Russia-Ukraine latest updates: Mariupol fighters hold out

Ukraine news from April 17: Ukrainian fighters are holding out in the last pocket of resistance in Mariupol.

A local resident looks at a damaged during a heavy fighting apartment building
A resident looks at a damaged apartment building near the Illich Iron and Steel Works, the second largest metallurgical enterprise in Ukraine, in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces in Mariupol, on Saturday, April 16, 2022 [Alexei Alexandrov/AP Photo]
  • Ukrainian forces continue to hold out in Mariupol as Russian deadline to surrender passes.
  • Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urges US President Joe Biden to visit his country.
  • At least three people killed and more than 30 wounded in Kharkiv as Russian forces shelled multiple locations overnight, local authorities say.
  • Russia says its troops have “completely cleared” Mariupol and only a small number of Ukrainian forces remain inside a steel factory.
  • It adds that if Ukrainian forces in Mariupol lay down their arms by 03:00 GMT, their lives will be spared.
  • Zelenskyy threatens to withdraw from peace talks if Ukrainian fighters in Mariupol are killed.

INTERACTIVE Russia Ukraine War Who controls what Day 53

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These were the updates on April 17:

FEATURE: The weapons being sent to Ukraine and why they may not be enough

Ukraine has surprised the world by bringing Russia’s invasion to a standstill. The new professional Russian army was expected to make sweeping advances, its reputation for effectiveness not yet earned but assumed.

However, Ukrainian resistance was much stronger than anticipated and Russian armoured columns were not only halted but in many cases destroyed as Ukraine leveraged what weapons it had to the greatest effect, its commitment to defend itself with great energy, surprising Russia and the world. Since then, Ukraine has seen a flood of arms as weapons pour in from Europe and the United States.

However, despite Ukraine’s many successes, the stalling of Russia’s lacklustre advance and Ukraine’s denial of its airspace to Russian jets, the attrition of the conflict on Ukraine’s inventory of weapons was inevitable.

Read more here.

IMF managing director, Zelenskyy discuss ‘post-war reconstruction’

Ukrainian president Zelenskyy has posted on Twitter that he spoke with IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva about Ukraine’s financial stability and its post-war reconstruction.

“We have clear plans for now, as well as a vision of prospects. I’m sure cooperation between the IMF and Ukraine will continue to be fruitful,” Zelenskyy added.

PHOTOS: Freshly dug graves and mourning in Ukraine

In the towns and villages just outside Kyiv, bodies of more than 900 civilians have been found, most of them shot dead.

A cemetery worker carries a cross for the tomb of Tetyana Gramushnyak, 75, who was killed by shelling on March 19 while cooking food outside her home in Bucha
A cemetery worker carries a cross for the tomb of Tetyana Gramushnyak, 75, who was killed by shelling on March 19 while cooking food outside her home in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine [Rodrigo Abd/AP Photo]
Rifles and an axe lay in a field where Ukrainian soldiers dig a trench in case of another Russian invasion, in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv
Rifles and an axe lay in a field where Ukrainian soldiers dig a trench in case of another Russian invasion, in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine [Rodrigo Abd/AP Photo]
Nadiya Trubchaninova, 70, stands in her bedroom holding a portrait of her sons Oleg Trubchaninov, 46, and Vadym, 48, who was killed by Russian soldiers last March 30 in Bucha, in the outskirts of Kyiv
Nadiya Trubchaninova, 70, stands in her bedroom holding a portrait of her sons Oleg Trubchaninov, 46, and Vadym, 48, who was killed by Russian soldiers on March 30 in Bucha, in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine [Rodrigo Abd/AP Photo]

See more here.

Kyiv church refuses to shut despite appeals: AJ correspondent

A priest at a Roman Catholic church in the Ukrainian capital has rejected government pressure to shut down from authorities since the war began, to try help people in the area, Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford reported from the church during Easter Sunday service.

“We have helped evacuate children and the elderly from areas of the parish outside Kyiv. The atmosphere in the church has changed. Since the war started. People are more united. We help each other more,” head priest Pavlo Vyshkovskiy said.

One worshipper told Al Jazeera that she continues to come to the church due to “anxiety” from the war.

“I hear the father’s preaching it gets easier. I find more faith in myself in our society and our victory,” resident Olena said.

Al Jazeera’s Stratford said in recent weeks services in the church have been held underground due to fear of potential Russian shelling.

Mariupol ‘extremely decisive’ for Russia: Military expert

Editor of the Swiss Military Review, Alexandre Vautravers, has told Al Jazeera that for Russia, controlling Mariupol was “extremely decisive” for its “territorial continuity”.

“Therefore, during the negotiations and agreements that will … take place at the end of hostilities, it will be absolutely indispensable for Russia to gain this territorial continuity in order to be able to break off the secession republics from Ukraine,” he said speaking from Geneva.

“And it is very it is extremely difficult to be able to bring more supplies and more weapons to people who are … defending Mariupol because of course, the Russian pressure is not only exercised on the city itself, also all of the access that would allow for any reinforcements to get to Mariupol.”

Service members from Chechen Republic walk during fighting in Ukraine-Russia conflict in the city of Mariupol, Ukraine April 15, 2022.
Service members from the Chechen Republic walk during fighting in the Ukraine-Russia conflict in the city of Mariupol [File: Chingis Kondarov/Reuters]

Russian navy commander meets Moskva crew

Russia’s defence ministry has released video which it says shows Russian Navy commander-in-chief Nikolay Yevmenov and other members of high command meeting with the crew of the sunken Moskva missile cruiser.

The Moskva sank on Thursday after it was heavily damaged.

Fighting continuing in Mariupol: AJ correspondent

Fighting in Mariupol was still continuing, according to the Telegram channel of the Azov regiment, Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel-Hamid reported from the western Ukrainian city of Lviv.

“They [Azov] were saying that a paramedic had died earlier in the day. From what we understand, a number of Ukrainian forces along with members of this Azov regiment are holed up in the Azov steel factory which is a bit south of the city,” she added.

“The Russians are surrounding them. It is a very difficult battle.”

Russia-Ukraine map Who controls what in Mariupol DAY 53
[Al Jazeera]

No comment yet from Russia since Mariupol deadline passed: AJ correspondent

Al Jazeera’s Dorsa Jabbari, speaking from Moscow, reported that Russian officials have not made any comments since the deadline for Ukrainian forces to surrender in Mariupol passed.

“The Russians believe that there are about 2,500 Ukrainian soldiers left in … Mariupol, and they say that they are now going to be continuing to take full control of Mariupol as a result of their ongoing military operation,” she added.

FEATURE: Lives derailed – Fleeing Ukraine war destroyed my father’s health

It was 5am on February 24 when Sergey got the first phone call from a friend in Kharkiv. “They told us that they’re under bombing attack.”

Sergey pauses, recalling the day Vladimir Putin’s forces invaded Ukraine.

He and most of his family were in their hometown, Kyiv, at the time. But as the war raged on – fighting gripping the country, slowly casting its shadow from east to west – they were forced to flee.

Read more here.

A woman is taken to an ambulance after being injured in a Russian bombardment in Kharkiv
A woman is taken to an ambulance after being injured in Russian bombardment in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on April 17, 2022 [Felipe Dana/AP Photo]

Macron invited to see evidence of ‘genocide’: Zelenskyy

Ukraine’s president said he has invited the French president to visit his country to see for himself evidence that Russian forces have committed “genocide”.

“I talked to him yesterday,” Zelenskyy told broadcaster CNN on Sunday.

“I just told him I want him to understand that this is not war, but nothing other than genocide. I invited him to come when he will have the opportunity. He’ll come and see, and I’m sure he will understand.”

Macron has so far avoided using the term genocide to describe atrocities committed by Russian forces in Ukraine.

Situation in Mariupol could be ‘red line’ in talks: Ukraine minister

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said the situation in the port of Mariupol, which he described as “dire”, may be a “red line” in the path of negotiations.

Moreover, Ukraine “didn’t really have any contacts with Russian diplomats in recent weeks at the level of foreign ministries”, Kuleba told US media outlet CBS.

“The only level of contact is the negotiating team that consists of the representatives of various institutions and members of parliament. They continue their consultations at the expert level but no high-level talks are taking place,” he added.

Zelenskyy calls on Biden to visit

Ukraine’s leader Zelenskyy has called on US President Joe Biden to visit his country.

“I think he’s the leader of the United States and that’s why he should come here to see,” Zelenskyy said during an interview with US outlet CNN.

“It’s his decision, of course,” Zelenskyy said, adding that any plans would depend on the security situation in Ukraine.

Russia should declare ceasefire, withdraw: UK Bishop

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, in his Easter sermon has called for Russia to declare a ceasefire and withdraw from Ukraine.

The leader of the Anglican church said Easter is a time for peace and not “blood and iron”.

Noting that the Eastern Orthodox church followed by many in Russia and Ukraine Sunday marks the start of Holy Week – the week leading to Easter – he said ”let this be a time for Russian ceasefire, withdrawal and a commitment to talks”.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby speaks during a news conference at Lambeth Palace in London
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby [File: Neil Hall/Reuters]

Ukraine resistance ‘heroic’: Italy PM

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has said Ukraine’s resistance to Russia’s invasion is “heroic,” depriving Russia of what it expected to be a rapid victory and setting the stage for a “prolonged” war.

Draghi told the Italian daily Corriere della Sera in a published interview that “what awaits us is a war of resistance, prolonged violence with destruction that will continue. There is no sign that the Ukraine population can accept a Russian occupation.”

Ukrainian PM says forces in Mariupol have not surrendered

Ukrainian forces remaining in the besieged city of Mariupol are still fighting and have not surrendered, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal told a US news outlet.

“The city still has not fallen,” Shmyhal told ABC’s This Week programme, adding that Ukrainian soldiers continue to control some parts of the city.

Men ride bicycles past a building destroyed during Ukraine-Russia conflict
Men ride bicycles past a building destroyed during the Russia-Ukraine conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine [Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters]

Shelling kills two, injures four in eastern town of Zolote: Luhansk governor

At least two people were killed and four others were injured in the shelling of the eastern Ukrainian town of Zolote, the local governor has claimed.

“In one of the high-rise buildings, two floors were destroyed … We have at least two dead citizens, four more wounded,” said Serhiy Gaidai, the governor of the Luhansk region.

Al Jazeera was not able to independently verify the governor’s claims.

Strikes leave five dead in east Ukraine city of Kharkiv: Reports

A series of strikes in Kharkiv left at least five dead and 13 injured, a regional health official told AFP news agency.

Maksym Khaustov, the head of the Kharkiv region’s health department, confirmed the deaths following a series of strikes that AFP journalists on the scene said had ignited fires throughout the city and torn roofs from buildings hit in the attacks.

Ukraine’s Suspilne public broadcaster, citing local health authorities, reported the same casualties, adding that rescue efforts were continuing.

Where are people fleeing to?

INTERACTIVE Russia-Ukraine war Refugees DAY 53 April 17 6GMT

Russia calls increased NATO military activity in the Arctic worrying

Russia is worried about the increased activity of NATO forces in the Arctic and sees risks of “unintended incidents”, Russian ambassador-at-large Nikolay Korchunov reportedly said.

“The recent increase in NATO’s activity in the Arctic is a cause for concern. Another large-scale military exercise of the alliance was recently held in northern Norway. In our view, this does not contribute to the security of the region,” Korchunov said.

According to the diplomat, such activity raises the risk of “unintended incidents”, which, in addition to security risks, can also cause serious damage to the Arctic ecosystem. He did not specify what type of incident he might be referring to.

‘Easter of war’: Pope urges halt to hostilities

Pope Francis has called on world leaders to hear calls for peace during an “Easter of war”, including conflict-ravaged Ukraine.

“May there be peace for war-torn Ukraine, so sorely tried by the violence and destruction of the cruel and senseless war into which it was dragged,” the pontiff said during his traditional Easter Sunday Urbi et Orbi address in Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican.

“Our eyes, too, are incredulous on this Easter of war,” he said. “May the leaders of nations hear people’s plea for peace.”

Polish and Ukrainian flags wave among the crowd as Pope Francis greets the faithful from his Popemobile in Saint Peter's Square
Polish and Ukrainian flags wave among the crowd as Pope Francis greets the faithful from his Popemobile in Saint Peter’s Square, after celebrating Easter Mass at the Vatican [Yara Nardi/Reuters]

Russia says it has ‘freed hostages’ from Mariupol’s mosque

Russia says it has freed a number of hostages allegedly held in captivity in a mosque in Mariupol.

Russian defence ministry spokesman General Igor Konashenkov said the operation was carried out at the request of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He added that “29 militants, including foreign fighters”, were killed.

Reports from early March indicated that a number of Turkish citizens were in the mosque not as captives, but to shelter from Russian shelling.

Konashenkov added though that the “hostages” were from one of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries.

Ukraine asks G7 for $50bn to cover budget deficit

Ukraine has asked G7 nations for $50bn in financial support and is also considering issuing 0 percent coupon bonds to help it cover a war-linked budget deficit over the next six months, the president’s economic adviser, Oleh Ustenko, said.

Speaking on national television, Ustenko said these options were being actively discussed.

Civilians’ evacuation from the east halted

There will be no humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians from the east of the country for the day, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has said, as Ukrainian and Russian forces have failed to commit to a ceasefire.

“As of this morning, April 17, we have not been able to agree with the occupiers on a ceasefire on the evacuation routes,” she said in an online post. “We are working hard to get the humanitarian corridors back on track as soon as possible,” she added.

Vereshchuk urged the opening of corridors to allow civilians, especially women, children and wounded soldiers, in the southern city of Mariupol to flee violence.

EU to allocate $54m in humanitarian aid

The European Union is allocating 50 million euros ($54m) in humanitarian aid to support people affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Most of the funds will be directed to projects within Ukraine, while $5m is destined for Moldova, read a statement published by the EU commission.

The money “will help people in hard-to-reach areas who are cut off from access to healthcare, water and electricity, and those who have been forced to flee and leave everything behind”, said the bloc’s commissioner for crisis management, Janez Lenarcic. This funding adds to the approximately $154.6m allocated by Europe in response to the war.

Three killed in Kharkiv: Local authority

At least three people have been killed as Russian forces shelled multiple locations overnight in northeastern Kharkiv, Governor Oleg Synegubov said on his Telegram channel.

The attacks happened in areas including northern Saltivka, Pyatihatki and Oleksiyivka, Synegubov said, adding that more than 30 were wounded, including four children.

“I appeal to the people of Kharkiv: do not be on the streets unnecessarily,” he said.

Burned cars are seen outside a destroyed building following Russian shelling, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv,
Burned cars outside a destroyed building following Russian shelling in Kharkiv [Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters]

‘Sirens sounding again and again’: AJ correspondent

Attacks targeting military infrastructures in and around Kyiv have been intensifying, Al Jazeera’s Resul Serdar said, with fears that they could further increase.

“Overnight air sirens were sounding around the city again and again, not only in Kyiv but also in Lviv and some other parts of the county,” said Serdar, reporting from the Ukrainian capital.

In the last two days, Russia hit two military factories, Serdar noted, one which repairs tanks and the other which repairs and produces missiles. One person was killed and four were wounded, he added.

“The fear here is that, if war escalates, the capital Kyiv is going to witness more Russian long-range, high-precision missile attacks,” he added.

Missile hits infrastructure in Brovary

A missile has hit Brovary, an eastern suburb of the capital, Kyiv, damaging infrastructure, Mayor Igor Sapozhko said on social media.

Sapozhko had posted an “Air alarm!” message around 02:30 GMT on his Telegram channel.

Russian troops having ‘significant problems with provision’

Ukraine’s military says Russian troops are having significant problems with provisions and there was growing discontent among the deployed soldiers.

“Russian servicemen constantly complain about the lack of rotation, equipment that constantly breaks down, the quality of the fuel supplied, and food,” said Oleksandr Shputun, representative of the General Staff of Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Speaking at a daily briefing, Shputun said Russian soldiers were continuing looting and violent actions against the civil population of the occupied territories, actions he said their commanders encouraged.

Russia continuing to redeploy combat equipment towards eastern Ukraine: UK

The British Ministry of Defence says Russian forces are still redeploying combat and support equipment from Belarus towards eastern Ukraine, including locations close to Kharkiv and Severdonetsk, it said in its latest intelligence update.

“Though Russia’s operational focus has shifted to eastern Ukraine, Russia’s ultimate objective remains the same. It is committed to compelling Ukraine to abandon its Euro-Atlantic orientation and asserting its own regional dominance,” it added.

Italy bars Russian ships from ports

Italy is barring all Russian ships from its ports starting on Sunday, as part of expanded EU sanctions announced earlier this month.

Ships already in Italian ports must leave immediately “after completing their commercial activity″, according to a notice sent to port authorities.

Explosions heard in Kyiv: Reports

Explosions were heard in the early hours on Sunday in Kyiv, according to local media.

Overnight, air raid sirens were going off over nearly all of Ukraine.

Remains of chemical weapons found in Sumy: Official

The mayor of Trostyanets, a city in Ukraine’s northern Sumy region, says authorities have found the remains of sarin gas in a village previously occupied by Russian troops.

“We found the remains of chemical weapons in the village of Bilka – sarin and other substances. We discovered ampoules. The Security Service of Ukraine is currently working on this. It is possible that the occupiers wanted to use this chemical to strike Kyiv, Poltava or other cities,” Yuriy Bova told Ukrainian radio.

There was no immediate comment from Moscow on the latest allegation, and Al Jazeera could not verify the report independently.

Bova also said Russian troops had mined cemeteries, administrative buildings, forests and parks during their occupation of Trostyanets.

Ukraine’s richest man promises to rebuild Mariupol

Ukraine’s richest man has pledged to help rebuild Mariupol, a place close to his heart where he owns two vast steelworks that he says will once again compete globally.

Rinat Akhmetov has seen his business empire shattered by eight years of fighting in Ukraine’s east but remains defiant, sure that what he calls “our brave soldiers” will defend the Sea of Azov city reduced to a wasteland by seven weeks of bombardment.

“Mariupol is a global tragedy and a global example of heroism. For me, Mariupol has been and will always be a Ukrainian city,” Akhmetov said in written answers to questions from the Reuters news agency.

A view shows the gates of the Illich Steel and Iron Works damaged during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine April 15, 2022.
A view shows the gates of the Illich Steel and Iron Works damaged during the Russia-Ukraine conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, April 15, 2022 [File: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters]

New attack on Kharkiv kills one, wounds two

Russian troops shelled Ukraine’s Kharkiv again on Saturday evening, killing one person and wounding two, according to the city’s mayor.

“One of the districts in Kharkiv has just come under fire. One person was killed and two people were injured. At the moment, they are at hospital, and our health workers are fighting for their lives. Russian invaders conduct shelling to sow chaos, frighten people,” Ihor Terekhov was quoted as saying by local media.

Russian troops had also shelled Kharkiv on Friday and Saturday, killing and wounding several people, according to Ukrainian authorities.

Abramovich visits Kyiv to revive talks: Report

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich has travelled to the Ukrainian capital in a bid to restart peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, according to Bloomberg.

Abramovich met Ukrainian negotiators to discuss how to revive the negotiations, which had stalled after evidence emerged of Russian atrocities against civilians, the news agency reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

A spokesperson for Abramovich told Bloomberg that the billionaire was not in Kyiv, while Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak declined to comment.

Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea smiles following his team's victory during the UEFA Champions League Final between Manchester City and Chelsea FC at Estadio do Dragao on May 29, 2021 in Porto, Portugal.
A spokesman for Roman Abramovich, pictured, says he was in Kyiv [File: Alexander Hassenstein/UEFA via Getty Images]

Celebrity chef’s kitchen bombed in Kharkiv

Russia’s bombardment of cities around Ukraine on Saturday included an explosion in Kharkiv that destroyed a community kitchen.

The kitchen was set up by World Central Kitchen, run by celebrity chef Jose Andres who works to establish feeding systems in disaster and war zones. Andres tweeted that the non-governmental organisation’s staff members were shaken but safe.

Andres said the attack in Kharkiv shows that “to give food in the middle of a senseless war is an act of courage, resilience and resistance”, and that his group’s chefs will keep cooking for Ukraine.

The organisation says it has reached 30 cities across the country, providing nearly 300,000 meals a day.

Zelenskyy seeks to break Russian blockade

Zelenskyy says he spoke on Saturday with the leaders of Sweden and the UK about how best to help those defending Mariupol and the tens of thousands of civilians trapped in the besieged city.

“Either our partners give Ukraine all of the necessary heavy weapons, the planes, and without exaggeration immediately, so we can reduce the pressure of the occupiers on Mariupol and break the blockade,” he said in his nightly video address to the nation.

“Or we do so through negotiations, in which the role of our partners should be decisive.”

Russia sets deadline for Mariupol surrender

Russia’s defence ministry says if Ukrainian forces still fighting in Mariupol lay down their arms starting at 6am Moscow time (03:00 GMT), their lives will be spared, the Tass news agency reported.

Russia said the remaining fighters – which it claims are both Ukrainian and foreign – are blockaded in the Azovstal steelworks.

Tass quoted Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev, director of the Russian National Defense Management Center, as saying the situation in the plant was “catastrophic”.

Situation in Mariupol is ‘inhuman’: Zelenskyy

Zelenskyy says the situation in Mariupol is “inhuman” and called on allies to provide heavy weapons to save the city from Russian forces.

“The situation in Mariupol remains as severe as possible – just inhuman. This is what the Russian Federation did, and deliberately continues to destroy cities. It is deliberately trying to destroy everyone who is there in Mariupol,” Zelenskyy said.

“Although we have heard many intentions from those who wanted to help and who really have international prestige, nothing of that has been realised yet. However, we will not abandon these efforts.

Mariupol ‘entirely’ taken: Russian defence ministry

The strategic port city of Mariupol has been ​​”completely cleared” with a small group of holdout fighters on the outskirts told to “lay down their arms”, the Russian defence ministry says.

Russia’s claim to have all but taken control of Mariupol – the scene of the war’s heaviest fighting and worst humanitarian catastrophe – could not be independently verified. It would be the first big city to have fallen to Russian forces since the February 24 invasion.

“The entire urban area of ​​Mariupol has been completely cleared and remnants of the Ukrainian [armed] group are currently completely blockaded … Their only chance to save their lives is to voluntarily lay down their arms and surrender,” said Igor Konashenkov, the ministry’s chief spokesman.

Read more here

Russia announces general’s death in battle

A Russian general whose troops have been besieging Mariupol was buried in Saint Petersburg after being killed in battle.

Major General Vladimir Frolov was deputy commander of the 8th Army, which Russian media identified as being among the forces battering Mariupol for weeks.

Governor Alexander Beglov released a statement saying Frolov “died a heroic death in battle” without saying where or when he was killed. Ukraine has claimed that several Russian generals and dozens of other high-ranking officers have been killed during the war.

Austrian leader says Putin in ‘own war logic’

Austria’s chancellor has said after meeting Vladimir Putin in Moscow that the Russian president is “in his own war logic”.

Karl Nehammer told broadcaster NBC in an interview 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.

Nehammer, who had visited Bucha, Ukraine, where graphic evidence of killings and torture emerged following the withdrawal of Russian forces, said he confronted Putin with what he had seen in Bucha and “it was not a friendly conversation”.

Putin said “he will cooperate with an international investigation, on one hand, and on the other hand, he told me that he doesn’t trust the Western world. So this will be the problem now in the future.”

More than 23,000 Ukraine forces killed: Russian military

Russia’s military says Ukraine’s military has suffered 23,367 “irreplaceable losses” since the start of the Russian invasion.

Russian defence ministry chief spokesman Igor Konashenkov said “the Ukrainian contingent’s casualties in Mariupol alone amounted to over 4,000 people”.

On Mariupol, Konashenkov said 1,464 Ukrainian servicemen had surrendered. “The number of those surrendering is growing by the day,” he said.

Russia shot down a Ukrainian military cargo plane in the Odesa area that was “set to deliver a large shipment of weapons supplied to Ukraine by Western countries”, Konashenkov added.

Saudi crown prince holds talks with Putin

Putin spoke with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, their second call since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Saudi readout of the call said the crown prince affirmed support for efforts that will lead to a political solution to the crisis in Ukraine.

The kingdom recently announced $10m in humanitarian aid for Ukrainian refugees.

Russia holding 1,700 Ukraine captives: Official

Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk says 700 Ukrainian troops and more than 1,000 civilians – about half of them women – are currently being held captive by Russian forces.

Vereshchuk said Kyiv intends to swap the captive soldiers, since Ukraine holds about the same number of Russian troops, but demands to release the civilians “without any conditions”.


Zelenskyy says Ukraine could withdraw from peace talks over Mariupol

Zelenskyy has threatened to withdraw from the peace negotiations with Russia if Ukrainian fighters trapped in the port city of Mariupol are killed by Russian forces besieging the city.

“What they are doing right now … could put a stop to any form of negotiation,” Zelenskyy said in an interview with a Ukrainian news website.

“There are troops there who absolutely hate them, and I don’t think they will let them live,” the Ukrainian leader said, referring to the fact that many of the fighters trapped in the city are part of the nationalist-dominated Azov Batallion.

Russian navy commander meets crew of sunken Moskva

Russian Navy Commander-in-Chief Nikolay Yevmenov and other members of high command have met with the crew of the sunken Moskva missile cruiser.

The Moskva sank on Thursday after it was heavily damaged. Ukrainian officials said their forces hit the vessel with missiles. Moscow did not acknowledge any attack, saying only a fire  detonated ammunition on board.

Ukraine officials to visit US for key economic meetings

Ukraine is sending top officials to Washington for next week’s spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank where discussion will focus on the Russian invasion and its effect on the global economy.

Coming to the gathering are Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, finance minister Serhiy Marchenko and central bank governor Kyrylo Shevchenko, according to a World Bank official.

Read all the updates from April 16 here.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies