War in Ukraine: Latest developments

By: AFP
Published: 10:58 PM, 25 Apr, 2022
War in Ukraine: Latest developments
Caption: Local residents wait in a line to buy bread in Oleksandrivka, eastern Ukraine.
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Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:

- Five killed in rail strikes -

At least five people are killed and 18 injured in Russian rocket strikes on railway stations in the central Ukraine region of Vinnytsia, the Ukrainian prosecutor general's office says.

The head of Ukraine railways says five stations in the centre and west of the country came under fire in the space of an hour.

At least 57 people were killed earlier this month in Russian strikes on a train station used for evacuations in the eastern city of Kramatorsk.

- US wants 'weakened' Russia -

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin says he hopes that the war in Ukraine will hobble the Russian military.

"We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can't do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine," he says after a visit to Kyiv with Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Ukraine can win the war if it has the "right equipment", he adds. Austin and Blinken pledge $700 million (653 million euros) in additional military aid during their visit.

- US diplomats to return -

Blinken confirms that US diplomats, withdrawn at the start of Russia's invasion, will gradually return to Kyiv. US President Joe Biden nominates career foreign service officer Bridget Brink to be the next US ambassador.

Several European countries have also reopened their embassies in Kyiv since Russia withdrew its forces from the region.

- No deal on Mariupol -

Russia's defence ministry announces a unilateral ceasefire at the Azovstal steel plant in the besieged port city of Mariupol, where Ukrainian forces have been holding out and a large group of civilians are sheltering.

But Ukraine disputes that, saying Moscow did not agree to its request for the evacuation of wounded soldiers and civilians.

- Putin congratulates Macron -

Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulates French President Emmanuel Macron on his re-election following a run-off with far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, seen as closer to Moscow.

"I sincerely wish you success in your state activities, as well as good health and well-being," says Putin. 

- German diplomats expelled -

Moscow says it is expelling 40 German diplomats after Berlin sent 40 Russian diplomats packing earlier this month.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock reacts indignantly, saying Berlin's diplomats had "not done anything wrong" while the expelled Russian representatives "did not serve diplomacy for a single day".

- Russia says Ukraine drones downed -

The governor of Russia's Kursk region, which borders Ukraine, says Russian forces shot down two Ukrainian drones near the boundary between the two countries, in Kursk's Rylsky district.

In recent weeks, Russia has repeatedly accused Ukrainian forces of launching strikes on its soil.

- 5.2 million refugees -

More than 5.2 million Ukrainians have fled the country since Russia launched its invasion two months ago, with over 45,000 having left in the past 24 hours, the UN says.

AFP

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.