new American military aid, civilians evacuated to Mariupol… The point this Saturday

new American military aid, civilians evacuated to Mariupol… The point this Saturday

This aid, well below previous American arms shipments, includes in particular 25,000 155 mm shells, counter-battery radars to detect Russian artillery fire and communications jamming devices. “Congress must quickly release the envelope needed to strengthen Ukraine on the battlefield and at the negotiating table,” President Joe Biden said of the colossal $ 33 billion budget extension requested from the US Congress. .

“Strong support”

In its first show of unity since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, the United Nations Security Council – where Russia, a permanent member, has a veto power – gave its “strong support” to “seek a peaceful solution” in that country. On the ground, however, the fighting continues to rage. On Friday evening, two rocket attacks hit Odessa, the major Ukrainian port on the Black Sea, without however causing any casualties, announced the Southern Command of the Ukrainian forces. And Ukrainian officials are worried about increased bombing as May 9 approaches, when Russia celebrates its victory over Nazi Germany in 1945.

In Mariupol, a port city besieged by Russian troops for weeks, fifty more civilians were able to leave Friday thanks to a new humanitarian convoy the immense Azovstal steelworks, the last pocket of resistance of the Ukrainian forces in Mariupol, announced the Deputy Prime Minister Ukrainian Minister Iryna Vereshchuk and the Russian Defense Ministry. They are women, children and the elderly, she said, adding that evacuations would continue on Saturday, which Moscow later confirmed. The Russian Ministry of Defense said that eleven children had been evacuated. These operations, which are taking place under the aegis of the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), began last weekend and, according to kyiv, have enabled nearly 500 civilians to flee.

“Already devastated”

In Mariupol, “people are evacuated as much as we can”, exclaimed during a videoconference intervention organized by the Chatham House think tank in London, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. “You have to understand that Mariupol will never fall […], it is already devastated, there is no longer any structure, everything has been completely destroyed,” he said. “The enemy is trying to finish off the defenders of Azovstal, they are trying to do this before May 9 to give Vladimir Putin a present,” said Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Volodymyr Zelensky.

And if that were the case, if the Russian forces sought to “destroy” the last fighters or civilians of Mariupol, kyiv would be forced to break off any peace negotiations, the Ukrainian president warned again. On Saturday morning, the staff of the Ukrainian armed forces said that the Russian forces had continued their offensive against the Azovstal steelworks on Friday, despite the ceasefire they unilaterally decreed on Thursday for three days.

Consequences in the world

On the Western sanctions front, Hungary persevered on Friday in its blocking of the proposed European embargo on the import of Russian oil and difficult negotiations were underway between the 27 EU member states to find an agreement this weekend. end, several diplomatic sources said. In addition, Germany, which will provide seven armored howitzers to the Ukrainians, announced that the leaders of the great powers of the G7 would have a virtual meeting on Sunday devoted to the war in Ukraine in which President Zelensky is to participate.