Ukraine live news: Russia facing ‘stiff’ fight in Donbas, US says

Ukraine live news: Russia facing ‘stiff’ fight in Donbas, US says
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has asked the UN chief for help to save people in Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant.
  • Pentagon says recent Russian strikes in western Ukraine were aimed at critical infrastructure.
  • Russia says its forces will halt hostilities at the Azovstal steel plant and open a humanitarian corridor for civilians for three days.
  • Ukraine’s far-right Azov regiment says Ukrainians are fighting “bloody battles” in Mariupol.
[Al Jazeera]

Here are all the latest updates:

UK sending Ukraine £45 million for humanitarian aid, more medical supplies

Britain’s foreign secretary has announced £45 million ($56 million) in funding for agencies and charities doing humanitarian work on the ground in Ukraine and its borders.

“Of the £45 million, £15 million will go to the UN Ukraine Humanitarian Fund, to provide immediate life-saving assistance and help tackle sexual and gender-based violence through targeted services, legal support and crisis accommodation,” a statement from Liz Truss’ office said.

A further £15m will go to UNICEF to fund services like nutrition for pregnant women and mental health support for children.

Truss also announced further deliveries of medical supplies, including wound care packs to treat over 220,000 patients and around 380,000 packs of medicine.

Children from Ukraine sleep on luggage at a railway station in Przemysl, southeastern Poland
Children from Ukraine sleep on luggage at a railway station in Przemysl, southeastern Poland, on Wednesday, March 23, 2022 [Sergei Grits/AP]

Zelenskyy pays tribute to killed Ukrainian journalist

Zelenskyy started his latest nighttime address by remembering Ukrainian journalist and TV reporter, Oleksandr Makhov, who he said died on Wednesday in the Kharkiv region, “in the battles near Izium”.

“He was always among the bravest, among the first. He always worked in the hottest spots. Tried to bring true material. From the first day of the full-scale war, he was on the frontline,” Zelenskyy said

“He was 36 years old. My sincere condolences to relatives and friends. Let his son Vladyslav know: Russia will bear responsibility for this death,” he said, adding that Ukraine will win and make Oleksandr’s dream come true.

Another dark day for Ukrainian war journalism.

Oleksandr Makhov, a war veteran and a TV reporter originally from Luhansk, has been killed in a Russian shelling attack.

Rest in peace.

— Illia Ponomarenko 🇺🇦 (@IAPonomarenko) May 4, 2022

UK’s Johnson to host Japanese PM for Ukraine talks

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will host his Japanese counterpart for talks to focus on Ukraine and countries affected by Russia’s invasion.

Meetings between Johnson and Fumio Kishida tomorrow are expected to focus on “how international alliances can continue to exert maximum pressure on President Putin’s regime while supporting Ukraine and other European countries affected,” a government statement said.

They will also agree to closer collaboration to help countries in Asia develop renewables, “supporting their transition to green energy and helping to provide alternative supplies to Russian oil and gas.”

The statement added the two will agree in principle to a Reciprocal Access Agreement to allow Japanese and British forces to “work, exercise and operate together”.

Further sanctions likely if Russia continues war, says US treasury secretary

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said the US is in constant discussions with its partners about further sanctions and could impose “additional actions” to pressure Moscow.

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”.

Yellen said she believed Western sanctions so far had taken an enormous toll on the Russian economy, curtailing foreign investment and preventing it from accessing goods it needs to compete in the global economy over the long term.

More than 300 civilians evacuated from southern Ukraine: UN

More than 300 civilians were evacuated from Mariupol and other areas in southern Ukraine as part of a joint UN-Red Cross operation that concluded on Wednesday, UN humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine Osnat Lubrani has said.

“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,” Lubrani said.

Women board a bus during an evacuation of civilians on a road near Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine
Women board a bus during an evacuation of civilians on a road near Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Wednesday, May 4, 2022

[Andriy Andriyenko/AP]

Ukraine accuses Russia of ‘missile terrorism’

Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba has accused Russia of “missile terrorism” as authorities said Russian forces bombarded cities across Ukraine.

Attacks were reported near Kyiv; in Cherkasy and Dnipro in central Ukraine, and in Zaporizhzhia in the southeast. In Dnipro, authorities said a rail facility was hit.

Another night in Ukraine, another barrage of Russian missiles raining down on peaceful Ukrainian cities. They want to break us down with their missile terrorism. But the only thing that will break down in the end is Russia and its capacity to invade, bomb, murder, loot, and rape.

— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) May 4, 2022

Zelenskyy says he spoke to Israeli PM about ‘scandalous’ Russian remarks

Zelenskyy has said he spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and discussed the “scandalous and completely unacceptable remarks” by Russia’s foreign minister about Adolf Hitler.

In an early morning video address, Zelenskyy said the comments by Sergey Lavrov had outraged the entire world.

In an interview on Sunday, Lavrov said the Nazi dictator had had Jewish origins, a comment that Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid called an “unforgivable” falsehood.

Russia ‘already lost the war’, White House says

White House press secretary Jen Psaki has said that Russia “already lost the war in Ukraine”.

Pressed by a reporter to define what victory looked like for Ukraine, Psaki instead said Russian President Vladimir Putin had failed in his own objectives by invading the neighbouring country.

“He wanted this to be a moment to divide NATO, to divide the west,” Psaki said. “Clearly that is not what is happening.”

Sweden says it received US assurances should it seek to join NATO

Sweden has received assurances from the United States that it would get support during the period a potential application to join NATO is processed by the 30 nations in the alliance, foreign minister Ann Linde has said.

Sweden and its neighbour Finland stayed out of NATO during the Cold War, but Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its invasion of Ukraine have led the countries to rethink their security policies, with NATO membership looking increasingly likely.

“Naturally, I’m not going to go into any details, but I feel very sure that now we have an American assurance,” Linde told Swedish TV from Washington after meeting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Russian strikes in western Ukraine aimed at critical infrastructure: Pentagon

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby has said recent Russian strikes in western Ukraine were aimed at critical infrastructure sites.

“They are attempting to hit what we assess to be critical infrastructure targets out towards the west – electrical power, transportation hubs, that kind of thing. We think this is an effort to try to disrupt the Ukrainians’ ability to replenish and reinforce themselves,” Kirby told reporters.

“Particularly these most recent strikes, we are still assessing the degree to which they hit what they were targeting. They are not good at precision strikes. They are not discriminant with how they target.”

Far-right Azov regiment says Ukrainians fighting ‘bloody battles’ in Mariupol

Ukrainian forces inside Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant are fighting “difficult bloody battles” against Russian troops for a second day, the commander of the far-right Azov regiment has said.

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

Russia meeting ‘stiff’ resistance in eastern Ukraine, US says

The Russian military has not been able to advance as far into the Donbas region of Ukraine as planned due to Ukrainian resistance, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby has said.

“Russians have not made the kind of progress in the Donbas and in the south that we believe they wanted to make. And we do believe it’s been slow. And at every turn they have met a stiff Ukrainian resistance,” Kirby told a media briefing at the Pentagon.

“What we’re focused on is making sure that resistance remains as stiff as possible.”

Russia says it will halt fighting at Mariupol plant for civilian evacuation

Russia has said its forces would halt hostilities at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol and open a humanitarian corridor for civilians for three days beginning on Thursday.

“The Russian armed forces will from 8am to 6pm [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.

Zelenskyy asks UN chief for help save people in Azovstal steel plant

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has asked United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for help saving people trapped in the Azovstal steel works in Mariupol, his office said in a statement.

“The lives of the people who remain there are in danger. Everyone is important to us. We ask for your help in saving them,” the statement quoted Zelenskyy as saying.

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

Read the updates from Wednesday, May 4.

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