Ukrainian forces were preparing for a potential increase in Russian attacks this weekend, as Russia plans to mark Victory Day, the anniversary of the Soviet Union’s defeat by Nazi Germany in World War II. world.
As Russia intensified its attacks in eastern Ukraine, a senior Ukrainian official said more vulnerable civilians had been successfully evacuated from the beleaguered Mariupol steelworks.
Russian forces fired cruise missiles at the city of Odessa and shelled other areas, but Ukrainian troops put up strong resistance in key areas and the United States pledged more military aid to help the Ukrainian troops.
On Friday, President Joe Biden announced an additional $150 million in aid, including 25,000 155mm artillery shells, counter-artillery radars, jamming equipment, field equipment and spare parts.
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►President Joe Biden and other G7 leaders will hold a virtual meeting Sunday morning with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to discuss Russia’s war in Ukraine, including potential new sanctions against Russia.
►First Lady Jill Biden held a moving reunion with Ukrainian women and children who fled war for Romania, including a mother who recounted her heartbreaking escape after being holed up in a cold basement with her daughter from 8 years traumatized.
►Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister said Friday that 41 other Ukrainians were freed that day in a prisoner swap with Russia. Iryna Vereshchuk wrote on Telegram that the 41 people who were fired include 28 military personnel and 13 civilians.
Ukrainian official: more vulnerable civilians evacuated from Mariupol steel plant
Iryna Vereshchuk, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, said on Saturday that “all women, children and elderly people have been evacuated” from the Azovstal steelworks, the last Ukrainian dam in the otherwise controlled by Russia.
“This part of the Mariupol humanitarian operation is over,” Vereshchuk said in a Telegram post around 7 p.m. local time.
Russian troops have intensified their shelling of the factory in recent days. It was not immediately clear how many Ukrainian soldiers or civilians remained locked in the plant’s underground bunkers.
Taiwan official: We hope the world will show the same determination if China attacks
Taiwan’s foreign minister said on Saturday that if China invades his country, he hopes world leaders will respond as aggressively as they did to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“In the future, if we are threatened with force by China, or if we are invaded, we of course hope that the international community can understand and support Taiwan, and sanction this kind of aggressive behavior,” the diplomat said. Taiwanese, Joseph Wu, to reporters. Saturday according to Reuters.
Taiwan has been on edge since Russia invaded Ukraine – fearing that China might grow bolder to do the same with its neighbour. Taiwan operates as an independent democracy, but Beijing considers the island a breakaway province.
Ukrainian forces mount strong counter-offensive near Kharkiv
Ukrainian forces have made gains against Russian forces and may be able to push them back out of Kharkiv artillery range in the coming days, the Institute for the Study of Warfare said in an assessment released Friday. evening.
Ukraine’s military shifted from localized counterattacks against Russian forces to a broader counteroffensive, the report said, which led to gains north and east of Kharkiv, a city of 1.4 million of inhabitants about 26 miles from the Russian border.
“Ukrainian forces are notably retaking territory along a broad arc around Kharkiv rather than focusing on a narrow thrust, indicating an ability to launch larger-scale offensive operations than we have seen so far. in the war,” the institute said.
Ukraine has dedicated the necessary forces to this counter-offensive near Kharkiv instead of sending them to eastern Ukraine, which “indicates the confidence of the Ukrainian army in the ability to repel Russian operations in course,” reads his assessment.
US diplomat meets with EU counterparts on new Russia sanctions
Wendy Sherman, the State Department’s No. 2 official, met her counterparts from France, Germany and other allies in Paris on Saturday to discuss Ukraine’s military needs and the growing security threat. world food caused by the Russian invasion.
“Participants coordinated on plans for additional sanctions and other measures to hold the Russian Federation accountable,” said Ned Price, chief spokesman for the State Department.
Governor reports new shelling in Kharkiv Oblast
Further shelling hit the region of Kharkiv Oblast, the northeastern part of Ukraine that borders Russia, the region’s governor said.
Oleh Sinegubov said Saturday morning in a Telegram message that there had been three bombings in the past 24 hours, including one that hit the roof of a museum dedicated to the works of Hryhoriy Skovoroda, a Cossack philosopher born there. is 300 years old.
“Occupiers can destroy the museum where Hryhoriy Skovoroda worked the last years of his life and where he was buried,” Sinegubov said. “But they will not destroy our memory and our values!”
The philosopher’s most valuable exhibits had been moved to a safe place ahead of time, but the bombardment injured a 35-year-old man who was guarding the premises, the governor said.
First Lady Jill Biden visits a Romanian school welcoming Ukrainian children
First Lady Jill Biden visited a Romanian school on Saturday morning where Ukrainian children who fled the war with their families are trying to continue their education. Biden is in the region to learn more about the refugee crisis caused by Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Biden asked how teachers are preparing to handle the trauma children are facing, according to a report from a reporters’ pool traveling with the first lady. School officials said they needed more counselors and provided trauma training to teachers.
“The Romanian people are amazing to welcome all of these refugees into their homes and provide them with food and clothing, shelter and give them their hearts,” Biden told the headteachers.
Biden also met with students, who traced their handprints on images of the Ukrainian and Romanian flags.
Nearly 7,000 civilians killed or injured
Nearly 7,000 civilians have been killed or injured since the start of the war in Ukraine in February, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The office recorded 6,802 civilian casualties, including 3,309 killed and 3,493 injured as of midnight local time Thursday. The bureau said the actual numbers are “significantly higher” due to late reporting.
“Most of the recorded civilian casualties were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide area of impact, including bombardments from heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems, and air and missile strikes” , the United Nations said in a press release.
Another stranded super yacht, this time in Italy
Italian officials decided on Friday to stop a mega-yacht from leaving a Tuscan port after an investigation found it was linked to “prominent elements of the Russian government”.
Some reports suggest the newly stranded yacht – called Scheherazade – belongs to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged Italy to freeze the assets of Russian oligarchs and officials – and he specifically cited Scheherazade.
It was feared that the 459ft-long yacht, which was in dry dock in the port of Marina di Carrara, was preparing to leave Italian waters soon. Based on the Italian investigation, Minister Daniele Franco issued a “freezing decree” regarding the yacht, which flies the Cayman Islands flag and which had “long been under the attention of the authorities”, the statement said.
One of Russia’s advanced tanks destroyed in battle, UK says
At least one of Russia’s most advanced tanks – the T-90M – was destroyed in the fighting, according to an assessment released Saturday by the UK’s Defense Intelligence Agency.
The British assessment does not specify when or how the tank was destroyed. About 100 of these tanks are in service with the most advanced units in Russia, including those fighting in Ukraine, the May 7 statement from the British Ministry of Defense said.
Russia prepares for Victory Day parade
Russia on Saturday held a dress rehearsal for the military parade commemorating Victory Day on May 9, when the country marks the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.
Western officials believe Russian President Vladimir Putin could use the VE Day holiday to make an announcement about the war in Ukraine, either declaring victory or escalating the conflict.
In Moscow on Saturday, an RS-24 Yars intercontinental ballistic missile ripped through Red Square as part of the rehearsal, with warplanes and helicopters flying overhead, troops marching in formation and self-propelled artillery vehicles rumbling.
UN Security Council issues first statement on ‘dispute’ and avoids Russian veto
The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted its first statement since Russia began military action on February 24, expressing “strong support” for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ efforts to find a peaceful solution to the “dispute” in Ukraine.
The brief statement adopted at a brief meeting on Friday does not mention a “war”, a “conflict” or an “invasion” as many Council members call Russia’s ongoing military action, or a “military operation special” as Moscow calls it. Russia, which holds the right of veto in the Council, has blocked all previous attempts to adopt a declaration or a resolution.
Instead, the statement “expresses its deep concern for the maintenance of peace and security in Ukraine” and “recalls that all Member States are committed under the Charter of the United Nations to the obligation to settle their international disputes by peaceful means”.
Contribute: The Associated Press