Here are the key events so far on Saturday, April 23.
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‘Heavy’ death toll in Odesa attacks
- A Russian attack kills at least five people, including a baby, and wounds 18 others in Ukraine’s Black Sea city of Odesa, Kyiv said.
- “Those are only the ones that we were able to find. It is likely that the death toll will be heavy,” the head of Ukraine’s presidential office Andriy Yermak said on Telegram.
Fighting rages in the east
- Authorities in two eastern Ukrainian regions report “fierce” fighting with Russian forces as hope fades for a truce over Orthodox Easter weekend.
- The governor of the eastern Kharkiv region, Oleg Sinegubov, said on Telegram that Ukraine forces retook three villages near the Russian border after “fierce battles”.
- A new attempt to evacuate Ukrainian civilians from war-torn Mariupol failed, an aide to the city’s mayor said on his Telegram channel, blaming Russian forces.
- The official said 200 residents of Mariupol had gathered to be evacuated, but the Russian military told them to disperse and warned of possible shelling. Russia and Ukraine have blamed each other for repeated failures to evacuate people from Mariupol.
Zelenskyy to meet top US officials
- Ukraine’s president says he will meet on Sunday in Kyiv with the US secretary of state and secretary of defense.
- President Volodymyr Zelenskyy did not immediately share more details about the visit from Antony Blinken and Lloyd Austin. The White House declined to comment.
UN chief to meet Putin, Zelenskyy
- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will meet Zelenskyy in Ukraine next week after a stop in Moscow to confer with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
- Guterres will see Zelenskyy and Ukraine’s foreign minister on Thursday, two days after visiting Moscow.
Nearly 5.2 million flee
- The number of Ukrainians fleeing the country since Russia’s invasion is now 5,163,686, the UN refugee agency says.
Russia breaks silence on sunken cruiser
- Russia said one crew member died and 27 were missing after the Moskva missile cruiser sank last week, Moscow’s first admission of the losses following the tragedy. “As a result of a fire on April 13, the Moskva missile cruiser was seriously damaged due to the detonation of ammunition,” the defence ministry said.
- A senior Pentagon official said the Moskva was hit by two Ukrainian missiles before it sank.
- A senior Ukrainian official accused French defence electronics company Thales of violating European sanctions and selling Russia equipment used to kill civilians fleeing recent fighting outside Kyiv – claims strongly denied by the company.
- “A family was trying to escape but was killed by Russian murderers,” tweets presidential adviser Mykhaylo Podolyak. “Killed, as it is now proved, with French weapons sold in circumvention of sanctions in 2015.”
Russia jails opposition leader
- Russian authorities declared opposition politician Vladimir Kara-Murza a “foreign agent” and order his pre-trial detention for allegedly spreading false information about the Russian army.
- Moscow’s Basmanny district court ordered the 40-year-old Kremlin opponent be held in jail until June 12.
Ukraine security meeting
- The Pentagon invited 40 allies to meet in Germany next week to discuss Ukraine’s longer-term security needs.
- Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said defence ministers and senior generals of 20 countries, NATO and non-NATO members, have already accepted the invitation for the Tuesday meeting.
Mariupol forces urged to surrender
- Russia’s defence ministry said it is ready for a humanitarian ceasefire at the Azovstal steel plant if Kyiv’s soldiers holed up there surrender.
- “All servicemen of the Ukrainian armed forces, militants of the national battalions and foreign mercenaries who laid down their arms are guaranteed life, decent treatment in accordance with international law, and the provision of quality medical care,” Putin said.
- “But the Kyiv regime is not allowing for this opportunity to be used.”
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies