Zelensky sends strict WARNING to civilians this weekend ahead of Putin’s planned Victory Day

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PRESIDENT Zelensky has sent a strict warning to all civilians this weekend ahead of Russia’s planned Victory Day celebrations.

Ukrainian officials have warned that Russian forces may escalate missile and air strikes over the weekend.

In his late-night address, President Volodymyr Zelensky called on citizens to “strictly follow the public order and curfew regulations” in their communities.

Zelensky said: “I ask all our citizens – especially these days – not to ignore the air raid sirens,” he said. “Please, this is your life, the life of your children.”

He added that residents are banned from visiting forests in formerly occupied territory because “a great threat of mines and tripwire mines left after the Russian military remains there”.

“Be sure to comply with the ban,” Zelensky reminded Ukrainians.

The news comes as, Vladimir Putin’s Russian forces have been accused of violating a ceasefire at the Azovstal steel works – killing one Ukrainian fighter and wounding six others.

Mariupol authorities have also accused Russian troops of firing at a car involved in the evacuation efforts.

Mariupol city council said in an online post: “During the ceasefire on the territory of the Azovstal plant a car was hit by Russians using an anti-tank guided weapon. This car was moving towards civilians in order to evacuate them from the plant”.

Follow our Russia-Ukraine live blog below for up-to-the-minute updates…

  • Video shows Sasha, 4, blowing out candles on his birthday – seven days later he was dead

    THIS is the heart-breaking video showing a four-year-old Ukrainian Sasha celebrating his birthday – just a week before his tragic death.

    Sasha Zdanovych disappeared on a boat from Ukraine that capsized as it desperately tried to escape Russia’s slaughter.

    His heartbroken Mum Anna Yakhno spent 26 days not knowing if her son was alive.

    The last photo taken of little Sasha showed him blowing out the candles on his cake for his fourth birthday.

    The 25-year-old told The Sun “the world must never forget Sasha’s name or the man responsible”.

    Sasha was staying with his grandmother Zoya, 59, when Putin began his bloodbath invasion on February 24.

    Five days after his special day, Sasha called his mum for the final time.

  • Italy order the seizure of yacht linked to Putin

    Italy has ordered the seizure of a super yacht linked to Russia’s Putin.

    The Scheherazade has been undergoing repairs at a port in Tuscany since September last year.

    Italy’s finance ministry said that the boat’s owner had ties to “prominent elements of the Russian government”.

    It is being seized under EU sanctions.

  • Putin’s £500m superyacht SEIZED

    VLADIMIR Putin’s £500 million megayacht was finally seized by Italian police last night after The Sun revealed the sickening luxury onboard the dictator’s floating mansion.

    The Scheherazade is currently being held by authorities in Marina di Carrara in Italy after an investigation found it to be linked with “prominent elements of the Russian government”.

    The 459ft vessel left its dry dock earlier this week after repairs were completed – sparking concerns it could flee the harbour to avoid EU sanctions.

    Its official cost, when finished two years ago, was £500million but insiders say it could be closer to £750million.

  • Victory Day rehearsals

    Ahead of Monday’s parade, Russian military have begun preparing for Victory Day.

    It marks the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War Two.

    Russia is now an invader and aggressor itself, waging war on the same territory Soviet forces liberated from Nazi invaders just over 75 years ago.

    But President Vladimir Putin and his allies are expected to try to portray the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a new fight against fascism.

    They have also accused the Ukrainian government of neo-Nazi links, an allegation which Kyiv and its Western allies firmly deny.

  • Fighting heard on edge of Donbas

    According to reports Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine are reporting small-arms fighting in the suburbs of Severodonetsk.

    Separatist forces were advancing but coming up against snipers and drones, a representative of the unrecognised separatist-run Luhansk People’s Republic told Russian news agency Ria-Novosti.

  • One of Russia’s most advanced tanks destroyed – UK Ministry of Defence

    The UK Ministry of Defence has said that one of Russia’s most advanced tanks has been destroyed in their daily intelligence update.

    The said: “At least one T-90M, Russia’s most advanced tank, has been destroyed in fighting. The T-90M was introduced in 2016 and includes improved armour, an upgraded gun and enhanced satellite navigation systems.

    “Approximately 100 T-90M tanks are currently in service amongst Russia’s best equipped units, including those fighting in Ukraine. The system’s upgraded armour, designed to counter anti-tank weaponry, remains vulnerable if unsupported by other force elements.

    “The conflict in Ukraine is taking a heavy toll on some of Russia’s most capable units and most advanced capabilities. It will take considerable time and expense for Russia to reconstitute its armed forces following this conflict.

    “It will be particularly challenging to replace modernised and advanced equipment due to sanctions restricting Russia’s access to critical microelectronic components.”

  • Only 12 civilians make it out of Azovstal as Russia breaks ceasefire

    Only 12 civilians made it out of the Azovstal “Alamo” yesterday as Ukraine accused Russia of breaking a ceasefire.

    Hundreds are holed up along with thousands of defenders at the besieged Mariupol steel plant.

    Russia’s failure to seize it has scotched hopes of a win before Monday’s Victory Day parade in Moscow to mark the end of World War Two.

    Andriy Biletsky, leading the defence with the elite Azov Battalion, said: “The fighting is continuing, the shelling does not stop.

    “Every minute of procrastination is the life of civilians, soldiers and the wounded.”

    At least one soldier died and six others were wounded when Russian forces hit a car with a guided anti-tank weapon.

    The Azov unit released footage of a bloodied soldier whose arm appears to be broken and burnt.

    Russia denied reports it was trying to storm the plant and said airstrikes, tank and naval shellings were to stop fighters moving to new positions.

  • Ceasefire violation accusations

    Vladimir Putin’s Russian forces have been accused of violating a ceasefire at the Azovstal steel works – killing one Ukrainian fighter and wounding six others.

    Mariupol authorities have also accused Russian troops of firing at a car involved in the evacuation efforts.

    Mariupol city council said in an online post: “During the ceasefire on the territory of the Azovstal plant a car was hit by Russians using an anti-tank guided weapon. This car was moving towards civilians in order to evacuate them from the plant”.

    “As a result of the shelling, 1 fighter was killed and 6 were wounded. The enemy continues to violate all agreements and fails to adhere to security guarantees for the evacuation of civilians.”

    Russia did not immediately comment on the council’s statement. It denies targeting civilians.

    Hundreds of civilians are still thought to be trapped in the southern city’s steel plant, and United Nations chief Antonio Guterres said it was vital that humanitarian workers “do all we can to get people out of these hellscapes”.

  • Security Council, including Russia, expresses concern about Ukraine

    The U.N. Security Council, including Russia, yesterday expressed “deep concern regarding the maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine” and backed efforts by the U.N. chief to find a peaceful solution in the body’s first statement since Moscow’s invasion.

    Security Council statements are agreed by consensus. The brief text adopted on Friday was drafted by Norway and Mexico.

    “The Security Council expresses deep concern regarding the maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine,” it reads.

    “The Security Council recalls that all Member States have undertaken, under the Charter of the United Nations, the obligation to settle their international disputes by peaceful means.”

    “The Security Council expresses strong support for the efforts of the Secretary-General in the search for a peaceful solution,” reads the statement, which also requests U.N. chief Antonio Guterres brief the council again “in due course.”

    Guterres welcomed the council support on Friday, saying he would “spare no effort to save lives, reduce suffering and find the path of peace.”

  • Todd Boehly & two billionaires sign agreement to buy Chelsea for £4.25billion

    AMERICAN billionaire Todd Boehly and his consortium have signed an agreement to buy Chelsea from Roman Abramovich in a deal reportedly worth around £4.25bn.

    Boehly, who part-owns the LA Dodgers, is poised to run the London side despite a last-gasp £4billion offer from Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

    Boehly and his team, which includes billionaires Mark Walter, Hansjorg Wyss and investment firm Clearlake Capital, still face two more hurdles before they officially take charge.

    He was pictured at Stamford Bridge on Friday and will now be put forward for Government and Premier League approval.

    It is expected the league will approve the takeover, but only after the completion of an owners’ and directors’ test.

