3 people reportedly killed in missile strikes on southern Ukrainian city of Odessa, official says

Firefighters work to put out a fire in a store following a Russian bombardment in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Friday, April 22. (Felipe Dana/AP)

Russian forces continue their assault in southern and eastern regions of Ukraine, with Ukrainian officials reporting heavy shelling and civilian casualties in cities including Kharkiv, Popasna and Mykolaiv.

Meanwhile, a Ukrainian minister has announced the opening of an evacuation corridor from the beleaguered port city of Mariupol, after a brief hiatus earlier due to security concerns.

Here are the latest developments:

Russia takes small towns but makes “no major gains”, British officials say: Russia captured dozens of small towns and settlements in its assault on the eastern Donbas region, and Ukrainian officials describe continued heavy fighting across Donetsk and Luhansk. A UK MoD situation report, however, said on Saturday that Russian forces had made “no major gains” in the past 24 hours in the face of Ukrainian counterattacks. Ukraine’s air and sea defenses were also able to halt the advance of Russian air and sea forces, the ministry added in a social media post.

New Mariupol Evacuation Plans: Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk announced that an evacuation corridor would open on Saturday, with the aim of moving “women, children and the elderly” from Mariupol to safer areas. In a statement on Telegram, Vereshchuk warned of Russian trappings, where troops could open a “parallel corridor” and take residents to Russian-held territories instead. She urged residents to be vigilant and “not to follow any deceit and provocation” from the Russian side.

A Mykolaiv official announces the curfew: After Russian forces continued shelling the city of Mykolaiv overnight, Vitaliy Kim, head of the regional military administration there, announced a new curfew from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. before local services Easter. The announcement comes a day after Hanna Zamazeeva, head of the Mykolaiv regional council, said at least 20 people had been injured in the area over the past two days amid attacks by Russian troops.

Russian forces target civilian infrastructure: Residents of the city of Kharkiv in the northeast and Popasna in the east came under heavy Russian bombardment. Russian troops fired 56 strikes at civilian infrastructure in Kharkiv and the region, killing two people and wounding 19, according to a Ukrainian military governor. In Popasna, two people also died when Russian forces targeted civilian homes and high-rise buildings, a Ukrainian regional official said.


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