Russian forces have intensified their strikes on the southern region of Ukraine hoping to gain full control of the port city of Mariupol as the conflict enters its 74th day.

Ukrainian firefighters try to put out a fire after missiles hit a school in eastern Ukraine's Lugansk region on May, 7, 2022.
Ukrainian firefighters try to put out a fire after missiles hit a school in eastern Ukraine's Lugansk region on May, 7, 2022. (AFP)

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Zelensky: 60 dead in bombed east Ukraine school

Sixty civilians have died in the bombing of a school in eastern Ukraine's Lugansk region this weekend, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

"Just yesterday in the village of Bilogorivka, Lugansk region, a Russian bomb killed 60 people. Civilians," Zelenskyy said during an address to the G7 summit by video conference.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres "is appalled by the reported attack on 7 May which hit a school in Bilohorivka, Ukraine, where many people were apparently seeking shelter from the ongoing fighting," his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a statement. 

Guterres "reiterates that civilians and civilian infrastructure must always be spared in times of war," and noted that the attack was "yet another reminder that in this war, as in so many other conflicts, it is civilians that pay the highest price."

G7 countries pledge to stop importing Russian oil - White House

The entire G7 club of rich nations is "committed to phasing out or banning the import of Russian oil," the White House has said, escalating pressure on President Vladimir Putin over attacks on Ukraine.

"This will hit hard at the main artery of Putin's economy and deny him the revenue he needs to fund his war," the Biden administration said in a statement, without specifying exactly what commitments the The Group of Seven members made.

The G7 leaders said in a joint statement that they will reinforce Russia's economic isolation and "elevate" a campaign against Russian elites who support Putin.

New US sanctions target Russian media, consultant services

The United States will sanction three major Russian television stations, and deny all Russian companies access to consulting and accounting services offered by US firms, according to a statement released by the White House.

The moves against Joint Stock Company Channel One Russia, Television Station Russia-1, and Joint Stock Company NTV Broadcasting Company prohibit any US company from financing them through advertising or selling them equipment.

"US companies should not be in the business of funding Russian propaganda," said a senior White House official who requested anonymity.

US charge d’affaires returns to Kiev for visit

The US top diplomat to Ukraine Kristina Kvien and her team arrived in Kiev, officials have said, after Secretary of State Antony Blinken promised on a visit last month to reopen the US embassy in the Ukrainian capital soon.

The move is the latest step toward the resumption of a full US presence in Kiev after diplomats began returning to the western city of Lviv last month, having left the country ahead of Russia's February 24 incursion out of security concerns.

Blinken spoke to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Sunday and informed Kuleba that a small group led by Charge d'Affaires Kvien "traveled to Kiev to conduct diplomatic engagement in advance of the planned resumption of Embassy Kiev operations," State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.

Scholz deflects criticism over Ukraine conflict

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has stood firm on his policies in Ukraine in an address to the nation, saying Germany will help Kiev but won't give in to every demand.

In the rare format broadcast nationally, Scholz said Germany has along with allies imposed unprecedented sanctions against Moscow, delivered weapons to Ukraine and offered refuge to Ukrainians.

"At the same time we won't simply do everything that one or the other demands," he said. "Because I swore in my oath when taking office that I would prevent Germans from suffering any harm."

'Surrender not an option' - Ukraine forces in Azovstal

Ukraine forces holed up in the sprawling Azovstal steel works in the Russian-controlled city of Mariupol have said they would not surrender and vowed to fight as long as needed.

"We, all of the military personnel in the garrison of Mariupol, we have witnessed the war crimes performed by Russia, by the Russian army. We are witnesses. Surrender is not an option because Russia is not interested in our lives," said Ilya Samoilenko, an Azov regiment intelligence officer.

The Azovstal steel mill is the last pocket of Ukrainian resistance in the devastated port city and its fate has taken on a symbolic value in the broader battle since Russia's attacks.

Canada PM Trudeau visits Kiev suburb, Irpin

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has visited Irpin outside the capital of Ukraine where Russian forces were accused of atrocities against civilians.

Irpin Mayor Markushin Alexander posted pictures on an official social media channel with pictures of Trudeau writing that the Canadian prime minister "came to Irpin to see with his own eyes all the horror that the Russian occupiers had done to our city."

U2's Bono gives 'freedom' concert in Kiev metro

Irish rock group U2's frontman Bono and his bandmate The Edge have performed a 40-minute concert in a metro station in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev and praised Ukrainians fighting for their freedom from Russia.

"Your president leads the world in the cause of freedom right now ... The people of Ukraine are not just fighting for your own freedom, you're fighting for all of us who love freedom," Bono told a crowd of up to 100 gathered inside the Khreshchatyk metro station. He was referring to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Ukraine: Atleast 225 children killed in Russia's offensive

At least 225 children have been killed and 413 others injured in the conflict with Russia.

Children in the Donetsk, Kiev, and Kharkiv regions have been the most affected in Ukraine, Ukraine's prosecutor general's office said in a statement.

Russia's daily bombings and shelling have damaged 1,635 educational institutions, with 126 of them completely destroyed.

Ukraine's Kuleba discusses how to unblock food exports with Blinken

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said he discussed with the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken how to unblock Ukraine's food exports and ensure global food security.

Ukraine, one of the world's major grain and oilseeds, used to export most of its cereals through its Black Sea ports, which have been blocked by Russia since the start of Moscow's attacks on February 24.

Pelosi urges US Congress to approve $33B in aid for Ukraine 

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has told CBS that Congress needs to pass by the end of the month a bill that would give Ukraine $33 billion in military and humanitarian aid.

On World War Two anniversary, Zelenskyy says evil has returned

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said evil has returned to Ukraine as he gave an emotional address for Victory Day, when Europe commemorates the formal surrender of Germany to the Allies in World War Two.

The life that soldiers fought for in that war came to an end on February 24 when Russian forces invaded, he said in a video message. 

"The evil has returned. Again!" Zelenskyy said. "In a different form, under different slogans, but for the same purpose."

But he said Ukraine and its al lies will win.

Ukraine says 25,500 Russian troops killed in conflict

The Ukrainian military said that 25,500 Russian soldiers have been killed since the war began.

Ukrainian forces have destroyed 199 Russian aircraft, 156 helicopters, 360 unmanned aerial vehicles, 1,130 tanks, 2,741 armored vehicles, and 509 artillery systems, according to the Ukrainian General Staff’s latest update.

Russia has also lost 179 multiple rocket launcher syst ems, 1,961 vehicles and fuel tanks, 86 anti-aircraft systems, 12 boats, and 92 cruise missiles, it added.

UK pledges more aid to Ukraine as Europe marks VE Day

Britain will provide an extra $1.6 billion in military support to Ukraine to help the country defend against Russian forces, officials said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, US President Joe Biden and leaders from other Group of Seven countries are expected to hold online talks with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to discuss the further support.

The meeting is partly meant to display unity among Western allies on Victory in Europe Day, which marks Nazi Germany's surrender in 1945. 

Ukraine troops retreat from Popasna, Luhansk governor confirms

Ukrainian troops retreated from the eastern Ukrainian city of Popasna, the governor of Luhansk region said, confirming previous reports that it had been taken.

The head of Russia's republic of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, had said on Sunday his troops had taken control of most of Popasna. 

Luhansk Governor Serhiy Gaidai told Ukraine television that Ukrainian troops had retreated to take up more fortified positions, adding: "Everything was destroyed there." 

German parliament president arrives in Kiev

The president of the German parliament Baerbel Bas arrived in Kiev to discuss Russia's attacks on Ukraine with the prime minister and to commemorate victims of World War Two, a German parliament official said on Twitter.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy earlier gave an emotional address for Victory Day, when Europe remembers the formal surrender of Germany to the Allies in World War Two, saying that "evil has returned" to Ukraine, but it wouldn't be able to escape responsibility.

Jill Biden meets Ukraine refugees, volunteers in Slovakia

US first lady Jill Biden met with Ukrainian refugees in eastern Slovakia, the last day of her tour of Romania and Slovakia to visit US servicemen deployed there and women and children who fled Russia's incursion of Ukraine.

Biden spoke to refugee families, volunteers and local authority workers at a refugee centre in the eastern Slovak city of Kosice, one of the main transit points for over 400,000 Ukrainian refugees who have crossed the border to Slovakia since the Russian attacks started on February 24. 

Bomb hits Ukrainian school, dozens feared dead

Two people have been killed in the Russian bombing of a school in the Ukrainian village of Bilohorivka and the 60 who remain under the debris are feared dead.

Serhiy Gaidai, governor of the Luhansk region, said Russia dropped a bomb on Saturday afternoon on the school where about 90 people were sheltering, causing a fire that engulfed the building. Thirty people have been rescued.

"The fire was extinguished after nearly four hours, then the rubble was cleared, and, unfortunately, the bodies of two people were found," Gaidai wrote on wrote in a post on the Telegram messaging app.

Russia hits Ukrainian warship near Odesa, downed two planes

Russia's defence ministry said on Sunday it had destroyed a Ukrainian corvette warship near Odesa by a missile strike overnight.

The ministry also said its air defences had shot down two Ukrainian SU-24 bombers and a helicopter over the Snake island in the Black Sea.

Reuters could not independently verify the report. 

Russia's Gazprom continues gas exports to Europe via Ukraine

Russian gas producer Gazprom said it was supplying natural gas to Europe via Ukraine in line with requests from European consumers.

Requests stood at 92.1 million cubic metres (mcm) for May 8 compared with 92.4 mcm on May 7. 

Last women, children evacuated from Ukrainian steel mill

Russian forces kept up their barrage of southern Ukraine, hitting the major Black Sea port of Odesa with cruise missiles and bombarding the steelworks up the coast in Mariupol, where Ukrainian fighters remained trapped underground.

Moscow was aiming to complete its conquest of Mariupol in time for Victory Day celebrations on Monday. But it's forces continued to face dogged resistance from defenders within the bunkers beneath the factory. Civilians have been evacuated. 

Russia tightens grip, Ukraine struggles to defend Azovstal

With supplies running low, amputations conducted in a ramshackle clinic, and corpses piling up, the fighters trapped at the besieged steel plant in Ukraine's Mariupol are battling to hold on as Russian forces tighten their grip on the city's last redoubt.

Details about the chaotic final defence and desperate efforts to tend to the wounded have been painstakingly pieced together by military medic Yevgenia Tytarenko, whose husband and colleagues remain trapped inside the factory.

"Lots of soldiers are in serious condition in the hospital. They are injured with no medicine. Food and water are running out," said Tytarenko, who remains in regular contact with people inside the Azovstal plant.

Chechen leader claims control of Popasna

Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of Russia's republic of Chechnya, said his soldiers have taken control of most of the eastern Ukrainian city of Popasna, while Ukrainian officials said a battle for the town in the east of the country is ongoing.

In mid-April, Russian forces launched a new offensive push along most of Ukraine's eastern flank, with some of most intense attacks and shelling taking place recently around Popasna in the Luhansk region.

"Fighters of the Chechen special forces ... have taken most of Popasna under control," Kadyrov, who has often described himself as Russian President Vladimir Putin's "foot soldier", wrote in a post on the Telegram messaging app. "The main streets and central districts of the town have been completely cleared."

Russia claims large number of Ukraine's loss

Russia has targeted a large number of weapons, military-technical vehicles, as well as Ukrainian military personnel at two separate train stations in the city of Kharkiv, northeast of Ukraine, the country’s military spokesperson Igor Konashenkov said.

Moreover, the spokesman said Russian aerial combat units, during the operations around the Snake Island located in the Black Sea, hit a Su-24 bombardment plane, a Su-27 fighter jet along with three Mi-8 helicopters with personnel onboard, besides destroying drones and an assault boat.

According to Konashenkov, Russia has so far destroyed 154 planes, 764 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), 296 air-defence missile systems, 2,902 battle tanks and armored vehicles, 333 multiple barrel rocket launchers, 1,378 howitzers and mortars, and 2,728 private military vehicles since the start of the attack.

For live updates from Saturday (May 7), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies