The Ukrainian crisis roundup

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April 23 – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy warned late on Friday that Russia’s invasion was just the beginning and Moscow has designs on countries beyond Ukraine, after a Russian commander said his country wants control of southern and eastern Ukraine. 

CIVILIANS

* Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said “there is a possibility” a humanitarian corridor out of Mariupol could be opened on Saturday.

* Fresh efforts will be made to help civilians leave the devastated city of Mariupol on Saturday through a humanitarian corridor – although multiple previous efforts to operate these have failed in the embattled port city.

* The Polish border guard says nearly three million Ukrainian refugees have fled to Poland since the war began.

FIGHTING

* Russian forces made no major gains in the last 24 hours, British military intelligence said on Saturday. 

* Russia’s defence ministry said on Friday that Ukrainian fighters and foreign mercenaries are still “securely blockaded” at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol. 

*Russia’s defence ministry has said that its forces had shot down a Ukrainian Su-25 fighter jet and destroyed three MI-8 helicopters at an airfield in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region.

* More than 700 civilians have been killed in the northern city of Chernihiv, the head of the city council Oleksandr Lomako has told the BBC. Three weeks after Russian troops lifted their siege of the city, new graves are still being dug in the main graveyard.

*The governor of Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region says towns there are coming under constant shelling.Serhiy Haidai said two people had been killed in Popasna – a town of about 20,000 people – where residential buildings have come under attack and street fighting has taken place.

* President Zelensky warned that Russia could attack other countries – saying the invasion of Ukraine is only the beginning. His remarks come after a Russian commander said seizing a swathe of Ukraine would let Moscow access a Russian-backed separatist region in Moldova

*The conflict continues to have a wider impact, with shoppers in the UK now facing a limit on purchase of cooking oil due to disruption to exports from Ukraine.

*Russia has said one sailor died and 27 more are missing after its warship Moskva sank last week.

DIPLOMACY

* U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Tuesday.

*Pope Francis has said he will not visit Ukraine, as he had reportedly been considering earlier in the month.”What good would it do for the Pope to go to Kyiv if the war continued the next day?” he told Argentine daily La Nacion.The pontiff stressed he was “willing to do everything to stop the war” but a papal visit might interfere with “higher objectives”, such as efforts to end the war.

People carry bags from a damadged apartment block in Horenka village of Kyiv area, Ukraine. Russian troops entered Ukraine on 24 February resulting in fighting and destruction in the country, and triggering a series of severe economic sanctions on Russia by Western countries. EPA-EFE/OLEG PETRASYUK

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