Ukraine’s Zelenskyy urges citizens to fight — live updates


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  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urges citizens to drive out Russian troops
  • Moscow says destroyed Ukraine’s Starokostiantyniv military air-base
  • Mariupol announces a second attempt at civilian evacuations after violence scuppered the first
  • Poland says nearly 800,000 refugees arrived from Ukraine

This article was last updated at 09:32 UTC/GMT

Ukraine claims big Russian losses

The general staff of the Ukrainian armed forces has put the number of Russian troops killed so far at 11,000. The number stood at 10,000 on Saturday, they said. DW is unable to verify those figures.

Russian authorities on Wednesday claimed that a much lower number of soldiers had been killed in the invasion — fewer than 500.

On the 11th day of the war, Russian gains include the key city of Kherson in the south. Russian forces have also surrounded the cities of Kharkiv — Ukraine’s second-largest city, Mykolaiv, Chernihiv and Sumy. But these remain largely or partly in Ukrainian hands.

A mileslong convoy of Russian troops and equipment that had been headed to the capital Kyiv is still blocked on the highway, according to recent reports.

Ukraine’s main port city Odesa is also still under Ukrainian control, with local forces holding out against sea bombardments from Russian ships in the Black Sea.

The DPA news agency cited the Defense Ministry in Moscow as saying that Russian troops and separatist rebels from Luhansk and Donetsk had advanced some 11 kilometers (6.8 miles) and taken control of five towns and villages.

Mariupol to make second attempt at evacuations

The city council of Mariupol, the port city close to Ukraine’s eastern border with Russia, has announced a new cease-fire with the Russian forces currently surrounding the city.

The planned pause in hostilities will last from 12 p.m. local time (1000 UTC) until 9 p.m on Sunday. The authorities are hoping to evacuate the 400,000 people who are trapped in the city without access to food, water and heating.

The announced cease-fire follows a failed attempt on Saturday that was abandoned after both the Ukrainians and Russians accused each other of violations during the agreed period.

 People lie on the floor of a hospital during shelling by Russian forces in Mariupol

Earlier efforts to evacuate civilians from Mariupol were scuppered by cease-fire violations

WHO condemns attacks on health care facilities in Ukraine

The World Health Organization confirmed several attacks on health care centers in Ukraine, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tweeted on Sunday.

The attacks led to multiple deaths and injuries, he added.

Ghebreyesus said that they were investigating other similar reports and condemned the attacks on health care facilities and workers, saying they ”breach medical neutrality and are violations of international humanitarian law.”

‘Fierce’ fighting in Mykolaiv: Ukrainian military

Airstrikes and fighting continued in Ukraine on Sunday amid Russia’s invasion, with the Ukrainian military reporting “fierce battles” with Russian troops around the southern city of Mykolaiv.

The city is important strategically, as it controls the road to the key Black Sea city of Odesa.

This comes as Russia reported that it had destroyed Ukraine’s Starokostiantyniv military air-base with long-range weapons. The report has not been verified.

Fighting is also continuing for the northern city of Chernihiv, while an expected Russian advance on Kyiv has reportedly been preceded by airstrikes on the towns of Bucha and Irpin that have forced civilians to flee.

The situation in the Black Sea city of Mariupol, which is now without water or power amid Russian shelling, has meanwhile been called “catastrophic” by the organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

Officials in the city said they had to delay the evacuation of civilians on Saturday after an agreed cease-fire broke down, but Moscow has contradicted their version of events, saying that it was Ukrainian “nationalists” preventing the civilians leaving.

Israel’s PM returns home after surprise Russian trip

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is back in Israel after a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin that took place “with the blessing” of the US Biden administration, according to Bennett’s office.

Bennett, whose country has been striving to maintain good relations with both Russia and Ukraine despite Moscow’s invasion of its neighbor, spoke with the Kremlin leader for three hours. No details of their conversation have been released

He then spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy before flying on to Germany to meet Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

“We continue to dialogue,” the Ukrainian leader tweeted after his talk with Bennett.

Bennett is expected to convene his Cabinet for its weekly meeting later on Sunday.

Israel tries to maintain good ties with Russia partly to ensure that warplanes from the two countries do not come into conflict in Syria. However, it has also delivered humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

Russia ‘surprised’ by Ukrainian resistance: UK military intelligence

Russia has been attacking several populated areas in response to a Ukrainian resistance that is stronger than Moscow expected, British military intelligence said.

According to an update on Sunday, “the scale and strength of Ukrainian resistance continue to surprise Russia,” with Russian forces responding by targeting “populated areas in multiple locations, including Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Mariupol.”

Ukrainian media have said blasts were heard overnight in Kharkiv, the second-largest city.

The update compared Russia’s tactics with those it used in Chechnya in 1999 and Syria in 2016. Civilian areas in both countries suffered widespread devastation from aerial and artillery attacks.

The report contradicts Moscow’s repeated assertions that it is not targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure.

It also said that Ukrainian attacks on supply lines were slowing the Russian advance.

Most Germans want ex-Chancellor Schröder barred from SPD: Survey

A majority of Germans would like to see former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder barred from his party, the ruling Social Democrats (SPD), for his connections to Russian President Vladimir Putin and leading positions at Russian energy firms.

A survey by the Insa polling institute carried out for the Sunday tabloid Bild am Sonntag showed that 74% of respondents overall wanted Schröder thrown out — a figure that rose to 82% among SPD voters.

A total of 75% (or 79% of SPD voters) want Schröder’s pension and expenses from his time as chancellor to be canceled if he does not give up his jobs in Russian firms.

Schröder congratulating Putin on his 53rd birthday

Schröder’s friendship with Putin goes back many years; this picture was taken in 2005

Schröder is head of the supervisory board of the Russian state energy company Rosneft and also holds leading positions in the now shelved Nord Stream 2 pipeline project.

Many people in Germany still remember a 2004 interview in which Schröder was asked whether Putin was a “flawless democrat.” The former chancellor responded: “Yes, I’m convinced that he is.”

Senior US officials travel to Venezuela for first time in years

Senior US officials traveled to Venezuela on Saturday to meet with the government of Nicolas Maduro, The New York Times reported.

The trip marks the first high-level visit by US officials to Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, in years, as Washington steps up efforts to isolate Russia on the world stage.

The US cut diplomatic relations with Venezuela in 2019 after accusing Maduro of electoral fraud. 

Some in the US believe Venezuela could potentially become a security threat given its close ties to Russia. 

The New York Times also reported that some Republican officials have been involved in talks with Venezuelans to restart the oil trade between the two countries. Such a move could reduce US oil imports from Russia. 

Scholz meets Israel’s Bennett in Berlin

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz met Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in Berlin on Saturday evening, German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said.

The 90-minute conversation between the leaders focused on Bennett’s talks with Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Saturday, Hebestreit said in a statement. 

The goal remains to end the war in Ukraine as quickly as possible, Hebestreit added.

Bennett met Putin in Moscow on Saturday, after having coordinated the meeting with the United States, France and Germany, according to an Israeli official.

Israel, at the behest of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has offered to mediate in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, though officials have played down expectations of any major breakthrough. 

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty close Russian operations

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) suspended operations in Russia after local tax authorities initiated bankruptcy proceedings against the US-funded broadcaster’s Russian entity on Thursday and police intensified pressure on its journalists, RFE/RL said in a statement.

“It is with the deepest regret that I announce the suspension of our physical operations in Moscow today. This is not a decision that RFE/RL has taken of its own accord, but one that has been forced upon us by the Putin regime’s assault on the truth,” RFE/RL President and CEO Jamie Fly said in the statement.

“Following years of threats, intimidation and harassment of our journalists, the Kremlin, desperate to prevent Russian citizens from knowing the truth about its illegal war in Ukraine, is now branding honest journalists as traitors to the Russian state,” Fly added.

Zelenskyy speaks with Biden

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that he spoke on the phone with US President Joe Biden on Sunday.

 “As part of the constant dialogue, I had another conversation with @POTUS,” Zelensky said.”The agenda included the issues of security, financial support for Ukraine and the continuation of sanctions against Russia.”

Minister: Germany will take in refugees from Ukraine regardless of nationality

In an interview for the German weekly Bild am Sonntag, Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said Germany will take in refugees from Ukraine regardless of their nationality.

“We want to save lives. That doesn’t depend on the passport,” Faeser said.

“The vast majority of those who fled are Ukrainian nationals. People from other countries who already had a permanent right of residence in Ukraine bring this status with them,” Faeser explained.

“They don’t have to go through a complex asylum procedure either.”

Faeser described European cooperation in helping refugees from Ukraine as “historic.”

The minister’s statement came amid reports, including from the United Nations, that non-white people have faced racist and xenophobic treatment while trying to flee Ukraine.

Zelenskyy urges Ukrainians to fight

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged Ukrainians to drive Russian troops out of the country.

“We have to go outside! We have to fight! Whenever there is an opportunity,” Zelensky said in a video message.

Zelensky added that ordinary, unarmed people had opposed Russian units in several cities, including the southern port city of Kherson. He said it was important to prevent the establishment of more pro-Russian so-called “people’s republics” on Ukrainian territory similar to the two currently self-declared in eastern Ukraine.

Addressing the people of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, Zelenskyy said that if Russians “have not erased you memory through propaganda, if your eyes are not closed in fear – fight, for your rights, you freedom, for Ukraine.”

Summary of events in Ukraine-Russia crisis on Saturday

Russia said it resumed attacks on the cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha after having accused Ukraine of breaking the cease-fire deal. Ukraine claimed that Russian shelling had not stopped after the cease-fire was announced.

Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Ukrainian forces of sabotaging the cease-fire effort, claiming that the actions of Ukraine’s leadership called into question the future of the country’s statehood.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke with the US lawmakers over Zoom, calling for them to support a no-fly zone over Ukraine and making a “desperate plea” for the US to send more planes.

Over 1.3 million people have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion began at the end of last month. 

Credit card companies Visa and MasterCard announced separately that they were suspending operations in Russia.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, offering to mediate to end the war.

sdi/sms (dpa, AP, Reuters, AFP)


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