USA Updates Mariupol on the verge; Zelensky pleads for help
The Russian military said it would spare Ukrainian soldiers in the besieged city of Mariupol if they surrender by 6 a.m. on Sunday. Describing the conditions there as “disappointing”, the defense ministry offered a ceasefire “out of purely humanitarian principles”, Russian news agency Tass reported.
“Those who continue to resist will be destroyed,” said Major General Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry. He said intercepted communications indicated that there were about 400 foreign mercenaries accompanying Ukrainian troops at the Azovstal steel mill. The claim could not be independently verified.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Saturday the situation in Mariupol was “inhumane” after six weeks of fighting against relentless Russian forces.
Ukrainians defending the port city face a shortage of weapons and supplies, and civilians still remain in a situation that has long been dire. Zelensky said Russia is “deliberately trying to destroy everyone,” and added that the fate of the city will be important whether talks can end the fighting.
Zelensky said he spoke with the leaders of Britain and Sweden on Saturday and discussed how best to help the forces defending Mariupol.
He said in his nightly video address to the nation, “Either our allies immediately give Ukraine all the necessary heavy weapons, aircraft and, without exaggeration, so we can reduce the pressure on the Mariupol occupiers and break the blockade.” can.” “Or we do so through dialogue, in which the role of our partners must be decisive.”
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Italy is barring all Russian ships from its ports from Sunday as part of expanded EU sanctions announced earlier this month. Ships already in Italian ports must leave immediately “after completing their commercial activity”, according to notices sent to port authorities throughout the country.
A regional governor said Russian forces opened fire on an oil refinery in the Ukrainian city of Lisichansk on Saturday.
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson and 12 other British officials have been banned from entering Russia, Russia’s foreign ministry announced on Saturday, citing “unprecedented hostile actions” by the UK government.
LONDON – Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has called on Russia to declare a ceasefire and withdraw from Ukraine in his Easter sermon.
The leader of the Anglican Church said that Easter is a time of peace and not “blood and iron”.
Noting that many in Russia and Ukraine in the Eastern Orthodox Church mark the start of Holy Week on Sunday – the week leading up to Easter – he said, “It is time for a Russian ceasefire, withdrawal and commitment to dialogue.”
Welby said that God “hears the cries of mothers in Ukraine, he sees boys’ fear of becoming soldiers, and he knows the vulnerability of orphans and refugees.”
– The Associated Press
Vatican City – In an Easter Sunday message to the world but focusing heavily on Ukraine, Pope Francis raised two concerns – the risk of nuclear war and the world going unnoticed by other armed conflicts.
In a speech from the balcony of St Peter’s Basilica, the Pope referred to a declaration by scientists in the 1950s in which he raised the question: “Shall we put an end to mankind, or will mankind give up war?”
The Pope has repeatedly made painful arguments for a ceasefire and talks to end the war in Ukraine. In his Easter message, Francis lamented that “many of our brothers and sisters have had to lock themselves in to be safe from the bombings.”
He hoped that the war in Europe would “make us more concerned about conflict, suffering and other situations of sorrow” in situations “that we cannot ignore and do not wish to forget.” The places he cited were Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. He pulled out Yemen from a conflict “forgotten by all, with constant victims”.
– The Associated Press
Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehmer last week met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the first EU leader to do so since the February 24 invasion of Ukraine.
Nehamer visiting Ukraine and President Volodymyr Zelensky ahead of his visit to Moscow, Told NBC News to “meet the press” In an interview broadcast on Sunday that it was a “frank and difficult” conversation, including a discussion of “war crimes”, Nehamer said he witnessed in Buka, Ukraine.
The Austrian leader said that Putin said he would “cooperate with the international investigation on the one hand, and on the other, he told me he did not trust the Western world.”
“So it was a difficult discussion between each other. But I tried to convince them that, for example, the former Yugoslavian war showed us that international investigations are useful for prosecuting war criminals,” Nehmer said.
Nehamer, who said his country is now home to 58,000 Ukrainian refugees, said Putin uses “his own war logic” but understands “what is happening in Ukraine” and “believes that he winning the war.”
— Katie Waddington
Ukrainians attempted to evacuate amid continued Russian shelling
Russian shelling made it difficult for Ukrainians to clear humanitarian corridors on Saturday, according to Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk.
Vereshchuk said 1,449 Ukrainians managed to evacuate on Saturday. She said that 1,381 people made it to the Zaporizhzhya region using their own transport, including 170 from the besieged city of Mariupol. But it was impossible to evacuate people from Lisichansk in eastern Ukraine because of “dense and massive shelling,” Vereshchuk said.
Russian forces continued to attack several areas of Ukraine over the weekend, raising the number of dead and wounded.
For Ukrainians, agreed humanitarian corridors could be a lifeline out of danger zones. They are specific routes where it is agreed to stop fighting to allow aid to come and civilian evacuees to go out, but Ukrainian officials have stated that Russian forces have been there on several occasions since the corridors were established. is continuing.
– Jeanine Santucci
Russia promised to resume its attacks on military bases in the capital of Kyiv, but Ukrainian officials said Friday and Saturday saw strikes in several areas, killing at least half a dozen and wounding dozens.
Russia’s bombing of cities around Ukraine on Saturday included an explosion in Kharkiv that destroyed a community kitchen set up by celebrity chef Jose Andres’ World Central Kitchen. Associated Press reporters present at the scene saw the apparent missile attack shortly after. Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov said three people were killed and 34 wounded in missile attacks on that city alone on Saturday.
One person was killed and several others were injured in a missile attack in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv in the early hours of Saturday. The southern Mykolaiv area was battered on Friday and Saturday. Five people were killed and 15 injured in airstrikes on Friday, according to the presidential office. The head of the regional legislature, Hannah Zamazyeva, said on Saturday that 39 people had been injured in the past 24 hours.
Ukraine’s presidential office said on Saturday that the missile strikes and shelling took place in eight regions: Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv in the east, Dnipropetrovsk, Poltava and Kirovohrad in central Ukraine and Mykolaiv and Kherson in the south.
– Jeanine Santucci
Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk said in televised remarks on Saturday that 700 Ukrainian soldiers and more than 1,000 civilians – more than half women – are currently being held captive by Russians.
Vereshchuk said that Kyiv intends to swap captive soldiers, as Ukraine has the same number of Russian troops, but calls for civilians to be released “without any conditions”.
– The Associated Press