MOSCOW — The Russian army has warned that Ukrainian troops refusing to go to the besieged port of Mariupol will be destroyed.
The Russian Defense Ministry has given Ukrainians at the giant Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol until 1 p.m. Sunday (1000 GMT) to surrender, saying those who lay down their weapons will be “guaranteed to keep their lives”.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said the Ukrainian military command had banned its troops from surrendering. He said the Russian military received the information from intercepted communications.
Konashenkov warned that “all who continue the resistance will be destroyed”.
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He claimed that along with Ukrainian troops, there were about 400 foreign mercenaries surrounded in Azovstal, mostly from European countries and Canada, communicating in six languages, according to intercepts. Konashenkov’s claim could not be independently verified.
KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIAN-UKRAINE WAR:
— Russia strikes the major cities of Ukraine and descends on Mariupol
— Mother and grandmother mourn 15-year-old boy killed in Kharkiv bombing
— Elderly mother feels ‘lost’ and searches for her son’s body in the Ukrainian town of Bucha
– Prince Harry pays tribute to Ukrainian competitors as he opens the Invictus Games
— “We pray for you”: Ukrainian Jews celebrate Passover, if they can
Follow all AP stories about Russia’s war on Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine.
VATICAN CITY — In an Easter Sunday message to the world but heavily focused on Ukraine, Pope Francis raised two concerns — the risk of nuclear war and the fact that other armed conflicts around the globe will go unnoticed.
In a speech from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, the pope quoted a statement by scientists from the 1950s in which they posed the question: “Should the human race be ended, or should humanity renounce the war?
The pope has repeatedly made anguished calls for a ceasefire and negotiations to end the war in Ukraine. In his Easter message, Francis lamented that “so many of our brothers and sisters had to lock themselves in to be safe from the bombardments.”
He expressed the hope that the war in Europe “will also make us more concerned about other situations of conflict, suffering and grief” in situations “that we cannot ignore and that we do not want to forget”. Among the places he cited are Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. He pointed the finger at Yemen, victim of a conflict “forgotten by all, with continual victims”.
MILAN — Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi calls Ukraine’s resistance to the Russian invasion “heroic,” depriving Russia of what it expected to be a quick victory and setting the stage for a “protracted” war.
Draghi told the Italian daily Corriere della Sera in an interview published on Sunday that “what awaits us is a war of resistance, prolonged violence with destruction that will continue. There is no indication that the Ukrainian population can accept a Russian occupation.
Draghi noted that Italy remains close to the Ukrainian people, with the reopening of its embassy in Kyiv. The ambassador returned to the capital on Friday and the embassy is expected to be fully operational on Monday.
Draghi, who spoke to Putin before the war broke out and again in late March, said he had come to believe talking with the Russian leader “is just a waste of time”.
Draghi said, “I feel like the horror of the war, with its carnage, with what they did to children and women, is completely beyond words and phone calls.”
KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s deputy defense minister says the key port of Mariupol is holding despite continued Russian attacks.
Hanna Malyar said on Sunday that defenders of the key Azov Sea port had tied down large Russian forces besieging the city. She described Mariupol as a “shield defending Ukraine” that prevents Russian troops encircling the city from advancing to other parts of the country.
Malyar said the Russians continued to hit Mariupol with air raids and were possibly preparing an amphibious landing to bolster their forces in the city.
LONDON – In his Easter sermon, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby called on Russia to declare a ceasefire and withdraw to Ukraine.
The Anglican Church leader said Easter was a time for peace and not “blood and iron”.
Noting that in the Eastern Orthodox Church followed by many in Russia and Ukraine, Sunday marks the start of Holy Week – the week before Easter – he said “let this be the time for the ceasefire, of the withdrawal and the engagement of talks”.
Welby said that God “hears the cry of mothers in Ukraine, he sees the fear of boys too young to become soldiers, and he knows the vulnerability of orphans and refugees.”
MOSCOW — The Russian military has told Ukrainian troops in the besieged port of Mariupol that if they lay down their arms they will be “guaranteed to keep their lives”.
The Russian Ministry of Defense made the announcement on Sunday morning. Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev said Ukrainians surrounded in the giant Azovstal steel plant had until 1 p.m. (1000 GMT) to surrender.
It was the last such offer to Ukrainian defenders of the key Sea port of Azov in a siege that lasted more than a month and a half. Capturing Mariupol is a key strategic objective for Russia, allowing it to secure a land corridor to Crimea, which was annexed by Moscow in 2014. The fall of Mariupol would also free up Russian forces involved in the siege for a planned offensive in eastern Ukraine. heart called Donbass.
The giant Azovstal steelworks which covers an area of more than 11 square kilometers (over 4.2 square miles) is the last major section of Mariupol still under Ukrainian control.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said on Saturday that about 2,500 Ukrainian troops remained in Azovstal, a claim that could not be independently verified. Ukrainian officials did not mention any figures for the city’s defenders.
MOSCOW — The Russian military said it hit a military factory on the outskirts of Ukraine’s capital with missiles.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said on Sunday that the military used air-launched precision-guided missiles to attack the Brovary munitions factory outside of kyiv, at night.
He said other Russian airstrikes also destroyed Ukrainian air defense radars near Sievierodonetsk in the east and several ammunition dumps elsewhere.
The strikes were the latest in a series of Russian attacks on arms factories, air defenses and other facilities in Ukraine as Moscow prepares for a massive offensive in the industrial heartland of the east of Ukraine called Donbass.
SOFIA, Bulgaria — Bulgaria has banned Russian-flagged vessels from entering its Black Sea ports under expanded EU sanctions, the country’s maritime administration said on its website on Sunday.
“All ships registered under the Russian flag, as well as all ships that have transferred their Russian flag, flag or shipping register registration to any other state after February 24, are denied access to Bulgarian sea and river ports,” the authority said. .
Exceptions will only be made for ships in distress or seeking humanitarian aid, or ships transporting energy, food and pharmaceuticals to EU countries.
KHARKIV, Ukraine — The Russian bombardment of towns around Ukraine on Saturday included an explosion in Kharkiv that destroyed a community kitchen.
Associated Press reporters at the scene recorded the immediate aftermath of the apparent missile attack. Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov said three people were killed and 34 injured by missile strikes in that city alone on Saturday.
The kitchen was set up by World Central Kitchen, which is led by celebrity chef José Andrés to establish food systems in disaster and war zones. Andrés tweeted that the staff members of the non-governmental organization were shaken but safe.
The organization says it has now reached 30 cities across the country, providing nearly 300,000 meals a day. Andrés said the Kharkiv attack shows that “giving food in the midst of a senseless war is an act of courage, resilience and resistance” and that the leaders of his group will continue to cook for Ukraine.
KYIV, Ukraine – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he spoke with British and Swedish leaders on Saturday about how best to help Mariupol defenders and the tens of thousands of civilians trapped inside the besieged city.
Mariupol’s fate can be decided either through battle or through diplomacy, he said.
“Either our partners give Ukraine all the necessary heavy weapons, planes, and without exaggeration immediately, so that we can reduce the pressure of the occupiers on Mariupol and break the blockade,” he said in his video speech. night to the nation. “Or we do it through negotiations, in which the role of our partners should be decisive.”
NEW YORK — A Russian general whose troops are besieging the Ukrainian port of Mariupol was buried in St. Petersburg on Saturday after dying in action, the governor said.
Major General Vladimir Frolov was deputy commander of the 8th Army, which Russian media identified as part of the forces that beat Mariupol for weeks.
Governor Alexander Beglov issued a statement saying that Frolov “died a heroic death in battle” without saying where or when he was killed. Photographs on Russian news sites showed his grave in a St. Petersburg cemetery piled with red and white flowers.
Ukraine claimed that several Russian generals and dozens of other high-ranking officers were killed during the war.
WASHINGTON — Austria’s chancellor said after meeting with Vladimir Putin in Moscow last week that the Russian president is “in his own war logic” when it comes to Ukraine.
Karl Nehammer told NBC in an interview that he thinks Putin believes he is winning the war. Nehammer was the first European leader to meet Putin in Moscow since Russia launched its invasion on February 24. He said: “we have to look him in the eye and we have to confront him with what we see in Ukraine”.
Before arriving in Moscow last Monday, Nehammer had traveled to Bucha, Ukraine, the town outside kyiv where clear evidence of murder and torture emerged after Russian forces withdrew.
Nehammer told “Meet the Press” he confronted Putin about what he saw at Bucha, and “it wasn’t a friendly conversation.”
He said that Putin said “he will cooperate with an international investigation, on the one hand, and on the other hand, he told me that he did not trust the Western world. So that will be the problem now in the future.
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