War in Ukraine: Latest developments

·3-min read
Thousands have been killed in Ukraine since Russia invaded in February (AFP/Yasuyoshi CHIBA) (Yasuyoshi CHIBA)

Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:

- Mariupol defenders facing 'last days' -

A commander of forces holding out at a steelworks in the besieged port city of Mariupol issues a desperate plea for help, saying his marines are "maybe facing our last days, if not hours".

"The enemy is outnumbering us 10 to one," says Serhiy Volyna from the 36th Separate Marine Brigade.

In the latest ultimatum issued in its seven-week battle to capture Mariupol, Moscow urges the city's defenders to surrender on Wednesday by 2:00 pm (1100 GMT).

- Evacuation plan -

Ukraine has agreed with Russian forces to open a safe route for civilians to flee Mariupol, according to Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk.

Writing on Telegram, she says the agreement covers women, children and elderly people and that evacuees will be taken to the Ukrainian-held city of Zaporizhzhia.

More than 140 civilians and five Ukrainian troops who have surrendered have been evacuated from Mariupol, pro-Russian separatists in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic say separately.

- New planes -

The Pentagon says that Ukraine recently received fighter planes and parts to bolster its air force while declining to specify the number of aircraft and their origin.

Kyiv has asked its Western partners to provide MiG-29s, which its pilots already know how to fly, and a handful of Eastern European countries have.

- Donbas offensive -

Ukraine's defence ministry says its troops have beaten back a Russian attack in the city of Izium, a gateway to the eastern Donbas region which is the target of a major Russian offensive.

Kyiv also claimed enemy losses in a Ukrainian counter-attack near the town of Marinka in the southern part of the Donbas, where pro-Russian separatists have been fighting government forces since 2014.

Moscow says the focus of the second phase of its Ukraine offensive is the "liberation" of the entire Donbas, an area about twice the size of Belgium.

- Biden talks with allies -

The United States and the European Union have reached "broad consensus" on the need to increase pressure on Russia through new sanctions, the Italian government says after a videoconference between US President Joe Biden and allies.

The videoconference brings together the leaders of France, Britain, Germany, Romania, Poland, Italy, Canada and Japan.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz later accuses Russian President Vladimir Putin of war crimes in Ukraine.

- Easter truce call -

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres denounces Russia's fresh offensive in eastern Ukraine and calls for a four-day truce to mark Orthodox Holy Week.

"Hundreds of thousands of lives hang in the balance," the United Nations chief says, adding a truce would allow safe passage for civilians to flee the eastern war zone and for humanitarian aid to be delivered to the hardest-hit areas.

- EU chief in Kyiv -

European Council chief Charles Michel arrives in Kyiv for a visit.

On Twitter, he describes Ukraine, which applied for EU membership at the start of the war, as "the heart of a free and democratic Europe".

- Nearly 5 mn have fled Ukraine: UN -

More than 4.9 million Ukrainians have fled their country following the Russian invasion, says the UN's refugee agency.

The UNHCR says 4,980,589 Ukrainians have left since Russia invaded on February 24 -- an increase of 46,174 from the total on Monday.

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