Russian forces are continuing their assault across the southern and eastern regions of Ukraine, with Ukrainian officials reporting heavy shelling and civilian casualties in cities, including Kharkiv, Popasna and Mykolaiv.
Meanwhile, a Ukrainian minister announced an evacuation corridor from the besieged southern port city of Mariupol would open, following a brief halt earlier because of security concerns.
Here are the latest developments:
Russia takes small towns but makes “no major gains,” say UK officials: Russia has captured dozens of small towns and settlements in its assault on the eastern Donbas region, and Ukrainian officials describe continued heavy fighting throughout Donetsk and Luhansk there. A situation report by the UK’s Ministry of Defense, however, said on Saturday that Russian forces had made “no major gains” in the past 24 hours, in the face of Ukrainian counterattacks. Ukrainian air and sea defenses have also been able to stop the progress of Russian air and maritime forces, the ministry added in a post on social media.
New plans for evacuations from Mariupol: Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk announced an evacuation corridor would open on Saturday, with a focus on moving “women, children and the elderly” from Mariupol to safer areas. In a statement on Telegram, Vereshchuk warned of Russian traps, where troops might open a “parallel corridor” and take residents into Russian-controlled territories instead. She urged residents to be vigilant and “not to follow any deceit and provocations” by the Russian side.
Mykolaiv official announces curfew: After Russian forces continued shelling the city of Mykolaiv overnight, Vitaliy Kim, head of the regional military administration there, announced a new curfew of 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. ahead of local Easter services. The announcement comes a day after Hanna Zamazeeva, chief of Mykolaiv’s regional council, said that at least 20 people had been injured in the region in the past two days, amid attacks by Russian troops.
Russian forces target civilian infrastructure: Residents in the northeastern city of Kharkiv and Popasna in the east have experienced sustained Russian bombardment. Russian troops fired 56 strikes on civilian infrastructure of Kharkiv and the region, killing two people and wounding 19, according to a Ukrainian military governor. In Popasna, two people also died as Russian forces targeted civilian homes and high-rise buildings, a Ukrainian regional official said.