Russia-Ukraine war latest: Russia demands Mariupol surrender as Ukraine says last stronghold there hit by bombs – live | Ukraine

 Russia-Ukraine war latest: Russia demands Mariupol surrender as Ukraine says last stronghold there hit by bombs – live | Ukraine


Russia’s deadline for Mariupol surrender passes

An ultimatum by Russia to Ukrainian fighters holding out in the besieged port city of Mariupol to surrender has passed its deadline.

In a statement issued early this morning, the Russian defence ministry said its forces opened a humanitarian corridor from the Azovstal plant “for the withdrawal of Ukrainian servicemen and militants of nationalist formations” to “voluntarily lay down their arms” as well as to evacuate civilians.

“As of 22:00 (Moscow time) on April 19, 2022, no one used the specified corridor,” the ministry added.

Russia said it would “once again” offer Ukraine the option “to stop fighting and lay down their weapons” from 2pm Moscow time (1100 GMT) on Wednesday.

The Azovstal steel plant, the last main Ukrainian stronghold in Mariupol, has been hit with bunker-buster bombs, Kyiv said. Ukrainian officials say hundreds of civilians are sheltering beneath the factory.

The head of Ukraine’s negotiating team, Mykhailo Podolyak, a key adviser to President Zelenskiy, accused world leaders yesterday of having “blood on their hands” while “the world watches the murder of children online and remains silent”.

55th day of war. 🇷🇺 continues to shell Azovstal with powerful anti-bunker bombs. The world watches the murder of children online and remains silent. Religious & world leaders can stop it by organizing humanitarian corridors. Otherwise, the blood will be on their hands, too. pic.twitter.com/b9UaGR6VSB

— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) April 19, 2022

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has just posted some video of himself with President of the European Council, Charles Michel, who is visiting Kyiv today. He accompanied the tweet by saying that “Sanctions against Russia, defence and financial support of our state, and answers to the questionnaire on compliance with EU criteria were discussed. Thank you for a meaningful meeting and solidarity with the people of Ukraine”.

Великий друг🇺🇦 – Президент Європейської ради Шарль Мішель @eucopresident сьогодні у Києві. Обговорили санкції проти Росії, оборонну та фінансову підтримку нашої держави й відповіді для анкети щодо відповідності критеріям ЄС. Дякую за змістовну зустріч і солідарність з народом 🇺🇦! pic.twitter.com/luZDNxbmcc

— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) April 20, 2022

Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova has been giving a lunchtime briefing. Picking through the simultaneous translation, the key points she was making include:

  • Allegations that Russian-speaking civilians in the Donbas are being taken hostage by “those who’ve been trained in Nato countries. Now those people are torturing those who are suspected of sympathising with Russia. By Nato personnel, I mean everyone who has been trained in Nato countries or under the leadership of Nato military.”
  • Russia is collecting evidence of what it says are crimes committed by Ukrainian forces. Zakharova said “all materials will be carefully studied, attached to criminal cases, and presented to the court. Not a single Ukrainian nationalist involved in crimes against the civil population and Russian military personnel will escape fair retribution.”
  • Since the beginning of what she termed the “special military operation”, 15,500 tonnes of humanitarian cargo have been delivered to territories in Ukraine by Russia.
  • She claimed Ukrainian negotiators were trying to delay the negotiation process by “refusing to take a constructive approach on priority issues.”
  • She went into great lengths explaining that the assistance for Ukraine announced by New Zealand included $5m for weapons and $2m for commercial mapping services, and therefore none of the money was actually going to Ukraine. She alleged “this money is coming to the pockets of the collective west”, and that “so-called assistance always comes back to the same accounts in the same banks where it came from”.

A court in Moscow has rejected an appeal by the liberal radio station Ekho Moskvy against Russia’s move to take it off air over its coverage of the war in Ukraine, Reuters reports.

Ekho Moskvy, one of Russia’s leading current affairs channels, stopped broadcasting last month after the prosecutor general’s office demanded that access to the station be restricted.

Authorities also ordered that the station’s website be blocked for spreading what it called “deliberately false information” about Russia’s military operation. The station, which has rejected the charges, later shut down under pressure from the authorities.

Ekho Moskvy’s editor-in-chief, Alexander Venediktov, wrote on Telegram:

The court has rejected Ekho’s request to have the radio station and website restored. We will appeal.

500,000 people deported ‘without agreement’ to Russia, says Ukraine lawmaker

Mykyta Poturayev, the head of the Ukrainian parliament’s humanitarian committee, told members of the European parliament by video link:

Half a million of Ukrainian citizens were deported from Ukraine to the Russian Federation without agreement from their side.

He said there was “no opportunity” to make contact with these people and called on the Red Cross to establish contact with those missing.

Reuters could not independently verify the figure given by Poturayev, who did not give details or supporting evidence.

Poturayev said he was concerned about the fate of those Ukrainians he says were sent to Russia, telling European lawmakers:

We know about so-called filtration camps for Ukrainian citizens. That’s one of the possible directions of Red Cross activity, at least to find these deported people and to understand what is going (on) with them on the territory of the Russian Federation.

Alexandra Boivin, a Red Cross official, said her organisation was talking to the Russian authorities about possibilities to help these people, adding:

The question about whether we can confirm that people were forcibly displaced at this moment is one that I cannot answer … but it’s certainly an issue of concern.

Vova, 10, looks as the body of his mother, Maryna, is taken from the morgue before her funeral in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on Wednesday, April 20, 2022. Vova’s mother died while they sheltered in a cold basement for more than a month during the Russian military’s occupation.
Vova, 10, looks as the body of his mother, Maryna, is taken from the morgue before her funeral in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on Wednesday. Vova’s mother died while they sheltered in a cold basement for more than a month during the Russian military’s occupation. Photograph: Emilio Morenatti/AP

The UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, has been speaking about Aiden Aslin, the British fighter captured by Russian forces in Mariupol.

Asked by Aslin’s MP, Robert Jenrick, whether footage showing him being interviewed under duress “for propaganda purposes” would constitute a “flagrant” breach of the Geneva conventions, Johnson replied:

I think everybody will want to urge the Russian state to treat his constituent humanly and compassionately because in my view, although we do not encourage people, in fact, we actively dissuade people from going to that theatre of conflict, I understand that he had been serving in the Ukrainian forces for some time and his situation was very different from that (of) a mercenary.

I hope that he is treated with care and compassion. I thoroughly echo the sentiments of my right honourable friend has expressed about those who broadcast propaganda messages.

Footage aired on Russian state TV on Monday showed Aslin and another captured British fighter, Shaun Pinner, calling on the PM to help free them in exchange for Ukraine releasing the pro-Kremlin politician Viktor Medvedchuk.

Aslin’s family said he had been a legitimate combatant with the Ukrainian armed forces and was speaking under duress during an interview.

A still image taken from Russian state TV footage that it said shows Aiden Aslin, a British fighter captured in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol by Russian forces.
A still image taken from Russian state TV footage that it said shows Aiden Aslin, a British fighter captured in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol by Russian forces. Photograph: Russian state TV channel Rossiya1/Reuters

Finland’s parliament opens debate on joining Nato

Finland’s parliament has opened the debate on whether to seek Nato membership after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led to a surge in political and public support for joining the military alliance, AFP reports.

Finland’s prime minister, Sanna Marin, said her country would decide “quite fast, within weeks” whether to apply for membership.

Lawmakers in Finland’s Eduskunta last week received a government-commissioned “white paper” that assessed the implications of Nato membership.

The report did not make recommendations but stressed that without Nato membership, Finland enjoys no security guarantees despite currently being a partner to the alliance.

The “deterrent effect” on Finland’s defence would be “considerably greater” as a Nato member, the report said.

Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson with Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin prior to a meeting in Stockholm, Sweden, April 13, 2022.
Sweden’s prime minister, Magdalena Andersson, with Finland’s prime minister Sanna Marin prior to a meeting in Stockholm earlier this month. Photograph: Tt News Agency/Reuters

Finnish media report around half of Finland’s 200 MPs support Nato membership, while about 12 oppose it.

Sweden is also discussing whether to submit a membership bid.

A Ukrainian commander from the 36th separate marine brigade in the besieged city of Mariupol has made an urgent plea in a video shared on his Facebook page, saying that his forces were probably facing their “last days, if not hours”.

Serhiy Volyna said his troops were outnumbered 10 to one and appealed to world leaders to help 500 wounded soldiers and hundreds of civilians trapped in the city.

Ukrainian commander says forces in Mariupol facing ‘last days’ – video

President of the European Council, Charles Michel, said “history will not forget the war crimes” committed in Ukraine during a visit to Borodianka, near Kyiv, today.

У Бородянці.

Як Буча та багато інших міст в Україні

Історія не забуде військових злочинів, які тут були скоєні.

Не може бути миру без справедливості. @ZelenskyyUa pic.twitter.com/l309U9xrFO

— Charles Michel (@CharlesMichel) April 20, 2022

Earlier today, Michel shared a picture of his arrival at a train station in Kyiv, writing:

In the heart of a free and democratic Europe.

A small but growing number of top Kremlin insiders are reportedly questioning President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine, Bloomberg reports.

Senior Kremlin insiders in high-level posts in government and business believe Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was a “catastrophic mistake that will set the country back for years”, ten sources told Bloomberg.

These people see “no chance” Putin will change course and no prospect of any challenge to his position inside Russia, the sources said.

The Russian president has become increasingly reliant on a narrowing circle of hardline advisers, they said, while Putin has reportedly dismissed warnings of the crippling economic and political cost of the war in Ukraine.

Some Kremlin insiders increasingly fear that Putin could resort to using nuclear weapons if faced with failure, the sources said.

Russia’s deadline for Mariupol surrender passes

An ultimatum by Russia to Ukrainian fighters holding out in the besieged port city of Mariupol to surrender has passed its deadline.

In a statement issued early this morning, the Russian defence ministry said its forces opened a humanitarian corridor from the Azovstal plant “for the withdrawal of Ukrainian servicemen and militants of nationalist formations” to “voluntarily lay down their arms” as well as to evacuate civilians.

“As of 22:00 (Moscow time) on April 19, 2022, no one used the specified corridor,” the ministry added.

Russia said it would “once again” offer Ukraine the option “to stop fighting and lay down their weapons” from 2pm Moscow time (1100 GMT) on Wednesday.

The Azovstal steel plant, the last main Ukrainian stronghold in Mariupol, has been hit with bunker-buster bombs, Kyiv said. Ukrainian officials say hundreds of civilians are sheltering beneath the factory.

The head of Ukraine’s negotiating team, Mykhailo Podolyak, a key adviser to President Zelenskiy, accused world leaders yesterday of having “blood on their hands” while “the world watches the murder of children online and remains silent”.

55th day of war. 🇷🇺 continues to shell Azovstal with powerful anti-bunker bombs. The world watches the murder of children online and remains silent. Religious & world leaders can stop it by organizing humanitarian corridors. Otherwise, the blood will be on their hands, too. pic.twitter.com/b9UaGR6VSB

— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) April 19, 2022

More than 5 million have fled Ukraine since invasion, says UN

Figures by the United Nations’ refugee agency (UNHCR) show the number of people who have fled abroad since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February is now 5,010,971.

Kelly T Clements, deputy UNHCR chief, addressed the UN security council yesterday:

Eight weeks into the conflict, we are at 5 million and counting, with 5 million unique stories of loss and trauma.

More than 218,000 third-country nationals, largely students and migrant workers, have also fled to neighbouring countries, according to the UN’s International Organisation for Migration (IOM). Women and children account for 90% of those who have fled.

A further 7.1 million people are displaced inside Ukraine, according to the latest assessment by IOM.

This means that more than a quarter of Ukraine’s prewar population of 44 million has either fled the country or been internally displaced in under two months.

Clement urged members not to “lose sight of what these figures mean”:

Women, children, and the aged, have left their homes, their lives, their sons, their fathers and husbands.

Each one of the millions of displaced are forced to make impossible, heartbreaking decisions and have left everything, almost everything, they hold dear.

Also addressing the UN security council yesterday, the IOM chief, António Vitorino, warned that more than half of Ukraine’s children displaced.

Many are vulnerable to trafficking, “violence, exploitation, and abuse” by criminal networks taking advantage of the crisis, Vitorino warned.

Hello, it’s Léonie Chao-Fong with you today to bring you all the latest developments from the war in Ukraine. Feel free to drop me a message if you have anything to flag, you can reach me on Twitter or via email.

Charlotte Higgins

Charlotte Higgins

“Russia’s idea is to eliminate Ukraine – and to eliminate Ukrainian culture. If it has no culture, Ukraine does not exist.”

That was the sentiment that compelled Pavlo Makov, the official Ukrainian artist at the 59th Venice Biennale, to head to Italy to install his exhibition.

Makov and his team, including the curator Maria Lanko, were determined, said Pavlov, “to show that we are here, and we exist. I am not quoting Churchill directly, but he talked about the things that we are fighting for – and we are fighting for our culture, our way of seeing the world.”

Makov’s work is called Fountain of Exhaustion – a pyramid of 78 bronze funnels set in tiers, through which water flows. The original idea came in 1995, when, owing to serious floods, the city of Kharkiv lost its water supply for several weeks.

Ukrainian artist Pavlo Makov poses by his piece ‘Fountain of Exhaustion’ at Ukraine’s pavilion during a press day at the 59th Venice Art Biennale in Venice
Ukrainian artist Pavlo Makov poses by his piece ‘Fountain of Exhaustion’ at Ukraine’s pavilion during a press day at the 59th Venice Art Biennale in Venice. Photograph: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images

When the invasion began on 24 February, Lanko took to her car, with the bronze funnels in her boot. Six days later – the highways having been shelled and the back roads jammed – she made it to the border. In Milan, she found a fabricator who could recreate the parts of the artwork that she hadn’t been able to take with her.

Makov described how he and his family had initially been reluctant to leave Kharkiv, despite a terrifying period in February when “life was like a pendulum swinging first this way then that – will the war start? Yes, or no.”

After a week sleeping in a bomb shelter beneath Kharkiv University’s arts centre, he, his wife, some close friends and his mother (and their cats) took to the road. Having got his mother safely installed in Vienna, he set off for Venice. “I felt I’m not so much an artist, or an individual, so much as a citizen of Ukraine. I felt that Ukraine has to be represented,” he said.

Read more of Charlotte’s article: ‘We are fighting for our culture’: Ukrainian artists head to Venice Biennale

Tanya Los (L), 57, and her husband Valery, stand in their house near damage caused by a rocket, in the village of Mala Tomachka, near the southern front of fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces, south of Zaporizhzhia, on April 19, 2022.
Tanya Los (left), 57, and her husband Valery, stand in their house near damage caused by a rocket, in the village of Mala Tomachka, near the southern front of fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces, south of Zaporizhzhia. Photograph: Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

Today so far …

  • Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk has announced that a humanitarian corridor has been agreed to evacuate women, children and the elderly from the besieged southern port city of Mariupol. Ukraine is aiming to evacuate 6,000 civilians in 90 buses on a route to Zaporizhzhia via Berdyansk.
  • Russia has given the besieged port city a fresh ultimatum to surrender by 2pm today.
  • A commander for the Ukrainian marines fighting in the last stronghold of Mariupol said his forces were “maybe facing our last days, if not hours” and appealed for extraction in video message published to his Facebook account early on Wednesday morning.
  • Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has issued a stark message to western leaders, claiming if Ukraine had access to all the weapons it needs, the war would have “already ended” during his latest national address
  • The Russian ministry of defence says its forces hit 1,053 Ukrainian military facilities overnight, destroying 106 firing positions.
  • Russian forces have seized Kreminna in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region and Ukrainian troops have withdrawn from the city, the regional governor said. Kreminna, a city of more than 18,000 people about 350 miles (560km) south-east of Kyiv, appears to be the first city captured in a Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine.
  • Norway will donate 100 mistral air defence missiles to Ukraine, its defence ministry said in a statement.
  • Finland’s parliament will start debating whether to seek Nato membership today.
  • Western nations are preparing to stage coordinated walkouts and other diplomatic snubs in protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at a meeting of G20 finance ministers in Washington. The US treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, plans to avoid G20 sessions attended by Russian officials. The UK finance minister, Rishi Sunak, also will not attend certain sessions.
  • European Council president Charles Michel has travelled to Kyiv this morning. He arrived by train and was welcomed by Ukrainian deputy prime minister for European affairs and Euro-Atlantic integration Olga Stefanishyna. Michel is expected to meet Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy later today.

That is it from me, Martin Belam, for now. I will be back later. Léonie Chao-Fong will be with you for the next few hours.





Source link

Related post