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An agreed humanitarian corridor to allow civilians escape the besieged city "did not work as planned," according to Kyiv, as a deadline to surrender put forward by Russia lapsed. Follow DW for the latest.
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Finance ministers from the Group of 7 wealthy nations said that they and partners had provided and pledged additional support to Ukraine worth more than $24 billion (roughly €22 billion) for 2022 and beyond, adding that they were prepared to do more as needed.
In a statement, they also said they regretted Russia's participation in international forums, including G20, International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings this week.
"International organizations and multilateral fora should no longer conduct their activities with Russia in a business-as-usual manner," the ministers' statement said.
The G7 had been known as the G8 for several years, until Russia was kicked out of the group in the aftermath of the annexation of Crimea in 2014. While several G7 members, especially major NATO powers, were pushing to exclude Russia from the larger forum meetings this week, other international partners questioned whether this was the right course.
A 91-year-old woman Jewish woman who survived Nazi round-ups by hiding in a Mariupol basement has died while sheltering from Russian shelling in another Mariupol basement, according to her daughter and the Auschwitz Memorial.
At age 10, Vanda Semyonovna Obiedkova, hid in a basement as the SS seized her mother – one of between 9,000 and 16,000 jews murdered in the city of Mariupol during World War II, her daughter told Jewish organization Chabad.
She spent the rest of her life in Mariupol and started her own family. But when Russia started shelling the city, the family took shelter in the basement of a neighboring shop, her daughter told Chabad.
After about a month in hiding, lacking food, water and heat, she finally succumbed, her daughter said.
Her daughter said Obiedkova died on April 4, with the story published on April 19.
Ukrainian presidential advisor and negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak said Kyiv would agree to Russia's proposal to hold a "special round" of negotiations in the besieged city of Mariupol.
"Yes. Without any conditions. We're ready to hold a 'special round of negotiations' right in Mariupol," Podolyak tweeted.
"One on one. Two on two. To save our guys, Azov, military, civilians, children, the living & the wounded. Everyone. Because they are ours. Because they are in my heart. Forever."
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken sought to emphasize the plight of the people trapped in Mariupol, pressing Russia to allow an evacuation.
"The conditions there, the situation there, as a result of this Russian aggression, are truly horrific,'' Blinken said Wednesday.
Blinken said the US is trying to help by sharing its assessments, but the decision to risk leaving shelter is ultimately up to the Ukrainian government and the people themselves.
"What gives pause is the fact there have been agreements on humanitarian corridors established before that have fallen apart very, very quickly, if not immediately, principally because the security has been violated by Russian forces."
Blinken said the world witnessed "death and destruction and atrocities'' after the Russians retreated from Bucha, and "we can only anticipate that when this tide also recedes from Mariupol, we're going to see far worse, if that's possible to imagine."
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen led a multi-nation walkout of a G20 finance meeting in protest of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
The war cast a strong shadow over the meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors for the world’s 20 largest economies.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell, European Central Bank head Christine Lagarde, Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and Ukrainian Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko all left the room when Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov began to speak.
A number of finance ministers who were attending virtually reportedly turned off their cameras when it was Russia's turn to speak.
German Finance Minister Christian Lindner and a number of other G7 ministers did not leave the room.
Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, Iryna Vereshchuk, has said a planned humanitarian corridor in the besieged city of Mariupol "did not work as planned," as Russian shelling continued unabated and the transportation of civilians could not be secured.
The city has been under near-constant bombardment for two months. At least 1,000 civilians, mostly women and children, and hundreds of wounded soldiers have sought refuge in the Azovstal steel plant, which is the last holdout of Ukrainian troops in the area.
Moscow had made a humanitarian corridor contingent on a surrender before an afternoon deadline, but no such surrender came.
Russian government officials blamed the Ukrainian military, saying they were not adhering to a planned cease-fire.
Mariupol has been under a fierce siege by Russian forces for almost two months, and was a major site of resistance to Russian-backed separatists in 2014. According to the city's mayor, some 100,000 civilians are still in Maiupol. The figure could not be independently verified.
Earlier on Wednesday, Russia issued another ultimatum for the Ukrainian troops in Azovstal. Azovstal is the last remaining pocket of Ukrainian resistance in the key port of Mariupol.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has officially requested to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to press for peace.
Guterres sent a letter to both leaders, asking to meet in Moscow and Kyiv to "discuss whatever urgent steps can be taken to stop the fighting.''
His spokesman Stephane Dujarric has said he is yet to receive a response.
Guterres also called for a four-day "humanitarian pause" in the shelling over Orthodox Easter, which would also allow civilians to be evacuated and receive aid.
The head of Ukraine's Orthodox church has cautioned both the clergy and congregants to forgo Easter services on Sunday in areas affected by fighting.
Orthodox Easter begins at midnight on the first Sunday after the first full moon following Passover.
Metropolitan Epifaniy said in a televised address that he had little faith that a pause in shelling by Russian troops, proposed by the Ukrainian association of churches and religious communities for the duration of the holiday, would hold.
"It is hard to believe this will really happen, because the enemy is trying to completely destroy us," he said.
Ukrainian church leaders have been at odds with Russia since Ukraine formed a new Orthodox church in 2018, ending centuries of religious ties with Moscow.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a review of Moscow's position within the World Trade Organization, looking to counter "illegal" sanctions imposed over its military operation in Ukraine.
Putin said during a televised meeting that Western governments have broken WTO rules because their economic sanctions against Moscow are "politically motivated."
He said the review must be completed by June 1, but gave no details about who would carry it out and what it would entail.
His comments came during a government summit focused on how to revive Russia's steel industry, which is key to the economy and has been a major target of sanctions.
"The unfriendly steps towards Russia's metals producers were taken to suit immediate political interests," Putin said.
Putin then instructed his cabinet to find ways to increase domestic demand for steel so that factories will not be forced to close.
Russia said it has test-launched its new Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile. According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, this missile had no analogues elsewhere and would provide food for thought for those who try to threaten Russia.
Putin was shown on Russian TV being briefed by the military that the Sarmat missile had been launched from Plesetsk in the country's northwest and hit targets in the Kamchatka peninsula in the far east.
US officials said they had been aware of the Russian launch and viewed as a routine one.
"Russia properly notified the United States under its New START obligations that it planned to test this ICBM," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.
"Such testing is routine. It was not a surprise. We did not deem the test to be a threat to the United States or its allies.''
Tennis players from Russia and Belarus will be banned from the Wimbledon tournament in June, the All England Club venue has confirmed.
"It is our responsibility to play our part in the widespread efforts ... to limit Russia's global influence through the strongest means possible,'' the All England Club said in a statement posted on its Twitter account.
"In the circumstances of such unjustified and unprecedented military aggression, it would be unacceptable for the Russian regime to derive any benefits from the involvement of Russian or Belarusian players with The Championships.''
Russian athletes have been barred from a number of international tournaments, including the upcoming World Cup in Qatar. However, the French Open, the first tennis grand slam tournament to be held since the invasion began, is expected to welcome Russian players when it begins next month.
Dozens of civilians boarded a small convoy of buses in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol, the Reuters news agency reported, citing two witnesses. Then the buses departed from a planned evacuation point to a Ukraine-controlled territory, according to Reuters.
Mariupol city authorities said earlier on Wednesday that they were hoping to evacuate about 6,000 people from the city.
Mariupol could fall into Russian hands within "hours", a Ukrainian official said as a 1100 UTC deadline for surrender demanded by Moscow passed without capitulation from Ukrainian forces holding onto the besieged Azovstal steel plant.
Some 500 wounded soldiers, as well as hundreds of women and children, were also sheltering in the plant.
Moscow had said that should the deadline be respected, a humanitarian corridor for any Ukrainian troops who agreed to lay down their arms.
However, Major Serhiy Volyna, who is commanding the troops in the Azovstal plant, said he would never surrender.
Mariupol has been under a fierce siege by Russian forces for two months, and was a major site of resistance to Russian-backed separatists in 2014.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy discussed with the President of the European Council Charles Michel sanctions against Russia, as well as defense and financial support of Ukraine.
"A big friend of Ukraine, the President of the European Council Charles Michel, is in Kyiv today. We have discussed sanctions against Russia, defense and financial support of our state and answers to the questionnaire on compliance with EU criteria. Thank you for a meaningful meeting and solidarity with the people of Ukraine"! Zelenskyy wrote on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Michel said the EU will hold an international donors conference on May 5 to ensure "the victory of Ukraine."
"We are determined to do everything we can in order to support Ukraine because we want the victory of Ukraine," Michel said during a press conference alongside Zelenskyy.
Prior to his meeting with Zelenskyy, Michel visited Borodyanka, the small city near Kyiv devastated during the Russian occupation. "History will not forget the war crimes that have been committed here," he wrote on Twitter.
The Japanese parliament has voted to remove Moscow from a list of "most favored nations" for trade. This means that Tokyo can significantly increase tariffs on Russian goods, following the lead of the other G7 nations.
Japanese parliament also voted in favor of a revision to a foreign exchange law to prevent the transfer of virtual currency held by those subject to asset freezing as Prime Minister Fumio Kishida ramps up economic sanctions against Russia.
Japan has already frozen the assets of hundreds of Russian individuals and institutions. Kishida’s government is becoming increasingly involved in penalizing Moscow due to the invasion’s impact in East Asia, where the Chinese military presence has been growing steadily.
Also on Wednesday, eight Russian diplomats expelled by Tokyo were escorted to a city airport and left the country.
Ukraine likely needs $5 billion a month in financial assistance to keep its economy operating, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said.
According to her, the immediate priority was finding ways to fill that gap in the next three months.
Georgieva said that despite uncertainty over Ukraine's future, the IMF will start work on a future loan program for Ukraine. She also added that it was "unfair" to expect Ukraine to implement a far-reaching package of reforms at the moment.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz has authorized the supply of helmets and flak jackets to Ukrainian rescue services, according to a ministry statement.
The announcement came shortly after Gantz spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart Oleksii Reznikov.
Israel has sent medical aid and cold-weather supplies, but had thus far rebuffed Ukrainian requests for military equipment.
According to multiple reports, that included a request for spyware to use against Russia, including the controversial Pegasus software created by Israel-based NSO Group.
Since February 24, 1.1 million Ukrainian citizens have entered Ukraine, the spokesman of Ukraine's border guard service, Andriy Demchenko, reported.
"In total, since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, about 5 million people have crossed the state border in both directions. The vast majority were Ukrainians traveling abroad, 3.2 million people. However, 1.1 million of our compatriots have arrived in Ukraine since then," Demchenko said.
The spokesman also said that passenger traffic increased last week. "It reached 80,000 per day in both directions. But leaving Ukraine always prevailed over entry. There was only one day, Saturday [April 16], when we saw the inflow outweigh the outflow, but in small numbers," Demchenko said.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that a draft document of the peace proposals had been handed over to Ukraine.
"At present, our draft document has been handed over to the Ukrainian side, which includes absolutely clear, elaborated formulations. The ball is on their side, we are waiting for an answer," Peskov said.
When asked if there were any specific deadlines for Kyiv's reaction, Peskov said: "It depends on the Ukrainian side."
Later on Wednesday, the Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak confirmed the Ukraine has received Russia's proposals as part of the negotiation process, and is studying them.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock says Berlin has chosen not to make public all the weapons that it has sent to Ukraine to help defend the country from Russia's invasion.
During a press conference in Riga, the minister said Germany had already "delivered anti-tank Stinger [missiles] and other things that we didn't talk about in public so that the deliveries could be carried out quickly and securely."
She also added that the German government was not against sending armored vehicles to Ukraine. Baerbock said Berlin had already signed off on the option, but that it currently does not have the capacity to send equipment.
However, Baerbock said Germany was taking a long-term perspective on assisting Ukraine with military defense.
"It is about the next three months, and the next three years. This is where Germany can contribute more," she said. Germany has previously been criticized for not sending heavy weapons to Ukraine.
Responding to criticism from Ukraine's Ambassador to Germany Andriy Melnyk that Berlin has not been doing enough, German lawmaker Ralf Stegner told DW this was not the case.
Stegner, a member of the Bundestag for Chancellor Olaf Scholz's Social Democrats (SPD), said Germany was giving Ukraine "whatever we can, what works, what is there."
However, he added that there were concerns about the delivery of heavy weapons and whether this could mean NATO getting embroiled in the conflict. "There's a difference in opinion whether we should send heavy weapons or not. And one of the obligations our chancellor has, and the other heads of state as well, is keeping NATO out of the conflict," said Stegner.
The United Nations' refugee agency UNHCR says the number of Ukrainians fleeing abroad since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 now stands at 5,010,971.
The exodus is said to have been somewhat slower in recent weeks than it was at the beginning of the war.
More than 7 million people have been internally displaced within Ukraine since the invasion began, the UN says.
Liudmyla Denisova, Ombudsman for Human Rights in Ukraine, has said the country will do its utmost to ensure that those responsible for using rape as a weapon of war in Ukraine face justice.
Denisova told DW there was evidence that sexual violence — against women, children and men — was being used as a tool for genocide in Russia's war on Ukraine.
"We are doing everything to document these crimes and to ensure that those criminals, starting with Putin, are all punished…We are trying to organize a special tribunal like Nuremberg, Rwanda or Yugoslavia so that the court has unlimited rights as to how the criminals can be punished."
"It is already possible and only a final political will is needed," said Denisova.
A former UK military intelligence officer has told DW that Russia is not "ready for this operation," referring to its renewed eastern assault in Donbas.
"Something of this size would really take several months to set up — they've had a few weeks," said Frank Ledwidge, a lecturer in military capabilities and strategy at England's University of Portsmouth.
"It speaks actually of a lot of pressure on the Russians to get things done, and I think that's going to backfire on them," he said.
The former military intelligence officer said the conflict will become a "battle of attrition" where "the side which can sustain its logistics and supply, will prevail in that battle."
He said that this is why Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is asking for heavy weaponry from its western partners, such as "artillery, armor, armored personnel carriers, things like that, as well as maintaining their air defenses."
Ledwidge said he expected Russian forces to run into problems, in part due to the lack of time to prepare for the new operation.
"They are going to face an enemy which is very well prepared and has been preparing for a number of years for an attack like this, and of course, an enemy that's demonstrated itself to be operationally and tactically far more efficient if they're given the weapons to complete their task," he said.
European Council President Charles Michel is visiting Kyiv in a previously unannounced visit to show solidarity with Ukraine.
"In Kyiv today. In the heart of a free and democratic Europe," Michel said on Twitter.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Olga Stefanishyna greeted Michel on his arrival in the Ukrainian capital.
A meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was said to be on the agenda for Michel, who represents the European Union's 27 member states.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said Wednesday that Kyiv has reached a preliminary agreement with Russia on establishing a humanitarian corridor for civilians from the besieged city of Mariupol.
Vereshchuk said the route had been agreed for the evacuation of women, children and older people.
"Given the very difficult security situation, changes may occur during the corridor action," Vereshchuk said in a message posted on Facebook.
"We will put our best effort to make everything work as it should."
Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko said he hoped 6,000 people could be evacuated from the city on Wednesday, adding he hoped the preliminary agreement with Russia would hold. Ukraine has accused Russia of blocking previous attempts at evacuation.
More than 100,000 people remain in the city awaiting evacuation, the mayor said.
The southeastern Ukrainian port city was surrounded by Russian troops on March 1, shortly after the start of the Russian attack on Ukraine. Both the port and the city are largely considered to have been destroyed.
Russia is reported to have been hitting the Azovstal steel plant, which is the main remaining Ukrainian stronghold in Mariupol, with bunker-busting bombs.
Ukraine's Azov battalion says hundreds of women, children and elderly civilians are sheltering at the site, with supplies running out.
Serhiy Volyna, the commander of the 36th Separate Marine Brigade at the plant, earlier on Wednesday called for an "extraction procedure."
He urged that everyone — soldiers, the wounded, and hundreds of civilians — be taken to safety on the territory of a third country.
"This is our appeal to the world," said Volyna. "This could be the last appeal of our lives. We are probably facing our last days, if not hours."
British military intelligence reports that fighting in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine is intensifying as Russian troops seek to break through Ukrainian defenses.
It said Moscow was continuing to build its military presence on the eastern border of Ukraine.
The UK said Russian air activity in northern Ukraine was likely to remain low after Russia’s withdrawal, but that there was still the possibility of precision strikes against priority targets across the country. It said this was as Moscow sought to disrupt the movement of Ukrainian reinforcement eastwards.
The Ukrainian General staff says Russian troops have tried unsuccessfully to storm two towns in the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk.
"After the storming attempts of the Russian occupiers in Rubishne and Severodonetsk, 130 wounded soldiers of the enemy were taken to the local hospital in Novoaydar," the General Staff said in its situation report early on Wednesday.
The Ukrainian military leadership also said there had been attempted assaults on the small town of Isyum in the Kharkiv region and heavy fighting around Marjinka, Popasna, Torske, Selena Dolyna, and Kreminna.
The pro-Russian separatists have previously announced that they have gained control of Kreminna.
Russian forces again called for those still in the besieged Azovstal power plant to surrender by 2 p.m. Moscow time (1100 GMT). They also called on Ukrainian forces to lay down their weapons.
Serhiy Volyna, the commander of the 36th Separate Marine Brigade said his marines "may be facing our last days, if not hours." He added, "The enemy is outnumbering us 10 to one."
He called for an "extraction procedure" and urged that everyone — soldiers, the wounded, and hundreds of civilians — be taken to safety on the territory of a third country.
Thousands of troops and civilians remain at the plant. The mayor of Mariupol described a "horrible situation" where up to 2,000 people, mostly women and children, are trapped without "normal" supplies like water and food.
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy mentioned it in his late-night video address, calling the situation in the embattled port city "as difficult as it can be." He accused the Russian side of blocking all attempts to organize humanitarian corridors and rescuing civilians. Meanwhile, Russia said its Tuesday evening offer of such a corridor went unused and that another would be opened later on Wednesday.
In recent weeks, both sides have repeatedly accused each other of sabotaging efforts to allow civilians to be brought to safety.
Janet Yellen, the US Treasury Secretary, said Russia's war on Ukraine was responsible for stretching "already dire" global food insecurity. She said price and supply shocks had added to global inflationary pressures.
Prior to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, 10% of the global population faced chronic food insecurity, Yellen said. Economic models suggest at least 10 million more people could be pushed into poverty because of the conflict.
Yellen said that countries should avoid export bans that could drive prices higher while stepping up support for vulnerable populations and small-scale farmers.
Germany's Finance Minister Christian Lindner concurred, calling on countries to "keep agricultural markets open, not stockpile and not withhold stocks, and not impose unjustified export restrictions on agricultural products or nutrients."
Russia and Ukraine are both major agricultural exporters of foodstuffs, fertilizer and other products.
Even in a country like Germany with high per capita spending power, supermarket shelves again have signs reminiscent of the COVID lockdown, asking customers to limit purchases of products like flour, sunflower oil and rice
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Ukraine has received fighter planes and aircraft parts to bolster its air force.
"Right now have available to them more fixed-wing fighter aircraft than they did two weeks ago," Kirby said, adding, "Other nations who have experience with those kinds of aircraft have been able to help them get more aircraft up and running."
Kirby declined to specify how many aircraft or their origin.
The Pentagon announcement comes one week after US President Joe Biden unveiled $800 million in military aid for Ukraine.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi said "direct communications" between Chernobyl and Ukraine's national regulator have been restored.
The IAEA said contact between the defunct Chernobyl nuclear power plant, site of the world's worst nuclear catastrophe at the time the reactor exploded due to human error in 1986, and Ukraine's national regulator had been lost for "more than a month" when Russian forces occupied the facility.
Grossi said, "This was clearly not a sustainable situation, and it is very good news that the regulator can now contact the plant directly when it needs to."
According to the IAEA, Russia told it its troops left the area on March 31 having held the site for five weeks.
The UN said the number of people to have fled Ukraine hit 5 million, with a further 7 million people internally displaced by the fighting.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk reported that 76 prisoners of war were being returned to the country as part of the fourth exchange of captives with Russia.
Russia says it has opened a corridor so that Ukrainian troops trapped in a steel plant in the besieged city of Mariupol can leave if they agree to surrender their weapons.
Russia's Defense Ministry demanded that measures be taken to release civilians from the Azovstal metallurgical plant in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol. Azovstal is the last remaining pocket of Ukrainian resistance in the key southeastern port.
According to the governor of the Luhansk region, Russian forces have seized the city of Kreminna, a city of around 18,000 people, in eastern Ukraine.
Four people including three emergency service officials defusing unexploded ordinance were among the dead in the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, the city's mayor said. Kharkiv is near the front lines and has faced repeated shelling from Russian forces.
US President Joe Biden discussed further action concerning the Ukraine war in a call with G7, NATO and EU leaders. Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged to send more artillery weaponry to Ukraine.
Ukraine's allies have agreed to provide artillery to fight a Russian advance, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said, albeit again ruling out direct NATO involvement in the conflict.
Czech authorities have launched a preliminary investigation into possible war crimes committed by Russian forces in Ukraine.
The British Defense Ministry said Russian shelling and strikes on the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine continued, but Ukrainian forces managed to repel numerous attempted advances. Britain has announced plans to revoke the Moscow Stock Exchange's status as a recognized stock exchange in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The European Commission has given the green light to a €20 billion ($21.6 billion) German scheme to help companies affected by the fallout of the war in Ukraine. The EU executive also approved €836 million in Polish state aid to support farmers hit by rising fertilizer costs.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres denounced Russia's new offensive in eastern Ukraine and called for a four-day truce to mark Orthodox Holy Week.
You can revisit our live updates from April 19 here.
es, rc,ar/fb (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters, Interfax)