Ukraine war: Russia resumes attack on Mariupol steel plant after evacuations, says Ukraine commander

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an undated video provided Sunday, May 1, 2022 by the Azov Special Forces Regiment of the Ukrainian National Guard shows people at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol.

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Renewed attempts are expected to evacuate civilians from a massive steel plant in Mariupol, once again reportedly under attack from Russian bombardment. 

The European Union could announce a sixth round of sanctions against Russia, covering oil imports, as early as Tuesday.

Follow the latest updates in our live blog below, and watch Euronews TV coverage in the video player above.

06:47

Tuesday’s key points:

    Russia has restarted its bombardment of a massive steel plant in Mariupol, including parts where hundreds of civilians remain trapped, according to a Ukrainian commander.Attempted evacuations are due to resume from Mariupol, backed by the UN and the ICRC, local authorities say. Despite an operation to take evacuees to safety, the first convoy had yet to reach safety in Zaporizhzhia on Monday night. A strike on the city of Odesa on Monday evening killed a teenage boy, officials say.The US says Russia is planning to annex a large part of Eastern Ukraine this month, hold “sham elections” and recognise Kherson as an independent republic.The European Commission could announce as early as Tuesday a sixth round of EU sanctions against Russia including a phased reduction in oil imports. Germany says it’s not against an embargo. EU energy ministers meeting in Brussels are seeking unity over Moscow’s demand that European buyers pay for Russian gas in roubles.UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to address the Ukrainian parliament via videolink on Tuesday, the first Western leader to do so since the Russian invasion. He’s expected to announce £300 million (€357 million) in military aid for Ukraine.More than 1 million people, including nearly 200,000 children, have been taken from Ukraine to Russia since the Russian invasion began, Russia’s Defence Ministry said Monday, according to the state-owned news agency TASS.UEFA has increased its sanctions on Russia over the invasion of Ukraine by ejecting the country from more football competitions.There’s been international outrage at comments by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov who said “Hitler also had Jewish origins” as he tried to justify Russia’s stated aims to ‘denazify’ Ukraine, claiming Nazis could still be running the country even if President Zelenskyy is Jewish. 

07:38

Russia ‘planning to annex’ much of eastern Ukraine, says US official

A senior U.S. official says the United States believed Russia is planning this month to annex large portions of eastern Ukraine and recognize the southern city of Kherson as an independent republic.

Michael Carpenter, the U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said Monday that the suspected actions are “straight out of the Kremlin’s playbook” and will not be recognized by the United States or its partners and allies.

Carpenter said the U.S. and others have information that Russia is planning “sham referenda” in the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics” that would attach the entities to Russia. He also said there were signs that Russia would engineer an independence vote in the city of Kherson.

“We believe that the Kremlin may try to hold sham referenda to try to add a veneer of democratic or electoral legitimacy and this is straight out of the Kremlin’s playbook,” he said, adding that the information suggested the votes could come as early as mid-May. “Such sham referenda, fabricated votes will not be considered legitimate, nor will any attempts to annex additional Ukrainian territory,” he said.

Carpenter did not detail the information that led to the assessment, although there have been public reports that Russia is moving to exert greater control over areas that it already controls and occupies in eastern and southern Ukraine. He pointed to evidence that local mayors and legislators there have been abducted, that internet and cell phone service had been severed and that Russian school curricula is soon to be imposed.

(AP)

07:32

Boris Johnson to address Ukrainian parliament

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is scheduled to address Ukraine’s parliament on Tuesday, the first Western leader to do so.

Johnson’s office says the UK leader will announce a new £300 million (€357 million) package of military aid to Ukraine when he speaks to the legislature by video link. Britain has already sent Ukraine equipment including missiles and missile launchers. The new package includes electronic warfare equipment, a counter battery radar system, GPS jamming equipment and thousands of night vision devices.

In advance extracts of the address released by the prime minister’s office, Johnson evokes a 1940 speech by World War II leader Winston Churchill as the UK fought attack from Nazi Germany. Johnson will say that “the British people showed such unity and resolve that we remember our time of greatest peril as our finest hour. This is Ukraine’s finest hour, an epic chapter in your national story that will be remembered and recounted for generations to come.”

Ukrainian President Volydymyr Zelenskyy addressed Britain’s Parliament on March 8, and also likened his country’s struggle to Britain’s fight against the Nazis. Johnson visited Kyiv on April 9.

(AP)

07:25

Zaporizhzhia awaits evacuees amid confusion over their fate

In Zaporizhzhia, 200 km to the northwest of Mariupol, a car park transformed into a reception point for refugees, with two armored 4x4s from Unicef and other vehicles from international NGOs, saw no convoy arrive from the besieged port city on Monday night.

Mariupol Deputy Mayor Sergei Orlov told the BBC that the evacuees were making slow progress and would probably not arrive in Zaporizhzhia on Monday as hoped. Authorities gave no explanation for the delay.

At least some of the civilians were apparently taken to a village controlled by Russia-backed separatists. The Russian military said some chose to stay in separatist areas, while dozens left for Ukrainian-held territory.

In the past, Ukraine has accused Moscow’s troops of taking civilians against their will to Russia or Russian-controlled areas. The Kremlin has denied it.

(AFP, AP)

07:18

Russian forces ‘resume fire on Azovstal plant’ 

“After the partial evacuation of civilians from the territory of Azovstal, the enemy continues to fire on the territory of the plant, including buildings where civilians are hiding,” a commander of Ukraine’s Azov battalion said on Monday night.

According to Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk, “hundreds of civilians” remain “blocked in Azovstal”.

A Ukrainian fighter holed up the city of Mariupol said on Monday that up to 200 civilians remained trapped inside bunkers in the Azovstal steel works after an evacuation operation led by the United Nations to save civilians from the site.

Evacuations should resume Tuesday morning with the support of the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Mariupol, the local council said.

(AFP, Reuters)

06:17

Good morning, this is Alasdair Sandford with Tuesday’s updates on the war in Ukraine.

For a summary of Monday’s developments, click here.

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