Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy confirmed that 60 people who were sheltering in a school in Bilohorivka, near the eastern city of Luhansk, were killed when Russian forces bombed it this weekend. The UN has condemned the attack, with secretary general António Guterres saying he was “appalled” by it.
More than 170 civilians were successfully evacuated from the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol and have arrived in Zaporizhzhia. Officials said that more than 600 people have been evacuated from the plant and from Mariupol in total.
Members of Ukraine’s Azov battalion trapped inside the Azovstal steel plant meanwhile said they fear they will be killed if captured by Russian forces, as they pleaded with Ukrainian authorities to help arrange their extraction. Speaking to the media from inside the besieged steelworks, Lt Illya Samoilenko vowed to fight on, saying that surrender would be a “gift” to the enemy.
US president Joe Biden and other G7 leaders held a video call with Zelenskiy in a show of unity ahead of Russia’s Victory Day celebrations on Monday. The G7 said it was committed to phasing out or banning Russian oil and denounced president Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. “His actions bring shame on Russia and the historic sacrifices of its people,” the group said in a statement, referring to Soviet Russia’s role in defeating Nazi Germany 77 years ago.
New US visa bans on more than 2,600 Russian and Belarusian military officials include personnel believed to have operated in Bucha, the town outside Kyiv that has become synonymous with war crimes, US secretary of state Antony Blinken said.
America’s top diplomat to Ukraine, Kristina Kvien, arrived with her team in Kyiv on Sunday in a step towards resuming the country’s presence in the capital. The visit was timed to commemorate Victory in Europe Day.
Russian airstrikes on Sunday wounded one woman and knocked out electricity to six settlements in the Odesa region, authorities said.
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau promised new weapons and other equipment for Ukraine after a surprise visit to the country during which he toured Irpin, a Kyiv suburb and scene of some of the worst early attacks by Russia. He also said Canada would remove trade tariffs on all Ukrainian imports for next year.
Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said Berlin had “made a mistake” after it banned all flags, including Ukrainian flags, as part of its decision to suppress all displays of public support for the Russian invasion on Victory Day. “Taking a Ukrainian flag away from peaceful protesters is an attack on everyone who now defends Europe and Germany from Russian aggression with this flag in hands,” he said.
The US president’s wife, Jill Biden, met with Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, on another unannounced visit on Sunday to mark Mother’s Day, while U2’s Bono and the Edge performed in a Kyiv bomb shelter.
In an address to mark Ukraine’s 8 May remembrance and reconciliation day, Zelenskiy said his country paid homage to all those who helped defeat Adolf Hitler but accused Russia of repeating his crimes. “This year we say ‘Never again’ differently. We hear ‘Never again’ differently. It sounds painful, cruel. Without an exclamation, but with a question mark. You say: never again? Tell Ukraine about it.”
Ukraine will prevail over Russia as freedom prevailed over the Nazi dictatorship in 1945, the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, has said in a TV address to mark the 77th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day. Scholz, whose relations with Zelenskiy have been frosty, has not yet said whether he will accept an invitation to travel to Kyiv on Monday.
The US has unveiled a new layer of sanctions on Russia, targeting services, Russia’s propaganda machine and its defence industry. They are primarily intended to close loopholes in the existing sanctions and to tighten the noose around the Russian economy by another few notches.
The UK government has expanded its sanctions against Russia to include punitive import tariffs on Russian precious metals, as well as export bans on certain UK products, to increase economic pressure on Moscow.
Putin’s regime is “mirroring” the actions of the Nazis, the UK’s defence secretary, Ben Wallace, will say on Monday as the Russian leader stages a military parade to celebrate Russia’s second world war victory, according to an advance copy of the speech. Wallace will say Putin and his inner circle should share the same fate as the Nazis, who ended up defeated and facing the Nuremberg trials for their atrocities.
Emmanuel Macron, the French president, is set to travel to Berlin for talks with Scholz on Monday and to make a major address.
Source: The Guardian newsUp