April 22 (Reuters) – Russia pressed its new offensive in eastern Ukraine while in the port city of Mariupol, teams of volunteers collected corpses from the ruins after Moscow declared victory there despite Ukrainian forces holding out.
Ukraine’s general staff said Russian forces had increased attacks along the whole frontline in the east of the country and were trying to mount an offensive in the Kharkiv region, north of Russia’s main target, the Donbas.
* Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Russian forces control most of Mariupol but Ukrainian troops remain in a part of it. About 120,000 civilians were blocked from leaving, he said.
* The mayor of Mariupol appealed for the “full evacuation” of the city.
* British military intelligence said a full Russian assault on the plant would likely mean heavy Russian casualties and Putin’s decision to blockade it would free up forces for elsewhere in the east.
* Heavy shelling continued in the eastern Donbas as Russia tried to advance towards settlements, the British Ministry of Defence said.
* The United Nations human rights office sounded the alarm about growing evidence of war crimes in Ukraine, urging both Moscow and Kyiv to order combatants to respect international law.
* U.S. President Joe Biden pledged $800 million in more weaponry for Ukraine and said he would ask Congress for more money to help the Ukrainian military.
* German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said NATO must avoid a direct military confrontation with Russia that could lead to a third world war.
* Plans for Pope Francis to meet in June with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, who has backed Russia’s war in Ukraine, have been suspended, the pope has told an Argentine newspaper.
* Ukraine is working with lawyers on a mechanism to use frozen Russian funds to compensate it for its economic losses, its justice minister told Reuters.
* World Bank President David Malpass said the food security crisis caused by the war was likely to last months and that Ukraine had suffered some $60 billion worth of physical damage.
“If you have a helmet and a bulletproof vest, but you do not have a gun in your hands, you are doomed”: Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, appealing for military aid.