The war against Ukraine: this is the situation

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Civilians were brought from the Asovstal steel plant. © Alexei Alexandrov / AP / dpa

The Kyiv leadership is counting on the restoration of Cherson. In Mariupol, civilians are rescued from besieged steel mills and visitors from Germany are on the agenda. Developments at a glance.

Kyiv – Accompanied by concerns about a possible expansion of Russia’s war of aggression, the final stage of a large-scale evacuation is underway in the port of Mariupol in southern Ukraine.

With international help, civilians trapped in catastrophic conditions at the site of the Azovstal steel plants were rescued on Saturday. The Russian military had promised a temporary ceasefire – but it appears to have continued to aggressively attack other parts of southern Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Kyiv is preparing for a solidarity visit by Bundestag President Purple Pass (Social Democratic Party) on Sunday. Chancellor Olaf Schultz has also been invited to the Ukrainian capital – but it remains unclear if and when he wants to attend.

Zelensky: Evil cannot be defeated once and for all

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has complained about the destruction of cultural assets in Ukraine by Russian forces. In a video speech in Kyiv, Zelensky said that in the two-and-a-half-month war of aggression, 200 cultural heritage sites were targeted. As an example, the missile hit the Museum of the important Ukrainian poet and philosopher Hryori Skovoroda (1722-94) in the Kharkiv region the night before.

“Unfortunately, when people ignore the rights of others, disregard the law and destroy culture, evil returns,” Zelensky said. That is why Ukraine defends its people, cities and museums against Russia. On Sunday and Monday, the world commemorates the victory over National Socialism in World War II. But the Russian approach shows that “it is impossible to defeat evil once and for all.”

Kyiv leadership hopes to restore Kherson

The Ukrainian leadership is counting on the restoration of the city of Cherson in the south of the country, which is occupied by Russian forces. “There will be no Kherson People’s Republic,” Mikhailo Podolak, an advisor to President Volodymyr Zelensky, said on Ukrainian radio. Podoljak said in Kyiv on Saturday that the region would be completely liberated, which would cost the lives of many Russian soldiers.

Refugees in Bizimini
A man who escaped from the Azovstal steel plant passes by soldiers from the Russian army and the militia of the “Donetsk People’s Republic”. © Alexei Alexandrov / AP / dpa

And he was responding to the statements of Moscow politicians and the occupying power, which wants to announce the Russian Cherson. “Russia is here forever!” said the Secretary-General of the United Russia party in the Kremlin, Andrei Turchak, during a visit. It is also planned to issue Russian passports in Cherson, and the ruble will become the only means of payment. This would be a similar development to the people’s republics established by pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine in 2014.

Mariupol: Evacuation of women and children

According to official information, the last women, children and elderly people were evacuated from the besieged Azovstal steel mills in the Ukrainian port of Mariupol. “This part of the humanitarian operation in Mariupol has been completed,” Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshuk wrote on Telegram on Saturday. It was initially left open whether there were any civilians among the remaining men. The last remaining Ukrainian fighters opposing the Russian forces also holed up in the factory buildings.

A satellite image shows the damage to the Azovstal steel plant, where the last Ukrainian defenders of the city of Mariupol reside. © Uncredited / Planet Labs PBC / AP / dpa

And the commander of the 36th Marine Corps Brigade, Serhiy Wolinsky, wrote on Facebook that in the evening during the evacuation, three Ukrainian soldiers were killed and six were wounded. He sent an urgent appeal for help and wrote that he could not help but hope for a miracle. He wrote “Pain, suffering, hunger, torment, crying, fear, death – it’s all real!”

In the evening, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced negotiations on evacuating the wounded, paramedics and the rest of the soldiers. However, Moscow has repeatedly announced that it intends to capture the Ukrainian fighters even if they surrender.

Observers assume that Moscow soon wants to seize the steel mills, where the last remaining Ukrainian fighters are holed up. So the Kremlin can solemnly celebrate the capture of Mariupol on May 9 – the anniversary of the Soviet victory over Hitler’s Germany in 1945.

There are also fears in Ukraine that Russian President Vladimir Putin will order an escalation of hostilities during his speech in Moscow next Monday.

New missile attacks on Odessa

In another region of southern Ukraine, Russian attacks have already continued with great force. According to Ukrainian sources, at least four Russian missiles were fired at the port of Odessa. Local media showed thick plumes of black smoke rising over the city area. According to reports, a military airport was hit. At first the authorities did not provide any information about potential victims. There was no confirmation from the Russian side this afternoon.

Explosions – some from anti-aircraft defenses – were also reported from the neighboring Mykolaiv Oblast, central Poltava, and western Ukraine’s Khmelnytskyi. At least one person was injured in an airstrike in the Sumy region of northeastern Ukraine, near the border.

In the evening, the Russian Defense Ministry said that long-range weapons were used to destroy equipment of the Ukrainian Air Force in Odessa. And in the Kharkiv region of eastern Ukraine, weapons depots supplied from the West were bombed.

According to Ukrainian sources, at least six civilians were killed in the disputed Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine. On Saturday, the district administration said on the Telegram news service that 12 others were injured. Among the dead were two children who were said to have been killed in the village of Previlia under the fire of multiple Grad rocket launchers (Hail). According to the United Nations, more than 3,300 civilians have already been killed across the country as a result of the aggressive war against Ukraine that Russia began about two and a half months ago.

Expected President of the Bundestag Bass in Kyiv

At the invitation of the Ukrainians, the head of the Bundestag, Purple Bass, is heading to Kyiv on Sunday. You will probably meet President Volodymyr Zelensky there. Bass’s visit coincides with the 77th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. In an interview with SWR, the politician from the Social Democratic Party said: “Of course I also hope that we draw parallels between this war from then until today, that is, war knows only the losers and that we have to reach a ceasefire and avoid escalation.”

In Lviv in western Ukraine, refugees have found housing in a “model city”. © Pavlo Palamarchuk / SOPA Images via ZUMA Press Wire / dpa

There have been disputes between Kyiv and Berlin for weeks because Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s visit to Ukraine was not required in the meantime. Steinmeier and Selinsky let go of anger in a phone call last week.

Blinking: Putin distorts history

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of making a historical revisionism regarding the commemoration of the end of the war in 1945. “President Putin is trying to twist history to justify his brutal and gratuitous war against Ukraine,” Blinken said. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the Ukrainian people “valiantly defend their country, their democracy and the legitimate future of Ukraine” in a free and peaceful Europe.

Blinken continued, there was a “sacred duty” for those who died in World War II. It means “telling the truth about the past and supporting all those who stand up for freedom in our time”. With the outbreak of war again in Europe, it was necessary to increase the resolve to resist those who were now trying to manipulate historical memory.

CIA chief: Putin will continue the war

According to the head of the CIA, Bill Burns, Russian President Vladimir Putin will continue to advance the war in Ukraine. Burns was quoted by the Financial Times as saying on Saturday that Putin was in a state he didn’t think he could afford to lose. The CIA chief spoke in Washington at an event hosted by the newspaper.

The Minister of the Interior of Ukraine in Hostomil
Denys Monastyrskyj (M), Ukraine’s Interior Minister, visits Antonov Airport near Hostomil. © – / Ukrinform / dpa

According to Burns, Putin is convinced that with more efforts, progress can be made. Burns also said that US intelligence has seen no practical evidence that Russia is planning to use tactical nuclear weapons. However, this possibility should not be taken lightly. dpa

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