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First Mariupol steel plant evacuees reach safer city


Civilians evacuated from Mariupol steel plant reach safer city

A group of more than 100 people evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol reached the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhzhia on Tuesday, according to the Red Cross.

The organization said it worked with teams from the United Nations to help the evacuees, including some who were some wounded, leave the city and surrounding area.

The plant is home to the last pocket of Ukrainian resistance in a city that is otherwise under Russian control. It has been under renewed attack from the Russian military, with Ukrainian forces saying a “powerful assault” was underway.

Russian forces bombard Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol in ‘powerful assault’

At least two civilians were killed and 10 injured in Russian bombardment of the Azovstal steel plant, according to a video posted by the Azov regiment on Telegram.

“As of this moment a powerful assault on the territory of the Azovstal plant is underway, with the support of armored vehicles, tanks, attempts to land by boat, and a large number of infantry,” the deputy commander of the Azov Regiment, Svyatoslav Palamar, said in the video.

He called for the evacuation of the civilians currently taking refuge in the plant. The Azov Battalion is a volunteer force with neo-Nazi roots that is widely considered one of the country’s most capable units. 

More than 300 Russian ‘saboteurs’ arrested in Kyiv since invasion began, Ukraine says

Ukrainian forces say they have arrested more than 300 members of Russian “sabotage” groups since the start of the invasion.

“Since the beginning of the Russian aggression, the security forces have detained 319 members of Russian sabotage groups in Kyiv,” said Major General Mykola Zhirnov, head of the Kyiv City Military Administration.

“We remind you that the enemy still exists,” he said, urging citizens to be cautious and not talk to strangers. Ukraine has warned of Russian groups, some posing as Ukrainian soldiers, trying to disrupt military efforts since the conflict began.

World Health Organization sends nearly 400 tonnes of medical supplies to Ukraine

Almost 400 tonnes of life-saving supplies have been sent to Ukraine by World Health Organization, the body said in a statement Tuesday.

Dr Dorit Nitzan, WHO Ukraine Incident Manager, said 76 percent of the supplies has reached recipients as intended. 

Those being treated at a reception center in Zaporzhnia include evacuees from the besieged city of Mariupol.

WHO said its supplies have allowed more than 207,000 surgeries to take place, alongside the delivery of medicines and healthcare equipment to serve 7.45 million people.

Russian forces continue to attack Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol

The Azovstal steel plant in the port city of Mariupol, the last holdout of Ukrainian resistance in a city that is otherwise controlled by Russia’s military, faced renewed attack by Russian forces on Tuesday.

Vadim Astafyev, a Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, said Ukrainian fighters holed in at the plant “came out of the basements, took up firing positions on the territory and in the buildings of the plant,” according to the Associated Press. Astafyev said Russian forces alongside rebel forces from Donetsk were using “artillery and aircraft … to destroy these firing positions.”

The city’s Mayor, Vadym Boichenko, confirmed the attacks on the plant Tuesday in a press briefing, saying that “every day there is sad news, every day there is some shelling.”

The attacks followed a U.N.-brokered ceasefire at the plant that allowed some groups of civilians to escape.

According to Boichenko, there are around 100,000 residents still waiting to be evacuated from the city, which has been under siege by Russian forces since the first weeks of the war.

Ukrainian Prosecutor General says rape victims ‘are not ready to speak’

Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Iryna Venediktova, said she expected that there would be a “huge number” of rape cases related to the invasion.

When asked at a press conference on Tuesday how many cases of rape her office has recorded since the start of the war, Venediktova declined to provide a number.

She said that while she has evidence that Ukrainian men, women and children were raped by Russian soldiers, it will take time to collect firsthand statements.

“Some of our victims are still on the occupied territories, some of them are now in Western parts of Ukraine and some are abroad in Europe countries,” she said.

“Victims are not ready to speak. They are still scared that Russians will come back and kill them.”

Over a million Ukrainians, including 200,000 children, deported to Russia

Almost 1.1 million people, including nearly 200,000 children have been deported from Ukraine to Russian territory, the Russian Defense Ministry said, according to a report Tuesday from the Interfax news agency.

NBC has not been able to verify the report.

Russian Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev said these people came from Ukraine, including the Donetsk and Lugansk regions occupied by Russia-backed separatists.

According to Mizintsev, another 11,500 people were deported in the last 24 hours, including 1,847 children.

Aid workers prep stretchers, toys for Mariupol evacuees

ZAPORIZHZHIA — Aid workers prepared hot food, wheelchairs and toys Tuesday for civilians slowly making their way to relative safety from the pulverized remnants of a steel plant in the city of Mariupol, besieged for months by Russian forces.

The plant is the last holdout of Ukrainian resistance in a city that is otherwise controlled by Moscow’s forces and key to their campaign in Ukraine’s east. A senior U.S. official warned that Russia is planning to annex much of the country’s east later this month.

At a reception center, stretchers and wheelchairs were lined up, tiny children’s shoes dangled from a shopping cart and a pile of toys waited for the first convoy of civilians whose evacuation is being overseen by the United Nations and Red Cross.

Their arrival would represent a rare glimmer of good news in the nearly 10-week war sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that has killed thousands, forced millions to flee the country, laid waste to towns and cities, and shifted the post-Cold War balance of power in eastern Europe.

More than 100 people — including elderly women and mothers with small children — left Mariupol’s rubble-strewn Azovstal steelworks over the weekend and set out in buses and ambulances

Putin orders retaliatory sanctions on U.S. and its allies

Russian President Vladimir Putin issued retaliatory economic sanctions in response to the “unfriendly actions of certain foreign states and international organizations,” Moscow announced Tuesday.

The announcement didn’t spell out the individuals or organizations that would be affected and said that the government will approve the list of those under sanctions in the next 10 days.

The new law would prohibit financial transactions and also ban the export of products and raw materials to those sanctioned. In the next 10 days the government will also need to define “additional criteria” for classifying transactions that could be subject to restrictions.

Last week, Russia sanctioned 287 British lawmakers and banned them from entering the country.

Escape from the east

Image: UKRAINE-RUSSIA-CONFLICT
An evacuee from the eastern Ukraine city of Lyman sits on a bus in Raihorodok on May 2, 2022.Yasuyoshi Chiba / AFP – Getty Images

Russia doubles down on Nazi rhetoric, says Israel supports a ‘neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv’

Russia’s Foreign Ministry accused Tel Aviv of supporting the “neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv” a day after Israel slammed remarks by Russia’s foreign minister about Nazism and antisemitism, including claims that Adolf Hitler was Jewish.

“For some reason, the Western press (and some of our liberals) are still arguing about whether there are neo-Nazis in Ukraine,” Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted on Telegram. “The Jewish origin of Volodymyr Zelenskyy is cited as one of the ‘reinforced concrete’ arguments. The argument is not only untenable, but also crafty.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had said in an interview with an Italian news channel that Ukraine could still have Nazi elements even if some figures, including the country’s president, were Jewish, and said that “Hitler also had Jewish origins.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called Lavrov’s statement “unforgivable and scandalous and a horrible historical error.”

The fresh comments highlight a growing row between two countries at a time when Israel has sought to remain somewhat neutral in the conflict and due to its own security concerns in the Middle East..

Russia unleashes rockets in Mariupol, E.U. readies oil sanctions

KYIV/LVIV — Russian forces fired rockets at the encircled steel works in Ukraine’s Mariupol and smoke darkened the sky above the plant, where officials say 200 civilians are still trapped despite evacuations, while the European Union prepared to sanction Russian oil.

Reuters images showed volleys of rockets fired from a Russian truck-mounted launcher on the outskirts of the Russian-occupied city of Mariupol.

The attack followed a U.N.-brokered ceasefire around the Soviet-era steel complex that allowed several groups of civilians to escape the last holdout of Ukrainian fighters in the southern port in recent days.

More civilians were trapped in bunkers and tunnels under the complex and some 100,000 remained in the rest of the city, mayor Vadym Boychenko said on Tuesday.

Life goes on amid devastation in Mariupol

Image:
Locals walk past a destroyed apartment building in Mariupol, in territory under the government of the Donetsk People’s Republic on Monday. Alexei Alexandrov / AP

Russian forces ‘significantly weaker’ after losses in Ukraine, U.K. says

The war in Ukraine has considerably weakened Russia’s military and recovery won’t be easy, the British government said Tuesday.

“Russia’s military is now significantly weaker, both materially and conceptually, as a result of its invasion of Ukraine,” the Ministry of Defence said in its daily briefing.

It comes after Moscow invested heavily in the military between 2005 and 2018, but “failures both in strategic planning and operational execution” hindered the Russian military’s advantage.

On Monday, Britain warned that it would take years for Russia to build back from its military losses in Ukraine.

At least 220 children have died since the war began, Ukraine’s prosecutor general says

At least 220 children were killed and 406 injured during the the Russian invasion, Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office said on Tuesday.

“These figures are not final, “ the office said in an online statement. The statement said a 14-year-old boy was killed by a Russian missile strike on the city of Odessa on Monday.

More than 1,500 schools, colleges and kindergartens have been damaged, 118 of them were completely destroyed, the statement added.

Watching from space, satellites collect evidence of war crimes

Few developments in Ukraine have escaped the all-seeing eyes of satellites. 

From their orbital perches, Earth-watching satellites have followed the movement of troops around the country, zeroing in on strikes in contested areas and witnessing the aftermath of attacks.

Now, these “eyes in the sky” are gathering images in greater quantities and at higher resolutions than ever before, collecting what could end up as crucial pieces of evidence in investigations into potential war crimes committed by Russia since its military assault began on Feb. 24. 

Read the full story here.

Pope Francis says he asked to meet with Putin, but hasn’t heard back yet

Pope Francis asked for a meeting in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but did not receive a response, he said in an interview published on Tuesday.

“We have not yet received an answer and we are still insisting, even if I fear that Putin cannot and does not want to have this meeting right now. But so much brutality how can you not stop it?” he told Italy’s Corriere Della Sera newspaper.

In the interview he suggested that the war was trigged by “the barking of NATO at Russia’s door.”

“An anger that I don’t know if it was provoked,” he said, “but perhaps facilitated, yes.”

The pope, who has regularly appealed for peace in Ukraine since the war began, also told the newspaper that Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban had told him Russia planned to end the war on May 9, when Russia marks the anniversary of the country’s victory over Germany in 1945.

Families leave eastern Ukraine by bulletproof bus

Image: UKRAINE-RUSSIA-CONFLICT
Igor holds his 3-year-old son next to his wife Yana on a bulletproof bus as they evacuate with family from the eastern Ukraine city of Lyman on Monday.Yasuyoshi Chiba / AFP – Getty Images

Russian strike on Odesa leaves teenage boy dead

U.K. PM Johnson will proclaim Ukraine’s ‘finest hour’ in address, announce more military aid

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will declare “this is Ukraine’s finest hour” in an address to Kyiv’s parliament on Tuesday, according to excerpts released by his office.

Johnson will also announce more than $300 million in military aid for Ukraine as it battles Russian forces, his office said. It includes air defense vehicles, missiles, a counter-battery radar system and GPS jamming equipment, it said.

“Your children and grandchildren will say that Ukrainians taught the world that the brute force of an aggressor counts for nothing against the moral force of a people determined to be free,” Johnson will say, according to the excerpts.

Winston Churchill in June 1940 famously used the phrase “their finest hour” in a speech during World War II, in the face of what he predicted would be a battle for Britain with the threat of invasion by Nazi Germany.

Ukrainian civilians evacuated from Mariupol’s steel plant

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