Ukraine war live: Mariupol evacuation falters, as Russia builds up for new offensive

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Ukraine war live: Mariupol evacuation falters, as Russia builds up for new offensive

A Ukrainian serviceman takes a selfie photograph standing on a destroyed outside Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, March 31, 2022   —  

With Russia’s war in Ukraine into its second month, Putin’s forces have continued to pound towns and cities from afar as Moscow’s military offensive stalls in the face of strong Ukrainian resistance.

Millions have fled their homes, creating Europe’s worst refugee crisis since World War II. Thousands of civilians and military personnel have been killed, and the Russian bombardments have left widespread devastation.

The Russian invasion has caused political and shockwaves around the world, deepening the rupture between Moscow and the West.

_Follow our Friday blog below for the latest details, or watch Euronews live in the video player above. _


Friday’s key points to know: 

    President Putin says «unfriendly» foreign buyers must pay in roubles for Russian gas from Friday, or else contracts will be halted. Germany and France have reiterated that European countries will continue to pay in euros or dollars.The Red Cross will try to evacuate civilians trapped in Mariupol today, after weeks of Russian bombardment but Kyiv says 45 buses it sent to the besieged city were stopped by Russian troops.Zelenskyy: Russians withdrawing from key northern & central areas but building up for a new offensive in the southeast.Australia announced Friday it would send more armoured vehicles to Ukraine to help the war effort.NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has said intelligence shows Russian forces are not withdrawing but «repositioning» and regrouping.Russian troops left the heavily contaminated Chernobyl nuclear site early Friday after returning control to the Ukrainians.


Ukraine war to take centre stage at tense EU-China summit

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is set to take centre stage during a virtual high-level meeting between EU and Chinese leaders on Friday, that comes on the heels of months of strained relations.

Brussels is bent on pushing Beijing to maintain a hands-off, equidistant approach in the conflict, fearing any sort of intervention could offer the Kremlin a much-needed boost to re-energise its stalled military campaign.

Read more in our story here:

Ukraine war live: Mariupol evacuation falters, as Russia builds up for new offensive

Ukraine war poised to take centre stage at tense EU-China summit


Russia accuses Ukraine of striking an oil depot inside Russian territory

A Russian official accused Ukraine on Friday of carrying out a helicopter attack on an «oil depot» in the western Russian city of Belgorod, some 40 kilometres from the Ukrainian border.

«A fire in an oil depot took place due to an air strike by two Ukrainian army helicopters that entered Russian territory at low altitude,» Vyacheslav Gladkov, governor of the Belgorod region, said on his Telegram account.

In another message, he said firefighters were working to put out the blaze and that two depot employees had been injured. The Russian emergency ministry says 170 rescue workers are working on the fire. 

State-owned Rosneft, which owns the site, told Russian news agencies it had evacuated its staff from the site. 

On Wednesday, explosions occurred at an ammunition depot in the Belgorod region, but the Russian authorities did not clearly explain the cause of the incident.

Belgorod is about 80 kilometres north of Kharkiv, a major Ukrainian city that has been under attack by Russian forces since the start of the Kremlin offensive.



British MoD: Ukrainian forces retake key supply route 

The British Ministry of Defence says Ukrainian forces continue to make modest military gains, retaking several villages and also a key supply route between Kyiv and Chernihiv. 

Read more here: 


Australia sending more armoured vehicles to Ukraine

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says his country will send Bushmaster armoured vehicled to Ukraine, after a specific request from Ukrainian President Zelenskyy. 

Zelenskyy addressed the Australian Parliament on Thursday and asked for the Australian-made, four-wheel-drive vehicles.

Morrison told reporters the vehicles will be flown over on Boeing C-17 Globemaster transport planes but didn’t say how many would be sent, or when. 

“We’re not just sending our prayers, we are sending our guns, we’re sending our munitions, we’re sending our humanitarian aid, we’re sending all of this, our body armor, all of these things and we’re going to be sending our armored vehicles, our Bushmasters, as well,” Morrison said.

Zelenskyy has been tailoring his message to individual countries through video appeals like the one shown to legislators in the Australian Parliament on Thursday Lawmakers gave him standing ovation at the start and end of his 16-minute address.

During the live speech to Canberra, Zelenskyy also called for tougher sanctions and for Russian vessels to be banned from international ports.

“We need more sanctions against Russia, powerful sanctions until they stop blackmailing other countries with their nuclear missiles,” he said, speaking through an interpreter.

Zelenskyy specifically asked for Bushmaster vehicles.

“You have very good armed personnel vehicles, Bushmasters, that could help Ukraine substantially, and other pieces of equipment»

(Euronews / AP)


Russian forces leave Chernobyl, hand over to Ukrainians

Russian troops left the heavily contaminated Chernobyl nuclear site early Friday after returning control to the Ukrainians, authorities said.

Ukraine’s state power company, Energoatom, said the pullout at Chernobyl came after soldiers received “significant doses” of radiation from digging trenches in the forest in the exclusion zone around the closed plant. But there was no independent confirmation of that — and experts say there is no evidence at all of any radiation leak that would cause «significant» radiation poisoning at the site. 

The exchange of control happened amid growing indications the Kremlin is using talk of de-escalation in Ukraine as cover to regroup, resupply its forces and redeploy them for a stepped-up offensive in the eastern part of the country.



EU Parliament President heads to Ukraine

The President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola has tweeted a picture as she heads to Ukraine for talks in Kyiv.


Zelenskyy: Russians building up for southeast offensive

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said after Russian troops withdrew from the north and center of the country, the situation has been heating up in the southeast where Russian forces are building up for new powerful attacks.

In his nighttime video address to the nation Thursday, Zelenskyy said it was heartening for all Ukrainians to see Russian troops retreating from north of Kyiv, from around the northern town of Chernihiv and from Sumy in the northeast. By he urged Ukrainians not to let up, saying the withdrawal was just a Russian tactic.

Zelenskyy said he spoke Thursday with European Council President Charles Michel and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, while his adviser spoke with U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

“We need more support from our partners right now when Russian troops are concentrating additional forces in certain areas,” Zelenskyy said.



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