Ukraine: Putin Apologizes to Israel for Lavrov’s Hitler Comment, U.S. Intelligence Helping Ukraine Kill Russian Generals
Ukrainian officials lost contact with the defenders at the Mariupol steelworks plant.
Will Russia have Mariupol by May 9, which is Victory Day in Russia?
We’ve learned that 300 people have left Mariupol, but officials lost contact with those defending the steelworks plant.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office said Putin apologized for Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s Hitler comment.
But the Kremlin did not mention an apology:
The comments by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov claiming that Adolf Hitler had “Jewish blood,” and the following back-and-forth between Israel and Russia, marked the worst flare-up between the countries since Russia invaded Ukraine.
“The prime minister accepted the apology of President Putin for comments by Lavrov and thanked him for clarifying the president’s view of the Jewish people and the memory of the Holocaust,” Bennett’s office said.
The Kremlin said Putin spoke with Bennett about “historic memory,” the Holocaust and the situation in Ukraine, without mentioning an apology.
Bennett also requested Putin “examine humanitarian options” for evacuating the Ukrainian city of Mariupol. “The request came following Bennett’s conversation with the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, yesterday,” Bennett’s office said.
Putin said Russian forces will allow the evacuation of civilians, the prime minister’s office said.
U.S. Intelligence Helping Ukrainians Take Out Russian Generals
Officials told The New York Times that our intelligence is helping Ukrainians target Russian generals:
Ukrainian officials said they have killed approximately 12 generals on the front lines, a number that has astonished military analysts.
The targeting help is part of a classified effort by the Biden administration to provide real-time battlefield intelligence to Ukraine. That intelligence also includes anticipated Russian troop movements gleaned from recent American assessments of Moscow’s secret battle plan for the fighting in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, the officials said. Officials declined to specify how many generals had been killed as a result of U.S. assistance.
The United States has focused on providing the location and other details about the Russian military’s mobile headquarters, which relocate frequently. Ukrainian officials have combined that geographic information with their own intelligence — including intercepted communications that alert the Ukrainian military to the presence of senior Russian officers — to conduct artillery strikes and other attacks that have killed Russian officers.
The intelligence sharing is part of a stepped-up flow in U.S. assistance that includes heavier weapons and tens of billions in aid, demonstrating how quickly the early American restraints on support for Ukraine have shifted as the war enters a new stage that could play out over months.
Russia Storms Plant, Ukraine Loses Contact
Unfortunately, it appears that Russia is getting closer to overtaking Mariupol. The defenders are trapped in the Azovstal steel plant and Ukraine lost contact with them.
Drone footage shows Russia storming the plant:
Ukraine has lost contact with soldiers defending Mariupol’s stronghold of Azovstal as Kyiv said Russian troops were storming the last pocket of resistance in south-eastern Ukraine.
“Unfortunately, we have lost touch with the guys and we can’t know if they are safe or not,” Vadym Boichenko, Mariupol’s mayor, said on Ukrainian TV on Wednesday.
Ukrainian MP David Arakhamia said Russian troops had entered the territory of the steelworks, which has withstood days of heavy shelling and artillery strikes.
In drone footage filmed by Moscow-backed eastern Ukrainian separatists, the factory was seen being pounded by what appear to be thermobaric bombs.
Sergei Shoigu, the Russian defence minister, said Ukrainian soldiers were “safely blocked” inside the plant.
His ministry released video footage showing howitzers firing in the distance at what they said were targets at Azovstal.
300 People Leave Mariupol
The United Nations says more than 300 civilians from the besieged southeastern city of Mariupol and four other towns have been evacuated to Ukrainian-held Zaporizhzhia in a second successful operation to get civilians out of areas subject to Russian shelling and attacks.
Osnat Lubrani, the U.N. humanitarian chief in Ukraine, said in a statement that many of the civilians from Mariupol, Manhush, Berdiansk, Tokmak and Vasylivka came Wednesday with nothing but the clothes they were wearing and are now getting humanitarian assistance. She said they’ll also receive “much- needed psychological support.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the 344 evacuated Wednesday are in addition to the more than 150 people who were evacuated earlier this week from the bunkers under the Azovstal steel mill in Mariupol, which is surrounded by Russian troops and reportedly came under renewed fire on Wednesday.
No civilians were reported evacuated from the plant on Wednesday. Zelenskyy said they are trying to reach an agreement to save those remaining at Azovstal, including women and children.
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