The fighting between the Russian and Ukrainian forces entered day 54 on Monday. Seven civilians have been killed in a Russian missile attack in the western city of Lviv. The fighting also intensified in the strategic port city of Mariupol, which is encircled by Russian forces and has witnessed fierce bombardment.

Amid the fierce fighting, the UN humanitarian aid chief Martin Griffiths has said that humanitarian ceasefires between Ukrainian and Russian forces in Ukraine are not on the horizon right now, but may be possible in a couple of weeks. Griffiths also said that Russian officials have not yet put local ceasefires at the top of their agenda.

Here are the top developments of the day:

> Ukrainian investigators have examined 269 dead bodies in Irpin, near Kyiv, since the town was taken back from Russian forces in late March, Reuters quoted a police official. The town, which had a pre-war population of about 62,000, was one of the main hotspots of fighting with Russian troops before they pulled back from Ukraine’s northern regions to intensify their offensive in the east.

>Russia has sent reinforcements to eastern Ukraine for renewed offensive operations in the region, a senior US defense official told reporters. Russia has added about 11 battalion tactical groups, bringing its total in the country to about 76, the official added.

>Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has formally submitted a completed questionnaire on European Union membership to an envoy on Monday and said he believed this step would lead to his country gaining candidate status within weeks.

>President Zelenskyy spoke with the head of the IMF about financial stability and post-war reconstruction. Prime Minister Shmyhal is expected to attend the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings in Washington this week.

>Russia on Monday flagged a likely further cut in interest rates and more budget spending to help the economy adapt to biting western sanctions as it heads for its deepest contraction since 1994.

>Viktor Medvedchuk, a businessman and politician seen as one of Putin’s top allies in Ukraine, has agreed to offer himself in a swap for troops and residents in Mariupol, according to the State Security Service in Kyiv. After Medvedchuk was detained this month, Zelenskyy proposed swapping him for prisoners of war. He had gone missing around the start of the war after being placed under house arrest last year.

>Spain plans to join European Union allies in reopening its embassy in Kyiv soon, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told Antena 3 television.

(With agency inputs)

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