Several Russian strikes on Lviv and Kharkiv took place on Saturday. In the Ukrainian capital, kyiv, a military factory was bombed. Follow all the latest information live.
Currently, no recent overall casualty toll is available, but the number of civilians killed is clearly very high. In Mariupol alone, the Ukrainian authorities have mentioned some 20,000 deaths. According to the executive director of the World Food Program David Beasley, more than 100,000 people there are on the verge of starvation, also lacking water and heating sources.
The last Ukrainian defenders of Mariupol still hold sectors of the city and they “will fight until the end”, declared Prime Minister Denys Chmygal, in an interview broadcast on Sunday by the American channel ABC.
“No, the city did not fall. Our military forces, our soldiers are still there. They will fight until the end. As I speak to you, they are still in Mariupol,” assured Mr. Chmygal.
Ukrainian soldiers besieged in Mariupol on Sunday appeared to have ignored Russia’s ultimatum to lay down their arms and evacuate this strategic port in southeastern Ukraine, whose capture would be a major victory for Moscow .
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has claimed to have invited Emmanuel Macron to visit Ukraine to see with his own eyes that Russian forces are committing “genocide”, a term that his French counterpart has so far refused to use.
“Regarding Emmanuel, I spoke to him,” President Zelensky said in an interview with the American channel CNN conducted on Friday and broadcast on Sunday.
“I think he wants to ensure that Russia engages in a dialogue”, he added, to explain the refusal of the French leader to denounce a “genocide” in Ukraine, unlike the president of the United States Joe Biden.
At least five people were killed and 13 injured on Sunday in a series of strikes on Kharkiv, a major city in northeastern Ukraine, which caused fires, emergency services told AFP.
AFP journalists heard two bursts of gunfire and saw five fires spreading through residential areas in central Kharkiv. 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.
Pope Francis on Sunday called on leaders to “hear the people’s cry for peace” in this “Easter of war”, again evoking “martyred” Ukraine. “We have seen too much blood, too much violence (…) Let’s stop showing the muscles while people are suffering”, launched the sovereign pontiff during his traditional blessing “Urbi et Orbi”, in front of some 50,000 faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square in Rome.
“Please don’t get used to war, let’s all commit to asking for peace (..) Let those who have the responsibility of the Nations hear the people’s cry for peace”, he urged , prompting applause from the crowd.
The spiritual leader of the 1.3 billion Catholics insisted at length on the need for peace for “martyred Ukraine, so hard tried by the violence and the destruction of the cruel and senseless war in which it was dragged” with the Russian invasion which began on February 24.
The Russian Defense 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.
Ukrainian authorities announced on Sunday the suspension of humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of civilians from eastern Ukraine, for lack of an agreement with the Russian army on a halt to firing.
“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,” he said. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Telegram.
The situation in the strategic port of Mariupol is “inhuman”, declared the Ukrainian president on Saturday evening, calling on the West to “immediately” provide the heavy weapons he has been demanding for several weeks, while Russia claims to control almost all of the city and launches a new appeal to its last defenders to lay down their arms.
“The situation in Mariupol remains as serious as it can be. Simply inhuman,” Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video message. “That’s what the Russian Federation did. Did it deliberately. (…) Russia is deliberately trying to destroy anyone in Mariupol,” in southeastern Ukraine.
According to him, there are only “two options”: “Either the partners provide Ukraine with all the necessary heavy weapons, the planes and, without any exaggeration, immediately” to “reduce the pressure on Mariupol and lift the siege”. of this city inhabited by 441,000 people before the invasion on February 24.