May 8, 2022: Russia-Ukraine news

By Maureen Chowdhury, Mike Hayes, Helen Regan and Brad Lendon, CNN

Updated 0528 GMT (1328 HKT) May 9, 2022
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11:11 p.m. ET, May 7, 2022

More than 300 civilians have now been evacuated from Azovstal steel plant, Zelensky says

From CNN Staff

People evacuated from Mariupol stand near a bus at a temporary accommodation center in Bezimenne, Ukraine on May 7.
People evacuated from Mariupol stand near a bus at a temporary accommodation center in Bezimenne, Ukraine on May 7. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

More than 300 civilians have been rescued since the start of evacuations from the besieged Azovstal steel plant, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address on Saturday.

It marked the end of the first phase of evacuations, which started just over a week ago, prompting a thank you from the Ukrainian leader.

"I am grateful to the teams of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations for helping us carry out the first phase of the Azovstal evacuation mission. More than 300 people were saved, women and children."

Authorities are now preparing for the second stage of evacuations for the wounded, medics, and military.

As of Saturday, the Russian army has destroyed or damaged nearly 200 cultural heritage sites, Zelensky added.

11:11 p.m. ET, May 7, 2022

Ukrainian government working to evacuate military, medic, and wounded from Azovstal, Zelensky says

From CNN's Tim Lister

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during his evening video message on Saturday May 7.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during his evening video message on Saturday May 7. (Office of President of Ukraine)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says his government is now preparing for the second stage of the evacuation mission from Azovstal, focusing on "the wounded and medics."

"Of course, if everyone fulfills the agreements. Of course, if there are no lies," Zelensky said during his evening message. "Of course, we are also working to evacuate our military. All heroes who defend Mariupol. This is extremely difficult but it is important."

Hinting Russia is to blame for holding up the evacuation of the remaining soldiers trapped in Mariupol, Zelensky said "everyone understands the root cause of this complication," but he added the Ukrainian people will not lose hope.

"We do not stop. Every day we are looking for a diplomatic option that can work out," Zelensky said.

The President also thanked the International Red Cross and the United Nations for helping to carry out the first phase of the Azovstal evacuation, and said the government would try to establish humanitarian corridors for all residents of Mariupol and surrounding settlements on Sunday.

11:11 p.m. ET, May 7, 2022

High casualties feared after school shelter in Ukraine bombed

From CNN's Olga Voitovych 

Emergency personnel clear away debris after a bomb destroyed a school in the village of Bilohorivka, Ukraine on May 7.
Emergency personnel clear away debris after a bomb destroyed a school in the village of Bilohorivka, Ukraine on May 7. (From Luhansk Regional Governor Serhiy Hayday)

Ukraine has accused Russia of dropping a bomb on a school in Luhansk region where 90 people were taking shelter.

Serhiy Hayday, the head of the Luhansk region military administration, said a Russian aircraft had dropped a bomb on the school in the village of Bilohorivka, which is about 7 miles from the front lines. 

Hayday said 30 people had so far been rescued from the rubble. 

"Almost the entire village was hiding. Everyone who did not evacuate. After the social club was hit, the basement of the school was the only place of salvation, but the Russians took this chance from people," Hayday said.

The rescue operation is ongoing, he said. Photographs posted by the regional authorities show the school in ruins.