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Kyiv says all women, children out of Azovstal plant

May 7, 2022

All women, children and elderly people have been evacuated from the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine says. Meanwhile, Russian missiles struck the port city of Odesa.

Women evacuated from Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol stand next to service members of pro-Russian troops at a temporary accommodation centre in the village of Bezimenne
Ukrainian officials had said 200 civilians were trapped in the besieged Azovstal steel plant in MariupolImage: ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO/REUTERS
  • Stoltenberg urges West to continue supplying heavy weapons to Ukraine
  • Zelenskyy speaks of Ukraine's diplomatic options to save Azovstal's defenders
  • Biden announces new security aid for Ukraine
  • Italy orders seizure of yacht linked by media to Russian president

This live updates article is now closed. For the latest on Russia's invasion, please click here.

Zelenskyy: 300 civilians evacuated from Mariupol's besieged steel plant

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Saturday that more than 300 civilians were evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol. 

The mill has been pounded by Russian forces for several weeks, with Ukrainian officials saying hundreds of civilians were inside. But earlier on Saturday, Ukraine's deputy prime minister said that "all women, children and elderly" were evacuated from the steel plant. 

In his late night address, Zelenskyy said Ukrainian authorities would now focus on evacuating the wounded and medics, as well as working on humanitarian corridors for all residents of Mariupol.

Russia: Missiles hit airfields in 3 Ukrainian regions

The Russian Ministry of Defense said its missiles hit Ukrainian aircraft at airfields in the Artsyz, Odesa and Voznesensk regions. The ministry added that Iskander missiles had hit US and European equipment near Kharkiv.

Earlier Saturday, Ukraine said four missiles had hit the Odesa region. Later Ukraine added missiles struck the city of Odesa where a furniture factory in a residential area was hit along with an already damaged airstrip.

WHO: 200 attacks on health facilities in Ukraine

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), was in Kyiv along with WHO Emergencies Director Mike Ryan Saturday.

Ryan said the WHO had documented 200 attacks on health facilities in Ukraine since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. He added the WHO would pass its findings on to international organizations that could assess whether crimes had been committed.

Speaking from the Ukrainian government's media center in Kyiv, Tedros said, "My message to all the people of Ukraine in this," is that, "WHO stands by you."

CIA Director says Putin is doubling down on second phase of Ukraine offensive

CIA Director William Burns told The Financial Times' Weekend Festival that Putin is convinced that doubling down will enable to make progress in Ukraine. Burns added that Putin has staked a lot on the second phase of "brutal" offensive in Ukraine.

The CIA Director also noted that Russia's invasion of Ukraine has shown there are limits of Russia and China's partnership. He noted that the war in Ukraine has affected Beijing's calculations over Taiwan but it has not altered its determination over future actions.

Additionally, Burns noted the war has motivated a possible move by Finland and Sweden to join NATO.

Scholz: Germany would support Finland, Sweden joining NATO

Ukraine says all women, children, and elderly out of Azovstal plant

Ukraine's deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk said that "all women, children and elderly" have been evacuated from the Azovstal plant in the besieged southeastern port city of Mariupol.

"This part of the Mariupol humanitarian operation is over," Iryna Vereshchuk wrote on the Telegram messaging service.

Earlier on Saturday, the Russian news agency TASS had reported that 50 people were evacuated from the plant.

Ukraine says 6 missiles struck Odesa

Natalia Humeniuk, the spokesperson for Ukraine's southern military command, told Ukraine's public broadcaster that six missiles struck the southern Ukrainian port city of Odesa Saturday.

Humeniuk said four strikes landed on a furniture factory in a residential area while two hit an already damaged airstrip.

Runway of Odesa airport has been destroyed: DW's Mathias Bölinger

Earlier, Odesa regional government spokesman Serhiy Bratchuk said four missiles had hit Odesa region, causing no casualties.

US Secretary of State: Putin is trying to 'twist history'

Amid celebrations marking the 77th anniversary of victory over the Nazis in World War II, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Russian President Vladimir Putin is attempting to "twist history" in order "to justify his unprovoked and brutal war against Ukraine."

In a statement, Blinken said, "As war again rages in Europe, we must increase our resolve to resist those who now seek to manipulate historical memory in order to advance their own ambitions."

He added, "As we commemorate the end of World War II in Europe, we have a sacred duty to the fallen: to speak the truth about the past and to support all those in our own time who stand up for freedom."

Victory in Europe Day is celebrated in Western Europe and the US on May 8, whereas Russia celebrates the Soviet victory over the Nazis on May 9. Moscow plans a Victory Day parade, and in many places, such as the Baltic states, celebrations are muted, contentious or canceled, as in the  Latvian capital Riga for national security reasons.

Latvia's Russian-speaking community divided over war

Senior lawmaker close to Kremlin accuses US of involvement in Ukraine

Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of Russia's lower house of parliament, the Duma, took to his Telegram channel to accuse the US of coordinating military operations in Ukraine and therefore of being involved in the conflict against Russia.

Volodin, who is considered close to the Kremlin, wrote, "Washington is essentially coordinating and developing military operations, thereby directly participating in military actions against our country."

Washington and NATO allies have supplied Kyiv with weaponry and intelligence to resist and repel Russia's invasion. However, both the US and NATO have said they will not take part in the fighting themselves to avoid being a party to the conflict.

Jill Biden meets with Ukrainian refugees in Romania

US First Lady Jill Biden met with Ukrainian women and child refugees at a public school hosting refugee students in the Romanian capital Bucharest. She praised the Romanian government and relief organizations for providing humanitarian assistance following Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

Biden told mothers of some of the students, "We stand with you."

Approximately 7,000 Ukrainians cross daily into Romania, according to the UN's refugee agency representative in Romania, Pablo Zapata.

After Romania, Biden will travel on to Slovakia where she is also to meet with Ukrainian refugees. It is the second day of a four-day trip to the two countries designed to show solidarity with both Ukrainians and the host countries.

Croatian citizen fighting for Ukraine detained by Russian forces

Croatian state media reported that a Croatian citizen who was fighting alongside Ukrainian troops in the besieged city of Mariupol was detained by the Russian army.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Zagreb confirmed that it "has knowledge of a detained Croatian citizen," and is working with Kyiv toward a resolution of the situation. Zagreb would not comment further due to the "sensitivity of the situation."

Croatian state television network HRT reported that the man had attempted to flee Mariupol with other fighters when he was captured by Russian forces. N1 regional television said news of the man's arrest first popped up in Russian media.

Writing in Wartime - when words fail

Kyiv says it destroyed another Russian warship

Ukraine's Ministry of Defense said in a statement that an armed drone had destroyed a Serna-class landing craft and a missile defense system near Snake Island in the Black Sea. 

It is the same island where Ukrainian forces rebuffed Russian demands to surrender in a crass way that found its way onto a postage stamp issued by the Ukrainian post.

Ukraine also released grainy aerial footage on social media in black and white showing what appeared to be explosion with debris shattering on impact.

"The traditional parade of the Russian Black Sea fleet on May 9 this year will be held near Snake Island -- at the bottom of the sea," Ukraine's Ministry of Defense added.

Air-launched missiles hit Ukrainian border region: governor

Dmytro Zhyvytskyi, the local governor of Sumy region, said Russian air-lauched missiles hit two locations near the Russian border.

In one case, a border guard was wounded. The strikes hit the Myropilske and Khotin municipalities, Zhyvytskyi wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

In early April, Russian forces withdrew from the Sumy region after advancing there at the start of the invasion in late February.

Missiles strike Odesa

Serhiy Bratchuk, the Odesa regional administration spokesman, said in televised remarks that several missiles struck the port city of Odesa on Saturday.

The targeting of the city of Odesa comes after four missile strikes in the region earlier in the day.

Kyiv author discusses Berlin foreign policy

Andrey Kurkov, a bestselling Kyiv-based author and keen observer of eastern European views towards Berlin, told DW there are "a whole lot of anti-German emotions" that came up in conversations he had over the past three months.

The president of the writers' association PEN in Ukraine told DW, [former German Chancellor] Angela Merkel is being identified completely openly as a culprit."

Displaced: War and the creative imagination

The author of Ukrainian Diaries about the 2014 Euromaidan protests that chased out Moscow-backed former leader Viktor Yanukovych points to Merkel's decision to continue with the Nordstream 2 pipeline through the Baltic Sea as harmful to Ukraine.

"Europe is a great hope and a key issue for the country's independence," Kurkov adds. "Europe means security for Ukraine."

Read more of what Kurkov had to say here.

Russian Victory Day parade gets final run-through

Russia has held a final rehearsal for its Victory Day parade, where the country's military might is showcased on the anniversary of the Soviet victory in World War II.

On Monday, thousands of soldiers will march across Moscow's Red Square, followed by tanks, armored vehicles and missile launchers.

The Russian Defense Ministry says 77 aircraft will participate in a flypast, including eight Mig-29 fighter jets that will form the letter Z — a symbol of Russia's military campaign in Ukraine.

Some Western officials think Russian President Vladimir Putin may, in his Victory Day speech, declare all-out war on Ukraine more than two months into his "special military operation." The Kremlin has dismissed the idea as "nonsense."

What to expect from Russia's May 9th celebrations

German spy chief: Pro-Moscow rallies expected on Russian Victory Day

German intelligence believes pro-Moscow rallies will be held in Germany on Monday when Russia commemorates the victory of the Soviet army over the Nazis to end World War II.

Thomas Haldenwang, the head of Germany's domestic intelligence agency, told Welt am Sonntag newspaper that May 9 was "an ideal date to be exploited for Russian propaganda."

The Funke media group said the German capital, Berlin, and the country's most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, could be the main focus of the rallies.

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner denounced the likely activities in an interview with the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung, saying, "No one should declare solidarity with the criminal rule of Russian President Vladimir Putin."

He said he found it "shocking" that sympathizers of the Russian president would abuse the anniversary of the surrender of the Nazi regime.

UK: Conflict impacting Russia's most capable units

The conflict in Ukraine is taking a heavy toll on some of Russia’s most capable units and most advanced capabilities, Britain's Ministry of Defense has said.

In its latest military intelligence update, the ministry said it would "take considerable time and expense for Russia to reconstitute its armed forces" following the war, and would be "particularly challenging to replace modernized and advanced equipment" due to Western sanctions.

At least one of Russia's most advanced tanks has been destroyed in the fighting, the ministry added. The T-90M tank was introduced in 2016, and around 100 vehicles are currently in service, including those used in Ukraine, Britain said.

On the front line with Ukrainian soldiers

UN Security Council declaration backs 'peaceful' Ukraine solution

The UN Security Council has, for the first time, agreed on a joint statement over Russia's invasion of Ukraine, more than two months after the offensive began.

On Friday night, the most powerful UN body unanimously expressed "deep concern regarding the maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine." However, the text did not mention a "war," "conflict" or "invasion."

The delay and vagueness of the statement are a result of efforts by Russia, which is a permanent member of the Security Council with veto powers, to prevent the body from reacting.

However, the statement did welcome the mediation efforts of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

During recent visits to Moscow and Kyiv, Guterres reached an agreement for the evacuation of civilians from the besieged port city of Mariupol and the steel plant where the last Ukrainian forces are holding out along with hundreds of civilians.

Even while Guterres was in Kyiv in late April, the city came under shelling by Russian forces.

Report: German ministry websites targeted by pro-Russia hackers

Pro-Russian hackers have attacked the websites of German security agencies, ministries and politicians, Der Spiegel reported.

Citing an internal agency report, the news magazine said that some of the websites were temporarily unavailable due to the so-called DDoS attacks, where servers are bombarded with so many requests that the system can't cope.

The Bundestag, the Ministry of Defense, and the website of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz were among the targets of the hacker campaign, along with several state police websites.

Authorities assumed the attacks were carried out in retaliation for German arms deliveries to Ukraine.

The Killnet group claimed responsibility for the incidents on the Telegram messenger service.

Stoltenberg urges West to continue supplying heavy weapons to Ukraine

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is calling on the West to continue delivering heavy weapons to Ukraine.

"Ukraine urgently needs more heavy weapons, the West should intensify its deliveries, do more and prepare for a long-term commitment," Stoltenberg told the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

According to Stoltenberg, only in this way can Kyiv successfully repel the Russian invasion. Ukraine must be prepared for a "long war" with Russia that could last for months or even years, he said.

US President Joe Biden on Friday announced a new $150 million (€142 million) weapons package to help Ukraine fight off the Russian invasion.

Stoltenberg also warned Russia against using nuclear weapons in the Ukraine war, saying there would "only be losers on all sides."

Biden, Trudeau discuss security assistance to Ukraine

US President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke on Friday, the White House said in a statement. In a phone call, both leaders underscored their commitment to hold Russia accountable for its "brutal actions" in Ukraine.

Biden and Trudeau also discussed efforts to provide security assistance to Ukraine, as well as economic and humanitarian aid to the millions of Ukrainians affected by the violence.

The US president praised Canada's close partnership during this crisis and its leadership in imposing sanctions and restrictions on Russia.

The leaders also discussed their upcoming participation in the Summit of the Americas in June in Los Angeles.

Zelenskyy lays down 'red line' for talks

Zelenskyy speaks of Ukraine's diplomatic options to save Azovstal's defenders

In his nightly video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukrainian authorities are working with other states to rescue defenders of the Azovstal steelworks in the southern city of Mariupol.

"We are also working on diplomatic options to save our military who still remain at Azovstal. Influential mediators are involved. Influential states," Zelenskyy said, without elaborating.

Azovstal is the last remaining pocket of Ukrainian resistance in the city, which is largely occupied by Russian forces.

The Ukrainian president repeated his warning that Russian troops continue to shell Ukrainian territory, including rocket and air strikes.

"I ask all our citizens — especially these days — not to ignore the air raid sirens. Please, this is your life, the life of your children," Zelenskyy said.

Evacuation attempt in Mariupol

More than 90,000 Ukrainian students in German schools

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the end of February, tens of thousands of Ukrainian students have been admitted to German schools.

"In the meantime, more than 90,000 Ukrainian children and young people have been admitted to our schools. That is a tremendous achievement, for which I am very grateful," German Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger told the Rheinische Post.

The German Teachers' Association estimates that there are currently up to 50,000 school-age Ukrainian children in Germany who are not yet attending classes.

Many of the children are now returning to Ukraine with their parents, particularly to western Ukraine and the Kyiv region. "Nevertheless, the influx is still greater than the return movement," said the President of the German Teachers' Association, Heinz-Peter Meidinger.

It is estimated that 600,000 Ukrainians have come to Germany since February 24.

Biden announces new weapons package for Ukraine

US President Joe Biden on Friday announced a new $150 million (€142 million) weapons package to help Ukraine fight off the Russian invasion.

"I am announcing another package of security assistance that will provide additional artillery munitions, radars, and other equipment to Ukraine," Biden said.

He also mentioned that with today's announcement, his administration has nearly exhausted funding that can be used to send security assistance to Ukraine.

Biden is pressing Congress to authorize a $33 billion Ukraine package, which would include $20 billion in military assistance, and last for five months.

Prior to Friday, the US had already sent more than $3.4 billion worth of arms to Ukraine.

Biden and the rest of the G7 leaders are meeting virtually with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday to discuss Western support for the country.

Biden proposal for $33bn Ukraine aid package

A suspicious device found in the Ria Novosti building in Berlin

A suspicious object was found in a building belonging to the Russian state news agency Ria Novosti in Berlin on Friday.

According to the police, officials discovered a device containing a bottle. "Our forensic technicians are now analyzing whether it was dangerous or not," said police spokesman Thilo Calbitz.

"We can't say yet whether that was dangerous or not or whether someone made a bad joke," said the police spokesman.

Police were originally called after a bottle was thrown at the building. During the subsequent search of the house, the suspicious device was discovered in the light shaft.

The item is currently being investigated by a forensic team. It is not yet possible to say whether the incident counts as an attack on the news agency building.

Italy orders seizure of yacht linked by media to Russian president

The Italian government on Friday ordered the seizure of a luxury yacht worth around $700 million (€664 million) linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Italy's Finance Ministry said in a statement that investigations showed the boat's owner had ties to "prominent elements of the Russian government" and to people affected by European Union sanctions.

The six-deck Scheherazade had been undergoing repairs in the Italian port of Marina di Carrara since September. The yacht has two helicopter landing pads and can host up to 18 guests and 40 crew.

Its owner has never been publicly identified, but there have been persistent rumors that it belongs to Putin or a member of his inner circle.

Summary of Friday's events in Russia's war on Ukraine

The Foreign Ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania visited Kyiv on Friday. "Since February 24th, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have stood squarely by Ukraine as we fight for our shared freedom. Ukraine will always remember their honest support during this time," Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter.

According to Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk, a total of 41 Ukrainians, 28 military and 13 civilians, returned home from Russian captivity on Friday.

The UN Security Council, including Russia, has expressed "deep concern regarding the maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine." In the first unanimously approved declaration on the war in Ukraine, the 15-member council also "recalls that all Member States have undertaken, under the Charter of the United Nations, the obligation to settle their international disputes by peaceful means."

Ukraine has appealed to Doctors Without Borders, known by their French acronym MSF, to help evacuate fighters holed up in the vast Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has invited German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to visit Kyiv on May 9, the day Russia marks the victory of the Soviet Union over Nazi Germany in World War II.

The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FOA) said that nearly 25 million tons of grains were stuck in Ukraine with blockades at ports due to the war with Russia. Another concern was that about 700,000 tons of grain may have "disappeared'' in Ukraine.

Russia is not planning to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Alexei Zaitsev said. However, he also warned Western countries to stop what he called their escalation against Russia, including openly discussing the threat of a Russian nuclear strike.

Human rights watchdog Amnesty International published a report on Friday documenting allegations of extensive war crimes carried out by Russian forces in previously occupied areas around Kyiv. The human rights group said it had found evidence of arbitrary executions, bombardments of civilian residences and torture.

Although an embargo on Russian oil imports will not be easy, the step is necessary to reduce the EU's dependence on Moscow, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday. According to Von der Leyen, despite pushback from some EU member states over the bloc's proposed sanctions package, she believes it will ultimately be approved.

After weeks of bombardment and delays, progress is being made in efforts to evacuate civilians from the port city of Mariupol, the Ukrainian president's office said on Friday. Nearly 500 civilians have been rescued in a United Nations-led operation, said Andriy Yermak, who heads the office of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban criticized the European Union's latest proposed sanctions package, saying Hungary would not be able to support the plan in its current form.

The German government has agreed to send more heavy weapons to Ukraine, Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht announced on Friday.

ar, dh/aw (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)