The evacuation of the war-scarred Ukrainian city of Mariupol has begun, but Russian shelling apparently only briefly ceased.
The commander of the Ukrainian National Guard brigade, Denys Shlega, said in a television interview on Sunday that the Russian bombardment of the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol resumed immediately after the partial evacuation of civilians.
Shlega said at least another round of evacuations was needed to evacuate civilians from the factory, and dozens of young children remained in bunkers under the industrial facilities.
Earlier in the day, the Mariupol City Council told residents it was finally possible to evacuate safely and urged them to head for Zaporozhye, 140 miles to the west. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on social media that 100 people were on their way to Ukrainian-held territory.
“We are praying for all to work out,” the city council said in a statement.
Shlega estimated that there were several hundred civilians left in the steelworks, along with nearly 500 wounded soldiers and many dead bodies. By some estimates, around 100,000 people could still be trapped in the port city, with dangerously low levels of food, water and public services. The city council said the evacuation of areas of the city that do not include the steel mill has been postponed until Monday.
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►Russian troops have destroyed or damaged about 250 objects of Ukraine’s cultural heritage, said Oleksandr Tkachenko, Minister of Culture and Information Policy.
►German Chancellor Olaf Scholz pledged on Sunday to continue supporting Ukraine with money, aid and weapons, saying a pacifist approach to war is “outdated”. Officials also said Germany expects to be independent of crude oil imports from Russia by the end of the summer.
►Pope Francis, speaking during his traditional noon prayer, again appealed for peace in Ukraine. Francis, in what became a weekly plea, said he cried thinking about the destruction of Mariupol and how the city was “barbarously bombed and destroyed”.
►The Polish armed forces said on Sunday that week-long military exercises involving thousands of NATO troops had begun in the country.
►Undeterred by air raid sirens and warnings to shelter at home, residents of the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia visited cemeteries on Sunday, when Ukrainians observed the day Orthodox Christian of the dead.
Ukraine says it is repelling Russia’s eastward push
As Russian troops focus their attack on the eastern Donbass region, the Ukrainians are determined to put up the kind of fierce resistance that drove the invaders to withdraw from the kyiv region.
Ukraine’s military said on Sunday that a Russian offensive across a broad eastern front had stalled amid human and material losses inflicted by kyiv forces. The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in a Facebook post that Russian troops were trying to advance in Sloboda, Donetsk and Taurida regions, but were held back by Ukrainian forces who continued to fight village by village. .
Fighting has resumed around Kharkiv, an eastern city that was home to 1.4 million people before the war, but is now only half. Ukrainian forces announced on Saturday that they had taken over four villages around Kharkiv.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a congressional delegation that met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv as Ukraine continued to come under bombardment by Russian military forces on its southern coast and in the east of the country. .
Pelosi, second in line to succeed the president, provided the latest US show of support for Ukraine. She is the oldest US lawmaker to visit the country since Russia launched the war more than two months ago.
The visit came as some women and children were evacuated from a steelworks in Mariupol and a Russian rocket attack destroyed an airport runway in Odessa, a Black Sea port on Ukraine’s southern border.
Pelosi posted a video on his Twitter account Sunday that showed her side-by-side with Zelenskyy, members of Congress — including Reps. Jim McGovern, D-Mass.; Adam Schiff, D-California; Jason Crow, D-Colo.; Barbara Lee, D-California; Gregory Meeks, D-New York and Bill Keating, D-Mass. – and other Ukrainian officials.
“We are here to tell you that we are with you until the end of the fight,” Pelosi said in the video.
Zelenskyy thanked Pelosi for her support saying, “we will win together.”
Pelosi replied, “We are here until victory is won.”
Head of Senate foreign relations: the war “is not only about Ukraine”
Sen. Bob Menendez, DN.J., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said U.S. support for Ukraine is critical to maintaining international order and to preventing U.S. service members from being dragged into the fight with Russia. Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press with Chuck Todd” show on Sunday, Menendez said the United States would do whatever it takes to secure victory for Ukraine because “it’s not about not only from Ukraine”.
“If Ukraine does not win, if Putin can not only succeed in Donbass but embolden himself to go maybe further, if he strikes a country within the framework of NATO, within the framework of our obligations conventional with NATO, then we would be directly engaged,” Menendez said. “So preventing Russia from getting to this point is of critical interest to us as well as to the world so that we don’t have to send our sons and daughters into battle. And I think our ability not to sending our sons and daughters into battle is invaluable.
Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit symbolized American support for her beleaguered country at a time when the US$33 billion aid package President Joe Biden is waiting in Congress. The visit came less than a week after Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv.
“I think this is yet another sign of the very, very strong support Ukraine has here in the United States,” Markarova told ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.” “We feel and know that Americans are our brothers and sisters in this fight for freedom, for democracy.”
After 67 days of resisting the Russian invasion, Markarova said the world has witnessed war crimes of rape, torture and the siege of Mariupol. She said Russian behavior had not changed, although it had not achieved its goals since its annexation of Crimea in 2014 or the last attack which began on February 24.
“We don’t see the change in their behavior yet,” she said. “They are trying to scare Ukraine. They try to scare the world. But the fact and the truth is that Ukrainians are not afraid and our president and all Ukrainians bravely defend our country. The world is not afraid.”
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Sunday that during a three-hour discussion with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, they reviewed military, economic and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
“The horrific toll of Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked aggression mounts: missile strikes continue against major population centers, refugees flee for their lives, while bodies are piled up in mass graves,” Schiff said in a statement. “Thousands of innocent civilians have been killed or injured, and the whole world is feeling the repercussions of a global food shortage and soaring energy prices – all because of Putin’s bloodlust.”
Samantha Power, administrator of the US Agency for International Development, said a broader concern about the war in Ukraine was food shortages in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, where countries depend on Ukraine for 80 90% of their wheat and cereals. . Global food prices are up 34% from a year ago, she said on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”
“It’s just another catastrophic effect of Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine,” Power said.
The Russian invasion also disrupted the production of sunflower oil in Ukraine, which exported more of it than any other country, leading to limits on the purchase of other cooking oils from other parts of the world. reported the New York Times.
Power said the horrors of war are visible in the displacement of millions of refugees and the starvation of people during the siege of Mariupol.
“The (Ukrainian) courage is breathtaking and has inspired the world,” Power said. “These are real horrors being perpetrated right now.”
Ukrainian women trained in demining
A group of Ukrainian women learn to identify and defuse explosives, a need brought on by Russian forces who leave behind booby traps on the streets of Ukrainian cities. While it is impossible to gauge just how littered Ukraine is currently with mines and unexploded ordnance, the aftermath of other conflicts suggests that the problem will be enormous.
“In many parts of the world, explosive remnants of war continue to kill and maim thousands of civilians each year during and long after the end of active hostilities. The majority of victims are children,” the International Committee of the Red Cross told a UN conference in December.
Meanwhile, just outside Lviv on Saturday, Territorial Defense Force volunteers were learning first aid and battlefield techniques, The New York Times reported.
Contribute: The Associated Press