KYIV, Ukraine — Russian forces shelled an oil refinery in the Ukrainian city of Lysychansk on Saturday and a major fire broke out, a regional governor reported.
Lugansk regional governor Serhiy Haidai said it was not the first time the refinery had been targeted and accused the Russians of trying to “exhaust” local emergency services. He pointed out that there was no fuel at the refinery at the time of the attack and that “remnants of oil sludge” were burning.
Ukraine’s presidential office reported on Saturday that missile strikes and shelling in the past 24 hours have occurred in eight regions: Donetsk, Lugansk and Kharkiv in the east, Dnipropetrovsk, Poltava and Kirovohrad in central Ukraine and Mykolaiv and Kherson to the south. The strikes underscored that the whole country remained under threat despite Russia’s pivot to mount a new offensive in the east.
In Kharkiv, nine civilians were killed and more than 50 were injured on Friday, while in the wider region two were killed and three injured, the report said.
The southern Mykolaiv region was beaten on Friday and Saturday. Friday’s airstrikes left five people dead and 15 injured, according to the presidential office. The president of the regional legislature, Hanna Zamazeyeva, said on Saturday that 39 people had been injured in the past 24 hours.
Zamazeyeva said the targets included several residential blocks “where there are no military installations”.
The besieged Ukrainian port city of Mariupol still holds, but the situation there is critical.
KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIAN-UKRAINE WAR:
— War in Ukraine far from over as Russia renews strikes in kyiv
— “We pray for you”: Ukrainian Jews celebrate Passover, if they can
— The Ukrainian port of Mariupol resists against all odds
— War Crimes Watch: The Woman Who Would Make Putin Pay
– The pain of a Ukrainian mother watching her daughter’s funeral on the phone
— Go to https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine for more coverage
KYIV, Ukraine – Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in a televised address on Saturday that 700 Ukrainian soldiers and more than 1,000 civilians – more than half of them women – are currently being held captive by the Russians.
Vereshchuk said kyiv intends to swap the captive soldiers, since Ukraine holds roughly the same number of Russian soldiers but demands the release of the civilians “without any conditions”.
ROME — Italy is banning all Russian vessels from its ports from Sunday, as part of expanded EU sanctions announced earlier this month. Ships already in Italian ports must leave immediately “after completing their commercial activity”, according to a notice sent to port authorities across the country.
BERLIN — Peace activists took part in Germany’s traditional Easter marches on Saturday, calling for an end to the war in Ukraine but also, in at least some cases, opposing helping Ukraine defend itself with weapons .
An event in Berlin drew 400 people and one in Hanover 500, the dpa news agency reported, citing police. Marches took place in cities such as Munich, Cologne, Leipzig, Stuttgart and Duisburg. The banners included “End the war in Ukraine” and “Whoever sends arms reaps war”.
The country’s Vice Chancellor, Green politician Robert Habeck, warned protesters against sending the wrong message, saying “there will be peace only when Putin stops his war of aggression”. He said in an interview with the Funke media group that it was “clear who the aggressor is and who defends himself in an emergency and who we must support, also with weapons”.
Ukrainian officials said Germany had sent anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons as well as night vision equipment, body armor and machine guns.
Locally organized peace marches date back to the Cold War era and focus on issues such as disarmament and the abolition of nuclear weapons.
KYIV, Ukraine – Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said one person died and several others were injured in Saturday morning airstrikes on the capital’s Darnytsky district as Russian forces resumed scattered attacks on the capital in the west of Ukraine.
“Our air defense forces are doing everything they can to protect us, but the enemy is insidious and ruthless,” Klitschko said on the Telegram messaging app.
The attacks, which the Russian Defense Ministry said targeted an armored vehicle factory in the Ukrainian capital, were a searing reminder to Ukrainians and their Western supporters that the whole country remains under threat despite pivoting Russian forces towards the east, where a new offensive is to be feared. .
Klitschko urged Ukrainians not to return to Kyiv just yet in televised remarks on Saturday, warning that strikes on the capital were likely to continue and its suburbs were packed with explosives. “We do not rule out further strikes on the capital,” Klitschko said. “We cannot prohibit, we can only recommend. If you have the opportunity to stay a little longer in the cities where it is safer, do so.
