Here are the key events so far on Monday, April 18.
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- A series of attacks in Ukraine’s second-largest city Kharkiv has left at least five dead and 13 injured.
- Ukrainian soldiers ignored a Russian ultimatum to lay down arms on Sunday in Mariupol, which Moscow said its forces had almost completely seized.
- Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Russia is seeking to destroy the Donbas and promises to defend it, starting with the besieged port city of Mariupol.
- Russia’s defence ministry says it has hit a military plant outside Kyiv, as Moscow intensifies its attacks on the Ukrainian capital.
- The UK defence ministry says Russia targeting civilian areas in Mariupol aligns with its approach to Chechnya in 1999 and Syria in 2016.
- Authorities in Ukraine report multiple explosions in the western and southern regions of Lviv and Dnipropetrovsk.
- Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Gaidai said that Russians advanced overnight and took the town of Kreminna. Four civilians were shot dead while trying to evacuate.
- Two British fighters captured in Ukraine appeared on Russian state TV asking to be exchanged for a pro-Kremlin politician who is being held by the Ukrainian authorities.
- Ukraine says it is pausing the evacuation of civilians from the east for a day because of a failure to agree on terms with Russian forces.
- Many of the nearly five million people who have fled Ukraine will not have homes to return to, the UN warns. UNHCR says 4,836,445 Ukrainians have left the country since the Russian invasion on February 24.
- Ukraine says Russian forces have forcibly removed 150 children, some of whom were in hospital, from Mariupol.
- Pope Francis, marking an “Easter of war” urged leaders to hear the people’s plea for peace and implicitly criticised Russia for dragging Ukraine into a “cruel and senseless” conflict.
- Zelenskyy says he has invited his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, to visit Ukraine to see evidence of “genocide” – a term Macron has avoided.
- Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi complains in a newspaper interview that Western diplomatic efforts to persuade Vladimir Putin to stop the war in Ukraine have led nowhere thus far. “I am beginning to think that those people are right when they say ‘it is useless to talk to him, it’s just a waste of time’,” Draghi told the daily Corriere della Sera.
- The Kremlin added nine prominent Kremlin critics and journalists to its growing list of “foreign agents”.
- Ukraine has completed the questionnaire that is the starting point for the European Union to decide on its membership, the deputy head of Zelenskyy’s office said.
- Zelenskyy spoke with the head of the International Monetary Fund about financial stability and post-war reconstruction. Ukraine’s Prime Minister Shmyhal is expected to attend the IMF and World Bank meetings in Washington, DC, this week.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies