5.9k Share this

Ukraine war: ‘bloody battles’ inside Mariupol steelworks; another 344 civilians evacuated, says Zelenskiy – live

LIVE Updated 

Wed 4 May 2022 19.12 EDT

First published on Wed 4 May 2022 00.49 EDT

Live feed

Ukrainian forces engaged in ‘bloody battles’ at Azovstal steelworks

Inside Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol, Ukrainian forces are fighting “difficult bloody battles” against Russian troops, Reuters reports.

“I am proud of my soldiers who are making superhuman efforts to contain the pressure of the enemy … the situation is extremely difficult,” Denis Prokopenko, the commander of the Azov regiment, said in a video message on Telegram.

Russian forces entered the territory of Mariupol’s Azovstal steelworks on Wednesday, a Ukrainian official said. Video from a Russia-backed account reportedly shows airstrikes hitting the plant as civilians seek refuge inside, but it’s not entirely clear when the strikes happened.

I’m Dani Anguiano and I’ll be covering the latest updates in the war in Ukraine for the next few hours.

US President Joe Biden has said he will speak with other leaders from the Group of Seven advanced economies this week about potential additional sanctions against Russia.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the United States was in constant discussions with its partners about further sanctions and could take “additional actions” to pressure Moscow, Reuters reports.

At a Wall Street Journal conference, Yellen would not preview any specific actions under consideration, but stressed that further measures were likely “if Russia continues this war against Ukraine.”

Biden told reporters, “We’re always open to additional sanctions” when asked about US plans after the European Union proposed its toughest sanctions yet against Russia, including a phased oil embargo.

“I’ll be speaking with the members of the G7 this week about what we’re going to do or not do,” Biden added.

Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, has made a cheeky quip at the slowness by some western governments in providing military aid.

Stocks of Soviet-era weapons dwindle, but Russian aggression does not. This is why Ukraine shifts to modern equipment.

Training is required, but we are fast learners. In fact, we learn to operate modern weapons faster than it takes some governments to decide upon providing them.”

Stocks of Soviet-era weapons dwindle, but Russian aggression does not. This is why Ukraine shifts to modern equipment. Training is required, but we are fast learners. In fact, we learn to operate modern weapons faster than it takes some governments to decide upon providing them.

— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) May 4, 2022

Russia has said it will implement a ceasefire for three days from Thursday to allow more civilian evacuations from the Azovstal plant in the besieged city of Mariupol.

“The Russian armed forces will from 8 am to 6 pm (Moscow time) on May 5, 6 and 7 open a humanitarian corridor from the territory of the Azovstal metallurgical plant to evacuate civilians,” the defence ministry said on Wednesday.

“During this period, the Russian armed forces and formations of the Donetsk People’s Republic will unilaterally cease any hostilities,” the ministry added.

Another 344 people have been rescued from the besieged city of Mariupol in a second evacuation operation, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy confirmed in his latest national address.

The second stage of our evacuation operation from Mariupol was completed today. 344 people were rescued – from the city and its suburbs. That’s how many people departed to Zaporizhzhia today. Our team is getting ready to meet them. Meet in the same way as more than 150 people whom we managed to take out of Azovstal. They all receive the necessary help. All of them will receive the most caring treatment from our state.”

Zelenskiy said negotiations continue to rescue people trapped in the Azovstal steel works. “There are still civilians. Women, children,” he added.

To save them, we need to continue the silence. The Ukrainian side is ready to provide it. It takes time to just lift people out of those basements, out of those underground shelters. In the current conditions, we cannot use special equipment to clear the debris. Everything is done manually.”

Osnat Lubrani, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine, also confirmed the evacuations.

“While this second evacuation of civilians from areas in Mariupol and beyond is significant, much more must be done to make sure all civilians caught up in fighting can leave, in the direction they wish,” she said in a statement.

Many came with nothing but the clothes they had on. We will now support them in this difficult time.

Our work must, and will continue. pic.twitter.com/LiWvUiFaOf

— Osnat Lubrani (@OsnatLubrani) May 4, 2022

\n","url":"https://twitter.com/OsnatLubrani/status/1521957810174668802","id":"1521957810174668802","hasMedia":false,"role":"inline","isThirdPartyTracking":false,"source":"Twitter","elementId":"05faaf0f-ab87-4ee5-a47e-b4fc14d4c0fc"}}”>

Today again, we managed to provide safe passage for civilians stranded in Mariupol & other areas, thanks to a strong @UN@ICRC collaboration.

