Russia-Ukraine crisis live updates | U.N. chief ‘appalled’ at reported school attack
More than 170 people have been evacuated from the Ukrainian city of Mariupol after weeks of shelling and fighting as Russia attempts to take over the port city.
Leaders from the Group of Seven developed democracies pledged Sunday to phasing out or banning the import of Russian oil, as they met with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, for online talks to stress their support and to display unity among Western allies on Victory in Europe Day, which marks Nazi Germany’s surrender in 1945.
More than 60 people were feared dead on Sunday after a Russian bomb flattened a school being used as a shelter, Ukrainian officials said, while Moscow’s forces pressed their attack on defenders inside Mariupol’s steel plant in an apparent race to capture the city ahead of Russia’s Victory Day holiday.
The conflict began escalating on February 21, 2022, after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised separatist regions in eastern Ukraine and deployed troops in a peacekeeping role.
Here are the latest updates:
Last civilians leave Ukraine steel mill
The last civilians sheltering in bunkers beneath a sprawling steel mill in the decimated Ukrainian port city of Mariupol arrived late Sunday night in Zaporizhzhia, the first major Ukrainian city beyond the frontlines.
The shattered survivors spoke of constant shelling, dwindling food, ubiquitous mold — and using hand sanitizer for cooking fuel.
Ten buses slowly pulled into Zaporizhzhia’s deserted streets under darkness, carrying 174 evacuees from the Mariupol area. They included more than 30 of the 51 civilians evacuated in the last day from the Azovstal steel mill, where an estimated 2,000 Ukrainian fighters are making what appears to be their last stand. Both Ukrainian and Russian officials have said these civilians are the last non-combatants from the industrial complex.
“It was terrible in the bunkers,” said 69-year-old Lyubov Andropova, who had been in Azovstal since March 10. “Water would run down from the ceilings. There was mold everywhere. We were worried for the children, for their lungs.”
The shelling was constant, and there was fear “that our bunker would collapse,” she said. “Everything shook, we didn’t go out.”- AP
U.N. chief ‘appalled’ at reported school attack
The United Nations chief says he is “appalled” at the reported attack on a school in the Ukrainian town of Bilohorivka, where many people were apparently seeking shelter from fighting.
A U.N. spokesman said Sunday that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reiterates that civilians and civilian infrastructure must be spared under international law.
Spokesman Stephane Dujarric says: “This war must end, and peace must be established in line with the Charter of the United Nations and international law. The United Nations and its humanitarian partners in Ukraine will continue supporting those whose lives have been shattered by war.”- AP
G7 agrees to intensify economic pressure on Putin, UK PM says
G7 leaders agreed that the world must intensify economic pressure on Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in any way possible, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office said on Sunday after he addressed the group.
Johnson said “the world must go further and faster to support Ukraine,” his office said after the call, which also included Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
“Ukraine needed to receive military equipment that allowed them to not just hold ground in Ukraine, but recapture it,” Johnson told the leaders, according to his office.- Reuters
Ukraine’s mine sniffing dog Patron awarded medal by Zelensky
President Volodymyr Zelensky presented Ukraine’s famous mine sniffing dog Patron and his owner with a medal on Sunday to recognise their dedicated service since Russia’s invasion.
The pint-size Jack Russell terrier has been credited with detecting more than 200 explosives and preventing their detonation since the start of the war on Feb. 24, quickly becoming a canine symbol of Ukrainian patriotism.
Mr. Zelensky made the award at a news conference in Kyiv with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Patron barked and wagged his tail, prompting laughter from the audience. Trudeau patted his pockets as though looking for a dog treat.- Reuters
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky award service dog “Patron” during a news conference, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv on May 8, 2022. Photo: Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS
Britain to increase tariffs on Russian platinum, palladium in new sanctions
Britain announced on Sunday it will increase tariffs on platinum and palladium imports from Russia and Belarus in a new package of sanctions targeting 1.7 billion pounds ($2.10 billion) of trade, which it said aimed to further weaken Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war machine.
Import tariffs on a range of products will be raised by 35 percentage points, Britain said, while it will also ban exports of goods such as chemicals, plastics, rubber and machinery to Russia, worth a combined 250 million pounds ($310 million).
The UK government will legislate for the new sanctions in due course, it said.
Britain is acting in concert with its Western allies to try to cripple the Russian economy as punishment for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and it has already sanctioned more than 1,000 individuals and businesses.- Reuters
Russia has ‘forgotten’ all that mattered to WWII victors: Zelensky
Russia has forgotten everything that mattered to the victors of World War II, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday, a day before Moscow commemorates the Soviet Union’s defeat of Nazi Germany.
Denouncing Russia’s heavy shelling in the east of the country including one strike on a school that he says killed 60 people, he added: “Russia has forgotten everything that was important to the victors of World War II.”
While normal people associated the anniversary with peace and the slogan “Never again!”, Russia was continuing its attacks, said Mr. Zelensky in his nightly address.- AFP
Bono sings ‘Stand By Me’ at Kyiv bomb shelter
U2 frontman Bono performed in a Kyiv subway station that serves as a bomb shelter on Sunday, showing his support for Ukrainians trying to fend off the Russian invasion.
The Irish singer has tweeted that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy “invited us to perform in Kyiv as a show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people and so that’s what we’ve come to do”.
EU wrangles over details of Russia oil embargo
European diplomats were locked in difficult negotiations on the terms of the EU’s sixth round of sanctions against Russia on Sunday, with several members seeking guarantees for their oil supplies.
The package suggested last week by the European Commission would have seen most EU members halting oil imports from Russia by the end of the year, to punish Moscow for invading Ukraine.
Jill Biden pays surprise visit to Ukraine, meets first lady
U.S. first lady Jill Biden made an unannounced visit to western Ukraine on Sunday, holding a surprise Mother’s Day meeting with the nation’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, as Russia presses its punishing war in the eastern regions.
Biden traveled under the cloak of secrecy, becoming the latest high-profile American to enter Ukraine during its 10-week-old conflict with Russia.
60 feared dead as Russia bombs Ukraine shelter
As many as 60 people were feared to have been killed in the Russian bombing of a village school in the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk, the regional governor said on Sunday.
Governor Serhiy Gaidai said Russian forces dropped a bomb on Saturday afternoon on the school in Bilohorivka where about 90 people were sheltering, causing a fire that engulfed the building.