War in Ukraine: Latest developments

AFP , Sunday 8 May 2022

Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:

This picture taken on May 8, 2022 shows a destroyed beach hotel in Ukrainian city of Odessa, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. AFP


Mariupol steelworks soldiers vow no surrender

Ukrainian forces in the sprawling Azovstal steelworks in the Russian-controlled city of Mariupol -- the last pocket of Ukrainian resistance in the devastated port city -- say they will not surrender, vowing to fight on.

"Surrender is not an option," said Ilya Samoilenko, an Azov regiment intelligence officer, during a press conference.

"All our supplies are limited. We still have water. We still have munitions. We will have our personal weapons. We will fight until the best resolution of the situation."

Ukraine has said all women, children and elderly civilians have been evacuated from Azovstal as part of a UN and Red Cross humanitarian mission.

G7 meets on Ukraine

President Volodymyr Zelensky talks with G7 leaders via video conference to discuss the situation in his country, with the White House saying the club of rich nations is "committed to phasing out or banning the import of Russian oil".

Washington also announces new sanctions on three major Russian television stations and says it will deny Russian companies and wealthy individuals access to US accounting and consulting services.

Meanwhile, diplomats are locked in difficult negotiations on the terms of the European Union's sixth round of sanctions against Russia, with several members seeking guarantees for their oil supplies.

School in east Ukraine bombed, dozens feared dead

Some 60 people sheltering in a village school in east Ukraine are feared dead after an air strike, says the governor of the Lugansk region, Sergii Gaidai.

Ninety people were in the village school of Bilogorivka when the air strike hit Saturday, said Gaidai on Telegram.

"The bombs fell on the school and unfortunately it was completely destroyed," he said, saying that 27 people had been saved. "Sixty people who were in the school are very probably dead.

US First Lady Biden, Canada's Trudeau separately visit Ukraine

US First Lady Jill Biden makes an unannounced visit to Ukraine, meeting with her Ukrainian counterpart Olena Zelenska at a school.

The trip comes even as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pays a visit to Irpin outside Kyiv, a city badly damaged by Russian forces early in the war.

Battle for eastern city

Ukrainian forces are struggling to hold on to the nearly surrounded city of Severodonetsk, the easternmost city still held by Kyiv.

Were the city to fall, it would mean Russia has gained de facto control of Lugansk -- the smaller of the two republics comprising the eastern war zone -- in time for Russia's annual Victory Day celebrations Monday.

"I would rather not guess how long we can hold on," the Ukrainian unit commander tells AFP, describing the situation as "critically stable".

A local official says about 15,000 civilians remain in the city.

Victory Day parade

Russia is poised to hold its annual parade Monday marking the Soviet victory in World War II, where its military might will be showcased amid Moscow's ongoing campaign in Ukraine.

President Vladimir Putin is expected to deliver a speech during the parade, which some Western officials believe could be a declaration of all-out war on Ukraine, speculation the Kremlin has dismissed as "nonsense".

'Staggering' Russian violations

The Council of Europe's human rights commissioner, Dunja Mijatovic, calls Russian violations of human rights in Ukraine "staggering" after a four-day visit to the country.

The visit to areas outside Kyiv illustrated "mounting evidence of widespread arbitrary killings, torture, and enforced disappearances", the council says in a statement.

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