Live updates | UN chief ‘appalled’ at reported school attack

 Live updates | UN chief ‘appalled’ at reported school attack


UNITED NATIONS — 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.”

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KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:

— Dozens of Ukrainians feared dead after Russian strike on school

— Patriotism, unease mix in Russia ahead of big Victory Day celebrations

— G-7 leaders call Ukraine’s president, vow to ban or cut back on Russian oil imports

— Jill Biden makes surprise Mother’s Day visit to Ukraine, meets first lady there

— Ukrainian volunteers work to craft body armor, camouflage nets for soldiers

Follow all AP stories on Russia’s war on Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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OTHER DEVELOPMENTS:

ZAPORIZHZHIA, Ukraine — 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.

That’s according to a Sunday statement by Osnat Lubrani, the United Nation’s humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine.

The evacuees have been taken to Zaporizhzhia, a city in southeastern Ukraine. Lubrani says more than 600 people have now been evacuated from the Mariupol area.

The most recent evacuation was the latest effort to rescue people from tunnels beneath the Azovstal steel mine, where Ukrainian fighters are trying to hold off Russian attackers.

The United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross have been coordinating the evacuations.

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KYIV, Ukraine — 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.”

Bono, alongside guitarist the Edge, sang the Ben E. King song “Stand By Me” in the Khreschatyk metro station. He was joined by another singer in Ukrainian military fatigues.

He also visited Bucha, a town outside Kyiv where hundreds of bodies were found after Russian troops withdrew last month. The town is considered a possible war crimes site.

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KYIV, Ukraine — 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 Zelenskyy, 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.

Cutting out Russian oil supplies “will hit hard at the main artery of (President Vladimir) Putin’s economy and deny him the revenue he needs to fund his war,” the G-7 countries, which include the U.S., Britain, Canada, Germany, France and Italy and Japan, said in a statement.

“We will ensure that we do so in a timely and orderly fashion, and in ways that provide time for the world to secure alternative supplies,” they added.

Casting a look back at World War II, the leaders stressed unity in their resolve that Putin must not win.

“We owe it to the memory of all those who fought for freedom in the Second World War, to continue fighting for it today, for the people of Ukraine, Europe and the global community,” they said.

U.S. President Joe Biden’s call with the G-7 leaders and Zelenskyy lasted about an hour.

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ROME — Italian Premier Mario Draghi told fellow G-7 leaders during a meeting via video call that a sixth package of sanctions must go forward against Russia.

His office shared details of the call in a Sunday evening statement. Draghi’s office says he told other world leaders “at the same time, we must make every effort to help reach as soon as possible a cease-fire and to give new thrust to peace negotiations.

He also pressed for continued commitment by the G-7 grouping to help poor countries at risk of a food crisis. Exports of grain from Ukraine and Russia cover much of the needs of other nations, especially in Africa. The war is threatening Ukraine’s grain production, and the fighting in and around Black Sea ports makes food shipments impossible.

The premier’s office says the G-7 leaders reiterated their committment to diversify energy sources to reduce dependent on Russian supplies. Italy, heavily dependent on Russian natural gas when the war began, has since secured several agreements for alternative gas supplies from other countries. But Hungary’s objections last week to proposed sanctions on Russian oil have complicated European Union efforts.

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WASHINGTON — The United States has announced new sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

The penalties include cutting off Western advertising from Russia’s three biggest television stations, banning U.S. accounting and consulting firms from providing services to any Russian and more restrictions on Russia’s industrial sector. Those additional restrictions included cutting off Moscow from wood products, industrial engines, boilers, bulldozers and more.

The U.S. also says the Group of Seven leading industrialized powers have committed to phasing out or banning the import of Russian oil. The U.S. announced its own ban on Russian oil and energy products in March but the U.S. had few Russian energy imports compared to Europe.

The new round of sanctions will hit three of Russia’s most popular television stations — Channel One Russia, Russia-1 and NTV — which the U.S. says have been forefront of spreading misinformation about Russia invasion of Ukraine.

The U.S. says it has imposed some 2,600 visa restrictions on Russian and Belarusian officials and issued a new visa restriction policy that applies to Russian military officials and authorities suspected of human rights abuses or corruption.

The U.S. also sanctioned 27 executives from Gazprombank, a bank that facilitates sales by Russia’s energy giant Gazprom.

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KYIV, Ukraine — The Ukrainian army said Sunday that Moscow was focusing its main efforts that day on destroying airfield infrastructure in eastern and southern Ukraine, in order to prevent Ukrainian air forces from operating effectively.

At least five explosions were heard in the key Ukrainian Black Sea port of Odesa on Sunday, according to reports in local news media. Odesa, Ukraine’s third-largest city and a cultural center of deep significance to both Ukrainians and Russians, has so far been largely spared in the ten-week-old war.

Multiple photos and videos appeared to show trails and clouds of smoke in the sky above the city. Local media also reported that at least one missile had been shot down. As of Sunday afternoon, there have been no reports of casualties, although one newspaper claimed that civilian infrastructure had been damaged.

According to a Facebook post Sunday on the profile of Ukraine’s General Chiefs of Staff, Russia also ramped up “operational and tactical aviation activity” in the northwestern part of the Black Sea.

The Kharkiv regional administration says three people were killed in shelling of the town of Bogodukhiv, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the northeastern city of Kharkiv.

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IRPIN, Ukraine — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made a surprise visit to Ukraine amid Russia’s war on the country.

Ukrainian media outlet Suspilne and Irpin Mayor Olexander Markushyn announced Trudeau’s visit to Irpin, which had been damaged by Russia’s attempt to take Kyiv at the start of the war. Markushyn posted images of Trudeau on social media, saying that the Canadian leader was shocked by the damage he saw at civilian homes.

Trudeau is the latest Western leader to come to Ukraine to offer their support to the country. Later in the day he raised his country’s flag at Canadian Embassy in Kyiv.

His office later confirmed the visit, saying in a statement “the prime minister is in Ukraine to meet with President Zelenskyy and reaffirm Canada’s unwavering support for the Ukrainian people.”

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KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine and Canada will return to work on expanding the Free Trade Area Agreement between them, with a view to finalize it “within weeks”, the Ukrainian economy ministry announced Sunday following an online meeting between top trade officials.

The meeting between Ukraine’s first deputy minister for the economy, Yulia Sviridenko, and Canada’s international trade minister, Mary Ng, coincided with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s visit to Kyiv on Sunday afternoon.

Ukraine’s Economy Ministry said Sviridenko expressed hope for Canada’s support in overcoming the food crisis sparked by the blocking of Ukrainian seaports. Sviridenko also said that the abolition of Canadian duties on Ukrainian goods — a step previously taken by the E.U. and the U.K. — would be an important move towards boosting the Ukrainian economy.

“This will help exporters increase the volume of produce leaving the country, and thereby strengthen the Ukrainian economy and the defense of our state,” the ministry statement quoted her as saying.

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UZHHOROD, Ukraine — 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.

Her visit follows recent stops in the war-torn country by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of Congress, as well as a joint trip by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv.

The first lady traveled by vehicle to the town of Uzhhorod from a Slovakian village that borders Ukraine.

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WASHINGTON — A U.S. official says the top American diplomat in Ukraine has temporarily returned to the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, the capital – an announcement tied to V-E Day.

The official says the return of the acting ambassador, Kristina Kvien, fulfills a pledge that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken made to Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, during the American’s recent visit to Kyiv with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

The official says the return of select U.S. diplomats to the embassy “is a testament to Ukraine’s success, Moscow’s failure, and our effective and enduring partnership with the government and people of a sovereign, democratic, and free Ukraine.”

The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the developments before an official announcement.

It’s not clear when the U.S. embassy will fully reopen. Video showed a convoy of American vehicles drive into the embassy on Sunday afternoon.

— AP Diplomatic Writer Matthew Lee in Washington.

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ZAPORIZHZHIA, Ukraine — Dozens of Ukrainians were feared dead Sunday after a Russian bomb flattened a school sheltering about 90 people in its basement, while Ukrainian troops refused to surrender at a besieged steel plant that Moscow’s invading forces sped to seize before Russia’s Victory Day holiday.

The governor of Luhansk province, one of two areas that make up the eastern industrial heartland known as the Donbas, said the school in the village of Bilohorivka caught fire after Saturday’s bombing. Emergency crews found two bodies and rescued 30 people, he said.

“Most likely, all 60 people who remain under the rubble are now dead,” Gov. Serhiy Haidai wrote on the Telegram messaging app. Russian shelling also killed two boys, ages 11 and 14, in the nearby town of Pryvillia, he said.

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