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Latest Developments in Ukraine: May 1

By VOA News May 01, 2022

Recap of May 1:

FIGHTING
* Ukrainian National Guard brigade commander Denys Shlega said, after about 100 civilians were evacuated, Russian forces resumed their shelling of a steel plant in Mariupol.

HUMANITARIAN
* Mariupol's city council said a broad U.N.-supported evacuation of the city would begin Monday.
* Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that an estimated 350,000 people have been evacuated from combat zones since Russia invaded his country in February.

DIPLOMACY
* A U.S. delegation including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met in Kyiv with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and discussed defense supplies to Ukraine, financial support and sanctions against Russia.

SANCTIONS
* Germany said it is making progress on weaning itself off Russian fossil fuels and expects to be fully independent of Russian crude oil imports by late summer.

MEDIA
* The New York Times reported that nearly all cellular and internet service was down in the Russian-occupied part of the Kherson region. Ukraine accuses Russia of disrupting the services.

The latest developments in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. All times EDT:

9:39 p.m.: Energy ministers from European Union countries said they plan to hold emergency talks on Monday, as the bloc strives for a united response to Moscow's demand that European buyers pay for Russian gas in rubles or face their supply being cut off, Reuters reported.

6:27 p.m.: Ukrainian National Guard brigade commander Denys Shlega said Sunday that Russian forces resumed their shelling of a steel plant in the war-torn port city Mariupol immediately after the partial evacuation of civilians, The Associated Press reported. Shlega said in a televised interview that shelling began as soon as rescue crews stopped evacuating civilians at the Azovstal steel mill, AP reported. He added that at least one more round of evacuations is needed to clear civilians from the plant, which the commander said still held several hundred civilians, nearly 500 wounded soldiers and numerous dead bodies, AP reported.

5:56 p.m.: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called an hourslong meeting with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers a powerful signal of support. During a televised address, Zelenskyy said he and Pelosi included discussions of defense supplies to Ukraine, financial support and sanctions against Russia, The Associated Press reported. Pelosi and a half-dozen U.S. lawmakers met with Zelenskyy and his top aides for about three hours late Saturday.

3:25 p.m.: A broad, U.N.-backed evacuation of civilians, and others sheltering at a steel plant in Mariupol, will begin on Monday, the city council said on Sunday.

1:38 p.m.: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that an estimated 350,000 people have been evacuated from combat zones thanks to humanitarian corridors pre-arranged with Moscow since the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in late February, The Associated Press reported. More than 100 civilians – many women and children -- were evacuated Sunday from a steel plant in the bombed-out city of Mariupol, the AP reported. The evacuees were to be taken to Zaporizhzhia on Monday. ​

1:09 p.m. : Germany says it's making progress on weaning itself off Russian fossil fuels and expects to be fully independent of Russian crude oil imports by late summer, the Associated Press reported. Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck said Sunday that Europe's largest economy has reduced the share of Russian energy imports to 12% for oil, 8% for coal and 35% for natural gas. Germany has been under strong pressure from Ukraine and other nations in Europe to cut energy imports from Russia that are worth billions of dollars, which help fill Russian President Vladimir Putin's war chest. The whole European Union is considering an embargo on Russian oil following a decision to ban Russian coal imports starting in August.

10:00 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has commented on the effort to evacuate people from a steel plant in the besieged city of Mariupol.

Evacuation of civilians from Azovstal began. The 1st group of about 100 people is already heading to the controlled area. Tomorrow we'll meet them in Zaporizhzhia. Grateful to our team! Now they, together with #UN, are working on the evacuation of other civilians from the plant.

— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) May 1, 2022

9:47 a.m.: Ukraine's ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova, in an interview with ABC News, has welcomed the visit to Kyiv by a U.S. congressional delegation led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

.@OMarkarova calls House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Ukraine a "special delight.""We know that Americans are our brothers and sisters in this fight for freedom, for democracy." https://t.co/naPpiGFzlU pic.twitter.com/JHrEWl6ffr

— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) May 1, 2022

9:35 a.m.: The United Nations has confirmed that an operation to evacuate people from a steel plant in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol is underway. U.N. humanitarian spokesman Saviano Abreu told The Associated Press on Sunday that the effort to bring people out of the sprawling Azovstal steel plant was being done in collaboration with the International Committee for the Red Cross and in coordination with Ukrainian and Russian officials.

8:20 a.m: Ukraine has accused Russian forces of looting priceless artifacts from a museum in the southern city of Melitopol as fighting and missile strikes continued in Ukraine's south and east. Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov said during a national telethon that "the orcs have taken hold of our Scythian gold," using a derogatory term by which many Ukrainians refer to the invading Russian soldiers. "We don't know where they took it." The New York Times reported that the director of the Melitopol Museum of Local History, Leila Ibrahimova, said museum workers had hidden the priceless treasure in boxes in a cellar. After Russian troops abducted and interrogated her for several hours in March, Ibrahimova left Melitopol for Kyiv-controlled territory. Melitopol has been occupied by Russian forces since early March. RFE/RL has the story.

7:43 a.m.: Pope Francis on Sunday described the war in Ukraine as a "macabre regression of humanity" that makes him "suffer and cry", calling for humanitarian corridors to evacuate people trapped in the Mariupol steelworks, Reuters reported. Speaking to thousands of people in St. Peter's Square for his noon blessing, Francis again implicitly criticized Russia. "My thoughts go immediately to the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, the city of Mary, barbarously bombarded and destroyed," he said of the mostly Russian-controlled southeastern port city, which is named after Mary.

6:30 a.m.: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has posted on Twitter video of her and a congressional delegation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv.

Our Congressional Delegation was honored to meet with @ZelenskyyUa in Kyiv to salute his leadership and courage, to commend the Ukrainian people for their outstanding defense of Democracy and to say that we are with you until victory is won. pic.twitter.com/zkc588Qcrv

— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) May 1, 2022

5:53 a.m.: CNN reports that 46 civilians were evacuated Saturday from the area around the besieged steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine.

5:27 a.m.: The New York Times reports that nearly all cellular and internet service is down in Russian-occupied part of the Kherson region. Ukraine accuses Russia of disrupting the services.

5:05 a.m.: CNN, citing the Ukrainian military, reports Russia is reinforcing its offensive operations in eastern Ukraine with weapons and military equipment amid heavy artillery assaults.

3:59 a.m.: The Washington Post reports that Sweden said a Russian plane violated the country's airspace Friday. The military said the plane violated Swedish airspace for a "short period" before leaving. The military identified the plane as an AN-30, an aerial survey craft.

2:52 a.m.: The Associated Press reports that U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has visited Kyiv and met with Ukraine's president.

AP says footage released Sunday by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's office showed Pelosi in Kyiv with a congressional delegation including Jason Crow, Jim McGovern and Adam Schiff.

"We believe that we are visiting you to say thank you for your fight for freedom," Pelosi told Zelenskyy.

"We are on a frontier of freedom and your fight is a fight for everyone. Our commitment is to be there for you until the fight is done," she added.

Our Congressional Delegation was honored to meet with @ZelenskyyUa in Kyiv to salute his leadership and courage, to commend the Ukrainian people for their outstanding defense of Democracy and to say that we are with you until victory is won. pic.twitter.com/zkc588Qcrv

— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) May 1, 2022

2:01 a.m.: The latest intelligence update from the U.K. defense ministry says Russia is trying to install a pro-Russian administration in the city of Kherson, which it seized in March. "Enduring control over Kherson and its transport links will increase Russia's ability to sustain its advance to the north and west and improve the security of Russia's control over Crimea," the update notes.

12:02 a.m.: Al Jazeera reports that Russia says Ukrainian forces shelling the Kherson region have killed and injured civilians. The defense ministry says Ukraine shelled a school, a kindergarten and a cemetery.

Some information came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.



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