As the war in Ukraine entered the 52nd day, the Russian forces accelerated attacks on Kyiv and other western cities. Several airstrikes were reported from Kyiv, Lviv and Kharkiv on Saturday as officials in Moscow claimed they were targeting military sites in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, President Zelenskyy vowed to provide housing to Ukrainians who lost their homes in the war. Zelenskyy announced plans to provide temporary housing to internally displaced people, those who defend the state or are working in the public interest.
1. Russia stepped up its attack on the capital city of Kyiv, and other western cities after Russian authorities accused Ukraine of launching airstrikes in Bryansk, a region bordering Ukraine. Though Moscow claimed that it was only targeting military sites, this has been refuted by witnesses.
2. With the renewed attacks on the capital city, Mayor Vitali Klitschko urged Ukrainians not to return to Kyiv. He warned that strikes on the capital are likely to continue and its suburbs are rigged with explosives. Airstrikes ripped through Darnytski district of the capital, though the Russian Defense Ministry said it targeted an armored vehicle plant in the Ukrainian capital.
3. Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday announced the move to bar British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other top UK officials from entering the country in response to British sanctions. The ministry’s statement cited “unprecedented hostile actions of the British government…” as the reason.
4. As per an estimate by Ukraine, nearly 2,500 to 3,000 Ukrainian troops have died in the war, and about 10,000 have been injured. It said that some 700 Ukrainian troops and more than 1,000 civilians have been taken captive by the Russian forces. Around the same number of Russian troops Ukraine holds as prisoners. A swap is intended but Ukriane is demanding the release of civilians “without any conditions”.
5. A Russian general who was commanding troops at the Ukrainian port of Mariupol died in battle and was buried in St. Petersburg on Saturday. Major General Vladimir Frolov was deputy commander of the 8th Army, which Russian media identified as being among the forces battering Mariupol. Ukraine has claimed that several Russian generals and dozens of other high-ranking officers have been killed during the war.
6. Pope Francis on Saturday invoked “gestures of peace” during an Easter vigil homily in St. Peter’s Basilica, which was attended by the mayor of the occupied Ukrainian city of Melitopol and three Ukrainian lawmakers. The pontiff did not refer directly to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but he has called for an Easter truce in order to reach a negotiated peace.
7. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appealed to the Western countries for more arms and a global embargo on Russian oil. He also accused Russian troops of terrorizing civilians in occupied cities.
8. Italy bars Russian ships from entering its ports with effect from Sunday. It is a part of the expanded EU sanctions announced earlier this month. The ships which are already in Italian ports must leave immediately “after completing their commercial activity”, the note read.
(With input from agencies)