Russia-Ukraine crisis updates | May 1, 2022

A handout photo released by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Service on May 1, 2022, shows President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky (R) welcoming Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States Congress Nancy Pelosi (L) during their meeting in Kyiv.

A handout photo released by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Service on May 1, 2022, shows President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky (R) welcoming Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States Congress Nancy Pelosi (L) during their meeting in Kyiv. | Photo Credit: AFP

Ukraine said Russia is seizing large quantities of grain in territories they hold.

“There are confirmed facts that several hundred thousand tonnes of grain in total were taken out of the Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Donetsk and Luhansk regions,” Ukraine’s Deputy Agriculture Minister Taras Vysotsky was quoted as saying to a television channel.

According to Kremlin’s state media, Russia will quit the International Space Station over sanctions imposed on it after the Ukraine invasion. Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin said that the partners will be informed about the end of Russia’s work onboard the ISS with a one year notice.

In a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, French President Emmanuel Macron said France would increase military and humanitarian support to Ukraine.

The dialogue between Russia and the U.S. on strategic stability is formally “frozen”, a Russian foreign ministry official as told news agency TASS on Saturday.

Kyiv

Around 100 civilians evacuated from Mariupol steel plant: Zelensky

An initial group of around 100 civilians have been evacuated from the besieged Azovstal steel plant in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday.

“Evacuation of civilians from Azovstal began. The 1st group of about 100 people is already heading to the controlled area. Tomorrow we’ll meet them in Zaporizhzhia,” he tweeted, referring to a city some 220 kilometres (130 miles) to the northwest. - AFP

Ukraine says Mariupol evacuation possible on Sunday

An evacuation of civilians from Ukraine’s mostly Russian-controlled southeastern port city of Mariupol could be possible on Sunday, local officials said.

Mariupol’s city council and the local governor told residents who wished to leave for the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia to gather at an evacuation point in Mariupol at 4 p.m. local time (1300 GMT). - Reuters

UKRAINE

Russia says 46 civilians left area near Azovstal plant

Two groups of civilians left the residential area around the Azovstal steel works in the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol on Saturday, Russian news agencies cited the defence ministry as saying on Sunday.

The ministry said a total of 46 civilians had left the area and were provided with food and shelter, RIA and TASS reported. - Reuters

BUCHAREST

Ukrainians in Romania help new refugee arrivals

The Romanian government is currently giving away free train tickets to Ukrainian refugees arriving in Romania that they can use to travel on to Hungary, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Slovakia and Bulgaria.

Elena Trofimchuk fled Ukraine to Romania more than a month ago. She now sees Bucharest’s North Railway Station as a second home.

She doesn’t live there, but it’s where she spends most of her day welcoming fellow Ukrainian refugees escaping from Russia's war and helping them sort out tickets, accommodation and onward destinations. - PTI

KYIV

U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi meets with Ukraine president in Kyiv

U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi has met with Ukraine’s president during a visit to the country’s embattled capital, Kyiv.

Ms. Pelosi, second in line to the presidency after the vice president, is the highest-ranking American leader to visit Ukraine since the start of the war, and her visit marks a major show of continuing support for the country’s struggle against Russia.

Ms. Pelosi told Mr. Zelenskyy: “We believe that we are visiting you to say thank you for your fight for freedom.”

“We are on a frontier of freedom and your fight is a fight for everyone. Our commitment is to be there for you until the fight is done,” Ms. Pelosi added. - AP

KHARKIV

Some Ukrainians evacuated from ruins of Mariupol steel plant

Some women and children were evacuated from a steel plant that is the last defensive stronghold in the bombed-out ruins of the port city of Mariupol, a Ukrainian official and Russian state news organizations said, but hundreds are believed to remain trapped with little food or water.

The United Nations was working to broker an evacuation of the up to 1,000 civilians living beneath the sprawling Soviet-era Azovstal plant after numerous previous attempts failed. Ukraine has not said how many fighters are also in the plant, the only part of Mariupol not occupied by Russian forces, but Russia put the number at about 2,000. An estimated 100,000 civilians remain in the city. - PTI

BRITAIN

Britain says Russia eyes long-term control of Ukraine's Kherson

Russia probably aims to exert strong political and economic influence on Ukraine's southern region of Kherson in the long term, after ruling out its return to Ukrainian control and initiating a currency switch to the rouble, Britain said.

"Since seizing ... Kherson in early March, Russia has sought to legitimise its control of the city and surrounding areas through installing a pro-Russian administration," the defence ministry said - Reuters

LVIV

Blinken says US diplomats to visit Kyiv again

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says American diplomats are making plans to return to Ukraine as soon as possible.

Blinken made the comment while speaking to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. An overnight statement Sunday said Blinken told Kuleba that America “plans to return to Kyiv as soon as possible.”

He said diplomats had been making “initial visits” to Lviv to prepare. - AP

Angelina Jolie makes surprise Ukraine visit, meets children

Hollywood actor and UN humanitarian Angelina Jolie made a surprise visit to the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on Saturday, the Lviv regional governor said on Telegram.

According to Maksym Kozytskyy, Ms. Jolie — who has been a UNHCR Special Envoy for Refugees since 2011 — had come to speak with displaced people who have found refuge in Lviv, including children undergoing treatment for injuries sustained in the missile strike on the Kramatorsk railway station in early April. - AP

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PARIS

Macron says France to ‘intensify’ military, humanitarian aid to Ukraine

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday that France would “intensify” its supply of military and humanitarian support following a conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky.

Mr. Zelensky thanked France for “large-scale military shipments that contribute to the Ukrainian resistance,” Mr. Macron said, adding “that this support will continue to intensify, as will the humanitarian assistance provided by France”. - AFP

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KYIV

Russian rocket attack destroys Odesa runway

A Russian rocket attack destroyed an airport runway in Odesa, Ukraine’s third-largest city and a key Black Sea port, the Ukrainian army said on Saturday.

In a Telegram post, Ukraine’s Operational Command South said there was no way that the Odesa runway could be used as a result of the rocket attack.

Local authorities urged residents of the area to shelter in place as Ukrainian news agency UNIAN, citing army sources, reported that “several” explosions were heard in Odesa. - AP

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KYIV

Bodies with hands tied found in Ukraine as Russia shells east

Ukrainian police on Saturday reported finding three bodies with their hands tied behind their backs as Russia continued shelling the east and Washington slammed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “depravity”.

The bodies were found on Friday in a pit near Bucha, a town close to Kyiv that has become synonymous with allegations of Russian war crimes. - AFP

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