War in Ukraine: Latest developments

·3-min read
Clouds of smoke billow from the Azovstal steel plant (AFP/Handout) (Handout)

Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:

- Mariupol still resisting: Zelensky -

The devastated city of Mariupol "continues to resist" despite Russian claims to have captured it, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says.

Russia says it has "liberated" the strategically important port city, apart from the vast Azovstal steel plant where a few thousand Ukrainian soldiers are holding out.

But Zelensky says in a video address the city "continues to resist Russia, despite everything the occupiers say."

US President Joe Biden says it is "questionable" whether Russia had taken control of Mariupol, saying: "There is no evidence yet that Mariupol has completely fallen."

- 50 'unlawful killings' in Bucha: UN -

A United Nations mission to the Kyiv suburb of Bucha has documented that 50 civilians had been killed there, including by summary execution, the UN says.

"During a mission to Bucha on the ninth of April, UN human rights officers documented the unlawful killing including by summary execution of some 50 civilians there," said Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The UN says Russian actions in Ukraine "may amount to war crimes".

- Civilian evacuations halted -

No evacuations of civilians will take place in Ukraine on Friday as the situation on the roads is too dangerous, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk says on the Telegram messaging app.

On Thursday, some 79 people, mostly women, were evacuated on three buses from Mariupol.

- Russia targets east, south -

The Russian army will aim to take full control over eastern and southern Ukraine, Russian news agencies quote a top general as saying.

"Since the start of the second phase of the special operation... one of the tasks of the Russian army is to establish full control over the Donbas and southern Ukraine," Major General Rustam Minnekaev says.

He adds that this would create a "land corridor" to annexed Crimea.

- Military aid -

US President Joe Biden announces a new package of $800 million in US military aid for Ukraine, saying it will help Ukraine fight against Russian forces in the Donbas region.

The latest round of US support will include 72 155mm howitzers, 72 armoured vehicles to tow them, 144,000 rounds of ammunition, and more than 120 "Phoenix Ghost" tactical drones recently developed specifically to address Ukraine's needs.

And Germany has reached an agreement under which eastern European partners will supply Ukraine with a new batch of heavy weapons "in the next few days" and Germany will then replenish the stocks, Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht says.

- Sham referendums planned: Zelensky -

Zelensky accuses Russia in a video address of planning to "falsify" an independence referendum in the partly occupied southern regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.

Kherson was the first major city to fall to Russian forces after their February 24 invasion of Ukraine.

To the north, the Russian army also controls a vast area surrounding the city of Zaporizhzhia, which remains in Ukrainian hands.

- Wimbledon anger -

Belarus tennis officials say that the Wimbledon ban on players from their country as well as Russia will only "incite hatred and intolerance" and threaten legal action to have the sanction overturned.

World number eight Andrey Rublev of Russia also blasts the ban as "complete discrimination".

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