LIVE: 79th day of Russian invasion of Ukraine

Ukrainian soldiers near Kharkiv. Photo: PAP/Mykola Kalyeniak

Ukraine has said it had damaged a Russian navy logistics ship near Snake Island, a small but strategic outpost in the Black Sea, while relatives of Ukrainian soldiers holed up in Mariupol's besieged steelworks have pleaded for them to be saved.

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Ukrainian military authorities loaded the bodies of Russian soldiers collected after fighting in the Kyiv and Chernihiv regions onto refrigerated rail cars on Friday. Volodymr Lyamzin, the head of Ukraine’s civil-military cooperation, said his country was acting in accordance with international law and was ready to return the bodies to Russia.

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The U.S. Treasury on Friday unveiled a fresh strategy to combat illicit financing, including by limiting the exploitation of regulatory gaps through shell companies and all-cash real estate purchases and cracking down further on Russian sanctions evasion.

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The G7 countries plan a significant financial support for Ukraine, worth almost EUR 30 bn, the website of the weekly "Spiegel" reported on Friday. Further decisions will be made on Monday at the meeting of G7 finance ministers near Bonn, Germany.

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US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin held a call with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Friday in which he called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and stressed the importance of maintaining lines of communication, the Pentagon said.

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The meeting of G7 agriculture ministers on Friday promised support to Ukraine and to small farm holdings across the globe. Currently, millions of tonnes of grain are stuck in Ukraine because of Russian port blockades.

A European Commission action plan is proposing various measures to export 20 million tonnes of grain by land from Ukraine in the next three months.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has reiterated an offer to hold direct talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and said Russia's withdrawal from Ukraine should be the starting point for any discussions.

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President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday it was not possible for NATO-member Turkey to support plans by Sweden and Finland to join the pact, saying the Nordic countries were "home to many terrorist organisations".

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European Council President Charles Michel on Friday said global security was under threat from Russia's invasion of Ukraine and North Korea's recent missile test, while on a visit to Japan's Hiroshima, the first city to suffer an atomic bombing.

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Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi told his Ukrainian counterpart on Friday that Russian atrocities in Ukraine were totally unacceptable and Moscow should be held accountable for its action, a Japanese government official told a media briefing.

Hayashi held talks with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on the sidelines of a Group of Seven foreign ministers meeting in Germany.

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Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Friday that a decision by the UN Human Rights Council to set up an investigation into alleged human rights abuses by Russian troops had shaken members' trust in the body.

The UN Human Rights Council resolution to set up the investigation passed on Thursday by a strong majority, with 33 members voting in favour and two - China and Eritrea - against.

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EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Friday that the bloc would provide another 500 million euros worth of military support to Ukraine and that he was confident a deal could be reached in the coming days to agree on an embargo on Russian oil.

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British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on Friday that it was vital to keep up the pressure on Russia by supplying more weapons to Ukraine and imposing further sanctions.

"It is very important at this time that we keep up the pressure on Vladimir Putin by supplying more weapons to Ukraine and by increasing the sanctions," she told reporters on arrival at a G7 foreign ministers meeting in northern Germany.

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Ukrainian forces successfully prevented an attempted Russian river crossing in the Donbas, the British defence ministry said in a regular Twitter bulletin on Friday.

Images suggest that Russia has lost armoured manoeuvre elements of at least one battalion tactical group and the deployed pontoon bridging equipment while crossing the Siverskyi Donets river west of Severodonetsk, Britain said in its intelligence update.

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Russia's Gazprom has reduced the booked capacity for gas transit through Ukraine via the Sudzha entry point on May 13 to 60.8 million cubic metres (mcm) from the previously announced 65.7 mcm, Ukraine pipeline operator data showed on Friday.

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