Live: Civilians try to evacuate from Ukraine’s besieged Mariupol

Live: Civilians try to evacuate from Ukraine's besieged Mariupol

Ukrainian authorities are planning further evacuations from Mariupol on Monday, following an initial operation to remove about 100 civilians from the besieged Azovstal steelworks. At the same time, in Brussels, EU energy ministers are holding emergency talks as the bloc considers a phasing out of Russian oil imports. Follow FRANCE 24’s live blog for the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT + 2).

10:10 a.m .: Russia says its military shot down the Ukrainian MiG-29 fighter jet

Russia’s defense minister has said its military has shot down a Ukrainian MiG-29 fighter jet near Sloviansk in eastern Ukraine.

In a morning briefing, the Ministry of Defense said that the Russian military had hit 38 military targets in Ukraine, including ammunition depots and control centers.

It was not possible to independently confirm the information.

10:03: Denmark opens the Kiev embassy

Denmark reopened its embassy in Kyiv on Monday, Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod announced during a surprise visit to the Ukrainian capital.

“It is a very strong symbol of Danish support for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people that today we are reopening the doors to the Danish embassy,” Kofod said in a statement.

The move, which follows similarly from other Western nations, had not been announced in advance. Denmark closed the embassy after the Russian invasion of its pro-Western neighbor.

09:45: Some countries that are not yet there on the Russian oil embargo, says the German energy minister

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said on Monday that he had heard various things about an embargo on Russian oil and that some countries were not yet ready for such a step. Two EU diplomats previously said that the bloc is leaning towards a ban on imports of Russian oil at the end of the year. Germany does not want to trigger an economic disaster, Habeck said.

9:37: Ukraine says they destroyed two Russian patrol boats

A Ukrainian Bayraktar drone destroyed two Russian Raptor patrol ships in the Black Sea, according to Ukraine’s military chief.

“Two Russian Raptor classboats were destroyed at dawn today near Zmiinyi (Snake) Island,” Chief of Staff Valeriy Zaluzhniy wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

There was no immediate reaction from Moscow to the claim.

9:31: Finnish Fennovoima terminates Rosatom contract for nuclear power plants

The Finnish consortium Fennovoima has announced that it has terminated its contract with Russia’s state nuclear power supplier Rosatom for the delivery of a planned nuclear power plant in Finland.

The planned Hanhikivi plant was ordered by Fennovoima, a Finnish-Russian consortium, in which Finnish stakeholders including Outokumpu, Fortum and SSAB own two thirds and Rosatom’s subsidiary RAOS Voima holds the rest.

9:12: Demand for Russian gas supply via Ukraine increases in Europe

Demand for Russian gas supplies via Ukraine increased in Europe on Monday, according to data from Ukraine’s gas pipeline operator.

According to the information, the requests were 98.8 million cubic meters for Monday, up from 97.2 million cubic meters on Sunday.

09:03: Finland decides to apply for NATO membership on 12 May: report

Finland will decide to apply for NATO membership on May 12, the Finnish newspaper Iltalehti reported late on Sunday, citing anonymous government sources.

The decision to join will come in two stages on the day that Finnish President Sauli Niinisto first announces his approval for the Nordic neighbor Russia to join the Western defense alliance, followed by parliamentary groups giving their approval for the application, the newspaper reported.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has pushed Finland and Sweden to the border to apply for NATO membership and abandon a belief held for decades that peace was best preserved by not publicly choosing sides.

8:51: Hungary opposes EU embargo on Russian oil and gas imports: spokesman

Hungary is still opposed to any EU embargo on Russian oil and gas imports, according to government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs.

“The Hungarian stance on possible oil and gas embargoes has not changed: we do not support them,” Kovacs said in an email to Reuters.

8:45: Ukraine could lose tens of millions of tons of grain: Zelensky

Ukraine could lose tens of millions of tonnes of grain due to Russia’s blockade of its Black Sea ports, triggering a food crisis that will affect Europe, Asia and Africa, said President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“Russia does not allow ships to enter or leave, it controls the Black Sea,” Zelensky told the Australian news program 60 Minutes. “Russia wants to completely block our country’s economy.”

Ukraine is a major exporter of cereals and other food products and also of metals.

8:38: EU energy ministers “close” to an agreement on Russian energy embargo

EU energy ministers are close to reaching an agreement on an embargo on Russian oil, according to FRANCE 24’s Dave Keating, who reports from Brussels. This comes after weeks of intense talks, as Germany has agreed to a gradual ban on Russian energy imports, which would begin at the end of the year. The ban will not start immediately to give EU countries a chance to find other alternative suppliers and build an adequate infrastructure to cope with the change.

Austria, Italy and Hungry, among others, have expressed concern over their dependence on Russian fossil fuels and the potential effects of a downturn on their economies. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has previously threatened to veto an EU attempt to impose an embargo on Russian energy.

Orban is a long-standing ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, but vetoing a bill against the Kremlin at this advanced stage could blow up his newly formed alliance with Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, Keating said.

06:00: Jill Biden meets Ukrainian refugees during a visit to Romania and Slovakia

First Lady Jill Biden will visit Romania and Slovakia on May 5-9 to meet with US officials and embassy staff, displaced Ukrainian parents and children, humanitarian aid workers and teachers, the White House said.

After arriving in Romania on Friday, she is scheduled to meet with US officials at the Mihail Kogalniceau Air Base, a US military facility near the Black Sea.

The schedule then takes her to the Romanian capital, Bucharest, on Saturday to meet with government officials, US embassy staff, humanitarian aid workers and educators helping to educate displaced Ukrainian children.

On May 8, she travels to Kosice and Vysne Nemecke in Slovakia to meet with refugees, humanitarian aid workers and local Slovaks who support Ukrainian families seeking refuge in Slovakia.

04:49: Russia does not want to end Ukraine’s war by May 9, says FM

Russia is not looking to end its war in Ukraine before Victory Day on May 9, said Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, as the country looks set to mark the most important anniversary under the cloud of a deadly conflict.

In a conversation with the Italian media, Lavrov insisted that Moscow not rush to end its so-called “special military operation” in time for the anniversary, which celebrates Nazi Germany’s capitulation to allied forces – including the then Soviet Union – in 1945.

“Our military will not artificially adapt its actions to any date, including Victory Day,” Lavrov said in an interview released Sunday.

“The pace of the operation in Ukraine is primarily due to the need to minimize any risks to the civilian population and Russian military personnel,” he added.

Russia usually celebrates Victory Day in grand style, with a large military parade in central Moscow and a speech by President Vladimir Putin praising the country’s leading role in the defeat of fascism in Europe.

04:30: EU energy ministers hold crisis talks after Russian gas cuts

Energy ministers from EU countries will hold emergency talks on Monday, as the bloc strives for a unified response to Moscow’s demand that European buyers pay for Russian gas in rubles or that their deliveries be closed.

Russia halted gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland last week after refusing to meet its demand for effective payment in rubles.

These countries already planned to stop using Russian gas this year and say they can cope with the stop, but it has raised concerns that other EU countries, including Europe’s gas – dependent economic power plant Germany, may be next.

It has also threatened to break the EU’s united front against Russia in the midst of disagreement over the right course of action.

With many European companies facing gas payment deadlines later this month, EU states have an urgent need to clarify whether companies can continue to buy fuel without violating EU sanctions against Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine.

03:05: Explosions in the Russian region bordering Ukraine

Two explosions took place early Monday in Belgorod, the southern Russian region bordering Ukraine, Vyacheslav Gladkov, the region’s governor, wrote in a social media post.

“There were no casualties or injuries,” Gladkov wrote.

22:18: Pelos’ visit to Kyiv is “very significant”

Pelosi’s visit to Kyiv is “very significant; it is yet another demonstration of solidarity and support for Ukraine,” David Guard, The Guardians, told FRANCE 24 from Washington DC.

21:20: Eight dead after Russian airstrikes in eastern Ukraine, says the governor

Eight civilians died on Sunday after Russian bombings in Donetsk and Kharkiv, regional governors said as Moscow forces penetrated deeper into eastern Ukraine.

The deaths came as the Russian army refocused its efforts on eastern Ukraine, particularly the Donbas region, which includes Donetsk and Lugansk.

Four were killed in a shelling in the city of Lyman in Donetsk, said the regional governor.

“On May 1, four Russian civilians were killed in a shelling in the Donetsk region, all in Lyman. Eleven other people were injured,” Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko told Telegram. Another person had died from his injuries in a town near Lyman, he added.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)

Originally published on France24

Live: Civilians try to evacuate from Ukraine's besieged Mariupol


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