Here are the key events so far on Tuesday, April 19.
Get the latest updates here.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Russia has begun the “Battle of Donbas” in the east and a “very large part of the entire Russian army is now focused on this offensive”.
- Ukrainian media reported explosions along the front line with shelling in Marinka, Sloviansk and Kramatorsk. Air-raid sirens were also going off in main centres near the front.
- The United States military expects to start training Ukrainians on using howitzer artillery in the coming days, a senior US defence official said. The first shipments of a new US military aid package have also arrived at Ukraine’s borders.
- At least 1,000 civilians are hiding in shelters beneath the vast Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, the city council said, adding that Russia was dropping heavy bombs on the Ukrainian-held factory.
- Continued Russian shelling means agreed humanitarian corridors to evacuate citizens out of Mariupol will not open, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Telegram.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin has handed an honourary title to a brigade accused by Ukraine of “war crimes” and mass killings in the town of Bucha.
- Russia’s government also called on Ukrainian forces and foreign fighters holed up in the Azovstal metallurgical plant in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol to lay down their arms by noon Moscow time (0900 GMT) on Friday if they wanted to live.
- More than 4.9 million Ukrainians have fled their country following the Russian invasion, says the United Nations’ refugee agency.
- It says 4,934,415 Ukrainians have now left the country, up more than 65,000 on the previous day.
- US President Joe Biden will hold a call with allies to discuss the crisis, including on how to coordinate on holding Russia accountable, the White House said.
- French President Emmanuel Macron says that his dialogue with Putin stalled after mass killings were discovered in Ukraine.
- Humanitarian ceasefires between Ukrainian and Russian forces are not on the horizon but may be possible in a couple of weeks, UN aid chief Martin Griffiths said.
- The United Kingdom will not be looking at how to help Russia, a senior minister said, when asked about the prospect of swapping pro-Russian politician Viktor Medvedchuk held by Kyiv for two British fighters captured in Ukraine by Russian forces.
- Russia’s invasion has damaged or destroyed up to 30 percent of Ukraine’s infrastructure at a cost of $100bn, a Ukrainian minister said, adding reconstruction could be achieved in two years using frozen Russian assets to help finance it.
- Russia flagged a likely further cut in interest rates and more budget spending to help the economy adapt to biting Western sanctions as it heads for its deepest contraction since 1994.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies