Ukraine hopes to evacuate civilians from Mariupol’s Azovstal

  • An operation is planned to evacuate civilians trapped in Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant on Friday, the Ukrainian president’s office has said, without providing further details.
  • At least one person has been killed after two explosions hit the capital Kyiv during UN’s chief Antonio Guterres’ visit who was left “shocked“.
  • Moscow regards winning the “Battle for Donbas” as crucial if it is to achieve its stated objective of securing control over the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the east, Britain’s defence ministry has said.
  • A local police official says the bodies of 1,187 dead civilians have been found so far in Kyiv region.
  • Some 8,000 UK soldiers will conduct a series of planned exercises across Europe this summer, the British ministry of defence has said, noting it will be the “largest deployment since the Cold War”.
  • US President Joe Biden asks Congress for $33bn to support Ukraine.

Here are all the latest updates:

Ukraine shells Russian border checkpoint: governor

Ukrainian mortars damaged a border checkpoint in western Russia, regional governor Alexander Bogomaz has said.

The shelling in the Bryansk region’s village of Belaya Berezka damaged power and water supply networks, Bogomaz said on Telegram. There were no casualties, he added.

This is the second time today where Moscow says Ukrainian forces hit a target on Russian soil.


Journalist killed in Kyiv attack: colleague

Vera Gyrych, a journalist with Radio Liberty, was killed by a Russian missile in Kyiv, a colleague of has said. Her body was found after a missile struck her apartment building on Thursday, Oleksandr Demchenko said on Facebook.

Gyrych started working in the Kyiv bureau of Radio Svoboda in 2018 after working on Ukrainian TV channels, Radio Liberty reported.

The capital’s mayor had previously announced that one civilian had been pulled out of the rubble, without providing details over its identity.


Netherlands reopens embassy in Kyiv

The Netherlands will reopen its embassy in Kyiv on Friday, says Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Wopke Hoekstra.

“A small embassy team there (in Kyiv) will work closely with the Ukrainian authorities and other returned partner countries,” Dutch foreign affairs minister Wopke Hoekstra said on Twitter. “It is important that we provide support to Ukraine on the ground.”

The Kyiv embassy will not be accessible yet for consular assistance.


Russian submarine strikes Ukraine with cruise missiles: ministry

Russia’s defence ministry says it used a diesel submarine in the Black Sea to strike Ukrainian military targets with Kalibr cruise missiles.


‘Appreciate every moment of your life’

As Russia’s attacks intensify on Ukraine’s eastern town of Lyman, some are staying hoping to resist a Russian takeover. But others are now leaving, believing it’s inevitable their frontline town will fall.

“The active attack phase around Lyman is starting. Around there are the villages of Stavky, Drobyshevo and Zarichne and as far as I understand, our forces gave them up,” said Oleksii Krylovskii, a 34-year-old citizen who lost his house in shelling. “And if they gave up, it means that it’s too late for us,” he added.

A garage burns following a military strike on a garage near the railway station, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in the frontline city of Lyman, Donetsk region, Ukraine
A garage burns following a military strike on a garage near the railway station in the frontline city of Lyman, Donetsk region, Ukraine [Jorge Silva/Reuters]

“In a difficult moment, we understand the value of life, of our relatives, of our loved ones,” said Pavlo Burlatschenko, 53, who just said good bye to his wife Marina who is evacuating Lyman.

“I ask all of you that are listening to understand that our loved ones are the most valuable things. Appreciate every minute of life, appreciate being together. Try to live every moment as if it’s your last one because you might not meet again”.


UK to send war crimes’ experts team

Britain says it was sending experts to help Ukraine with gathering evidence and prosecuting war crimes, with a team due to arrive in Poland in early May.

“Russia has brought barbarity to Ukraine and committed vile atrocities, including against women. British expertise will help uncover the truth and hold Putin’s regime to account for its actions,” Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said.


Can Europeans live without Russian gas?


Moscow confirms ‘high-precision’ strike on Kyiv during UN visit

Russia’s defence ministry confirms it had carried out an air strike on Kyiv during a visit by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

“High-precision, long-range air-based weapons of the Russian Aerospace Forces have destroyed the production buildings of the Artyom missile and space enterprise in Kyiv,” the ministry said in its daily briefing on the conflict in Ukraine.


One killed in Kyiv attack: Mayor

One civilian has died due to Russian attacks that hit a residential building in Kyiv’s Shevchenkivskyi district
on Thursday, the city’s mayor Vitaliy Klitschko has posted on social media.

“Rescuers are continuing to inspect and dismantle the rubble”, Klitschko said, adding that four people have been hospitalised so far.

Fire burns in a building damaged by a missile strike, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine, in this handout picture released on April 29, 2022.
Fire burns in a building damaged by a Russian missile strike in Kyiv, Ukraine [Press service of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Handout via Reuters]

Elon Musk donates solar panels to hospitals in Kyiv: official

Elon Musk has donated Tesla Powerwall stations to outpatient hospitals in the Kyiv suburbs of Irpin and Borodianka where Russian troops damaged power supply, a Ukrainian minister has said.

The stations would help Ukrainian regions which “suffered from the Russian occupation,” Mykhailo Fyodorov, Ukraine’s Digital Transformation Minister, said on Facebook.

Reporting by Mansur Mirovalev in Kyiv.


Ukrainian forces kill one, wound anther in Donetsk: Russian state media

One civilian was killed and another wounded in an attack by Ukrainian forces in Petrovsky, a district in a part of the Donetsk region that is controlled by Russian-backed separatists, TASS news agency has reported, citing the Joint Center for Control and Coordination.


UK to deploy 8,000 soldiers ‘to defend Europe’: ministry

Some 8,000 UK soldiers will conduct a series of planned exercises across Europe this summer, the British Ministry of Defence has said, noting it will be the “largest deployment since the Cold War”.

The operation will involve 72 Challenger 2 tanks, 12 AS90 tracked artillery guns and 120 Warrior armoured fighting vehicles deployed to countries from Finland to North Macedonia, the ministry said in a statement.

“The UK makes a significant contribution to the defence of Europe and the deterrence of Russian aggression,” Commander Field Army Lieutenant General Ralph Wooddisse said.


Over 1,000 civilians exhumed in Kyiv region: official

The bodies of 1,187 civilians have been found so far in the Kyiv region, a local police official has said.

On Thursday alone, 28 bodies have been exhumed, Andriy Nebitov said in televised remarks. Most of the bodies – 1,080 – were found in the Bucha district northwest of Kyiv, he added.


Five towns in Ukraine’s east hit overnight: official

Five towns in Ukraine’s southeastern Luhansk region have been shelled overnight, a defense official has said. The bombardment damaged houses and caused fires, but there were no casualties, Serhiy Haidai added on Telegram.

A Ukrainian soldier stands in front of a building after it was hit by shelling in Lysychansk, Luhansk region, Ukraine,
Russian shelling in Luhansk has been intensifying since Russia focused its military offensive on Ukraine’s eastern regions [File: Marko Djurica/Reuters]

Meanwhile in the eastern region of Donetsk, three people died, and three were wounded, on Thursday due to Russian air strikes in the Ukrainian city of New York, regional chief Pavlo Kirilenko posted on Facebook.

Reporting by Mansur Mirovalev in Kyiv.


Russian checkpoint in bordering town hit: local authorities

A checkpoint in the Russian village of Krupets in the Kursk region bordering Ukraine was shelled at 8am local time (5am GMT), regional governor Roman Starovoyt has said on his telegram channel.

He added that there were no casualties or damage.


US believes Russian intelligence was behind attack on journalist: reports

US intelligence believes Russia was behind an attack in April on Nobel Peace Prize-winning journalist Dmitry Muratov, editor of the investigative newspaper Novara Gazeta, US news organizations have said.

Muratov has said that while he was on a train he was splashed with red paint containing acetone by an attacker who told him, “this is for you from our boys.” The journalist at the time posted photographs of his face, chest and hands covered in red oil paint, which he said badly burned his eyes because of the acetone.

The New York Times and Washington Post both reported that US intelligence agencies had concluded that their Russian counterpart orchestrated the attack, which took place on a Moscow-Samara train.

ussian investigative newspaper Novaya Gazeta's editor-in-chief Dmitry Muratov, one of 2021 Nobel Peace Prize winners, speaks with journalists in Moscow, Russia October 8, 2021.
Russian investigative newspaper Novaya Gazeta’s editor-in-chief Dmitry Muratov, one of 2021 Nobel Peace Prize winners, speaks with journalists in Moscow, Russia [File: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters]

Civilians’ evacuation planned from Mariupol

An operation is planned to evacuate civilians trapped in Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant on Friday, the Ukrainian president’s office has said.

It didn’t provide further details.


UK says Russia military focused on ‘Battle of Donbas’

Britain’s Ministry of Defence has also given an update on the latest situation on the ground.

“The Battle of the Donbas remains Russia’s main strategic focus, in order to achieve its stated aim of securing control over the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts,” it said in its latest intelligence update.

Fighting has been particularly heavy around the towns of Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk, it added.


Russia has made ‘minor advances’: ISW

Russia made “minor advances” in eastern Ukraine on Thursday but did not gain any new territory, according to the Institute for the Study of War.

Its latest assessment says military reinforcements are being deployed through the border town of Belgorod.

“Russian and proxy forces continued to mobilize in Transnistria and set conditions for a false flag attack,” it added.


OSCE to close down Ukraine monitoring mission

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has announced it will take “immediate steps” to end its monitoring mission in Ukraine.

“This is not an easy decision to take. We have explored all possible options through political dialogue with participating States to achieve the renewal of the Special Monitoring Mission’s mandate, but the position of the Russian Federation left us with no choice but to take steps to close down the Mission,” Zbigniew Rau, the Polish foreign minister and the OSCE’s current chairman said in a statement.

“The Mission played a crucial role in providing objective information on the ground, facilitating ceasefires and working to ease the effects of the conflict on the civilian population. The work of the SMM’s members deserves our appreciation and gratitude”.

The special mission was deployed to Ukraine in March 2014.

A damaged OSCE car by the side of the road in the besieged city of Mariupol
The OSCE has been working in all parts of Ukraine since March 2014 [File: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters]

 

Guterres expresses ‘regret’ that UN was not part of Ukraine talks

Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel-Hamid managed to grab a few minutes with the UN chief Antonio Guterres while he was in Kyiv and spoke to him about the political negotiations to bring peace to Ukraine.

He said it was a source of “regret” that the UN had not been invited to be part of the Minsk process or Minsk Agreement, which was brokered by France and Germany, and followed Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and moves by Russian-backed separatists to take control of parts of eastern Ukraine.

Guterres stressed that the UN was “following with a lot of interest” the latest talks between Russia and Ukraine and that it was “not by chance” that he had stopped over in Turkey and met President Erdogan on his way to Moscow earlier this week.

“Turkey has been very active, very engaged in bringing the parties to Turkey and strongly supporting this political discussion.”


Japanese PM Kishida on way to Indonesia

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is on his way to Indonesia as he tries to rally Southeast Asia to respond more robustly to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s largest economy and is the current chair of the G20, while Japan is the region’s sole member of the G7.

In Southeast Asia, while most countries backed a UN General Assembly vote condemning the invasion, only Singapore has imposed sanctions. Indonesia is under pressure to ban Putin from the G20 summit in Bali later this year. Analysts have said it is unlikely to do so.


Ukraine suffers serious losses, but not as many as Russia: Aide

An aide to Ukraine’s president has said the country has suffered serious losses in the war with Russia, but Moscow has lost many more soldiers.

In a video posted online, the aide, Oleksiy Arestovych, said the military situation was difficult but controllable.


Russia should pay to rebuild Ukraine: Slovakia deputy PM

Slovakia’s deputy prime minister has said Russian aggressors have destroyed entire cities and the lives of millions of people in Ukraine, and when the war is over Moscow should pay to rebuild the country and restore its cultural heritage.

In what she acknowledged as “quite an unorthodox view”, Veronika Remisova also said that after the war “there will be a big need to integrate Russia, even though Russia is an aggressor, even if Russia is doing horrible war crimes”.


Pentagon says US is analysing attacks on Kyiv

The United States is analysing attacks on Kyiv that the Ukrainian authorities blamed on Russian missiles, Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby has said.

“We’re still trying to analyse this and figure out what happened here, what was struck and with what kind of munition,” he told CNN.


AP revises earlier report of one death in Kyiv explosions

The Associated Press news agency has revised an earlier report saying that one person had been killed in explosions in Kyiv. The agency said the person was alive, but had lost a leg.

Mayor Vitali Klitschko said the Shevchenkivskyi district in the northwestern part of the city was hit twice, causing fires in at least two high-rise buildings.


Possibility of ‘large’ economic shocks in future, Yellen warns

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said the global pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine highlight the possibility of big economic shocks in the future, adding that downturns are “likely to continue to challenge the economy”.

“Countries will fare better if their economies are more resilient and less fragile,” she said at the Brookings Institution.

“Improved understanding of breaks in supply chains, increases in commodity prices, bursting of asset bubbles, and labour and productivity shocks can help policymakers implement reforms that bolster our economic resilience.”

Read more here.


Pelosi unveils Ukraine war photo exhibit

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Ukrainian Ambassador Oksana Markarova have unveiled a photo exhibit of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the US Capitol.

“It is a manifestation, an emotional time to the people of Ukraine with a praise for their heroism that is just almost unimaginable, but so is the brutality they are suffering,” Pelosi said during the event.

The photo exhibit will remain open for viewing between 9am and 6pm local time.

Nancy Pelosi
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during the unveiling of a photo exhibit on the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC [Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters]

In Kharkiv, no let-up for Ukraine firefighters

Blackened by smoke and dripping with sweat, firefighters in Ukraine’s second-largest city Kharkiv are totally exhausted after two months of chasing blazes sparked by the constant explosions of Russian rockets.

Since Russia invaded on February 24, there have been more than 1,000 fires in the eastern Kharkiv region which borders Russia, the area’s Emergency Services Spokesperson Yevgen Vasylenko said.

“Usually it’s only one major fire or two at a time to extinguish but during the war, you can have like 12 or 15 major fires at the same time,” explains Roman Kachanov, a fireman and judo expert who heads the N11 fire station.


‘I’m not afraid,’ says ex-Gazprombank executive who defected to Ukraine

Igor Volobuev, a former senior executive at Russian lender Gazprombank, has said that he fled Russia for Ukraine hoping to take up arms against Moscow’s invasion and that he believed Putin was leading Russia to catastrophe.

“I came here to defend my motherland because the war started [in places] like my hometown Okhtyrka – it was one of the first cities to be hit by bombing,” he told the Reuters news agency.


IAEA probing Ukraine report that missile flew over a nuclear power plant

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said it was probing a Ukrainian report that a missile had flown directly over a nuclear power station, saying this would be “extremely serious” if true.

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said Kyiv had formally told it the missile flew over the south Ukraine plant on April 16. The facility is near the city of Yuzhnoukrainsk, some 350km (220 miles) south of Kyiv.

“Had such a missile gone astray, it could have had a severe impact on the physical integrity of the plant, potentially leading to a nuclear accident,” he said in a statement.


‘Heinous act of barbarism’: Ukraine FM says of Kyiv attack

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has denounced attacks on the capital Kyiv as a “heinous act of barbarism”.

Ukrainian officials said at least 10 people have been injured after Russia fired two missiles at the city.

“By this heinous act of barbarism Russia demonstrates once again its attitude towards Ukraine, Europe and the world,” Kuleba tweeted. Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov also said it was “an attack on the security of the Secretary General and on world security”.


US House passes military lend-lease bill to speed Ukraine aid

The US House of Representatives has given final passage to legislation that would streamline a World War II-era military lend-lease programme to more quickly provide Ukraine and other Eastern European countries with American equipment to fight the Russian invasion.

The measure, which passed by an overwhelming 417-10 vote, now goes to the White House for Biden to sign into law.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Gregory Meeks of New York said with unified support from the US Congress, “Ukraine will win”.


Russia maintains Ukrainian fighters in Mariupol must lay down weapons

Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has said Russian President Vladimir Putin had been quite clear that while civilians could leave the steel plant in Mariupol, Ukrainian fighters had to lay down their arms.

“What could be the topic of negotiations in this case?” the Tass state news agency quoted Peskov as saying.

Peskov’s comment comes after local governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said Russia was preventing wounded Ukrainian fighters from being evacuated from the plant in the besieged port city in southern Ukraine.


Zelenskyy thanks Biden for funding request

Zelenskyy has thanked Biden for the proposed $33bn in funding for Ukraine, calling it “a very important step” by Washington.

“I am thankful to the American people and personally to President Biden for it. I hope that Congress will quickly approve this request for help to our state,” the Ukrainian president said in a late-night video address.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks during the joint press conference with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in Kyiv.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks during the joint press conference with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in Kyiv [Efrem Lukatsky/AP Photo]

Canada training Ukrainian troops on howitzer artillery

Canada’s Defence Minister Anita Anand has said Canadian troops were training their Ukrainian counterparts on how to use howitzer artillery.

The US has been training a small number of Ukrainian forces on howitzers and some other systems outside of Ukraine.

“Canadian soldiers are now training their Ukrainian counterparts in the use of these weapons,” Anand said during a news conference in Washington, DC, without specifying where the Canadian training was taking place.


White House expects other countries to step up assistance to Ukraine

The White House expects other countries to step up and continue to provide a range of assistance to Ukraine, Press Secretary Jen Psaki has said.

“Other countries, we expect them to step up as well as this is going to be a sustained effort,” Psaki said.

Her comments came hours after US President Joe Biden said he was asking Congress for $33bn in additional funding to support Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion.


Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Read all the updates from Thursday, April 28 here.

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