- Explosions reported in Kyiv and Lviv with air sirens going off across most of Ukraine.
- The bodies of more than 900 civilians have been discovered in the Kyiv region, a police official says.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has appealed to US President Joe Biden to designate Russia a “state sponsor of terrorism”, the Washington Post reports.
- Ukraine’s defence ministry accuses Russia of using long-range bombers in Mariupol, where fighting is raging around a steel plant and the port.
- Russian shelling has killed seven people in eastern city of Kharkiv, the regional governor says.
Here are all the latest updates:
UK’s defence ministry says deliberate destruction of Ukrainian road infrastructure by retreating Russian forces is hampering the provision of humanitarian aid to formerly occupied areas.
“Russian troops have exacerbated this by destroying bridges, employing land mines and abandoning vehicles along key routes as they withdrew from northern Ukraine,” the ministry says in a tweet.
Only one pedestrian bridge across the Desna River is left standing in Chernihiv, which had some 285,000 residents before the war began.
Russia strikes armoured vehicle plant, military repair facility: Interfax
Russia destroyed production buildings of an armoured vehicle plant in Kyiv and a military repair facility in the city of Mykolaiv, the Interfax news agency quoted Russia’s defence ministry as saying.
The strikes were carried out by high-precision long-range weapons, it said.
Russia also downed one Ukrainian SU-25 aircraft near the city of Izyum in Kharkiv Oblast of eastern Ukraine, Interfax added, citing Russia’s defence ministry.
German minister: Delivering tanks would not be entry into war
The delivery of heavier weaponry to Ukraine such as tanks, would not constitute an entry into the war against Russia, Germany’s justice minister says.
“So if [Ukraine] exercises its legitimate right of self-defence, supporting it by supplying weapons cannot lead to becoming a party to the war,” Marco Buschmann said in remarks seen by DPA news agency.
He said this was not only his personal view, but that of the German government.
German politics has been consumed since the start of the conflict at the end of February by the question of what kind of weaponry to give Ukraine, and how fast to deliver it.
Nine evacuation corridors agreed: Deputy PM
Ukraine Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk says nine humanitarian corridors have been agreed for Saturday to evacuate civilians, including from the besieged city of Mariupol by private cars.
Vereshchuk said in a statement that five of the nine evacuation corridors were from Ukraine’s Luhansk region in the east of the country, which local officials have said is under heavy shelling.
Europe’s ban on Russian coal imports leaves Germany at crossroads
The war in Ukraine is having some unexpected consequences.
Germany had been phasing out mining, but has now reversed that decision after the European Union banned imports of Russian coal.
Kyiv mayor says rescuers, medics on site of explosion in city’s outskirts
Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv, says rescuers and medics are working on the site of a blast on the outskirts of the city.
The explosion took place in Kyiv’s Darnytskyi district, Klitschko said in a post on the Telegram messaging app. It is the southeastern district of Kyiv, on the left bank of Dnipro river.
Klitschko added that information on wounded is being confirmed.
‘Weapons, weapons, weapons’: Poroshenko steps up calls for assistance
Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has told Al Jazeera that Ukraine needs more weapons if the war is to come to an end.
“The shortest way to peace is to supply more weapons to Ukraine,” Poroshenko said in an exclusive interview. “That’s why from the international community we need three things: weapons, weapons and more weapons.”
He said the key was to provide “game-changing” equipment, saying the country needed 300 tanks, 1,000 armed personnel carriers and 100 jet fighters.
“These will completely change the character of the war,” he said.
Explosions in Kyiv, Lviv; air raid sirens sound across Ukraine
Explosions have been reported in Kyiv and Lviv, where it’s the early hours of Saturday morning.
Air raid sirens have also been sounded across most of Ukraine, according to the Reuters news agency.
There has been no official confirmation of the explosions.
Emotional tribute to Ukraine ahead of US-Ukraine tennis match
With a stirring rendition of Ukraine’s national anthem, tears, flags, and Billie Jean King herself, the opening of the Billie Jean King Cup qualifier between the United States and Ukraine was hugely emotional.
Ukraine-born North Carolina resident Yuliia Kashirets gave a powerful rendition of her native land’s national anthem as the Ukraine team looked on, including Odesa-born world number 93 Dayana Yastremska, who draped herself in a Ukrainian flag as a tear rolled down her teammate Katarina Zavatska’s cheek.
The ceremony also included a moment of silence for the “people of Ukraine”. The winner of the qualifier will advance to the tournament finals in November.
Zelenskyy estimates 2,500-3,000 Ukrainian troops killed in war
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has told CNN that between 2,500 and 3,000 Ukrainian soldiers are estimated to have died in the war so far.
He says about 10,000 have been wounded and it is “hard to say how many will survive”.
Zelenskyy said Russia was thought to have lost between 19,000 and 20,000 troops, although the Kremlin has put the figure at 1,351.
UK’s SAS special forces providing training in Ukraine: Report
The United Kingdom’s Times newspaper is reporting that the SAS, the country’s special forces, have been providing training to two local battalions stationed near Kyiv.
It is the first time they have done so since the Russian invasion began seven weeks ago, the paper said, citing Ukrainian officers.
The Ukrainians are getting instruction on how to use UK-supplied anti-tank missiles that were delivered in February, it added.
Ukraine PM, senior officials to visit US next week
Reuters is reporting Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and some of the country’s top finance officials will visit the US next week during meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
Shmyhal, Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko and Central Bank Governor Kyrylo Shevchenko are expected to hold bilateral meetings with finance officials from G7 countries and others and take part in a roundtable on Ukraine to be hosted by the World Bank on Thursday, sources familiar with the plans told Reuters.
Ukraine ‘doing everything we can’ for Mariupol: Zelenskyy
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said he discussed the fate of the besieged port city of Mariupol in a meeting Friday with the country’s military leaders and the heads of its intelligence agencies.
“The details cannot be made public now, but we are doing everything we can to save our people,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address to the nation.
Mariupol has been reduced to rubble in the seven-week war. Defence Ministry Spokesperson Oleksandr Motuzyanyk earlier said the situation in the city was “difficult and hard”.
More than 7,000 Ukrainians have landed in Mexico since war began
US President Joe Biden said last month that the United States would welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees, but few have arrived via the refugee programme.
Thousands have managed to cross the border from Mexico. Al Jazeera’s Manuel Rapalo reports from the Mexican border city of Tijuana:
Death toll in Kharkiv rises: Ukrainian media
The Kyiv Independent has said that the recent death toll in Kharkiv has risen to 10. Earlier reports said seven people had been killed by Russian shelling, including a baby.
In a tweet, the local news outlet said Russian forces had used rocket launchers in the attack.
⚡️Update: Death toll in Kharkiv shelling rises to 10.
At least 10 people have been killed, including a 7-month-old baby, as Russian forces used multiple rocket launchers against the Industrial District of Kharkiv at about 4:30 p.m. local time.
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) April 15, 2022
Zelenskyy renews call for a ban on Russian oil
In his daily address, Zelenskyy again has called for a ban on Russian oil.
“The next package of sanctions against Russia must include a Russian oil ban,” he said.
“In general, the democratic world must accept that Russia’s money for energy resources is in fact money for the destruction of democracy. When these decisions are made, we will all be able to see peace coming.”
Germany to release more than 1bn euros in military aid to Ukraine
The German government has said it plans to release more than one billion euros ($1.08bn) in military aid for Ukraine, amid complaints by Kyiv it is not receiving heavy weapons from Berlin. The funds will feature in a supplementary budget for this year.
In total, taking into account all countries, Germany has decided to increase its international aid in the defence sector “to two billion euros” with “the largest part being planned in the form of military aid in favour of Ukraine”, a government spokeswoman told the AFP news agency.
This envelope of two billion euros ($2.16bn) “will go mainly to Ukraine”, Finance Minister Christian Lindner confirmed on Twitter.
Russian journalists, political scientist declared ‘foreign agents’
Russian authorities have declared prominent Kremlin critics including documentary filmmaker Yuri Dud and political scientist Ekaterina Schulmann as “foreign agents”.
The Russian justice ministry said in a statement that it had added nine individuals to its “foreign agents” list, including 35-year-old Dud, Schulmann, 43, and caricaturist Sergei Yelkin, 59.
Also now on the list are prominent journalists Roman Dobrokhotov, 38, and Karen Shainyan, 40.
Toronto mural dedicated to Ukrainian children
An artist in the Canadian city of Toronto has turned his frustration over the conflict in Ukraine into a mural that he hopes will raise awareness about the plight of civilians.
The mural, which spans several sides of a building in the city’s downtown area, features depictions of children.
“I chose to use kids as my main subject … because they represent purity. Kids have no hate or greed in them,” Mayhar Amiri said.
Russia ‘tying itself into knots’ over warship’s sinking: Expert
Russia faces a dilemma over how to spin the sinking of the Moskva missile cruiser, Keir Giles, a senior consulting fellow of the Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House, has said.
“Because on the one hand it’s claiming that the sinking of the Moskva had nothing to do with Ukraine,” Giles told Al Jazeera. “But at the same time they seized on this as an excuse to wreak revenge on Kyiv and they are linking this to the attack on the capital now.
“So Russian propaganda is tying itself in knots but at the same time whipping up even more hysteria.”
Pro-Russia Serbs protest in support of Russia
Thousands of Serbs waving Russian and Serbian flags and carrying pictures of Russian President Vladimir Putin have marched through Belgrade to the Russian embassy to protest the Serbian government’s attempt to distance itself from Moscow.
Throngs of people, many from ultranationalist organisations, joined the march from the city centre to the nearby Russian embassy, where they fired signal flares, played Russian and Serbian anthems, and hailed the two countries as brotherly nations.
“I came to this rally to support Russia and to say a loud and clear ‘no’ to policies of authorities in Belgrade who made a shameful decision to vote against Russia in the UN,” said Mladen Obradovic, a protester.
Wife of Putin ally held in Ukraine accuses authorities of abuse
The wife of one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s top allies in Ukraine has said he was beaten by the Ukrainian security service while being interrogated in detention.
At a news conference in Moscow, Viktor Medvedchuk’s wife Oksana Marchenko said that one of two photos released by Ukraine this week showed he had been beaten.
Ukraine said this week that it had captured Medvedchuk, posting a photo of him in handcuffs, wearing a Ukrainian army uniform.
Russian crowd mourns Black Sea flagship after sinking
Dozens of people have gathered in the Crimean city of Sevastopol to mourn the sinking of the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, the Moskva.
Some embraced and others laid flowers in memory of the missile cruiser at a monument to the 1696 foundation of the Russian navy in the centre of Sevastopol.
The Russian Defence Ministry said on Thursday that the Moskva was badly damaged by a fire and sank in a storm as it was being towed to port.
Russia warns US to stop arming Ukraine: Washington Post
Russia has warned the Biden administration of “unpredictable consequences” if the US keeps arming Ukraine, The Washington Post has reported.
In Moscow, a foreign ministry spokeswoman confirmed Russia had sent diplomatic notes to the US and other nations about supplying weapons to Ukraine but did not say what the messages contained, the Interfax news agency reported.
“We call on the United States and its allies to stop the irresponsible militarization of Ukraine, which implies unpredictable consequences for regional and international security,” the Post quoted Russia as saying in the diplomatic note to the US.
More than 900 civilian bodies found in Kyiv region: Police
The bodies of more than 900 civilians have been discovered in the Kyiv region following the withdrawal of Russian forces, the regional police chief said.
Andriy Nebytov, the head of Kyiv’s regional police force, said the bodies had been abandoned in the streets or given temporary burials. He cited police data indicating that 95 percent of the casualties had died from sniper fire and gunshot wounds.
“Consequently, we understand that under the [Russian] occupation, people were simply executed in the streets,” Nebytov said. “The number of killed civilians has surpassed 900 — and I emphasise, these are civilians, whose bodies we have discovered and handed over for forensic examination.”
US believes Russian cruiser hit by Ukrainian missiles before sinking
The US believes the sunken Russian missile cruiser Moskva, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, was hit by two Ukrainian missiles, a senior US official has said.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said these were Neptune anti-ship missiles.
Pentagon officials had previously said they could not confirm the Ukrainian claim that it hit the ship, but they also did not refute it.
Zelenskyy asked US to designate Russia a ‘state sponsor of terrorism’
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recently appealed to US President Joe Biden to designate Russia a “state sponsor of terrorism”, the Washington Post has reported, citing people familiar with their conversation.
Biden did not commit to specific actions during that call, according to the newspaper.
The US list currently includes four countries: North Korea, Cuba, Iran and Syria.
Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.
Read all the updates from Friday, April 15 here.