The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has warned Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is “only a beginning” and that Moscow has designs on capturing other countries after a Russian general said it wants full control over southern Ukraine. “All the nations that, like us, believe in the victory of life over death must fight with us. They must help us, because we are the first in line. And who will come next? ” Zelenskiy said in a video address late on Friday.
Rustam Minnekayev, deputy commander of Russia’s central military district, was quoted by Russian state news agencies as saying full control over southern Ukraine would give it access to Transnistria, a breakaway Russian-occupied part of Moldova in the west.
Moldova’s foreign ministry said it had summoned Moscow’s ambassador on Friday to express “deep concern” about the general’s comments. Moldova was neutral, it said. Moldova last month formally applied to join the European Union, charting a pro-western course hastened by Russia’s invasion.
Fears continue to grow for hundreds of civilians holed up in the Azovstal steel factory in the besieged port city of Mariupol, with the last remaining, outgunned contingent of Ukrainian fighters. Russia’s defense ministry said it was ready to allow civilians to leave the steelworks if Ukrainian forces surrendered. But according to Petro Andryushchenko, an adviser to Mariupol’s mayor, Russian forces are continuing to drop bombs on the plant.
Another mass grave has been found outside of Mariupol, the Associated Press has reported, citing the city council and an adviser to the mayor. The city council posted a satellite photo provided by Planet Labs showing what it said was a mass grave 45 meters by 25 meters that could hold the bodies of at least 1,000 Mariupol residents outside the village of Vynohradne.
Ukraine deputy prime minister, Iryna Vereshchuk, said that “there is a possibility” a humanitarian corridor could be opened up out of Mariupol on Saturday. She was speaking in an online address to the people waiting to be evacuated.
The stated intent of Russia’s defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, to “introduce ‘new methods of warfare’ is a tacit admission that Russian progress is not going as intended ”, the UK’s Ministry of Defense said in its latest intelligence update. The MoD said it would take Russia some time to change tactics and improve operations and therefore in the interim there is “likely to be continued reliance on bombardment as a means of trying to suppress Ukrainian opposition”.
The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, has called for the release of prominent Russian opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murzawho was detained outside his home in Moscow on 11 April, hours after CNN aired an interview in which he criticized Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
The United Nations chief, António Guterres, will meet Putin in Moscow next week, seeking an end to the bloodshed. Guterres could also visit Zelenskiy in Kyiv, the UN announced. Talks between Russia and Ukraine had stalled again, the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said on Friday.
The US military expects more than 20 countries to attend Ukraine-focused defense talks it will host in Germany next week that will focus in part on Kyiv’s long-term defense needs, the Pentagon said on Friday.
Western allies are preparing to offer Ukraine a series of “security guarantees” that should make the country “impregnable” to a future Russian invasion, the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, was reported saying by the Press Association.
Zelenskiy has said he is “grateful” to Britain after Johnson announced the reopening of the UK embassy in Kyiv.
Russia’s defense ministry has reported that one sailor died and 27 more remain missing after one of its premier warships, the missile cruiser Moskva, sank last week in the Black Sea south of the threatened Ukrainian port of Odesa.
Russia has been hiding evidence of its “barbaric” war crimes in Mariupol by burying the bodies of civilians killed by shelling in a new mass grave that could hold as many as 9,000 dead, local officials said. It comes after a US satellite imaging company released photos that appeared to match the site.
The UN human rights office said it has seen growing evidence of war crimes in Ukraine, describing the war as a “horror story of violations against civilians”. The UN human rights commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, said “almost every resident” of the town of Bucha had a story about the death of a relative, a neighbor or even a stranger.
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