  • WFP: Reopen Ukraine ports or risk world hunger

    The UN World Food Programme yesterday said that people around the world will starve if Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea aren’t reopened soon.

    “We have to open up these ports so that food can move in and out of Ukraine. The world demands it because hundreds of millions of people globally depend on these supplies,” WFP Executive Director David Beasley said.

    “Right now Ukraine’s grain silos are full.”

    The WFP is concerned that if the silos aren’t emptied soon there will be nowhere to store this summer’s harvest, causing massive waste and further driving up global food prices.

  • Zelensky: Mariupol ‘destroyed completely’

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has yesterday said that the southeastern port city of Mariupol has been destroyed completely and there is nothing left to fall to Russians – except for its besieged steelworks.

    Zelensky, speaking on a video call to the Chatham House think-tank in London, was asked how the fall of the strategic city could affect the course of the conflict.

    “You should understand that Mariupol will never fall. There is nothing there to fall apart. It is already devastated… there is no structure. This is all destroyed completely,” Zelensky said in comments translated into English from Ukrainian.

    What is left is “this little turf, this little structure, the Azovstal steel mill, or what remains of it”, he added.

  • Russian forces accused of opening fire on car on way to collect civilians

    Mariupol City Council yesterday accused Russian forces of opening fire on a car as it was on its way to the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol to collect trapped civilians.

    “During the ceasefire on the territory of the Azovstal plant a car was hit by Russians using an anti-tank guided weapon,” the council said in an online post.

    “This car was moving towards civilians in order to evacuate them from the plant.”

    It added: “As a result of the shelling, one fighter was killed and six were wounded. 

    “The enemy continues to violate all agreements and fails to adhere to security guarantees for the evacuation of civilians.”

  • Shell in talks to sell Russian retail business

    Shell has said today that it is in talks to sell its network of petrol stations and lubricant plant in Russia.

    Ahead of the possible sale, Shell has suspended operations at its filling stations and the Torzhok lubricant plant, Sergey Starodubtsev, the company’s head in Russia said in a statement.

    He also confirmed that negotiations were underway.

    It was unclear who the potential buyer was but sources told Reuters it would most likely be a local company.

    Chief Executive Ben van Beurden said on Thursday that Shell was in talks to sell its Russian retail business.

    Shell wrote down $3.9 billion post-tax as a result of its decision to exit operations in Russia, which include a stake in a large liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant.

  • Zelensky: More than half a million Ukrainians ‘forced’ to go to Russia

    Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said yesterday during an address to Iceland’s parliament that more than “500,000 Ukrainians have been deported to Russia” since the start of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

    Zelensky said: “They were forced to go there. Their documents and means of communication are confiscated.

    “They are sent to faraway regions of that foreign land in order to assimilate there.”

  • Ukrainian beer to be brewed in Belgium

    A popular Ukrainian beer is being brewed in Belgium at the moment due to not being able to be produced in the country.

    Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) halted production of Chernigivske lager and other beers at its three breweries in Ukraine because of the Russian invasion.

    Ukraine’s ambassador to Belgium, Oleg Shamshur, saw the first cans rolling off the production line as he visited AB InBev’s site in Leuven on Friday.

    AB InBev said all profits would go to humanitarian relief in Ukraine.

  • G7 leaders to hold video conference with Zelensky on Sunday

    German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will take part in a G7 virtual discussion with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday, a German government spokesperson said.

    They will discuss matter about the situation in Ukraine.

    “It will cover current issues, particularly the situation in Ukraine. President Zelensky will take part and report on the current situation in his country,” said Christiane Hoffmann, German government spokesperson.

  • Refugees arriving under Ukraine visa schemes up 10,000

    Figures show that the number of refugees arriving in the UK under Ukraine visa schemes has risen by more than 10,000 in just over a week.

    Around 37,400 people had arrived in the UK under Ukraine visa schemes as of Tuesday, according to government figures published on Friday.

    This is up from 27,100 by April 25.

    The latest arrivals include 19,500 under the Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme – a rise of three-quarters from 11,100 last week.

    And 17,900 people have arrived under the family scheme, up from 16,000.

  • Zelenskyy urges German leader to visit Kyiv on Russia’s ‘Victory Day’

    Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called on German Chancellor Olaf Scholz  to take a “powerful step” and visit Kyiv on Monday.

    This is the date when Russia commemorates the Soviet Union’s victory in the Second World War.

    Speaking via a translator to London’s Chatham House think tank, the Ukrainian President said: “He’s invited, the invitation is open, it has been for some time now.

    “He’s invited to come to Ukraine, he can make this very powerful political step to come here on the 9th of May, to Kyiv. I am not explaining the significance, I think you’re cultured enough to understand why.”

  • Thank you for reading my coverage this evening. My colleague Louis Allwood will be back with you tomorrow morning.

  • G7 & Zelensky to discuss the West’s Ukraine support on Russian parade eve

    Leaders of the G7 countries and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will meet virtually Sunday to discuss Western support for Ukraine’s war against Russia, with the White House describing the meeting as a demonstration that Moscow is failing.

    Officials in Germany, which currently chairs the group also including Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, gave little detail Friday about the upcoming talks.

    German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will host the call and Zelensky will “take part and report on the current situation,” government spokeswoman Christiane Hoffmann said.

    Further sanctions or at least tightening of the huge array of economic punishments already inflicted on Russia are expected to be discussed.

  • Russian forces accused of opening fire on car on way to collect civilians

    Mariupol City Council has accused Russian forces of opening fire on a car as it was on its way to the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol to collect trapped civilians.

    “During the ceasefire on the territory of the Azovstal plant a car was hit by Russians using an anti-tank guided weapon,” the council said in an online post.

    “This car was moving towards civilians in order to evacuate them from the plant.”

    It added: “As a result of the shelling, one fighter was killed and six were wounded. 

    “The enemy continues to violate all agreements and fails to adhere to security guarantees for the evacuation of civilians.” 

  • Security Council, including Russia, expresses concern about Ukraine

    The U.N. Security Council, including Russia, today expressed “deep concern regarding the maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine” and backed efforts by the U.N. chief to find a peaceful solution in the body’s first statement since Moscow’s invasion.

    Security Council statements are agreed by consensus. The brief text adopted on Friday was drafted by Norway and Mexico.

    “The Security Council expresses deep concern regarding the maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine,” it reads.

    “The Security Council recalls that all Member States have undertaken, under the Charter of the United Nations, the obligation to settle their international disputes by peaceful means.”

    “The Security Council expresses strong support for the efforts of the Secretary-General in the search for a peaceful solution,” reads the statement, which also requests U.N. chief Antonio Guterres brief the council again “in due course.”

    Guterres welcomed the council support on Friday, saying he would “spare no effort to save lives, reduce suffering and find the path of peace.”

  • 50 civilians evacuated from Azovstal plant

    Ukraine’s deputy prime minister has said 50 civilians were evacuated from the bombed-out Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol today.

    Iryna Vereshchuk said the group included women, children and elderly people.

    The deputy prime minister also accused Russia of violating a truce intended to allow all those trapped beneath the plant to depart after weeks under siege.

    “Therefore the evacuation was extremely slow…tomorrow morning we will continue the evacuation operation,” she said in an online post.

    Mariupol has endured the most destructive bombardment of the 10-week-old war, and the sprawling Soviet-era Azovstal plant is the last part of the city – a strategic southern port on the Azov Sea – still in the hands of Ukrainian fighters.

  • Johnson & Macron discuss Ukraine and a knock-on effect on prices

    The UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson has spoken to French President Emmanuel Macron today.

    The two men were “united in their condemnation of Putin’s deadly folly”, a Downing Street spokesperson said.

    They agreed to “coordinate more closely on longer-term security and economic support for Ukraine, as well as measures to isolate Russia”.

    The prime minister also updated Mr Macron on his visit to Ukraine last month and “shared his conviction that Ukraine would win”, the spokesperson added, “supported with the right level of defensive military assistance”.

    There was some discussion on the “fallout from the invasion of Ukraine for global energy and food prices”.

    The two leaders “agreed to work through the G7 to mitigate the impacts domestically and on developing economies”.

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