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The Guardian - UK

EU drafts proposal to phase in a ban on Russian oil – as it happened

Thank you for following our live coverage of the war in Ukraine.

This blog has now closed. You can find our latest coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war in our new live blog in the link below.

Images of evacuees who escaped Mariupol, including from Azovstal steel works plant, show dozens of people arriving in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine.

People evacuated from Mariupol’s Azovstal plant arrive on buses at a registration and processing area for internally displaced people in Zaporizhzhia.
People evacuated from Mariupol’s Azovstal plant arrive on buses at a registration and processing area for internally displaced people in Zaporizhzhia. Photograph: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images
A young girl clutches a small child in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine.
A young girl clutches a small child in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Evacuees wave as they arrive on a bus at an evacuation point.
Evacuees wave as they arrive on a bus at an evacuation point. Photograph: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

A significant Ukrainian counter offensive has pushed Russian forces roughly 40km east of the city of Kharkiv, the institute for the study of war has said in its latest intelligence report.

The counter offensive could set conditions for a broader operation to drive the Russians from most of their positions around the city, the organisation added.

Australia has slapped more sanctions on another 110 Russian politicians and individuals, seeking to punish Moscow for recognising two Russian-controlled regions in Ukraine as independent.

Australia listed sanctions against 76 Russian politicians and 34 “puppet” Ukrainian government officials installed in the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, Australia’s foreign minister Marise Payne confirmed on Wednesday.

“These individuals have violated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine through their assertion of governmental authority over areas of Ukraine without the Ukrainian Government’s authorisation,” Payne said.

Australia has so far sanctioned 812 individuals—including other Russian lawmakers, oligarchs and family members—and 47 entities in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A Russian tycoon, who previously condemned Moscow’s “insane war” in Ukraine, says he has been punished by the Kremlin for his stance and accused Russia of slipping into archaism.

In an emotional post on Instagram in April, Oleg Tinkov, 54, said that “90% of Russians” were against the Kremlin’s “massacre” in Ukraine.

He later sold his 35% stake in the holding Tinkoff Bank he founded in 2006 to a company controlled by Kremlin-friendly billionaire Vladimir Potanin. The TCS Group Holding owns Tinkoff Bank, one of Russia’s largest lenders.

In a new post on Instagram on Tuesday, Tinkov said he had sold his stake for “kopecks”, (roughly translating to “pennies”) and expressed gratitude to Potanin for rescuing him from “this looming hell.”

Russian business tycoon Oleg Tinkov says he has been punished by the Kremlin for his stance on the war and accused Russia of slipping into archaism.
Russian business tycoon Oleg Tinkov says he has been punished by the Kremlin for his stance on the war and accused Russia of slipping into archaism. Photograph: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

Farewell Tinkoff Bank, Farewell Russia. I have nothing left in Russia,” he wrote. “It is a pity that my country has finally slipped into archaism, paternalism and servility. There is no Russia, it was all gone.”

“I’ve lost everything but I have not lost my soul,” he added.

In an interview with The New York Times published on Sunday, Tinkov said he had been forced to sell the stake at 3% of what he considered to be its real value. “I couldn’t negotiate,” he said, adding friends had told him that he could be in danger.

Russia to boycott UN Security Council meeting with EU committee

Russia has said it will boycott a UN Security Council meeting set for Wednesday with the EU’s Political and Security Committee (PSC).

According to a Russian diplomatic source speaking anonymously to AFP on Tuesday, Moscow’s decision is linked to the situation in Ukraine.

A Western diplomat told the news agency they had no memory of Russia boycotting a Security Council meeting since it invaded Ukraine on 24 February.

The annual informal meeting between the council and the PSC is expected to address the EU’s interaction with the UN in countries where both organisations are conducting operations.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, relations have rapidly declined between Moscow and other countries in the UN. Russia’s latest decision to boycott the UN Security Council meeting is a further sign of deteriorating relations between Moscow and its United Nations partners.

Russia's campaign shows 'shocking intelligence failure' and 'incredible arrogance', British defence chief says

The head of the British armed forces has said he is surprised by the Russian failings in its military campaign that started with poor intelligence and led to catastrophic outcomes.

Admiral Sir Antony Radakin, chief of the British defence staff, told the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit in London on Tuesday he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin was in charge of the campaign and showing traits of an autocratic leader who was becoming increasingly isolated.

Their decision making rarely improves, and their decision making gets worse.

We have been surprised at the way Russia has gone about this.”

Russia expected that it could invade Ukraine, take cities in days and take control of the country in 30 days, he added. He said failing in this effort was the consequence of a “shocking intelligence failure and it’s also an incredible arrogance.”

“Whatever their endgame is, it is drastically different from their start game,” Adm. Radakin said.

The campaign started with the ambition of taking the whole of Ukraine, pushing back Nato and demonstrating Russia’s power and authority.

“All of those have failed, Nato has never been stronger,” he said. “The notion that the Ukraine people somehow would choose to orient themselves toward Russia now looks absurd.”

“The idea you would run out of fuel when you are just 100 miles into Ukraine is just slightly bizarre,” he added, speaking of Russian convoys that stalled in the early days of the war.

Updated

Four humanitarian corridors are planned from besieged Mariupol to the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia on Wednesday “if the safety situation allows”, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, Iryna Vereshchuk, announced.

The humanitarian corridors are planned from Mariupol, Lunacharske Circle, Tokmak and Vasylivka, Vereshchuk said in an update posted to her official Facebook account.

The evacuations will start from 8am, she added.

Evacuees have spoken of their horror weeks spent trapped in the Azovstal steel plant, surviving in tunnels, cooking over candles and menaced by Russian forces.

For some civilians inside the Mariupol plant, it was an ordeal that finally ended on Tuesday when more than 100 managed to reach the safety of a shopping centre car park in Ukrainian-held Zaporizhzhia.

Some members of the group told of their experiences over the past few weeks in the besieged plant. They had survived in tunnels below the steelworks among Ukrainian troops, having to pick bomb-shattered glass from their food and hoping for rescue.

“Under permanent fire, sleeping on improvised mats, being pounded by the blast waves, running with your son and being knocked to the ground by an explosion – everything was horrible,” said evacuee Anna Zaitseva. She carried her six-month-old baby in her arms and cried when expressing her gratitude to everyone from the troops who found formula for her child to the urgent international rescue effort that got them to safety.

Read the full story below.

A Ukrainian nurse who lost both her legs when a landmine exploded has shared her first wedding dance with her new husband in a hospital ward in Lviv.

Footage of the newlyweds Oksana Balandina and Viktor Vasyliv, both 23, has since gone viral.

Balandina lost both her legs weeks earlier when a landmine exploded on 27 March, a little over a month after Russia invaded, as the couple walked home in Lysychansk in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region.

“I only managed to shout to him [Vasyliv]: ‘Honey, look!’”, said Balandina, as she recalled to Reuters the moment it happened.

“He looked at me when the mine exploded. I fell down with my face on the ground. There was an extreme noise in my head. Then I turned around and I started to tear off the clothing on me. I thought it would be easier to breathe because there was not enough air,” she added.

Vasyliv, who was walking behind her, was unhurt.

“When it happened, I gave up in despair, I did not know what to do. I saw her not moving,” he said.

“If it was not for Oksana, I don’t know what would have happened. She is so strong. She did not faint. It was Oksana who coordinated our actions,” he added.

Balandina has spent the last month being treated in various hospitals around the country. In the end, doctors had to amputate both of her legs and four fingers of her left hand.

“I did not want to live… I didn’t want to live such life, I have two children. I didn’t want them to see me like this. I did not want to be a burden for anyone in my family,” said Balandina, speaking in hospital.

“But thanks to the support, I accepted it. I need to keep living. It is not the end of the life. If God left me alive, that’s my destiny.”

Her two children - a 7-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter - are now safe with their grandparents in the Poltava region in central Ukraine.

After celebrating their wedding in hospital, the couple are hoping to travel to Germany where Balandina will get prosthetic legs and undergo rehabilitation.

Here is a little more detail on the meeting between Germany’s opposition leader and Ukraine’s president in Kyiv on Tuesday.

Friedrich Merz, leader of Germany’s Christian Democrats who lost power in last September’s election, said Ukraine’s battle against Russian invaders was a fight on behalf of freedom everywhere, raising pressure on Chancellor Olaf Scholz to make an appearance in the Ukrainian capital.

Merz said he would brief Scholz on his Ukraine trip, during which he toured the bombed-out town of Irpin before heading to nearby Kyiv for talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

These aren’t images you forget in a hurry,” he said of the destruction. “It’s not enough to see it on television: you have to see it in person to understand the extent of the tragedy.

The Chancellor (Scholz) is right that it’s not just Ukraine that’s being defended here, but democracy and freedom - the very way we live in Germany.”

Although Germany has become among the largest suppliers of arms to Kyiv, Berlin has been criticised for hesitating before agreeing to send heavy weapons and for its earlier support for dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

US says basketball star ‘wrongfully detained’ in Russia

The United States says Russia has unjustly detained basketball star Brittney Griner, two months after the athlete was seized amid soaring tensions over Ukraine.

The US State Department said that her case was being turned over to Roger Carstens, the US special envoy in charge of hostages, AFP reports.

“The Department of State has determined that the Russian Federation has wrongfully detained US citizen Brittney Griner,” a State Department spokesperson said.

The United States says Russia has unjustly detained basketball star Brittney Griner, two months after the athlete was seized amid soaring tensions over Ukraine.
The United States says Russia has unjustly detained basketball star Brittney Griner, two months after the athlete was seized amid soaring tensions over Ukraine. Photograph: Rick Scuteri/AP

Calling American citizens’ safety “among the highest priorities of the US government,” the spokesperson said the State Department would “provide appropriate support” to Griner.

Washington had earlier been granted consular access but had stopped short of commenting on the nature of her detention.

Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and WNBA champion, was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on 17 February on charges of carrying in her luggage vape cartridges with cannabis oil, a crime punishable by 10 years in prison.

Pope Francis has said he requested a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin over Ukraine and compared the scale of the bloodshed to Rwanda’s genocide.

The pontiff told Italy’s Corriere Della Sera newspaper that he had sent a message to Putin around 20 days into the conflict saying that “I was willing to go to Moscow”.

“We have not yet received a response and we are still insisting, though I fear that Putin cannot, and does not, want to have this meeting at this time,” Francis said, according to a report from Agence France-Presse.

“But how is it possible to not stop such brutality? Twenty-five years ago, we lived through the same thing with Rwanda,” he said.

The pope has repeatedly called for peace in Ukraine and denounced a “cruel and senseless war” without mentioning Putin or Moscow by name.

“I’m not going to Kyiv for now. I feel I shouldn’t go. I have to go to Moscow first, I have to meet Putin first,” he said.

Francis also said Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, a close Putin ally, “cannot become Putin’s altar boy”.

Questioning the conflict’s causes, the pope spoke of an “anger” in the Kremlin which could have been “facilitated” by “the barking of Nato at Russia’s door”.

Here are some of the latest images to come out of Ukraine today.

Evacuees including some from the Azovstal plant wave as they arrive on a bus at an evacuation point for people fleeing the Azovstal plant, Mariupol, Melitopol and the surrounding towns under Russian control in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine.
Evacuees including some from the Azovstal plant wave as they arrive on a bus at an evacuation point for people fleeing the Azovstal plant, Mariupol, Melitopol and the surrounding towns under Russian control in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine. Photograph: Chris McGrath/Getty Images
Anna Shevchenko, 35, reacts next to her home in Irpin, near Kyiv.
Anna Shevchenko, 35, reacts next to her home in Irpin, near Kyiv. Photograph: Emilio Morenatti/AP
People pass by a heavily damaged residential building in the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv.
People pass by a heavily damaged residential building in the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv. Photograph: Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images
A woman pushes a pram past a heavily damaged residential building in the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv.
A woman pushes a pram past a heavily damaged residential building in the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv. Photograph: Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images
A crater seen next to a heavily damaged residential building in Chernihiv.
A crater seen next to a heavily damaged residential building in Chernihiv. Photograph: Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images
An aerial view taken on May 3 shows the destroyed Hotel Ukraine in Chernihiv.
An aerial view taken on May 3 shows the destroyed Hotel Ukraine in Chernihiv. Photograph: Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images
People from Mariupol arrive in Kamianske, Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine.
People from Mariupol arrive in Kamianske, Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
A damaged residential building seen in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine.
A damaged residential building seen in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine. Photograph: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters
A building destroyed during conflict in Mariupol.
A building destroyed during conflict in Mariupol. Photograph: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters

EU drafts proposal to phase in a ban on Russian oil, members seek sanctions opt-outs

EU officials handed over a draft plan to member states on a new package of sanctions on Russia late on Tuesday, but divisions between how an oil embargo would work continues.

Ambassadors from the 27 European Union countries will meet on Wednesday to give the plan a once-over, and it will need unanimous approval before going into effect.

The commission’s proposal would phase in a ban on oil imports from Russia over six to eight months, with Hungary and Slovakia allowed to take a few months longer, EU officials told AFP.

But Slovakia, which like Hungary is almost 100% dependent for fuel on Russian crude coming through the Druzbha pipeline, has said it will need several years.

Slovakia’s refinery is designed to work with Russian oil and would need to be thoroughly overhauled or replaced to deal with imports from elsewhere - an expensive and lengthy process.

Other officials, speaking on condition of anonymity during the legally and diplomatically fraught negotiation, said Bulgaria and the Czech Republic could also seek sanctions opt-outs.

One European diplomat warned that granting exemptions to one or two highly-dependent states could trigger a domino effect of exemption demands that would undermine the embargo.

The European Commission is not planning to unveil the draft in public before its president, Ursula von der Leyen, addresses the European Parliament on Wednesday.

21 civilians killed in Donetsk, mayor says

Russian attacks in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region have killed 21 civilians and injured 27 on Tuesday, according to a Ukrainian official.

Regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said the figure included 10 dead at a coking plant in the town of Avdiivka, which we reported on earlier.

In a Telegram post, Kyrylenko said it was the highest daily death toll in the region since an assault on a railway station in the town of Kramatorsk, which killed 50 people last month.

On May 3, the Russians killed 21 civilians in the Donetsk region and wounded 27 more.

This is the largest number of casualties in one day since the Russians shelled the Kramatorsk railway station.

Among the dead today are 10 civilians in Avdiivka, 5 in Lyman, 4 in Vuhledar, 1 in Velyka Novosilka and 1 in Shandryholovo.”

The Guardian has not been able to independently verify these figures.

Updated

Zelenskiy thanked British prime minister Boris Johnson for his support to Ukraine in his national address.

Referring to Johnson’s address to Ukraine’s parliament, Zelenskiy said his British counterpart gave a “very sincere gesture”.

“These were very important words, warm, friendly, powerful. This is a very sincere gesture,” he added. “I am also grateful to Britain for the new package of support for our country, which the Prime Minister announced today.”

Zelenskiy also also said he spoke with representatives of the largest global companies - in the CEO Wall Street Journal club about how to “put pressure on Russia to end the war”.

“This is a very influential club. Three trillion dollars is the total turnover of companies whose leaders are in this club,” he said.

156 evacuated from Mariupol's Azovstal steel plant

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has confirmed 156 people who were successfully evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol have arrived in Zaporizhzhia on Tuesday.

In his national address, Zelenskiy added that a ceasefire was needed in order to make the humanitarian corridor work.

We finally have the result, the first result of our evacuation operation from Azovstal in Mariupol, which we have been organising for a very long time. It took a lot of effort, long negotiations and various mediations.

Today 156 people arrived in Zaporizhzhia. Women and children. They have been in shelters for more than two months. Just imagine! For example, a child is six months old, two of which are underground, fleeing bombs and shelling. Finally, these people are completely safe. They will get help.

However, Russian troops are not adhering to the agreements of a ceasefire, Zelenskiy added.

They continue massive strikes at Azovstal. They are trying to storm the complex. But I have been told many times that no one can be saved. That it is impossible. And today 156 people are in Zaporizhzhia. This is not a victory yet, but this is already a result. And I believe that there is a chance to save our other people.”

“The more such strikes, the farther Russia is from civilisation. From what is called civilisedness,” he added.

Evacuated people from the Russian-occupied Tokmak town arrive on a bus at the evacuation point in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, on Tuesday.
Evacuated people from the Russian-occupied Tokmak town arrive on a bus at the evacuation point in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, on Tuesday. Photograph: Roman Pilipey/EPA

Updated

In more sad news to come out of Ukraine today, a bus collided with a fuel truck in western Ukraine on Tuesday, killing at least 17 people, authorities said.

In President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s daily address to the nation late Tuesday, he said a “terrible road accident” had taken place in the western Rivne region.

“A bus, a car and a fuel truck collided. As of now, there are already 17 dead, but there may be more victims,” Zelenskiy said, expressing condolences to those who lost loved ones in the accident.

The accident did not appear to be directly linked to Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Catch up

  • Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, has passed a law that bans political parties that justify, recognise or deny Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine. The law will also ban parties who glorify or justify the actions of those carrying out armed aggression against Ukraine.
  • Vladimir Putin told France’s Emanuel Macron that “western countries could help stop the crimes of the Ukrainian military”. Putin is also reported to have told Macron about the Russian approach to negotiations with Kyiv.
  • Russia has launched a new attack on the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol, Ukraine, where 200 civilians remain trapped underground. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that a convoy of civilians evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in besieged Mariupol has reached Zaporizhzhia.
  • Germany’s opposition leader has travelled to Kyiv to meet Ukrainian officials, after the country’s chancellor, Olaf Scholz, made clear he would not be visiting Ukraine any time soon.
  • Addressing the Ukrainian parliament virtually on Tuesday, Boris Johnson said “Ukraine will win” against Russia, and “will be free”. Johnson was the first world leader to address the Verkhovna Rada since the conflict began.
  • Moscow accused Israel of backing the “neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv”. The remarks are the latest in Russia’s diplomatic row with Israel, after the Kremlin’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said on Monday that Adolf Hitler “had Jewish blood”.
  • Putin ordered retaliatory sanctions against the west. The names of individuals or entities affected by the measures are not included on the document.
  • Explosions have been reported in Lviv on Tuesday evening, according to the city’s mayor. Parts of the city were experiencing power outages after substations were struck.
  • US president Joe Biden is visiting a factory in Troy, Alabama, where arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin makes anti-tank Javelin missiles. He lauded the “rapid pace” of military equipment and aid from the US to Ukraine in the two months since Russia initiated the war.
  • The EU sanctions intent on breaking “the Russian war machine” are now imminent, the president of the European Council has said. A proposal to phase in a prohibition on Russian oil imports will be discussed by member state ambassadors in Brussels on Wednesday, with the most dependent, such as Slovakia and Hungary, seeking exemptions.
  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is inflicting damage to the country’s infrastructure at a cost of $4.5bn (£3.6bn) a week. According to estimates compiled by the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE), the damage has reached $92bn since the invasion in February.

– Guardian staff

Updated

Here are more images from Lviv, where crews are working to fight fires at a power substation following the Russian strike.

Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in LvivFirefighters work at a site of a power substation hit by a missile strike, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Lviv, Ukraine.
Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Lviv
firefighters work at a site of a power substation hit by a missile strike, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Lviv, Ukraine.
Photograph: Reuters
Smoke billows from the direction of Lviv Railway Station after Russian missiles hit two electricity sub stations.
Smoke billows from the direction of Lviv railway station after Russian missiles hit power substations. Photograph: Joseph O’Brien/REX/Shutterstock

Updated

Here are some photos from the mayor of Lviv of the power substations hit by Russian missiles. He said the strike has injured one person, and the fire at the substations is being extinguished.

Men and boys among alleged rape victims of Russian soldiers in Ukraine

Men and boys are among the alleged victims of rape by Russian soldiers in Ukraine, where dozens of cases of sexual violence by the invading forces are already under investigation, UN and Ukrainian officials said on Tuesday.

“I have received reports, not yet verified … about sexual violence cases against men and boys in Ukraine,” said Pramila Patten, UN special representative on sexual violence in war, at a press conference in Kyiv.

Patten added that it can be particularly challenging for male rape survivors to report the crime. “It’s hard for women and girls to report [rape] because of stigma amongst other reasons, but it’s often even harder for men and boys to report … we have to create that safe space for all victims to report cases of sexual violence.”

She warned that dozens of cases of sexual violence that are under investigation so far “only represent the tip of the iceberg”, as she urged survivors to come forward, and the international community to find perpetrators and hold them responsible. “Today’s documentation will be tomorrow’s prosecution,” she said.

Ukraine’s prosecutor general Iryna Venediktova said on Tuesday that her office had collected reports of sexual violence by Russian troops against men and women of all ages, from children to elderly people.

Speaking at a news conference in the shattered Kyiv suburb of Irpin, one of a cluster of small towns whose names have become synonymous with Russian war crimes, Venediktova said Moscow had used rape as a deliberate strategy. “This is, of course, to scare civil society … to do everything to [force Ukraine to] capitulate.”

There have been few public accounts of sexual violence in Ukraine. Some victims have left the country, and others who have stayed are frightened of speaking about their experience, Venediktova said.

However, teams of prosecutors and investigators have been gathering evidence of widespread sexual violence since Russian forces retreated just over a month ago.

Read more:

The United Nations secretary-general said Tuesday he hopes Ukraine and Russia can organize “more humanitarian pauses”, such as the one that allowed the evacuation of about 100 Ukrainian civilians from the Azovstal steel plant in the southern port city of Mariupol, Agence France-Presse reports.

The Red Cross and UN had said earlier that 101 civilians were evacuated from the tunnels of the plant in Ukraine’s battered city of Mariupol, but warned that others remain trapped.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaking in Nigeria on May 3.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaking in Nigeria on May 3. Photograph: Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters

It was the first completed civilian evacuation from the giant steel factory, where Ukrainian soldiers and civilians have been trapped for weeks, hiding as Russian forces besieged and pummeled the city.

I hope the continued coordination with Kyiv and Moscow will lead to more humanitarian pauses that will allow civilians safe passage away from the fighting and aid to reach people where the needs are greatest,” António Guterres said in a statement, without specifying which locations he meant.

During a video press conference with journalists at the UN headquarters in New York, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine, Osnat Lubrani, also expressed hope the evacuation – which took place over the weekend – could be repeated elsewhere.

In the Azovstal plant:

There are civilians still trapped, some of them may have been afraid to come out. Some of them probably couldn’t make it,” Lubrani said, though she was unable to specify the number of people who remained. There must be “additional engagement and continued engagement between the parties with support of the United Nations and the ICRC to continue looking for, planning to do more operations like this to save lives” in Ukraine.

She referred to the International Committee of the Red Cross by its acronym.

When asked if other evacuations were currently planned in the country, she said no.

United Nations resident coordinator in Ukraine Osnat Lubrani in Kyiv, Ukraine, in 2020.
United Nations resident coordinator in Ukraine Osnat Lubrani in Kyiv, Ukraine, in 2020. Photograph: Ukrinform/REX/Shutterstock

This blog will now hand over from New York to my colleague Maanvi Singh in Oakland, California, who will take you through events for the next few hours.

Updated

Joe Biden is pressing the US Congress to pass his latest spending bill featuring $33bn more in military, economic and humanitarian aid for Ukraine.

The US president told workers at the Lockheed Martin factory he has just been touring in Troy, Alabama, that the US has supplied more than 5,500 Javelin anti-tank missiles, which this factory manufactures, to Ukraine, and it’s making a difference in the war.

“Quite frankly, they’re making fools of the Russian military, in many instances,” Biden said.

He added that each of the Javelins they produce there contain 200 semiconductors, which are crucial components.

“That’s why we’re making it as hard as we can for Russia to get hold of these semiconductors and advanced technologies that it can use to upgrade its military during this conflict ... ”, amid a worldwide shortage of such chips, he said.

Biden notes to the factory workers a Wall Street Journal article quoting a Ukrainian soldier saying that without Javelins it would be very hard to stop Russia pushing ahead further in its invasion.

“So these weapons touched by the hands, your hands, are in the hands of Ukrainian heroes, making a significant difference,” he said.

Updated

"If you don't stand up to dictators ... they keep coming" – Joe Biden on Ukraine's resistance to Russian aggression

US president Joe Biden is visiting a factory in Troy, Alabama, where arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin makes anti-tank Javelin missiles, which are among the weapons America is supplying to Ukraine as it tries to blunt the Russian invasion of its smaller neighbor to the south.

He began by lauding the “rapid pace” of military equipment and aid from the US to Ukraine in the two months since Russia initiated the war.

“We’ve made sure there are no interruptions in the flow of equipment to Ukraine,” Biden said.

“Since Russia invaded Ukraine more than two months ago, we have sent more than $3bn in security assistance to Ukraine, alone, us, that’s not counting our allies. And that money is a direct investment in defending freedom and democracy itself,” he continued.

Biden then added: “Because if you don’t stand up to dictators, history has shown us, they keep coming, they keep coming. Their appetite for power continues to grow.”

He then praised the workers at the factory, saying their hands had literally touched each missile that is being used by Ukraine to push back the Russian advance, telling them they should be proud.

Updated

We have some limited details on Russian strikes, which apparently have targeted the western Ukraine city of Lviv, the Associated Press reports.

The strikes happened just before 8.30pm local time on Tuesday in multiple directions. At least four distinct explosions could be heard from downtown Lviv.

It was not immediately clear what was targeted. The mayor, Andriy Sadovyi, wrote on a social message app that those in the city should take shelter. Trains coming out of Lviv stopped service.

Car alarms went off after the blasts and emergency sirens could be heard. Electricity flickered momentarily in the city. Sadovyi acknowledged in another message that the attacks had affected the power supply, without elaborating.

The city on Monday had a news conference with Ukraine’s top US diplomat, discussing how America planned to reopen its diplomatic presence in the city.

Lviv was an early sanctuary for people fleeing to the west of Ukraine as Russia advanced on Kyiv, but it later came under attack.

