KYIV, Ukraine – Russian forces shelled an oil refinery in the Ukrainian city of Lysychansk on Saturday and a large fire broke out, a regional governor reported.
Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Haidai said this was not the first time the refinery had been targeted, and accused the Russians of trying to “exhaust” local emergency services. He stressed that there was no fuel at the refinery at the time of the attack and the “remnants of oil sludge” were burning.
Ukraine’s presidential office reported on Saturday that missile strikes and shelling over the past 24 hours took place in eight regions: Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv in the east, Dnipropetrovsk, Poltava and Kirovohrad in central Ukraine and Mykolaiv and Kherson in the south. The attacks stressed that the whole country remained threatened despite Russia’s focal point against launching a new offensive in the east.
In Kharkiv, nine civilians were killed and more than 50 wounded on Friday, while in the wider region, two dead and three wounded were reported, according to the report.
The southern Mykolaiv region was hit Friday and Saturday. According to the president’s office, airstrikes on Friday killed five and injured 15. The head of the regional legislature, Hanna Zamazeyeva, said on Saturday that 39 people had been injured within the past 24 hours.
Zamazeyeva said the targets included several apartment blocks, “where there are no military facilities.”
The besieged Ukrainian port city of Mariupol is still enduring, but the situation there is critical.
KEY DEVELOPMENT IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:
– The Ukraine war is far from over, as Russia renews its attacks in Kiev
– ‘We pray for you’: Ukrainian Jews mark Easterif they can
– The port of Ukraine Mariupol withstands all odds
– War Crimes Watch: The woman who would make Putin pay
– Ukrainian mother pain at watching daughter’s funeral on the phone
– Go to https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine for more coverage
KYIV, Ukraine – Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in television comments on Saturday that 700 Ukrainian soldiers and more than 1,000 civilians – more than half women – are currently being held captive by the Russians.
Vereshchuk said that Kyiv intends to exchange the captured soldiers, as Ukraine has about the same number of Russian troops, but demands the release of civilians “without any conditions.”
ROME – Italy will suspend all Russian ships from its ports as of Sunday, as part of expanded EU sanctions announced earlier this month. Ships already in Italian ports must sail immediately “after completing their commercial activity”, according to a statement sent to port authorities across the country.
BERLIN – Peace activists took part in Germany’s traditional Easter marches on Saturday, calling for an end to the war in Ukraine, but also opposed, in at least some cases, helping Ukraine defend itself with weapons.
One event in Berlin drew 400 people and one in Hanover 500, the news agency dpa reported, citing police. Marches took place in cities including Munich, Cologne, Leipzig, Stuttgart and Duisburg. Banners included “End war in Ukraine” and “Whoever sends weapons reaps war.”
The country’s vice chancellor, Green Party politician Robert Habeck, warned protesters against sending the wrong message, saying “there will be peace only when Putin stops his war of aggression.” He said in an interview with media group Funke that it was “clear who the aggressor is who and who is defending himself in an emergency and who we should support, including with weapons.”
Ukrainian officials say Germany has deployed anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons, as well as night-vision equipment, armor and machine guns.
The locally organized peace marches go back to the days of the Cold War and focus on topics such as disarmament and the elimination of nuclear weapons.
KYIV, Ukraine – Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said one person was killed and several others were injured in airstrikes on Saturday morning in the Darnytski district of the capital as Russian forces resumed scattered attacks on the capital of western Ukraine.
“Our air defense forces are doing everything they can to protect us, but the enemy is insidious and ruthless,” Klitschko said on the Telegram messaging app.
The attacks, which according to the Russian Ministry of Defense were aimed at an armored vehicle facility in the Ukrainian capital, were an explosive reminder to Ukrainians and their Western supporters that the entire country remains threatened despite Russian forces turning east, where fears a new offensive. .
Klitschko urged Ukrainians not to return to Kiev yet in TV remarks on Saturday, warning that strikes in the capital are likely to continue and that its suburbs are rigged with explosives. “We do not rule out further strikes in the capital,” Klitschko said. “We can not ban, we can only recommend. If you have the opportunity to stay a little longer in the cities where it is safer, do so. ”
The mayor of Kyiv added that because of the mines, Kyiv residents are barred from visiting parks and forests in the northeastern areas bordering liberated areas previously occupied by Russians.
MOSCOW – Russia has barred the British Prime Minister and a dozen other top British officials from entering the country in response to British sanctions imposed on Russia in connection with its military operation in Ukraine.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry announced the move against Boris Johnson, a number of British ministers and former Prime Minister Theresa May, on Saturday.
The ministry’s statement cited “unprecedented hostilities by the British government, particularly in terms of imposing sanctions on top officials” in Russia.
“The Russophobic conduct of the British authorities, whose main aim is to incite a negative attitude towards our country, curtail bilateral ties in almost all areas is detrimental to the welfare and interests of the people of Britain. Any sanctions attack will inevitably backfire on their initiators and decisive refusal, “the statement said.
On Friday night, the ministry announced the expulsion of 18 EU diplomats from Moscow, in retaliation for the bloc’s declared 19 diplomats from the Russian mission to the EU and to the European Atomic Energy Community persona non-grata.
The European Union said the deportations were unfounded and that the targeted EU diplomats were working within the framework of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
KYIV, Ukraine – Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said in an online post that Kyiv was hit early Saturday in the Darnytskyi district in the eastern part of the capital, saying there were “explosions”.
He said rescuers and paramedics were on the scene and that the victims’ details would be released later.
Klitschko urged residents to listen to air raid sirens and warned those fleeing the capital not to return for now for their safety.
Thick smoke rising from the site on the eastern side of Kiev could be seen from parts of the center near the Dnipro river.
WASHINGTON – Ukraine is sending top officials to Washington for next week’s spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, where the discussion will focus on the Russian invasion and its impact on the global economy.
Attending the rally are Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko and Governor Kyrylo Shevchenko, according to a World Bank official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the visit had not been officially announced.
KYIV, Ukraine – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Friday that existing sanctions against Russia are “painful” but not yet enough to stop the Russian military.
Zelenskyy called on the “democratic world” to ban Russian oil. While U.S. lawmakers and U.S. President Joe Biden have passed such a ban, Europe is more dependent on Russian energy supplies, and the U.S. has worked to prevent India from increasing its use of Russian energy.
“In general, the democratic world must accept that Russia’s money for energy resources is in fact money for the destruction of democracy,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video speech to his nation.
He also said: “The sooner the democratic world recognizes that the oil embargo against Russia and the complete blockade of its banking sector are necessary steps towards peace, the sooner the war will end.”
TIJUANA, Mexico – A Russian man and Ukrainian woman were married in the Mexican border town of Tijuana after they were unable to travel to the United States together
Daria Sakhniuk was allowed to enter the United States as a Ukrainian refugee, but her partner, Semen Bobrovski, was unable to travel there after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. They left Ukraine when the war began.
Bobrovski told El Sol de Tijuana that he believed the marriage on Thursday would boost his chances of entering the United States with his new wife. The United States only allows Russian citizens with family members in the United States to enter the country.
“Without it, we will not be able to cross because we are still strangers to each other before the official US government,” he said.
KYIV, Ukraine – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he was discussing the fate of the besieged port city of Mariupol at a meeting Friday with the country’s military leaders and the heads of its intelligence services.
“The details cannot be released now, but we are doing everything we can to save our people,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video speech to the nation.
Elsewhere in southern Ukraine, he said, Russian troops occupying areas around Kherson and Zaporizhzhia are terrorizing civilians and looking for anyone who had served in the army or government.
‘The occupiers believe this will make it easier for them to control this area. But they are very wrong. They are fooling themselves, “said Zelenskyy.
He added: “The problem of the occupiers is not that they are not accepted by some activists, veterans or journalists. Russia’s problem is that it is not accepted – and will never be accepted – by the entire Ukrainian people. Russia has lost Ukraine forever. “