UN agencies say Azovstal steel plant evacuees have arrived in Zaporizhzhia
From CNN's Tim Lister in Lviv
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that civilians evacuated from Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol have reached safety in Zaporizhzhia.
"We'll continue to engage parties to the conflict & do all we can to support safe passage for civilians trapped in war-impacted areas," the OCHA said.
The UN's Humanitarian Coordinator in Ukraine, Osnat Lubrani, said she was "relieved to confirm that the safe passage operation from Mariupol has been successful."
"The people I travelled with told me heartbreaking stories of the hell they went through. I'm thinking about the people who remain trapped. We will do all we can to assist them," she tweeted.
The International Red Cross also confirmed the safe arrival of the convoy.
See the tweet:
9:48 a.m. ET, May 3, 2022
US State Department now classifies WNBA player Brittney Griner as "wrongfully detained" in Russia
From CNN's Jennifer Hansler
The US State Department has now classified WNBA player Brittney Griner as wrongfully detained in Russia and her case is now being handled by the office of the US Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs (SPEHA) Roger Carstens, a State Department official confirms to CNN.
"When it comes to our efforts to free Americans, the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Ambassador Carstens, he will go anywhere, he will talk to anyone if it means that we’re able to come home with an American, to reunite that American with her or his family," State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Monday.
Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and player for the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury, was arrested in February at a Moscow airport and accused by Russian authorities of smuggling significant amounts of a narcotic substance — an offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
9:24 a.m. ET, May 3, 2022
More than 100 people evacuated from Azovstal plant expected to arrive in Zaporizhzhia Tuesday
From Maryna Marukhnych and Natalie Gallon in Zaporizhzhia and Tim Lister in Lviv
Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has told reporters in Zaporizhzhia that a convoy of 106 people evacuated from the Azovstal plant in Mariupol is expected to arrive later Tuesday.
But she said hundreds of others trying to leave Mariupol and other Russian-occupied areas were being prevented from doing so by Russian forces.
Vereshchuk said that the ceasefire around Azovstal had not been long enough to get all civilians out, "so hundreds more women, children and the elderly are under the rubble."
She said there were also 40 seriously injured soldiers trapped at the plant in urgent need of medical care.
Of the 150 people who had been able to leave the ruined complex, she said, 106 had been sent to Zaporizhzhia.
Vereshchuk accused the Russians of changing agreements about the evacuations, which meant that people from occupied towns like Tokmak and Vasylivka, which are south of Zaporizhzhia, could not leave.
The evacuation from Azovstal was brokered and organized by the United Nations and International Red Cross.
“It is an immense relief that some civilians who have suffered for weeks are now out,” International Committee of the Red Cross President Peter Maurer said Tuesday.
“The ICRC hasn’t forgotten the people who are still there, nor those in other areas affected by the hostilities or those in dire need of humanitarian relief, wherever they are. We will not spare any effort to reach them,” he added.
8:36 a.m. ET, May 3, 2022
5 people injured in Mykolaiv region shelling, according to top regional official
From CNN's Katharina Krebs in London
Five people were injured in Ukraine's Mykolaiv region as a result of attacks from Russian forces in the past 24 hours, regional council head Hanna Zamazeeva said in a Telegram post on Tuesday.
All the victims were taken to hospitals and are receiving necessary assistance, Zamazeeva said.
According to Zamazeeva, there are currently 145 people in total in local hospitals due to the attacks in the region.
9:03 a.m. ET, May 3, 2022
Russia and Ukraine are both reporting fighting around Azovstal plant in Mariupol
From CNN's Olga Voitovych, Tim Lister in Lviv and Anastasia Graham-Yooll in London
Video from the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol shows thick columns of smoke rising from the area of the Azovstal steel plant amid the sound of heavy explosions.
Russian forces are launching fresh attacks on the ruined complex, according to official accounts from both sides.
All night long the plant was hit by artillery, naval artillery and aircraft. Two civilian women in one of the bunkers were killed as a result of a massive air strike," Denys Shlega, a commander in the National Guard, told Ukrainian television from Azovstal.
The Azov regiment posted images of the bodies of two women inside the complex.
"Since the morning, the enemy has been trying to assault the Azovstal plant with significant forces using armored vehicles. Our soldiers bravely repel all attacks," Shlega said.
Sviatoslav Palamar, an Azov Regiment commander also inside the complex, told CNN on Tuesday that Azovstal "is now being assaulted."
The field hospital had been badly damaged and "the doctors who perform operations are in very difficult conditions and do everything possible and impossible. Currently, there are about 500 wounded at the plant," Shlega added.
About 200 civilians are still at the plant, including about 20 children, Shlega said.
Russian state media RIA Novosti reported Tuesday that Ukrainian fighters “took advantage of the ceasefire at Azovstal and assumed firing positions.” The outlet cited the Russian defense ministry spokesperson Vadim Astafiev. RIA Novosti reported that Russian troops continue to the attack those firing positions.
“They have left the bunkers and assumed defensive positions on the territory of the plant. Currently, the DPR troops and the Russian armed forces are starting to destroy those positions with artillery and aviation," Astafiev said.
On Sunday, about 100 civilians were able to leave the plant in an evacuation organized by the United Nations and International Red Cross, but there have been no evacuations since then.
8:59 a.m. ET, May 3, 2022
UK prime minister unveils new military aid to Ukraine
From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite in London
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced 300 million euros ($376 million) in new military aid to Ukraine, telling the Ukrainian parliament that the country "will win" against Russia.
According to a transcript provided by Johnson's office, he said:
"We in the UK will do whatever we can to hold [Russia] to account for these war crimes, and in this moment of uncertainty, of continuing fear and doubt, I have one message for you today: Ukraine will win. Ukraine will be free."
The military aid includes "radars to pinpoint the artillery bombarding your cities, heavy lift drones to supply your forces, and thousands of night vision devices."
"We will carry on supplying Ukraine, alongside your other friends, with weapons, funding and humanitarian aid, until we have achieved our long-term goal, which must be so to fortify Ukraine that no-one will ever dare to attack you again," Johnson added.
8:08 a.m. ET, May 3, 2022
Putin signs decree on retaliatory sanctions against West
From CNN's Stephanie Halasz
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree announcing retaliatory economic measures in response to the “unfriendly actions” of foreign states and international organizations on Tuesday, according to the document published on the official government’s website.
Putin’s decree prohibits making transactions and fulfilling obligations to foreign individuals and legal entities that have fallen under the sanctions, such as trading and export products and resources, without specifying which individuals or entities may be affected by the measures.
Russian state authorities, organizations and individuals are prohibited "to make transactions (including conclude foreign trade contracts) with legal entities, individuals and organizations under their control, in respect of which special economic measures are applied; to perform before persons, under sanctions, obligations under completed transactions (including concluded foreign trade contracts), if such obligations are not fulfilled or not fully fulfilled," the document said.
According to the decree, these are the necessary measures to protect Russia’s national interests "in connection with the unfriendly actions of the United States of America and foreign states and international organizations that have joined them, which contradict international law and are aimed at illegally restricting or depriving the Russian Federation, citizens of the Russian Federation and Russian legal entities of the right to property."
The decree said it is in effect until the economic measures are canceled.
8:04 a.m. ET, May 3, 2022
At least 9 people killed by shelling and air strikes across Donetsk, regional officials say
From CNN's Tim Lister and Olga Voitovych
The regional military administration in Donetsk said nine people have been killed by artillery barrages and air strikes carried out by Russian forces.
Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk regional military administration, said Russian planes had bombed the town of Avdiivka Tuesday morning and that a residential area in the central part of the city was under attack. He said the same area had come under rocket fire on Monday night.
"At least 3 people have been killed and 2 wounded and 8 houses damaged," he said.
Shelling of the town of Vuhledar killed three people, and three more civilians were killed in the shelling of Lyman, a town that has been severely damaged in the last few days, according to video geolocated by CNN.
8:48 a.m. ET, May 3, 2022
Russia accuses Israel of supporting “neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv,” repeating false claim about Ukraine's government
From CNN’s Richard Allen Greene in Jerusalem
Russia accused Israel of supporting “the neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv” Tuesday, raising the stakes in a high-level diplomatic dispute between Moscow and the Jewish state over Ukraine, anti-Semitism and Adolf Hitler.
The accusation potentially increases pressure on Israel.
Israel voted in the United Nations to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has accused Russia of war crimes.
But the Jewish state has not fully joined Western sanctions on Moscow or supplied Ukraine with weapons, and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has tried to mediate between Russia and Ukraine.
The Russian salvo came in a thousand-word broadside from the Foreign Ministry which used examples of forced Jewish collaboration with the Nazis and contemporary instances of anti-Semitism in Ukraine to defend Vladimir Putin’s tendentious claim to have invaded Ukraine in order to “de-Nazify” the country.
Lavrov was attempting to deflect a question about why Russia asserted that Ukraine was in the grip of neo-Nazis when its President Volodymyr Zelensky is Jewish.
Foreign Minister Lapid responded Monday that Lavrov’s “remarks are both an unforgivable and outrageous statement as well as a terrible historical error,” and Prime Minister Bennett called Lavrov’s statement “lies.”