Many came with nothing but the clothes they had on. We will now support them in this difficult time.

Our work must, and will continue. pic.twitter.com/LiWvUiFaOf

— Osnat Lubrani (@OsnatLubrani) May 4, 2022

Zelenskiy: ‘Our day of liberation is coming’

The Ukrainian president said he believes Ukraine will again see peace despite Russia’s war but warned that what happens in Ukraine will have important consequences for the rest of Europe.

Addressing the people of Denmark on the anniversary of their liberation from Nazi occupation during the second world war, Zelenskiy said on Wednesday: “The Russian state is not ready to stop the war. They’re dreaming of capturing Ukraine and other European countries. They’re still dreaming that the freedom of Europe will disappear. But their dreams will not come true. The dream of peace shall come true. Just like it happened 77 years ago.”

People gather to watch Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speak on a screen at the City Hall Square in Copenhagen.

Zelenskiy, whose remarks were broadcast in public squares in Denmark, urged people to remember the 220 Ukrainian children killed in the war, and that “Europe is capable of putting an end to the extension of this”.

“It is now in Ukraine that the future of our continent is decided. Whether not only we but our neighbors will have peace,” he said. “No one can tell how many more days this war will go on. But I do believe our day of liberation is coming close.”

People wait for Volodymyr Zelenskiy to begin his speech on screen.

The US has reportedly offered security assurances to Sweden in the event that it submits an application to join Nato.

Reuters reports that Ann Linde, Sweden’s foreign minister, said Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, assured her Sweden would receive support during the period a potential application to join the alliance is processed. Sweden, as well as its neighbor Finland, stayed out of Nato during the cold war, but the countries are now rethinking security policies after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea in 2014 and invasion of Ukraine.

The application could take up to a year to be approved by the alliance’s members, and Sweden and Finland are concerned they would be vulnerable in that time. Russia has said it could deploy nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles in the European exclave of Kaliningrad if the countries were to join Nato.

“Naturally, I’m not going to go into any details, but I feel very sure that now we have an American assurance,” said Linde, who didn’t say what specific assurances she had received.

“They would mean that Russia can be clear that if they direct any kind of negative activities against Sweden, which they have threatened, it would not be something that the US would just allow to happen … without a response,” she said.

Russia, which has continued to refer to its war in Ukraine as a “special military operation”, denied suggestions that it will use its annual second world war victory parade to declare war against its neighbour.

The BBC reports that western officials believed Vladimir Putin could use the Victory Parade on 9 May, the day Russia traditionally celebrates its victory over the Nazis during the second world war, to announce plans to escalate military action in Ukraine.

But a Kremlin spokesperson said there was no truth to the speculation, a claim BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner said should be taken with a “hefty pinch of salt” as Russian officials once shot down talk of Russia invading Ukraine as “western hysteria and propaganda”.

Regardless of how Russia refers to the conflict, the war has already been extremely destructive and deadly. In two months, Russia’s invasion has killed thousands, destroyed cities and forced millions of Ukrainians to flee their homes.

The grave of a civilian killed in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine.

Ukrainian forces engaged in ‘bloody battles’ at Azovstal steelworks

Inside Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol, Ukrainian forces are fighting “difficult bloody battles” against Russian troops, Reuters reports.

“I am proud of my soldiers who are making superhuman efforts to contain the pressure of the enemy … the situation is extremely difficult,” Denis Prokopenko, the commander of the Azov regiment, said in a video message on Telegram.

Russian forces entered the territory of Mariupol’s Azovstal steelworks on Wednesday, a Ukrainian official said. Video from a Russia-backed account reportedly shows airstrikes hitting the plant as civilians seek refuge inside, but it’s not entirely clear when the strikes happened.

I’m Dani Anguiano and I’ll be covering the latest updates in the war in Ukraine for the next few hours.

Ninety per cent of howitzer long-ranged weapons that were pledged to Ukraine from the US have been transferred, said a senior US defence official, via CNN.

From CNN’s Kylie Atwood: