HomeNewsRussia-Ukraine live news: Azov forces vow to continue the fight
Russia-Ukraine live news: Azov forces vow to continue the fight
May 8, 2022
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says “evil has returned” to Ukraine after Russia’s invasion in an emotional address on Victory Day.
Zelenskyy says 300 civilians have been evacuated from the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, but fighters in the mill have vowed to continue to fight until the end.
At least 60 people are missing and feared dead in the debris of a burned-out school that was hit by a Russian air raid in the village of Bilohorivka in eastern Luhansk region, local authorities have said.
The United States have imposed new sanctions on Russia, including against three Russian television stations, while G7 leaders have pledged to reinforce Moscow’s economic isolation.
The United Kingdom says it will provide Ukraine with an additional 1.3 billion pounds ($1.6bn) in military aid.
Leaders of the G7 are set to hold virtual meetings with Zelenskyy later on Sunday.
Here are all the latest updates:
US imposes visa restrictions on Russian military officers, targets maritime sector
The US State Department announced a raft of visa bans and a new policy of visa restrictions on more than 2,500 Russian military officials and Russian-backed forces in Ukraine, according to a department fact sheet.
It also said it designated eight Russian maritime-related companies and added 69 vessels to a US Treasury Department sanctions list.
Russia says it hits US-supplied weapons in Ukraine
Russia says it had destroyed weapons and military equipment provided to Ukraine by the US and other unspecified Western countries.
Igor Konashenkov, Russia’s defence ministry’s spokesperson, said “high-precision air-launched missiles of the Russian Aerospace Forces” struck the targets near the settlement of Soledar, TASS news agency reported.
G7 leaders pledge further economic isolation of Russia
The Group of Seven leaders said in a joint statement that they will reinforce Russia’s economic isolation and “elevate” a campaign against Russian elites who support President Vladimir Putin.
After meeting virtually with Zelenskiyy, the leaders said they would cut off key services on which Russia depends, reinforcing the isolation of Russia “across all sectors of its economy.”
They also committed to phasing out dependency on Russian energy, including by banning imports of Russian oil. “(W)e will continue and elevate our campaign against the financial elites and family members, who support President Putin in his war effort and squander the resources of the Russian people,” the statement added.
Russian shells hit Lysychansk oil refinery, damage production areas: local authority
Russian shells struck the oil refinery at Lysychansk in eastern Ukraine, damaging production facilities, the governor of Luhansk region said.
Serhiy Haidai, writing on his Telegram channel, said the strike was one of a recent series of attacks and had damaged facilities, including areas where crude oil is received and mixed with other elements of the refining process. Haidai said persistent artillery fire was preventing firefighting teams from working.
US imposes new sanctions on Russia
The US has unveiled sanctions against three Russian television stations, banned Americans from providing accounting and consulting services to Russians, and sanctioned executives from Gazprombank to punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.
The move comes as President Biden met virtually with leaders of the Group of 7 nations and Zelenskyy.
“This is not a full block. We’re not freezing the assets of Gazprombank or prohibiting any transactions with Gazprombank,” a senior Biden administration official told reporters. “What we’re signaling is that Gazprombank is not a safe haven, and so we’re sanctioning some of their top business executives … to create a chilling effect.”
Eight executives from Sberbank, which holds one-third of Russia’s banking assets, were added to the sanctions list. Moscow Industrial Bank and its 10 subsidiaries were also added.
US top diplomat returns to Kyiv embassy
American top diplomat to Ukraine Kristina Kvien and her team have arrived in Kyiv, a senior State Department official has said, as the latest step toward the resumption of a full US presence in the Ukrainian capital.
Videos posted on social media showed a motorcade rolling into the embassy compound.
The team’s visit was timed to commemorate Victory in Europe Day, the official said. Russia celebrates the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany on its Victory Day on Monday.
EU edges towards oil sanctions on Russia, no deal yet
European Union governments moved closer to agreeing tough sanctions against Russia that include a ban on buying Russian oil, but scheduled more talks for Monday to work out how to ensure countries most dependent on Russian energy can cope.
Diplomats of the 27 EU countries have been meeting daily to discuss details of the sixth sanctions package targeting Moscow since the European Commission announced proposals for it on May 4.
“The Council (of EU governments) is united on the need to adopt a 6th sanctions package,” the French presidency of the EU and the Commission said in a statement. “Very significant progress has been made on most of the measures.”
The sticking point is how to secure oil supplies to landlocked Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, which all depend heavily on Russian crude delivered via Soviet-era pipelines and face a challenge to secure alternative sources.
Zelenskiyy, German parliament chief discuss arms, EU membership
In a video of a meeting with German parliament’s President Baerbel Bas, Zelenskiy has said that securing the Bundestag’s approval of heavy arms deliveries to help Ukraine fend off Russian attacks was one his country’s “top priorities.”
He also asked Bas and the Bundestag to support Ukraine in its bid for European Union membership, which Kyiv’s allies have said they want soon. However, candidature would have to be agreed unanimously and accession usually takes years of complex negotiations.
Pelosi urges US Congress to approve $33bn in aid by end of May
US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday told CBS that Congress needs to pass by the end of the month a bill that would give Ukraine $33 billion in military and humanitarian aid.
U2’s Bono gives performance in Kyiv metro
Irish rock group U2’s frontman Bono and his bandmate The Edge performed a 40-minute concert in a metro station in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.
“Your president leads the world in the cause of freedom right now … The people of Ukraine are not just fighting for your own freedom, you’re fighting for all of us who love freedom,” Bono told a crowd of up to 100 gathered inside the Khreshchatyk metro station.
Ukrainian, US diplomats discuss food security
Ukrainian top diplomat Dmytro Kuleba has discussed with his US counterpart Antony Blinken “ways to unblock Ukraine’s food exports and ensure global food security,” he said on Twitter.
Kuleba also said that “stiff US sanctions are coming” on Russia.
On the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation, Victory in Europe Day, @SecBlinken and I coordinated steps to bring the day of Ukraine’s victory closer. New stiff U.S. sanctions on Russia are coming. Discussed ways to unblock Ukraine’s food exports and ensure global food security.
Ukraine, one of the world’s major grain and oilseeds, used to export most of its cereals through its Black Sea ports, which have been blocked by Russia since war began.
Canada PM visits Irpin
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has visited Irpin, a key suburb of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv which had been temporarily occupied by Russian forces, its mayor has said.
“He saw the burned and completely destroyed not military facilities, but the homes of Irpin residents, who until recently enjoyed life and had their own plans for the future,” Alexander Markushin said on social media along pictures showing him and the Canadian minister walking in the city.
“We are here to show our support for Ukraine and its people,” Trudeau said later on Twitter.
I’m in Ukraine with @cafreeland and @melaniejoly today. We’re here to show our support for Ukraine and its people. Our message to President @ZelenskyyUa and Ukrainians is this: Canada will always stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine. More to come on our visit.
Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Marat Khusnullin says he has visited, among others, the Ukrainian city of Mariupol. Khusnullin is Russia’s most senior official to step foot in Ukraine since the war began.
“In the regions, the restoration of peaceful life begins. A lot of work to be done. We will help, in particular, it is necessary to carry out large-scale work in terms of providing humanitarian assistance!” he said on its Telegram channel.
Following relentless bombardment for nearly two months, Russia has claimed victory over the port city on April 21. However, some Ukrainian fighters are still holed up in the city’s vast Soviet-era Azovstal steelworks – the last holdout against Russian forces there.
Jill Biden makes surprise visit to Ukraine
The US first lady Jill Biden has hold a surprise Mother’s Day meeting with her Ukrainian counterpart, Olena Zelenskyy, in an unexpected visit to Ukraine.
“On this Mother’s Day, my heart is with you, First Lady Olena Zelenska, and all of the brave and resilient mothers of Ukraine,” Biden said on Twitter.
On this Mother’s Day, my heart is with you, First Lady Olena Zelenska, and all of the brave and resilient mothers of Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/tCMXCXhgiY
Biden traveled under the cloak of secrecy, becoming the latest high-profile American to enter the war-torn country. Her visit follows recent stops in Kyiv by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of Congress, as well as a joint trip by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to meet with President Zelenskyy.
The first lady traveled by vehicle to the town of Uzhhorod from a Slovakian village that borders Ukraine.
Leaders of G7 to meet virtually on Ukraine
President Zelenskyy is set to hold talks with G7 leaders via video conference to discuss the situation in his country.
More sanctions, or at least a tightening of current ones imposed on Russia, are expected to be discussed.
Fighters at Azovstal plant pledge to fight till the end: Azov regiment
Armed fighters at the besieged Azovstal steel plant have pledged to continue fighting “for as long as we are alive”.
“We will continue to fight as long as we are alive to repel the Russian occupiers,” Sviatoslav Palamar, a deputy commander of Ukraine’s far-right Azov Regiment, told an online conference.
“We don’t have much time, we are coming under intense shelling,” he added.
Air raids in Odessa ongoing: Analyst
Since midnight Ukraine time, at least seven air raids have taken place on Odesa, Hanna Shelest, programme director at think tank Ukraine Prism, has told Al Jazeera.
“Yesterday we had very heavy attacks, targeting the airport again and civilian buildings as well like the trade centre in the town,” she said via Skype from Odesa.
“Russians have intensified [attacks] significantly over the last few days. We’ve never had this many air raids as in the last 48 hours.”
‘Victory will be ours’: Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin has pledged that “as in 1945, victory will be ours” as he congratulated former Soviet nations on Victory Day.
“Today, our soldiers, as their ancestors, are fighting side by side to liberate their native land from the Nazi filth with the confidence that, as in 1945, victory will be ours,” Putin said.
“Today, it is our common duty to prevent the rebirth of Nazism which caused so much suffering to the peoples of different countries,” said Putin. He added he hoped “new generations may be worthy of the memory of their fathers and grandfathers”.
EU negotiations ongoing over Russia oil embargo
European diplomats continue to negotiate on the terms of the EU’s sixth round of sanctions against Russia, with several members seeking guarantees for their oil supplies.
The package suggested last week by the European Commission would have seen most EU members halting oil imports from Russia by the end of the year, to punish Moscow for invading Ukraine.
But several member states, most vocally Hungary, demanded exemptions from the ban and/or support to help them escape their long-standing dependence on a single pipeline for Russian crude.
“There is no political blockage, but the need to guarantee alternative sources of supply to landlocked countries dependent on Russian oil by pipeline. And it is not easy,” a European diplomat told AFP news agency.
Putin will keep all options on table: Analyst
Mark Fitzpatrick of the International Institute for Strategic Studies believes Russia will keep all options on the table to achieve its military objectives in Ukraine, including nuclear weapons.
“[Vladimir] Putin really does not want to lose. But he’s not going to win for sure. Ukraine is just fighting back so fiercely, and with more and more support from the West,” he told Al Jazeera from Washington DC.
“I don’t think Putin is going to win – but what does it mean that he can’t lose? Does he have to redefine his objectives? And if he is doubling down now, and still loses, what happens then? Will he quadruple down and then use nuclear weapons? I’m quite worried about that.”
Croatia leader visits Ukraine
Croatia’s prime minister has visited Ukraine following reports that a Croatian citizen fighting in Mariupol was captured by Russian forces.
The Croatian government said in a statement that the visit by Andrej Plenkovic presented “an expression of solidarity and support” with the Ukrainian leadership and the people.
“Croatia knows what it is like to be under a military aggression and it continues to offer political, diplomatic, financial, humanitarian, technical and any other possible assistance to Ukraine,” the government noted.
Russia continues to bomb northeast region: Ukraine army
The Ukrainian military says Russia continued bombing towns and villages in the country’s northeast as it tries to gain territory along the front line.
Pavlo Kovalchuk, spokesman of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has said Russia shelled Prudyanka, Slatine and Tsyrkuny near Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city.
Al Jazeera could not independently verify the reports.
Evil has returned to Ukraine: President Zelenskyy
Ukrainian leader Zelenskyy claims evil has returned to Ukraine during an address for Victory Day, a day commemorating the formal surrender of Germany to the Allies in World War II.
“The evil has returned. Again!” Zelenskyy said. “In a different form, under different slogans, but for the same purpose.
“No evil can escape responsibility, it cannot hide in a bunker,” he added.
Nazi leader Adolf Hitler spent the last days of his life in a bunker in Berlin where he committed suicide in the final days of the war.
President of Germany’s parliament arrives in Kyiv
Barbel Bas has arrived in Kyiv on to commemorate victims of World War II and to hold talks with Ukrainian officials.
Enrico Brissa, Bundestag’s chief of protocol, posted on Twitter pictures of Barbel arriving on a train and her meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.
The Russian defence ministry claims it has destroyed a Ukrainian corvette warship near Odesa by a missile strike overnight.
The ministry also said its air defences had shot down two Ukrainian SU-24 bombers and a helicopter over the Snake Island in the Black Sea.
It said a total of four Ukrainian warplanes, four helicopters and an assault boat had been destroyed over the past 24 hours.
Al Jazeera could not independently verify the ministry’s claims.
US First Lady Jill Biden arrives in Kosice
United States First Lady Jill Biden has arrived at Slovakia’s Kosice airport after spending Saturday in the country’s capital Bratislava.
Biden is on the third leg of a four-day trip to Romania and Slovakia, which shares a border with Ukraine, that is designed to showcase US support for refugees.
Biden was scheduled to spend Sunday meeting with those who have fled Ukraine and visiting a border village.
Russia’s Gazprom continues gas exports to Europe via Ukraine
Gas producer Gazprom has said it was supplying natural gas to Europe via Ukraine in line with requests from European consumers.
Requests stood at 92.1 million cubic metres (mcm) for May 8 compared to 92.4 mcm on May 7.
All civilians evacuate Mariupol’s Azovstal
The last of the Ukrainian civilians trapped in a steel plant in the port city of Mariupol have now been evacuated, according to officials.
Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has said that “all women, children and the elderly” have been brought out from underground bunkers in the vast steel mill, where they had hidden from Russian attacks with little food, water or medicine.
The bodies of two people have been pulled out of the rubble of a school building in the town of Belogorovka in the Luhansk region, according to Ukraine’s emergency services.
Authorities there said some 90 people had been sheltering in the school when the Russians dropped a bomb on Saturday.
Al Jazeera could not verify the reports independently.
What is the cost of the energy war between Russia and Europe?
Russian President Vladimir Putin is making good on his threat to turn off the natural gas supply to Europe.
Supplies to Bulgaria and Poland have been halted after the two countries refused to pay for gas in roubles. Other European countries may also be cut off within weeks if they reject Russia’s demand.
The European Union, however, has dismissed the move as “blackmail” and is under pressure to cut the cord on Russian energy. The bloc has proposed a complete ban on Russian oil imports by the end of this year.
What is the cost of this energy war?
Watch the latest episode of Counting the Cost to find out.
Chechen leader says his soldiers control Ukraine’s Popasna
Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of Russia’s republic of Chechnya, says his soldiers have taken control of most of the eastern Ukrainian city of Popasna, in the Luhansk region.
Kadyrov, who has often described himself as Putin’s “foot soldier”, made his announcement on the Telegram messaging app.
There was no immediate response from Ukraine but Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Zelenskyy, said late on Saturday that heavy fighting for the town continues.
“Russian propagandists have joyfully reported that they have already taken it, but this is not quite how it is. This is their 117th ‘capture of Popasna’ claim only this week,” he said in a video on social media.
G7 leaders to hold virtual talks with Zelenskyy
The leaders of the G7 countries – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the United States – are due to hold a virtual meeting with Zelenskyy.
The meeting will take place on Sunday afternoon, or morning in US time, according to the White House.
The talks, which will focus on the latest developments in the Ukraine war as well as sanctions against Russia, come a day before Moscow marks its Victory holiday.
UK to provide 1.3 billion pounds of additional military aid to Ukraine
The UK says it will provide 1.3 billion pounds ($1.6bn) in military support and aid to Ukraine.
The new pledge almost doubles the UK’s previous spending commitments on Ukraine and the government said this is the highest rate of spending on a conflict since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, although it did not give details.
“Putin’s brutal attack is not only causing untold devastation in Ukraine, it is also threatening peace and security across Europe,” UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement.
Kharkiv museum workers lament destruction of famed collection
A small provincial museum dedicated to the life and works of Ukrainian philosopher Hryhoriy Skovoroda has been destroyed in a Russian missile attack in the Kharkiv region, according to workers there.
“May 6 was a terrible night. At 10:50 pm, I got a call and was told that the museum was on fire … a bomb hit the museum,” said Natalia Mitsai, director of the museum. “The museum is essentially destroyed.”
But by some miracle that Skovoroda himself would appreciate, a gypsum statue of him survived the shelling and subsequent fire in one piece, just slightly tarnished.
Germany to help restore water supply, rebuild houses in Ukraine
Germany has announced an aid package of 63 million euros ($66m) to help rebuild conflict-torn areas in Ukraine.
“We have boosted the immediate aid programme for Ukraine from 122 million to 185 million euros,” said German Development Minister Svenja Schulze. “[T]o restore the drinking water supply and rebuild destroyed apartments, schools and kindergartens.”
She added, “Where the bombs have stopped falling, Germany will assist with billions for rebuilding.”
‘Hellish reality show’: Trapped Mariupol fighter pleads for help
The commander of a group of soldiers still trapped in Azovstal has called for help after the last civilians were evacuated from Azovstal.
“It feels like I’ve landed in a hellish reality show in which us soldiers fight for our lives and the whole world watches this interesting episode,” Serhiy Volinski, commander of the 36th marine infantry brigade said.
“Pain, suffering, hunger, misery, tears, fears, death. It’s all real,” he added, posting a picture of himself in which he is unshaven, bleary-eyed and seems to have an injured nose. He added that his troops could only hope for a miracle now.
Zelenskyy vows to rescue fighters trapped in Azovstal
Zelenskyy has pledged to continue the “extremely difficult but essential” efforts to evacuate all those remaining in Azovstal.
“I want to thank the teams of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations for helping us carry out the first phase,” Zelenskyy said in his nighttime video address.
“We managed to save more than 300 people, women and children … we took all civilians out of the Azovstal plant and are now preparing for the second stage of the evacuation mission to evacuate those who are wounded and medics.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.