Russia-Ukraine crisis live updates | Mariupol Mayor appeals for evacuation

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Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his forces not to storm the last remaining Ukrainian stronghold in the besieged city of Mariupol on Thursday but instead to block it “so that not even a fly comes through.”

President Joe Biden on Wednesday lauded U.S. military officials for “exceptional” work arming Ukraine as he gathered the nation’s military brass for their first in-person group meeting at the White House of his presidency.

G7 finance ministers said they have provided and pledged together with international community additional support to Ukraine exceeding $24 billion for 2022 and beyond, adding that they were prepared to do more as needed.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said any peace talks over Ukraine are likely to fail, as he compared holding talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin to negotiating with a crocodile.

Here are the latest updates:

UKRAINE

No humanitarian corridors on Friday: Deputy PM

Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said via a Facebook post that Ukraine was not opening any humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of civilians from various cities in Ukraine on Friday.

“Due to the danger on the routes today, April 22, there will be no humanitarian corridors. To all those waiting to be evacuated: be patient, please hold on!,” her post read.

MARIUPOL

Mariupol Mayor appeals for evacuation of city

Mayor Vadym Boichenko on Friday appealed for the full evacuation of Mariupol, which is now under siege by Russian forces. 

“We need only one thing – the full evacuation of the population. About 100,000 people remain in Mariupol,” he reportedly said on national television. He said that tens of thousands of Mariupol residents were killed, but verified figures were not available.  

Those who have not fled Mariupol are facing scarcity of water, heating and electricity as the city remains under heavy bombing. A convoy was able to leave for Zaporizhzhia on Wednesday, and had arrived on Thursday. 

.On Thursday, Putin said that Mariupol was now in the hands of the Russian military. But according to Ukrainian authorities, a group of fighters is still resisting in the underground bunkers of the Azovstal steel complex, along with several civilians. 

If Putin’s claims are true, Mariupol would be the biggest city to fall to Russia since the start of the war. – Reuters

CALIFORNIA

Russia fines Google over Ukraine ‘fakes’, far-right content

A Russian court has fined Alphabet Inc.’s Google 11 million roubles ($137,763) for failing to delete what it terms “fake” information about the conflict in Ukraine and YouTube videos produced by Ukrainian far-right groups, TASS reported.

Russia’s communications watchdog said earlier this month that it was taking steps to punish Google for “spreading fakes” on YouTube, and has previously warned the U.S. company that it would be fined if it failed to comply, part of a wider battle with foreign tech firms and media to control information flows. – Reuters

NEW DELHI

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to help move India away from its dependence on Russia

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to help move India away from its dependence on Russia by expanding economic and defense ties when he meets with his Indian counterpart Friday, officials said.

Johnson is also expected to bring up the situation in Ukraine during talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Our relations have never been as strong or as good between us as they are now,’’ Johnson told reporters at a ceremonial reception in the forecourt of the presidential palace in New Delhi on Friday.

MARIUPOL

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says Mariupol ‘continues to resist’

The devastated city of Mariupol “continues to resist” despite Russian claims to have captured it, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Friday as he welcomed fresh US aid to help confront Moscow’s eastern offensive.

Russia says it has “liberated” the city, with just a few thousand Ukrainian soldiers left in the Azovstal plant complex, where thousands more civilians are also believed to have taken refuge. – AFP

KYIV

Putin tells forces not to storm Ukraine holdout in Mariupol

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his forces not to storm the last remaining Ukrainian stronghold in the besieged city of Mariupol on Thursday but instead to block it “so that not even a fly comes through.”

His defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, said the rest of the city beyond the sprawling Azovstal steel plant where Ukrainian forces were holed has been “liberated” — as Russian officials refer to areas of Ukraine they have seized. Mr. Putin hailed that as a “success.”

WASHINGTON

Biden announces heavy artillery, other weapons for Ukraine

President Joe Biden pledged an additional $1.3 billion Thursday for new weapons and economic assistance to help Ukraine in its strong but increasingly difficult battle against the Russian invasion, and he promised to seek much more from Congress to keep the guns, ammunition and cash flowing.



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