.

A Ukrainian soldier with the callsign 'Zaur' speaks to Deborah Haynes

Zaur described the fight for Chasiv Yar, which has long been a Russian target. “It’s pretty intense. There are battles every day,” he said.

Should the hilltop town fall, it would give the invaders access to higher ground, enabling them to target artillery fire onto a wider area and putting cities in the remaining parts of the Donbas that are still under Ukrainian control at greater risk.

Asked whether Ukraine would manage to fend off the Chasiv Yar attack, the soldier, who commands the artillery unit, said: “We’ll try to hold on as much as possible, and time will tell…

“We’ll try our best… to do what’s necessary to survive.”

A Ukrainian soldier with the callsign 'Zaur' speaks to Deborah Haynes in Chasiv Yar
A Ukrainian soldier with the callsign 'Zaur' speaks to Deborah Haynes in Chasiv Yar

A Sky News team was shown around the artillery position under the cover of patchy woodland, next to some grassy mounds. Booms could be heard from distant fighting.

In a sign of the battle moving closer, soldiers had just finished digging a deep, narrow trench, which ran from the already-sheltered location of their self-propelled artillery gun – a 2S1 Gvozdika that fires 122mm rounds.

The trench had taken three days to dig. It had only been finished on the day we visited the area last week and – the soldiers said – had already been used to shelter from incoming rounds.

Chasiv Yar

Russian troops have been trying to push into Chasiv Yar for the past year after seizing the nearby city of Bakhmut.

In recent weeks, though, they appear to have been edging closer – with a Ukrainian military medical stabilisation point forced to pull back to a city called Kostiantynivka.

Read more:
‘This is just the first wave’: Drones reveal new attack
Putin seizes chance as Ukraine waits for weapons

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Russian soldiers advance in Ukrainian drone footage

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As we looked at the artillery site, there was suddenly an ominous sound.

A powerful rocket – I was not able to see it – was flying overhead.

Over a radio held by a soldier, a voice could be heard saying: “It was coming straight at us, then veered towards a five-storey building. It flew low, damn it.”

Within minutes, we became aware of another danger – a drone.

A Russian drone is seen hovering above a Ukrainian artillery post in Chasiv Yar

One of the troops said he thought it was a Ukrainian drone but from our position, it seemed impossible to be sure.

We were told that the commander thought it best for us to leave.

As we walked – quickly – across some open ground between two patches of tree cover, one of the Sky News team thought they could hear a self-exploding attack drone in flight.

Deborah Haynes and Sky News leave the Ukranian post in Chasiv Yar
A Ukrainian soldier holding a rifle in Chasiv Yar

Again, it was not possible to know for sure what was making the noise, but then came the sound of an explosion, though the impact site was not in the immediate vicinity.

In a final reminder of the battle, as we headed towards our vehicle, it was possible to see a black dot hovering above the trees – yet another drone.

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Zelenskyy calls on Biden and Xi to join Ukraine peace summit

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Zelenskyy calls on Biden and Xi to join Ukraine peace summit

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has directly called on his US and Chinese counterparts to join his latest summit for peace in Ukraine.

Speaking from Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine on Friday, Mr Zelenskyy announced a “global peace summit”, co-hosted by Switzerland, starting on 15 June.

He claimed 80 countries have already confirmed their attendance.

But he said: “I am appealing to the global leaders of the world who are still outside the global efforts of the global peace summit.

“To President Biden, the leader of the United States, and to President Xi, the leader of China, we do not want the UN charter to be burned.

“Please show your leadership in advancing the peace.”

Residents evacuated from a building hit by strikes in Kharkiv on Saturday. Pic: Reuters
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Residents evacuated from a building hit by strikes in Kharkiv on Saturday. Pic: Reuters

He added that it must be “real peace – not just a pause in the strikes” after various ceasefire breaches by the Russians.

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Finally, he urged: “The efforts of the global majority are the best guarantee that all commitments will be fulfilled.”

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Shopping mall hit by strike in Kharkiv on Saturday. Pic: Reuters

Printworks and shopping centre targeted this week

Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city, with a pre-war population of 1.5 million people, is close to the frontline, and has been consistently targeted since the initial invasion in February 2022.

On Thursday, its ‘Vivat’ printworks, which is the country’s largest, was hit by missiles, killing seven people, and destroying an estimated 50,000 books. A further 21 people were injured, Ukrainian officials said.

On Saturday, a strike on a shopping centre killed six people, injured 40, and left a further 16 unaccounted for, local authorities said.

Elsewhere in the city, an additional 11 people were injured as a result of strikes, including a 13-year-old boy.

Just over the border, in Russia’s Belgorod region, the regional governor there said four residents died as a result of Ukrainian attacks on Saturday.

Aftermath of Russian strike on Kharkiv on Saturday. Pic: Reuters
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Aftermath of Russian strike on Kharkiv on Saturday. Pic: Reuters

Read more
Crowded DIY stores hit by strikes
Ukrainians training without firing due to shortages
Putin thanks Xi for his Ukraine efforts

Mr Zelenskyy warned a new Russian offensive is being planned northwest of Kharkiv.

Ukrainians and military analysts have repeatedly warned of depleting weapon supplies on the frontline.

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Earlier this month the US agreed to a further $2bn (£1.6bn) in military support for Ukraine.

It has consistently resisted calls to send US troops there, in line with NATO’s refusal for direct involvement in the conflict.

China has resisted calls by NATO and its member states to take a direct stance against Russia in support of Ukraine.

President Xi hosted Russian leader Vladimir Putin in a show of “friendship” earlier this month.

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Hamas launches first rocket attack on Israel from Gaza in months

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Hamas launches first rocket attack on Israel from Gaza in months

Hamas has launched rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza for the first time in months.

The barrage of rockets set off air raid sirens in cities as far away as Tel Aviv.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage in what appeared to be the first long-range rocket attack from Gaza since January, although Palestinian militants have continued to sporadically fire rockets and mortar rounds at communities along the Gaza border since then.

Hamas’s military wing claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Israeli military said eight projectiles crossed into Israel after being launched from the area of the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where Israeli forces recently launched an incursion.

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You can receive breaking news alerts on a smartphone or tablet via the Sky News app. You can also follow @SkyNews on X or subscribe to our YouTube channel to keep up with the latest news.

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India: Newborn babies killed in fire at hospital in Delhi after ‘chain of explosions’

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India: Newborn babies killed in fire at hospital in Delhi after 'chain of explosions'

At least six newborn babies have died after a fire broke out at a children’s hospital in India, according to reports.

Firefighters said they carried 12 newborns out of the centre in the Vivek Vihar district of east New Delhi late on Saturday night, but five of them died due to smoke inhalation.

Two other infants are believed to have already died, according to local media. There are differing reports as to whether six or seven infants have been killed so far.

Another five survived and are being treated in a nearby hospital, Delhi fire department chief Atul Garg said.

The blaze, which broke out on the first floor of the hospital, was put out after about an hour.

Burnt registration cards lie on the floor of a baby care center in New Delhi, India, Sunday, May 26, 2024. A fire broke out in the care center on Saturday night killing six infants, a fire service officer said on Sunday. (AP Photo/Dinesh Joshi)
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Burnt registration cards lie on the floor of the hospital. Pic: AP

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Mr Garg told the ANI news agency that an oxygen cylinder blast was the likely cause of the fire, but there has been no official confirmation.

“It was a very tough operation,” he was quoted as saying by India Today.

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“We made two teams. One team started firefighting because there was a blast of cylinders. We can say it was a chain of blasts of cylinders.

“We had to save ourselves also. We started rescue operations for babies as well. Unfortunately, we could not save all the children… That is a regrettable incident.”

The owner of the baby hospital has fled, according to Delhi police.

Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi’s chief minister, called the fire “heartbreaking”, adding that the “causes of the incident are being investigated and whoever is responsible for this negligence will not be spared”.

Machines move the debris following a fire in a gaming zone in Rajkot, in the western state of Gujarat, India, May 26, 2024. REUTERS/Amit Dave
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Machines move debris after a fire in Rajkot. Pic: Reuters

Earlier on Saturday, at least 27 people were killed in a fire at a crowded amusement park in the city of Rajkot in Gujarat state in western India.

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