A local resident walks past a destroyed building in Mariupol, in territory under the government of the Donetsk People's Republic, eastern Ukraine, Friday, April 29, 2022. —
Many Russian military units are «likely suffering from weakened morale», the UK said in its latest defence intelligence update, stating that Russia has been forced to «merge and redeploy depleted and disparate units».
The Kremlin is seeking to capture Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region but the US has warned that the offensive is going slower than planned.
The mayor of Mariupol meanwhile said trapped civilians are «begging to get saved» from a vast Soviet-era steel complex which is the last holdout of Ukrainian forces in the southern port city.
**Read more about the latest updates on the war in Ukraine in the blog below:
The content of the article:
- 1 Latest updates:
- 2 Ukraine reports vast grain seizures by Russia
- 3 France to ‘reinforce’ military equipment and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, says Macron
- 4 EU ‘is ready’ for possible Russian gas embargo, says commissioner Thierry Breton
- 5 Ukrainian women train in Kosovo to find, clear landmines
- 6 Russian offensive in Ukraine slower than planned, US official says
- 7 Regional official urges residents in Kharkiv not to leave shelters
- 8 Wives of Mariupol defenders hope that soldiers can be rescued from besieged city
- 9 Russian foreign minister claims NATO preventing solution in Ukraine
- 10 Russian troops ‘suffering from weakened morale’, UK says
Many Russian forces are «likely suffering from weakened morale,» the UK defence ministry said.
The mayor of Mariupol says civilians are «begging to get saved» from a steel mill in the city where they’ve been trapped for weeks amid ongoing Russian bombardment.
The EU ‘is ready’ for possible Russian gas embargo, internal market commissioner Thierry Breton said in an interview.
Ukrainian forces are cracking down on people accused of helping Russian troops. In the Kharkiv region alone, nearly 400 have been detained.
The Russian Central Bank said Russia’s economy is expected to contract by up to 10% this year, and the outlook is “extremely uncertain.”
Ukraine reports vast grain seizures by Russia
Ukraine’s deputy agriculture minister says Russian forces are seizing vast amounts of grain in territory they hold, while its president says the war-torn country is facing fuel shortages.
“Today, there are confirmed facts that several hundred thousand tons of grain in total were taken out of the Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Donetsk and Luhansk regions,” minister Taras Vysotsky told Ukrainian television on Saturday.
Ukraine is one of the world’s major grain producers and the Russian invasion has curtailed exports, pushing up world grain prices and raising concerns about severe grain shortages in importing countries.
Ukraine is also facing fuel shortages as Russia destroys its fuel infrastructure and blocks its ports, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Friday night.
France to ‘reinforce’ military equipment and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, says Macron
French President Emmanuel Macron indicated that France would «reinforce» its military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine in a phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The newly re-elected French president also said that the mission of French experts gathering evidence related to Russian crimes would continue.
The United States, France, the Czech Republic and other allies have provided Kyiv with hundreds of long-range artillery pieces to help it counter Moscow’s offensive in the eastern Donbas region.
Macron insisted on «his desire to work actively during his second term to restore the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.»
He also mentioned «France’s readiness to contribute to an agreement providing security guarantees to Ukraine,» the Elysée said.
EU ‘is ready’ for possible Russian gas embargo, says commissioner Thierry Breton
The EU’s internal market commissioner, Thierry Breton, said that the EU was «ready» with solutions to stop its dependence on Russian gas, adding that this team has been preparing for the scenario.
«We import 155 billion cubic meters per year of Russian gas and so we immediately started to build a plan just in case,» Breton said in an interview with French public radio.
«Today we have a dependence (on Russian gas). But we will end this dependence,» Breton said, adding that sanctions should continue to increase pressure on Russia.
«We have a whole range of solutions for the year,» he said in terms of the EU’s gas dependence, including increasing gas from existing pipelines in Azerbaijan or southern Europe.
Ukrainian women train in Kosovo to find, clear landmines
Six Ukrainian women travelled to Kosovo to attend a course in clearing landmines amid Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The 18-day training camp takes place at a range in the western town of Peja where a Malta-based company regularly offers courses for job-seekers, firms working in former war zones, humanitarian organisations and government agencies.
Anastasiia Minchukova, an English teacher in Ukraine, said in an interview with the AP that there was a «huge demand on people who know how to do demining because the war will be over soon.»
“We believe there is so much work to be done.”
Kosovo was the site of a devastating 1998-99 armed conflict between ethnic Albanian separatists and Serbian forces that killed about 13,000 people and left thousands of unexploded mines in need of clearing.
Instructor Artur Tigani, who tailored the curriculum to reflect Ukraine’s environment said he was glad to share his small Balkan nation’s experience with the Ukrainian women. Though 23 years have passed, «it’s still fresh in our memories, the difficulties we met when we started clearance in Kosovo,” Tigani said.
Demining instructor Artur Tigani, left, briefs a group of Ukrainian female emergency services personnel for specialist training in explosive ordnance disposal and survey training in the western Kosovo city of Peja. AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu12:20
Russian offensive in Ukraine slower than planned, US official says
A senior US defence official said on Friday that the Russian offensive is going much slower than planned in part because of the strength of the Ukrainian resistance.
“We also assess that because of this slow and uneven progress, again, without perfect knowledge of every aspect of the Russian plan, we do believe and assess that they are behind schedule in what they were trying to accomplish in the Donbas,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the US military’s assessment.
He said the US believes the Russians are “at least several days behind where they wanted to be” as they try to encircle Ukrainian troops in the east.
As the troops try to move north out of Mariupol so they can advance on Ukrainian forces from the south, their progress has been “slow and uneven, and certainly not decisive in any, in any event,” the official said.
Regional official urges residents in Kharkiv not to leave shelters
The regional governor in Kharkiv Oleh Synyehubov urged residents on Saturday not to leave shelters «unnecessarily» and said they should refrain from visiting cemeteries and mass gatherings despite a reduction in shelling.
The country’s second-largest city has been subject to heavy shelling for weeks. Synyehubov said Russian troops had «fired only three artillery shells at Kharkiv» in the past 24 hours.
He claimed that Russian troops were also unsuccessful in their attempts to advance in the eastern areas of the Kharkiv region, near the city of Izyum.
A Ukrainian serviceman walks amid the rubble of a building heavily damaged by multiple Russian bombardments near a frontline in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Monday, April 25, 2022. AP Photo/Felipe Dana11:41
Wives of Mariupol defenders hope that soldiers can be rescued from besieged city
Two Ukrainian women whose husbands are defending a besieged steel plant in the southern city of Mariupol called for their husbands’ evacuation in an interview with the Associated Press.
“The lives of soldiers matter too. We can’t only talk about civilians,” said Yuliia Fedusiuk, 29, the wife of Arseniy Fedusiuk, a member of the Azov Regiment in Mariupol.
“We are hoping that we can rescue soldiers too, not only dead, not only injured, but all of them.”
She and Kateryna Prokopenko, whose husband, Denys Prokopenko, is the Azov commander, made their appeal in Rome on Friday for international assistance to evacuate the Azovstal plant, the last stronghold of Ukrainian resistance in the strategic and now bombed-out port city.
Kateryna Prokopenko, wife of Denys Prokopenko, commander of the Azov regiment, right, and Yulia Fedosiuk, wife of Arseny Fedosiuk, another member of Azov regiment get emotional as they show photos of their husbands on their phones during an interview with the Associated Press in Rome. AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino10:51
Russian foreign minister claims NATO preventing solution in Ukraine
Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov urged NATO countries to stop supplying weapons and ammunition to Ukraine, accusing Western countries of fueling anti-Russian sentiment in Ukraine.
Lavrov said in an interview with Chinese state media Xinhua that the war was «going to plan» despite Western intelligence assessments that the offensive is moving slower than Russian forces anticipated.
He claimed that a total of 1.02 million people have been «evacuated from Ukraine», in a readout of the interview published by Russia’s foreign ministry on Saturday. Ukraine has accused Moscow of forcefully sending Ukrainians out of the country.
Lavrov also said that talks were continuing daily with the Ukrainian side and blamed “the bellicose rhetoric and inflammatory actions of Western supporters of the Kyiv regime” for disrupting the talks.
However, Russian state TV nightly has had guests suggest that Moscow use nuclear weapons in the conflict.
(Euronews with AP)
Russian troops ‘suffering from weakened morale’, UK says
Russia is facing «considerable challenges» as it continues its offensive in eastern Ukraine, according to the UK defence ministry.
The Kremlin has been «forced to merge and redeploy depleted and disparate units from the failed advances in north-east Ukraine,» the ministry said in its latest defence intelligence update.
The UK defence ministry added that many of these troops are «likely suffering from weakened morale.»