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Satellite imagery reviewed 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.

4:20 p.m. ET, April 29, 2023

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 bshows 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.

makeshift memorial was set up, 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.  3:04 p.m. ET, April 29, 2023

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.

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