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Russia-Ukraine war: children trapped inside Mariupol steelworks, warns Kyiv, as Russia says it has ‘securely blocked’ the area – live | Ukraine

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30 children still trapped in Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant, says Ukrainian MP

Ukrainian MP Kira Rudik said the news that 156 people had managed to leave the besieged city of Mariupol to reach the relative safety of Ukraine-controlled Zaporizhzhia on Tuesday had reduced many to tears.

Speaking to Sky News, Rudik said there were at least 20 failed attempts to evacuate people from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol.

Rudik said:

You can imagine that we were all in tears once the first group reached out to safety. It is incredible progress that we have made in getting people out.

She said the “main goal” now is to evaluate all the children who are still at the plant, alongside women, the elderly and injured soldiers:

So right now our main goal is to make sure we get out all the children, its about 30 children still there.

The most complicated step would be with the wounded soldiers because Russia is not allowing them to get out.

Here are some recent comments from Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, who said Russia has been looking into various options as it braces for an oil embargo from the European Union, Reuters reports.

Asked about speculation that the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, plans to declare war against Ukraine in a speech on 9 May, Peskov replied:

There is no chance of that. It’s nonsense.

The 9 May Victory Day is one of Russia’s most important national events and there is speculation that Putin could be preparing for a major announcement with a range of possible scenarios ranging from an outright declaration of war to a declaration of victory.

Peskov said that people should not listen to speculation that there could be a decision on a national mobilisation.

He also said no agreement had been reached on a possible meeting between Putin and Pope Francis, after the pope said he had asked for a meeting in Moscow to try to stop the war in Ukraine but had not received a reply.

30 children still trapped in Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant, says Ukrainian MP

Ukrainian MP Kira Rudik said the news that 156 people had managed to leave the besieged city of Mariupol to reach the relative safety of Ukraine-controlled Zaporizhzhia on Tuesday had reduced many to tears.

Speaking to Sky News, Rudik said there were at least 20 failed attempts to evacuate people from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol.

Rudik said:

You can imagine that we were all in tears once the first group reached out to safety. It is incredible progress that we have made in getting people out.

She said the “main goal” now is to evaluate all the children who are still at the plant, alongside women, the elderly and injured soldiers:

So right now our main goal is to make sure we get out all the children, its about 30 children still there.

The most complicated step would be with the wounded soldiers because Russia is not allowing them to get out.

People have described the ordeal of constant shelling and not seeing the light of day for months as the first convoys of civilians have been evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol.

Elina Tsybulchenko reached the relative safety of the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhzhia on Tuesday with just under 200 others during a brief ceasefire over the weekend, in an operation overseen by the UN and the Red Cross.

The Russian military said earlier that some evacuees chose to stay in separatist areas, including Russian-controlled Bezymenne.

Ukraine has accused Moscow of taking civilians against their will to Russia or Russian-controlled areas – something the Kremlin has denied.

Ukrainian evacuee describes months of horror inside Azovstal bunker – video

Hello everyone. It’s Léonie Chao-Fong here again, taking over the live blog from Martin Belam to bring you all the latest developments from the war in Ukraine. Feel free to drop me a message if you have anything to flag, you can reach me on Twitter or via email.

Moldova has been making contingency plans for “pessimistic” scenarios amid fears that it could be drawn into the conflict in neighbouring Ukraine, the country’s president, Maia Sandu, said.

Speaking at a press conference with the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, Sandu said Moldova does not see an “imminent” threat of unrest spilling over from the war in Ukraine despite “provocations” by pro-Russian separatists in the breakaway region of Transnistria, who have reported a number of attacks and explosions there, which they have blamed on Kyiv.

Sandu and her government have blamed the incidents on “pro-war” separatist factions, and denounced comments last month by a Russian general that Russia aimed to seize Ukrainian territory to link up with the separatists in Moldova.

Ukraine has accused Russia of trying to drag Moldova into the war. The Kremlin has expressed “concern” over the situation in Moldova’s separatist region.

Moldova’s president, Maia Sandu, speaks during a joint press conference with the European Council president in Chisinau. Photograph: Bogdan Tudor/AFP/Getty Images

Asked whether she was worried about unrest in coming days, Sandu replied:

We see no imminent threat for the nearest future, but of course we have contingency plans for such scenarios, which are less optimistic or which are pessimistic.

She repeated her description of the unrest as “provocations” by separatists, and said Moldova’s police were doing what they could on their side of the Dniestr River to ensure stability.

Smoke rises above a burning oil storage in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict on the outskirts of Donetsk.
Smoke rises above a burning oil storage in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict on the outskirts of Donetsk. Photograph: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters

Today so far …

  • The EU is proposing to ban all Russian oil imports in a sixth package of sanctions aimed at Russian president Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine. President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen announced the proposals in a speech in the European parliament.
  • The measures include “a complete import ban on all Russian oil, seaborne and pipeline, crude and refined oil. We will make sure that we phase out Russian oil in an orderly fashion, in a way that allows us and our partners to secure alternative supply routes and minimises the impact on global markets,” she said.
  • Other measures proposed include listing high-ranking military officers and other individuals who are accused of committing war crimes in Bucha, banning three Russian state-owned broadcasters from EU airwaves. and expelling Sberbank from the Swift payment system.
  • Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu has said that the remaining Ukrainian forces in the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol are “securely blocked”.
  • Buses have left Mariupol carrying civilians this morning, according to Ukraine’s governor of Donetsk, Pavlo Kyrylenko.
  • Russia’s defence ministry says it has disabled six railway stations in Ukraine used to supply Ukrainian forces with foreign weapons.
  • One person died and two were injured as a result of the shelling by Ukrainian forces of an oil depot in Makeyevka, which is in the Russian-controlled area of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic in the east of Ukraine.
  • Russia has deployed 22 battalion tactical groups near Izium in the Kharkiv region of eastern Ukraine in its attempt to advance along the northern axis of the Donbas, the UK ministry of defence has said.
  • The armed forces of Belarus began sudden large-scale drills to test their combat readiness, its defence ministry said. Ukraine has said it does not ruled out the possibility that Russia could use armed forces from Belarus in the war.
  • Russia’s foreign ministry has announced sanctions against 63 Japanese officials, journalists and professors for engaging in what it called “unacceptable rhetoric” against Moscow.
  • The European Union is considering additional military support to Moldova, EU Council president Charles Michel said on a visit to Chișinău.

Léonie Chao-Fong will be with you shortly to take over the blog.

If you missed it, overnight in the UK we published this video report, which includes clips of the people who had been evacuated from Azovstal in Mariupol.

First evacuees speak of Azovstal plant ordeal as Russia steps up attack – video

Russia’s foreign ministry has announced sanctions against 63 Japanese officials, journalists and professors for engaging in what it called “unacceptable rhetoric” against Moscow.

Reuters reports the list includes Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida, foreign minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and defence minister Nobuo Kishi, among other officials.

Russia’s defence minister: Ukrainian forces in Azovstal are ‘securely blocked’

Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu has said that the remaining Ukrainian forces in the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol are “securely blocked”.

Russia’s RIA news agency quotes the minister saying:

In accordance with the instructions of the supreme commander-in-chief, the remnants of the militants located in the industrial zone of the Azovstal plant are securely blocked along the entire perimeter of this territory. Repeated proposals to the nationalists to release civilians and lay down their arms with a guarantee of saving lives and decent treatment in accordance with the norms of international law by them ignored. We continue these attempts.

The European Union is considering additional military support to Moldova, EU Council president Charles Michel said on a visit to Chișinău.

The 27-nation bloc is looking into how it can provide more military support to Moldova, including more help in building up the country’s forces, Michel told a joint news conference with Moldovan president Maia Sandu.

Reuters reports he said this would come on top of help in the fields of logistics and cyber-defence that the EU had already agreed. Michel refused to give any details but said it was extremely important to avoid any escalation.

Russia’s defence ministry says it has disabled six railway stations in Ukraine used to supply Ukrainian forces with foreign weapons.

Reuters reports the ministry also claimed it had hit 40 Ukrainian military targets, including four ammunition depots. The claims have not been independently verified.

The European Union’s proposed ban on imports of Russian oil does not look like it will have an entirely smooth path to coming into force.

Czech industry and trade minister Jozef Síkela has told Reuters “The proposal does not include … how the gap will be distributed, meaning how to share it fairly, and a proposal on joint purchases and joint distribution. We are still studying it, but it is a problem for me.”

Russia’s RIA agency is reporting that one person died and two were injured as a result of the shelling by Ukrainian forces of an oil depot in Makeyevka, which is in the Russian-controlled area of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic in the east of Ukraine.

Unverified video footage shows a large fire that the agency says is the depot.

В Макеевке после обстрела ВСУ загорелись четыре резервуара на нефтебазе. Один человек погиб и два получили ранения https://t.co/bUd5X6HWmv pic.twitter.com/MmNwS8IZXJ

— РИА Новости (@rianru) May 4, 2022

On Telegram, the territorial defence authority of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic told residents: “Take care of yourself and your family, try not to leave the house unnecessarily.”

They said that four large capacity tanks had been ignited.

Ukraine has said it does not ruled out the possibility that Russia could use armed forces from Belarus in the war.

Reuters reports that after Belarus began military drills, Ukrainian state border service spokesperson Andriy Demchenko said: “We do not rule out that the Russian Federation could at some point use the territory of Belarus, the armed forces of the Republic of Belarus, against Ukraine. Therefore, we are ready.”

Demchenko claimed Ukraine’s border with Belarus had been “strengthened” since the latest Russian invasion began on 24 February.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2022/may/04/russia-ukraine-war-russia-attacks-azovstal-steel-plant-after-first-evacuated-civilians-reach-safety-live

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