Live updates of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis | Ukrainian forces retake areas near Kyiv for fear of booby traps

Ukraine has regained control of “the entire Kyiv region” after invading Russian forces withdrew from some key towns near the Ukrainian capital, Ukrainian authorities have said.

Ukraine’s chief negotiator in peace talks with Russia said Moscow had “verbally” agreed to key Ukrainian proposals, raising hopes talks to end the fighting are moving forward.

Ukraine’s deputy prime minister said 765 residents managed to get out of Mariupol in private vehicles on Saturday, while a team of aid workers has yet to reach the hard-hit town.

The conflict began to escalate on February 21, 2022, after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine and deployed troops in a peacekeeping role.

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Here are the latest updates:


Zelensky: troops shell retreating Russians

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukrainian troops retaking areas around kyiv and Chernihiv were not allowing the Russians to retreat without a fight, but were “bombarding” them. They destroy everyone they can.

Zelenskyy, in his Saturday night video address to the nation, said Ukraine knew Russia had the strength to exert even more pressure on eastern and southern Ukraine.

“What is the purpose of the Russian troops? They want to take over Donbass and southern Ukraine,” he said. “What is our goal? To defend ourselves, our freedom, our land and our people. »- PA


Ukrainian forces retake areas near Kyiv for fear of booby traps

Ukrainian troops moved cautiously on Saturday to retake territory north of the country’s capital, using cables to pull the bodies of civilians from the streets of a town for fear Russian forces left them trapped.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned that the departure of Russian troops was creating a “catastrophic” situation for civilians by leaving mines around houses, abandoned equipment and “even the bodies of those killed”. His claims could not be independently verified.- PA


Red Cross still trying to get people out of Mariupol, Russia says it failed

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Saturday the operation to help people leave the besieged city of Mariupol was continuing, hours after Russia said it had failed and blamed the ‘organization.

The Russian Defense Ministry said aid convoys were unable to reach Mariupol on Friday or Saturday and blamed “destructive actions” by the ICRC, the Interfax news agency reported.

A Red Cross convoy heading to the Ukrainian port turned back on Friday after it became impossible to continue its mission to evacuate civilians, the ICRC said. Reuters


Baltic states halt Russian gas imports

The head of the Latvian natural gas storage operator said on Saturday that the Baltic states no longer import Russian natural gas.

“If there were still doubts about confidence in deliveries from Russia, current events clearly show us that there is no more confidence,” said Uldis Bariss, CEO of Conexus Baltic Grid.

“As of April 1, Russian natural gas is no longer supplied to Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania,” he told Latvian radio. AFP


Ukrainian Zelensky: Russia aims to seize the east and south of the country

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Saturday that Russian forces were aiming to seize the country’s east and south and complained that Western nations had not provided kyiv with enough anti-missile systems.

In a late-night video address, Zelenskiy also praised the forces defending the beleaguered port of Mariupol, saying their resistance was buying other cities valuable time. Reuters


Russian space chief: Sanctions could jeopardize space station

The head of Russia’s space program said on Saturday the future of the International Space Station hangs in the balance after the United States, European Union and Canadian space agencies missed a deadline to respond to Russian demands to lift sanctions against Russian companies and equipment.

Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Roscosmos, told reporters that the state agency is preparing a report on prospects for international cooperation at the station, which will be presented to federal authorities “after Roscosmos completes its analysis.”

Rogozin hinted on Russian state television that Western sanctions, some of which predate ongoing Russian military operations in Ukraine, could disrupt the operation of Russian spacecraft serving the ISS with cargo flights. Russia also sends manned missions to the space station.- PA


Russia withdraws from north as Red Cross pushes Mariupol rescue

Ukraine said on Saturday Russian forces were carrying out a “rapid retreat” from northern areas around the capital Kyiv and the city of Chernigiv as the Red Cross prepared for a fresh evacuation effort from the beleaguered southern port. from Mariupol.

Ukraine said Russian forces were concentrating in the east and south, a day after thousands of people from Mariupol and surrounding Russian-held areas escaped in a convoy of buses and private cars.


More than 170 detained in Ukraine protests across Russia

Russian police on Saturday arrested 176 people during protests against Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, an NGO said.

OVD-Info, which monitors arrests during protests, said police arrested at least 176 people during protests in 14 cities across Russia.

Christi C. Elwood