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Ukraine says missile strikes kill 8 in Odesa

April 23, 2022

Ukraine's Zelenskyy says eight people have been killed in Russian missile strikes in the southern city of Odesa. Meanwhile, an attempt to evacuate civilians from Mariupol appears to have failed. Follow DW for the latest.

An apartment building damaged after Russian shelling in Odesa
Ukraine says several civilians were killed in Odesa after Russian missile strikes on the cityImage: Max Pshybyshevsky/AP/picture alliance
  • Ukraine says 8 people have been killed in Russian strikes on Odesa
  • Mariupol official says push to evacuate civilians has failed
  • Zelenskyy to host Blinken and Austin in Kyiv on Sunday
  • UN says 5.2 million displaced by Russian invasion

This live updates article is now closed. For our latest from April 24, click here.

Zelenskyy vows to bring to justice all those responsible for Russian missile terror

In his late-night address on Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke about the Russian missile attack on Odesa, which killed 8 people and wounded at least 18.

"Among those killed was a 3-month-old baby girl. How did she threaten Russia? It seems that killing children is just a new national idea of the Russian Federation," the Ukrainian president said.

Zelenskyy also vowed to bring to justice all those responsible for Russian missile terror. "We will identify all those responsible for this strike… No one will be able to hide. No matter how long it takes us, all these bastards will be responsible for every death they caused," he said.

OSCE tries to secure release of monitors detained in eastern Ukraine

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said on Saturday it was trying to secure the release of some Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) staff members who had been detained in eastern Ukraine.

"The OSCE is extremely concerned that a number of SMM national mission members have been deprived of their liberty in Donetsk and Luhansk. The OSCE is using all available channels to facilitate the release of its staff," its media office said on Twitter.

On Friday, Britain's deputy ambassador to the OSCE, Deirdre Brown, criticized Russia for refusing to extend the SMM's mission in Ukraine beyond March.

"And now we have received alarming reports that Russia's proxies in Donbas are threatening Mission staff, equipment and premises and that Russian forces have taken SMM staff members captive," Brown said in the address.

After Moscow launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, the OSCE said in March it had evacuated nearly 500 international mission members from the country.

As of April 1, the SMM has moved to an administrative role to ensure the safety and security of mission members and assets throughout Ukraine, including in areas not under government control, the OSCE media office said on Saturday.

The SMM was deployed in March 2014, following a request to the OSCE by Ukraine's government and a consensus decision by all 57 OSCE participating states. It was an unarmed, civilian mission whose main tasks were to monitor and report on the situation in Ukraine impartially and objectively.

Zelenskyy and Johnson discuss security guarantees for Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday and updated him on the current situation in the country.

Both leaders also discussed security guarantees for Ukraine as well as ways to counter Russian aggression.

"I thanked for the defense support and macro-financial assistance. We discussed security guarantees for Ukraine. I appreciate the leadership of Johnson and Great Britain in supporting Ukraine," Zelenskyy wrote on Twitter.

According to the UK government press release, Johnson updated the Ukrainian president on new UK sanctions designations against members of the Russian military and confirmed that the UK would reopen its embassy in Kyiv next week, "demonstrating support and solidarity with the Ukrainian people."

In addition, the British prime minister confirmed that the United Kingdom is providing Ukraine with "more defensive military aid, including protected mobility vehicles, drones and anti-tank weapons."

Ukraine, Poland seek to boost rail transportation of Ukrainian exports

Ukraine and Poland are planning to create a joint logistics company to dramatically increase the volume of rail transportation of Ukrainian exports — particularly grain — to the EU and world markets via Europe.

The prime ministers of Ukraine and Poland, Denys Shmyhal and Mateusz Morawiecki, signed the cooperation memorandum on Saturday in Krakow.

The Ukrainian state railway company declared in a statement that the joint venture is a response to the challenges posed by the aggression of Russia. It stressed the importance of expanding the railway network for goods that cannot be delivered via the ports blocked by Russian forces.

Moscow's invasion of Ukraine has disrupted trade and led to global concerns about food and energy supply.

Ukraine's crops no longer on the table

Ukraine army not ready to break Mariupol siege, says Zelenskyy 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his country's army was not ready to launch a military operation to restore access to the besieged city of Mariupol.

He said Saturday had been "one of the hardest days" yet for Ukrainian forces trapped in the port city, adding that Kyiv had offered Moscow every possible kind of exchange deal to secure their release.

Zelenskyy also repeated his warning that Ukraine would break off talks if Russia killed the remaining Ukrainian soldiers: "If our men are killed in Mariupol and if these pseudo-referendums are organized in the (southern) region of Kherson, then Ukraine will withdraw from any negotiation process."

Zelenskyy also said eight people had been killed and 18 wounded in Russian strikes on Odesa on Saturday, updating an earlier death toll.

Ukraine wants the US to be one of its security guarantors

Ukraine wants the United States to agree to be one of its security guarantors to protect it from future threats, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Saturday.

Speaking at a press conference in Kyiv ahead of a visit by senior US officials on Sunday, Zelenskyy said he expected concrete results, including an agreement to provide more weapons.

"Tomorrow we will discuss this exact list of weapons that are essential for us and the pace of deliveries," he said. "We expect this. We would like to have ... powerful heavy weapons."

He also said he expected the United States to speak with Germany about providing Ukraine with weapons.

Zelenskyy also denounced plans by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to visit Moscow on Tuesday, before Kyiv. "It is simply wrong to go first to Russia and then to Ukraine," he said. "There is no justice and no logic in this order."

President Zelenskyy holds press conference in Kyiv: DW's Rebecca Ritter reports

Ex-chancellor Schröder says he'll resign if Russia cuts Germany's gas supply

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has told the New York Times that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin will not cut the supply of gas to Germany.

Schröder told the publication that if Putin did, he would step down, without specifically stating which post he was referring to.

"It won't happen," he said. But if it did, "then I would resign," Schröder said.

Schröder heads up the supervisory board of state energy company Rosneft and was nominated earlier this year for a supervisory board position at Russian energy giant Gazprom.

The former chancellor also told the Times that he remained willing to mediate in the war in Ukraine, and that he believed Putin was interested in ending the conflict. 

"I think this war was a mistake and I've always said so," he said. "What we have to do now is to create peace as quickly as possible."

In recent months, Schröder has been severely criticized for his close ties to Putin.

Former German chancellor Schröder visits Putin

Turkey closes airspace to Russian planes carrying soldiers to Syria

Turkey has closed its airspace to military and civilian planes carrying soldiers from Russia to Syria following consultations with Moscow, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.

"We have closed our airspace to Russian military planes and also even civilian planes flying to Syria and carrying soldiers," Cavusoglu said.

Turkey, a member of the NATO alliance, has sought to act as mediator in the Ukraine conflict and maintains close ties to Ukraine and Russia. 

Ankara has also sought to encourage Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to hold talks in Turkey.

Zelenskyy to meet Blinken in Kyiv, renews call for talks with Putin

Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said he wanted to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a fresh bid to end hostilities.

"I think that whoever started this war will be able to end it," Zelenskyy told a news conference at a metro station in Kyiv.

Ukraine's leader said that talks would be scrapped if Ukrainian troops, who are surrounded by Russian forces in Mariupol, were killed.

Zelenskyy also announced that he would meet with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in Kyiv on Sunday.

"Tomorrow, the American officials are coming to visit us. I will meet the Defense Secretary (Lloyd Austin) and Antony Blinken," he told reporters.

'Any push out of Ukraine would be very difficult for the Russian military right now'

UK pledges more defensive weaponry for Ukraine

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised to provide more weapons and military aid to Ukraine.

"The Prime Minister confirmed that the UK is providing more defensive military aid, including protected mobility vehicles, drones and anti-tank weapons," the readout of a phone call between Johnson and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

Johnson also confirmed that the UK would reopen its embassy in Kyiv in the coming week.

Russia claims to have destroyed Odesa weapons depot

Russia's Defense Ministry says it has destroyed a logistics terminal in the southern city of Odesa where US and European weapons meant for Ukrainian forces were being kept.

"Russian armed forces today disabled with high-precision and long-range missiles a logistics terminal at the military airfield near Odesa where a large batch of foreign weapons delivered by the United States and European countries were stored," the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry also said that Russian forces had killed upwards of 200 Ukrainian troops and destroyed dozens of vehicles.

Ukrainian authorities have said a Russian missile strike on Odesa Saturday killed at least six people, revising up an earlier death toll of five. Moscow denies it targets civilians.

Firefighters walk past an apartment building damaged by Russian shelling in Odesa
Ukraine says Russia hit residential buildings with missilesImage: Max Pshybyshevsky/AP/picture alliance

Russian-speaking Latvians condemn Russian invasion

A protest involving hundreds of Russian-speaking Latvians has taken place in the capital, Riga. Demonstrators slammed Russia's invasion of Ukraine, with organizers saying the protest was aimed at showing that not all those who spoke Russian supported Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Those who gathered carried posters which read "Stop the genocide in Ukraine" and "Complete Russian gas and oil embargo."

People with Russian ethnicity comprise around 25% of Latvia's population of 1.9 million.

Latvia's parliament has already declared civilian killings in Ukrainian cities as acts of genocide.

Ukraine says two Russian generals killed in Kherson

Ukraine's Ministry of Defense claims that two Russian generals were killed in the southeastern Kherson region of Ukraine on Friday.

Defense Intelligence reported the deaths on Facebook, adding that another general had been heavily injured and evacuated.

It said Ukrainian Armed Forces struck the forward command post of the Russian 49th army on April 22. "The result of the strike – the command post destroyed, two generals of the occupiers were eliminated, one – seriously wounded, evacuated in critical condition," the report said.

A map of Russia's advance in Ukraine

German finance minister backs chancellor on Ukraine arms deliveries

Germany's finance minister, Christian Lindner, said he supports Chancellor Olaf Scholz's policies on arms deliveries to Ukraine, but called on Scholz to send heavy weapons.

The FDP is one of the coalition partners in the German government.

"The chancellor has the trust of the FDP," Lindner said during a Free Democrats (FDP) party congress speaking via video from Washington where he is attending G20 and G7 meetings. He is also in quarantine as he contracted COVID-19 while in the US capital.

Scholz has been criticized both domestically and abroad for Germany's refusal to supply Ukraine with heavy weapons, such as tanks and howitzers, despite repeated pleas from the Ukrainian government.

Lindner has led the business-friendly FDP since 2013 and is considered an influential figure in the German political arena.

He said that Ukraine is under attack by Russia for embracing European values and turning its back on Putin's authoritarianism. "Ukraine is also fighting for values that are important to us," he said, "therefore, Ukraine must win this war and Ukraine will win this war."

German government communication on weapons has been "sub-optimal": Gustav Gressel, European Council on Foreign Relations

At least 5 killed, 18 injured in missile strikes in Odesa, Ukraine says

Andriy Yermak, the chief of staff of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said in an online post that five people were killed and 18 injured in a missile strike on the southern port city of Odesa.

Earlier, Ukraine's southern air command said two missiles struck a military facility and two residential buildings while two missiles were intercepted by Ukraine's air defense.

Regional spokesperson Serhiy Bratchuk said on national television that there were casualties, "killed and wounded."  

Evacuation of civilians from Mariupol fails: city official

An aide to the mayor of Mariupol said on his Telegram channel that the latest attempt to evacuate civilians from the besieged city of Mariupol failed.

"The evacuation was thwarted," official Petro Andryushchenko said.

He blamed Russian forces for telling the 200 residents of Mariupol that gathered for the evacuation that they should disperse or face possible shelling. He claimed others were told to board buses headed to Dukuchayevsk, about 80 kilometres (50 miles) north, which is controlled by Russia.

Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk had earlier announced that Ukraine would make a new attempt to evacuate civilians from the city at midday on Saturday.

Mariupol is a strategic port city in the southeast of Ukraine, besieged for weeks by the Russian military. Multiple attempts at evacuating civilians have been unsuccessful, with Kyiv and Moscow trading blame for the failures.

The Azovstal Iron and Steel Works is pictured in the aftermath of shelling and explosions
Ukraine says Russia is trying to storm Mariupol's steel works where hundreds of civilians and soldiers are holed upImage: Peter Kovalev//ITAR-TASS/IMAGO

Naftogaz: One third of gas exports via Ukraine could be lost due to war

The head of Ukraine's state energy firm Naftogaz said one third of gas exports from Russia to the EU via Ukraine could be lost if Russian forces continue to disrupt operations in areas that are under occupation.

Russia is the top gas supplier to the EU. Its invasion of Ukraine has sent a shockwave through energy markets, sending prices soaring to record highs.

UN: Almost 5.2 million refugees displaced by Russian invasion

The UN's refugee agency said 5,163,686 refugees have been displaced by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. By far the largest number, 2,884,764, have crossed into neighboring Poland.

In April alone, 1,128,000 Ukrainians left the country, compared with 3.4 million in March.

Of those who fled, women and children account for 90%. Men between the age of 18 and 60 are unable to leave as they are needed to help with the military effort to repel Russia's invasion.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates more than 7.7 million people are also considered internally displaced in Ukraine.

A graphic showing which countries Ukrainians are fleeing to

Artillery strike in Luhansk kills 2 civilians, regional governor says

Serhiy Haidai, the governor of the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine, said an artillery strike on the front line in the town of Zolote resulted in the death of two civilians.

Haidai said two others were wounded in the strike.

Earlier, Haidai said in a television interview that Russian forces had intensified shelling of all the Ukrainian-controlled cities in the region. Russia denied targeting civilian areas.

Missile strikes Odesa, city council says

Local authorities in the southern port city of Odesa said a missile struck infrastructure in their city without providing additional details.

In a statement posted online, the city council said, "Odessa was hit by a missile strike. Infrastructure has been hit."

Ukraine war: Odesa prepares for the worst

Latvian ambassador returns to Kyiv

Ilgvars Klava, the Latvian ambassador to Ukraine, has returned to Kyiv, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics tweeted. 

Klava's return came after Russia withdrew its troops from the Kyiv region. He had been in the Latvian capital Riga for consultations.

On April 7, the Latvian Embassy in Kyiv had reopened its doors. Diplomats have begun to return to Kyiv after many relocated temporarily to the western Ukrainian city of Lviv as the capital came under attack from Russian forces.

Analyzing military tactics in Ukraine

Lviv region announces Orthodox Easter curfew

Maksym Kozytskyy, the regional governor of Lviv, announced a curfew starting on the night of Orthodox Easter, citing "new intelligence."

The curfew will begin at 11 p.m. on Saturday and go until 5 a.m. Sunday and continue every day between these hours until further notice.

Kozytskyy wrote, "Unfortunately, the enemy doesn't have such a concept as a major religious holiday. They are so beastly that they don't understand what Easter is."

He added church leadership supports the decision and said churches in the region would adjust their Easter night services to the morning hours.

Russia resumes bombardment of Azovstal steel works

Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleskiy Arestovych said Saturday that Russian forces resumed air strikes on the Azovstal steel works in Mariupol where Ukraine's remaining forces and an unknown number of civilians are holed up.

Arestovych said, "The enemy is trying to strangle the final resistance of the defenders of Mariupol in the Azovstal area."

On Thursday, Putin ordered Russian forces not to storm the steel works but rather seal the plant "so not even a fly comes through" to starve what remains of Ukraine's resistance in the besieged city.

It wasn't clear how the new assault on the plant would affect the planned evacuation from Mariupol.

Ukrainian troops hold out in Mariupol

US plans to accuse Russia of 'using weapons of massive destruction,' says Russia

Russia's Defense Ministry has claimed without evidence that the United States is planning to accuse Russian Armed Forces of using chemical, biological or tactical nuclear weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Ukraine.

"This plan has already been developed and is a response to Russia's success in conducting a special military operation," said Igor Kirillov, head of the Russian Armed Forces' radiation, chemical and biological protection troops. 

He claimed that western leaders had made several provocative statements in March and April this year, on the possibility of Russia using weapons of mass destruction on a regular basis.

France and Germany sold weapons to Russia after EU arms embargo

France and Germany reportedly sold €273 million ($296 million) of military hardware including bombs, rockets, missiles and guns to Russia despite an EU arms embargo, according to The Telegraph.

The embargo was introduced in response to Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea.

The European Commission this month closed a loophole that made the sale of such equipment possible after it was discovered that at least 10 EU member states exported €350 million in weapons to Russia while it was in place. Of that total, 78% of the supplies came from German and French defense companies, according to the report, which is based on EU information.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has faced heavy criticism for his unwillingness to provide heavy weapons to Ukraine. Some segments of German society are reluctant to see German weapons used against Russians.

French President Emmanuel Macron has also faced criticism for his efforts to negotiate with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, leading to charges of appeasement. Macron has also echoed Russian propaganda in calling Russia and Ukraine "brotherly nations," to the consternation of Kyiv.

Both Paris and Berlin have opposed an EU ban on buying gas from Russia. The EU currently pays Moscow €1 billion a day to meet its energy needs, money that has led to allegations that the EU is funding Russia's war on Ukraine despite stiff sanctions.

Are Ukrainian forces getting everything they need?

Russia intensifies shelling of Luhansk

Luhansk governor Serhiy Haidai said in a television interview that Russian forces had intensified shelling of all the Ukrainian-controlled cities in the region. Russia denied targeting civilian areas.

He added that Ukrainian forces were leaving some settlements in Luhansk in order to regroup, but the move did not imply a setback.

Evacuations due to start at midday

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in a Facebook post that if all went as planned, evacuations from the besieged city of Mariupol would start at noon local time (0900 GMT).

"Today, we again will be trying to evacuate women, children and the elderly," she said.

Mariupol city authorities had earlier announced on their Telegram channel that evacuations would take place from the "Port-City" shopping center, to the city of Zaporizhzhya.

Previous attempts to evacuate the city have not been successful, with Ukrainian and Russian authorities blaming each other for the failure.

UK intelligence says Russia made no gains

British military intelligence say Russian forces have made no major gains in the past 24 hours despite increased activity.

"Despite their stated conquest of Mariupol, heavy fighting continues to take place frustrating Russian attempts to capture the city thus further slowing their desired progress in the Donbas," said the statement shared on Twitter.

Humanitarian corridor could open out of Mariupol — Ukrainian deputy PM

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Friday that there was "a possibility" that a humanitarian corridor out of Mariupol could open on Saturday.

Ukrainian authorities estimate that there are still 100,000 in the besieged city and say they need full evacuation.

The remainder of Ukrainian forces in the city are holed up in the Azovstal steelworks.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow would not bother launching on offensive on the steelworks and declared Russian victory in the city. However, US and Ukrainian officials have said the city is still contested.

Russian opposition activist jailed over 'false information'

Russian authorities have opened a criminal case against opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza Jr. for allegedly spreading "false information" about the country's armed forces.

Kara-Murza is the vice-chairman of Open Russia, a liberal NGO founded by Mikhail Khodorkovsky — once believed the richest man in Russia before he fell foul of Putin and was jailed — who has been living in Switzerland since his release in 2013.

Kara-Murza was hospitalized with poisoning symptoms in 2015 and 2017.

Russian media reported that similar charges were being drawn up against Ilya Krasilshchik, former publisher of independent news site Meduza.

Russia adopted a law criminalizing spreading "false information" about its military shortly after it invaded Ukraine in late February. The offense is punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

Human rights advocates have so far counted 32 cases opened under the law.

Putin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky speaks to DW

Ukraine's Zelenskyy claims Moscow plans to invade other countries

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video address late on Friday that Russia plans on capturing countries other than Ukraine.

"All the nations that, like us, believe in the victory of life over death must fight with us. They must help us, because we are the first in line. And who will come next?" Zelenskyy said.

Zelenskyy's comments follow statements by Russian military commander Rustam Minnekayev, who said that Moscow plans to take control of the south of Ukraine and open a corridor to the Russian-occupied Trans-Dniester region of Moldova.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy: 'Who is next?'

UN chief to meet with Putin, Zelenskyy

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is set to meet separately with the presidents of Russia and Ukraine next week, the organization said on Friday.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov had said earlier in the day that Guterres was to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and President Vladimir Putin next Tuesday.

Later, the UN said that Guterres would travel on to Kyiv on Thursday to see Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.

UN spokesperson Eri Kaneko said that Guterres wanted to discuss "steps that can be taken right now" to stop fighting with Ukrainian and Russian officials.

"He will also meet with staff of UN agencies to discuss the scaling up of humanitarian assistance to the people of Ukraine," the UN said in a statement.

On Tuesday, Guterres had appealed for a four-day "humanitarian pause" leading up to Sunday's Orthodox Easter holiday but his call came to naught.

Summary of Friday's events in Ukraine-Russia crisis

Canada's Defense Ministry on Friday said it sent heavy artillery to Ukraine's forces.

Spain reopened its embassy in the Ukrainian capital, Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares said.

The Netherlands plans to stop importing natural gas and oil from Russia by the end of the year, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said talks between Moscow and Kyiv have stalled. Earlier, Russian chief negotiator Vladimir Medinsky said he had spoken to his Ukrainian counterpart.

Russia's Central Military District (CFD) command said that Moscow was planning to seize Ukraine's south and open a route to Moldova's Trans-Dniester region as part of the "second phase" of its military operation. Ukraine's Defense Ministry denounced the plans as "imperialism."

Russia for the first time acknowledged casualties in the sinking of its Black Sea flagship the Moskva last week, saying that one person had died, 27 were still unaccounted for and the 396 other crew members had been rescued.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Moscow of planning to "falsify" a "referendum" in parts of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions that are under Russian control.

German Development Minister Svenja Schulze told the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper that Berlin would allocate funds totaling €37 million (€40.1 million) for reconstruction in Ukraine. Most of the money would go to restoring Ukraine's power grid, with the rest being for rebuilding of apartments and the provision of medical supplies.

You can revisit our live updates from April 22 here

si/aw (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)