Mariupol is hanging by a thread.
Russia has been in Donbas since 2014. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. But it continues to get worse.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the second phase of the war has begun in Donbas. Reports coming out of east Ukraine seem to confirm this fear.
The situation in Mariupol is still deteriorating.
Ukraine: Four Killed in Mariupol Evacuation
Russia said it opened an evacuation corridor in Mariupol but Ukraine said 4 have been killed:
Russia on Tuesday claimed it had opened humanitarian corridors for soldiers who voluntarily surrendered from Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant – a site of refuge and resistance for Ukrainian fighters.
“Taking into account the catastrophic situation at the Azovstal metallurgical plant in the city of Mariupol, as well as being guided by purely humane principles, the Russian Armed Forces have opened a humanitarian corridor for the withdrawal of Ukrainian servicemen and fighters of nationalist formations who voluntarily laid down arms,” Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev, head of the Russian National Defense Management Center said.
The claim comes just hours after Moscow set a deadline for noon local time – 5 a.m. EDT – calling on all forces bunkered in the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works plant to surrender “without exception, without any weapons and without ammunition.”
But Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said that there had been no such agreement made with the Russian forces and noted that four people were killed when trying to evacuate Mariupol on Tuesday.
Gazprom Holding Back Gas
Russia has kept European gas traders guessing about how much gas it will send to the continent, as state-controlled energy giant Gazprom opted again not to book extra pipeline capacity.
While markets are worried that Putin could turn off the taps, a spell of warmer weather and an easing in prices have started to temper demand.
Gazprom chose not to reserve capacity for exports to Germany via the crucial Yamal-Europe pipeline in May. That’s the fourth straight month it’s chosen not to book the link.
It comes after the Kremlin hinted that buyers still have time before Putin’s demand for gas payments in roubles kicks in.
Besides those, there are about 22 groups north of Ukraine that are likely being resupplied and refitted, the official said.
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) April 19, 2022
Russia Taking Over Donbas
#Ukraine President @ZelenskyyUa has confirmed that the attack on Donbas began.He said that in the east & south of our country,Russians are trying to attack a little more thoughtfully lately than before, looking for a weak spot in the defense. Ukraine needs support more than ever pic.twitter.com/6Hn5aJlHIV
— Hanna Liubakova (@HannaLiubakova) April 18, 2022
The Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which already broke away from Ukraine, are facing even more shelling and Russian advancements:
Ukrainian media has reported a series of explosions along the front line in the Donetsk region, with shelling taking place in Marinka, Slavyansk and Kramatorsk.
Ukrainian officials and local media also claimed that further explosions were heard in Kharkiv, Mykolaiv in the south and Zaporizhzhia in the southeast.
People cannot leave the villages and cities:
Serhiy Haidai, governor of the Donetsk region, said Russian forces had taken control of the villages of Kremenaya and Lugashchnine, both northwest of the town of Severodonetsk, Roland Oliphant, Joe Barnes and Jamie Johnson write.
“Evacuation from there is already impossible,” Mr Haidai wrote on Telegram early in the morning.
Residents of Luhansk were warned that this was their last chance to evacuate.
The Kremlin said it would concentrate on “liberating” the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the mainly Russian-speaking regions where war first broke out in 2014, after retreating from Kyiv at the end of March.
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