- UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to meet with Ukrainian and Russian presidents
- Russia acknowledges 1 death, 27 missing after Moskva flagship’s sinking
- UN says it has confirmed 2,345 civilian deaths and 2,919 civilians wounded since the war began
- Ukraine has said a Mariupol escape corridor could be opened again on Saturday
This article was last updated at 03:21 GMT/UTC.
UK intelligence says Russia made no gains
British military intelligence say Russian forces have made no major gains in the past 24 hours despite increased activity.
“Despite their stated conquest of Mariupol, heavy fighting continues to take place frustrating Russian attempts to capture the city thus further slowing their desired progress in the Donbas,” said the statement shared on twitter.
Humanitarian corridor could open out of Mariupol — Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Friday that there was “a possibility” that a humanitarian corridor out of Mariupol could open on Saturday.
Ukrainian authorities estimate that there are still 100,000 in the besieged city and says they need full evacuation.
The remainder of Ukrainian forces in the city has been holed up in the Azovstal steelworks. Russian President Vladimir Putin said the Moscow would not bother launching on offensive on the steelworks and declared Russian victory in the city.
Russian opposition activist jailed over ‘false information’
Russian authorities have opened a criminal case against opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza Jr. for allegedly spreading “false information” about the country’s armed forces.
Kara-Murza is the vice-chairman of Open Russia, a liberal NGO founded by Mikhail Khodorkovsky — once believed the richest man in Russia before he fell foul of Putin and was jailed — who has been living in Switzerland since his release in 2013.
Kara-Murza was hospitalized with poisoning symptoms in 2015 and 2017.
Russian media reported that similar charges were being drawn up against Ilya Krasilshchik, former publisher of independent news site Meduza.
Russia adopted a law criminalizing spreading “false information” about its military shortly after it invaded Ukraine in late February. The offense is punishable by up to 14 years in prison.
Human rights advocates have so far counted 32 cases opened under the law.
Ukraine’s Zelenskyy claims Moscow plans to invade other countries
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video address late on Friday that Russia plans on capturing countries other than Ukraine.
“All the nations that, like us, believe in the victory of life over death must fight with us. They must help us, because we are the first in line. And who will come next?” Zelenskyy said.
Zelenskyy’s comments follow statements by Russian military commander Rustam Minnekayev, who said that Moscow plans to take control of the south of Ukraine and open a corridor to the Russian-occupied Trans-Dniester region of Moldova.
UN chief to meet with Putin, Zelenskyy
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres is set to meet separately with the presidents of Russia and Ukraine next week, the organization said on Friday.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov had said earlier in the day that Guterres was to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and President Vladimir Putin next Tuesday.
Later, the UN said that Guterres would travel on to Kyiv on Thursday to see Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.
UN spokesperson Eri Kaneko said that Guterres wanted to discuss “steps that can be taken right now” to stop fighting with Ukrainian and Russian officials.
“He will also meet with staff of UN agencies to discuss the scaling up of humanitarian assistance to the people of Ukraine,” the UN said in a statement.
On Tuesday, Guterres had appealed for a four-day “humanitarian pause” leading up to Sunday’s Orthodox Easter holiday but his call came to naught.
Summary of Friday’s events in Ukraine-Russia crisis
Canada’s defense ministry on Friday it sent heavy artillery to Ukraine’s forces.
Spain reopened its embassy in the Ukrainian capital, Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares said.
The Netherlands plans to stop importing natural gas and oil from Russia by the end of the year, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said talks between Moscow and Kyiv have stalled. Earlier, Russian chief negotiator Vladimir Medinsky said he had spoken to his Ukrainian counterpart.
Russia’s Central Military District (CFD) command said that Moscow was planning to seize Ukraine’s south and open a route to Moldova’s Trans-Dniester region as part of the “second phase” of its military operation. Ukraine’s defense ministry denounced the plans as “imperialism.”
Russia on Friday also for the first time acknowledged casualties in the sinking of its Black Sea flagship the Moskva last week, saying that one person had died, 27 were still unaccounted for and the 396 other crew members had been rescued.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Moscow of planning to “falsify” a “referendum” in parts of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions that are under Russian control.
German Development Minister Svenja Schulze on Friday told the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper that Berlin would allocate funds totaling €37 million (€40.1 million) for reconstruction in Ukraine. Most of the money would go to restoring Ukraine’s power grid, with the rest being for rebuilding of apartments and the provision of medical supplies.
You can revisit our live updates from April 22 here.
si/msh (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)
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