Ukraine war: No humanitarian corridors on Sunday due to lack of agreement with Russia, says Kyiv

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People wait for a bus to flee from the city of Kramatorsk, Ukraine, that has been under attack in the last days, Friday, April 15, 2022.

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Russian forces are expected to begin a new big offensive in the east of the country after their retreat from the Kyiv region and other parts of the country.

Despite Moscow’s blanket denials, horrific discoveries of civilian murders, torture and other barbaric acts by Russian troops continue coming to light.

Ukraine has continued to call for tighter Western nations against Moscow and for more weapons to repel Putin’s forces.

Follow Sunday’s events in our live blog below, and watch our TV coverage in the video player above.

10:19

Sunday’s key points:

    Russia has given Ukrainian soldiers in Mariupol an ultimatum to “surrender or die” as they close in on the last remaining forces still holding out.Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy has warned Russia not to “eliminate” the last Ukrainian troops in the besieged port city, or it would mean the end of peace talks.Ukrainian authorities announced the suspension of humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of civilians from eastern Ukraine on Sunday, due to the lack of an agreement with the Russian army on a ceasefire.Russia’s defence ministry said on Sunday that it had bombed a military factory on the outskirts of Kyiv, as Moscow intensifies its attacks on the Ukrainian capital.The Russian defence ministry released a video on Saturday purporting to show a meeting between the head of the navy and survivors of the cruiser Moskva, which sank in the Black Sea last week.Pope Francis invoked “gestures of peace in these days marked by the horror of war” in an Easter vigil homily Saturday in St. Peter’s Basilica.Bulgaria has banned Russian-flagged ships from entering its Black Sea ports as part of expanded EU sanctions, authorities said on Sunday.Russia has banned UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and several other leading politicians from entering the country.

11:33

Mariupol: Russia vows to spare Ukrainian troops if they surrender

The Russian military has told Ukrainian troops in the besieged port of Mariupol that if they lay down their weapons they will be “guaranteed to keep their lives.”

The Russian Defence Ministry made the announcement early Sunday. Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev said that the Ukrainians encircled at the giant Azovstal steel factory were given until 13.00 local time (10.00 GMT, 12.00 CET) to surrender.

It was the latest such offer to the Ukrainian defenders of the key Sea of Azov port during a siege that has lasted for more than 1½ months. Capturing Mariupol is a key strategic goal for Russia, allowing it to secure a land corridor to Crimea, which was annexed by Moscow in 2014. The fall of Mariupol would also free the Russian forces involved in the siege for a planned offensive in Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland called Donbas.

The giant Azovstal steel mill that covers an area of more than 11 square kilometres is the last major section of Mariupol still under Ukrainian control.

Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said on Saturday that about 2,500 Ukrainian troops remain at Azovstal, a claim that couldn’t be independently verified. The Ukrainian officials didn’t mention any numbers for the city defenders.

(AP)

11:14

Russian navy commander ‘meets Moskva crew’

The Russian defence ministry released a video on Saturday purporting to show a meeting between the head of the navy and survivors of the cruiser Moskva, which sank in the Black Sea last week.

In the video lasting about 30 seconds, a few dozen men wearing sailor uniforms are seen standing to attention before Admiral Nikolay Yevmenov and other commanders.

The Moskva sank off the coast of Odesa on Thursday after it was heavily damaged. Ukrainian officials said their forces hit the vessel with missiles, a claim backed by the Pentagon.

Moscow did not acknowledge any attack, saying only that a fire had detonated ammunition on board.

Some 500 Russian sailors were reportedly on the Moskva when it was hit. Ukraine suggested there were likely to have been fatalities.

Read more:

Will the sinking of the Moskva impact the Ukraine war?

What impact will the sinking of the Russian Moskva warship have on the war in Ukraine? #EuropeNews

11:04

Putin ‘thinks he is winning the war’, says Austria’s Nehammer

Austria’s chancellor said after meeting with Vladimir Putin in Moscow last week that the Russian president is “in his own war logic” when it comes to Ukraine.

Karl Nehammer told NBC in an interview that he thinks Putin believes he is winning the war. Nehammer was the first European leader to meet Putin in Moscow since Russia launched its invasion on Feb. 24. He said “we have to look in his eyes and we have to confront him with that, what we see in Ukraine.’’

Before arriving in Moscow last Monday, Nehammer had visited Bucha, Ukraine, the town outside of Kyiv where graphic evidence of killings and torture has emerged following the withdrawal of Russian forces.

Nehammer told “Meet the Press” that he confronted Putin with what he had seen in Bucha, and “it was not a friendly conversation.”

He said Putin said “he will cooperate with an international investigation, on one hand, and on the other hand, he told me that he doesn’t trust the Western world. So this will be the problem now in the future.”

(AP)

10:59

Ukraine politicians attend Pope’s Easter homily

Pope Francis invoked “gestures of peace in these days marked by the horror of war” in an Easter vigil homily Saturday in St. Peter’s Basilica, attended by the mayor of the occupied Ukrainian city of Melitopol and three Ukrainian parliamentarians.

The pontiff noted that while “many writers have evoked the beauty of starlit nights, the nights of war, however, are riven by streams of light that portend death.”

Francis’s call for an Easter truce in order to reach a negotiated peace appeared in vain Saturday, as Russia resumed missile and rocket attacks on Kyiv, western Ukraine and beyond in a reminder that the whole country remains under threat.

At the end of his homily, Francis directly addressed directly Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov and Ukrainian lawmakers Maria Mezentseva, Olena Khomenko and Rusem Umerov, who sat in the front row.

“In this darkness of war, in the cruelty, we are all praying for you and with you this night. We are praying for all the suffering. We can only give you our company, our prayer,’’ Francis said, then with emotion he added that “the biggest thing you can receive: Christ is risen,” the last three words in Ukrainian.

(AP)

10:57

Zelenskyy consults British and Swedish leaders

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he spoke Saturday with the leaders of Britain and Sweden about how best to help those defending Mariupol and the tens of thousands of civilians trapped inside the besieged city.

Mariupol’s fate can be decided either through battle or diplomacy, he said after the conversations with Boris Johnson and Magdalena Andersson.

“Either our partners give Ukraine all of the necessary heavy weapons, the planes, and without exaggeration immediately, so we can reduce the pressure of the occupiers on Mariupol and break the blockade,” he said in his nightly video address to the nation. “Or we do so through negotiations, in which the role of our partners should be decisive.” (AP)

10:53

Bulgaria bans Russian-flagged ships from Black Sea ports

Bulgaria has banned Russian-flagged ships from entering its Black Sea ports as part of expanded EU sanctions, the country’s Maritime Administration announced on its website on Sunday.

“All vessels registered under Russian flag, as well as all vessels that have switched their Russian flag, or flag or maritime register registration to any other state whatsoever after Feb. 24, are forbidden access to Bulgarian maritime and river ports,” the authority said.

Exceptions will be made only for ships in distress or seeking humanitarian assistance, or ships transporting energy products, food and pharmaceuticals to EU countries.

(AP)

10:49

Russia claims to have hit ammunition plant near Kyiv

Russia’s defence ministry announced on Sunday that it had bombed a military factory on the outskirts of Kyiv, as Moscow intensifies its attacks on the Ukrainian capital.

“Overnight, high-precision missiles launched by aircraft destroyed an ammunition factory near Brovary in the Kyiv region,” the ministry said in a statement on its Telegram channel.

Brovary Mayor Igor Sapojko said “some infrastructure was hit” in the early hours of Sunday.

An AFP journalist on the spot did not observe any destruction, smoke or fire.

Over the past three days, Russian forces have carried out several strikes on military factories in Kyiv and its region. 

At the end of March, Russia announced that it was withdrawing its troops from northern Ukraine, including the capital region, to concentrate its forces in the Donbas region in the east of the country.

(AFP)

10:46

Mariupol close to falling as Russia issues surrender ultimatum

Mariupol, the last stronghold of Ukrainian troops in the south-east of the country, is very close to falling.

Russia has given Ukrainian soldiers in the area, a chilling ultimatum to “surrender or die”.

Read more here and watch our report:

Mariupol close to falling as Russia issues surrender ultimatum

Russia has given Ukrainian soldiers in the besieged port city an ultimatum to “surrender or die”. Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy says he will scrap peace talks if they are killed.

10:44

Humanitarian corridors halted over ‘lack of ceasefire agreement’

Ukrainian authorities announced on Sunday the suspension of humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of civilians from eastern Ukraine, over the lack of an agreement with the Russian army on a ceasefire.

“This morning, we failed to negotiate a ceasefire on evacuation routes with the occupiers. That is why, unfortunately, we are not going to open humanitarian corridors today,” Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Telegram.

“We are sparing no effort to get humanitarian corridors back to work as soon as possible,” she added.

Vereshchuk also demanded the opening of an evacuation route for wounded soldiers from the city of Mariupol, devastated by the fighting.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned on Saturday that the “elimination” of the last Ukrainian soldiers present in Mariupol “would put an end to any peace negotiations” with Moscow.

(AFP)

For a summary of Saturday’s developments as they unfolded, click here.

Additional sources • Reuters

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