26/06/2022

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Russia-Ukraine live news: Kyiv planning more Mariupol evacuations

  • Ukraine commander says raids on Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant have resumed after evacuations.
  • Mariupol’s city council says a broad, UN-backed evacuation of its civilians, other than those sheltering at a steel plant, will begin on Monday.
  • Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says that May 9 is not a relevant date for the ‘special operation’ in Ukraine.
  • Explosions have been reported in Russia’s Belgorod and Kursk regions, the latter damaging a railway bridge.
  • Russia has carried out missile attacks across southern and eastern Ukraine, including one that destroyed the runway at Odesa airport.

Who controls what Day 67

Here are the latest updates:

Two locations added to Mariupol evacuations

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

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


Three dead and eight injured in Kharkiv

Three people have died and eight have been injured in the Kharkiv region, the 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.


Brussels mayor visits Lviv hospital

The Mayor of Brussels, 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 (on) 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 both 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 accumulating in the south of Ukraine to attack cities and communities in the Dnipropetrovsk region, Zelenskyy has said.

In his nighttime 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 reports.

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 that 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 steel works arrived at a temporary accommodation centre in Donetsk on Sunday, Reuters 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 around 30 km east of Mariupol.

They were reportedly receiving refreshments and care.

The operation to evacuate people from the steel works had been under way since Friday led by the United Nations, 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 United Kingdom’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, the region’s governor wrote in a social media post.

“There were no casualties or damage,” Gladkov said after several residents posted videos with the sound of explosions 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.

Palamar also said that 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 tons 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 new 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 nighttime address.

“For the first time there were two days of real ceasefire on this territory. More than a hundred 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 20 kilometres (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 small 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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