Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he had invited French President Emmanuel Macron to visit Ukraine to see for himself evidence that Russian forces had committed “genocide”, a term that President Emmanuel Macron has avoided. Earlier, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said that the strategic port city of Mariupol “has not fallen” and that the besieged forces defending the city from Russian attacks will “fight to the end”. All times are Paris time (GMT + 2).
18:37: Zelensky says Macron was invited to see evidence of “genocide”
“I talked to him yesterday,” Zelensky told CNN in an interview. “I just told him I want him to understand that this is not war, but nothing but genocide. I invited him to come when he has the opportunity. He will come and see, and I’m sure he will. to understand. “
Zelensky said he also believed that US President Joe Biden would come at some point, although White House officials have said there are no plans to do so. The Ukrainian leader said he believed Macron withdrew from using the term “genocide” – a term Biden has now used for the war in Ukraine – because he believed it would hurt the chances of diplomatic engagement with Russia.
16:05: The Prime Minister of Ukraine says that the remaining forces in Mariupol are still fighting
The remaining Ukrainian forces in the southern port of Mariupol are still fighting and continue to defy a Russian demand that they surrender, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on Sunday.
“The city has still not fallen,” Shmyhal told ABC’s “This Week” program, adding that Ukrainian troops continue to control certain parts of the city.
15:20: Shelling kills five in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv: official
A series of strikes on Sunday in Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv, in the northeastern part of the war-torn country, left at least five people dead and 13 injured, a regional health official told AFP.
Maksym Khaustov, head of the Kharkiv region’s health department, confirmed the deaths after a series of strikes that AFP journalists at the site said had ignited fires throughout the city and torn roofs from buildings affected by the attacks.
13:44: Residents are divided over a possible Russian takeover of the city in eastern Ukraine
Russian soldiers are only about 10 kilometers from the eastern Ukrainian city of Sviatohirsk, in the northern Donbas, reports FRANCE 24’s Sinead McCausland.
Some Ukrainian residents believe that Sviatohirsk’s beautiful monastery, which is under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church, will protect the city from attacks even though a Russian missile attack has already damaged the monument.
Others support a Russian invasion. “[Putin] is here to defend Donbas, “a resident told FRANCE 24.
12:55: Russia warns NATO activity in Arctic could cause “unintentional incidents”
Russia is worried about increased activity of NATO forces in the Arctic and sees risks of “unintentional incidents” occurring in the region, the TASS news agency quoted Russian Ambassador Nikolai Korchunov on Sunday.
In March, Finland and Sweden, both of which are considering joining the US-led military NATO alliance, conducted combined NATO military exercises. The exercise was long planned, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24 increased the intensity of the war game. Moscow describes its actions in Ukraine as a “special military operation”.
“The recent increase in NATO activity in the Arctic is a cause for concern. Another large-scale military exercise of the alliance was held recently in northern Norway. In our view, this does not contribute to security in the region,” Korchunov said.
According to Korchunov, such activity increases the risk of “unintentional incidents”, which in addition to security risks can also cause serious damage to the Arctic ecosystem.
He has not indicated what type of incident he may be referring to.
One of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies warned NATO on Thursday that if Sweden and Finland join NATO, Russia will place nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles in a European enclave.
12:42: Pope says Ukraine has been “drawn into” meaningless war
Pope Francis marks an “Easter of war” on Sunday urged the leaders to hear the people’s appeal for peace in Ukraine and implicitly criticized Russia for dragging the country into a “cruel and meaningless” conflict.
Francis spoke to about 50,000 people in St. Peter’s Square for his bi-annual “Urbi et Orbi” speech (to the city and the world), saying that Ukraine was “severely affected by the violence and destruction of the cruel and senseless war it was in.” dragged”.
11:46: Ukraine has asked the G7 for $ 50 billion in financial support, says a senior official
Ukraine has asked the G7 nations for $ 50 billion in financial support and is also considering issuing 0% coupon bonds to help the country cover a war-related budget deficit over the next six months, Presidential Adviser Oleh Ustenko said on Sunday.
Speaking on national television, Ustenko said that these alternatives were actively discussed.
11:31: Russia extends deadline for Mariupol soldiers to surrender
Russia has extended the deadline for soldiers in Mariupol to surrender from Sunday morning to Sunday afternoon.
“The situation is still extremely tense,” said Rob Parsons of FRANCE 24, which reports from Kyiv. “The Russians tighten the noose around the city’s defenders almost daily.”
About 1,000 – 2,000 Ukrainian soldiers are trapped in a steelworks east of the city.
10:34: Russia takes credit for “destroyed” military factory near Kyiv
Russia’s defense minister said on Sunday that it was attacking a military base outside Kyiv as Moscow intensified its attacks on the Ukrainian capital.
“During the night, high-precision air-fired missiles destroyed an ammunition factory near the Brovary settlement, Kyiv region,” the ministry said in a statement on Telegram.
Brovary Mayor Igor Sapozhko said “some infrastructure objects were hit” early Sunday morning.
An AFP journalist in Brovary saw no signs of destruction, smoke or fire.
Russia has in recent days carried out several attacks on military installations inside and outside Kyiv.
Last month, Russia said it was withdrawing troops from northern Ukraine – including from around the capital – to focus on gaining control of the eastern Donbas region.
10:03: The Pope is expected to mention Ukraine in the Easter blessing
Pope Francis is expected to mention Ukraine in its traditional Easter blessing on Sunday.
“The pope has been very clear from the beginning. He has condemned the aggression in Ukraine. It is very high on his agenda,” said FRANCE 24’s Seema Gupta, who reports from Rome.
At services earlier this weekend, the pope demanded an “Easter truce” in Ukraine.
09:55: Civilian evacuations were paused in the east due to lack of agreement with Russia, says Ukraine
Ukraine said on Sunday that it was suspending the evacuation of civilians from the war-torn eastern part of the country for a day because it had failed to reach agreement with Russian forces.
“As of this morning, April 17, we have not been able to agree with the occupiers on a ceasefire on the evacuation routes. That is why we are unfortunately not opening humanitarian corridors today,” Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk wrote in a statement on social media. with reference to Moscow’s forces.
09:41: EU announces € 50 million increase in humanitarian aid to people affected by war in Ukraine
The EU has announced a facility to allocate an additional € 50 million in humanitarian aid to support people affected by Russia’s war against Ukraine.
Of this, € 45 million will go to humanitarian projects in Ukraine and € 5 million to Moldova, the EU said in a statement. This raises the EU’s total humanitarian aid funding in response to the war to € 143 million.
09:30: Ukraine’s Defense Minister tweets Easter hopes for peace
Ukraine’s Defense Minister Dmytro Kuleba has tweeted an Easter statement saying he hopes “light will triumph over darkness” in Ukraine.
08:34: Missile attacks cause damage in the city near Kyiv, says mayor
A missile attack early on Sunday damaged infrastructure in the city of Brovary, near the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, said Igor Sapozhko, mayor of Brovary in an online post.
There were no details on the extent of the destruction and potential victims.
08:22: Britain says that Russia has undertaken to turn Ukraine away from the West
Russia is determined to force Ukraine to abandon its Euro-Atlantic orientation and assert its own regional dominance, even as Moscow’s operational focus shifts to the east of its neighbor, the British military intelligence service said on Sunday.
Russian forces continued to relocate combat and support equipment from Belarus to eastern Ukraine, including to locations near Kharkiv and Severodonetsk, the UK Department of Defense tweeted in a regular bulletin.
Russian artillery continues to strike Ukrainian positions throughout the eastern part of the country, where Russia plans to renew its offensive activity, the bulletin added.
08:15: No word from Mariupol as the window to capitulate is approaching closing
Russia on Saturday night, Ukrainian troops in Mariupol issued an ultimatum: surrender within the next seven hours or die. The seven-hour window to surrender is now closing.
The remaining Ukrainian troops are trapped in the city’s industrial area for steel production, reports Leo McGuinn from FRANCE 24.
06:00: The situation in Mariupol “inhuman”, says Zelensky
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said the situation in Mariupol was “inhumane” and called on the West to immediately provide heavy weapons, as Russia claimed control of almost the entire strategic port city and called on its last defenders to surrender.
Moscow said Ukrainian forces in the city must lay down their arms by Sunday, after weeks of relative calm in the capital Kyiv brought an end to renewed Russian airstrikes.
Chancellor of Austria, the first European leader to meet Vladimir Putin personally since the invasion began, said he believed the Russian president “believes he is winning the war” in Ukraine.
But in the south, the devastated city of Mariupol has become a symbol of Ukraine’s unexpectedly fierce resistance since Russian troops invaded the former Soviet state on February 24.
Moscow officials now say they have full control there, even though Ukrainian fighters are still trapped in the city’s fortress-like steelworks.
“The situation in Mariupol is still as serious as possible. Just inhuman,” President Zelensky said in a video.
“Russia is deliberately trying to destroy everyone who is there.”
05:56: Explosions were heard in Kyiv
Explosions were heard early Sunday in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, local media reported.
Overnight, air raid sirens went off on almost everyone Ukraine.
There was no official explanation for the explosions and Reuters could not immediately verify the reports. Russia has renewed its attack on the capital over the weekend, and Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko has advised residents who fled the city earlier in the war not to return.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)
Originally published on France24