More than 5.5 million refugees have now fled Ukraine
From CNN's Benjamin Brown in London
At least 5.5 million people have fled Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion in late February, according to the latest United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) data.
In addition to the 5,563,959 registered refugees, at least 7.7 million people are internally displaced in Ukraine having been forced to flee their homes, according to the latest report by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
A projected 8.3 million refugees are expected to flee Ukraine, the UNHCR said Tuesday.
5:15 a.m. ET, May 2, 2022
A missing Ukrainian soldier returns to marry his girlfriend
From CNN's Tim Lister in Lviv
Days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, the Russian navy attacked Snake Island off the Ukrainian coast -- an episode immortalized by a captured radio exchange in which the defenders told a Russian warship to "go f*** yourself" after being ordered to surrender.
Several of the defenders were thought to have been killed and were even given posthumous military awards by President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Among those whose fate was unknown was a young soldier of the 35th Marine Brigade called Valeriy.
It later transpired that Valeriy had been taken prisoner by the Russians, but he was then sent back to Ukraine in a prisoner exchange.
Once home, Valeriy was given leave and went immediately to Kharkiv where he proposed to his girlfriend of two years, Vladislava.
They were married at the weekend in a ceremony attended by Valeriy's commanding officer, Maksym Zinchenko.
The Facebook page of the military unit announcing their wedding said their feelings for each other "were strengthened by distance and time, and the separation and uncertainty gave them a real understanding that life is fragile."
4:56 a.m. ET, May 2, 2022
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi meets Polish President in Warsaw
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Warsaw, Poland, on Monday to discuss further support for Ukraine.
Images show the pair shaking hands and sitting down for talks alongside a Congressional delegation.
The visit comes shortly after Pelosi made an unannounced trip to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on Saturday, becoming the most senior US official to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky since the war broke out more than two months ago.
In a statement on Sunday, Pelosi said the meetings with Duda would be "focused on further strengthening our partnership, offering our gratitude for Poland’s humanitarian leadership, and discussing how we can further work together to support Ukraine."
6:09 a.m. ET, May 2, 2022
Ukrainian drone destroys Russian patrol ships off Snake Island, says defense ministry
From CNN’s Hannah Ritchie in Hong Kong
Two Russian Raptor patrol boats were destroyed near Snake Island by a Ukrainian Bayraktar drone Monday morning local time, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense reported, citing the head of the Armed Forces General.
“Two Russian Raptor patrol boats were destroyed in the early hours of this morning near Snake [Zmiinyi] Island. #Bayraktar works! Together to Victory!” the MOD tweeted.
Video of the drone targeting one of the Raptor patrol boats near the island in the Black Sea was included in the MOD post.
The Bayraktar TB-2 is a Turkish-designed armed drone that has been used to considerable effect by the Ukrainian Armed Forces against Russian targets.
New Zealand’s government announced further sanctions against Russia on Monday, targeting members of the political elite, as well as the country’s defense sector.
The new round of sanctions target 170 members of the Federation Council — the upper house of Russia’s parliament.
They also include six companies and organizations, “which have contributed to the assault” in Ukraine, according to a government statement on Monday.
“As President (Vladimir) Putin’s war machine continues its illegal attacks and as further revelations of atrocities come to light, we are determined to impose costs on those involved,” Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta said. “We support the people of Ukraine, and we are committed to holding President Putin and his cadre of warmongers to account.”
The country also extended the “full suite" of prohibitions to over 400 people previously captured by its travel bans, without specifying details.
“This will further prohibit those we have already sanctioned from carrying out activity in New Zealand, and prevent New Zealand from becoming a financial safe haven for those involved with Russia’s illegal activities in Ukraine,” Mahuta added.
4:09 a.m. ET, May 2, 2022
Ukrainian commander says "turbulent" night at Azovstal plant, 200 civilians remain
From CNN's Tim Lister in Lviv
A Ukrainian commander inside the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol said his men experienced a turbulent night after the first batch of evacuees were able to leave the plant on Sunday.
"As soon as the evacuation of civilians was completed yesterday, the enemy began using all kinds of weapons. The night was restless," said Denys Shleha, commander of the 12th Operational Brigade of the National Guard. "The [Russian] naval artillery worked on Azovstal from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m.. In the morning it became quieter."
It is unclear whether another batch of civilians trapped inside the complex will be able to leave on Monday.
"I will not say anything about the evacuation from Azovstal. We are trying our best to do it, we are begging for it," Shleha said.
He said there are about 200 people, including 20 children, left on the premises.
We beg that people should be removed from Azovstal. The enemy strikes with all kinds of weapons. Everything is very bad," he said.
"The biggest problem is wounded servicemen. Our field hospital was bombed a few days ago. Medical care is provided to the military in extremely difficult conditions. There are currently about 500 of them at Azovstal. Their injuries are of varying severity. This is the biggest problem that needs to be resolved," Shleha said.
Shleha also spoke of the need to get the remaining fighters out of the plant.
"After the evacuation of civilians and the wounded, it is necessary to resolve issues with the garrison. Our men did everything possible and impossible for the state of the world during these 68 days," he said.
3:30 a.m. ET, May 2, 2022
Ukraine says Russians pressing offensive towards Sloviansk
From CNN's Tim Lister, Julia Kesaieva and Olga Voitovych
Russian forces are pressing an offensive in the direction of Sloviansk, an important town in the Donetsk region, according to the Ukrainian military.
The offensive involves heavy shelling of Ukrainian defenses, the General Staff said in its daily update.
The enemy fired on the units of our troops on the Lyman-Siversk border in order to oust them from their positions and create conditions for the attack on Sloviansk," it said.
Some analysts say Russian forces have made modest territorial gains in this region over the past week, but Lyman remains in Ukrainian hands.
The General Staff said Russian forces were attacking a large number of towns in the Luhansk region, and had tried to improve their positions around the town of Popasna by moving one battalion tactical group from Mariupol.
Altogether 10 attacks in Donetsk and Luhansk had been repulsed and Ukrainian forces had destroyed a wide variety of Russian hardware, it claimed.
"The enemy deployed additional surface-to-air missile systems in the temporarily occupied territories of the Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia regions," it said.
Three people in Luhansk were killed as heavy shelling persisted in Lysychansk, Zolote and Popasna, according to Serhiy Hayday, head of Luhansk's military administration.
Heavy prolonged shelling prevented a full-fledged evacuation, he said.
In areas of southern Ukraine where fighting continues, Russian forces were looking for weaknesses in Ukrainian defenses to the south of Mykolaiv as they try to extend their control to the whole of the Kherson region, which borders Crimea, the General Staff said.
Parts of southern Zaporizhzhia have also seen heavy fighting. The regional command said Monday that "the enemy tried to break through in small groups with the support of armored vehicles, tanks and artillery, but failed."
The towns of Polohy and Orikhiv were among those targeted with shelling, it said.
It also claimed that Russian forces were forcing farmers "under the barrels of machine guns" to sell grain at a steep discount.
There has also been an uptick in attacks on grain stores and elevators.
Valentyn Reznichenko, head of the Dnipropetrovsk regional state administration, said Monday that a grain warehouse had been destroyed in the Synelnykove district.
12:38 p.m. ET, May 2, 2022
UN-supported convoy will try to leave Mariupol on Monday, city council says
From CNN’s Sophie Jeong and Hannah Ritchie
A convoy supported by the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross will attempt to leave Mariupol on Monday, the city council said in a Telegram post.
“There is good news. With the support of the UN and Red Cross, today two additional locations have been agreed upon for placing people in the evacuation convoy that will leave Mariupol,” the post read.
The convoy will collect civilians at several pickup points around Mariupol before taking them to two villages near the southern Ukrainian city of Berdiansk, according to the city council.
Civilian evacuations from Mariupol — which has endured weeks of Russian shelling and airstrikes — were paused by local authorities on Sunday for “security reasons.”
Before the pause, some 100 people were successfully evacuated from the besieged Azovstal steelworks. According to recent estimates, roughly 100,000 civilians still remain in the city.
Last week during a one-on-one meeting with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed in principle to allow the UN and Red Cross to assist in civilian evacuations from Mariupol.
1:01 a.m. ET, May 2, 2022
Some South Korean embassy staff return to Kyiv, Foreign Ministry says
From CNN’s Gawon Bae in Seoul
The South Korean ambassador to Ukraine, alongside some members of staff from the embassy in Kyiv, returned to the city on Saturday and will restart operations on Monday, South Korea’s foreign ministry said.
Ambassador Kim Hyung-tae and the staff members returned to the capital from Chernivtsi, in western Ukraine. The city was one of the two locations where the embassy has been operating temporary offices.
The embassy will carry out diplomatic work and protect South Korean citizens by closely cooperating with the Ukrainian government from Kyiv,” the ministry said.
The remaining embassy workers in Chernivtsi and Romania may gradually return to Kyiv, depending on the local situation, the ministry added.
South Korea’s embassy moved out of Kyiv on March 2 because of escalating violence around the capital region and began working from temporary offices in the Ukrainian cities of Lviv and Chernivtsi. The offices in Lviv closed on March 18.
The foreign ministry said there are also temporary offices in Romania.