With Russia concentrating its war efforts in eastern Ukraine, fighting escalated at Mariupol’s steel plant. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called for a prolonged ceasefire in the city to allow the evacuation of civilians. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister has also accused Moscow of “military terrorism”, amid continued bombardment by Russian forces trying to disrupt the delivery of Western weapons.
Meanwhile, the European Union has proposed one of its toughest sanctions yet on Moscow with a phased embargo on Russian oil.
Here are the top developments from the Russia-Ukraine crisis:
🔴 Russia Wednesday bombarded railway stations and supply-line targets in Ukraine in a bid to obstruct the transfer of Western weapons. Its military claimed that it had launched missiles to destroy electricity facilities at five railway stations in Ukraine, while also striking at least 77 other military targets.
🔴 Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba accused Russia of “resorting to the missile terrorism tactics in order to spread fear across Ukraine.” Attacks were reported near the capital city of Kyiv and in Cherkasy, Dnipro and Zaporizhzhia, according to news agency AP.
🔴 In Mariupol, Ukrainian Azov regiment commander Denis Prokopenko said that troops were fighting “difficult, bloody battles” against the Russians at the Azovstal steel plant, one of Ukraine’s biggest strongholds. Russia has vowed to pause military activity at the plant during Thursday daytime and the following two days to allow civilians to get out, AP reported. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, too, called for a prolonged ceasefire for the evacuation of citizens in an early morning address Thursday.
🔴 The European Union has proposed to phase out supplies of Russian crude in six months and refined products by the end of 2022. The proposal needs the backing of its 27 member states, which are heavily dependent on Russian fuel.
🔴 On Thursday, the Luhansk governor stated that five civilians have been killed by shelling from Russian forces in the past 24 hours.
🔴 Moscow has dismissed speculation that President Vladimir Putin would declare war on Ukraine and announce a national mobilisation on May 9 — celebrated as Victory Day for the Soviet Union’s defeat of Nazi Germany. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the speculation “untrue” and “nonsense.”
🔴 Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with the leaders of Nordic countries of Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Denmark, Wednesday expressed concern over the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and called for an immediate ceasefire. During his talks with French President Emmanuel Macron during a brief stopover in Paris, PM Modi reiterated India’s stance.
🔴 The New York Times has reported that US intelligence helped Ukrainian forces kill many of the Russian generals during the war. Washington provided Kyiv with information such as Russia’s expected troop movements and the location and other details about Russia’s mobile military headquarters, the report said.
— with agencies’ inputs