Day 73 of the Invasion of Ukraine: UN Refuses to call it a “War”, Evacuations Continue in Mariupol
The UN refused to call the invasion a “war”, more people evacuated from Mariupol, EU disputes over oil embargo, countries send weapons. Here are the highlights of events related to the war in Ukraine over the past 24 hours:
The UN refused to call the invasion a “War”
The UN Security Council issued its first statement on the war in Ukraine, but did not use the words "war", "conflict" or "invasion". Instead, the statement "expresses its deep concern for the maintenance of peace and security in Ukraine" and expresses "strong support" for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in seeking a peaceful solution to the "dispute".
Given that Russia is a member of the Council, this is still a major breakthrough in multilateral diplomacy.
More people evacuated from Mariupol
A new UN-led humanitarian rescue mission is evacuating the last civilians still trapped at the besieged Mariupol steel plant, the only remaining bastion of Ukrainian forces against Russian troops.
About 200 civilians, including children, are believed to remain hidden in Soviet-era tunnels and bunkers under the huge Azovstal factory. There are hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers with them.
The office of President Volodymyr Zelensky said nearly 500 civilians had been evacuated.
"The attack on the steel plant continues"
Russia continues with "assault operations" at the Azovstal plant, Kyiv said. "The siege of the Ukrainian defense forces in the Azovstal region continues," a Kiev army spokesman said in a video.
Russia's military has announced a three-day ceasefire from Thursday in Azovstal.
President Vladimir Putin has said the Russian military is "ready" to provide a humanitarian corridor for civilians.
"As for the fighters who remain in Azovstal, the Kiev authorities must order them to lay down their weapons," Putin was quoted as saying by the Kremlin.
Hungary: The oil embargo is a "red line"
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had crossed the "red line" with the EU's proposed ban on Russian oil.
Von der Layen said the Union "will suspend supplies of Russian crude oil within six months and suspend imports of refined products by the end of the year." Hungary and Slovakia - both heavily dependent on oil exports from Moscow - will have until the end of 2023.
"I avoid the word 'veto,'" Orban, who has close ties with Putin, said on state radio, adding that the proposal had been returned to the sender, the president, to continue working on it.
Denial of the Pentagon
The US Department of Defense denies having provided intelligence on the location of Russian generals on the battlefield so that Ukrainian forces could kill them.
"We do not provide intelligence on the whereabouts of senior military leaders on the battlefield and are not involved in decisions to target the Ukrainian military," said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.
U.S. media reported that Washington shared intelligence that helped Ukraine sink the Russian warship Moscow last month.
Germany will send howitzers
Germany will send seven self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine, the defense ministry said.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz's government has been criticized for procrastinating in arming Ukraine compared to other Western allies.
G7-Zelensky Video Conference
Leaders of the world's largest nations will hold video talks with Zelensky on Sunday, said a spokeswoman for the German government as acting chairman of the G-7.
"Fighting continues east."
Ukraine's defense ministry says fighting continues in the east. Russia continues to conduct active military operations in the Donetsk and Tavriya regions. The shelling continues in the town of Liman in the Donetsk region.
Moscow is seeking to establish "full control" over the Luhansk and Donetsk regions and maintain a land corridor to occupied Crimea, AFP reported.
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