Dozens feared dead after Russian bombs hit school in Bilohorivka; Ukraine says it has destroyed another Russian ship
Dozens of people are feared dead after Russian bombs hit a school in the eastern Ukraine village of Bilohorivka where 90 people were sheltering, according to the governor of Luhansk. He said at least two bodies had been pulled from the rubble and 60 more are feared dead.
Russian forces fired six cruise missiles at the southern Ukrainian city of Odesa on Saturday and continued to bombarded a besieged steel mill in Mariupol. Russia appears to want to complete their conquest of Mariupol in time for Victory Day celebrations on 9 May.
The Ukrainian government has said that it has destroyed another Russian ship. The ministry of defence claimed that Ukrainian Bayraktar TB2 had hit the landing craft of the Serna project, tweeting: “The traditional parade of the Russian Black Sea fleet on May 9 this year will be held near Snake Island – at the bottom of the sea.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said more than 300 civilians have been rescued from the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, where they had been stuck for 72 days during a bitter battle for the city. Zelenskiy said they were now preparing for a “second stage of evacuation” to rescue doctors and soldiers still trapped there. The Ukrainian government have urged Doctors Without Borders (MSF) to help with the evacuation.
Zelenskiy also expressed regret at the cultural devastation caused by the war. In his nightly address on Telegram, he said “nearly 200 cultural heritage sites” in Ukraine had been lost or damaged.
CIA Director William Burns said the war is in a dangerous phase because President Putin “thinks he cannot afford to lose”. Burns said the huge amount of western military support for Ukraine was not a deterrent to the Russian President.
Britain has pledged to provide another £1.3bn ($1.60bn) in military support and aid to Ukraine. The new funds will almost double Britain’s previous spending commitments to Ukraine. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement, “Putin’s brutal attack is not only causing untold devastation in Ukraine – it is also threatening peace and security across Europe.”
The Group of Seven (G7) leaders will hold a video call on Sunday with Zelenskiy in a show of unity the day before Russia marks its Victory Day holiday, the White House said. Talks will focus on the latest developments in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, efforts to bolster the country and ways to demonstrate “continued G7 unity in our collective response, including by imposing severe costs for Putin’s war”, a spokesperson for the White House said.
The conflict in Ukraine is taking a “heavy toll” on some of Russia’s most capable units, the UK’s ministry of defence said in its latest intelligence report. At least one T-90M, Russia’s most advanced tank, had been destroyed in fighting, the ministry added. “It will take considerable time and expense for Russia to reconstitute its armed forces following this conflict,” the report said.
The UN security council has issued its first statement on the war in Ukraine, but withheld from using the words “war”, “conflict” or “invasion”. The statement instead “expresses deep concern regarding the maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine” and voiced “strong support” for the secretary general, António Guterres, in seeking a peaceful solution to the “dispute”.
The World Health Organization indicated it is gathering evidence for potential war crimes committed by Russia. The WHO emergencies director, Mike Ryan, said the agency has already documented 200 attacks on hospitals and clinics in Ukraine which could violate international law.
Nearly 4 million Russians left the country in the first three months of this year, official statistics published by Russia’s federal security service show. Arrivals to former Soviet countries saw a significant spike after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February. It is unclear how many have since returned to their home country.