Published On: Fri, Apr 22nd, 2022

Potential mass grave near Mariupol shown in satellite images

U.K. to reopen embassy in Kyiv

The U.K. will reopen its embassy in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, next week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

Johnson praised the “extreme fortitude” of Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people in resisting Russian forces in a speech on Friday.

The prime minister made his speech in New Delhi, where he met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Burials in Bucha

Victims of the violence committed by Russian forces continue to be buried in the areas of Bucha and Irpin, Ukraine on April 21, 2022.
Yryna Chebotok, 26, holds a cross which will mark the grave of her grandfather, Volodymyr Rubaylo, 71, in Bucha, Ukraine, on April 21. Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Russia attempting to gain ground west of Luhansk, local governor says

Ukraine has continued to engage in defensive battles with Russian forces attempting to gain ground west of the city of Luhansk, local governor Serhiy Gaidai said Friday.

“The enemy is trying to advance in the area of ​​Rubizhne, and defensive battles with the enemy continue in the direction of the settlements of Novtoshkivske and Popasna,” he said in a Telegram post.

Almost 270 Russian service members were taken to the central hospital in Novoaidar, including 50 dead, he said. NBC News was unable to verify the claims.

Senior Russian general says forces aim to capture southern Ukraine

Russia aims to capture not just the eastern Donbas region but all of southern Ukraine in its new stage of the war, one of the country’s senior generals has said.

Major Gen. Rustam Minnekayev said the aim was to create a land bridge from Russia to Crimea and another exit to the unrecognized breakaway republic of Transnistria in Moldova to Ukraine’s southwest.

“We are now at war with the whole world, as it was in the Great Patriotic War all of Europe, the whole world was against us,” Minnekayev, who serves as the deputy head of the Central Military District, said Friday, according to the state media Tass.

A Twitter account of Ukraine’s defense forces said the statements pointed to Russia’s plan as “not victory over the mythical Nazis, but simply the occupation of eastern and southern Ukraine.”

Russian swimmer Rylov banned for appearing at Putin rally

Russian Olympic gold medalist swimmer Evgeny Rylov has been banned from the sport for nine months for appearing at a rally in support of President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Rylov stood on stage with medalists from other Olympic sports at the event last month and wore a jacket with a “Z” on the chest. The letter isn’t part of the Russian alphabet but has become a symbol of support for Russian troops after it was used as a marker on Russian armored vehicles operating in Ukraine.

A brief statement from swimming’s world governing body, FINA, on Thursday said it “acknowledged” an earlier, as-yet unpublished ruling from a disciplinary panel to ban Rylov “following Mr. Rylov’s attendance and conduct at an event held at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.”

No humanitarian corridors to open in Ukraine, deputy PM says

No humanitarian corridors will open in Ukraine on Friday due to “danger on the routes,” Iryna Vereshchuk, the country’s deputy prime minister, said Friday, accusing Russia of blocking civilians from evacuations.

In a statement on her official Telegram channel, she urged people who are waiting to be evacuated to be patient and stay indoors.

In a separate statement Friday, Vereshchuk said Russia has provided its own channel for Ukrainian troops in the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol to surrender, but that Ukrainian troops have no plans to use it.

She accused the Russian side of knowingly blocking civilians from evacuating to exert pressure on Ukrainian soldiers at the plant.

“The Russians refuse to open a corridor for civilians, cynically pretending that they do not understand the difference between a corridor for the military to surrender and a humanitarian corridor to evacuate the civilians,” she added.

Around 1,000 civilians are sheltering at the plant, according to Vereschuk.

One family’s story of escaping Mariupol

At the start of the Russian assault on Mariupol, Daniil Repro, a native of the city, worked at a volunteer center while his wife, Olga, and their two children lived for three weeks in an underground shelter without heat, water or electricity, shielding themselves from the constant shelling.

But fearing for their lives and the lives of their children, the family was forced to flee to Norway, where they are now watching from afar the destruction of the city they love.

“When I see a video on the internet of Russian tanks driving through the streets of Mariupol, it feels like they are driving through my body,” Daniil said.

Olga, 32, said she worries for the military and ordinary Mariupol residents still sheltering in the Azovstal steel factory, the last Ukrainian military holdout in the city. 

“Homes can be rebuilt,” she said, “but people cannot be resurrected.” 

Hear more of the Repros’ harrowing story in the hourlong special “On Assignment with Richard Engel: Ukraine: Freedom or Death,” airing tonight at 10 p.m. ET on MSNBC and streaming tomorrow on Peacock.

100,000 civilians’ lives are in Putin’s hands, Mariupol’s mayor says

Fleeing Mariupol

People fleeing the fighting in the southern city of Mariupol arrive at a registration center for internally displaced people in Zaporizhzhia on April 21, 2022. Ed Jones / AFP via Getty Images

More than a quarter of Ukraine’s population in need of ‘urgent humanitarian assistance,’ the U.N. says

More than a quarter of Ukraine’s population is currently in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, a United Nations official said Friday, after Russian forces destroyed critical infrastructure in urban centers and cut off some cities from food, water and medicine.

“At least 15.7 million people in Ukraine are now in urgent need of humanitarian assistance and protection,” Assistant Secretary-General Amin Awad said during a press conference in Lviv in western Ukraine.

The official said the city of Kherson was running low on food and supplies, while Mykolaiv has been without water for seven days.

“I appeal for safe and unhindered access for humanitarian assistance,” he said, saying workers on the ground faced “tremendous challenges that often prevent them from delivering assistance to areas where people are in desperate need.”

Russia frees up its forces around Azovstal steel plant for redeployment, U.K. says 

Russia is likely freeing up its forces near the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol for deployment elsewhere in eastern Ukraine, the British defense ministry said.

“A full ground assault by Russia on the plant would likely incur significant Russian casualties, further decreasing their overall combat effectiveness,” it said in an intelligence update published Thursday.

Russia is seeking to advance deeper into the Donbas region, including settlements of Barvinkove and Popasna, it said.

“Despite Russia’s renewed focus they are still suffering from losses sustained earlier in the conflict. In order to try and reconstitute their depleted forces, they have resorted to transiting inoperable equipment back to Russia for repair,” it added.

Satellite images appear to show potential mass grave in Mariupol

An overview of a possible mass grave site on the northwestern edge of Manhush, about 12 miles west of Mariupol, on April 3 from U.S. defense contractor Maxar.Maxar Technologies / AFP – Getty Images

Russia rejects Easter truce, Zelenskyy says

Russia rejected a proposal for a truce during Orthodox Christian Easter, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said.

“This shows very well how the leaders of this state actually treat the Christian faith, one of the most joyful and important holidays,” he said in a video address late Thursday. “But we remain hopeful,” he said. “Hope for peace. Hope that life will overcome death.” 

Russian officials did not immediately comment on the proposal.

Zelenskyy: Ukraine will need hundreds of billions to rebuild

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