The Ukrainian roundup

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Ukraine acknowledged on Friday it was taking heavy losses in Russia’s assault in the east but said Russian losses were even worse, as U.S. President Joe Biden called on Congress to send as much as $33 billion to help Kyiv withstand the attack.

FIGHTING AND CASUALTIES

* Ukrainian rescue workers on Friday recovered a corpse from the rubble of a building in Kyiv that was hit by a Russian missile while U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was in the Ukrainian capital for talks, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.

* Russia said its missiles fired at Kyiv destroyed the production facilities of a space-rocket plant. 

* Russia said it used a diesel submarine in the Black Sea to strike Ukrainian military targets with Kalibr cruise missiles, the first time Moscow has announced the use of its submarine fleet to hit its neighbour. 

* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s office said Russia was pounding the entire front line in the eastern Donetsk region with rockets, artillery, mortar bombs and aircraft. The Ukrainian general staff said Russia was shelling positions along the line of contact to prevent the Ukrainians from regrouping.

* Moscow regards winning the “Battle for Donbas” as crucial if it is to achieve its stated objective of securing control over the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the east, Britain’s defence ministry said. “Fighting has been particularly heavy around Lysychansk and Severodonetsk, with an attempted advance south from Izium towards Sloviansk,” it said on Twitter.

* Ukraine has suffered serious losses in the war with Russia but Moscow’s forces have lost many more soldiers, an aide to Zelenskiy said in a video posted online.

Members of the Ukrainian army gather in a frontline village near Velyka Novosilka, in the Donetsk region, Ukraine. EPA-EFE/ROMAN PILIPEY

A border checkpoint at a village in Russia’s Bryansk region bordering Ukraine came under mortar fire from Ukrainian territory, the regional governor said on Friday.

Reports of battlefield developments could not be immediately verified by Reuters.

WEST’S RESPONSE

* The U.S. mission to the OSCE said the Kremlin might attempt “sham referenda” in southern and eastern areas it had captured since the Feb. 24 invasion, using “a well-worn playbook that steals from history’s darkest chapters”. 

* NATO is ready to maintain support for Ukraine for years in the war against Russia, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said. 

* The United States believes Russian intelligence was behind an April chemical attack on Dmitry Muratov, a Nobel Peace Prize-winning Russian journalist critical of the Kremlin, U.S. news organizations reported.

HUMAN AND ECONOMIC IMPACT

* After consultations with the visiting U.N. Secretary General, Ukraine said it hoped on Friday to evacuate civilians who are holed up in a vast steel works with the last fighters defending the southeastern port city of Mariupol. 

* The bodies of 1,150 civilians have been recovered in Ukraine’s Kyiv region since Russia’s invasion and 50-70% of them had bullet wounds from small arms, Kyiv police said. 

* Britain said on Friday it was sending experts to help Ukraine with gathering evidence and prosecuting war crimes, with a team due to arrive in Poland in early May. 

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