Russia-Ukraine war latest: more than 20,000 civilians killed in Mariupol, says mayor | Ukraine

 Russia-Ukraine war latest: more than 20,000 civilians killed in Mariupol, says mayor | Ukraine


11:32

More than 20,000 civilians killed in Mariupol, mayor says

The mayor of Mariupol said the latest estimate was that around 21,000 civilian residents have been killed in the besieged Ukrainian port city since the start of the Russian invasion, Reuters reports.

In televised comments, the mayor, Vadym Boichenko, said it had been difficult to calculate the exact number of casualties since street fighting had started.

The number of deaths in Mariupol could be as high as 22,000, according to Pavlo Kyrylenko, the head of the Donetsk regional military administration.

Kyrylenko told CNN:

The Mariupol situation makes it difficult to comment on the number of casualties, the city is under siege and blockaded.

We are currently discussing 20,000 to 22,000 people dead in Mariupol.

Graves of civilians killed next to apartment buildings in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine April 10, 2022.
Graves of civilians killed next to apartment buildings in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine. Photograph: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters

15:33

Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska gave an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour over email – the primary way the First Lady has been communicating with the public as she stays in hiding with her two children.

In the interview, Zelenska says that her priority has been assisting women and children in the country, particularly those most vulnerable – including children with cancer or disabilities and orphans, and getting them safely to other countries as refugees. She said that she is also working on importing incubators to Ukraine to “support newborns in cities that are being bombed by Russians.” She said that two devices have been delivered and eight more incubators will also be distributed.

Zelenska said that she and her children have been forbidden to stay with her husband in the President’s office due to safety concerns.

“[The war] is like walking a tightrope: If you start thinking how you do it, you lose time and balance. So, to hold on, you just must go ahead and do what you do. In the same way, as far as I know, all Ukrainians hold on,” she said.

“Many of those who escaped from the battlefields alone, who saw death, say the main cure after the experience is to act, to do something, to be helpful for somebody. I am personally supported by the fact that I try to protect and support others. Responsibility disciplines.”

15:01

The official Twitter account of Ukraine’s Security Service, the country’s law enforcement agency, posted on Twitter another picture of Viktor Medvedchuk, Putin’s closest ally in Ukraine who had been in hiding since he fled his house arrest at the beginning of the invasion.

In the tweet, the Security Service says that Medvedchuk was wearing a Ukrainian army uniform as a “disguise”.

14:41

Zelenskiy announces capture of Putin ally in Ukraine

Volodomyr Zelenskiy announced that oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk, Putin’s closest ally in Ukraine, has been captured by Ukrainian law enforcement. On his official Telegram account, Zelenskiy posted a picture of Medvedchuk in handcuffs.

Medvedchuk is the leader of the Opposition Platform for Life, Ukraine’s biggest opposition party. In March, the party was one of several that Zelenskiy suspended due to its links to Russia. Ukrainian authorities had put Medvedchuk under house arrest, but he escaped three days after Russia invaded Ukraine 24 February. His whereabouts had been unknown until today’s announcement.

14:21

This is Lauren Aratani taking over from Léonie Chao-Fong

US secretary of state Antony Blinken said the US cannot verify reports of possible chemical weapon use by Russia in Ukraine. The leader of the Azov volunteer regiment in Mariupol said earlier today that three of its members have experienced “poisoning by chemical warfare, but without catastrophic consequences”.

At a press conference moments ago, Blinken said:

We are not in the position to confirm anything. I don’t think the Ukrainians are either.

We had credible information that Russian forces may use a variety of riot control agents, including tear gas mixed with chemical agents, so that would cause stronger symptoms to weaken and incapacitate entrenched Ukrainian fighters and civilians as part of the aggressive campaign to take Mariupol.

Blinken added that the use of chemical weapons is of “a real concern” and US officials are aware of the possibility that chemical weapons may be used.

14:02

It has just past 9pm in Kyiv. Here’s where we stand:

  • The mayor of Mariupol, Vadym Boichenko, said the latest estimate was that around 21,000 civilian residents have been killed in the Ukrainian port city since the start of the Russian invasion. The number of deaths in Mariupol could be as high as 22,000, Pavlo Kyrylenko, the head of the Donetsk regional military administration, told CNN.
  • A Briton who has been fighting with the Ukrainian armed forces in the besieged city of Mariupol has been forced to surrender along with his unit to the Russians because they have run out of food and ammunition. Aiden Aslin, from Newark, joined Ukraine’s marines in 2018 but has told friends and family that he and his comrades cannot hold out any longer as the Russians gradually tighten their grip on the southern port city.

That’s it from me, Léonie Chao-Fong, today. I’ll be back tomorrow. My colleague Lauren Aratani will continue to bring you the latest news from the war in Ukraine.

13:57

The UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, spoke with the US president, Joe Biden, today to discuss boosting military and economic support to Ukraine as well as the need to end western reliance on Russian oil and gas, Downing Street said.

In a statement, it said:

The leaders discussed the need to accelerate assistance to Ukraine, including bolstering military and economic support, as the Ukrainian forces prepare for another Russian onslaught in the east of the country.

The pair also agreed to continue joint efforts to ratchet up the economic pressure on [Vladimir] Putin and decisively end western reliance on Russian oil and gas.

13:46

Philip Oltermann

Philip Oltermann

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has rejected a request by the German president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, to visit Kyiv along with other European politicians on Wednesday.

Steinmeier, a former foreign minister and erstwhile ally of the ex-chancellor Gerhard Schröder, is on a state visit in Poland, where he is discussing the implications of the Russian war in Ukraine with his Polish counterpart, Andrzej Duda.

According a report in the German newspaper Bild, Steinmeier had planned to travel to Kyiv with the presidents of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland on Wednesday. However, his request for a meeting was rejected by Zelenskiy, with Bild citing the reason as the German Social Democrat’s previously close ties to the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, and his history as an advocate of close Russian-German economic ties.

“We all here know Steinmeier’s close ties to Russia, which have also been marked by the Steinmeier formula,” an anonymous Ukrainian diplomat told Bild.

He is currently not welcome in Kyiv. We will see whether that will change one day.

The “Steinmeier formula” was a proposal made by the then foreign minister in 2016 with the intention of breaking a deadlock in negotiations between Ukraine and Russia over peace in eastern Ukraine. The proposal, a simplified version of the Minsk agreements, called for elections in the separatist-held territories under Ukrainian legislation, supervised by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). The attempt failed after neither Moscow nor Kyiv implemented the Minsk agreement.

On Tuesday afternoon, Steinmeier seemed to confirm that his request for a meeting with Zelenskiy in Kyiv had been rejected by Ukraine. The German president said he had wanted to travel to Kyiv “to send out a strong message of European solidarity with Ukraine”.

Steinmeier said:

I was prepared. But apparently – and I have to acknowledge this – it was not desired in Kyiv.

13:39

Dan Sabbagh

Dan Sabbagh

A Briton who has been fighting with the Ukrainian armed forces in the besieged city of Mariupol has been forced to surrender along with his unit to the Russians because they have run out of food and ammunition.

Aiden Aslin, from Newark, joined Ukraine’s marines in 2018 but has told friends and family that he and his comrades cannot hold out any longer as the Russians gradually tighten their grip on the southern port city.

Aslin’s mother, Ang Wood, told the BBC that her son’s unit had “put up one hell of a fight” but had to call it a day because they had “no weapons left”. She called on the UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, to find a way to “take Putin down” in an interview.

Aslin tweeted under the name Cossackgundi, although he has become increasingly unable to do so recently, leaving the administration of the account in the hands of a friend who will continue to comment on the war under his user name.

Previously Aslin had fought for the Syrian Kurdish YPG against Isis between 2015 and 2017 before relocating to Ukraine.

A friend of Aslin’s, Brennan Philips, also said Aslin “can’t get out…can’t fight back” and added

I’m sure if they had a bullet left, they would have shot it.

In a video filmed in February before the war Aslin said he had “originally wanted to be a cop” but decided to join to fight Isis so that he would not “sit here and complain about everything, but go do something about it” – and that he recognised that a war with Russia could mean “a lot of us will die, get seriously injured”.

13:29

Ukraine’s border force said more than 870,000 people who fled abroad since Russia’s invasion have returned to the country, including a growing number of women and children, AFP reports.

Currently between 25,000 and 30,000 Ukrainians are returning each day, border force spokesperson Andriy Demchenko said.

Demchenko said:

They say they see that the situation is safer, especially in the western regions and they can no longer stay abroad.

They are ready to return to the country and stay here.

The shift comes after Russian forces retreated from near the Ukrainian capital Kyiv in preparation for ramping up their offensive in the east of the country.

Ukraine’s interior ministry said earlier this month that 537,000 people had returned to Ukraine after fleeing abroad.

13:18

Andrew Roth

Andrew Roth

A key Russian railway bridge has been damaged in the border region with Ukraine in a potential act of sabotage as Russia relies on its railroads to shift its attacking forces in preparation for a massive assault on eastern Ukraine.

Photographs from the bridge in Russia’s Belgorod region showed that section of rail had been forced upward, possibly due to an explosion. The photographs, as well as news of the incident, were first published on Tuesday by the local Russian governor and local media.

“There are no casualties,” governor Vyacheslav Gladkov wrote in an online statement.

Only the railway track is destroyed… I will inform you about the reasons later.

The incident comes as Russia has begun militarising its border regions near Ukraine by raising threat alerts, erecting military checkpoints and mobilising local townspeople in a sign that Russia’s war effort is shifting toward east Ukraine.

Ukraine has not confirmed if it stands behind the attack on the railway bridge, which commentators said would make sense as a cross-border raid meant to slow Russia’s shifting of heavy artillery and other military vehicles needed to prepare for an assault in Ukraine’s Donbas region.

Russia relies heavily on railroads to move its military equipment. The bridge sits just four miles from the border on a rail-line that goes south into Ukraine and lies on a supply line between Russia and the territory it holds near the city of Izyum near the Donbas.

13:03

Morgues in several cities in eastern Ukraine’s embattled region of Luhansk are full, according to Serhiy Haidai, the head of the Luhansk regional military administration.

In a statement on Telegram, he said cities were experiencing power cuts and in some places, complete loss of electricity.

Haidai said:

Bodies also lie in basements. It is impossible to keep them, so during the quiet breaks from shelling, volunteers and utility workers bury the bodies in new designated places.

In Sievierodonetsk, the regional military administration organised a new burial place in a “relatively safe place”, continued.

Pits are dug with a tractor and graves are systematised in the register.

Every dead or deceased person is buried naturally in a separate grave, during the 48 days of the war — about 400 burials. Most are identified.

12:38

Russia is shelling Ukraine’s eastern region of Donetsk round the clock, Donetsk’s governor, Pavlo Kyrylenko, said.

Speaking on national television, Kyrylenko said Moscow is now in the final stages of regrouping its forces in the area, Reuters reports.

He added that Russian forces were not allowing residents of the besieged port city of Mariupol to leave even in their own cars.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister said 2,671 civilians had been evacuated from front line areas today, including 208 people from Mariupol, 328 people from Luhansk and 2,135 from various cities and towns in the Zaporizhzhia region.

12:30

Summary

It is 7.30pm in Kyiv. Here’s where we stand:

  • The mayor of Mariupol, Vadym Boichenko, said the latest estimate was that around 21,000 civilian residents have been killed in the Ukrainian port city since the start of the Russian invasion. The number of deaths in Mariupol could be as high as 22,000, Pavlo Kyrylenko, the head of the Donetsk regional military administration, told CNN.

Hello, I’m Léonie Chao-Fong reporting from London. I’ll continue to bring you the latest developments from the war in Ukraine.

12:13

Richard Partington

Richard Partington

The World Bank is planning financial support to Ukraine worth $1.5bn (£1.2bn) to help keep critical services running as the country fights a fresh assault by Russia in Vladimir Putin’s ongoing war.

The bank said the funds would be used to support the continuation of key government services, including wages for hospital workers, pensions for elderly people, and social programmes for vulnerable people.

In addition to $944m of emergency financing already mobilised by the World Bank, the institution said it was preparing the fresh funding to help essential government services continue to function during the war.

The $1.5bn investment project financing includes $1bn of support through its International Development Association arm, as well as $472m in funding guaranteed by its International Bank for Reconstruction and Development division.

Announcing the funds in a speech in Poland on Tuesday, David Malpass , the president of the World Bank, said the organisation was providing immediate working capital for companies providing critical supplies to Ukraine.

He said:

We are working to help Ukrainian refugees as they plan their return home, help host communities as they absorb Ukrainians, and help the many millions of internally displaced persons in Ukraine who have lost their homes and livelihoods.

Founded in 1944 to help Europe rebuild after the second world war, the Washington-based organisation includes Russia and Ukraine as members.

Malpass, who met the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in Munich on 19 February, days before the outbreak of the war, said the bank stood “ready to help Ukraine with reconstruction when the time comes”.

12:04

The Belarusian president, Alexander Lukashenko, has defended Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, claiming it was a pre-emptive strike against the west.

Lukashenko was speaking to reporters following talks with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, the Belarusian state-owned news agency BelTA reports.

Lukashenko said:

If only Russia had delayed its military operation just a little bit, they would have launched, according to them, a crushing blow on Russia’s territory – on neighbouring regions. We are now clearly convinced that this was possible.

So if someone doubts the rightness of the decision, imagine what we could have seen just half a month or a month later.

11:46

Dan Sabbagh

Dan Sabbagh

An initial report circulating on Monday night from Ukraine said Russian forces had used “a poisonous substance of unknown origin” against Ukrainian civilians and military holed up in the besieged city of Mariupol.

The victims were described as having “respiratory failure” and a rather specific diagnosis of “vestibulo-atactic syndrome”, nominally inner ear problems leading to dizziness and perhaps vomiting, eye twitching and loss of balance.

Several people had reported seeing ‘white smoke’ from the Azovstal steel factory in Mariupol before falling ill.
Several people had reported seeing ‘white smoke’ from the Azovstal steel factory in Mariupol before falling ill. Photograph: Evgeniy Maloletka/AP

There was immediate speculation that the events described were a chemical weapons attack. Liz Truss, the British foreign secretary, said the UK was urgently investigating while a Pentagon spokesperson said the reports “if true, are deeply concerning”.

But some observers have expressed scepticism that the available evidence points towards a chemical weapons attack.

Continue reading Dan’s piece here: Did Russia really use chemical weapons in Ukraine? Experts remain sceptical

11:32

More than 20,000 civilians killed in Mariupol, mayor says

The mayor of Mariupol said the latest estimate was that around 21,000 civilian residents have been killed in the besieged Ukrainian port city since the start of the Russian invasion, Reuters reports.

In televised comments, the mayor, Vadym Boichenko, said it had been difficult to calculate the exact number of casualties since street fighting had started.

The number of deaths in Mariupol could be as high as 22,000, according to Pavlo Kyrylenko, the head of the Donetsk regional military administration.

Kyrylenko told CNN:

The Mariupol situation makes it difficult to comment on the number of casualties, the city is under siege and blockaded.

We are currently discussing 20,000 to 22,000 people dead in Mariupol.

Graves of civilians killed next to apartment buildings in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine April 10, 2022.
Graves of civilians killed next to apartment buildings in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine. Photograph: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters

11:15

A member of the Ukrainian delegation, Mykhailo Podolyak, said negotiations with Russians were very hard but they were continuing, Reuters reports.

Podolyak added that Russia was trying to put pressure on the talks with its public statements and that negotiations were continuing at the level of working sub-groups.

His comments came after the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, earlier said peace talks with Ukraine were in a “dead end”.





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