As Russia and Ukraine enter day 53 of the war, Moscow renewed air strikes on Kyiv on Saturday. Russia also claimed to have taken over Mariupol, the port city on the Sea of Azov in southeastern Ukraine. Mariupol has seen the worst fighting of the seven-week-long war.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that peace talks with Moscow will be scrapped if the last Ukrainian troops in the besieged port city of Mariupol are killed.
While over 3,000 Ukrainian troops have died in the war, millions of civilians from the war-torn nation have been forced to flee the country.
Here are the top 8 developments in the Russia-Ukraine war:
1. ‘High-precision long-range’ weapons hit an armaments plant in Kyiv as Russian forces renewed scattered attacks on the capital city Saturday, killing one. The attack comes a day after Moscow warned it would renew strikes following two weeks of relative calm in the Ukrainian capital. Russian forces began withdrawing from regions around Kyiv last month, turning their focus on gaining control of the eastern Donbas region.
2. Moscow claims to have taken over the control of Mariupol, news agency Reuters reported. Russia said its troops had cleared the urban area of Mariupol and only a small contingent of Ukrainian fighters remained inside a steelworks in the besieged southern port on Saturday.
The claim is yet to be verified by global defence experts. If Moscow’s claims are correct, then Mariupol would be the first big city to fall to the Russians so far.
3. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told Ukrainian media that the continuing siege of Mariupol could ruin attempts to negotiate an end to the war.
“The destruction of all our guys in Mariupol — what they are doing now — can put an end to any format of negotiations,” he was quoted as saying on Saturday by news agency AP. Zelensky further said that Ukraine needs more support from the West to have a chance at saving Mariupol.
4. Zelensky also repeated his warning over Russia’s use of nuclear weapons and said, “We shouldn’t wait for the moment when Russia decides to use nuclear weapons, we must prepare for that,” in an interview to local media.
5. Meanwhile, in Ukraine’s second-largest city Kharkiv, in the northeast of the country, a Russian missile strike on a residential district killed at least two people on Saturday and wounded 18 others, the public prosecutor’s office said.
6. Russia on Saturday announced the death of an army general in battle after being among the forces battering Mariupol for weeks. Maj. Gen. Vladimir Frolov was buried in St. Petersburg after dying in battle, the governor said.
Ukraine has claimed that several Russian generals and dozens of other high-ranking officers have been killed during the war.
7. Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman on Saturday, their second call since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Kremlin’s statement said that the two discussed the ongoing conflict in Yemen as well as their joint work on an oil output agreement, known as OPEC+.
8. Many of the nearly five million people who have fled Ukraine will not have homes to return to, the United Nations warns. UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, says 4,836,445 million Ukrainians have left the country since the Russian invasion on February 24: up 40,200 on Friday’s total.
(With inputs from AP, AFP, Reuters)