Ukraine says Russia began its incursion into the east and killed civilians; 7 die in Lviv

  • Ukraine says a civilian car service station was hit in Lviv
  • Russia says it has bombed hundreds of military targets
  • Ukrainian fighters are holding out in parts of Mariupol
  • The leader of Mariupol asks the Pope to help save lives

Lviv/Kyiv (Kyiv) (Reuters) – Ukraine said on Monday that Russia had launched a new offensive in the east, while a Russian missile attack killed seven people in Lviv, the first civilian casualties in the western city, 60 km away. ) from Poland.

Ukrainian officials said Russian shelling killed four people in the eastern Donetsk region on Monday, while a man and a woman were killed in Kharkiv when shells hit a stadium near an apartment building. Read more

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address that Russian forces had started the “Battle of Donbass” after senior officials said Moscow had launched a new offensive on most of Ukraine’s eastern flank. Read more

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“A very large part of the entire Russian army is now focused on this offensive,” he said, adding: “No matter how many Russian troops they send there, we will fight. We will defend ourselves.”

Earlier, the Ukrainian security official, Oleksiy Danilov, said that on Monday morning, Russian forces tried to break through the Ukrainian defenses “almost along the front line in the Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv regions.”

Zelensky’s Chief of Staff, Andrei Yermak, called it the “second stage of the war” and assured the Ukrainians that their forces could repel the attack. “Believe our army, it’s very strong,” he said. Read more

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Maxim Kozytsky, the governor of Lviv, said that initial reports indicated that there were four strikes there, three of them on warehouses that were not used by the army, and one at a car service station.

“It was a barbaric strike on a service station, it is an entirely civilian facility,” he said at a press conference.

The mayor of Lviv, Andrei Sadovy, said the youngest dead person was 30 years old. He added that the explosion also wounded 11 people and smashed the windows of a hotel housing evacuees from other places in the country. Read more

“Seven peaceful people have plans for life, but their lives have stopped today,” he said.

Motivated by Ukrainian resistance in the north, Moscow refocused its ground offensive in the two eastern provinces known as Donbass, while launching long-range strikes on other targets including the capital, Kyiv.

The governor of the Kharkiv region said authorities were continuing to evacuate people from two areas where fighting was expected.

The Russian Defense Ministry said it bombed hundreds of military targets in Ukraine last night. It said air-launched missiles destroyed 16 military installations in the regions of Kharkiv, Zaporizhia, Donetsk and Dnipropetrovsk and in the port of Mykolaiv in southern and eastern Ukraine.

She added that the Russian Air Force launched raids on 108 areas where Ukrainian forces are concentrated, while Russian artillery hit 315 Ukrainian military targets. Read more

Howitzer training

Western capitals and Kiev accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of unjustified aggression.

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Russia denies targeting civilians in what it calls a special operation to disarm Ukraine and eliminate dangerous nationalists. Ukraine rejects what it says is evidence of atrocities, saying they were orchestrated by Ukraine to undermine peace talks.

Last week, US President Joe Biden announced an additional $800 million in military assistance to Ukraine, expanding the aid to include heavy artillery ahead of an expected broader Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine.

The US military expects to start training Ukrainians to use howitzers in the coming days, a senior US defense official said, adding that the exercises will take place outside Ukraine. Read more

French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday that his dialogue with Putin had stopped after discovering mass killings in Ukraine. Read more

‘Hell on Earth’

Russia is trying to take full control of the southeastern port city of Mariupol, which has been besieged for weeks and would be a huge strategic prize, linking territory held by pro-Russian separatists in the east to Moscow’s annexed region of Crimea. 2014.

Major Serhiy Volina, the commander of the 36th Ukrainian Marine Brigade still fighting in Mariupol, appealed for help in a letter to Pope Francis, in which he said women and children were trapped among the fighters in the city’s crucifixion.

“This is what hell on earth looks like… It’s time to help not just with prayer. Save our lives from the hands of Satan,” the message read, according to extracts posted by Ukraine’s ambassador to the Vatican on Twitter.

At least 1,000 civilians are hiding in underground bunkers under the Azovstal steel plant, the city council said Monday. Read more

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Video and audio footage showed explosions and smoke billowing from steel mills that contain countless buildings, blast furnaces and railway tracks.

Azovstal is the main remaining stronghold of Ukrainian forces in Mariupol. Among the city’s defenders were the Ukrainian Marines, motorized brigades, the National Guard Brigade, and the Azov Regiment, a militia created by the far-right nationalists that was later incorporated into the National Guard.

Denis Prokopenko, a lieutenant colonel of the Azov battalion, said in a video post on Telegram that while at the steel plant, Russian and separatist forces were throwing anti-fortification grenades and blowing up the area with missiles and other weapons, including from ships, “knowing that there are civilians here.”

A Ukrainian minister said the Russian invasion has damaged or destroyed up to 30% of Ukraine’s infrastructure at a cost of $100 billion, adding that reconstruction could take place within two years using frozen Russian assets to help finance it. Read more

The United Nations said on Monday that the civilian death toll in the war had exceeded 2,000 and had reached 2,072 as of midnight on April 17 since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24.

About 4 million Ukrainians fled the country.

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Coverage by Reuters journalists in Kyiv and Lviv; Additional reporting by Reuters offices around the world; Writing by Alexandra Hudson, Keith Weir and David Bronstrom; Editing by Edmund Blair, Nick McPhee and Cynthia Osterman

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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