War in Ukraine: Latest developments

·3-min read

Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:

- 'Heavy fighting' at Azovstal -

The mayor of the destroyed Ukrainian city of Mariupol says that contact has been lost with Ukrainian forces holed up in the Azovstal steel plant amid "heavy fighting" with Russian troops.

City officials have no way of knowing "what's going on, whether they are safe or not" Vadym Boichenko tells Ukrainian television.

His comments come after the Kremlin denied Russia was storming the plant, after Ukraine accused Moscow of launching a "powerful" assault on the industrial zone, the last redoubt of Ukrainian forces.

- 20 bodies found in Kyiv region -

The bodies of another 20 civilians were found in the past 24 hours in the Kyiv region, police say, raising the total number found there so far to 1,235.

Kyiv regional police chief Andriy Nebytov says the latest discoveries were found in Borodianka and the surrounding villages, some 25 kilometres (15 miles) from Bucha, the town near Kyiv now synonymous with allegations of Russian war crimes.

- Mariupol military parade planned: Kyiv -

Ukraine accuses Russia of planning to hold a military parade in the destroyed city of Mariupol on May 9 to celebrate victory over the Nazis in World War II.

Kyiv says an official from Russia's presidential administration has arrived in the strategic southern port city, to oversee plans for the Victory Day parade.

- New EU sanctions, oil ban take shape -

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen says the bloc will impose a gradual Russian oil ban, as part of new sanctions to punish Russia for invading Ukraine.

"We will phase out Russian supply of crude oil within six months and refined products by the end of the year," she tells the European Parliament.

In a document seen by AFP, von der Leyen's proposal asks that Hungary and Slovakia, both hugely dependent on Russian oil, be given more time to meet the ban.

The EU executive also proposes sanctioning the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, and excluding Russian bank Sberbank from the SWIFT network.

- Eastern assault continues -

Russian forces continue to pound sites to the east of the country, Ukraine's general staff says, as Moscow seeks to establish "full control" of the regions of Lugansk and Donetsk, and to maintain a land corridor to occupied Crimea.

In Lugansk, governor Sergiy Gaiday says two people have died in the last 24 hours, and "the whole region is under fire completely, there is no safe place".

- And elsewhere -

Russia's defence ministry says that its air- and sea-based weapons have destroyed six electrical substations near railways including around Lviv in the west, near Odessa to the south, and near Dnipropetrovsk to the south-east.

- Evacuees reach Zaporizhzhia -

Further evacuations from Mariupol are expected Wednesday, a day after 156 people arrived in the Ukrainian-held city of Zaporizhzhia.

- Belarus launches surprise manoeuvres -

Belarus, a Moscow ally that shares a border with Ukraine, launches "surprise" military manoeuvres, to test the reactive capacity of its army, its defence ministry says.

Belarus military units were testing their capacity to "go on the alert, move to predetermined zones and undertake combat training," it says.

- EU to support Moldova -

European Council President Charles Michel pledges to increase EU military aid to Moldova, Ukraine's neighbour that has seen a series of attacks in a pro-Moscow separatist region.

- Russia to boycott UN meet -

In a rare move, Russia will boycott a UN Security Council meeting Wednesday with the EU's Political and Security Committee (PSC), diplomats say, a further sign of deteriorating relations between Moscow and its United Nations partners.

burs/jmy/yad

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting