Officer at Azovstal steel plant says they are under "constant fire" on Monday
From Olga Voitovych in Kyiv
A commander among the Ukrainian soldiers at the besieged Azovstal steel plant says the complex has been under "constant fire" since early Monday.
Mykhailo Vershynin, chief of the Mariupol Patrol Police, told CNN that "after the Red Cross mission left, we have been under constant fire since the early morning. Artillery and naval artillery are firing non-stop. Air strikes are constantly being launched."
About 100 civilians were evacuated from the plant Sunday, but a further planned evacuation for Monday did not take place.
"There are a large number of wounded here. Everything is going toward the destruction of the site. We are highly interested in getting out the wounded, we are highly interested in getting out civilians. We would like to consider the option of extraction for the military contingent," he said.
"When I see five or six people die every day under bombs and the wounded die because they can't get necessary medical care, and when I see what the soldiers eat — they're already starting to faint because of hunger, I think it is necessary to address the world community," Vershynin said.
"Today firstly there is no evacuation, and secondly there is a planned destruction. To say that an evacuation is underway is a cynical lie," he said.
2:01 p.m. ET, May 2, 2022
European football governing body bans Russian teams from competitions "until further notice"
From CNN's Wayne Sterling
Russian teams and clubs have been banned from participating in competitions of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) "until further notice," the European football governing body announced on Monday.
Portugal will replace Russia at the Women's EURO 2022 final tournament scheduled for England in July, UEFA said.
Russia will not play their two matches scheduled in April for the European qualification to the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023.
For the 2022-23 season, Russia will not have any clubs participating in the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Europa Conference League, UEFA Women’s Champions League and UEFA Youth League.
UEFA also said Russia's bid to host EURO 2028 or EURO 2032 has been ruled ineligible.
12:58 p.m. ET, May 2, 2022
Ukraine claims more success in taking territory around Kharkiv
From Kostan Nechyporenko and Tim Lister
The Ukrainian military has confirmed that its forces have won back control of several settlements to the north and east of Kharkiv, potentially making it more difficult for the Russians to launch missile and artillery attacks against the city.
Ruska Lozova — a village north of Kharkiv — "returned to our control despite aggravation and losses," the military said Monday.
The military also said the village of Verkhnya Rohanka in the east of Kharkiv was back in Ukrainian hands, and that the operation had been led by Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrsky, the commander of land forces.
In the past two weeks, Ukraine has reclaimed about a half dozen villages in the area, bringing its forces slightly closer to Russian supply lines that run from the border to Izium.
Ukrainian forces have pushed Russian forces 40 kilometers (24 miles) to the east of Kharkiv over the last 24 to 48 hours, a senior US defense official told reporters Monday.
The official called it part of an “incredible effort” from the Ukrainian forces.
“It’s just another piece of the stiff Ukrainian resistance that they continue to demonstrate. And again to remind Kharkiv is important to the Russians because it sits at the very northwestern sort of lip or edge of that Donbas region,” the official said.
1:04 p.m. ET, May 2, 2022
More than 70 M777 Howitzers have arrived in Ukraine, senior US defense official says
From CNN's Ellie Kaufman
More than 70 M777 Howitzers have arrived in Ukraine — which is about 80% of the total 90 the US committed to giving the country, a senior US defense official told reporters Monday.
“Over 200 Ukrainian artillerymen” have now been trained on the M777 Howitzers, including a group of 50 Ukrainians that are scheduled to graduate from the training today, the official added.
“More than 170 Ukrainian military soldiers have been trained at more than one location on the M777, and there’s another 50 plus that are scheduled to graduate today, so when they do graduate today — in fact they may have already graduated today — that puts us up over 200 Ukrainian artillerymen trained on the M777,” the official said.
“Another 50 plus” Ukrainians will be arriving at one of the training sites outside of Ukraine “later this week” to begin training on the M777 Howitzers. A group of 20 Ukrainian soldiers began a “week-long training course” on the Phoenix Ghost UAV systems on May 1, the official added.
Over the last 24 hours, 13 flights of US security assistance for Ukraine has arrived in the European region, and an additional 11 flights from the US will arrive in the region over the course of the next 24 hours, the official said.
There have also been "23 deliveries via airlift” from five other nations received “again, at locations in the region outside Ukraine” of security assistance for the country, the official added.
11:39 a.m. ET, May 2, 2022
Civilians injured by Russian shelling in Kherson region, prosecutor's office says
From CNN's Katharina Krebs
Russian forces are shelling Kherson region with Grad rocket-propelled grenade launchers and several civilians have been injured as a result, the regional prosecutor's office said in a statement on Facebook on Monday.
According to the regional prosecutor's office, as a result of the attack, residents of the Novovorontsovka village suffered shrapnel wounds.
One man with a broken neck and a fractured skull was taken to the hospital in critical condition. Several civilian houses and a school were damaged.
2:04 p.m. ET, May 2, 2022
These Ukrainians are boarding trains to other cities with hope for a future
From CNN's Gustavo Valdes
Ukrainians Luba and Rodion rushed through the tunnel at the Lviv train station with all their belongings packed in a large suitcase and a couple of smaller bags. Their most precious cargo is their daughter, born a month and a half ago, riding in a comfortable stroller. They were headed to Zaporizhzhia after being evicted from their house in Uzhhorod, near the border with Slovakia.
“They raised the price and we couldn’t afford it,” said Luba struggling to hold back tears.
Anecdotal reports indicate rents are rising in the safer parts of the country as more people flee the frontlines in the east and south.
Luba said this is the second time she has been forced to leave her home because of a foreign invasion — she was 17 when Russia invaded the Crimea region in 2014.
“It was horrible,” she said. As soon as she turned 18, she moved, leaving behind the horrors of that war.
The young couple, both in their 20s, said their focus is to find a safe place to live, knowing that the Russian army is within striking distance of Zaporizhzhia and Rodion could be called to take arms in defense of his country.
“I have no military training,” he said. “But I will join the other men and protect our land.”
While they would soon board a train to an uncertain future, they go with hope — figuratively and literally. They named their daughter Nadiya, which in Ukrainian means hope.
Waiting for a train to Kyiv, Volodymyr Symonenko and his wife were going home, or what is left of it. At the train station, they shared photographs of the heavily damaged building in Hostomel, where he used to live with his wife.
It was Feb. 24, the first day of the invasion, when Symonenko said they saw the Russian helicopters fly overhead firing missiles.
“I wish I had a Stinger missile with me so I could take down the helicopters,” he said.
But instead they had to seek shelter in the building’s cellar for 20 days with the other residents who survived the attack.
The retired army soldier said he was part of the Soviet army and remained with the Ukrainian armed forces after the Kremlin lost its grip on this country. He admits that he always feared Russia might want to take back this land.
After spending time in Lviv, the couple will return to Hostomel to be with their children. Their son is a member of the army.
They know the walls and windows of their apartment are damaged, but he said the roof is still intact, and that’s enough to try to rebuild their home.
12:20 p.m. ET, May 2, 2022
Germany is ready for an oil embargo on Russia, finance minister says
From CNN's Robert North
Germany is ready to agree to an oil embargo on Russian oil, according to the country’s finance minister.
“Germany stands ready for new sanctions, including an oil embargo,” Christian Lindner told CNN.
“We have prepared ourselves to be less dependent on Russian energy imports. It takes time to reduce the dependency, it was a mistake to be dependent in this way but we are making progress. We can reduce the imports, starting with coal, then oil. It will take more time to independent from Russian natural gas imports but will continue so in the end we will be completely independent from Russia," he said.
Speaking about the negotiations on an oil embargo, Lindner said he did not want to speculate on whether EU member states, like Hungary, would have to given exemptions or carve outs from an oil embargo.
“I can assure you that Germany is ready to reduce oil imports, we know others are considering this question carefully," he said. “We make these decisions together, it is in our best interests, all the world’s democracies share these interests, that we are staying together … we have to stay together in the European Union and trans-Atlantic partnership."
The minister also made it clear that Germany will not pay for Russian gas in rubles.
“Germany can’t be blackmailed," he said. “Contracts are contracts, and all these contracts are based in payments in dollars or euros. So German contractors should pay in euro or dollar. This is the situation of the contracts and we do not change because Putin needs rubles for his war chest.”
Last week, Russia stopped shipments of gas to Poland and Bulgaria after they refused to pay in rubles. Gas distributors in Germany and Austria told CNN that they were working on ways to accept a Russian ultimatum that final payments for its gas must be made in rubles, while complying with EU sanctions. The Hungarian foreign minister also told CNN that his country will use the payment scheme put in place by Moscow to pay for its oil and gas.
German chancellor calls on Putin to end Ukraine invasion
From CNN's Benjamin Brown
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to put an end to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and “the senseless killing” taking place on the ground.
Speaking at a news conference in Berlin with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, Scholz said that what “is important is achieving a better future together, not by waging wars against each other, but by making economic development and joint development possible.”
The German chancellor also called on Putin to “withdraw his troops from Ukraine,” adding that “borders should not be changed through the use of violence.”
10:44 a.m. ET, May 2, 2022
Top Russian general was in Ukraine last week, senior US defense official says
From CNN's Barbara Starr
Gen. Valery Gerasimov, chief of staff of the Russian military, was recently in Ukraine, according to a senior US defense official.
“We know he was in Donbas for several days beginning last week. We don't know if he is still there,” the official said.
The official declined to say why the US was certain about the Russian general’s location or what intelligence it has that led to the US conclusion.
There were some reports that Gerasimov was injured while in Ukraine but the US has no indication of him being injured, the source said.
The US is uncertain why Gerasimov traveled to the Russian frontlines and whether it signals a lack of Kremlin confidence in Gen. Aleksandr Dvornikov who was appointed to command all Russian operations in Ukraine just a few weeks ago, the official said. Gerasimov’s trip however signals he wanted to see operations directly.