We've wrapped up our live coverage for the day. Read more about Russia's invasion of Ukraine here, or scroll through the updates below.
April 29, 2023 Russia-Ukraine news
By Sophie Tanno, Adrienne Vogt and Matt Meyer, CNN
This map shows the latest state of control in Ukraine
Satellite imagery reviewed by CNN and other news organizations shows Russia is developing multi-layered defenses in a large swath of southern Ukraine, with long lines of anti-tank ditches, obstacles, minefields and trenches.
All eyes are on the south of the country ahead of Ukraine's anticipated counteroffensive, which may aim to cut off the annexed Crimean peninsula from the Russian-occupied portions of Ukraine and the rest of the country.
Nova Kakhova — a Russian-occupied town in the south that is home to an important hydroelectric project on the Dnipro River — experienced "severe artillery fire" by Ukrainian forces this weekend, according to the local Russian-backed administration.
It's nighttime in Kyiv. Catch up on the latest here
As Sunday nears in Ukraine, this is what we've been tracking today:
Anticipated counteroffensive: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview posted on his Telegram Saturday that Ukraine is prepping for a counteroffensive against Russian troops, stressing that it "will happen." He demurred on giving any exact start dates in an interview with reporters. He said Ukraine is still in need of "certain weapons," and the main risk for his troops is whether they will have enough of the ammunition they need.
Satellite imagery reviewed by CNN and other news organizations shows Russia pumping up its defenses in parts of southern Ukraine, with layers of anti-tank ditches, obstacles, minefields and trenches.
Meanwhile, Nova Kakhova — a Russian-occupied town in the south that is home to an important hydroelectric project on the Dnipro River — experienced "severe artillery fire" by Ukrainian forces, according to the local Russian-backed administration.
Massive fire in Crimea: In the early hours of Saturday, the Russian-backed governor of Sevastopol says a suspected drone attack hit an oil depot in the Crimean port city. Mikhail Razvozhaev said "only one drone was able to reach the oil reservoir" and another one was downed. No one was injured in the blaze, according to the governor.
The Russian Defense Ministry has yet to comment on the incident.
A spokesperson for the Ukrainian defense ministry's military intelligence service cautioned residents of Crimea against going near any military sites for the time being.
Apartment strike in Uman: The search and rescue operation in the central Ukrainian city was declared over, following Friday’s deadly missile strike that hit an apartment building, killing at least 23 people — including six children, according to authorities. Two residents who are still missing are presumed dead, according to a local police official.
A makeshift memorial was set up, according to a CNN team on the ground, as rescuers dug through rubble and family members waited for news of loved ones.
The strike is believed to have been the deadliest attack on Ukrainian civilians in months.
President of Czech Republic visits internally displaced people in Dnipro
From CNN's Mariya Knight
Czech Republic President Petr Pavel on Saturday visited internally displaced people in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro, according to posts on his Twitter and Facebook accounts.
"Because of the war, many Ukrainians lost their homes. About 200,000 of them found refuge in the Dnipro," Pavel tweeted, adding that his country will focus on humanitarian and development aid in the area.
The Czech president called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine "barbaric."
"I hoped I would never see pictures like this again," Pavel tweeted.
One of the photos from the Czech president's account shows Pavel writing the words "Russia, Go Home!" on a military vehicle with a marker.
"We are with you. You will avenge your fallen, you will regain your freedom. Russia, Go Home!" he wrote.
Pavel and Slovakian President Zuzana Čaputová visited Ukraine Friday in their first joint visit abroad.
Some background on Pavel: He won the Czech Republic’s presidential election in January and took office in March of this year, after a campaign featuring strong backing for NATO and the European Union and support for aid to Ukraine.
A former army chief, Pavel became chairman of NATO’s military committee for three years before retiring in 2018.
French artist dedicates Kyiv mural to executed Ukrainian prisoner of war
From CNN's Mariya Knight
A mural by French street artist Christian Guemy, who is known by the pseudonym C215, has appeared in the center of Kyiv on an administrative building of the Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian parliament said on Facebook Saturday.
The mural depicts Oleksandr Matsiyevsky, a prisoner of war who shouted, "Slava Ukraini (Glory to Ukraine)" before he was executed by Russian forces on December 30, 2022. Video of the execution surfaced and prompted outrage across the country.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky posthumously awarded Matsiyevsky with the country's highest honor, the Hero of Ukraine medal, later in March.
More about the video: Zelensky vowed last month to "find the murderers" involved in the video, as officials in Kyiv roundly condemned the incident as a war crime. The clip showed an unarmed soldier allegedly in Russian captivity wearing Ukrainian combat fatigues and smoking a cigarette, near what appears to be a fighting position. The man is then shown pulling the cigarette from his mouth, blowing out the smoke and saying the battle cry before being executed, with fighters off camera firing several shots at him.
Vyacheslav Shtuchnyi, the parliament's secretary general, said the Kyiv mural is a tribute to all those who defend Ukraine every day against Russian aggression.
The parliament noted that a delegation visited a Guemy exhibition in the National Assembly of the French Republic in January, and "there, a common idea arose to create a mural in Kyiv."
According to parliament, this is not Guemy’s first work in Ukraine. He had already created street art in Lviv, Zhytomyr, Kyiv, and hard-hit areas of the Kyiv region, such as the towns of Bucha, Hostomel and Irpin.
Pope Francis meets Ukrainian refugees on papal visit to Budapest
From CNN’s Antonia Mortensen in Budapest and Eleanor Pickston in London
Pope Francis met with refugees, many of whom are from Ukraine, and people facing poverty at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church in central Budapest on Saturday morning.
