Here are the key events so far on Friday, April 29.
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- Two Russian missiles struck Kyiv during a visit by the UN chief, Ukrainian officials said.
- The West believes the battles for the besieged port of Mariupol and other areas in the east and south may determine the war’s outcome, as Russia continues its onslaught.
- 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, the UK’s defence ministry said. “Fighting has been particularly heavy around Lysychansk and Severodonetsk, with an attempted advance south from Izium towards Slovyansk,” it said on Twitter.
- Five towns in Ukraine’s southeastern Luhansk region were shelled overnight, a defence official said.
- A checkpoint at a village in Russia’s Kursk region bordering Ukraine was shelled on Friday, the region’s governor said. This comes days after blasts were reported by three Russian provinces bordering Ukraine.
- Russia also said it used a diesel submarine in the Black Sea to strike Ukrainian military targets with Kalibr cruise missiles, the first time Moscow has announced the use of its submarine fleet to hit its neighbour.
- Ukraine has suffered serious losses but Moscow’s forces have lost many more soldiers, an aide to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video posted online.
- Meanwhile, the US Congress passed lend-lease legislation that will make it easier to export military equipment to Ukraine, reviving a World-War-II-era US weapons financing programme.
- The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) announced it will take “immediate steps” to end its monitoring mission in Ukraine.
- US President Joe Biden blasted Moscow for “idle comments” on the possible use of nuclear weapons in the Ukraine conflict, saying such talk showed Russia’s “desperation”.
- NATO is ready to maintain support for Ukraine for years in the war against Russia, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said.
- The United States believes Russian intelligence was behind an April chemical attack on Dmitry Muratov, a Nobel Peace Prize winning Russian journalist critical of the Kremlin, US news organisations reported.
- Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov urged fellow European Union members to be “stronger” and find alternatives to Russian gas, a day after Moscow cut off its supplies to Bulgaria.
Human and economic effect
- Ukraine said on Friday it hopes to evacuate civilians who are holed up in steelworks with the last fighters defending the southeastern port city of Mariupol.
- The bodies of 1,150 civilians have been recovered in Ukraine’s Kyiv region after Russian forces withdrew earlier this month, Kyiv police said.
- Ukraine has accused Russia of stealing grain in the territory it has occupied. The Kremlin said it had no information on the matter.
- The administrator of the Russian-controlled city of Kherson in southern Ukraine says that the rouble, the Russian currency, will soon be introduced in areas under Moscow’s control.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies