Here are the key events so far on Thursday, May 5.
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- Russian forces were battling for control of the last Ukrainian stronghold in the besieged city of Mariupol, Ukrainian officials said.
- The European Union proposed its toughest sanctions yet against Moscow, with a phased oil embargo.
- Ukrainian fighters inside Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant are fighting “difficult, bloody battles” against Russia, a Ukrainian commander said.
- Russia said a three-day ceasefire would begin on Thursday at the besieged steel plant to allow civilians to leave.
- More than 300 civilians were evacuated from Mariupol and other parts of southern Ukraine in a joint UN-Red Cross operation, the UN said.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for a longer ceasefire to evacuate more civilians in southern Ukraine. “The lives of the people who remain there are in danger,” he said.
- The United States has provided intelligence that has helped Ukrainian forces kill about 12 Russian generals, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.
- The armed forces of Ukraine’s neighbour Belarus began surprise large-scale drills to test their combat readiness.
- The UK’s defence ministry said Russia may try to inflate the threat that Belarusian military exercises pose in order to drive Ukraine’s forces up to the north of the country and away from fighting in the Donbas.
- Russia is also trying to increase the tempo of its offensive in eastern Ukraine. Russia’s defence ministry said its forces had disabled six railway stations there used to deliver Western arms.
Nuclear-capable missile practice
- Russia says its forces have practised simulated nuclear-capable missile attacks during war games in Kaliningrad, an exclave on the Baltic Sea located between EU members Poland and Lithuania.
- Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began, 221 children have died and 408 have been injured, Ukraine’s ombudsman said.
- The Kremlin dismissed speculation that President Vladimir Putin would declare war on Ukraine and announce a national mobilisation on May 9. Russia describes its invasion of Ukraine as a “special military operation”.
- European Council President Charles Michel pledged to increase EU military aid to Moldova, Ukraine’s neighbour that has seen a series of attacks in a pro-Moscow separatist region.
- Oil prices jumped on the proposed EU ban on Russian oil imports, which needs approval by member states. The Kremlin said it was looking into various options in response. Germany said prices could go up considerably.
- The Czech Republic and Bulgaria will seek exemptions from the ban, while Hungary and Slovakia say they need a three-year transition.
- US President Biden said he would speak with leaders from the G7 advanced economies this week about more sanctions.
- The number of people globally facing a severe lack of food increased by a fifth to 193 million last year. The Ukraine war means the outlook will worsen, the UN said.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies