War in Ukraine: Latest developments

Published: 06:28 PM, 20 Apr, 2022
War in Ukraine: Latest developments
Caption: Members of a family fleeing Russian attacks in the city Melitopol stop on a roadside in Orikhiv, near the southern front of fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces, south of Zaporizhzhia.
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Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:

- Mariupol could fall in 'hours' -

A commander of forces holding out at a steelworks in the besieged port city of Mariupol issues a desperate plea for help, saying his marines are "maybe facing our last days, if not hours".

"The enemy is outnumbering us 10 to one," says Serhiy Volyna from the 36th Separate Marine Brigade. 

In the latest ultimatum issued in its seven-week battle to capture Mariupol, Moscow had urged the city's defenders to surrender on Wednesday by 2:00 pm (1100 GMT).

- Evacuation plan -

Ukraine has agreed with Russian forces to open a safe route for civilians to flee Mariupol, according to Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk. 

Writing on Telegram, she says the agreement covers women, children and elderly people and that evacuees will be taken to the Ukrainian-held city of Zaporizhzhia. 

More than 140 civilians and five Ukrainian troops who have surrendered have been evacuated from Mariupol, pro-Russian separatists in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic say separately.

- More than five million have fled Ukraine: UN -

More than five million Ukrainians have now fled their country following the Russian invasion, the United Nations says.

UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, says 5,034,439 Ukrainians have left since Russia invaded on February 24.

- EU chief in Kyiv -

EU chief Charles Michel says that there must be justice for war crimes committed by Russian forces as he tours the devastated town of Borodianka on a visit to Ukraine

"In Borodianka. Like Bucha and too many other towns in Ukraine. History will not forget the war crimes that have been committed here. There can be no peace without justice," the European Council head writes on Twitter.

- New planes -

The Pentagon says that Ukraine recently received fighter planes and parts to bolster its air force while declining to specify the number of aircraft and their origin.

Kyiv had asked its Western partners to provide MiG-29s, which its pilots already know how to fly, and a handful of Eastern European countries have.

Meanwhile, Norway has given Ukraine around 100 French-made Mistral anti-air missiles, the government says.

- Donbas offensive -

Ukraine's defence ministry says its troops have beaten back a Russian attack in the city of Izium, a gateway to the eastern Donbas region which is the target of a major Russian offensive.

Kyiv also claimed enemy losses in a Ukrainian counter-attack near the town of Marinka in the southern part of the Donbas, where pro-Russian separatists have been fighting government forces since 2014.

Russia says its forces have launched 73 airstrikes across Ukraine, hitting dozens of locations where troops were concentrated.

Moscow says the focus of the second phase of its Ukraine offensive is the "liberation" of the entire Donbas, an area about twice the size of Belgium.

- Finnish MPs debate joining NATO -

Finland's parliament opens a debate on whether to seek NATO membership, after Russia's invasion of Ukraine sparked a surge in political and public support for joining the military alliance. 

Russia has warned of a nuclear build-up in the Baltic should Finland and neighbouring Sweden join NATO.

- Wimbledon ban -

Wimbledon organisers are to ban Russian and Belarusian players from this year's Grand Slam tournament due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the Times reports.

The Kremlin says that a ban would be "unacceptable."


Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.