"Next stage" of Azovstal steel plant evacuation underway, Ukrainian official says
From CNN's Tim Lister
The "next stage" of evacuation of Ukrainian civilians from Mariupol's Azovstal steel plant is underway, according to Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian president's office.
"The results will be reported later," Yermak said.
The United Nations said Thursday it hoped that a joint convoy from the UN and the International Red Cross would be able to evacuate more civilians from Azovstal Friday. There are no details about the location of that convoy as of 10 a.m. local time (3 a.m. Eastern Time) Friday.
Some 500 civilians had recently been evacuated from both the Azovstal plant and the city of Mariupol, according to tweets by Yermak and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres early Friday. But CNN understands that they were referring to the cumulative effort to help people leave since Sunday.
More than 300 evacuees from the Mariupol area arrived in the city of Zaporizhzhia on Wednesday.
"Ukraine will continue to do everything to save all civilians and the military servicemen. Thank you UN for help," Yermak said.
Separately, the Ukrainian military said early Friday that "the blockade of units of the Defense Forces in the Azovstal area continues. In some areas, the enemy has resumed assault operations with the support of combat aviation in order to take control of the plant."
3:08 a.m. ET, May 6, 2022
Ukrainian forces report fewer Russian ground attacks, but shelling continues
From CNN's Tim Lister in Lviv and Julia Kesaieva in Kyiv
The Ukrainian military reported fewer Russian ground attacks in the last 24 hours, but it said there was still persistent shelling of many places along the frontlines in the country's east and south.
The overall picture suggests relatively static frontlines, with Russian forces still unable to take towns and villages they first attacked as long as a month ago.
In its operational update for Friday, the General Staff indicated that Russian forces seemed to be regrouping and efforts to take territory were confined to a few areas such as the Popasna in Luhansk region.
Serhii Hayday, head of the military administration in Luhansk, said Popasna "is bombed around the clock. The enemy attacks daily in whole battalions. The city is almost destroyed." He said some civilians were still in Popasna but contact with them had been lost. He added that fierce battles had continued around Voyevodivka, where "the settlement has passed from the Russians and back to us a few times."
Listing a range of other towns in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, such as Severodonetsk and Avdiivka, the General Staff said "the enemy did not conduct active hostilities."
In the south, the General Staff said that the Russian "did not conduct active hostilities and kept the occupied frontiers, strengthened their air defense systems and electronic warfare; fired on the positions of our troops."
In the area where the Kherson and Mykolaiv regions meet, the Russians had conducted air reconnaissance, according to the General Staff. Both sides have tried to take territory in this area, with the Russians trying to push north and the Ukrainians trying to threaten Russian control of Kherson city, an important link to Crimea.
On Thursday, Russian journalists reported that the Russian flag had been raised in the town of Snihurivka in the Mykolaiv region.
Reports from the regions also suggest that most Russian activity has been in the form of missile and artillery attacks.
In the Dnipropetrovsk region, the Kryvyi Rih district had been subject to shelling, but there were no casualties, according to Valentyn Reznichenko, head of the military administration.
Oleksandr Vilkul, head of the Kryvyi Rih city military administration, said "the enemy fired intensely throughout the night along the entire line of contact."
Meanwhile, a cruise missile has hit Pokrovsky, which is deep inside Dnipropetrovsk, damaging the local power line, according to the regional council.
Russian forces have sporadically aimed missiles at infrastructure in the Dnipropetrovsk region but don't hold any part of the region, according to the Ukrainian forces.
1:36 a.m. ET, May 6, 2022
Fiji court refuses stay of execution of US warrant to seize Russian-owned superyacht
From CNN's Teele Rebane in Hong Kong
The Suva High Court in Fiji on Friday refused an application by Millemarin Investments Ltd, which owns the $300-million superyacht Amadea, for a stay of execution of a US warrant to seize the yacht.
A stay of execution is a court order to temporarily suspend the implementation of a court order or judgement.
The $300-million yacht belonging to Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov was seized by Fijian authorities on Thursday at the request of the US Department of Justice.
1:18 a.m. ET, May 6, 2022
US did not provide "specific targeting information" for Russian warship, Pentagon says
From CNN's Oren Liebermann
The Pentagon denied providing "specific targeting information" to Ukraine to sink the Moskva, a Russian guided-missile cruiser that was the flagship of Moscow's fleet in the Black Sea.
"We did not provide Ukraine with specific targeting information for the Moskva," said Pentagon press secretary John Kirby in a statement Thursday night. "We were not involved in the Ukrainians' decision to strike the ship or in the operation they carried out. We had no prior knowledge of Ukraine's intent to target the ship."
Ukraine claimed to have struck the ship with two Neptune anti-ship missiles in mid-April.
The ship then sank as it was being towed back to port for repairs. Russia said the damage to the ship was the result of the detonation of ammunition.
"The Ukrainians have their own intelligence capabilities to track and target Russian naval vessels, as they did in this case," Kirby added.
1:09 a.m. ET, May 6, 2022
India and France look to play a "constructive role" in Ukraine
From CNN’s Esha Mitra in New Delhi
India and France have agreed to "intensify coordination" regarding responses to the war in Ukraine, a joint statement from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his French counterpart, President Emmanuel Macron, said Thursday.
The pair met late Wednesday, concluding Modi’s three-day European tour, which included Germany, Denmark and France.
“The two leaders agreed that close coordination and engagement was important. So that both India and France can play a constructive role in the evolving situation” in Ukraine, Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwarta said in a readout on their meeting published Thursday. While India once again stopped short of condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the two “unequivocally condemned civilian deaths in Ukraine and called for an immediate cessation of hostilities to bring parties together to promote dialogue and diplomacy to find an immediate end to the suffering of the people,” the joint statement said.
Apart from Ukraine, the two leaders discussed a number of issues including Afghanistan, defense partnerships, climate, strategic partnership in the Indo-Pacific region and global food security.
12:54 a.m. ET, May 6, 2022
It's 7 a.m. in Kyiv. Catch up on the latest here
Here's everything we know about the battle for Mariupol's Azovstal steel plant and other developments on Ukraine.
Non-stop shelling: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that the shelling of the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol is "not stopping" even as "civilians still need to be taken out."
"Women, many children remain there," he said during his nightly address on Thursday. "Just imagine the hell — more than two months of constant shelling, bombing, constant death nearby."
Evacuation underway: Rescue operation from Mariupol continued Thursday with the help of the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross, Zelensky said. Another round of rescue is planned for Friday, according to Ukrainian officials.
Ukrainian forces, having spotted a Russian warship in the Black Sea, called their American contacts for confirmation that it was in fact the Moskva, sources familiar with the events told CNN. The US responded that it was, and provided intelligence about its location.
Russian advances: Russian forces have made “some small progress, particularly in the north part of the Donbas” region of Ukraine, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said during a briefing Thursday.
Germain aide: Germany will support Ukraine with a further $130 million in humanitarian aid, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced in a video message in Warsaw. The money will ''help strengthen Ukrainian resistance to the Russian attacks.” Scholz also said he intends to provide Ukraine with another $147 million for development financing.
12:28 a.m. ET, May 6, 2022
Russian forces have made "some small progress" in Donbas region of Ukraine, Pentagon spokesperson says
From CNN's Ellie Kaufman
Russian forces have made “some small progress, particularly in the north part of the Donbas” region of Ukraine, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said during a briefing on Thursday.
This small progress is not the progress that the US believes Russian forces “expected to make at this point,” in the region, Kirby added.
“In the Donbas region, we would still assess that Ukrainians are putting up a very stiff resistance,” he said.
11:53 p.m. ET, May 5, 2022
United Nations and Red Cross launch third operation to evacuate citizens from Mariupol, secretary general says
From CNN's Samantha Beech
The United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have launched a third operation to evacuate civilians from the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol and the Azovstal steel plant, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the UN Security Council on Thursday.
Guterres said this is the third such operation to evacuate citizens from the area after two other operations.
“So far, in total, nearly 500 civilians have found long-awaited relief after living under relentless shelling and scarce availability of water, food and sanitation,” Guterres told the UN Security Council.
“The evacuees have shared moving tales with UN staff — mothers, children and frail grandparents spoke of their trauma. Some were in urgent need of medical attention. I hope that the continued coordination with Moscow and Kyiv will lead to more humanitarian pauses to allow civilians safe passage from the fighting and aid to reach those in critical need," he said.
11:53 p.m. ET, May 5, 2022
Evacuations out of Mariupol continued Thursday with another round planned for Friday
From CNN's Niamh Kennedy and Josh Pennington
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said evacuation operations out of the southern city of Mariupol continued Thursday.
"The rescue operation from Mariupol continued today with the assistance of the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross. People are on their way to safe territory," Zelensky said during his nightly address on Thursday.
The Ukrainian President did not give a figure for how many people were evacuated on Thursday alone, but said that more than 300 people from the Mariupol area and more than 150 people from the Azovstal steel plant are "already receiving all the help they need" after being evacuated over the last few days.
This comes after he announced Wednesday that authorities had succeeded in evacuating 344 people from the Mariupol area earlier that day.
Ukrainian authorities have planned a further round of evacuations out of the besieged city on Friday, according to Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk.
The Ukrainian government is also pushing ahead with separate efforts to evacuate civilians and soldiers still trapped in the Azovstal steel plant, which Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has hailed as a "the last stronghold of Ukrainian resistance in Mariupol."