Russia-Ukraine crisis live updates | Ukraine says evacuation from Mariupol plant planned today

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Kyiv on Thursday said 45 Ukrainian soldiers and civilians captured by Russia had been released in a new prisoner exchange, without saying how many Russians were released.

Joe Biden will ask the U.S. Congress for an additional $33 billion to help Ukraine fight the Russian invasion, according to two administration officials.

As many as 10 Russian soldiers are being investigated on suspicion of committing war crimes in Bucha, Ukrainian prosecutors said on Thursday. Dozens of bodies in civilian clothes were found in Bucha after Russian troops retreated.

Russia’s intensified its offensive in eastern Ukraine on Thursday even as the United Nations’ chief Antonio Guterres surveyed the destruction in towns outside Kyiv that experienced some of the worst horrors of the first onslaught of the war. – PTI

Here are the latest updates:

KYIV

Ukraine says evacuation from Mariupol plant planned today

Kyiv said Friday plans were in place to evacuate civilians from the besieged Azovstal steel plant in the southern city of Mariupol where Ukrainian forces and civilians are encircled by Russian troops.

“An operation to evacuate civilians from the Azovstal factory is planned for today,” the Ukrainian presidency said in a statement.

Russia last week said it had gained full control of the strategic port city, except for the huge Azovstal industrial area.

KYIV

Ukraine hopes to evacuate civilians holed up with fighters in Mariupol steel works

Ukraine hopes on Friday to evacuate civilians who are holed up in a vast steel works with the last fighters defending the southern city of Mariupol.

“An operation is planned today to get civilians out of the plant,” President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s office said without giving details. – Reuters

WASHINGTON

U.S. House passes military lend-lease bill to speed Ukraine aid

The U.S. House gave final passage Thursday to legislation that would streamline a World War II-era military lend-lease program to more quickly provide Ukraine and other Eastern European countries with American equipment to fight the Russian invasion.

The measure, which passed by an overwhelming 417-10 vote, now goes to the White House for President Joe Biden to sign into law.

Mr. Biden is expected to sign the bill into law, giving the administration greater leeway to send military equipment to Ukraine and neighboring allies in Eastern Europe. – PTI

WASHINGTON

US to continue engaging with India over Ukraine: White House

The United States is engaging with India over the issue of Ukraine and this will continue in the upcoming Quad summit in Japan next month, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters here.

“We have had a number of engagements, as you know, with leaders in India about our approach to supporting the Ukrainians in this war, whether that is sanctions and the enormous sanctions package we’ve put in place or, of course, the assistance we’ve provided. We will convey the same sentiments in this meeting,” Ms. Psaki said.

She was responding to a question on the Quad summit in Japan in May and how the issue of Ukraine would be raised or discussed. – PTI

NEW DELHI

India’s position on unilateral sanctions hasn’t changed a bit: Ministry of External Affairs

India’s position on sanctions against Russia hasn’t changed “one bit”, asserted the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), speaking about the likelihood of renewed requests from European countries for India to join the sanctions imposed by Western countries during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s European tour next week. The visit to Germany, and Denmark for the Nordic Summit, and France, from May 2-4, where Mr. Modi will meet with leaders of at least seven European countries, is the Prime Minister’s first visit abroad in 2022, the MEA said on Thursday, and while “topical issues” like Ukraine would be discussed, the government expects to see more substantive bilateral subjects on the agenda for talks.

KYIV

Explosions in Kyiv after U.N. chief’s meeting with Ukraine President

Russia pounded targets from practically one end of Ukraine to the other Thursday, including Kyiv, bombarding the city while the head of the United Nations was visiting in the boldest attack on the capital since Moscow’s forces retreated weeks ago.

At least one person was killed and several were injured in the attack on Kyiv, including some who were trapped in the rubble when two buildings were hit, rescue officials said. – AP

UNITED NATIONS

UN votes on May 11 on replacing Russia on Human Rights Council

The U.N. General Assembly will vote on May 11 on a country to replace Russia on the world organization’s leading human rights body following its suspension over allegations of horrific rights violations by Russian soldiers in Ukraine.

Assembly spokeswoman Paulina Kubiak said Thursday that the Czech Republic was the only candidate for the seat on the 47-member Human Rights Council. Seats on the Geneva-based council are divided among regional groups and a replacement for Russia has to come from an East European country.



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