Updated

Russian journalist and Nobel peace prize laureate Dmitry Muratov decried Tuesday Russian propaganda arguing for using nuclear weapons in the Ukraine conflict, warning that would signal “the end of humanity”, AFP reports.

I would not rule out the possibility that nuclear weapons might be used,” Muratov told journalists in Geneva, speaking through a translator.

The Kremlin said it had placed Russian nuclear forces on high alert shortly after its invasion of Ukraine began 24 February.

And amid increasing western support to Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has made thinly veiled threats hinting at a willingness to deploy Russia’s tactical nuclear weapons, which Russian military doctrine holds can be used to force an adversary to retreat.

Speaking at an event marking the World Press Freedom Day, Muratov, whose own Novaya Gazata newspaper has been forced to suspend publication amid Moscow’s military intervention, warned that the Kremlin’s “propaganda warriors” were striving to make nuclear weapons use more palatable to the Russian public.

For two weeks now, we have been hearing from our television screens that nuclear silos should be opened.

And we also hear that these horrible weapons should be used should the supplies of weapons to Ukraine continue,” he said, referring to the push by the United States, the European Union and others to arm the war-torn country.

Contrary to the propaganda narrative, deploying such weapons would “not be the end of the war”, he warned.

This will be the end of humanity.”

He said the most frightening thing in Russia today is that Putin has acquired “unrestricted, absolute power”.

Nobel Peace Prize-winning Russian newspaper editor Dmitry Muratov, right, sits by Nobel Peace Prize-winning Filipino journalist Maria Ressa, during a press conference on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day, in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, May 3, 2022.
Nobel peace prize-winning Russian newspaper editor Dmitry Muratov, right, sits by Nobel peace prize-winning Filipino journalist Maria Ressa, during a press conference on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day, in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, 3 May 2022. Photograph: Salvatore Di Nolfi/AP

Updated

A Slovak company will repair damaged Ukrainian military equipment following a request from Kyiv, the defense ministry said on Tuesday, and Agence France-Presse is reporting.

The state-run Konstrukta-Defence firm has “concluded a contract with the Ukrainian side on repairing and modernising Ukrainian military technology”, defense ministry spokeswoman Martina Koval Kakascikova said.

The first lot will consist of dozens of BRDM-2 armored reconnaissance vehicles.

A Ukranian armored scout car BRDM-2 in Kyiv.
A Ukranian armored scout car BRDM-2 in Kyiv. Photograph: Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images

Slovak prime minister Eduard Heger and defense minister Jaroslav Nad earlier declared their willingness to help Ukraine with damaged weaponry.

We were asked by Ukraine whether our companies would be able to repair damaged Ukrainian equipment. That is, the damaged equipment would come to Slovakia, we would repair it and the equipment would return to Ukraine,” Nad has said in early April.

Based in Lieskovec in eastern Slovakia, Konstrukta-Defence repairs vehicles and military technology of all categories used by Slovak armed forces, according to the company’s website.

The company also produces self-propelled gun howitzers.

This is Joanna Walters taking over the blog in New York, as the Guardian’s London team has now handed the baton to the US team.

A damaged Russian MSTA-S 2S19 self-propelled howitzer is seen in Trostianets, Sumy region, Ukraine March 28, 2022.
A damaged Russian MSTA-S 2S19 self-propelled howitzer is seen in Trostianets, Sumy region, Ukraine March 28, 2022. Photograph: Reuters

Updated

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is inflicting damage to the country’s infrastructure at a cost of $4.5bn (£3.6bn) a week, the Guardian’s Richard Partington reports.

The snapshot shows that the bulk of the infrastructure costs relate to bomb damage inflicted on buildings, roads, factories and businesses, based estimates compiled by the Kyiv School of Economics and supported by the Ukrainian government.

Read more here:

That’s it from me, Geneva Abdul. My colleague Joanna Walters will be with you shortly.

Updated

Explosions have been reported in Lviv on Tuesday evening, according to the city’s mayor.

On Twitter, Andriy Sadovyi, advised people to stay in bomb shelters. He later tweeted that parts of the city were experiencing power outages.

Updated

Ukrainian MP pushes back against Boris Johnson’s ‘finest hour’ remark

Echoing the words of Winston Churchill virtually at the Verkhovna Rada, Johnson described Ukraine’s resistance as: “finest hour, that will be remembered and recounted for generations to come”.

While his remarks were met with a standing ovation, Inna Sovsun, the deputy leader of the Holos party told the PA news agency that while the speech gave them “hope” she contested Johnson’s description:

I don’t know if the definition of ‘finest’ is supposed to be something nice and beautiful - certainly it doesn’t feel like that. It will probably be a glorious time described in history textbooks (and) reading about them is probably nice but living through them is hell, frankly speaking.

But what we definitely understand and what we agree is this is a historic moment ... when the nation is being transformed and reborn as a different type of nation. If that is the definition of the finest hour that could be it – but again, living through that is not something you’ll want for your children.”

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy applauds Boris Johnson during a session at Ukraine’s parliament in Kyiv.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy applauds Boris Johnson during a session at Ukraine’s parliament in Kyiv. Photograph: AP

Sovsun added that while Johnson was speaking Russian forces had stormed a steelworks in the besieged city of Mariupol.

Updated

The EU sanctions intent on breaking “the Russian war machine” are now imminent, the president of the European Council has said, as Germany pivoted to back the move.

A proposal to phase in a prohibition on Russian oil imports will be discussed by member state ambassadors in Brussels on Wednesday, with the most dependent, such as Slovakia and Hungary, seeking exemptions.

Russia accounts for about 25% of oil imports to the EU, although the level of dependency varies between member states. The German government signalled this weekend that it believes it can completely phase out its use “by the late summer”.

Hungary’s foreign minister, Péter Szijjártó, said Budapest could not support sanctions:

The point is simple: that Hungary’s energy supply cannot be endangered, because no one can expect us to allow the price of the war [in Ukraine] to be paid by Hungarians.”

Read more from my colleagues Daniel Boffey, Jennifer Rankin and Philip Oltermann here:

Summary

It is 7.30pm on Tuesday in Kyiv, and here is a quick catchup of where things stand:

  • At least 10 people have died and 15 been wounded after Russian forces shelled a coke plant in the city of Avdiivka, in eastern Ukraine.
  • Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, has passed a law that bans political parties that justify, recognise or deny Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine.
  • Putin told Macron “western countries could help stop the crimes of the Ukrainian military”. Putin is also reported to have told Macron about the Russian approach to negotiations with Kyiv.
  • Russia has launched an attack on the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol, Ukraine, where 200 civilians remain trapped underground.
  • The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that a convey of civilians evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in besieged Mariupol has reached Zaporizhzhia.
  • Germany’s opposition leader has travelled to Kyiv to meet Ukrainian officials, after the country’s chancellor, Olaf Scholz, made clear he would not be visiting Ukraine any time soon.
  • Addressing the Ukrainian parliament virtually on Tuesday, Boris Johnson said “Ukraine will win” against Russia, and “will be free”. Johnson was the first world leader to address the Verkhovna Rada since the conflict began.
  • Moscow accused Israel of backing the “neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv”. The remarks are the latest in Russia’s diplomatic row with Israel, after the Kremlin’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said on Monday that Adolf Hitler “had Jewish blood”.
  • Putin ordered retaliatory sanctions against the west. The names of individuals or entities affected by the measures are not included on the document.

Updated

As people filtered back to Kyiv after Russian troops abandoned their attempts to seize it, tattoo artists noticed an increasing demand for art that paid tribute to the tragedy and violence of the spring, and to Ukraine’s spirit of resistance.

A young girl in Kyiv sports a tattoo on her ankle of a man throwing a Molotov cocktail with an stylised Ukraine coat of arms as a flame.
A young girl in Kyiv sports a tattoo of a man throwing a Molotov cocktail with an stylised Ukraine coat of arms as a flame. Photograph: Alessio Mamo/The Guardian

Mariika, a tattoo artist who now has an anti-tank hedgehog on her leg and a molotov cocktail on her arm, said:

I wanted to capture this moment.”

For several Saturdays she has joined a group of tattoo artists in a Kyiv party district for a fundraising day at a nightclub, currently out of action because of the war and curfew.

Already, they have raised more than 100,000 hryvnia (£2,700) for the army.

Tattoo marathon in Kyiv where funds were raised for Ukrainian army.
Ukrainians take part in a tattoo marathon in Kyiv to raise funds for the army. Photograph: Alessio Mamo/The Guardian

Read more from my colleague Emma Graham-Harrison here:

Updated

Ten killed and 15 wounded by Russian shelling in Donetsk

At least 10 people have died and 15 been wounded after Russian forces shelled a coke plant in the city of Avdiivka, in eastern Ukraine, Reuters reports.

On Twitter, the governor of Donetsk, Pavlo Kyrylenko, said:

Russians knew exactly where to hit – workers just finished the shift and waited for a bus.”

Russia has previously denied targeting civilians.

Updated

Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Iryna Venediktova, has accused Russia of using rape as a war tactic, and described president Vladimir Putin as “the main war criminal of the 21st century”.

While visiting the city of Irpin, Venediktova said Ukraine was collecting information on allegations of rape, torture and other suspected war crimes from women, men and children by Russian forces, Reuters reports.

She said:

This is, of course, to scare civil society … to do everything to [force Ukraine to] capitulate.”

Ukraine’s prosecutor general Venediktova holds a news briefing in Irpin, outside Kyiv, Ukraine.
Ukraine’s prosecutor general Iryna Venediktova holds a news briefing in Irpin, outside Kyiv. Photograph: Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters

She added that some of the victims remaining in Ukraine fear speaking out, afraid of the return of Russian forces.

The Kremlin has previously denied war crime allegations against its forces, as well as suggestions that Putin is a war criminal.

Updated

Earlier today, Boris Johnson said “Ukraine will win” against Russia and “will be free”, during a virtual address to a packed Ukrainian parliament to standing ovations.

Watch the address here:

Updated

Ukraine passes law banning activities of pro-Russian political parties

Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, has passed a law that bans political parties who justify, recognise or deny Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine, according to the Interfax news agency.

The law will also ban parties who glorify or justify the actions of those carrying out armed aggression against Ukraine.

Taking to Telegram, the head of the Servant of the People political party Olena Shuliak, said:

Finally, we will stop tolerating our politicum ‘Russian peace’, which brings only destruction in Ukraine.”

She said the decision was supported by 330 votes.

A 12-year-old orphan from Mariupol, who ended up in Russian-controlled Donetsk after being injured in a blast that killed her father, has been reunited with her grandfather.

Before leaving hospital on Tuesday, Kira Obedinsky was visited by Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who gave her an iPad.

Alexsandr Obedinsky, 67, said that it’s a moment his young granddaughter will treasure forever:

She couldn’t believe it was happening to her. All of us need positive emotions now, and so does Kira.”

Kira Obedinsky’s hospital visitors included Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk.
Kira Obedinsky’s hospital visitors included Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk. Photograph: Family handout

The Guardian highlighted Kira’s plight in early April and a week later Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk called Alexsandr on his mobile phone.

Read more from my colleague Daniel Boffey here:

Updated

Russia launches 'powerful assault' on steelworks plant with trapped civilians

Russia has launched an attack on the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol, Ukraine, after a ceasefire broke down, Reuters reports.

Speaking on Telegram, Capt Sviatoslav Palamar of the Azov regiment said the steelworks where 200 civilians remain trapped underground was being targeted by artillery and planes, according to Reuters.

Palamar said two civilians were killed and 10 injured. He said:

As of this moment, a powerful assault on the territory of the Azovstal plant is under way with the support of armoured vehicles, tanks, attempts to land on boats and a large number of infantry.”

The reports could not be independently verified.

Smoke rises above a plant of Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol
Smoke rises above a plant of Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol.
Photograph: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters

According to Mariupol’s mayor, Vadym Boichenko, more than 200 civilians remain in the Azovstal steel plant, Reuters reports.

The five-day operation to evacuate women, children and the elderly from the steelworks was coordinated by the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

One of the evacuees, Alina Kozitskaya, who spent weeks sheltering in a basement, told Reuters:

I can’t believe I made it, we just want rest.”

Updated

Let’s take a look at some of the latest images that have been sent to us over the newswires from Ukraine and beyond.

British prime minister Boris Johnson addressing the Ukrainian parliament via video link from Downing Street
British prime minister Boris Johnson addressing the Ukrainian parliament via video link from Downing Street. Photograph: Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street handout/EPA
People hug during an evacuation of civilians in Kramatorsk, Ukraine.
People hug during an evacuation of civilians in Kramatorsk, Ukraine. Photograph: Andriy Andriyenko/AP
Smoke rises after shellings in the eastern Ukraine industrial town of Lysychansk
Smoke rises after shelling in the eastern industrial town of Lysychansk. Photograph: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images
The chairman of the German Christian Democratic party (CDU) Friedrich Merz in Irpin
The chairman of the German Christian Democratic party (CDU) Friedrich Merz in Irpin. Photograph: Efrem Lukatsky/AP
Evacuation centre in Zaporizhzhia that receives people fleeing.
An evacuation centre in Zaporizhzhia. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Firefighters extinguish a fire following a Russian bombardment at a park in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
Firefighters extinguish a blaze following a Russian bombardment at a park in Kharkiv. Photograph: Felipe Dana/AP

Updated

Putin tells Macron 'western countries could help stop the crimes of the Ukrainian military' – reports

The RIA news agency is carrying a read-out from the Kremlin of the phone conversation today between Russian president Vladimir Putin and France’s president Emmanuel Macron. RIA writes:

The Russian leader stressed that western countries could help stop the crimes of the Ukrainian military and militants of the national battalions, but instead the EU countries ignore them.”

The report continues:

Macron, in turn, expressed concern about the emerging problems of global food security. Putin, in response, stressed that the situation is complicated by the sanctions measures of western countries, and noted the importance of the unimpeded functioning of the global logistics and transport infrastructure.

Putin is also reported to have told Macron about Russia facilitating evacuations from Azovstal, and the Russian approach to negotiations with Kyiv.

Updated

ICRC convoy of over 100 civilians evacuated from Azovstal has reached Zaporizhzhia

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has said that a convey of civilians evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in besieged Mariupol has reached Zaporizhzhia.

In a statement, the ICRC said:

A convoy of buses and ambulances accompanied by ICRC and UN teams was joined by families and individuals in private vehicles along the way. More than 100 people, including some who were wounded, reached Zaporizhzhia on Tuesday. Other people from the plant went elsewhere; the ICRC did not organise nor accompany these civilian movements.

ICRC president Peter Maurer is quoted as saying:

It is an immense relief that some civilians who have suffered for weeks are now out. The ICRC hasn’t forgotten the people who are still there, nor those in other areas affected by the hostilities or those in dire need of humanitarian relief, wherever they are. We will not spare any effort to reach them.

The ICRC statement says that “as a neutral and impartial humanitarian intermediary, the ICRC has been facilitating the intensive confidential dialogue between the parties on the safe passage of civilians since late February”.

Earlier, the mayor of Mariupol said that at least 200 civilians remain trapped in the steel plant alongside fighters, and that 100,000 civilians remain in Mariupol as a whole.

Updated

The Russian RIA news agency is reporting that a second attempt to destroy the Mayak radio and television centre in Moldova’s breakaway Transnistira region has been thwarted. RIA quotes the Transnistrian TV channel TSV saying:

Today at 2am. there was a second attempt to sabotage the Mayak TV and radio centre. A cargo drone with 2 kilograms of plastic and a 5-litre container with incendiary mixture was neutralised. The explosive device had to be activated remotely, using a radio signal.

The reports have not been independently verified.

Transnistria’s interior ministry previously released images on 26 April of two radio towers they said had been brought down at the radio centre, which is near to the border with Ukraine.

Damage to radio antenna in an image released on 26 April.
Damage to radio antennas in an image released on 26 April. Photograph: Transnistrian Interior Ministry/AFP/Getty Images

Updated

A British woman who is hosting her brother and his Ukrainian family under the government’s family scheme says the arrangement has left her struggling to make ends meet because of inbuilt discrimination in the rules.

The woman, Julie Crowther, and her brother, Mark Burgess, are British citizens. Burgess is married to Victoriia, who is Ukrainian, and the couple have two daughters, Emma and Lily, aged seven and three. The family fled their home in Kyiv after the war started. Crowther offered to accommodate them in their three-bedroom home in Stockport.

Crowther says household bills have more than doubled since the family arrived but that unlike hosts on the Homes for Ukraine scheme who can access £350 per month, family scheme hosts cannot access support payments from government. “We are a low-income family and our bills have gone through the roof,” said Crowther. “My husband is doing more overtime just to put food on the table.”

Crowther is in touch with lawyers and is exploring the possibility of a legal challenge about the discrimination she says those hosting under the Ukraine family scheme are experiencing.

Read more of Diane Taylor’s report here: Woman hosting brother’s Ukrainian family left struggling to pay bills

Updated

As thousands of Ukrainians remain stranded in Europe, Ukraine’s ambassador to the UK has urged the home secretary to relax the “unnecessary, long, bureaucratic” visa scheme for those fleeing war.

Vadym Prystaiko said:

Now it’s time maybe for a temporary [relaxation of visa requirements] just to relieve people from this unnecessary, long, bureaucratic and difficult bureaucratic procedures.”

The negotiations come as the Guardian revealed the home secretary was facing mass legal action over the “chaotic” Homes for Ukraine backlog.

According to the latest government figures, 59,000 people have had visas approved but have not yet arrived in the UK. Only 15% of the 74,700 Ukrainians who applied under the sponsorship route have made it to Britain.

Protesters hold placards and shout slogans during ‘Vigil for Visas’ demonstration in Parliament Square in central London.
Protesters hold placards and shout slogans during a ‘Vigil for Visas’ demonstration in Parliament Square in central London on 25 April. Photograph: Wiktor Szymanowicz/Rex/Shutterstock

Read more here:

Updated

Germany’s opposition leader has travelled to meet Ukrainian officials in Kyiv, after the country’s chancellor Olaf Scholz made clear he would not be visiting the country any time soon, AP reports.

Friedrich Merz, who heads former chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right Union bloc, visited the town of Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, and is later expected to meet senior politicians in Kyiv.

A meeting with president Volodymyr Zelenskiy is not expected, according to AP.

Leader of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Friedrich Merz visits the town of Irpin
Leader of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Friedrich Merz visits the town of Irpin Photograph: Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters

The visit comes as chancellor Scholz, who has been in office for under five months, has come under fire for his approach to Russia’s aggression. Merz has previously accused the chancellor of weak leadership and of “procrastination, dithering and timidity”.

Scholz has also faced criticism from Ukrainian officials in recent weeks after Kyiv’s refusal to invite Germany’s head of state, president Frank-Walter Steinmeier – accused by Ukraine of cosying up to Russia during his time as foreign minister, according to AP.

On Monday, the chancellor told public broadcaster ZDF:

It can’t work that a country that provides so much military aid, so much financial aid … you then say that the president can’t come.”

Calling the chancellor’s refusal to visit “not very statesmanlike”, Ukraine’s ambassador in Berlin, Andrij Melnyk said on Tuesday:

This is about the most brutal war of extermination since the Nazi invasion of Ukraine, it’s not kindergarten.”

Last week, in what was seen as a sharp policy U-turn, Scholz announced that Germany would deliver heavy weaponry to Ukraine, in the form of self-propelled anti-aircraft systems.

Updated

Boris Johnson says 'Ukraine will win' as he addresses its parliament

Addressing the Ukrainian parliament virtually on Tuesday, Boris Johnson said “Ukraine will win” against Russia, and “will be free”, Reuters reports.

Johnson, the first world leader to address the Verkhovna Rada since the conflict began, also said:

The so-called irresistible force of Putin’s war machine has broken on the immoveable object of Ukrainian patriotism and love of country.”

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy attends a session of a parliament while British Prime Minister Boris Johnson addresses Ukrainian lawmakers via video
Volodymyr Zelenskiy (left), attends a session of a parliament on Tuesday while Boris Johnson addresses Ukrainian lawmakers via video. Photograph: Reuters

Johnson’s remarks come as the UK Foreign Office donated 13 armoured vehicles to help evacuate civilians from the besieged areas of eastern Ukraine, Reuters reports.

Foreign secretary, Liz Truss said:

This latest donation of armoured vehicles will help protect innocent Ukrainians attempting to flee Russian shelling and support Ukrainian officials carrying out vital work.”

Earlier, we reported on Britain’s promise to provide £300m ($375m) more in military aid to Ukraine, including electronic warfare equipment and a counter-battery radar system, on top of about £200m of assistance so far.

Updated

Moscow accuses Israel of backing 'neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv'

The remarks are the latest in Russia’s diplomatic row with Israel, after the Kremlin’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said on Monday that Adolf Hitler “had Jewish blood” and that the “most rabid antisemites tend to be Jews”.

Tuesday’s remarks, reported by AFP, are the latest defence of Russia’s policy of “denazification” in Ukraine, which Ukraine says is a pretext for “mass murder.”

Monday’s remarks from Russia’s foreign minister were swiftly condemned by world leaders and Israel’s foreign minister, Yair Lapid, who said the “limit has been crossed this time” and called on the government of Russia to “apologise to us and the Jewish people”.

The comments by Sergei Lavrov (left) were described as ‘unforgivable and outrageous’ by Yair Lapid (right).
The comments by Sergei Lavrov (left) were described as ‘unforgivable and outrageous’ by Yair Lapid (right). Photograph: Yuri Kochetkov/AFP/Getty Images

Doubling down on Lavrov’s previous remarks, AFP reports the Russian foreign ministry said on Tuesday:

We have paid attention to foreign minister Yair Lapid’s anti-historical remarks, which largely explain the current government’s decision to support the neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv.”

Israel remains one of the few western countries that has yet to sanction Russia or provide military aid to Ukraine.

Read more on how it unfolded here:

Updated

At least nine civilians have been killed by Russian fire in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine.

In a post on Telegram, Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of the eastern region of Donetsk, said:

The consequences of the shelling and bombing have yet to be established, but at least 3 people have been killed and 2 wounded and 8 houses damaged.”

Three more were killed while drinking water in the city of Vugledar, and another three in Lyman, he wrote.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Ukrainian president’s office said other areas of Donetsk were under constant fire, as regional authorities attempt to evacuate civilians from the frontlines, Reuters reports.

The news comes after the US warned Russia plans to formally “annex” the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in Ukraine’s east.

According to Reuters, parts of the regions were already held by Russian-backed separatists prior to the invasion on Feb 24.

Putin orders retaliatory sanctions against the west

Russia’s president Vladimir Putin has signed a decree on retaliatory economic sanctions against the west.

According to Reuters, the sanctions are in response to the “unfriendly actions of certain foreign states and international organisations”, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.

The names of individuals or entities affected by the measures are not included on the document. However, the decree grants the Russian government 10 days to compile a list of those to be sanctioned, as well as room to outline “additional criteria” for the number of transactions that could be restricted.

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the Security Council via a video conference at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, April 29, 2022.
Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the security council via a video conference at the Kremlin in Moscow on 29 April. Photograph: Mikhail Klimentyev/AP

The decree will forbid the export of products and raw materials to the individuals and entities sanctioned. It also prohibits transactions with foreign individuals and companies hit by Russia’s retaliatory sanctions.

The announcement comes as Europe is expected to propose a sixth package of sanctions this week, including a possible embargo on buying Russian oil.

Read more here:

Updated

French president Emmanuel Macron’s office has said that he will speak with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the phone at around midday Paris time.

Macron was the last western leader to visit Moscow before the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February. Austrian chancellor Karl Nehammer held face-to-face talks with Putin in Moscow on 11 April. Reuters reports Macron last spoke to Putin on 29 March.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, listens to French President Emmanuel Macron during their meeting in the Kremlin on 7 February.
Vladimir Putin (left) listens to French president Emmanuel Macron during their meeting in the Kremlin on 7 February. Photograph: AP

Updated

Today so far …

  • Russia is planning to annex Donetsk and Luhansk with “sham” elections, US officials believe. Russia might also consider doing the same in Kherson, where it is already imposing roubles as the official currency. “The reports state that Russia plans to engineer referenda upon joining sometime in mid-May,” Michael Carpenter, the US ambassador to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, told reporters.
  • British prime minister Boris Johnson will hail Ukraine’s resistance against tyranny as an exemplar for the world during a virtual address to the country’s parliament after promising a further £300m ($375m) in military aid to Ukraine.
  • Russia’s foreign ministry has continued its diplomatic attack on Israel, saying that foreign minister Yair Lapid’s “anti-historical statements” largely “explain the course of the current Israeli government to support the neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv”.
  • At least three civilians were killed in Russian shelling of the city of Vuhledar in the Donetsk region, the Ukrainian president’s office has said.
  • Serhiy Haidai, governor of Luhansk oblast, said 12 enemy attacks were successfully repelled on the front line of Luhansk and Donetsk regions.
  • A Russian rocket strike hit the Black Sea port city of Odesa in south-western Ukraine, causing deaths and injuries. The strike hit a strategically important bridge across the Dniester estuary. A 14-year-old boy was killed and a 17-year-old girl was wounded, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Monday. “How did these children and the dormitory threaten the Russian state?” Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address.
  • Ukrainian forces say they have now inflicted losses of 24,200 personnel on invading Russian troops.
  • Russia’s military is significantly weaker as a result of its invasion of Ukraine, the UK Ministry of Defence has said in its latest military intelligence .
  • Pope Francis has said he has no plans to visit Kyiv, but that he he has offered to meet Russian president Vladimir Putin. “We have not yet received an answer,” he told Corriere della Sera. “I fear that Putin cannot and does not want to have this meeting right now. But so much brutality how can you not stop it? Twenty-five years ago we experienced the same thing with Rwanda.”
  • Slovakia will seek an exemption from any oil embargo of Russian oil agreed by the European Union in its next set of sanctions.

That is it from me, Martin Belam, for now. I will be back later on. Geneva Abdul will be with you shortly.

Updated

The World Health Organization has confirmed that its European region will hold a special meeting next week on the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on health and healthcare.

Reuters reports Tarik Jasarevic said at a Geneva press briefing: “There will be a meeting on 10 May on the impact of war on Ukraine health system.”

Updated

The general staff of the armed forces of Ukraine have published their latest claims of losses inflicted on Russian forces on Facebook.

They say they have now inflicted losses of 24,200 personnel on the invading forces. The claim that in the last day “the greatest losses of the enemy were observed in the Izyum direction”.

The numbers have not been independently verified.

Updated

Russia’s foreign ministry has continued its diplomatic attack on Israel this morning, tweeting:

We paid attention to the anti-historical statements of the head of the Israeli foreign ministry Yair Lapid, which largely explain the course of the current Israeli government to support the neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv.

It linked through to a 900-word essay from the foreign ministry on what they claim is evidence of antisemitism in Ukraine and a history lesson on what they say is evidence of Jews collaborating with Nazis prior to the holocaust.

Reuters reminds us of the context of the row. Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov at the weekend claimed Adolf Hitler had Jewish origins. Lavrov made the assertion on Italian television on Sunday when he was asked why Russia said it needed to “denazify” Ukraine if the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, was himself Jewish.

Israel lambasted Lavrov yesterday, saying his claim was an “unforgivable” falsehood that debased the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust.

Updated

The RIA agency is carrying some quotes from Maj Gen Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the Russian defence ministry about overnight operations. He said:

Onyx high-precision missiles in the Odessa region hit a logistics center at a military airfield through which foreign weapons were delivered. Hangars with Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as missile weapons and ammunition received from the United States and European countries, were destroyed.

The claims have not been independently verified.

Updated

In a television interview on ITV’s Good Morning Britain in the UK, Boris Johnson has been asked several questions about Ukraine. The prime minister told viewers that “large numbers” of Ukrainians are arriving in the UK. PA Media quotes him saying:

We have done a huge amount to help Ukrainian women and children in the area but we’re now seeing large numbers come to the UK. So far 86,000 visas have been issued and 27,000 are already here and I want to say ‘thank you’ – 27,000 is a lot and it’s growing fast and I want to pay tribute to all those who are helping to look after Ukrainians.

Could we have done it faster? Yes, perhaps we could. It’s also important to protect the women and children from coming to somewhere where they’re not going to get the welcome that we would want, so that’s why the screening and all the work we’ve done to match up people.

UNHCR states that 5,563,959 people have fled Ukraine for abroad since Russia’s latest invasion began.

Updated

Slovakia will seek an exemption from any oil embargo of Russian oil agreed by the European Union in its next set of sanctions against Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine, Slovakia’s economy ministry said.

“If it comes to an approved embargo of Russian oil as part of a further package of sanctions against Russia, then Slovakia will request an exemption,” the ministry said in a reply to Reuters questions.

Hungary’s Viktor Orbán has previously indicated that extending sanctions to include the oil and gas sectors is “a red line” for his country.

Updated

Mariupol’s city mayor Vadym Boychenko has given an update, and echoed the figure from earlier, saying that more than 200 civilians are still holed up with fighters in the Azovstal steel plant.

Reuters reports he said a total of about 100,000 civilians remain in the southern Ukrainian city that has been occupied by Russian forces.

Mark Voyger is an expert on transatlantic relationships at the Center for European Policy Analysis and a former special adviser to the US army. He has been interviewed on Sky News in the UK this morning, and told viewers that the virtual address by the UK’s prime minister Boris Johnson to the Ukrainian parliament will be seen as a significant moment of support. He told viewers:

It is absolutely important and critical for Ukraine to see this massive international support being demonstrated in these difficult times. Obviously, we’ve already had multiple high- level visits, including the UN general secretary, and from the European Union’s leadership, the US.

So this is a clear sign to not only the government, but the Ukrainian people, that the west is ready to do what is necessary to help them achieve victory.

On the potential expansion of Nato membership to include Sweden and Finland as a result of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, he said:

Volatile regions are only those that are not members of Nato. The history of those conflicts shows that Russia attacks effectively non-Nato members – that is Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine. It hasn’t dared to touch any an inch of Nato territory yet.

I must say Vladimir Putin with his arrogant aggressive policies in the region has achieved the miracle really of convincing even the Swedes to forego their 300 plus years of neutrality. So I expect them to get fast tracked into Nato. This is a historical chance for them.

Ultimately this will strengthen tremendously the Nato eastern flank because now we’ll have a continuous, contiguous effectively, Nato border from the Arctic ocean down to the Black Sea and the Caucasus. This is of extreme importance in the global efforts in containing Putin’s Russia.

Updated

Serhiy Haidai, governor of Luhansk oblast, has posted to Telegram in the last few minutes, saying:

12 enemy attacks were successfully repelled on the front line of Luhansk and Donetsk regions. Six tanks, five artillery systems, 22 units of armoured combat vehicles and eight motor vehicles were destroyed. Air defence units shot down five unmanned aircrafts guided by remote control Orlan-10.

The claims have not been independently verified.

Pope Francis has given an interview to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera in which he says he has no plans to visit Kyiv, but that he he has offered to meet Russian president Vladimir Putin. The paper quotes him saying:

The first day of the war I called the Ukrainian president Zelenskiy on the phone. Putin, I didn’t call him. I wanted to make a clear gesture for the whole world to see.

And then I asked Cardinal Parolin, after 20 days of war, to send Putin the message that I was willing to go to Moscow. We have not yet received an answer. I fear that Putin cannot and does not want to have this meeting right now. But so much brutality how can you not stop it? Twenty-five years ago we experienced the same thing with Rwanda.

I’m not going to Kyiv for now. I sent Cardinal Michael Czerny and Cardinal Konrad Krajewski. But I feel I don’t have to go. First I have to go to Moscow, first I have to meet Putin. But I’m a priest too, what can I do? I do what I can. If Putin opened the door …

The Pope also had some critical words for Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, who has been a vocal supporter of the war.

I spoke to Kirill for 40 minutes via Zoom. The first 20 with a card in hand he read me all the justifications for the war. I listened and told him: I don’t understand anything about this. Brother, we are not clerics of state, we cannot use the language of politics, but that of Jesus.

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At least three civilians were killed in Russian shelling of the city of Vuhledar in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine today, Reuters reports the Ukrainian president’s office has said.

Here are some of the latest images to come out of Ukraine today.

People walk their bikes across the street as smoke rises above a plant of Azovstal Iron and Steel Works in Mariupol, Ukraine.
People walk their bikes across the street as smoke rises above a plant of Azovstal Iron and Steel Works in Mariupol, Ukraine. Photograph: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters
People with children wait after arriving from the Ukrainian city of Tokmak at a centre for displaced people in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine.
People with children wait after arriving from the Ukrainian city of Tokmak at a centre for displaced people in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine. Photograph: Evgeniy Maloletka/AP
Local resident Tatiana Bushlanova, 64, sits on a bench near an apartment building heavily damaged in the southern port city of Mariupol.
Local resident Tatiana Bushlanova, 64, sits on a bench near an apartment building heavily damaged in the southern port city of Mariupol. Photograph: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters
A woman comforts her dog after arriving at an evacuation point for people fleeing Mariupol, Melitopol and the surrounding towns under Russian control in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine.
A woman comforts her dog after arriving at an evacuation point for people fleeing Mariupol, Melitopol and the surrounding towns under Russian control in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine. Photograph: Chris McGrath/Getty Images
Women wait in a bus at a centre for displaced people in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine.
Women wait in a bus at a centre for displaced people in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine. Photograph: Evgeniy Maloletka/AP

Russia’s military now 'significantly weaker', UK MoD says

Russia’s military is now significantly weaker as a result of its invasion of Ukraine, the UK Ministry of Defence has said in its latest military intelligence report.

The report, released just before 7am GMT, reads:

Russia’s defence budget approximately doubled between 2005 and 2018, with investment in several high-end air, land and sea capabilities. From 2008 this underpinned the expansive military modernisation programme New Look.

However, the modernisation of its physical equipment has not enabled Russia to dominate Ukraine. Failures both in strategic planning and operational execution have left it unable to translate numerical strength into decisive advantage.

Russia’s military is now significantly weaker, both materially and conceptually, as a result of its invasion of Ukraine. Recovery from this will be exacerbated by sanctions. This will have a lasting impact on Russia’s ability to deploy conventional military force.”

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European Union prepares fresh sanctions on Russian oil sales

The European Union is preparing fresh sanctions on Russian oil sales and hopes to pass a possible embargo at the next meeting of the EU foreign affairs council, the bloc’s chief diplomat said on Monday.

The European Commission, the executive branch of the union, is expected to propose the package of EU sanctions this week, including a potential embargo on buying Russian oil – a measure that would deprive Moscow of a large revenue stream. However, many EU countries remain divided.

Josep Borrell, who chairs the foreign affairs council meetings, said he hopes the EU will be able to take “measures to significantly limit these imports” but conceded so far there is no agreement from all the members.

“But I am confident that, at least with regard to oil imports, this agreement will be possible between now and the next council meeting,” he added.

Germany said on Monday it was prepared to back an immediate EU embargo on Russian oil. “We have managed to reach a situation where Germany is able to bear an oil embargo,” German economy minister Robert Habeck said.

The European country is Russia’s biggest energy customer and could deprive Moscow of a large revenue stream within days.

In mid-May, EU member states will have to reject Moscow’s demands for fuel payments to be made in roubles – despite being without alternative gas supply, Brussels has warned.

Kadri Simson, the European commissioner for energy, said on Monday that the Kremlin’s demands had to be rebuffed despite the risks of an interruption to supply at a time that the shortfall cannot be made good.

EU ministers warned that complying in full with Moscow’s demand for gas payments in roubles would breach existing EU sanctions. Ambassadors from EU countries will discuss the proposed oil sanctions when they meet on Wednesday.

Kyiv says Russia’s energy exports to Europe, so far largely exempt from international sanctions, are funding the Kremlin war effort with millions of euros every day.

The European Commission did say it may spare Hungary and Slovakia from any future embargo on buying Russian oil, accounting for the two countries’ dependence on Russian crude, two EU officials said on Monday.

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Johnson to hail Ukrainian resistance in address to parliament, UK pledges another £300m

British prime minister Boris Johnson will hail Ukraine’s resistance against tyranny as an exemplar for the world during a virtual address to the country’s parliament after promising a further £300m ($375m) in military aid to Ukraine.

Recalling Britain’s resolve during the second world war, Johnson will say that “we remember our time of greatest peril as our finest hour”. He will say the bravery demonstrated by those who have sought to defend their country from Russian invaders means the war will come to be known as Ukraine’s “finest hour”, too.

The speech to Ukrainian MPs reciprocates the move made by the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who gave a historic speech to the House of Commons in March.

Boris Johnson will hail Ukraine’s resistance against tyranny as an exemplar for the world during a virtual address to the country’s parliament.
Boris Johnson will hail Ukraine’s resistance against tyranny as an exemplar for the world during a virtual address to the country’s parliament. Photograph: Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Reuters

Johnson will become the first world leader to address the Verkhovna Rada since the conflict began, and seek to show critics he is focused on international affairs despite continuing questions over his leadership.

Britain has also promised it will provide £300m ($375m) more in military aid to Ukraine, including electronic warfare equipment and a counter-battery radar system, on top of around £200m of assistance so far, Reuters reports.

Britain has sent Ukraine more than 5,000 anti-tank missiles and five air defence systems as well as other munitions and explosives since Russia’s invasion on 24 February.

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Russia plans to annex Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk with ‘sham’ elections, US warns

The US earlier warned that Russia plans to formally “annex” the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in Ukraine’s east.

Michael Carpenter, the US ambassador to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe told reporters in Washington on Monday:

According to the most recent reports, we believe that Russia will try to annex the ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ and ‘Lugansk People’s Republic’ to Russia.

The reports state that Russia plans to engineer referenda upon joining sometime in mid-May.”

“This is straight out of the Kremlin’s playbook,” he added.

Carpenter said that the US also believed Russia was considering a similar plan in a third region, Kherson, where Moscow has recently solidified its control and imposed use of its ruble currency.

We think the reports are highly credible. Unfortunately we have been more right than wrong in exposing what we believe may be coming next, and so that is part of what we’re trying to do here.

Such sham referenda – fabricated votes – will not be considered legitimate, nor will any attempts to annex additional Ukrainian territory.

But we have to act with a sense of urgency.”

Carpenter said it was also possible that Russia’s leaders would try to take over other parts of Ukraine, by imposing “puppets and proxies” in local governments and forcing out democratically elected officials. He said this had appeared to be Moscow’s initial aim in Kyiv – a plan that included installing a new constitution in Ukraine — but that Russian forces had been forced to drop back to the country’s east and south after they were unable to take the capital.

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Summary and welcome

Hello and welcome back to the Guardian’s live coverage of the war in Ukraine.

I’m Samantha Lock and I’ll be bringing you all the latest developments until my colleague in London takes the reins a little later in the day.

The European Commission is expected to finalise work on the next, and sixth package of EU sanctions against Russia today, which would include a ban on buying Russian oil.

Boris Johnson will become the first world leader to address the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, since the conflict began when he delivers a virtual address to the country’s parliament later today.

It is 8.30am in Ukraine. Here’s everything you might have missed:

  • Some of the first civilians to be evacuated from a giant steel plant in Mariupol reportedly arrived on Monday in the Ukrainian-held city of Zaporizhzhia after an overnight bus journey stymied by delays across the frontline. More than 100 civilians – mostly women, children and elderly people – were evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant, Ukraine’s military police said in a statement. Hundreds of people are believed to still be remained trapped in the last stronghold of resistance in the city.
  • Russia resumed shelling of the Azovstal steel works as soon as buses evacuating civilians from the plant had left on Sunday despite hundreds of civilians remaining trapped inside, Petro Andryushchenko, an aide to the city’s mayor, said.
  • A Ukrainian fighter in Mariupol has said that up to 200 civilians remain trapped inside bunkers in the Azovstal steelworks despite an evacuation operation led by the United Nations. Capt Sviatoslav Palamar, 39, a deputy commander of Ukraine’s Azov regiment, told Reuters his fighters could hear the voices of people trapped in bunkers but did not have the equipment needed to dislodge the rubble.
  • Further evacuations of civilians trapped in Mariupol is set to resume from 7am on Tuesday with the support of the UN and the Red Cross, the city council announced.
  • A Russian rocket strike hit the Black Sea port city of Odesa in south-western Ukraine, causing deaths and injuries. The strike hit a strategically important bridge across the Dniester estuary. A 14-year-old boy was killed and a 17-year-old girl was wounded, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Monday. “How did these children and the dormitory threaten the Russian state?” Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address.
  • Russian forces in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine – where the bulk of the fighting is taking place – are suffering from poor command and control, low morale, and less than ideal logistics, the US says. “We continue to see minimal, at best, progress by the Russians in the Donbas,” a senior US defence department official, said in a statement on Monday.
  • Russia is planning to annex Donetsk and Luhansk with “sham” elections, US officials believe. Russia might also consider doing the same in Kherson, where it is already imposing roubles as the official currency. “The reports state that Russia plans to engineer referenda upon joining sometime in mid-May,” Michael Carpenter, the US ambassador to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, told reporters.
  • Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, was asked to address how Russia could say it needed to “denazify” the country when its president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, is Jewish, in an interview with Italian TV. Lavrov responded that Adolf Hitler “had Jewish blood” and that the “most rabid antisemites tend to be Jews” while defending Russia’s policy of “denazification” in Ukraine, the Kremlin’s term for a sweeping purge that Ukraine says is a pretext for “mass murder.”
  • Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Lavrov’s comments showed that “Russia has forgotten all the lessons of the second world war”. Israel has summoned the Russian ambassador and demanded an apology and world leaders condemned the remarks.
  • Britain has said it will provide £300m ($375m) more in military aid to Ukraine, including electronic warfare equipment and a counter-battery radar system, on top of around £200m pounds of assistance so far, Reuters reports.
  • Boris Johnson will hail Ukraine’s resistance against tyranny as an exemplar for the world as he delivers a virtual address to the country’s parliament on Tuesday. Johnson will become the first world leader to address the Verkhovna Rada since the conflict began.
  • More than 70 of 90 M-777 howitzers the US planned to send are now in Ukrainian hands, along with over 140,000 155mm rounds, a senior official with the US department of defence said. Over the last 24 hours, two dozen flights carrying US arms have landed near Ukraine, and another 11 are planned over the coming 24 hours, officials said.
  • The European commissioner for energy, has said that Russia’s demands for fuel payments to be made in roubles had to be rebuffed despite the risks of an interruption to supply at a time without alternative gas supply. After a meeting of EU energy ministers, Kadri Simson said that all the energy ministers had accepted that paying in roubles through the mechanism set out by Russia would breach sanctions imposed by the bloc after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
  • The European Commission is expected to finalise on Tuesday work on the next, and sixth package of EU sanctions against Russia, which would include a ban on buying Russian oil at the next meeting of the EU foreign affairs council, the bloc’s chief diplomat said on Monday. However, it may spare Hungary and Slovakia from a soon-to-be-prepared embargo on buying Russian oil, accounting for the two countries’ dependence on Russian crude, two EU officials said on Monday.
  • Germany said it was prepared to back an immediate EU embargo on Russian oil, a major shift from Moscow’s biggest energy customer that could let Europe impose such a ban within days. “We have managed to reach a situation where Germany is able to bear an oil embargo,” German economy minister Robert Habeck said Monday in Brussels, where he met with EU colleagues. “This means it won’t be without consequences.”

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