War in Ukraine: Latest developments

AFP , Friday 6 May 2022

Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:

Humanitarian aids for Ukrainians
People receive humanitarian aid at the distribution center for displaced people in Zaporizhia, Ukraine, Thursday, May 5, 2022. (AP

 

Ceasefire in doubt

President Vladimir Putin says the Russian army is "still ready" to give safe passage to civilians trapped in Mariupol's Azovstal steelworks, where Ukrainian forces are making a last stand.

He is speaking to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett after a Ukrainian commander says Russia has "violated" a promised truce at the site, leaving civilians hiding from shelling in the basement of the sprawling plant.

The Russian army has announced a three-day ceasefire at the site, but Svyatoslav Palamar, a commander of the Azov regiment which is defending it, says in a video on Telegram "heavy bloody fighting continues".

"As for the militants remaining at Azovstal, the Kyiv authorities must give them an order to lay down their arms," the Kremlin quotes Putin as saying.

UN convoy heads to Azovstal

A new UN convoy is heading to the Azovstal steelworks to try to evacuate civilians, UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths tells a Ukraine donors' conference in Warsaw.

"Today as we speak, a convoy is proceeding to get to Azovstal by tomorrow morning hopefully to receive those civilians remaining in that bleak hell... and take them back to safety," he says.

West slowing, not hindering operation: Kremlin

The Kremlin accuses the West of preventing a "quick" end to Russia's military campaign in Ukraine by supplying weapons and intelligence to the country.

But its spokesman Dmitry Peskov says the West is "incapable of hindering the achievement" of the goals of Russia's military operation.

"The United States, Britain, NATO as a whole hand over intelligence... to Ukraine's armed forces on a permanent basis," Peskov tells reporters.

"Coupled with the flow of weapons that these countries are sending to Ukraine, these are all actions that do not contribute to the quick completion of the operation."

$6 billion raised

More than six billion euros ($6.3 billion) are collected at a Ukraine donors' conference in Warsaw, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki says.

Separately Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky launches a global crowdfunding platform -- United24 -- to help Kyiv win the war with Russia and rebuild the country's infrastructure.

Ukraine's government in April estimated the cost of rebuilding after the war to be at least $600 billion (570 billion euros).

Sell seized assets: EU chief

The European Union should confiscate and sell Russian assets it has seized and use the proceeds to rebuild Ukraine, EU chief Charles Michel says, echoing an idea already floated in the United States.

The EU said early last month it had frozen 30 billion euros ($31.5 billion) in assets linked to blacklisted Russian and Belarusian individuals.

Eastern assault continues

The governor of Ukraine's eastern Donbas region Pavlo Kyrylenko says at least 25 civilians were wounded in an overnight Russian strike on the city of Kramatorsk.

Moscow seeks to establish "full control" of the regions of Lugansk and Donetsk, and to maintain a land corridor to occupied Crimea.

The Ukrainian army meanwhile says it has retaken control of "several settlements on the border of Mykolaiv and Kherson regions".

Russia, Israel and the Holocaust

Israeli prime minister Bennett says Putin has apologised for remarks made by Moscow's top diplomat, Sergei Lavrov, who claimed Adolf Hitler may have had "Jewish blood".

The comments had sparked outrage in the Jewish state.

A Kremlin summary of the Bennett-Putin call, which came as Israel marked 74 years since the creation of the Jewish state, made no mention of a Putin apology.

It did, however, note that the leaders discussed the "historic memory" of the Holocaust.

Zelensky invites German leaders

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has yet to commit to visiting Kyiv, even after Ukraine's leader invited him and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, three weeks after the German president was snubbed by Kyiv.

NATO, Sweden and the Baltic Sea

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance could heighten its presence around Sweden and the Baltic Sea to protect the country from Russian interference during a potential membership application.

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