- The mayor of Mariupol says conditions at the Avozstal steel plant are dire and people trapped there are running out of food and water.
- An operation is planned to evacuate civilians trapped in Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant on Friday, the Ukrainian president’s office has said, without providing further details.
- A Radio Liberty journalist, Vira Hyrych, was killed when two explosions hit the capital, Kyiv, during a visit by UN chief Antonio Guterres, leaving him “shocked“.
- Moscow regards winning the “Battle for Donbas” as crucial if it is to achieve its stated objective of securing control over the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the east, Britain’s defence ministry has said.
- A local police official says the bodies of 1,187 dead civilians have been found so far in Kyiv region.
- US President Joe Biden has asked Congress for $33bn to support Ukraine.
This live blog is now closed, thank you for joining us. You can follow our continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine on our new live blog.
These were the updates on Friday, April 29:
US training Ukrainian forces in Germany: Pentagon
The United States is training Ukrainian forces in Germany on weapons recently delivered as part of Washington’s ongoing military assistance to Kyiv, the Pentagon has announced.
“Today, I can announce that the United States has commenced training with Ukrainian armed forces on key systems at US military installations in Germany,” Department of Defense spokesperson John Kirby told reporters.
“These efforts build on the initial artillery training that Ukraine’s forces already have received elsewhere, and also includes training on the radar systems and armoured vehicles that have been recently announced as part of security assistance packages.”
Read more here.
Russia minister says ‘no need’ for UN help with humanitarian corridors
Foreign Minister Lavrov has said UN to help secure humanitarian corridors out of Ukraine’s besieged cities was not needed.
“There is no need for anybody to provide help to open humanitarian corridors. There is only one problem … humanitarian corridors are being ignored by Ukrainian ultra-nationals,” Lavrov told Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV.
“We appreciate the interest of the (UN) secretary-general to be helpful,” he added. “(We have) explained … what is the mechanism for them to monitor how the humanitarian corridors are announced,” he added.
Hundreds evacuated to Kharkiv: Governor
Hundreds of people have been evacuated to Kharkiv from the nearby village of Ruska Lozava that had been under Russian control for more than a month.
Almost half the village has escaped on buses, in shrapnel-ridden cars or on foot after fierce battles saw Russian troops pushed back and Ukrainian forces take full control of the village, according to the Kharkiv regional governor.
US opposes Putin G20 invitation
The United States has expressed concern over the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the G20 summit saying there could no longer be “business as usual” with Moscow since the invasion of Ukraine began.
“The President has expressed publicly his opposition to President Putin attending the G20. We have welcomed the Ukrainians attending,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told journalists.
‘Will not give up’: UN chief
United Nation’s Guterres has said he was moved by the “resilience and bravery” of the Ukrainian people after his visit to the war-torn nation.
“My message to them is simple. We will not give up,” he tweeted.
I was moved by the resilience and bravery of the people of Ukraine. My message to them is simple: We will not give up.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) April 29, 2022
Russia does not consider itself at war with NATO: Russia minister
Russia’s foreign minister says it does not consider itself to be at war with NATO over Ukraine since such a development would increase the risks of a nuclear war, RIA news agency reported.
The news outlet added that Sergei Lavrov telling Dubai-based Al Arabiya channel that Ukraine was at fault for stalled peace talks with Russia, blaming what he said was Kyiv’s changing negotiating positions.
Workers not part of any ‘agenda’: UK aid group
Co-founder of the Presidium Network has told Al Jazeera the British aid workers captured in Ukraine are humanitarian workers and not working with any agenda.
“They were helping with some small medical runs … they were helping with evacuations … they are not connected with any military. Basically treat them as humanitarian workers under international law,” Dominik Byrne said from Hertfordshire, UK.
Russia looks to swerve default with dollar bond payment
Russia has made a number of overdue interest payments in dollars on its overseas bonds, despite previously vowing to pay only in roubles as long as its reserves remained frozen.
Russia’s $40 billion of international bonds have become the focus of a game of financial chicken amid sweeping Western sanctions – and speculation about a default is likely to revive in less than four weeks, when a US license allowing Moscow to make payments is due to expire.
Russia’s finance ministry said it had managed to pay $564.8 million in interest on a 2022 Eurobond and $84.4 million on another 2042 bond in dollars – the currency specified on the bonds.
Pentagon says Russia progress in Donbas ‘slow’
The Russian campaign to seize control of the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine is moving slowly and behind schedule, a Pentagon official has claimed.
Stiff resistance from Ukrainian troops and caution after Russia’s failure to capture Kyiv has led to “slow and uneven progress” in Donbas, the official told reporters.
“We believe that essentially what they’re doing is continuing to set conditions for a sustained and larger and longer offensive,” the official said.
UK aid workers abducted in Ukraine: Aid group
British aid group Presidium Network says it believes two UK citizens have been abducted by Russian forces in southeastern Ukraine.
The British Foreign Office said it was urgently seeking more information about the men.
The group believes the workers were taken while trying to carry out an independent evacuation in Dniprorudne, near Zaporizhzhia, some 470 kilometres (290 miles) southeast of Kyiv.
Read more here.
Conditions dire at Mariupol steel mill: Mayor
The mayor of Mariupol says those hiding at a massive steel plant are running out of food, water and medicine.
“Locals who managed to leave Mariupol say it is hell, but when they leave this fortress, they say it is worse,” Vadym Boichenko said, according to a translator. “They are begging to get saved.”
He added: “There, it’s not a matter of days, it’s a matter of hours.”
Boichenko said he hoped a cease-fire would allow those inside the steel mill to safely leave.
Ukraine to resume football activities in May
Ukraine will return to the field for the first time since the Russian invasion when it plays a friendly against German club Borussia Monchengladbach on May 11 before a crucial World Cup qualifier.
The Ukrainian Football Association said it will assemble the team for a training camp in Slovenia from Monday.
Russia releases video showing UK national captured in Ukraine
The defence ministry has published a video showing an injured British man captured in Ukraine being questioned by unidentified Russian personnel.
“I don’t have a rank … I just know the foreign legion said I could help,” the man said under questioning about his rank.
The Russian defence ministry said he had surrendered to Russian troops in the Mykolaiv region of southwestern Ukraine. He was carrying a weapon, he said.
There was no immediate comment from UK authorities.
US Marine killed fighting in Ukraine: Relatives
A former US marine has been killed alongside Ukrainian forces in the war with Russia, his relatives told CNN, in what’s the first known death of an American citizen fighting in Ukraine.
Rebecca Cabrera said her 22-year-old son was working as a corrections officer in Tennessee and had signed up to work with the private military contractor shortly before fighting began in Ukraine on February 24. She told CNN he agreed to go to Ukraine.
Ukraine seeks WHO meeting on healthcare situation
Ukraine has written to the World Health Organization’s regional chief, together with the support of multiple nations, calling for an urgent meeting on the impact of Russia’s invasion on health and healthcare, a letter obtained by the Reuters news agency showed.
Addressed to Europe regional director Hans Kluge, it urged him to convene a meeting “no later than 9 May” and referred to attacks on health facilities, disrupted vaccination campaigns and concerns about the risk of radiological and chemical events.
Putin, Zelensky to be present at G20 summit: Widodo
Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo says Ukrainian President Zelenskyy and Russia’s Vladimir Putin have agreed to attend the G20 summit to be held in Bali in November.
Widodo, the current chair of the G20 group, made the remarks in a televised statement on Friday in which he said that he had telephone conversations this week with Zelenskyy and Putin. He said he urged both leaders of Ukraine and Russia to end the war through negotiations.
“I reiterated the importance of ending the war immediately,” he said. “I also emphasised that peaceful efforts should continue and Indonesia is ready to contribute to these peaceful efforts.”
Spanish ship arrives in Poland with arms for Ukraine
The Spanish government says that its largest shipment of military equipment to Ukraine has arrived.
Citing Polish port authorities, Spanish newspaper El País said the vessel had docked at the port of Gdynia.
The shipment includes 30 trucks, several special heavy transport vehicles and 10 smaller vehicles that will be used to transfer the military material to Ukraine, according to Spain’s prime minister.
Ukraine war fails to nudge neutral Switzerland closer to NATO
The security architecture on the European continent is changing dramatically as Russia extends its war on Ukraine.
While Finland and Sweden are increasingly likely to join NATO, closer cooperation with the alliance is also the subject of a lively discussion in Switzerland.
But will the mountainous, landlocked Central European country abandon its principle of neutrality and make a bid to the Washington-led Western military alliance?
Read more here.
Czechs, Poles to restart talks on gas interconnector
The Czech Republic and Poland have agreed to restart previously abandoned talks on building the Stork II gas pipeline to connect the two countries, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala has said after meeting his Polish counterpart on Warsaw.
The Czech Republic is also interested in buying capacity in Poland’s expanded or newly built LNG terminals, Fiala said.
Ukraine regains Ruska Lozova: Intelligence
Ukrainian forces have regained control of the village of Ruska Lozova in the Kharkiv region, the Ukrainian defence ministry’s intelligence unit has said.
This is the village from which Russian forces used to shell Kharkiv, it said, adding that it is strategically positioned on the highway linking Ukraine’s second-biggest city to the Russian city of Belgorod.
Reporting by Mansur Mirovalev in Kyiv.
Polish PM says Poland, Czech Republic to ask for new refugee funds
Poland and the Czech Republic will ask the European Commission for new funds to help them deal with an influx of refugees from Ukraine, the Polish prime minister has said.
“We have agreed on a joint application to the European Commission for new funds to support war refugees,” Mateusz Morawiecki told a news conference, adding that the initiative would be presented soon.
Sweden to boost military on Gotland amid Russia fears
Sweden’s government said it had put aside up to 1.6 billion Swedish crowns ($163m) to strengthen its military infrastructure on the strategically important island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea amid increased tensions with nearby Russia.
The latest tranche of money will go to expand a barracks and other infrastructure on Gotland, which is seen as strategically key to control of the Baltic.
“The aim is to be able to house many more conscripts and to make operations more effective, and in that way contribute to greater capacity … on Gotland,” financial markets minister Max Elger told reporters.
Shelling continues on multiple fronts in the east: Al Jazeera’s correspondent
Fighting is continuing across cities in the Donbas region, Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford reports, speaking from a few kilometres from the front-line town of Marinka.
“Throughout the morning we have been hearing sporadic, but very heavy shelling,” Stratford said, just as the sound of a blast was heard. He said heavy shelling was also taking place in Avdiivka and in Lyman – where Russian forces are pressing deep from the east to surround the strategically important cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.
Amid the fighting, civilians’ evacuation attempts are also taking place, including from the city of Popasna where heavy and close-contact fighting continues. A Ukrainian army source told Al Jazeera that the city is split into two, with Kyiv controlling the southern half.
“A lot going on in this area – an indication of just how focused Russian forces are on taking more terrain in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions,” Stratford said.
Pegging rouble rate to gold prices is being discussed: Kremlin
The Kremlin says the idea of pegging the rouble rate to gold prices was under discussion, but did not provide any further details.
Norway shuts borders, ports to Russian goods, exempts fishing vessels
Norway will close its borders and ports to Russian trucks and ships, joining a string of sanctions imposed by the European Union over the war in Ukraine, the Norwegian foreign ministry has said.
Russian fishing vessels, which often land their catch at ports in northern Norway, will receive exemptions from sanctions. Norway’s Arctic Svalbard archipelago, which operates under a 1920s treaty allowing expanded foreign access, will also be exempted, the ministry said.
Facebook’s Meta makes court appeal over ban for ‘extremist activities’ in Russia
Meta Platforms Inc has appealed to a Moscow court against a ban imposed on some of its activities in Russia due to “extremism”, the Interfax news agency cited the court’s press office as saying.
Russia in March found Meta guilty of “extremist activity”, but said the ruling would not affect its WhatsApp messenger service, focusing on the US firm’s already-banned Facebook and Instagram social networks.
Where are people fleeing to?
Ukraine shells Russian border checkpoint: Governor
Ukrainian mortars damaged a border checkpoint in western Russia, regional governor Alexander Bogomaz has said.
The shelling in the Bryansk region’s village of Belaya Berozka damaged power and water supply networks, Bogomaz said on Telegram. There were no casualties, he added.
This is the second time today in which Moscow says Ukrainian forces hit a target on Russian soil.
Journalist killed in Kyiv attack: Colleague
Vira Hyrych, a journalist with Radio Liberty, was killed by a Russian missile in Kyiv, a colleague of hers has said. Her body was found after a missile struck her apartment building on Thursday, Oleksandr Demchenko said on Facebook.
Hyrych started working in the Kyiv bureau of Radio Svoboda in 2018 after working on Ukrainian TV channels, Radio Liberty reported.
The capital’s mayor had previously announced that one civilian had been pulled from the rubble, without providing details about the person’s identity.
— Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (@RFERL) April 29, 2022
Netherlands reopens embassy in Kyiv
The Netherlands will reopen its embassy in Kyiv on Friday, says Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Wopke Hoekstra.
“A small embassy team there [in Kyiv] will work closely with the Ukrainian authorities and other returned partner countries,” Hoekstra said on Twitter. “It is important that we provide support to Ukraine on the ground.”
The Kyiv embassy will not be accessible yet for consular assistance.
Russian submarine strikes Ukraine with cruise missiles: Ministry
Russia’s defence ministry says it used a diesel submarine in the Black Sea to attack Ukrainian military targets with Kalibr cruise missiles.
‘Appreciate every moment of your life’
As Russia’s attacks intensify on Ukraine’s eastern town of Lyman, some are staying, hoping to resist a Russian takeover. But others are now leaving, believing the fall of their front-line town is inevitable.
“The active attack phase around Lyman is starting. Around there are the villages of Stavky, Drobyshevo and Zarichne and as far as I understand, our forces gave them up,” said Oleksii Krylovskii, a 34-year-old citizen who lost his house in shelling. “And if they gave up, it means that it’s too late for us,” he added.
“In a difficult moment, we understand the value of life, of our relatives, of our loved ones,” said Pavlo Burlatschenko, 53, who just said goodbye to his wife Marina who is evacuating Lyman.
“I ask all of you that are listening to understand that our loved ones are the most valuable things. Appreciate every minute of life, appreciate being together. Try to live every moment as if it’s your last one because you might not meet again”.
UK to send war crimes’ experts team
The United Kingdom says it was sending experts to help Ukraine with gathering evidence and prosecuting war crimes, with a team due to arrive in Poland in early May.
“Russia has brought barbarity to Ukraine and committed vile atrocities, including against women. British expertise will help uncover the truth and hold Putin’s regime to account for its actions,” foreign secretary Liz Truss said.
Moscow confirms ‘high-precision’ strike on Kyiv during UN visit
Russia’s defence ministry confirms it had carried out an air raid on Kyiv during a visit by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
“High-precision, long-range air-based weapons of the Russian Aerospace Forces have destroyed the production buildings of the Artyom missile and space enterprise in Kyiv,” the ministry said in its daily briefing on the conflict in Ukraine.
One killed in Kyiv attack: Mayor
One civilian has died due to Russian attacks that hit a residential building in Kyiv’s Shevchenkivskyi district on Thursday, the city’s mayor Vitaliy Klitschko has posted on social media.
“Rescuers are continuing to inspect and dismantle the rubble”, Klitschko said, adding that four people have been hospitalised so far.
Elon Musk donates solar panels to hospitals in Kyiv: Official
Elon Musk has donated Tesla Powerwall stations to outpatient hospitals in the Kyiv suburbs of Irpin and Borodyanka where Russian troops damaged the power supply, a Ukrainian minister has said.
The stations would help Ukrainian regions that “suffered from the Russian occupation,” Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s digital transformation minister, said on Facebook.
Reporting by Mansur Mirovalev in Kyiv.
Ukrainian forces kill one, wound another in Donetsk: Russian state media
One civilian was killed and another wounded in an attack by Ukrainian forces in Petrovsky, a district in a part of the Donetsk region that is controlled by Russian-backed separatists, the TASS news agency has reported, citing the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination.
UK to deploy 8,000 soldiers ‘to defend Europe’: Ministry
Some 8,000 UK soldiers will conduct a series of planned exercises across Europe this summer, the British Ministry of Defence has said, noting it will be the “largest deployment since the Cold War”.
The operation will involve 72 Challenger 2 tanks, 12 AS90 tracked artillery guns and 120 Warrior armoured fighting vehicles deployed to countries from Finland to North Macedonia, the ministry said in a statement.
“The UK makes a significant contribution to the defence of Europe and the deterrence of Russian aggression,” Commander Field Army Lieutenant General Ralph Wooddisse said.
🇬🇧 Thousands of @BritishArmy troops are deploying across Europe for a series of planned exercises.
Alongside allies and partners from @NATO and the Joint Expeditionary Force, soldiers will combine capabilities and values to promote peace and security.
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) April 29, 2022
More than 1,000 civilians exhumed in Kyiv region: Official
The bodies of 1,187 civilians have been found so far in the Kyiv region, a local police official has said.
On Thursday alone, 28 bodies have been exhumed, Andriy Nebitov said in televised remarks. Most of the bodies – 1,080 – were found in the Bucha district northwest of Kyiv, he added.
Five towns in Ukraine’s east hit overnight: Official
Five towns in Ukraine’s southeastern Luhansk region have been shelled overnight, a defence official has said. The bombardment damaged houses and caused fires, but there were no casualties, Serhiy Haidai added on Telegram.
Meanwhile in the eastern region of Donetsk, three people died, and three were wounded, on Thursday due to Russian air raids in the Ukrainian city of New York, regional chief Pavlo Kirilenko posted on Facebook.
Reporting by Mansur Mirovalev in Kyiv.
Russian checkpoint in bordering town hit: Local authorities
A checkpoint in the Russian village of Krupets in the Kursk region bordering Ukraine was shelled at 8am local time (05:00 GMT), regional governor Roman Starovoyt has said on his Telegram channel.
He added that there were no casualties or damage.
US believes Russian intelligence was behind attack on journalist: Reports
US intelligence believes Russia was behind an attack in April on Nobel Peace Prize-winning journalist Dmitry Muratov, editor of the investigative newspaper Novara Gazeta, US news organisations have said.
Muratov has said that while he was on a train he was splashed with red paint containing acetone by an attacker who told him, “This is for you from our boys.” The journalist at the time posted photographs of his face, chest and hands covered in red oil paint, which he said badly burned his eyes because of the acetone.
The New York Times and Washington Post both reported that US intelligence agencies had concluded that their Russian counterpart orchestrated the attack, which took place on a Moscow-Samara train.
Civilians’ evacuation planned from Mariupol
An operation is planned to evacuate civilians trapped in Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant on Friday, the Ukrainian president’s office has said.
It did not provide further details.
UK says Russia military focused on ‘Battle of Donbas’
The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence has also given an update on the latest situation on the ground.
“The Battle of the Donbas remains Russia’s main strategic focus, in order to achieve its stated aim of securing control over the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts,” it said in its latest intelligence update.
Fighting has been particularly heavy around the towns of Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk, it added.
Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 29 April 2022
Find out more about the UK government’s response: https://t.co/94lb8T09GX
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) April 29, 2022
Russia has made ‘minor advances’: ISW
Russia made “minor advances” in eastern Ukraine on Thursday but did not gain any new territory, according to the Institute for the Study of War.
Its latest assessment says military reinforcements are being deployed through the border town of Belgorod.
“Russian and proxy forces continued to mobilize in Transnistria and set conditions for a false flag attack,” it added.
OSCE to close down Ukraine monitoring mission
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has announced it will take “immediate steps” to end its monitoring mission in Ukraine.
“This is not an easy decision to take. We have explored all possible options through political dialogue with participating States to achieve the renewal of the Special Monitoring Mission’s mandate, but the position of the Russian Federation left us with no choice but to take steps to close down the Mission,” Zbigniew Rau, the Polish foreign minister and the OSCE’s current chairman said in a statement.
“The Mission played a crucial role in providing objective information on the ground, facilitating ceasefires and working to ease the effects of the conflict on the civilian population. The work of the SMM’s members deserves our appreciation and gratitude”.
The special mission was deployed to Ukraine in March 2014.
Guterres expresses ‘regret’ that UN was not part of Ukraine talks
Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel-Hamid managed to grab a few minutes with the UN chief Antonio Guterres while he was in Kyiv and spoke to him about the political negotiations to bring peace to Ukraine.
He said it was a source of “regret” that the UN had not been invited to be part of the Minsk process or Minsk Agreement, which was brokered by France and Germany, and followed Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and moves by Russian-backed separatists to take control of parts of eastern Ukraine.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres told Al Jazeera’s @HodaAH he was “shocked” by Russia’s bombing of Kyiv during his visit to the city ⤵️
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) April 29, 2022
Guterres stressed that the UN was “following with a lot of interest” the latest talks between Russia and Ukraine and that it was “not by chance” that he had stopped over in Turkey and met President Erdogan on his way to Moscow earlier this week.
“Turkey has been very active, very engaged in bringing the parties to Turkey and strongly supporting this political discussion.”
Japanese PM Kishida on way to Indonesia
Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is on his way to Indonesia as he tries to rally Southeast Asia to respond more robustly to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s largest economy and is the current chair of the G20, while Japan is the region’s sole member of the G7.
In Southeast Asia, while most countries backed a UN General Assembly vote condemning the invasion, only Singapore has imposed sanctions. Indonesia is under pressure to ban Putin from the G20 summit in Bali later this year. Analysts have said it is unlikely to do so.
Ukraine suffers serious losses, but not as many as Russia: Aide
An aide to Ukraine’s president has said the country has suffered serious losses in the war with Russia, but Moscow has lost many more soldiers.
In a video posted online, the aide, Oleksiy Arestovych, said the military situation was difficult but controllable.
Russia should pay to rebuild Ukraine: Slovakia deputy PM
Slovakia’s deputy prime minister has said Russian aggressors have destroyed entire cities and the lives of millions of people in Ukraine, and when the war is over Moscow should pay to rebuild the country and restore its cultural heritage.
In what she acknowledged as “quite an unorthodox view”, Veronika Remisova also said that after the war “there will be a big need to integrate Russia, even though Russia is an aggressor, even if Russia is doing horrible war crimes.”
Pentagon says US is analysing attacks on Kyiv
The United States is analysing attacks on Kyiv that the Ukrainian authorities blamed on Russian missiles, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby has said.
“We’re still trying to analyse this and figure out what happened here, what was struck and with what kind of munition,” he told CNN.
AP revises earlier report of one death in Kyiv explosions
The Associated Press news agency has revised an earlier report saying that one person had been killed in explosions in Kyiv. The agency said the person was alive, but had lost a leg.
Mayor Vitali Klitschko said the Shevchenkivskyi district in the northwestern part of the city was hit twice, causing fires in at least two high-rise buildings.
Possibility of ‘large’ economic shocks in future, Yellen warns
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said the global pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine highlight the possibility of big economic shocks in the future, adding that downturns are “likely to continue to challenge the economy”.
“Countries will fare better if their economies are more resilient and less fragile,” she said at the Brookings Institution.
“Improved understanding of breaks in supply chains, increases in commodity prices, bursting of asset bubbles, and labour and productivity shocks can help policymakers implement reforms that bolster our economic resilience.”
Read more here.
Pelosi unveils Ukraine war photo exhibit
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Ukrainian Ambassador Oksana Markarova have unveiled a photo exhibit of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the US Capitol.
“It is a manifestation, an emotional time to the people of Ukraine with a praise for their heroism that is just almost unimaginable, but so is the brutality they are suffering,” Pelosi said during the event.
The photo exhibit will remain open for viewing between 9am and 6pm local time.
In Kharkiv, no let-up for Ukraine firefighters
Blackened by smoke and dripping with sweat, firefighters in Ukraine’s second-largest city Kharkiv are totally exhausted after two months of chasing blazes sparked by the constant explosions of Russian rockets.
Since Russia invaded on February 24, there have been more than 1,000 fires in the eastern Kharkiv region which borders Russia, the area’s Emergency Services Spokesperson Yevgen Vasylenko said.
“Usually it’s only one major fire or two at a time to extinguish but during the war, you can have like 12 or 15 major fires at the same time,” explains Roman Kachanov, a fireman and judo expert who heads the N11 fire station.
‘I’m not afraid,’ says ex-Gazprombank executive who defected to Ukraine
Igor Volobuev, a former senior executive at Russian lender Gazprombank, has said that he fled Russia for Ukraine hoping to take up arms against Moscow’s invasion and that he believed Putin was leading Russia to catastrophe.
“I came here to defend my motherland because the war started [in places] like my hometown Okhtyrka – it was one of the first cities to be hit by bombing,” he told the Reuters news agency.
IAEA probing Ukraine report that missile flew over a nuclear power plant
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said it was probing a Ukrainian report that a missile had flown directly over a nuclear power station, saying this would be “extremely serious” if true.
IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said Kyiv had formally told it the missile flew over the south Ukraine plant on April 16. The facility is near the city of Yuzhnoukrainsk, some 350km (220 miles) south of Kyiv.
“Had such a missile gone astray, it could have had a severe impact on the physical integrity of the plant, potentially leading to a nuclear accident,” he said in a statement.
‘Heinous act of barbarism’: Ukraine FM says of Kyiv attack
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has denounced attacks on the capital Kyiv as a “heinous act of barbarism”.
Ukrainian officials said at least 10 people have been injured after Russia fired two missiles at the city.
“By this heinous act of barbarism Russia demonstrates once again its attitude towards Ukraine, Europe and the world,” Kuleba tweeted. Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov also said it was “an attack on the security of the Secretary General and on world security”.
Russia stroke Kyiv with cruise missiles right when UN Secretary General @antonioguterres and Bulgarian PM @KirilPetkov visit our capital. By this heinous act of barbarism Russia demonstrates once again its attitude towards Ukraine, Europe and the world.
— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) April 28, 2022
US House passes military lend-lease bill to speed Ukraine aid
The US House of Representatives has given final passage to legislation that would streamline a World War II-era military lend-lease programme to more quickly provide Ukraine and other Eastern European countries with American equipment to fight the Russian invasion.
The measure, which passed by an overwhelming 417-10 vote, now goes to the White House for Biden to sign into law.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Gregory Meeks of New York said with unified support from the US Congress, “Ukraine will win”.
Russia maintains Ukrainian fighters in Mariupol must lay down weapons
Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has said Russian President Vladimir Putin had been quite clear that while civilians could leave the steel plant in Mariupol, Ukrainian fighters had to lay down their arms.
“What could be the topic of negotiations in this case?” the Tass state news agency quoted Peskov as saying.
Peskov’s comment comes after local governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said Russia was preventing wounded Ukrainian fighters from being evacuated from the plant in the besieged port city in southern Ukraine.
Zelenskyy thanks Biden for funding request
Zelenskyy has thanked Biden for the proposed $33bn in funding for Ukraine, calling it “a very important step” by Washington.
“I am thankful to the American people and personally to President Biden for it. I hope that Congress will quickly approve this request for help to our state,” the Ukrainian president said in a late-night video address.
Canada training Ukrainian troops on howitzer artillery
Canada’s Defence Minister Anita Anand has said Canadian troops were training their Ukrainian counterparts on how to use howitzer artillery.
The US has been training a small number of Ukrainian forces on howitzers and some other systems outside of Ukraine.
“Canadian soldiers are now training their Ukrainian counterparts in the use of these weapons,” Anand said during a news conference in Washington, DC, without specifying where the Canadian training was taking place.
White House expects other countries to step up assistance to Ukraine
The White House expects other countries to step up and continue to provide a range of assistance to Ukraine, Press Secretary Jen Psaki has said.
“Other countries, we expect them to step up as well as this is going to be a sustained effort,” Psaki said.
Her comments came hours after US President Joe Biden said he was asking Congress for $33bn in additional funding to support Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion.
Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.
Read all the updates from Thursday, April 28 here.