Russia–Ukraine War (May 3): Ukrainians Wait in Mexico City for US Entry

Russia–Ukraine War (May 3): Ukrainians Wait in Mexico City for US Entry
Ukrainians who fled Russia's invasion and are seeking for asylum in the United States chat at a temporary shelter in Mexico City on April 28, 2022. (Alfredo Estrella/AFP via Getty Images)

The latest on the Russia–Ukraine crisis, May 3. Click here for updates from May 2.

Ukrainians Wait in Mexico City for US Entry

Hundreds of Ukrainian refugees are camping out in Mexico City and waiting for the U.S. government to allow them into the country.

About 500 evacuees were waiting Tuesday in large tents under a searing sun on a dusty field on the east side of Mexico’s sprawling capital. The camp has been open only a week and 50 to 100 people are arriving every day.

Some refugees have already been to the U.S. border in Tijuana where they were told they would no longer be admitted. Others arrived at airports in Mexico City or Cancun.

The U.S. government announced in late March that it would accept up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees. Hundreds entered Mexico daily as tourists in Mexico City or Cancun and flew to Tijuana to wait for a few days to be admitted to the United States at a San Diego border crossing on humanitarian parole.


Ukraine: Russia Hit Railroads Across Country

Ukrainian officials say the Russian military has struck railroad infrastructure across the country.

Oleksandr Kamyshin, head of the Ukrainian railways, said the Russian strikes on Tuesday hit six railway stations in the country’s central and western regions, inflicting heavy damage.

Kamyshin said at least 14 trains were delayed because of the attacks.

Dnipro region Gov. Valentyn Reznichenko said Russian missiles struck railway infrastructure in the area, leaving one person wounded and disrupting train movement.

The Ukrainian military also reported strikes on railways in the Kirovohrad region, saying there were unspecified casualties.

Ukraine’s railroads have played an important role in moving people, goods, and military supplies during the war as roads and bridges have been damaged.


Zelenskyy: 156 People Evacuated From Azovstal Steel Plant

Some 156 evacuees from the ruins of Mariupol’s Azovstal steelworks reached the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhzhia on Tuesday after cowering in underground bunkers from Russian shelling for weeks, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

In his address to the nation, Zelenskyy accused Russia of breaching agreements to pause fighting long enough to allow vulnerable civilians to be moved to safety.

Russian President Vladimir Putin raised the economic stakes for Kyiv’s Western backers on Tuesday by announcing plans to block the export of vital Russian raw materials.


Slovakia, Hungary Won’t Back EU Sanctions on Russian Energy

Slovakia and Hungary said Tuesday that they will not support sanctions against Russian energy that the European Union is preparing over the war in Ukraine, saying they are too reliant on those supplies and there are no immediate alternatives.

EU commissioners are debating new proposals for sanctions, which could include a phased-in embargo on Russian oil. The 27 member countries are likely to start discussing them Wednesday, but it could be several days before the measures take effect and it’s not clear if oil would be among them or Slovakia and Hungary would receive exemptions.

Slovak Economy Minister Richard Sulik said the country’s sole refiner, Slovnaft, cannot immediately switch from Russian crude to another kind of oil. Changing the technology would take several years, Sulik said.

“So, we will insist on the exemption, for sure,” Sulik told reporters.

Slovakia is almost fully dependent on Russian oil it receives through the Soviet-era Druzhba pipeline. Hungary is also heavily reliant, though other major energy importers like Germany said it could cope if the EU banned Russian oil, with officials still noting “it is a heavy load to bear.”

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said the country will not vote for any sanctions “that will make the transport of natural gas or oil from Russia to Hungary impossible.”


Macron Asks Putin to Allow Mill Evacuations

French President Emmanuel Macron, in a phone call Tuesday with Vladimir Putin, stressed the extreme gravity of the consequences of Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine, and called on the Russian leader to allow evacuations from the Mariupol steel mill to continue, the Elysee Palace said.

Macron urged Russia to rise to the level of its responsibility as a permanent member of the U.S. Security Council by ending this aggression, an Elysee statement said.

Macron asked Putin to restart evacuations at the Azovstal plant, which has served as a refuge for Ukrainians, in coordination with humanitarian units, while allowing evacuees to choose their destination, as called for under international law.

It was the first time that the French president has had a conversation with Putin since March 29—before the discovery of the exactions in the Ukrainian town of Bucha—after multiple telephone talks. The call came three days after Macron last spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Concerned about world food security, Macron said he was willing to work with international organizations to try to help seek a lifting of the Russian blockade on exports of food goods via the Black Sea, according to the statement.

He also restated his willingness to work on conditions for a negotiated solution to the war, for peace, and for full respect of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and reiterated his oft-stated demand for a cease-fire, the statement said.


Attack in Eastern Ukraine Kills 10, Wounds 15: Donetsk Governor

The Donetsk regional governor said the Russian troops on Tuesday shelled a chemical plant in Avdiivka, a city in eastern Ukraine, killing at least 10 people and wounding 15 more.

“The Russians knew exactly where to aim—the workers just finished their shift and were waiting for a bus at a bus stop to take them home,” Pavlo Kyrylenko wrote in a Telegram post. “Another cynical crime by Russians on our land.”


Russia Says It Bombed US and European Weapons Near Ukraine’s Odesa

Russia has struck a military airfield near Ukraine’s southwestern city of Odesa with missiles, destroying drones, missiles and ammunition supplied to Ukraine by the United States and its European allies, the defense ministry said on Tuesday.


Russia Says It Started Bombing Azovstal Plant After Ukraine Took Advantage of Ceasefire: RIA

Russian troops started shelling and bombing the Azovstal steel plant in Ukraine’s southern port city of Mariupol after Ukrainian soldiers used a ceasefire to take move into firing positions there, the RIA news agency quoted the Russian Defence Ministry as saying on Tuesday.

“A ceasefire was declared, civilians had to be evacuated from Azovstal territory. Azov and Ukrainian servicemen, who are stationed on the plant, took advantage of it. They came out of the basement, they took up firing positions on the territory and in the factory buildings,” RIA cited ministry as saying.

“Now units of the Russian army and the Donetsk People’s Republic, using artillery and aviation, are beginning to destroy these firing positions,” the ministry said.


Russia Unleashes Rockets in Mariupol

Russian forces fired rockets at an encircled steel works in Ukraine’s southern port city of Mariupol and thick smoke blackened the sky at the plant where officials on Tuesday said 200 civilians were trapped despite evacuations.

Russia’s offensive to capture the east and south has been met with commitments by Western powers to supply heavier weapons to Ukraine. On Tuesday, the European Commission is expected to finalise a ban on buying Russian oil in an effort to squeeze Moscow’s war chest.

The U.S. Congress is considering a $33 billion military aid package, and the United Kingdom this week vowed an additional $375 million in defence assistance.

Reuters images showed volleys of rockets fired from a Russian truck-mounted launcher towards the sprawling Soviet-era steel complex from the outskirts of Russian-occupied Mariupol on Monday.

The attack followed a UN-brokered ceasefire around the complex that allowed several groups of civilians to escape Mariupol’s last holdout of Ukrainian fighters in recent days. It was not immediately clear if new fighting was preventing more evacuations.

Mariupol mayor Vadym Boychenko said he hoped a first column of evacuees would reach the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhzhia on Tuesday, adding that more civilians were trapped in bunkers and tunnels under the complex and some 100,000 remained in the rest of the city.


Russia Says Israel Supports Neo-Nazis in Row Over Ukraine

Russia’s foreign ministry accused Israel on Tuesday of supporting neo-Nazis in Ukraine, further escalating a row that began when Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claimed Adolf Hitler had Jewish origins.

Israel lambasted Lavrov on Monday, saying his claim—made when talking about Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy who is Jewish—was an “unforgivable” falsehood that debased the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust.

Leaders from several Western nations denounced Lavrov’s comments and Zelenskyy accused Russia of having forgotten the lessons of World War II.

The Russian ministry said in a statement that Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid’s comments were “anti-historical” and “explaining to a large extent why the current Israeli government supports the neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv.”

Moscow reiterated Lavrov’s point that Zelenskyy’s Jewish origins did not preclude Ukraine from being run by neo-Nazis.

“Antisemitism in everyday life and in politics is not stopped and is on the contrary nurtured (in Ukraine),” it said in a statement.

Lavrov made the Hitler assertion on Italian television on Sunday when he was asked why Russia said it needed to “denazify” Ukraine if the country’s own president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, was himself Jewish.

Israel has expressed support for Ukraine following the Russian invasion in February. But wary of damaging relations with Russia, a powerbroker in neighboring Syria, it initially avoided direct criticism of Moscow and has not enforced formal sanctions on Russian oligarchs.


Don’t Assume Putin Won’t Attack Other Countries, Scholz Says

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Tuesday no one could assume that Russia would not attack other countries given its violation of international law in Ukraine and Germany would support Finland and Sweden if they decided to join NATO.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine broke the post-World War II order and was forcing Europe to bolster its defense strategy, Scholz said in a statement to media flanked by the prime ministers of Sweden and Finland Magdalena Andersson and Sanna Marin.

The two leaders had joined the German cabinet for the start of its 2-day retreat in Schloss Meseberg just north of the capital to discuss Europe’s security situation.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Finland and Sweden have been considering applying for membership of the NATO Western military alliance, which would mark a major policy shift for the Nordic region.

“No one can assume that the Russian president and government will not on other occasions break international law with violence,” Scholz said.

In a separate interview with Stern magazine, Scholz was quoted as saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s policy was imperialistic and he regarded neighboring countries as Russia’s backyard.

“He wants to expand his territory and push borders with violence,” he claimed. “He is desperately trying to re-establish Russia’s old significance in a world that has changed.”

Putin appeared to want to capture a part of eastern and southern Ukraine, establishing a new contact line there that would eventually result in a ceasefire, he said.

“That will not be a sustainable solution,” he said. “Putin must strike a deal with Ukraine.”

Marin said that Finland had credible defense capabilities and a strong will to defend itself.

“We have maintained a strong and modern conscript army that is able to operate and ready to act with NATO,” she said.


Want to Contact CIA From Russia? Agency Points to Darknet

The CIA says Russians disaffected by Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine may be trying to get in touch with U.S. intelligence—and it wants them to go to the darknet.

The agency on Monday began a new push to promote its presence on a part of the internet accessible only through specialized tools that provide more anonymity. The CIA has a darknet site that has the same features as its regular homepage but accessible only through the Tor internet browser, which has encryption features not available on most regular browsers.

Instructions in English and Russian on how to access the darknet site appeared Monday on the CIA’s social media channels. The agency hopes Russians living abroad can share the instructions with contacts inside the country.

While many Russians appear to support what the Kremlin officially calls a “special military operation,” longtime Russia watchers think Putin’s management of the war may push away some powerful people who disagree with him. Even with immense capabilities to capture communications and satellite imagery, it remains critical for Western intelligence agencies to recruit human sources who can offer insight into the Kremlin and conditions inside Russia.

“Our global mission demands that individuals can contact us securely from anywhere,” the agency said in a statement.


Russia Retaliates Against ‘Unfriendly States’

Russian President Vladimir Putin introduced a package of economic measures on Tuesday to retaliate against international sanctions placed on Moscow.

The new decree seeks to protect Russia’s national interests, and was adopted “in connection with the unfriendly actions of the United States and its allies that violate international law and aim to illegally deprive the Russian Federation and Russian legal entities of their property,” the decree, published on the Kremlin’s website, states.

Putin gave the Cabinet of Ministers 10 days to determine the list of persons to be placed under the reciprocal sanctions.

The new measures prohibit government agencies, organizations, and individuals from “carrying out transactions (including signing external trade contracts) with legal entities, individuals, and organizations” on the new blacklist.

The decree also prohibits the export of products and raw materials if they are destined to sanctioned persons.


German Chancellor Is ‘Offended Liverwurst’: Ukrainian Ambassador

Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, has described the country’s chancellor, Olaf Scholz, as an “offended liverwurst” over his refusal to pay a visit to Kyiv after Ukrainian authorities snubbed German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in mid-April.

“To play an offended liverwurst doesn’t sound very statesmanlike,” Melnyk said, speaking to Germany’s DPA news outlet on Tuesday, adding: “We’re talking about the most brutal war of extermination since the Nazi attack on Ukraine, it is no preschool.”

The Ukrainian official noted, however, that his remark did not mean that Chancellor Scholz was not welcome in Kyiv. More than “symbolic visits,” however, Melnyk said, Ukraine would appreciate Germany “implementing the Bundestag’s motion on the delivery of heavy weapons and fulfilling the earlier promises.”

The diplomat also criticized Berlin for failing to provide ammunition for the Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, which Germany pledged to ship to Ukraine in late April. The delivery would represent the first batch of heavy weaponry provided to Kyiv by Berlin since Russia launched its offensive on February 24.

Melnyk’s “liverwurst” comment came shortly after Chancellor Scholz told Germany’s ZDF TV channel that Ukraine’s refusal to receive President Steinmeier on April 13 stood in the way of Scholz’s own potential visit to Kyiv. Scholz described the snub as a “remarkable instance,” pointing out that Steinmeier was re-elected as president back in February and enjoyed support from the vast majority of German MPs at the time.

The German chancellor said it cannot be that Germany provided “so much military assistance, so much financial assistance” to Ukraine and then is told that the president cannot visit.


Push to Arm Ukraine Putting Strain on US Weapons Stockpile

The planes take off almost daily from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware—hulking C-17s loaded up with Javelins, Stingers, howitzers, and other material being hustled to Eastern Europe to resupply Ukraine’s military in its fight against Russia.

The game-changing impact of those arms is exactly what President Joe Biden hopes to spotlight as he visits a Lockheed Martin plant in Alabama on Tuesday that builds the portable Javelin anti-tank weapons that have played a crucial role in Ukraine.

But Biden’s visit is also drawing attention to a growing concern as the war drags on: Can the United States sustain the cadence of shipping vast amounts of arms to Ukraine while maintaining the healthy stockpile it may need if a new conflict erupts with North Korea, Iran, or elsewhere?

The United States already has provided about 7,000 Javelins, including some that were delivered during the Trump administration, about one-third of its stockpile, to Ukraine, according to an analysis by Mark Cancian, a senior adviser with the Center for Strategic and International Studies international security program. The Biden administration says it has committed to sending about 5,500 to Ukraine since the Russian invasion more than two months ago.

Analysts also estimate that the United States has sent about one-quarter of its stockpile of shoulder-fired Stinger missiles to Ukraine. Raytheon Technologies CEO Greg Hayes told investors last week during a quarterly call that his company, which makes the weapons system, wouldn’t be able to ramp up production until next year due to parts shortages.

“Could this be a problem? The short answer is, ‘Probably, yes,’” said Cancian, a retired Marine colonel and former government specialist on Pentagon budget strategy, war funding, and procurement.

He said that Stingers and Javelins were where “we’re seeing the most significant inventory issues,” and production of both weapons systems has been limited in recent years.

The Russian invasion offers the United States and the European defense industry a big opportunity to bolster profits as lawmakers from Washington to Warsaw are primed to increase defense spending in response to Russian aggression. Defense contractors, however, face the same supply chain and labor shortage challenges that other manufacturers are facing, along with some others that are specific to the industry.

Pentagon officials recently sat down with some of the leading defense contractors, including Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, General Dynamics, BAE Systems, and Northrop Grumman to discuss efforts to ramp up production.

The big defense contractors face some serious challenges.

Raytheon, for example, can’t simply crank out Stingers to replace the 1,400 that the United States sent to Ukraine. Hayes, the Raytheon CEO, said in a recent conference call with analysts that the company has only limited supplies of components to make the missile. Only one undisclosed country has been buying them in recent years, and the Pentagon hasn’t bought any new ones in nearly 20 years.


Sanctions Will Not Be Lifted Until Russia Signs Peace Deal With Ukraine: Germany’s Scholz

The sanctions imposed on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine will not be lifted until Moscow reaches a peace agreement with Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said, adding that it was for Ukraine to determine the peace terms.

Scholz, in an interview broadcast Monday on ZDF public television, said Russian President Vladimir Putin had miscalculated if he had anticipated he might be able to gain territory from Ukraine, declare an end to hostilities, and see Western countries drop sanctions.

“He didn’t think his entire Ukraine operation through,” Scholz said. “He didn’t think Ukraine would resist like that. He didn’t think we would support them to hold out for so long. … We won’t withdraw the sanctions unless he reaches an agreement with Ukraine, and he won’t get that with a dictated peace.”

He also said Germany would not accept Russia’s annexation of Crimea. “That was a breach of international law … that remains true,” he said.

Scholz added that he had no plans to visit Kyiv after a planned trip by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was dropped due to Ukraine’s objections.

Scholz rejected criticism that he was at first too hesitant to send Ukraine heavy weapons, followed by criticism from pacifists after Germany last week announced the delivery of “Gepard” anti-aircraft tanks to Ukraine.

“There’s no point in doing something just because someone is shouting or not doing something because someone is shouting,” Scholz said, adding that protecting the country and keeping peace was his duty as chancellor.


Russia Planning to Annex Parts of Eastern Ukraine in Mid-May: US Official

Russian President Vladimir Putin is planning to annex much of eastern Ukraine later this month, a senior U.S. official warned on Monday, citing “highly credible” reports.

Michael Carpenter, U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said during a press briefing that the United States is concerned with Russia’s political intentions in Ukraine, particularly those focused in the south and east.

“What we are seeing right now is that Russia’s forces are regrouping and refocusing their effort on Ukraine’s south and east, and as we look at Russian planning it is also being refocused on Ukraine’s south and east,” Carpenter said.

Read the full article here


Italian Companies Should Be Allowed to Buy Gas in Roubles: ‘Green’ Minister

Italian Minister of Ecological Transition Roberto Cingolani told Politico on Monday that Italian companies should “go ahead and pay in roubles” for Russian gas, as Moscow has demanded. Although his ministry later said that it does not back such a move, 10 E.U. nations are reportedly planning to do the same.

“I think it would be good for a few months, at least, to allow companies to go ahead and pay in roubles, while we understand the legal framework and implications,” Cingolani said, adding that he wants “a speedy and very clear pronouncement from the European Commission” on whether such an arrangement would breach E.U. sanctions.

Shortly afterward, Cingolani’s ministry issued a statement saying that the minister “has never been open to a payment in roubles.”

However, Italy depends on Russia for around 40 percent of its gas imports, and Cingolani said that while oil and gas companies “cannot risk” paying and breaking sanctions, they also “cannot risk … not paying” until recently-signed gas contracts with African countries come into effect.


Ukraine Claims Hungary Wants Its Territory

Budapest was informed of the Russian attack in advance and hoped to seize a part of Ukraine’s territory for itself, a top official of the government in Kyiv claimed on Monday, adding there will be “consequences” for Hungary. This statement comes after Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban was added to the database listing enemies of the Ukrainian state.

Hungary “openly talks about its cooperation with Russia. More than that, it was given early warning by [Russian President Vladimir] Putin that our country would be attacked,” Alexey Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council (NSDC), said during a media appearance on Monday. He was answering if Hungary could block Ukraine’s admission to NATO.

Hungary “thought it could take part of the territory,” Danilov added. “This will never happen. Victory will definitely be ours. And about Hungary, which behaved this way, we will see what the consequences will be for this country.”

This was presumably a reference to Transcarpathia—a region in western Ukraine with some 150,000 ethnic Hungarian inhabitants—that had been a matter of dispute between Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and the Soviet Union over the course of the 20th century.


Borrell Says EU Aims to Pass New Russia Sanctions at Next Foreign Affairs Council Meeting

The European Union hopes to pass the sixth round of sanctions against Russia at the next meeting of the E.U. Foreign Affairs Council, the bloc’s chief diplomat said on Monday.

Josep Borrell told a news conference in Panama City, where he is on an official visit, the bloc hopes to curb Russia’s energy exports as part of its efforts to sanction Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

The European Commission, the executive branch of the union, is expected to propose the package of E.U. sanctions this week, including a potential embargo on buying Russian oil.

Borrell, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Council meetings, said he hopes the E.U. will be able to take “measures to significantly limit these imports” but conceded so far there is no agreement from all the members.

“But I am confident that, at least with regard to oil imports, this agreement will be possible between now and the next Council meeting,” he added.

The Council has meetings scheduled for May 10 and May 16 later this month.


Three Civilians Killed in Russian Strikes of Vuhledar in East Ukraine, President’s Office Says

At least three civilians were killed in Russian shelling of the city of Vuhledar in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine on Tuesday, the Ukrainian president’s office said.

Some other areas of Donetsk were under constant fire and regional authorities were trying to evacuate civilians from frontline areas, it said.


Britain Promises Further $375 Million in Military Aid for Ukraine

Britain said on Monday it would provide 300 million pounds ($375 million) more in military aid to Ukraine, including electronic warfare equipment and a counter-battery radar system, on top of around 200 million pounds ($250 million) of assistance so far.

Britain has sent Ukraine more than 5,000 anti-tank missiles and five air defense systems as well as other munitions and explosives since Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24.

The United States has provided $3 billion of military aid to Ukraine so far, and last week President Joe Biden asked the U.S. Congress to approve more than $20 billion in military support.

Russia last week said NATO countries were in effect engaging in a proxy war by providing arms to Ukraine.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office said that as well as the other equipment, Britain would offer night vision devices, tools to jam satellite navigation, heavy-lift drones to resupply Ukrainian troops, and armored cars for civilian officials.

Johnson intends to address Ukraine’s parliament on Tuesday morning via videolink.

While Britain has provided significant military aid, it has so far accepted relatively few of the more than 5 million Ukrainians who have fled their country. As of last week, Britain’s government said it had issued 86,100 visas to Ukrainians, of whom 27,100 had reached Britain.


Ukraine’s Top Security Official Reveals Stance on Peace Talks

Ukraine’s top security official has said that, instead of a peace treaty, Kyiv could only sign a document with Moscow that would finalize Russia’s defeat.

During an interview on Ukrainian TV on Monday, Alexey Danilov, the head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council (NSDC), was asked about international security assurances for Kyiv and possible peace with Russia.

Danilov replied: “With Russia we can only sign an act of its capitulation. The sooner they do it, the better it will be for their country.”

The official noted earlier in the interview that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office handles the talks and not the NSDC. “We have our own views. The president knows my stance on the issue,” he said. He added that he believes Zelenskyy will not violate Ukraine’s constitution, which guarantees the country’s territorial integrity and aspirations to join NATO.

Later on Monday, Zelenskyy’s adviser Alexey Arestovich brought up Danilov’s remarks during a chat with activist and YouTuber Mark Feygin. “The statement is very simple: there will be no peace treaty with Russia. There will only be the capitulation of the Russian Federation,” Arestovich said.


TASS: More Than 1 Million Ukrainians Taken to Russia

More than 1 million people, including nearly 200,000 children, have been taken from Ukraine to Russia since the Russian invasion began, Russia’s Defense Ministry said Monday, according to the state-owned news agency TASS.

Defense Ministry official Mikhail Mizintsev said those included 11,550 people, including 1,847 children, in the previous 24 hours, “without the participation of the Ukrainian authorities.”

He said those civilians “were evacuated to the territory of the Russian Federation from the dangerous regions” of Donetsk, Lugansk, and other parts of Ukraine, according to the report. No details were provided on the location or circumstances of the moves.

Throughout the war, Ukraine has accused Moscow’s troops of taking civilians against their will to Russia or Russian-controlled areas, something the Kremlin has denied.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, speaking Monday to Greek state TV ERT, said half a million Ukrainians have been “illegally taken to Russia, or other places, against their will.”


Moscow Says 1,847 Children Among Thousands Transported From Ukraine to Russia

More than 11,500 people, including 1,847 children, were transported from Ukraine into Russia on Monday without the participation of Kyiv’s authorities, Russia’s defense ministry said.

That number includes evacuations from Russian-backed breakaway regions of Ukraine, the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s republics, which Russia recognized as independent just before launching its Feb. 24 invasion.

Russia says the people have been evacuated at their own request, while Ukraine has said Moscow has forcefully deported thousands of people to Russia since the war’s beginning.

Moscow calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation” to demilitarise and “denazify” its neighbor. Ukraine and the West say Russia launched an unprovoked war of aggression.

On Monday the first civilians to evacuate from a giant steel plant in the besieged port of Mariupol arrived in the Ukrainian-held city of Zaporizhzhia, as part of a United Nations and International Committee of the Red Cross operation coordinated with Ukraine and Russia.

Since Feb. 24th, nearly 200,000 children and 1.1 million people have been evacuated from Ukraine into Russia, the defense ministry said.


Governor: Russian Missile Attack Hits Odesa

Authorities say a Russian missile attack struck the Black Sea port of Odesa on Monday evening.

Maksym Marchenko, the governor of the Odesa region in southwestern Ukraine, wrote on the messaging app Telegram that the strike killed and wounded people but didn’t specify how many.

He added that an infrastructure site was hit, without identifying what it was. Further details weren’t immediately available.


Head of EU State Added to Ukraine’s ‘Enemies List’

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been added to the notorious online database pro-Kyiv activists use to blacklist people they consider enemies of Ukraine.

The Mirotvorets (Peacemaker) website was created in 2014 as a public database of “pro-Russian terrorists, separatists, mercenaries, war criminals, and murderers.” It contains links to social media accounts and personal information, such as home addresses, phones, and emails.

Orban is listed as “an accomplice of Russian war criminals,” and an “anti-Ukrainian propagandist.” The website mentioned that the Hungarian PM refused to back an embargo on Russian oil and gas, among other things. He also broke ranks in the EU by refusing to send weapons to Ukraine or allow the transit of foreign weapons to Ukraine through Hungarian territory.

Orban, who won reelection last month, built his campaign around promises to keep his country out of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and, in a victory speech, named Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as one of his “opponents.”

Zelenskyy singled out Hungary during a video chat with the European Council in March. “You must decide for yourself whose side you are on … Listen, Viktor, do you know what’s happening in Mariupol?” Zelenskyy said.

Katabella Roberts, The Associated Press, and Reuters contributed to this report.

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