Around 600 people participated in the meeting inside the church, and 1,000 more gathered in the square outside.
During his address, the Pope appealed to the importance of charity and heard testimonies from the refugees.
“The memory of love received rekindles hope and inspires people to embark upon a new journey in life. Even amid pain and suffering, once we have received the balm of love, we find the courage needed to keep moving forward: We find the strength to believe that all is not lost, and that a different future is possible,” Francis said as part of his address.
Hungary and Ukraine: Hungary has angered allies since the war in Ukraine began. The country, which shares a border with Ukraine, has refused to back military aid for Kyiv while maintaining relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Pope Francis arrived in Budapest on Friday, beginning his three-day papal visit to Hungary, and met with President Katalin Novák, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and representatives of the clergy.
In a speech during his first public address of the visit, the Pope urged Hungarians to accept migrants and refugees. Quoting Saint Stephen, he said, "I urge you to show favor not only to relations and kin, or to the powerful and wealthy, or to your neighbors and fellow countrymen, but also to foreigners and all who come to you."
Ukraine isn't the only force gearing up for Kyiv's counteroffensive. Here's how Russia is preparing
From CNN's Tim Lister
Russia has had nearly six months to prepare the ground for Ukraine's anticipated counteroffensive this spring, building an elaborate array of defenses in occupied territory near the front lines.
Breaking through will present a huge challenge for Kyiv's troops, with obstacles extending hundreds of miles across the meandering southern front – where Ukrainian forces are expected to concentrate their attacks in the coming weeks.
Satellite imagery reviewed by CNN and other news organizations shows the extent of Russia's defenses: layers of anti-tank ditches, obstacles, minefields and trenches.
The challenge for Ukrainian troops will be to bypass or overcome such obstacles at speed, creating momentum that causes Russian command and control to melt down.
Months of preparation: Ground defenses began to appear after Russian forces withdrew from part of the Kherson region in November, and they essentially established a new defensive line stretching across largely rural areas of southern Ukraine.
The defenses, including concrete "dragons' teeth" tank obstacles, are only as good as the Russian forces assigned to each sector. On their own, they are a limited impediment.
Moscow has pushed more units into southern Ukraine over recent weeks, but it remains to be seen how many Russian troops – and of what quality – are assigned to each section of such a long front line.
No surprises: Ukrainian officials have acknowledged that unlike last September’s sudden sweep through much of the northeastern Kharkiv region, they may lack the element of surprise in any larger counteroffensive.
Ukraine does have the advantage of choosing where and when to go, and with what concentration of forces. Once the assault begins, other factors could come into play: everything from the weather to Russia’s capacity and desire to counterattack, plus aerial fighting.
Read more and view satellite images of Russia's defenses here.
Ukrainian military intelligence warns Crimea residents to avoid military facilities for "the near future"
From CNN's Mariya Knight, Kostan Nechyporenko and Darya Tarasova
The Ukrainian defense ministry's military intelligence service urged residents of Crimea to stay away from military facilities following a massive fuel depot fire sparked by a suspected drone attack in Sevastopol on Saturday.
Calling the blaze "bavovna," which is used as another word for an explosion in Ukrainian, Andrii Yusov, a representative for the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine, said the fire "is God's punishment, in particular for the civilians killed in Uman."
Yusov was referring to the Russian missile strike on an apartment block in the central Ukrainian city of Uman Friday that killed at least 23 people.
"This punishment will be long-lasting," he said in an interview with Ukrainian media on Saturday.
"It is advisable for all residents of temporarily occupied Crimea not to stay near military facilities or facilities providing for the aggressor's army in the near future," he added.
Yusov claimed the fire "destroyed more than 10 tanks with oil products with a capacity of 40,000 tonnes." According to Yusov, the oil products were intended for use by the Russian Black Sea Fleet.
CNN cannot independently verify claims on the extent of the fuel depot's damage.
What Russia says: The Russian Defense Ministry has not yet commented on the incident. But the city's Russian-installed governor, Mikhail Razvozhaev, said the now-extinguished blaze was the result of a drone attack. He said "only one drone was able to reach the oil reservoir" and another one was downed. Four fuel tanks were hit, but no one was injured, he added.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview released Saturday that Ukraine is preparing for a counteroffensive, but declined to say when it would happen. He has repeatedly pledged to "liberate" Crimea from Russia. Moscow declared the peninsula annexed since 2014.
Families grieve at growing memorial near the site of devastating missile strike in central Ukraine
From CNN's AnneClaire Stapleton
Ukrainians in the central city of Uman have set up a makeshift memorial for victims of the Russian missile strike that hit an apartment block Friday.
A CNN team at the site of the attack saw family members waiting for any news of their loved ones Saturday, including a woman clutching a teddy bear. Residents dropped off flowers and stuffed animals at the growing memorial; others brought photos.
Investigators spoke to residents who were impacted and lost their valuables, gathering evidence for potential war crime charges against Russia.
At a playground next to the site of the attack, young children played.
Grassroots humanitarian efforts continued, with piles of donated clothing, mattresses and shoes growing at a school next door.
All the while, rescuers worked through each level of the nine-story building, digging through belongings, clothing and rubble, hoping to find any further signs of residents.
Eventually, authorities said search and rescue efforts had concluded. At least 23 people were killed, including six children, and two missing women were presumed dead, according to a local police official.
Officials were unable to identify some bodies recovered from the rubble because they were severely burned, said Yulia Norovkova, a spokesperson for the region's emergency services.
The devastating strike is thought to be the deadliest attack on Ukrainian civilians in months.