Russia war highlights: UN chief writes to Putin, Zelensky over peace in Ukraine

Highlights: The biggest attack on a European state since 1945 has, however, seen nearly 5 million people flee abroad and reduced cities to rubble as the incursion drags on.
A tank of pro-Russian troops in front of an apartment building damaged during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine on Tuesday. 
A tank of pro-Russian troops in front of an apartment building damaged during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine on Tuesday. (REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko)
Updated on Apr 21, 2022 05:38 AM IST
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Highlights: More reports of Russian strikes around major population centres surfaced on Tuesday as the Ukraine war enters Day 56.

Moscow launched dozens of airstrikes across eastern Ukraine on Tuesday in another round of conflict with Kyiv. The Ukrainian military confirmed the escalation throughout the East.

Ukraine said the aim of Russia's new offensive in eastern Ukraine was to seize all of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, establish a land link between those territories and Crimea, and destroy Ukraine's armed forces. A senior US official said the latest offensive was the prelude to a much larger assault.

Russia's defence ministry said it had opened a corridor for Ukrainian forces who wanted to lay down their arms and safely leave the Azovstal steel works in the besieged city of Mariupol.

Meanwhile, as fighting raged, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in a grim forecast said Ukraine is expected to suffer a 35 per cent collapse of its economy this year, while Russia's GDP will drop 8.5 per cent - more than 11 points below the pre-war expectations.

Nearly five million Ukrainians have fled the country, cities have been shattered and thousands have died since the start of the invasion on Feb 24.

Russia said Ukraine had lost more than 4,000 soldiers in Mariupol as of Saturday. Kyiv says its total troop losses nationwide so far in the war are less than that, between 2,500 and 3,000.

Russia calls its action a special military operation to demilitarise Ukraine and eradicate what it calls dangerous nationalists. The West and Kyiv accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of unprovoked aggression.

Follow all the updates here:

  • Apr 20, 2022 11:00 PM IST

    UN chief writes to Putin, Zelensky over peace in Ukraine

    United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres on Wednesday wrote to Russian president Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to “discuss urgent steps to bring peace in Ukraine.”

  • Apr 20, 2022 10:33 PM IST

    Canada finance minister walks out of G20 after Russia included in meetings

    Canada finance minister says she walked out of G20 plenary when Russia 'sought to intervene'. She said that Russia should not be included in these meetings.

  • Apr 20, 2022 09:57 PM IST

    Ukraine rules out any possibility of negotiations with Russia

    Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba warned again that Ukraine would not cede territory in any negotiations with Russia, reports Bloomberg.

  • Apr 20, 2022 09:16 PM IST

    EU membership a ‘priority’ for Ukraine: Zelensky

    European Union membership is a "priority" for Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Wednesday during a joint press conference with visiting EU chief Charles Michel.

  • Apr 20, 2022 08:39 PM IST

    US expected to send $800 million in weapons and support for Ukraine

    The Biden administration is preparing to announce another $800 million in weapons and support for Ukraine, according to people familiar with the matter, reported Bloomberg. 

  • Apr 20, 2022 08:15 PM IST

    Russia successfully tests new intercontinental ballistic missile amid war

    Amid war with Ukraine, Russia successfully tests new intercontinental ballistic missile, says reports. 

  • Apr 20, 2022 07:31 PM IST

    Russian ultimatum to Ukrainian troops expires

    A Russian ultimatum to Ukrainian troops in Mariupol to surrender or die expired on Wednesday afternoon with no mass capitulation, reported Reuters.

  • Apr 20, 2022 06:57 PM IST

    Russia plans forced mobilization in Zaporizhzhia, Kherson regions: Ukraine defence ministry

    Ukrainian Defence Ministry’s Intelligence Directorate says Russia plans to carry out forced mobilization in occupied territories and send Ukrainians to fight against their own country.

  • Apr 20, 2022 06:29 PM IST

    Over a million Ukrainians returned to country: Kyiv's border spokesman

    Over a million Ukrainians have returned to their country since Russia launched its devastating invasion at the end of February, a spokesman for Kyiv's border force said Wednesday, reported AFP. 

  • Apr 20, 2022 05:08 PM IST

    Treat captured Briton with compassion: UK PM Boris Johnson urges Moscow

    UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday urged Russia to treat Aiden Aslin, a Briton who was captured in Ukraine with compassion. Johnson added that Aslin had served in the Ukrainian army for some time and was not a mercenary. 

  • Apr 20, 2022 04:26 PM IST

    Have not disclosed all weapons sent to Ukraine: Germany

    German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock said on Wednesday that her country has not disclosed all weapons sent to Ukraine. "We have delivered anti-tank missiles, Stingers and other things that we have never spoken about publicly so these deliveries could happen quickly," Baerbock said at a press conference in Riga. 

  • Apr 20, 2022 03:55 PM IST

    Over 5 million fled Ukraine since Feb 24, says UN

    The United Nations' refugee agency said on Wednesday that five million people have fled Ukraine since the beginning of the war on February 24.

