Firefighters work to extinguish multiple fires after a Russian attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Saturday, April 16, 2022.
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.
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Sunday’s key points:
The content of the article:
- 1 Sunday’s key points:
- 2 ‘5 dead and 13 injured’ in new rocket attacks on Kharkiv
- 3 Pope evokes nuclear war and forgotten conflicts in Easter message
- 4 Russia vows to ‘destroy’ Ukrainian troops refusing to surrender in Mariupol
- 5 Zelenskyy: Russia ‘trying to destroy everyone’ in Mariupol
- 6 Russia claims to have hit ammunition plant near Kyiv
- 7 Mariupol: Russia vows to spare Ukrainian troops if they surrender
- 8 Russian navy commander ‘meets Moskva crew’
- 9 Putin ‘thinks he is winning the war’, says Austria’s Nehammer
- 10 Ukraine politicians attend Pope’s Easter homily
- 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 accused Russia of deliberately trying to destroy everyone in the besieged port city. Earlier he warned Moscow not to “eliminate” the last Ukrainian troops, or it would mean the end of peace talks.Several casualties have been reported in a new rocket attack on Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine. Russia’s defence ministry said on Sunday that it had bombed a military factory at Brovary on the outskirts of Kyiv, as Moscow intensifies its attacks on the Ukrainian capital.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.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.
‘5 dead and 13 injured’ in new rocket attacks on Kharkiv
At least five people were killed and 13 injured on Sunday in a series of strikes on Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city in the northeast, emergency services told AFP.
AFP journalists heard two bursts of gunfire and saw five fires spreading through residential areas in the centre of the city. Fire trucks were crossing the city in all directions to reach the burning apartments.
In the moments after the strikes, a sense of panic was noticeable in the streets, with pedestrians fleeing and cars speeding away.
At one location, AFP saw a bloodstained coat next to a pool of fresh blood on the floor. A resident said he heard between six and eight missiles fall.
AP journalists in Kharkiv report that the barrage slammed into apartment buildings and left broken glass, debris and part of at least one rocket scattered on the street. Several apartments caught fire, with firefighters and residents scrambling to douse the flames.
At least two bodies were seen, and four other people were injured, though the scale of the attack suggested the casualty toll could rise further.
Russian shelling on Saturday sparked fires on several buildings in the city centre, destroying a kitchen providing free meals to residents. Regional governor Oleg Sinegoubov said he had recorded three dead and 31 injured, including four children — this in addition to 10 killed and 35 injured in Russian shelling of a Kharkiv residential area on Friday.
(AFP / AP)
Pope evokes nuclear war and forgotten conflicts in Easter message
In an Easter Sunday message aimed at the world but heavily focused on Ukraine, Pope Francis raised two worries — the risk of nuclear warfare and that other armed conflicts on the globe will go unnoticed.
In a speech from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, the pope quoted a declaration from scientists in the 1950s in which they posed the question: “Shall we put an end to the human race, or shall mankind renounce war?”
The pope has repeatedly made anguished pleas for a cease-fire and negotiations to end the war in Ukraine. In his Easter message, Francis lamented that “so many of our brothers and sisters have had to lock themselves away in order to be safe from bombing.”
He expressed hope that the war in Europe will “also make us more concerned about other situations of conflict, suffering and sorrow” in situations “that we cannot overlook and do not want to forget.” Among the places he cited were Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. He singled out Yemen, suffering from a conflict “forgotten by all, with continuous victims.”
Russia vows to ‘destroy’ Ukrainian troops refusing to surrender in Mariupol
The Russian military has warned that Ukrainian troops refusing to surrender in the besieged port of Mariupol will be destroyed.
The Russian Defense Ministry gave the Ukrainians at Mariupol’s giant Azovstal steel mill until 1 p.m. Sunday (1000 GMT) to surrender, saying that those who put down their weapons will be “guaranteed to keep their lives.”
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said that the Ukrainian military command had banned its troops from surrendering. He said the Russian military received the information from intercepted communications.
Konashenkov warned that “all those who will continue resistance will be destroyed.”
He claimed that along with Ukrainian troops, there are about 400 foreign mercenaries encircled at Azovstal, most of them from European countries and Canada, communicating in six languages, according to intercepts. Konashenkov’s claim couldn’t be independently verified.
Zelenskyy: Russia ‘trying to destroy everyone’ in Mariupol
Russian forces pummelled a hulking steel plant that held the last pocket of resistance Sunday in Mariupol, a southern Ukraine city that has suffered under siege for six weeks and whose capture would aid Moscow’s plans for a full-scale offensive in the country’s east.
With the last Ukrainian fighters in Mariupol refusing to surrender, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia “is deliberately trying to destroy everyone who is there.” He said Ukraine needs more heavy weapons from the West immediately to have any chance of saving the port city on the Sea of Azov.
“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, “or we do so through negotiations, in which the role of our partners should be decisive.”
Earlier, Zelenskyy had told Ukrainian journalists that the continuing siege of Mariupol, which has come at a horrific cost to trapped and starving civilians, could scuttle attempts to negotiate an end to the war.
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.
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, the Donbas region.
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.
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.
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
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.”
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.
For a summary of Saturday’s developments as they unfolded, click here.
Additional sources • Reuters