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War in Ukraine: Latest developments

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W460

 

Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:

– A deadly day – 

In one of a series of assaults in Ukraine’s east, 21 civilians are killed and another 28 wounded in the Donetsk region, local authorities say.

Ten of the 21 dead are killed in the shelling of the Avdiivka coke plant, according to regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko, who calls the daily death toll the highest since a Russian strike on a train station in Kramatorsk about a month ago.

– Evacuees reach Zaporizhzhia – 

More than 150 people are extracted in evacuation operations in the long-besieged port city of Mariupol, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksky says in a daily address.

“Today, 156 people arrived in (the Ukrainian-held city) Zaporizhzhia. Women and children. They have been in shelters for more than two months,” Zelensky says.

– EU preparing more sanctions –

European officials are preparing a new package of sanctions against Russia, but some EU states are jockeying to opt out of an oil embargo.

The package, which needs unanimous approval, would phase in a ban on Russian oil imports over six to eight months, but Hungary and Slovakia — both highly reliant on Moscow’s supplies, will be allowed to take a few months longer, EU officials have told AFP.

– Biden sees battle for democracy – 

U.S. President Joe Biden tells workers at an Alabama munitions factory they should be “proud” of their work producing Javelin missiles, the bane of Russian tanks fighting in Ukraine. 

He goes on to describe the war as part of a wider contest between democracies and autocracies worldwide that includes China.

– Attack on Azovstal –

Russian forces launch a “powerful assault” on the Azovstal plant, Ukraine’s army says. The Kremlin says its forces, along with  pro-Moscow Ukrainian separatists, are using artillery and planes to target the site.

– Putin demands end to Ukraine arms deliveries –

Russian President Vladimir Putin tells French counterpart Emmanuel Macron the West must stop supplying weapons to Ukraine and accuses Kyiv of not taking talks to end the conflict seriously, the Kremlin says.

Accusing Ukrainian forces of committing war crimes, Putin tells Macron “the West could help stop these atrocities by putting relevant pressure on the Kyiv authorities, as well as halting the supply of weapons to Ukraine.”

– Johnson salutes Ukraine, promises fresh aid – 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces another $376 million in UK military aid for Ukraine and hails the country’s resistance to Russia as its “finest hour.”

In a video link address to the Ukrainian parliament, the first by a foreign leader since Russia invaded on February 24, Johnson says the Ukrainians were fighting “with the energy and courage of lions.”

– Pope seeks Putin talks –

Pope Francis says he has requested a meeting with Putin in Moscow but has heard nothing back. The pontiff tells Italy’s Corriere Della Sera newspaper he made the request in March but “I fear that Putin cannot, and does not, want to have this meeting at this time.”

“I’m not going to Kyiv for now … I have to go to Moscow first, I have to meet Putin first,” he says.

– Israel slams Lavrov Hitler comments –

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid slams his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov for alleging Adolf Hitler may have “had Jewish blood” in a bid to discredit Kyiv.

Lavrov’s comments — which invoke a conspiracy theory exploiting a gap in the dictator’s ancestry — see Israel summon Moscow’s ambassador for “clarifications” and condemn the “unforgivable and outrageous statement.”

Moscow in turn accuses Israel of supporting “the neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv.”

– Top Russian general visits Ukraine –

Russia’s top general, Valery Gerasimov, visited the Donbas front in the Ukraine war last week, a Pentagon official says, but reports that he was injured in a Ukrainian attack could not be confirmed.

– Russian clubs banned from Champions League –

Russian clubs are banned by UEFA from participating in the Champions League and all other European competitions next season, European football’s governing body announces.

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