Russia renews its attacks on Ukrainian capital Kiev and other cities, while President Zelenskyy says the elimination of Mariupol's defending forces will jeopardise talks to end the conflict – now in its 53rd day.

Fuel, ammunition depots in Ukraine's Barvenkovo, Dobropolye regions destroyed, says Russian Defence Ministry.
Fuel, ammunition depots in Ukraine's Barvenkovo, Dobropolye regions destroyed, says Russian Defence Ministry. (Reuters)

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Russia claims it shot down 2 Ukrainian jets

Russia said that its air forces have shot down two Ukrainian MIG-29 jets over Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city.

Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said Russian forces also destroyed fuel and ammunition depots in Barvenkovo and Dobropolye regions by using high-precision air-to-surface missiles. 

Additionally, 136 warplanes, 471 unmanned aerial vehicles, 249 air defence systems, 2,308 tanks and other armoured combat vehicles, 254 multiple missile launcher systems, 998 artillery systems and mortars, and 2,171 special military cars have been destroyed since the start of what Russia calls “a special military operation”. 

Türkiye's president, UN chief discuss Russia-Ukraine conflict

Türkiye's president and UN chief discussed the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict and recent tensions in Jerusalem.

"We had a phone talk with the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Antonio Guterres. In our conversation, we discussed regional developments, especially the incident in Jerusalem and the Ukraine-Russia war," Türkiye's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Twitter.

Erdogan also said he stressed the importance of the Istanbul process for the Russia-Ukraine peace talks and efforts to settle disagreements between the parties. 

Zelenskiy, IMF managing director discuss Ukraine's 'post-war reconstruction'

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiyy said he spoke with IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva about Ukraine's financial stability and the country's post-war reconstruction.

"Discussed with IMF Managing Director Georgieva the issue of ensuring Ukraine's financial stability & preparations for post-war reconstruction. We have clear plans for now, as well as a vision of prospects. I’m sure cooperation between the IMF & Ukraine will continue to be fruitful," Zelenskiyy said in a tweet. 

Ukraine vows to fight to the end in Mariupol

Ukraine has vowed to fight to the end in Mariupol after a Russian ultimatum expired for remaining forces to surrender in the southeastern port city where Moscow is pushing for a major strategic victory.

"The city still has not fallen," Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said hours after Moscow's deadline for fighters holed up and surrounded in a sprawling fortress-like steelworks to surrender passed.

"There's still our military forces, our soldiers. So they will fight to the end," he told ABC's "This Week", with Moscow shifting its military focus to gaining control of the eastern Donbas region and forging a land corridor to already-annexed Crimea.

Zelenskyy invites Macron to see evidence of 'genocide' in Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he has invited his French counterpart to visit Ukraine to see for himself evidence that Russian forces have committed "genocide," a term President Emmanuel Macron has avoided. 

"I talked to him yesterday," Zelenskyy told CNN in an interview recorded on Friday but broadcast on Sunday.

"I just told him I want him to understand that this is not war, but nothing other than genocide. I invited him to come when he will have the opportunity. He'll come and see, and I'm sure he will understand."

Zelenskyy said he also thought US President Joe Biden would come at some point, though White House officials have said there are no plans to do so.

Ukrainian FM: Situation in Mariupol may be 'red line' in talks

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said there had not been any recent diplomatic communications between Russia and Ukraine at the level of their foreign ministries and that the situation in the port of Mariupol, which he described as "dire", may be a "red line" in the path of negotiations.

"Mariupol may be a red line", he told CBS News in an interview.

Ukrainian soldiers resisted a Russian ultimatum to lay down arms on Sunday in the pulverised port of Mariupol, which Moscow said its forces had almost completely seized in what would be its biggest prize of the nearly two-month conflict. 

Ukrainians defy deadline to surrender in Mariupol or die

Remaining Ukrainian forces in the southern port of Mariupol are still fighting and continue to defy a Russian demand that they surrender, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said.

"The city still has not fallen," Shmyhal told ABC's "This Week" programme, adding that Ukrainian soldiers continue to control some parts of the city. 

The Russian military estimated that about 2,500 Ukrainian fighters holding out at a hulking steel plant with a warren of underground passageways provided the last pocket of resistance in Mariupol. 

Russia warns NATO over military activity in the Arctic

Russia is worried about increased activity of NATO forces in the Arctic and sees risks of "unintended incidents" occurring in the region, TASS news agency cited Russian ambassador-at-large Nikolai Korchunov. 

"The recent increase in NATO's activity in the Arctic is a cause for concern. Another large-scale military exercise of the alliance was recently held in northern Norway. In our view, this does not contribute to the security of the region," Korchunov said.

According to Korchunov, such activity raises the risk of "unintended incidents", which, in addition to security risks, can also cause serious damage to the Arctic ecosystem.

In March, Finland and Sweden, which are both considering joining the US-led military NATO alliance, conducted combined NATO military drills. 

Shelling kills five, injures 13 in Kharkiv city centre

Five people were killed in shelling of the city centre of Kharkiv, and 13 were injured, the Ukrainian Suspilne public broadcaster reported citing local health authorities.

"Rescuers are operating in the sites (affected by shelling)," the report said. 

Russia 'destroyed' military factory outside Kiev

Russia's defence ministry has said it struck a military plant outside Kiev, as Moscow intensifies its attacks on the Ukrainian capital.

"During the night, high-precision, air-launched missiles destroyed an ammunitions factory near the settlement of Brovary, Kiev region," the ministry said in a statement on Telegram.

The mayor of Brovary, Igor Sapozhko, said that "some infrastructure objects were hit" in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Russian ultimatum to Ukraine forces in Mariupol expires

A Russian ultimatum for the last remaining Ukrainian forces in Mariupol to surrender has expired, with Moscow poised for a major strategic victory in the southeastern port city.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk urged Russian forces to allow evacuations from Mariupol, which Moscow's forces claim to have brought under their control, though Ukrainian fighters remain holed up in the city's fortress-like steelworks.

Moscow on Saturday issued an ultimatum to the fighters, urging them to lay down their arms by 6:00 am Moscow time (0300 GMT) and to evacuate before 13:00 pm (1000 GMT).

Ukraine, Russia fail to agree on evacuation convoys

Ukraine and Russia have failed to agree about humanitarian convoys for the evacuation of civilians from conflict-affected areas, Ukraine's deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has said.

"We have not been able to agree ... about ceasefires on evacuation routes. That is why, unfortunately, we are not opening humanitarian corridors today," she said on her Telegram account.

Vereshchuk also said that the Ukrainian authorities have asked for humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of civilians and wounded Ukrainian troops from the besieged port of Mariupol. 

Talking to Putin achieves nothing: Italy's Draghi

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has complained in a newspaper interview that the diplomatic efforts by the West to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to halt operations in Ukraine had so far led nowhere.

"I am beginning to think that those people are right when they say 'It is useless to talk to him, it's just a waste of time'," Draghi told the daily Il Corriere della Sera.

Draghi said he had always felt French President Emmanuel Macron, who currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, "is right to try every possible avenue of dialogue."

Pope implicitly criticises Russia over Ukraine

The 85-year-old pope made his comments in his twice-yearly "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) address to about 50,000 people in St Peter's Square after a long Mass.

Francis dedicated much of the address, traditionally an overview of world conflicts, to Ukraine, comparing the shock of another conflict in Europe to the shock apostles who the gospel says saw the risen Jesus.

"Our eyes, too, are incredulous on this Easter of war. We have seen all too much blood, all too much violence. Our hearts, too, have been filled with fear and anguish, as so many of our brothers and sisters have had to lock themselves away in order to be safe from bombing," he said.

Mayor: Missile attack damages infrastructure in Brovary

A missile attack has damaged infrastructure in the city of Brovary, near Ukraine's capital of Kiev, according to Igor Sapozhko, the mayor of Brovary.

There were no details on the extent of the destruction and potential casualties in the alleged strike in the early hours of Sunday. The report could not be immediately verified.

Relative calm prevailed in Kiev and nearby areas for weeks after Russian forces began withdrawing from the region last month to focus on the eastern Donbass area. But that calm has been brought to an end by renewed Russian air strikes. 

Local media: Explosions heard in Ukraine's capital Kiev

Fresh explosions have been heard in Kiev, local media has reported. Overnight, air raid sirens went off over nearly all of Ukraine. 

There was no official explanation for the Kiev explosions in the early hours on Sunday. The reports could not be immediately verified.

Kiev: Russia's troops facing provisions problems

Ukraine's Army has said Russian troops are having significant problems with provisions and there is growing discontent.

"Russian servicemen constantly complain about the lack of rotation, equipment that constantly breaks down, the quality of the fuel supplied and food," said Oleksandr Shputun, representative of the General Staff of Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Shputun said Russian soldiers are continuing looting and violent actions against the civil population and that these actions are "encouraged by their military command". Russia has repeatedly denied targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure.

UK intelligence: Russian troops regrouping in east

Russia is committed to compelling Ukraine to abandon its Euro-Atlantic orientation and asserting its own regional dominance, British military intelligence has said.

Russian forces are continuing to redeploy combat and support equipment from Belarus towards eastern Ukraine, including to locations close to Kharkiv and Severodonetsk, the UK Ministry of Defence tweeted in a regular bulletin.

Russian artillery continues to strike Ukrainian positions throughout the east of the country where Russia plans to renew its offensive activity, the bulletin added.

Russia calls Ukrainian forces to surrender in Mariupol

Russia's defence ministry has said that if Ukrainian forces still fighting in Mariupol lay down their arms starting at 6 am Moscow time (0300 GMT) on Sunday, their lives will be spared, Tass news agency said.

Tass quoted Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev, director of the Russian National Center for Defence Management, as saying Moscow's offer was prompted by "the catastrophic situation" in the plant as well as "purely humane principles."

He added: "We guarantee that the lives of all those who lay down their arms will be spared." Under the terms of the proposed deal, the remaining defenders in the plant would leave between 6 am and 1 pm Moscow time, without weapons or ammunition.

Austria: Putin to cooperate on Bucha investigation

Austria’s chancellor said after meeting with Vladimir Putin in Moscow this past week that the Russian president is “in his own war logic” when it comes to Ukraine.

Karl Nehammer told NBC in an interview that he thinks Putin believes he is winning the battle and he confronted Putin with what he had seen in Bucha, and "it was not a friendly conversation.”

He said Putin said “he will cooperate with an international investigation, on one hand, and on the other hand, he told me that he doesn’t trust the Western world. So this will be the problem now in the future.”

EU to target Russia's Sberbank, other banks with sanctions

The European Union's forthcoming sanctions on Russia will target banks, in particular Sberbank, as well as oil, the head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen told a German newspaper.

Bild am Sonntag, in an interview, asked her to name the key points of a planned sixth round of sanctions.

"We are looking further at the banking sector, especially Sberbank, which accounts for 37 percent of the Russian banking sector. And, of course, there are energy issues," she said. "The top priority is to shrink Putin's revenues," she added. 

Russian Mariupol general died, buried

A Russian general whose troops have been besieging the Ukrainian port of Mariupol was buried in St. Petersburg after dying in battle, the governor said.

Maj. Gen. Vladimir Frolov was deputy commander of the 8th Army, which Russian media identified as being among the forces battering Mariupol for weeks.

Gov. Alexander Beglov released a statement saying Frolov “died a heroic death in battle” without saying where or when he was killed. Photographs on Russian news websites showed his grave at a St. Petersburg cemetery piled high with red and white flowers.

For live updates from Saturday (April 16), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies