- More civilians are expected to be evacuated from Mariupol on Monday, after scores were eventually rescued after weeks of being trapped under heavy fire at the vital port city's Azovstal steel complex.
- the facility has been under Russian blockade, with news of the horrific conditions in besieged Mariupol terrifying the globe as a war that has killed hundreds and displaced millions entered its third month.
More civilians are expected to be evacuated from Mariupol on Monday, after scores were eventually rescued after weeks of being trapped under heavy fire at the vital port city’s Azovstal steel complex.
Since Moscow’s invasion on February 24, the facility has been under Russian blockade, with news of the horrific conditions in besieged Mariupol terrifying the globe as a war that has killed hundreds and displaced millions entered its third month.
On Sunday, the United Nations said that a “safe passage operation” was underway at the Azovstal steel facility. Around 100 individuals have been evacuated from the besieged factory, according to Kyiv, and the International Committee of the Red Cross has claimed it is “actively engaged” in the operation.
“Those who wished to leave for territories held by the Kyiv administration were handed over to UN and ICRC (Red Cross) personnel,” Russia’s defence ministry said, citing a lower figure of 80 civilians.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised the successful operation in his daily speech to the nation, and indicated more evacuations were likely on Monday.
“We finally managed to start the evacuation of individuals from Azovstal today,” Zelenskyy said in a video message, adding that they will arrive in Ukraine-controlled Zaporizhzhia on Monday.
“On this land, there were two days of true truce for the first time. More than a hundred civilians have already been evacuated, the most of whom are women and children “Added he.
The evacuation would begin at 7:00 a.m. local time, according to the director of the Donetsk Regional Military Administration (0400 GMT).
According to a Russian news outlet, there are more than 500 individuals remaining inside the plant.
Civilians are fleeing, according to Moscow’s defence ministry, which released a video showing automobiles and buses driving in the dark, marked with a “Z,” the letter used by Russian forces in the fight.
According to the governors of Donetsk and Kharkiv, these forces continued their drive into eastern Ukraine on Sunday, murdering eight civilians in rocket attacks in Donetsk and Kharkiv.
After failing to conquer the capital Kyiv in the first few weeks of the war, Moscow’s army has refocused on the east, particularly the Donbas area, which encompasses Donetsk and Lugansk.
After Ukrainian forces retreated, Lyman, a historic railway hub known as the “red town” for its redbrick industrial buildings, is predicted to be one of the first places to collapse.
According to an AFP team in the vicinity, Russian soldiers looked to have made significant advances surrounding the town, pushing on their positions by several kilometres.
Shelling on residential areas in and around Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city, killed three more persons, regional governor Oleg Synegubov announced on Telegram.
According to AFP journalists who recently visited Kharkiv, the Ukrainian army has also withdrawn from the city, with its forces now stationed in distant areas.
Russia has taken steps to strengthen its grip on territories it controls, introducing the Russian ruble in the Kherson region on Sunday, originally to be used alongside the Ukrainian hryvnia.
“We will relocate to the ruble zone beginning May 1,” Kirill Stremousov, a civilian and military administrator in Kherson, was quoted previously by Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti as saying.
He claimed the hryvnia might be utilised for four months, after which “we will entirely move to ruble settlements.”
On the eastern front, Russian troops have moved cautiously but methodically, aided by a huge artillery barrage.
However, in recent days, Ukrainian forces have retaken some territory.
The village of Ruska Lozova, which had been occupied for two months, was one of the places reclaimed from Russian authority.
After arriving in Kharkiv, Natalia, a 28-year-old evacuee from Ruska Lozova, told AFP, “It was two months of awful anxiety, nothing else, a terrible and unrelenting fear.”
Kyiv has acknowledged that Russian soldiers have taken control of a string of settlements in the Donbas region and has requested more heavy weapons from Western nations to boost its defences there.
As his battalion rotated away from the front line in Sviatogirsk, Lieutenant Yevgen Samoylov of the 81st Brigade told AFP, “Everyone realises that we must guard the line here.”
“We can’t allow the enemy to get much closer. We are attempting to hold it with all of our might.
“As Russia’s assault on Ukraine grinds on, Western countries have sought to increase the pressure on Moscow, with sources telling AFP Sunday that the EU will propose a phased-out ban on Russian oil imports as part of a new wave of sanctions against Moscow.
According to diplomats, the European Commission, which draughts sanctions for the EU’s 27 member states, is presently compiling the wording, which could be presented to member states as early as Wednesday.
According to several diplomats, the oil restriction was made feasible by Germany’s policy U-turn, which had previously opposed the proposal, believing it to be too disruptive and potentially destructive to its economy.
On Saturday, US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi met with President Zelenskyy, becoming the highest-ranking US official to visit since the war began.
“Do not be bullied by bullies,” she warned reporters after returning from Ukraine at a news conference in Rzeszow, southern Poland, on Sunday.
“You can’t back down if they’re threatening you.
“She committed to implement US President Joe Biden’s $33 billion (31 billion euro) armaments and support package outlined last week.
Russia has been looking for strategies to counter increasing international criticism.
Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the lower house of parliament, indicated that Moscow could confiscate the assets of countries it considers hostile. “Taking reciprocal steps is fair,” he stated.