The mayor of Kyiv added that because of the mines, Kyiv residents are not allowed to visit the parks and forests of the northeastern regions that border the liberated territories once occupied by the Russians.
MOSCOW — Russia has banned the British Prime Minister and a dozen other senior British officials from entering the country in response to British sanctions imposed on Russia for its military operation in Ukraine.
The Russian Foreign Ministry announced the decision on Saturday targeting Boris Johnson, a number of British ministers and former Prime Minister Theresa May.
The ministry statement cited “unprecedented hostile actions by the British government, expressed, in particular, in the imposition of sanctions against senior officials” in Russia.
“The Russophobic course of the British authorities, the main objective of which is to stir up a negative attitude towards our country, the reduction of bilateral relations in almost all areas is detrimental to the well-being and interests of British residents. Any attack on sanctions will inevitably backfire on their initiators and receive a decisive rebuff,” the statement said.
On Friday evening, the ministry announced the expulsion of 18 European Union diplomats from Moscow, in retaliation for the bloc’s declaration of 19 diplomats from the Russian mission to the EU and the European Energy Community. atomic persona non grata.
The European Union said the expulsions were groundless and that the EU diplomats targeted were working within the framework of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
KYIV, Ukraine – Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said in an online post that Kyiv was struck early on Saturday in Darnytskyi district in the eastern part of the capital, saying there were “explosions “.
He said rescuers and paramedics were on the scene and details of the victims would be released later.
Klitschko urged residents to heed air raid sirens and warned those who fled the capital not to return just yet for their safety.
Thick smoke rising from the site on the east side of Kyiv could be seen from parts of the city center near the Dnipro River.
WASHINGTON — Ukraine is sending top officials to Washington for next week’s spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, where discussions will focus on the Russian invasion and its impact on the global economy.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko and Central Bank Governor Kyrylo Shevchenko will attend the rally, according to a World Bank official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the visit had not not officially announced.
KYIV, Ukraine – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Friday that existing sanctions against Russia were “painful” but not yet enough to stop the Russian military.
Zelenskyy called on “the democratic world” to ban Russian oil. As US lawmakers and US President Joe Biden have enacted such a ban, Europe is becoming more dependent on Russian energy supplies and the US is working to prevent India from ramping up its use of Russian energy.
“In general, the democratic world has to accept that Russia’s money for energy resources is actually money for the destruction of democracy,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address to his nation.
He also said: “The sooner the democratic world recognizes that the oil embargo against Russia and the complete blockade of its banking sector are necessary steps towards peace, the sooner the war will end.”
TIJUANA, Mexico – A Russian man and a Ukrainian woman have married in the Mexican border town of Tijuana after being unable to travel to the United States together
Daria Sakhniuk was allowed to enter the United States as a Ukrainian refugee, but her partner, Semen Bobrovsky, was unable to travel there after Russia invaded Ukraine. They left Ukraine at the start of the war.
Bobrovski told El Sol de Tijuana that he thinks Thursday’s wedding will boost his chances of entering the United States with his new wife. The United States only allows Russian nationals with family members in the United States to enter the country.
“Without it, we cannot cross because, again for the official US government, we are strangers to each other,” he said.
KYIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he discussed the fate of the beleaguered port city of Mariupol during a meeting on Friday with the country’s military chiefs and heads of its intelligence agencies.
“Details cannot be made public now, but we are doing everything we can to save our people,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address to the nation.
Elsewhere in southern Ukraine, he said Russian troops occupying areas around Kherson and Zaporizhzhia were terrorizing civilians and searching for anyone who had served in the army or government.
“The occupiers believe this will make it easier for them to control this territory. But they are very wrong. They are wrong,” Zelenskyy said.
He added: “The problem with the occupiers is not that they are not accepted by certain activists, veterans or journalists. Russia’s problem is that it is not accepted – and never will be accepted – by all Ukrainian people. Russia has lost Ukraine forever.