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Russia-Ukraine live news: Moscow ‘redeploying’ Mariupol forces | News

  • Mariupol official says more civilians have been evacuated from the southeastern port city as push to rescue non-combatants continues.
  • First group of evacuees from Mariupol’s hulking Azovstal steelworks, the last stronghold of Ukrainian fighters resisting Russia’s siege, is expected to arrive in Zaporizhzhia later on Monday.
  • Russia’s defence ministry says its forces shot down a Ukrainian fighter jet during a series of overnight strikes.
  • The UN refugee agency says more than 5.5 million people have fled Ukraine since Moscow launched its offensive in late February.

Here are all the latest updates:

Poland eyes EU oil embargo by end of 2022

Poland wants the European Union to impose a clear cut off date at which member states will have to stop importing Russian oil, the country’s climate minister says.

“We want this package (of sanctions) to include a very specific and clear date and requirement for all countries… that it should be a complete package without any gaps,” Anna Moskwa said, adding that she hoped an embargo could come into force before the end of the year.

Warsaw has repeatedly advocated tough measures against Russia, but with many EU countries heavily reliant on Moscow for their energy needs the bloc has appeared split on how sanctions should be enforced.

Russia halted gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland last week after they refused to meet its demand to effectively pay in roubles.


Turkey’s tourism revival fades on Russian war

Moscow’s offensive is expected to result in a massive decline in the number of Russian tourists visiting Turkey this year.

The projected downturn is a major cause of concern for Ankara, which is battling ongoing economic crises.

Read more here.

Turkish police officers check the passports of a group of Russian tourists in Istanbul
Turkey’s economy relies heavily on the country’s robust tourism sector [File: Murad Sezer/Reuters]

Zelenskyy accuses Turkey of ‘double standards’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has accused Turkey of having “double standards” by welcoming Russian tourists while attempting to act as an intermediary between Moscow and Kyiv in order to end the war.

“On the one hand, Turkey acts as an intermediary and supports Ukraine with important steps, but on the other hand, we also see a development of tourist routes, specifically for Russian tourism,” Zelenskyy told Greek television network ERT.

“These are double standards. This is unfair,” he said.

Reporting by Mansur Mirovalev in Kyiv.


Russia redeploying some forces from Mariupol: Ukrainian military

The General Staff of the Ukrainian armed forces says that several Russian battalions have been redeployed from Mariupol to the town of Popasna in the country’s eastern Luhansk region.

Popasna has been one of the epicenters of fighting in the east as the Russian military has sought to break through the Ukrainian defences there as part of its refocused offensive in the Donbas.

The Ukrainian General Staff also said that Russian forces were trying to press their attacks from Izyum to Slovyansk and Barvinkove.


Israel denounces Lavrov’s Hitler comments, summons Russian ambassador

Israel has denounced Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov for suggesting that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler had Jewish roots, and demanded an apology from Moscow.

Israel’s foreign ministry said it had summoned the Russian ambassador for “a tough talk” over the comments, which Lavrov made on Sunday in an interview with Italian television.

Asked about Russian claims that it invaded Ukraine to “denazify” the country, Lavrov said that Russia’s neighbour could still have Nazi elements even if some figures, including Zelenskyy, were Jewish.

“Hitler also had Jewish origins, so it doesn’t mean anything,” he said, speaking to the station in Russian, dubbed over by an Italian translation.

Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid said Lavrov’s remarks were “unforgivable”.


Mariupol civilians evacuated on buses: Local official

An aide to Mariupol’s mayor says buses carrying civilians have left the city as evacuation efforts continue there.

It was not immediately clear how many people had been evacuated on the buses, but those on board were not from the Azovstal steelworks.

Hundreds of people remained trapped in the Soviet-era facility, which is the last stronghold of resistance to Moscow’s siege on the city.

A first group of evacuees from the steelworks was due to arrive in Zaporizhzhia, a Ukrainian-held city northwest of Mariupol, on Monday morning. But Russian forces had resumed shelling the steelworks on Sunday as soon as the convoy of evacuees had left the plant, the mayor’s aide said.

“Yesterday, as soon as the buses left Azovstal with the evacuees, new shelling began immediately,” Petro Andryushchenko told Ukrainian television.

INTERACTIVE -UKRAINE CONTROL MAP MARIUPOL - DAY 68 May 2
(Al Jazeera)

Ukraine says it destroyed two Russian patrol boats

A Ukrainian Bayraktar drone destroyed two Russian Raptor-class patrol ships in the Black Sea on Monday, Ukraine’s military chief has said.

“Two Russian Raptor-class boats were destroyed at dawn today near Zmiinyi (Snake) Island,” Chief of General Staff Valeriy Zaluzhniy wrote in a Telegram post.

There was no immediate reaction from Moscow to the claim.


Russia says it shot down Ukrainian fighter jet

Russia’s defence ministry says that its armed forces have shot down a Ukrainian MiG-29 fighter jet near the city of Slovyansk, in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

The ministry said in a briefing that Russian troops had hit a total of 38 military targets throughout Ukraine overnight, including ammunition depots and control centres.

There was no immediate comment from Kyiv on the claims.


5.5 million have fled Ukraine: UNHCR

More than 5.5 million people have now fled Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

The majority have left for neighbouring Poland, which has welcomed more than three million people bidding to escape Russia’s offensive.


New Zealand adds 170 Russian politicians, 6 defence companies to sanctions

New Zealand has added 170 Russian politicians to its sanctions list, as well as six defence companies and organisations which had contributed to Moscow’s offensive.

Foreign minister Nanaia Mahuta announced that the “full suite” of sanctions has now been placed on more than 400 Russian leaders, oligarchs and their family members.

These sanctions will prohibit those on the list from “carrying out activity in New Zealand, and prevent New Zealand from becoming a financial safe haven for those involved with Russia’s illegal activities in Ukraine”, Mahuta said in a statement.


Russians tortured POWs with frostbite, Ukraine claims

Ukrainian prisoners of war taken to Russia were tortured with freezing temperatures, beaten and forced to sing “patriotic” Russian songs, Ukraine’s ombudswoman for human rights has said.

Lyudmila Denisova said on Telegram that some of the 14 Ukrainian POWs swapped on Friday had their limbs amputated because Russians forced them to wear water-filled boots for days in freezing temperatures.

She said the prisoners were thrown in jail in the western city of Kursk, where they were interrogated two or three times a day, beaten severely and denied medical help. She added that apart from the amputated limbs, some had severe wounds and sepsis on returning to Ukraine.

There was no immediate comment from Moscow on the claims, while Al Jazeera could not independently verify the reports.


Shelling damages dozens of Kharkiv heating stations

Shelling in Kharkiv has damaged 24 boiler houses and 36 heating stations, some of which will have to be rebuilt, the region’s press service has said.

“This year, preparations for the new heating season will be large-scale as, due to significant damage, a number will have to be rebuilt anew,” the press service said in a statement.


Three dead and three wounded in Luhansk: Governor

Intensive Russian shelling has killed three civilians in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region, its governor has said.

The deaths occurred in the towns of Lysychansk, Popasna and Zolote, Serhiy Haidai said on Telegram.

Haidai also said the Ukrainian-controlled part of Luhansk had witnessed 18 incidents of shelling on May 1 that “ruined” 28 buildings.

The mother of Oleksandr Mozheiko, 31, an Irpin Territorial Defense soldier killed by the Russian army, cries at his grave at the cemetery of Irpin.
The mother of Oleksandr Mozheiko, 31, an Irpin Territorial Defense soldier killed by the Russian army, cries at his grave at the cemetery of Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, May 1, 2022 [Emilio Morenatti/AP Photo]

Two dead, four injured in Zaporizhzhia

Two people have been killed and four injured as a result of shelling in the town of Orikhiv in the Zaporizhzhia region, the regional military administration has said.

“The occupiers hit high-rise buildings … four people were taken to hospital, two more men died from shrapnel wounds,” the statement said.

The report also said Russian troops carried out assault operations in the area of ​​Huliaipole, while in the area of Polohy, Russian forces set up an ammunition depot in a local hospital and forbade staff to provide medical services to residents.


Missile destroys Dnipropetrovsk grain warehouse: Official

A grain warehouse has been destroyed by a missile attack in the Sinelnikovsky district of the Dnipropetrovsk region, the head of the regional military administration has said.

“No one was injured,” Valentin Reznichenko wrote on Telegram.


Ukraine says 219 children died in war

At least 219 children have been killed in Ukraine amid Russia’s offensive and 405 others wounded, according to the office of the country’s prosecutor general.

Al Jazeera could not independently verify the figures provided.


One-fourth of Moscow’s Ukraine ground forces ‘combat ineffective’: UK

More than one quarter of the 120 battalion tactical groups Russia committed at the start of the war in Ukraine are likely now ineffective for combat, the United Kingdom’s defence ministry has said.

The ministry’s latest intelligence briefing said Russia’s initial commitment represented about 65 percent of its entire ground combat strength.

It added that the units to have suffered the highest level of attrition are some of Russia’s most elite and “will probably take years … to reconstitute”.


Jill Biden to visit Ukrainian refugees in Romania and Slovakia

United States’ First Lady Jill Biden will visit Romania and Slovakia from May 5 to 9 to meet US service members and embassy personnel, displaced Ukrainians, humanitarian aid workers and teachers, her office has said.

Biden’s visit is the latest show of support by top US representatives for Ukraine and neighbouring countries that are helping Ukrainian refugees.


Two locations added to Mariupol evacuations

Mariupol City Council has said the UN and Red Cross secured two extra areas from where civilians will be evacuated on Monday – the village of Manhush and Lunacharske Circle near Berdyansk.

The evacuation from Mariupol will now begin from 7am (04:00 GMT), the city council said in a Telegram post. Previously, the start was planned for 8am.


Three dead, eight injured in Kharkiv

Three people have died and eight have been injured in Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region, its governor has said. Air raid sirens were activated several times overnight in the region.

“Stay as long as possible in shelters. Don’t go out on the streets without necessity,” Oleh Synyehubov wrote on Telegram.

The body of a civilian lies in an apartment as Russian bombardments continue in a village recently retaken by Ukrainian forces near Kharkiv
The body of a civilian lies in an apartment as Russian bombardments continue in a village recently retaken by Ukrainian forces near Kharkiv, April 30, 2022 [File: Felipe Dana/AP Photo]

Brussels mayor visits Lviv hospital

Brussels Mayor Philippe Close has visited evacuated Ukrainians receiving hospital care in Lviv, according to the city’s mayor, Interfax reports.

Andriy Sadovyi said the hospital’s needs were recorded in the visit.

“We agreed on the necessary equipment and rehabilitation abroad. A short but important visit,” Sadovyi wrote on his Telegram channel.


Nadal, Djokovic slam Wimbledon ban on Russian players

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have criticised Wimbledon’s decision to exclude players from Russia and Belarus from taking part in this year’s tournament.

“I think it’s very unfair of my Russian tennis mates, my colleagues … it’s not their fault what’s happening in this moment with the war,” Nadal said in Spain where he and Djokovic are preparing to play in the Madrid Open.

“I still stand by my position that I don’t support the [Wimbledon] decision. I think it’s just not fair, it’s not right, but it is what it is,” Djokovic said.


Russia planning attacks on Dnipropetrovsk: Zelenskyy

Russian forces are gathering in the south of Ukraine to attack cities and communities in the Dnipropetrovsk region, Zelenskyy has said.

In his night-time address, he spoke of Russia’s attacks on Sunday, saying the war for Moscow’s troops was one of “extermination”.

“They targeted the warehouses of agricultural enterprises. The grain warehouse was destroyed. The warehouse with fertilizers was also shelled. They continued shelling of residential neighbourhoods in the Kharkiv region, Donbas, etc,” he said.


South Korea embassy staff return to Kyiv

South Korea’s ambassador to Ukraine, Kim Hyung-tae, and other embassy staff have returned to Kyiv to restart operations, according to Seoul’s foreign ministry, Yonhap news agency reported.

South Korean embassy officials had evacuated from the capital and worked at a temporary office in the Ukrainian city of Chernivtsi since March.

The ministry said it is considering the phased return of the remaining staff.


Azovstal evacuees arrive in Russian-occupied territory

Dozens of civilians evacuated from the bunkers of Mariupol’s Azovstal steelworks arrived at a temporary accommodation centre in Donetsk on Sunday, the Reuters news agency has reported.

A Reuters photographer saw civilians arriving in the village of Bezimenne in an area of Donetsk under the control of Russia-backed separatists about 30km east of Mariupol.

They were reportedly receiving refreshments and care.

The operation to evacuate people from the steelworks had been under way since Friday led by the UN, and in coordination with the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Azovstal steel plant employee Valeria, last name withheld, evacuated from Mariupol, hugs her son Matvey, who had earlier left the city with his relatives, as they meet at a temporary accommodation centre in the village of Bezimenne in the Donetsk Region.
Azovstal steel plant employee Valeria, last name withheld, evacuated from Mariupol, hugs her son Matvey, who had earlier left the city with his relatives, as they meet at a temporary accommodation centre in the village of Bezimenne in the Donetsk Region, Ukraine, May 1, 2022 [Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters]

EU ministers to hold emergency Russian gas talks

Energy ministers from European Union countries will hold emergency talks on Monday, as the bloc strives for a united response to Moscow’s demands. Moscow has said foreign gas buyers must deposit euros or dollars into an account at the privately-owned Russian bank Gazprombank, which would convert them into roubles.

The European Commission has told countries that complying with Russia’s scheme could breach EU sanctions, while also suggesting countries could make sanctions-compliant payments if they declare the payment complete once it has been made in euros and before its conversion into roubles.

Russia halted gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland last week after they refused to pay through the scheme.


Lavrov says May 9 not a relevant date for Ukraine operations

Russia’s foreign minister says Moscow will not base its actions in Ukraine on the deadline of Victory Day celebrated on May 9.

“Our troops won’t artificially base their activities on a specific date, including Victory Day,” Sergey Lavrov said in an interview on Italy’s Mediaset television channel, according to Russia’s TASS news agency.

“We will solemnly celebrate May 9 the way we always do,” he added.

Some analysis, including from the UK’s defence ministry, has suggested Russia may escalate attacks in the lead up to its national May 9 celebrations to showcase successes in Ukraine.


Explosions in Russia’s Belgorod: Governor

Two explosions took place in the early hours on Monday in Belgorod, the southern Russian region bordering Ukraine, Vyacheslav Gladkov, according to its governor.

“There were no casualties or damage,” Gladkov said after several residents posted videos in which the sound of explosions could be heard on social media.

Earlier on Sunday, Gladkov had reported that one person was injured in a fire at a Russian defence ministry facility in the southern Belgorod region.


Azovstal standoff ‘saved lives’: Azov fighter

The standoff at the Azovstal steel plant saved many lives, the deputy commander of the Azov Regiment has said.

“Because if we hadn’t done this, the front line would be much bigger. The front line would be in another area,” Sviastoslav Palamar told The Associated Press news agency.

Palamar also said while he hoped everyone would be evacuated from the plant, it had been difficult to reach some of the wounded.

“There’s rubble. We have no special equipment. It’s hard for soldiers to pick up slabs weighing tonnes only with their arms,” he said.

A woman helped during the UN-led evacuations from the Azovstal steel plant.
A woman helped during the UN-led evacuations from the Azovstal steel plant, after nearly two months of siege warfare on the city by Russia during its invasion, in Mariupol, May 1, 2022 [David Arakhamia/Azov Regiment/Handout via Reuters]

Explosion damages bridge in Russia’s Kursk region

An explosive device damaged a railway bridge on Sunday in the Kursk region of Russia, which borders Ukraine, the region’s government reported in a Telegram post.

The explosion caused a partial collapse of the bridge near the village of Konopelka, on the Sudzha-Sosnovy Bor railway, the report from Kursk said.

“It was a sabotage, a criminal case has been opened,” said the region’s governor, Roman Starovoit, according to Russia’s TASS news agency. He said there were no casualties and no effect on the movement of trains.


Zelenskyy hopes ‘all necessary conditions’ will be met for Mariupol evacuations

Ukraine’s president says his government is planning to evacuate more civilians from the besieged city of Mariupol on Monday morning.

“I hope that tomorrow all the necessary conditions will be met to continue the evacuation of people from Mariupol. We plan to start at 8am,” he said in his night-time address.

“For the first time there were two days of real ceasefire on this territory. More than 100 civilians have already been evacuated – women and children first of all,” he said of those who left the Azovstal steel plant on the weekend.

“Given all the complexities of the process, the first evacuees will arrive in Zaporizhzhia tomorrow morning. Hopefully, this doesn’t fail. Our team will meet them there,” Zelenskyy added.

Civilians evacuated from Azovstal steel plant accompanied by Red Cross personnel walk in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces in Bezimenne, about 20 kilometres (12 miles) east of Mariupol.
Civilians evacuated from Azovstal steel plant accompanied by Red Cross personnel walk in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces in Bezimenne, about 20km (12 miles) east of Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, Saturday, April 30, 2022 [AP Photo]

Ukrainian commander says Russia resumed shelling of Azovstal steel plant

Ukrainian National Guard brigade commander Denys Shlega has said in a televised interview that shelling resumed at the Azovstal steel plant as soon as rescue crews ceased evacuating civilians.

Shlega said at least one more round of evacuations is needed to clear civilians from the plant.

Dozens of children remain in bunkers below the industrial facilities, as well as several hundred civilians, nearly 500 wounded soldiers and numerous dead bodies, he said.


Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Read the updates from Sunday, May 1 here.

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