Ukraine war live updates: Russian shelling kills several in Luhansk, Kharkiv regions

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Ukraine war live updates: Russian shelling kills several in Luhansk, Kharkiv regions

Firefighters work inside a building destroyed by a Russian bomb in Chernihiv on 22 April 2022.   —  

Russian forces have now shifted their focus to the offensive in the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine.

Heavy shelling and fighting have continued in the east as Russia’s army attempts to establish control over the region.

Follow the latest updates from Ukraine in our blog below or watch our TV coverage in the video player above.

09:27

Saturday’s key points:

    Russian shelling of urban areas in the east of Ukraine continued on Saturday, with reports of at least two civilians dead in the eastern city of Popasna and another two in the Kharkiv region.

    Moldova summoned the Russian ambassador in protest at a Russian general’s comments that Moscow wants to capture southern Ukraine to gain access to a breakaway Moldovan region.

    UN accuses Russia of actions that ‘could amount to war crimes,’ claiming its armed forces have ‘indiscriminately bombarded and shelled populated areas’.

    Ukrainian official says fighting has not stopped at the besieged Azovstal steel mill where the country’s fighters are holding out. Putin previously told Russian forces not to storm the industrial site and instead seal it off.

    Russia FM blames Ukraine for halted peace talks, saying ‘they have put up with their destiny’.

    At least 594 children have been killed or injured so far due to war in Ukraine, the country’s parliament says.

15:32

Cruise missiles fired at Odesa, Ukrainian official says

An adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister says Russian forces have fired at least six cruise missiles at the Black Sea port city of Odesa.

Anton Gerashchenko said in a Telegram post on Saturday that Ukrainian forces were able to shoot down several missiles, but at least one landed and exploded.

“Residents of the city heard explosions in different areas,” Gerashchenko wrote. “Residential buildings were hit.”

At least one person was killed, he said.

14:22

Russian troops attacking Azovstal plant in Mariupol, Zelenskyy’s advisor claims

An adviser to Ukraine’s presidential office says Russian forces are attacking a steel plant that is the last defence stronghold of Ukrainian forces in the strategic port city of Mariupol.

Oleksiy Arestovich, an adviser to the head of Ukraine’s presidential office, said during a briefing on Saturday that the Russian forces have resumed airstrikes on Azovstal and were trying to storm it.

“The enemy is trying to completely suppress resistance of the defenders of Mariupol in the area of Azovstal,” Arestovich said.

Arestovich’s statement came two days after Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reported to President Vladimir Putin that the whole of Mariupol, with the exception of Azovstal, had been “liberated” by the Russians.

Putin ordered the Russian military not to storm the plant and instead to block it off in an apparent attempt to stifle the remaining pocket of resistance there.

Moscow’s claim that Mariupol is now under Russian control could not be independently confirmed.

Ukrainian officials have estimated that about 2,000 of their troops are inside the plant along with about 1,000 sheltering in the facility’s underground tunnels.

Arestovich says the Ukrainian fighters are still holding on despite the resumed attacks and are even trying to counter them.

13:25

Lviv under new curfew rules from Easter weekend

The regional governor of Lviv, Maksym Kozytskyy, has announced a curfew starting on Orthodox Easter night.

Citing “new intelligence,” Kozytskyy said the curfew would run from 11 pm on Saturday to 5 am on Sunday, and then every day between those hours until further notice.

“Unfortunately, the enemy doesn’t have such a concept as a major religious holiday,” Kozytskyy wrote. “They are so beastly that they don’t understand what Easter is.”

Kozytskyy said the church leadership is in support of the decision and that all churches in the region will be postponing their Easter night services until the morning hours.

12:29

Moscow extends ban on flights to cities bordering Ukraine to 1 May

Temporary flight restrictions at 11 Russian airports have been extended until 1 May, the Federal Air Transport Agency stated on Saturday.

The agency also told the domestic air carriers to continue rerouting their flights using «alternative routes» to Moscow and Sochi, among others.

Civilian flights to the airports of the likes of Belgorod, Voronezh and Rostov-on-Don — all near the Ukrainian border — have been restricted since the beginning of the Russian invasion on 24 February.

With a few exceptions, European countries have closed their air space to Russian-owned or operated aircraft as part of sanctions triggered by the Kremlin’s aggression against Ukraine.

11:26

Mykolaiv governor extends Easter curfew fearing Russian attacks

Mykolaiv regional governor Vitaliy Kim asked the citizens to stay at home on Easter Saturday night and «not go anywhere today and tomorrow».

«I ask everyone to stay home tonight. There is a possibility that the enemy is preparing something malicious,» Kim said on Telegram.

The region was shelled overnight on Friday, but there were no victims, Kim added.

Eastern Orthodox faithful across a number of countries including Ukraine and Russia celebrate Easter on 24 April. 

09:52

Civilians to try to evacuate from Mariupol on Saturday, Kyiv says

A new attempt to evacuate civilians from the Ukrainian port of Mariupol, largely controlled by the Russian army, is scheduled for Saturday, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said. 

«Today we are trying again to evacuate women, children and the elderly,» she said on Facebook, adding that civilians had started gathering near a shopping centre in the city and hoped to start evacuating around 12 pm local time (10 am GMT).

09:37

Zelenskyy criticises Russia over human rights abuses at home

The Kremlin should take care of its own citizens and their own rights instead of waging war in Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly address on Friday.

«To be honest, the territory in which Russia should take care of the rights of Russian speakers in Russia itself,» Zelenskyy commented.

«Where there is no freedom of speech, no freedom of choice. Where there is simply no right to dissent. Where poverty thrives and where human life is worthless.»

Continuing with the critical tone, Zelenskyy added that the Russian dream used to be «to see Paris and die,» but that now «it is to steal a toilet [in Ukraine] and die.»

09:28

Two killed in Popasna, regional governor says

Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai says that two people were killed by Russian shelling in the city of Popasna.

Haidai said Saturday on the messaging app Telegram that residential buildings in the region were shelled 12 times the previous day, and Popasna “got the most” of it.

“In addition to the fact that street fighting continues in the city for several weeks, the Russian army constantly fires at multistory residential buildings and private houses. Just yesterday, local residents withstood five enemy artillery attacks…. Not all survived,” Haidai wrote.

He added that some houses were also destroyed in Lysychansk and Novodruzhesk.

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