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Russia-Ukraine war latest: Mariupol ‘offered ceasefire’ for surrender; eastern city of Kreminna captured by Russia | Ukraine


16.10

Russia ‘offers Mariupol ceasefire’ so Ukrainians can surrender

The Russian defence ministry says it will offer a ceasefire in Mariupol on Wednesday to allow Ukrainian defenders holed up in the Azovstal steelworks to lay down their arms, Reuters reports.

Russia continued on Tuesday to shell the plant, where a “dwindling number” of Ukraine forces were still holding out. Video showed smoke rising from the complex.

The defence ministry said it would begin a ceasefire at 2pm Moscow time on Wednesday (11am GMT) to give the Ukraine fighters the opportunity to surrender and leave unharmed.

Reuters noted that Russia claimed to have made the same offer on Tuesday, but “not a single Ukrainian soldier had accepted”.

The Ukraine president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has promised that his forces in Mariupol would “fight to the end” and ignore any surrender ultimatums from Russia.

18.49

Situation in Mariupol ‘as severe as possible’, Zelenskiy says

The intensity of fire by Russian troops towards Kharkiv, the Donbas and in Dnipro has “increased significantly” and while the situation in Mariupol “remains unchanged” and “as severe as possible”, Zelenskiy added.

The situation in Mariupol remains unchanged – as severe as possible. The Russian army is blocking any efforts to organise humanitarian corridors and save our people. The occupiers are trying to carry out deportation or even mobilisation of the local residents who have fallen into their hands.

The fate of at least tens of thousands of Mariupol residents who were previously relocated to Russian-controlled territory is unknown.”

Zelenskiy continued to say Ukraine has not heard a response from Russia to an exchange offer, which he claimed could save the civilians and defenders of Mariupol.

In the south of our country, the occupiers are trying to demonstrate at least something that can be presented in Russia as the alleged readiness of Ukrainians to cooperate with Russian structures. It looks pathetic.”

18.40

‘If we had access to all the weapons we need .. we would have already ended this war’ – Zelenskiy

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 late on Tuesday evening.

If we had access to all the weapons we need, which our partners have and which are comparable to the weapons used by the Russian Federation, we would have already ended this war. We would have already restored peace and liberated our territory from the occupiers. Because the superiority of the Ukrainian military in tactics and wisdom is quite obvious …

It is unfair that Ukraine is still forced to ask for what its partners have been storing somewhere for years. If they have the weapons that Ukraine needs here, needs now, if they have the ammunition that we need here and now, it is their moral duty first of all to help protect freedom. Help save the lives of thousands of Ukrainians.

If we had received what we are getting now in the first week of the war, the benefit for Ukraine and for freedom in Europe would be greater, I am sure. And if we get what some partners plan to hand over to Ukraine in the coming weeks right now, it will save the lives of thousands of people.

I hope that the partners will hear this thesis and understand that every day matters. Any delay in helping Ukraine gives the occupiers an opportunity to kill more Ukrainians.”

18.17

Summary

Here are some of the key developments of the day:

  • The mayor of Kharkiv, Ihor Terekhov, said Russian forces have been engaged in a “non-stop bombardment of civilian districts” in Ukraine’s second city since Sunday. Four people, including three emergency workers, were killed on Tuesday, according to the Kharkiv mayor Ihor Terekhov. Separately, the prosecutor’s office for Kharkiv region said Russian rockets wounded 14 people in the city on Tuesday.
  • Russia has ordered 31 Dutch, Belgian and Austrian diplomats to leave the country as Moscow faces increased international isolation over its war in Ukraine. The decision came after the Netherlands, Belgium and Austria announced the expulsion of some Russian diplomats.
  • Joe Biden will announce another military aid package for Ukraine roughly the same size as the $800m one the US president announced last week, multiple sources told Reuters, which would bring total US aid to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion to more than $3bn.
  • A Russian businessman, Oleg Tinkov, has spoken out against the “crazy” war in Ukraine and described supporters of Moscow’s military actions as “morons”. In an Instagram post, Tinkov, who has been sanctioned by the UK government, said “90% of Russians are against” the war.

Samantha Lock will have more on the war in Ukraine, so stay tuned.

17.50

Some good news for one cat owner in Ukraine. A woman in Bucha was reunited with her cat after after being separated for a month and a half, Hromadske Radio reports.

This woman from Bucha found her cat Sima after 45 days of separation. The cat escaped when they were evacuating in early March. The woman has been coming to her house in search of the cat since last week, and finally today Sima was there, exhausted but alive.
📷 A. Horpinchenko pic.twitter.com/1uoTDSFJET

— Olga Tokariuk (@olgatokariuk) April 19, 2022

17.38

Biden ‘to announce another $800m military aid package’

Joe Biden will announce another military aid package for Ukraine roughly the same size as the $800m one the US president announced last week, multiple sources told Reuters.

Last week, the White House said it would send Ukraine $800m in aid, including artillery systems, artillery rounds, armored personnel carriers and unmanned coastal defense boats. The details of the latest package, first reported by NBC News, are still being worked out, a US official said.

This week’s aid package would bring the total US military aid to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion to more than $3bn.

17.09

Joe Biden says he does not know if he will visit Kyiv.

The US president told reporters at an event in New Hampshire that he’s been to Ukraine many times, but is unsure if he will go to Kyiv.

Joe Biden speaks to reporters in New Hampshire.
Joe Biden speaks to reporters in New Hampshire. Photograph: Amanda Sabga/UPI/REX/Shutterstock

Volodymyr Zelenskiy has urged Biden to come to Ukraine, telling CNN: “It’s his decision, of course, and [it] depends on the safety situation, of course. But I think he’s the leader of the United States and that’s why he should come here to see.”

Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said in a briefing on Monday there are no plans for the president to visit the Ukrainian capital. The White House has said it wants to send a high-ranking official and is considering the secretary of state, Antony Blinken, or the defense secretary, Lloyd Austin.

Meanwhile, multiple sources have told Reuters that the US president will announce another large aid package for Ukraine.

16.56

Russia ​expels more ​European diplomats

Russia has ordered 31 Dutch, Belgian and Austrian diplomats to leave the country as Moscow faces increased international isolation over its war in Ukraine, AFP reports.

The Russian foreign ministry declared 15 diplomats from the Netherlands “persona non grata”, giving them two weeks to leave – the same deadline given to 12 Belgian embassy staff. Russian officials gave four Austrian diplomats until Sunday to leave.

AFP described Russia’s expulsion of European diplomats as a “tit-for-tat move”. The decision came after the Netherlands, Belgium and Austria announced the expulsion of some Russian diplomats. The Russian foreign ministry called a decision by the Netherlands to expel Moscow envoys “groundless” and Belgium’s move to kick out 21 Russian envoys last month “provocative”.

Belgium warned Russia’s “totally unjustified and unfounded” move would increase the country’s “international diplomatic isolation”.

“We are now going to see what consequences will arise from the fact that so many colleagues have to leave Moscow and Saint Petersburg,” Wopke Hoekstra, the Dutch foreign minister, said.

More expulsions are expected after decisions by Germany and France to each send home 40 of Moscow’s envoys.

I’m Dani Anguiano and I’ll be covering the latest developments from the war in Ukraine over the next few hours.

16.10

Russia ‘offers Mariupol ceasefire’ so Ukrainians can surrender

The Russian defence ministry says it will offer a ceasefire in Mariupol on Wednesday to allow Ukrainian defenders holed up in the Azovstal steelworks to lay down their arms, Reuters reports.

Russia continued on Tuesday to shell the plant, where a “dwindling number” of Ukraine forces were still holding out. Video showed smoke rising from the complex.

The defence ministry said it would begin a ceasefire at 2pm Moscow time on Wednesday (11am GMT) to give the Ukraine fighters the opportunity to surrender and leave unharmed.

Reuters noted that Russia claimed to have made the same offer on Tuesday, but “not a single Ukrainian soldier had accepted”.

The Ukraine president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has promised that his forces in Mariupol would “fight to the end” and ignore any surrender ultimatums from Russia.

15.40

A Ukrainian journalist sentenced to six years in a Russian labour camp will be honoured next month at a gala hosted in the US by the literary and human rights advocacy group PEN America.

Vladyslav Yesypenko was arrested last year in Crimea and sentenced for alleged possession and transport of explosives. His supporters say the freelance correspondent for Krym.Realii project, a Crimean radio program run by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, confessed only after being tortured and threatened with execution.

PEN America will celebrate Yesypenko, 53, as this year’s recipient of the PEN/Barbey freedom to write award in recognition of his work on a video report documenting how life had changed in Crimea since the Russian occupation began in 2014.

Activists call for the release of jailed journalist Vladyslav Yesypenko at a rally in Kyiv last year.
Activists call for the release of jailed journalist Vladyslav Yesypenko at a rally in Kyiv last year. Photograph: Ukrinform/REX/Shutterstock

“Since February, the horrors of Russia’s war on Ukraine have been laid bare for all the world to see. But Russia’s campaign to suffocate Ukraine dates back much further, and intensified in 2014 with the illegal occupation of the Crimean peninsula,” Suzanne Nossel, chief executive of PEN America, said in a statement, according to the Associated Press.

“Indomitable reporters like Vladyslav Yesypenko have provided a portal to enable the world to see Russian occupation for what it is, an exercise of force aimed to stifle the will of free people.”

While in detention, Yesypenko wrote a letter in which he contended that “nothing shows the ugly nature of the occupying power as the constant filling of the cells with new people who were detained on fabricated evidence.”

His wife, Kateryna Yesypenko, will accept the award on his behalf during the 23 May gala at the museum of natural history in Manhattan, New York.

15.16

Boris Johnson reiterated a “critical need” for further military support for Ukraine in his earlier video call with Joe Biden and other world leaders.

Downing Street’s account of the video call was broadly similar to the statement from the White House, which said the allies reaffirmed their commitment to support Ukraine as it faced a Russian onslaught in the east of the country.

Leaders on the call included France’s Emmanuel Macron, Germany’s Olaf Scholz, Canada’s Justin Trudeau, the Nato secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, and the European Commission leader, Ursula von der Leyen.

Johnson, the Downing Street readout said, gave them an update following his visit to Kyiv earlier this month.

He underscored the critical need for further military support to Ukraine in the face of a major Russian offensive in the Donbas and ongoing attacks elsewhere.

The leaders agreed to work together to find a long-term security solution so that Ukraine could never be attacked in this way again. They discussed the need to increase the pressure on Russia with more sanctions against Putin’s war machine, as well as further diplomatic isolation.

The prime minister welcomed President Biden’s leadership, and the allies agreed to work closely together in the weeks and months to come.

Meanwhile, a new British military analysis, Reuters reports, indicates that Russia is continuing to ramp up its shelling and strikes on the Donbas line of control, with Ukrainians “repelling numerous attempted advances by Russian forces.

“Russia’s ability to progress continues to be impacted by the environmental, logistical and technical challenges that have beset them so far, combined with the resilience of the highly-motivated Ukrainian armed forces.”

14.29

Officials in Kharkiv are reporting another round of deaths and injuries from “non-stop” Russian shelling of the city, separate from an earlier incident that killed at least four.

Four people, including three emergency workers, were killed on Tuesday, according to the Kharkiv mayor Ihor Terekhov, and reported by Reuters.

Terekhov said on Ukraine TV on Tuesday evening that the emergency service officials had died while trying to defuse unexploded Russian munitions. Earlier, he said the Russian military was engaged in a “non-stop bombardment of civilian areas”.

Separately, the prosecutor’s office for Kharkiv region said four people were killed and 14 wounded by Russian rockets in the city on Tuesday.

In a Facebook posting, the region prosecutor’s office said more than 10 residential buildings were damaged, as well as garages and a supermarket.





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