War in Ukraine, day 72 | Ukraine: UN Security Council for a “peaceful solution”, 50 people evacuated from Mariupol

(Zaporizhia) The UN Security Council on Friday unanimously gave its “strong support” to “seeking a peaceful solution” in Ukraine, in the first show of unity since the invasion began from that country, where 50 additional civilians were evacuated of Mariupol, a besieged port city.

Updated yesterday at 3:51 PM.

Joshua MELVIN with Dmitry ZAKS in Kramatorsk
Media agency France

What you need to know

  • In total, “nearly 500 civilians” have been evacuated from the besieged city of Mariupol in recent days, including 50 on Friday;
  • Around Mariupol, road signs have been posted in Russian;
  • Information about the situation at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol remains contradictory;
  • Senior US official denies US providing identification for Russian cruiser Moskva;
  • Germany will supply seven armored howitzers to Ukraine to help repel the Russian invader;
  • Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban ruled on Friday that Brussels has crossed “a red line” by wanting to ban Russian oil imports;
  • Satellite images predict a loss of a third of the wheat crop;
  • The city of Severodonetsk almost surrounded by the Russians.

Meanwhile, the United States on Friday announced $150 million in new military aid to Ukraine, including artillery ammunition and radar, but warned that arms funds for Kiev were now “virtually exhausted”.

This aid, which is much lower than previous US arms deliveries, includes notably 25,000 155mm rounds, counter-battery radars to detect Russian artillery fire and communications failures.

In the statement it adopted by Norway and Mexico, the Security Council – of which Russia is a permanent member – recalls that “all Member States undertake under the Charter of the United Nations to settle their international disputes by peaceful means”.

In this regard, the main UN body, which also expresses its “deep concern about the maintenance of peace and security in Ukraine”, is giving “firm support” to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “in the search for a peaceful solution” to this conflict.

Also on Friday, a new humanitarian convoy allowed 50 more civilians to leave the massive Azovstal steel plant, the last area of ​​resistance for Ukrainian troops in Mariupol, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk and the Russian Defense Ministry announced.

They are women, children and the elderly, she said, adding that the evacuations would continue on Saturday, which Moscow later confirmed. The Russian Defense Ministry said 11 children had been evacuated.

These operations, which are under the auspices of the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), started last weekend and have displaced nearly 500 civilians, according to Kiev.


Photo ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO, REUTERS archive

“You have to understand that Mariupol will never fall […]it has already been destroyed, there is no structure left, everything has been completely destroyed,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Mariupol “completely destroyed”

In Mariupol, “people are being evacuated as much as possible,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky exclaimed during a videoconference intervention organized by the Chatham House think tank in London.

“You have to understand that Mariupol will never fall […]it has already been destroyed, there is no structure left, everything has been completely destroyed,” he said.

“The enemy is trying to finish the defenders of Azovstal, he is trying to do this before May 9 to give Vladimir Putin a present,” said Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Mr Zelensky.

And if that were the case, if Russian forces tried to “destroy” Mariupol’s last fighters or civilians, Kiev would be forced to break off all peace negotiations, the Ukrainian president warned again.

Iryna Vereshchuk on Friday lamented that Russian troops “constantly violated” the ceasefire declared by Moscow during the evacuations.

The Azov regiment, which defends the steel plant, accused the Russian army of “attacking with an anti-tank guided missile” one of its cars involved in the operation to evacuate civilians, killing one soldier and injuring six. touched.

In the morning, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry had acknowledged that Russian units, “in certain areas, with the support of the air force, had resumed operations aimed at taking over the factory” Azovstal, where they live anchored in immense underground galleries of civilians and combatants.

The complete capture of Mariupol, a southeastern city with a pre-war population of nearly 500,000 that was devastated by two months of Russian siege and bombing, would be significant for Russia as May 9 approaches. day when an impressive military parade in Moscow’s Red Square celebrates its victory over Nazi Germany in 1945.

Russian strikes

Moscow has so far only been able to claim full control of one major city, Kherson.


PHOTOGRAPH ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO, REUTERS

It is located in the south, where, a senior Russian parliamentary official, Andrei Turtchak, launched Russia “forever”.

To the east, Severodonetsk, one of the main cities of the Donbass still in Ukrainian hands, is “virtually surrounded,” the mayor acknowledged Friday.

Russian planes attacked 27 military sites during the day, including three ammunition depots near Kouzminovka, Zvanovka and Seversk in the Donetsk region, the Russian Defense Ministry noted in the evening.

“Bombings every day, every day, morning, afternoon and evening. There has not been a day without bombing, not a day,” Olga Babitch told AFP after she left her village and reached Zaporizhzhya, in southern Ukraine.

At the same time, 41 people, including 11 women, have been released in a new prisoner exchange with Russia, Kiev announced Friday, without specifying the number of Russians transferred to their country.

On the Western sanctions front, Hungary persisted in blocking the proposed European embargo on Russian oil imports on Friday and tough negotiations were underway this weekend between the 27 EU member states to reach an agreement, several diplomatic sources told AFP.

In addition, Germany, which will supply seven armored howitzers to the Ukrainians, has announced that the leaders of the G7 major powers will hold a virtual meeting on Sunday on the war in Ukraine, in which President Zelensky will participate.

“May 8 is a historic date that marks the end of World War II in Europe that caused terror, destruction and death” on this continent, underlined a spokesman for German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who judged that with the current Russian offensive in Ukraine ” the cohesion of the G7 is more important than ever”.

Global Food Security

And there is urgency. Africa is facing an “unprecedented” crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including rising food and fuel prices, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) officials warned Friday.

In this regard, the World Food Program (WFP) has requested the reopening of ports in the Ukrainian region of Odessa, so that agricultural products from this country can circulate freely to the rest of the world.

And this at a time when major agricultural powers, including the European Union, the United States, Canada and Australia, have pledged to ensure global food security despite the shocks caused by the situation in Ukraine.

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