Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:
Russia trying to ‘destroy’ eastern city
The governor of the eastern region of Lugansk accuses Russia of trying to “completely destroy” the city of Severodonetsk in its bid to conquer the Donbas region, near Russia’s border.
“They are simply erasing Severodonetsk from the face of the earth,”Sergei Gaidai says on Telegram, adding that heavy bombardments of the eastern city are preventing the evacuation of the remaining 15 000 civilians.
WAR IN UKRAINE
President Volodymyr Zelensky says the situation in Donbas is “extremely difficult” as the Russian army brings its full force to bear.
The head of Ukraine’s military intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, said the issue is getting arms to the frontline, saying delays had left Kyiv “catastrophically short of heavy weapons”.
Putin girding for long war
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu makes clear that Russia is settling in for a long war.
“We will continue the special military operation until all the objectives have been achieved,”Shoigu tells the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a Russian-led military alliance of former Soviet states.
The secretary of Russia’s Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, also says Moscow’s offensive will last as long as necessary.
“We are not rushing to meet deadlines,”he says.
Sanctions causing food shortages: Moscow
Russia says the West needs to lift sanctions on the country to stave off a global food crisis.
The war in Ukraine, which together with Russia produces 30% of the world’s wheat, has pushed global food prices to an all-time high — sparking fears of worsening hunger, particularly in Africa.
“Solving the food problem requires a comprehensive approach, including the removal of sanctions that have been imposed on Russian exports and financial transactions,”says Andrey Rudenko, a Russian deputy foreign minister.
He also demanded that Ukraine de-mine its ports so that ships can leave with grain exports.
The West argues it is Russia’s offensive in Ukraine and blockade of Ukraine’s ports that is causing food scarcity.
Chelsea FC takeover approved
The UK government approves the proposed takeover of Chelsea football club from Roman Abramovich, saying it is satisfied the deal “will not benefit” the sanctioned Russian oligarch.
Abramovich put Chelsea on the market in early March.
A consortium led by Todd Boehly, a co-owner of baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers, has agreed to buy the club for a record £4.25 billion ($5.3 billion). The Premier League agreed to the deal.
Hungary maintains opposition to oil embargo
Budapest is unlikely to drop its opposition to an EU embargo on Russian oil soon and leaders should not discuss the issue at an upcoming summit, Hungary’s leader Viktor Orban tells Brussels in a letter.
Landlocked Hungary relies on Russian oil from a single pipeline and Orban insists the proposed sixth package of EU sanctions against Moscow would have a devastating impact on his country’s economy.
Russia seeks older recruits
Russia’s parliament is to consider scrapping the upper age limit for signing up to join the army, in a sign Moscow may be looking to recruit more troops for its military campaign in Ukraine.
Under current legislation, only Russians aged 18 to 40 and foreign nationals aged 18 to 30 have the right to sign their first military service contract.
A draft bill proposes to scrap the upper limit, saying that high-precision weapons require highly skilled specialists, who are often over 40.
Kharkiv metro reopens
The metro in Ukraine’s second city of Kharkiv reopens after months of use as a bomb shelter.
The reopening is a symbol of Ukraine’s success in driving back Russian forces from the city’s outskirts but some people continue to live underground, fearing that the bombardments could resume.
© Agence France-Presse