Midday key information
- Pope Francis called, on Sunday, “those who bear the responsibility of nations” to “hear the people’s cry for peace” on “Easter for War”, in reference to the “martyr” Ukraine.
- Moscow claims to control Mariupol and the Russian Defense Ministry has asked the last Ukrainian fighters holed up in the Azovstal mineral complex in this city to stop the fighting.
- The Ukrainian authorities announced the suspension of humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians from eastern Ukraine, due to the lack of an agreement with the Russian army on a ceasefire.
- Russian strikes were seen near Kyiv on Sunday as a military factory was bombed as the Russians said they would step up their attacks on the capital.
12:13 pm: Pope calls for ‘cry of peace to be heard’ on ‘Easter of War’
Pope Francis called, on Sunday, “those who bear the responsibility of nations” to “hear the cry of the people’s peace” on “Easter War”, evoking the “martyr” Ukraine.
“We’ve seen so much blood, so much violence (…) Let’s stop showing muscle while people suffer,” the sovereign pope said during his traditional blessing, “Urbi et Orbi,” in front of some 50,000 worshipers in St. Peter’s Square in Rome.
10:40 am: Draghi regrets the ineffectiveness of dialogue with Putin
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi lamented the ineffectiveness of the apparent “dialogue” with Vladimir Putin, noting that these contacts did not prevent the continuation of “horror” in Ukraine. “I’m starting to think that those who say: ‘It’s no use talking to him, you’re wasting time,'” Mario Draghi said in an interview with the daily Il Corriere della Sera published on Sunday.
I have always defended (Emmanuel) Macron and still say that as the current president of the European Union, he is right to try all possible avenues of dialogue. But I have the impression that the horror of the war with its massacres, what they did to children and women, is completely independent of statements and phone calls “between the Kremlin and foreign powers, he said.
10:32 am: Russia claims to have “destroyed” a military factory near Kyiv
On Sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that it had bombed a military factory on the outskirts of Kyiv, while Moscow intensified its attacks on the Ukrainian capital. “High-precision missiles fired by aircraft during the night destroyed an ammunition factory near Brovary in the Kyiv region,” the ministry said in a statement on its Telegram channel.
9:57 am: No humanitarian corridor on Sunday due to disagreement with the Russians
On Sunday, the Ukrainian authorities announced the suspension of humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians from eastern Ukraine, for not agreeing with the Russian army on a ceasefire. “This morning, we failed to negotiate a ceasefire with the occupiers on the evacuation routes. That is why, unfortunately, we will not open humanitarian corridors today,” said Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Irina Vereshuk via Telegram.
9:35 am: Artillery shelling in the city of Brovary, near Kyiv
Explosions were heard in the early hours of Sunday morning in the Kyiv region. The mayor of Brovary said in a message posted online that a missile attack would have hit the infrastructure in the town of Brovary near the Ukrainian capital. This bombing is said to have damaged a facility and a power station.
9:34 am: Gazprom announced that it will continue to export gas to Europe via Ukraine
Russian gas producer Gazprom announced in a press release that it has continued to supply natural gas to Europe through Ukraine in accordance with the demands of its European customers. Gazprom added that these requirements on April 17 amounted to 57 million cubic meters.
8:19 am: Russia claims to be in control of Mariupol
Moscow claimed to control almost all of Mariupol and issued a new call to its last defenders to lay down their arms. The Russian Defense Ministry asked the last Ukrainian fighters holed up in the Azovstal Metallurgical Complex to stop the fighting on Sunday and evacuate the building. The ministry confirmed on Telegram that “all those who gave up their weapons will ensure that their lives are saved.” “It’s their only chance.” Apart from this pocket of resistance, he said, “the entire territory of the city of Mariupol was cleared of militants from the Nazi Azov formation, foreign mercenaries and Ukrainian soldiers.”
And in the early hours of Sunday morning, the Ukrainian General Staff, for its part, indicated that the Russians had carried out air strikes on the city from the Donetsk and Tavria regions. “They also carried out offensive operations near the port,” he said in a statement, without mentioning the call to lay down arms or the Russian claim to control most of the city.
7:53 am: Russia has released a video showing survivors of the cruiser Moskva
Today, Saturday, the Russian Ministry of Defense published a video clip showing a meeting between the commander of the navy and the survivors of the Moskva ship that sank in the Black Sea. In this video of about thirty seconds, we see a few dozen men in sailor uniforms lined up in front of the captain of the navy, Nikolai Yevminov. These are the first images in which we can see suspected members of the Moskva crew since it sank on Thursday.
Russia claims that this flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet sank following a fire caused by an ordnance explosion. Ukraine claims to have sunk it with missiles.
7:08 am: ‘Inhumane’ situation in Mariupol
On Saturday evening, the Ukrainian president declared that the situation in the strategic port of Mariupol is “inhumane”, calling on the West to “immediately” provide the heavy weapons it has been asking for for several weeks, while Russia claims that it controls almost all the ships. The city issues a new call to its last defenders to lay down their weapons.
The situation in Mariupol remains as dangerous as possible
7 am: Funeral of a Russian general in Saint Petersburg
General Vladimir Frolov, deputy commander of the Russian Eighth Army, was buried in Saint Petersburg on Saturday, according to the Russian sites Fontanka and Kommersant. His funeral took place at the Serafimovsky cemetery in the presence of Alexander Beglov, the governor of Saint Petersburg.
A special trip to Roissy to return 137 Russians expelled by France
A special flight chartered by Russia took off on Saturday from Roissy airport to return 137 passengers expelled by France, a penalty that is part of a European approach. Some are accused of spying.
All the details to read here in our article.
6:48 am: Celebration of the Ukrainian team during the Invictus Games in the presence of Prince Harry
Britain’s Prince Harry opened the Invictus Games, games dedicated to injured soldiers, in a touching ceremony on Saturday and paid tribute to the bravery of the Ukrainian team based in the Netherlands.
“Your courage and choice to come here cannot be overstated,” the prince told the Ukrainian team from a boom-shaped podium. Harry said the team had told the prince the day before that they had come “on the world stage, not just to show our strength but to speak for who we really are”.
Megan, who appeared on stage, also expressed her support for the Ukrainian team. “Slava Ukrainian! (Glory to Ukraine!) she said.
Cessation of negotiations if Russia “eliminates” the last Ukrainian soldiers in Mariupol, threatens Zelensky
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky threatened on Saturday to end peace talks with Russia if the Russian military began to “liquidate” the last Ukrainian soldier stationed in the besieged port city of Mariupol.
6:47 am: Zelensky calls on the world to “prepare” for a possible nuclear attack
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on the world on Saturday to “prepare” for Russia’s possible use of its nuclear weapons, during an interview with a number of Ukrainian media outlets.
We should not wait for Russia to decide to use its nuclear weapons. “We have to prepare for this,” he said in the interview, which was broadcast by six Ukrainian news sites, as well as the Ukrainian presidency on Telegram.
We need “drugs (against radiation) and shelters from air raids,” he said. We have to talk to them, sign treaties, and hang out economically. I’m sure (the Russians) can use any weapon. »
What to remember from Saturday
• A military equipment factory for the manufacture of tanks was targeted in particular by bombing in Darnitsky, on the outskirts of Kyiv.
• Russian forces bombed an oil refinery in the town of Lysichansk, close to the front line in eastern Ukraine. A tall column of black smoke appeared.
• A private plane chartered by Moscow took off from Roissy Airport to bring back about 140 Russian citizens who were expelled by France.
• Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that the “liquidation” of the last Ukrainian soldiers in the coastal city of Mariupol, which is besieged by Russian forces, would “put an end to all peace negotiations” with Moscow.
• Russia sent a formal complaint to the United States warning the US government of “unforeseen consequences” after the sharp increase in its military aid to Ukraine.
• British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and a number of senior British officials are banned from entering Russia in retaliation for the imposed sanctions.
• The Ukrainian president estimated the number of Ukrainian soldiers who died during the war at about 2,500 to 3,000, while Russia, according to him, laments from 19,000 to 20,000 victims.
6:45 a.m.: Hey everyone, welcome to this livestream where we’ll be following the situation around the conflict in Ukraine, this Sunday, April 17, the 53rd day of the Russian invasion.