Women and children have been evacuated from Azovstal and the fighting continues

On Friday, 50 people, who are also the most vulnerable civilians, managed to leave the massive steel complex, the last pocket of resistance of Ukrainian forces in this southeastern port city devastated by Russian bombing. These operations, which have been taking place for a week under the auspices of the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross, according to Kyiv, enabled nearly 500 civilians to escape.

Small Russian advance in Donbass

But the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said in its morning report Saturday that “the enemy did not stop its offensive”, and in particular “repelled” the defenders of the Azovstal district. The Ukrainian army confirmed that the Russian forces attacked the factory the day before, despite the unilateral ceasefire that it imposed on Thursday for a period of three days.

Mariupol, which had approximately 500,000 inhabitants before the war, was almost completely wiped off the map by two months of Russian siege and bombardment.

To the west, two missile attacks reached Odessa, the main Ukrainian port on the Black Sea, on Friday evening, without causing any casualties. The city of Mykolaiv was also targeted.

Also, missile strikes were reported on Friday and Saturday in the Kharkiv region (northeast) and around Donetsk (east).

The American Institute for the Studies of War (ISW) noted that the Russians had made limited territorial gains in the past 24 hours around Severodonetsk, one of the major cities in the Donbass still in Ukrainian hands, but this should not lead to a complete encirclement.

Ukrainian military successes

On the contrary, in Kharkiv, the Ukrainian counterattack to drive the second largest city of Ukraine out of range of enemy artillery gained momentum, with the capture of several Russian positions in the north and east. So much so that the Russian military had to blow up three road bridges to “slow down the counterattack” in this area, according to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry.

For its part, the Ukrainian Navy confirmed that it had destroyed a Russian landing ship about a hundred kilometers from Odessa, not far from Small Snake Island, using a Bayraktar TB2 combat drone, developed in Turkey, information that Russia has not confirmed. .

Expected revival with the approach of May 9

As May 9 approaches, the Ukrainian authorities expect an intensification of Russian strikes.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko warned Friday that “please do not ignore weather alerts and go to shelters immediately, the Ukrainian capital is very likely to be in danger of being bombed,” adding that the 1945 victory in the Ukrainian capital will not be commemorated. .

Oleksiy Aristovich, advisor to President Volodymyr Zelensky, warned that “the enemy is trying to eliminate the defenders of Azovstal, it is trying to do this before May 9 to give Vladimir Putin a gift.”

On Saturday, the Russian army conducted the last exercises on Red Square before the traditional military parade on May 9, in the presence of soldiers who participated in the offensive in Ukraine.

Fear of conflict spillover

On the sidelines of this war, the authorities of the pro-Russian separatist region of Transdniestria, in Moldova, announced on Saturday that four explosions occurred the previous evening in a village on the border with Ukraine, without causing any casualties.

Fears that the conflict in Ukraine will spill over into Transdniestria have grown in recent weeks after a Russian general revealed that one of Russia’s goals was to create a corridor into the small region.

Meanwhile, the United States on Friday announced new military aid to the city of Kyiv, worth $150 million – a much lower level than its predecessor – while warning that funds for such arms deliveries are now “practically exhausted”.

‘Amazing’ violations of human rights

For her part, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, condemned today, Saturday, the “horrific” violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed by the Russian army in Ukraine, after a four-day visit to Kyiv and its region.

The day before, in the first show of unity since Russia’s attack on Ukraine began on February 24, the United Nations Security Council – where Russia, one of its five permanent members, holds a veto – “firmly” granted the support of “UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. In search of a peaceful solution.

Sanctions on Russian oil

On the Western sanctions front, tough negotiations were underway among the 27 European Union member states to reach an agreement this weekend on a plan to halt Russian oil imports, which Hungary has so far blocked.

Leave a Comment