Russia-Ukraine live news: Kyiv planning more Mariupol evacuations | News

Ukraine’s president says he hopes for more evacuations from Mariupol as fighters in Azovstal report new Russian attacks.

  • Ukraine commander says raids on Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant have resumed after evacuations.
  • Mariupol’s city council says a broad, UN-backed evacuation of its civilians, other than those sheltering at a steel plant, will begin on Monday.
  • Around 100 Ukrainian civilians are heading to a temporary camp in Russian-held territory after being evacuated from a ruined steelworks in Mariupol.
  • US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi becomes the highest-ranking US official to visit Kyiv and meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
  • Russia has carried out missile attacks across southern and eastern Ukraine, including one that destroyed the runway at Odesa airport.

Here are the latest updates:

Ukraine ‘operation’ not based on May 9: Russia’s FM

Russia’s foreign minister says Moscow will not base its actions in Ukraine on the deadline of Victory Day celebrated on May 9.

“Our troops won’t artificially base their activities on a specific date, including Victory Day,” Sergey Lavrov said in an interview on Italy’s Mediaset television channel, according to Russia’s TASS news agency.

“We will solemnly celebrate May 9 the way we always do,” he added.

Some analysis, including from the United Kingdom’s defence ministry, has suggested Russia may escalate attacks in the lead up to its national May 9 celebrations to showcase successes in Ukraine.

Explosions in Russia’s Belgorod: Governor

Two explosions took place in the early hours on Monday in Belgorod, the southern Russian region bordering Ukraine, Vyacheslav Gladkov, the region’s governor wrote in a social media post.

“There were no casualties or damage,” Gladkov said after several residents posted videos with the sound of explosions on social media.

Earlier on Sunday, Gladkov had reported that one person was injured in a fire at a Russian defence ministry facility in the southern Belgorod region.

Azovstal standoff ‘saved lives’: Azov fighter

The standoff at the Azovstal steel plant saved many lives, the deputy commander of the Azov Regiment has said.

“Because if we hadn’t done this, the front line would be much bigger. The front line would be in another area,” Sviastoslav Palamar told the Associated Press.

Palamar also said that while he hoped everyone would be evacuated from the plant, it had been difficult to reach some of the wounded.

“There’s rubble. We have no special equipment. It’s hard for soldiers to pick up slabs weighing tons only with their arms,” he said.

A woman helped during the UN-led evacuations from the Azovstal steel plant.
A woman helped during the UN-led evacuations from the Azovstal steel plant, after nearly two months of siege warfare on the city by Russia during its invasion, in Mariupol, May 1, 2022 [David Arakhamia/Azov Regiment/Handout via REUTERS]

Explosion damages bridge in Russia’s Kursk region

An explosive device damaged a railway bridge on Sunday in the Kursk region of Russia, which borders Ukraine, the region’s government reported in a Telegram post.

The explosion caused a partial collapse of the bridge near the village of Konopelka, on the Sudzha-Sosnovy Bor railway, the report from Kursk said.

“It was a sabotage, a criminal case has been opened,” said the region’s governor, Roman Starovoit, according to Russia’s TASS new agency. He said there were no casualties, and no effect on the movement of trains.

Zelenskyy hopes ‘all necessary conditions’ will be met for Mariupol evacuations

Ukraine’s president says his government is planning to evacuate more civilians from the besieged city of Mariupol on Monday morning.

“I hope that tomorrow all the necessary conditions will be met to continue the evacuation of people from Mariupol. We plan to start at 8am,” he said in his nighttime address.

“For the first time there were two days of real ceasefire on this territory. More than a hundred civilians have already been evacuated – women and children first of all,” he said of those who left the Azovstal steel plant on the weekend.

“Given all the complexities of the process, the first evacuees will arrive in Zaporizhzhia tomorrow morning. Hopefully this doesn’t fail. Our team will meet them there,” Zelenskyy added.

Civilians evacuated from Azovstal steel plant accompanied by Red Cross personnel walk in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces in Bezimenne, about 20 kilometres (12 miles) east of Mariupol.
Civilians evacuated from Azovstal steel plant accompanied by Red Cross personnel walk in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces in Bezimenne, about 20 kilometres (12 miles) east of Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, Saturday, April 30, 2022 [AP Photo]

Ukrainian commander says Russia resumed shelling of Azovstal steel plant

Ukrainian National Guard brigade commander Denys Shlega has said in a televised interview that shelling resumed at the Azovstal steel plant as soon as rescue crews ceased evacuating civilians.

Shlega said at least one more round of evacuations is needed to clear civilians from the plant.

Dozens of small children remain in bunkers below the industrial facilities, as well as several hundred civilians, nearly 500 wounded soldiers and numerous dead bodies, he said.

Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Read the updates from Sunday, May 1 here.

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