  • Apr 20, 2022 03:21 PM IST

    Mariupol could fall into Russian hands within hours: Ukrainian official

    After nearly two months under siege, the southern city of Mariupol could fall into Russian hands within "hours", a Ukrainian official said Wednesday, as the two sides agreed to a humanitarian corridor to allow civilians to flee the devastated port city, reported Reuters.

  • Apr 20, 2022 02:02 PM IST

    Canada imposes sanctions on 14 Key Russian figures, including Central Bank Chief

    Canada has imposed sanctions on 14 individuals with close ties to the Russian government, including central bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina, several businessmen and the two daughters of President Vladimir Putin, Global Affairs announced on Tuesday.

    "These new measures impose restrictions on 14 close associates of the Russian regime, including Russian oligarchs and their family members. This includes President Putin's two adult daughters," Global Affairs said in a statement.

  • Apr 20, 2022 01:36 PM IST

    Hospital where 300 civilians were taking shelter bombed

    Serhiy Taruta, the former governor of the Donetsk region and a Mariupol native,  reported bombing of a hospital on Tuesday, where he said 300 people, including wounded troops and civilians with children, were sheltered.

  • Apr 20, 2022 12:39 PM IST

    EU Council President makes surprise visit to Kyiv

    European Council President Charles Michel made an unexpected visit to Kyiv on Wednesday, following a trip to the Ukrainian capital by the head of the EU's executive earlier this month to show support for the nation fighting a Russian invasion.

    "In Kyiv today," Michel, head of the European Council that represents the European Union's 27 member states, said in a tweet with a photograph of him at a train station. "In the heart of a free and democratic Europe.

  • Apr 20, 2022 11:52 AM IST

    Ukraine says preliminary agreement reached on evacuating women, children

    Ukraine has reached a preliminary agreement with Russia on establishing a humanitarian corridor to evacuate women, children and the elderly from the besieged city of Mariupol on Wednesday, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.

    "Given the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Mariupol, this is where we will focus our efforts today," she wrote on Facebook.

  • Apr 20, 2022 10:23 AM IST

    Mariupol officer warns facing 'last days'

    A commander in the strategic port city of Mariupol's besieged Azovstal power plant issues a desperate plea for help, saying his marines are "maybe facing our last days, if not hours".

    "The enemy is outnumbering us 10 to one," Serhiy Volyna from the 36th Separate Marine Brigade said as per news agency AFP.

  • Apr 20, 2022 09:24 AM IST

    Ukraine gets fighter planes from Pentagon

    The Pentagon said that Ukraine had recently received fighter planes and parts to bolster its air force, declining to specify the number of aircraft and their origin. Kyiv has asked its Western partners to provide MiG-29s, which its pilots already know how to fly and a handful of Eastern European countries have.

  • Apr 20, 2022 08:50 AM IST

    China to ‘strengthen strategic ties’ with Russia: report

    A senior Chinese diplomat said Beijing would strengthen its strategic ties with Russia, reaffirming support for President Vladimir Putin as his forces face allegations of war crimes for killing civilians, Bloomberg reported.

  • Apr 20, 2022 07:32 AM IST

    Russian army world's most barbaric: Zelensky

    President Volodymyr Zelensky said the Russian military is throwing everything it has at Ukraine, with most of its combat-ready forces now concentrated in Ukraine and just across the border in Russia.

    “They have driven almost everyone and everything that is capable of fighting us against Ukraine,” he said in his nightly video address as per news agency AP.

    And despite Russian claims of hitting only military sites, he said they continue to target residential areas and kill civilians.

    “The Russian army in this war is writing itself into world history forever as the most barbaric and inhuman army in the world,” Zelensky said.

  • Apr 20, 2022 06:22 AM IST

    UN chief urges 4-day Easter 'pause' in fighting in Ukraine

    U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed on Tuesday for a halt in fighting in Ukraine during Orthodox Christians' Holy Week, invoking Easter to plead for a four-day “pause” to allow humanitarian aid and evacuations.

    Noting that the Easter season is coming amid an intensifying Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine, the U.N. chief said the need for a cease-fire is all the more urgent.

    “The onslaught and terrible toll on civilians we have seen so far could pale in comparison to the horror that lies ahead. This cannot be allowed to happen,” he told reporters, urging Russians and Ukrainians “to silence the guns and forge a path to safety for so many at immediate risk.”

    He suggested the pause begin Thursday, which is Holy Thursday for Orthodox Christians, who make up the majority of Ukraine's population.

  • Apr 20, 2022 05:42 AM IST

    Russia sets new surrender deadline in Mariupol

    Russia has told the Ukrainian fighters holding out in Mariupol to give up on Wednesday, news agency Reuters reported. The new surrender deadline comes as Moscow pushed for a decisive victory in its new eastern offensive, prompting Western governments to pledge more military help to Kyiv.

  • Apr 20, 2022 05:41 AM IST

    US promises Ukraine more arms

    US President Joe Biden held a call with key allies amid efforts to coordinate supplies of heavy weapons to Ukraine and said he’s ready to provide more artillery, US media reported.

    Earlier, US had said that his administration will provide Ukraine with an additional 800 million US dollars' worth of military aid including heavy artillery as Washington anticipated a "wider assault" by Russia in eastern Ukraine.

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