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Funeral of Putin critic Alexei Navalny to take place in Moscow – Russia-Ukraine war live

Opening summary

It has gone 10am in Kyiv and 11am in Moscow. This is our latest Guardian blog covering all the latest developments over the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Today, relatives and supporters of Alexei Navalny are bidding farewell to the opposition leader at a funeral in south-eastern Moscow. It comes after a battle with authorities over the release of his body following his still-unexplained death in an Arctic penal colony.

Several Moscow churches refused to hold the service before Navalny’s team got permission from one in the capital’s Maryino district. That is where he once lived in 2020 before his poisoning, treatment in Germany and subsequent arrest on his return to Russia.

The Associated Press report that authorities lined the road from a nearby subway station to the church with crowd control barriers, and riot police were deployed in big numbers early Friday. The Burial is to follow in the nearby Borisovskoye Cemetery.

More on this story in a moment, but first, here are the other latest developments:

  • Russia is ready to hand over to Ukraine the bodies from a military plane crash in January, according to the Russian state-run RIA news agency, which cited human rights official Tatyana Moskalkova. Russia accused Ukraine of shooting down the Ilyushin Il-76 plane in Russia’s Belgorod region and said all 74 on board were killed including 65 captured Ukrainian soldiers en route to a prisoner swap.

  • Russia has not presented evidence. Ukraine has neither confirmed nor denied it shot down the plane, and has challenged Moscow’s account of events, including who and what were on board. Ukraine’s military said Russia failed to warn it of any plane carrying prisoners and the need to temporarily “deconflict” the airspace. Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, at the time accused Moscow of “playing with the lives of Ukrainian prisoners”.

  • Ukraine’s military said on Thursday it had shot down three more Russian Su-34 fighter-bombers, continuing a string of successes. On Telegram, army chief Oleksandr Syrskyi said: “After successful combat operations against an enemy aircraft in the night on Feb 29, two more Russian aircraft were destroyed: Su-34 fighter-bombers in the Avdiivka and Mariupol sectors.”

  • Ukrainian forces have pushed back Russian troops from the village of Orlivka, west of Avdiivka, but the situation on the eastern front remains difficult, Syrskyi has said. Orlivka is less than 2km north-west of Lastochkyne, which was recently occupied by Russian forces.

  • Syrskyi said the Russian army was trying to seize the towns and villages of Tonenke, Orlivka, Semenivka, Berdychi and Krasnohorivka in the eastern Donetsk region. Those are places where military officials had said they would form a new line of defence after Ukrainian troops pulled out of Avdiivka on 17 February.

  • In the south-eastern Zaporizhzhia region, Russian forces were focusing on retaking Verbove and Robotyne, towns that Ukraine won back in last summer’s counteroffensive in 2023, Syrskyi said.

  • The Russians carried out dozens of shelling attacks on border territories and settlements in Sumy oblast on Thursday, the Ukrainian military said. “Yunakivska, Khotynska, Bilopolska, Vorozhbyanska, Krasnopilska, Velikopysarivska, Shalyginska, Seredino-Budska, Znob-Novgorodska, Druzhbivska communities came under fire.” In one case, in Vorozhbyan, one person was injured and a warehouse caught fire.

  • The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has said the west is attempting to “destroy us” and to “contain our development” in his annual address to parliament. Putin said western countries risked provoking a nuclear war if they sent troops to fight in Ukraine.

  • Nuclear war is a familiar threat raised by the Putin regime and its supporters, and after his speech the US said it did not have any sign Russia was preparing to use such a weapon. “It is not the first time we have seen irresponsible rhetoric from Vladimir Putin. It is no way for the leader of a nuclear-armed state to speak,” said Matthew Miller, state department spokesperson.

  • The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has appointed Volodymyr Karpenko as new commander of Ukraine’s logistics forces, according to a presidential decree. Karpenko, previously logistics commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, replaced Oleh Huliaka, who had held the position since 2021.

  • Jack Teixeira, the Massachusetts air national guard member accused of leaking highly classified military documents on social media, including information about Ukraine’s air defences, is expected to plead guilty, according to court papers.

  • European defence and foreign ministers would meet in Paris in coming days to discuss further support for Ukraine and Moldova, a French foreign ministry spokesperson said on Thursday.

  • Ukraine has identified 511 people suspected of war crimes since Russia’s February 2022 invasion and has already handed down 81 convictions, its prosecutor general said in Kyiv on Thursday. Andriy Kostin was speaking at a war crimes conference alongside the chief prosecutors of Poland, Lithuania and Romania and the president of the EU justice arm, Eurojust.

  • Ukraine planned to export a high volume of electricity on Thursday, taking advantage of lower domestic consumption during a spell of mild weather, the energy ministry said. The country’s electricity exports, which began shortly before it was invaded by Russian troops in 2022, were halted after numerous Russian attacks on power infrastructure and the seizure of the largest nuclear power plant at Zaporizhzhia.

  • A Russian court on Thursday rejected an appeal by a Russian-American woman against her detention on a treason charge. The FSB security service said last week that Ksenia Karelina had been detained on suspicion of raising funds for Ukraine’s armed forces. The Los Angeles resident had been collecting funds for a Ukrainian organisation whose ultimate beneficiary was the Ukrainian army, the FSB said.

  • Sri Lanka has decided to stop issuing free long-term visas to Russian and Ukrainian nationals who have lived there for the past two years, a government official said.

Key events

Lavrov visits Turkey as Erdoğan seeks Ukraine peace breakthrough

Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov heads today to Turkey which has sought to revive Russia-Ukraine peace talks and ways to ensure safe navigation in the Black Sea.

AP report that Lavrov will attend part of the annual diplomatic forum in the Mediterranean resort of Antalya where he is to meet Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and foreign minister Hakan Fidan.

The Russia-Ukraine war will be a key talking point at the forum that runs from Friday to Sunday, though Russia’s top diplomat is to leave on Saturday.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Ankara has carefully maintained ties with both sides. “Turkey, along with Hungary, remains one of the last countries in the [Nato] Atlantic Alliance to maintain dialogue with Moscow,” Sinan Ulgen, director of the Istanbul-based Edam thinktank, told AP.

“In a geopolitical context modified by the war, Turkey is careful to keep this role for the future, hoping to capitalise on it during possible peace talks,” he added.

Erdoğan said onWednesday that Turkey wants to revive a 2022 peace effort when top negotiators from the rivals met in Istanbul.

“We are ready to re-establish the negotiating table to build peace like we did in Istanbul previously,” Erdoğan said in a video message played at a summit of southeast European leaders in Tirana this week, at which Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy was present.

The Turkish leader also called for a new secure mechanism for Black Sea shipping. “We need an arrangement that guarantees the safe navigation of commercial vessels in the Black Sea,” he said. “To this end, we are continuing our contacts to receive commitments in terms of security,” he added without providing details.

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Here are some of the latest images on the newswires ahead of the funeral of Alexei Navalny in Moscow. The memorial service will be held at 2pm Moscow time (11am GMT) at the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God, in Maryino. The burial will then take place at the Borisovskoye cemetery at 4pm Moscow time (1pm GMT):

Workers place barriers in front of the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God in Moscow on Thursday. Photograph: Reuters
Police officers walk past people gathered outside the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God in Moscow on Friday, as they wait for a funeral service and a farewell ceremony for Alexei Navalny. Photograph: Reuters
People wait outside the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God, ahead of the upcoming funeral of late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, in Moscow on Friday. Photograph: Maxim Shipenkov/EPA
Riot police officers guard the area near the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God in Moscow, Russia on Friday. Photograph: AP
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Opening summary

It has gone 10am in Kyiv and 11am in Moscow. This is our latest Guardian blog covering all the latest developments over the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Today, relatives and supporters of Alexei Navalny are bidding farewell to the opposition leader at a funeral in south-eastern Moscow. It comes after a battle with authorities over the release of his body following his still-unexplained death in an Arctic penal colony.

Several Moscow churches refused to hold the service before Navalny’s team got permission from one in the capital’s Maryino district. That is where he once lived in 2020 before his poisoning, treatment in Germany and subsequent arrest on his return to Russia.

The Associated Press report that authorities lined the road from a nearby subway station to the church with crowd control barriers, and riot police were deployed in big numbers early Friday. The Burial is to follow in the nearby Borisovskoye Cemetery.

More on this story in a moment, but first, here are the other latest developments:

  • Russia is ready to hand over to Ukraine the bodies from a military plane crash in January, according to the Russian state-run RIA news agency, which cited human rights official Tatyana Moskalkova. Russia accused Ukraine of shooting down the Ilyushin Il-76 plane in Russia’s Belgorod region and said all 74 on board were killed including 65 captured Ukrainian soldiers en route to a prisoner swap.

  • Russia has not presented evidence. Ukraine has neither confirmed nor denied it shot down the plane, and has challenged Moscow’s account of events, including who and what were on board. Ukraine’s military said Russia failed to warn it of any plane carrying prisoners and the need to temporarily “deconflict” the airspace. Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, at the time accused Moscow of “playing with the lives of Ukrainian prisoners”.

  • Ukraine’s military said on Thursday it had shot down three more Russian Su-34 fighter-bombers, continuing a string of successes. On Telegram, army chief Oleksandr Syrskyi said: “After successful combat operations against an enemy aircraft in the night on Feb 29, two more Russian aircraft were destroyed: Su-34 fighter-bombers in the Avdiivka and Mariupol sectors.”

  • Ukrainian forces have pushed back Russian troops from the village of Orlivka, west of Avdiivka, but the situation on the eastern front remains difficult, Syrskyi has said. Orlivka is less than 2km north-west of Lastochkyne, which was recently occupied by Russian forces.

  • Syrskyi said the Russian army was trying to seize the towns and villages of Tonenke, Orlivka, Semenivka, Berdychi and Krasnohorivka in the eastern Donetsk region. Those are places where military officials had said they would form a new line of defence after Ukrainian troops pulled out of Avdiivka on 17 February.

  • In the south-eastern Zaporizhzhia region, Russian forces were focusing on retaking Verbove and Robotyne, towns that Ukraine won back in last summer’s counteroffensive in 2023, Syrskyi said.

  • The Russians carried out dozens of shelling attacks on border territories and settlements in Sumy oblast on Thursday, the Ukrainian military said. “Yunakivska, Khotynska, Bilopolska, Vorozhbyanska, Krasnopilska, Velikopysarivska, Shalyginska, Seredino-Budska, Znob-Novgorodska, Druzhbivska communities came under fire.” In one case, in Vorozhbyan, one person was injured and a warehouse caught fire.

  • The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has said the west is attempting to “destroy us” and to “contain our development” in his annual address to parliament. Putin said western countries risked provoking a nuclear war if they sent troops to fight in Ukraine.

  • Nuclear war is a familiar threat raised by the Putin regime and its supporters, and after his speech the US said it did not have any sign Russia was preparing to use such a weapon. “It is not the first time we have seen irresponsible rhetoric from Vladimir Putin. It is no way for the leader of a nuclear-armed state to speak,” said Matthew Miller, state department spokesperson.

  • The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has appointed Volodymyr Karpenko as new commander of Ukraine’s logistics forces, according to a presidential decree. Karpenko, previously logistics commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, replaced Oleh Huliaka, who had held the position since 2021.

  • Jack Teixeira, the Massachusetts air national guard member accused of leaking highly classified military documents on social media, including information about Ukraine’s air defences, is expected to plead guilty, according to court papers.

  • European defence and foreign ministers would meet in Paris in coming days to discuss further support for Ukraine and Moldova, a French foreign ministry spokesperson said on Thursday.

  • Ukraine has identified 511 people suspected of war crimes since Russia’s February 2022 invasion and has already handed down 81 convictions, its prosecutor general said in Kyiv on Thursday. Andriy Kostin was speaking at a war crimes conference alongside the chief prosecutors of Poland, Lithuania and Romania and the president of the EU justice arm, Eurojust.

  • Ukraine planned to export a high volume of electricity on Thursday, taking advantage of lower domestic consumption during a spell of mild weather, the energy ministry said. The country’s electricity exports, which began shortly before it was invaded by Russian troops in 2022, were halted after numerous Russian attacks on power infrastructure and the seizure of the largest nuclear power plant at Zaporizhzhia.

  • A Russian court on Thursday rejected an appeal by a Russian-American woman against her detention on a treason charge. The FSB security service said last week that Ksenia Karelina had been detained on suspicion of raising funds for Ukraine’s armed forces. The Los Angeles resident had been collecting funds for a Ukrainian organisation whose ultimate beneficiary was the Ukrainian army, the FSB said.

  • Sri Lanka has decided to stop issuing free long-term visas to Russian and Ukrainian nationals who have lived there for the past two years, a government official said.


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