Russia-Ukraine war LIVE: Putin launches ‘heinous’ Kyiv strikes during UN chief’s visit as UK to send 8k troops to Europe

VLADIMIR Putin’s forces have struck Kyiv in a “heinous act of barbarism” – while the UN head was in the Ukrainian capital for talks.

Ukrainian officials say at least 10 people were wounded in the ‘heinous’ attack after Russia fired missiles on the capital during a visit by UN chief Antonio Guterres.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy condemned the attacks, claiming they took place “immediately after” the pair had finished scheduled talks in Kyiv.

Zelenskyy said: “This says a lot about Russia’s true attitude to global institutions, about the efforts of the Russian leadership to humiliate the UN and everything that the organisation represents. Therefore, it requires a strong response.”

Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba called the strikes a “heinous act of barbarism” that demonstrated Russia’s attitude towards Ukraine, Europe and the world.

Meanwhile, the UK will send around 8,000 troops to Europe to take part in combat exercises angled at tackling Russian aggression.

Defence secretary Ben Wallace said the move will show “solidarity and strength”.

He explained: “The security of Europe has never been more important. These exercises will see our troops join forces with allies and partners across NATO and the Joint Expeditionary Force in a show of solidarity and strength in one of the largest shared deployments since the Cold War.

“Operating across Europe, the British Army will stand alongside partners, combining our capabilities and shared values, promoting peace and security.”

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

  • Mariupol steel works evacuation ‘planned for today’ say officials

    Kyiv has confirmed plans were are in place to evacuate civilians from the besieged Azovstal steel plant in the southern city of Mariupol where Ukrainian forces and civilians are encircled by Russian troops.

    “An operation to evacuate civilians from the Azovstal factory is planned for today,” the Ukrainian presidency said in a statement.

    It comes a day after the head of the UN said the organisation was “doing everything” to facilitate the rescue of civilians from the port city.

  • Mariupol will ‘never surrender for the sake of peace’

    Speaking to Sky News yesterday evening, the mayor of Mariupol said the besieged city will never surrender.

    Vadym Boychenko also urged Western allies to provide more weapons to help Ukraine in its fight against Russian forces.

    Boychenko said: “It will not be raised ever to surrender Mariupol for the sake of peace.

    “We can only return what is ours and Mariupol has been and will remain Ukrainian and we will do everything to ensure this.”

    The mayor went on to call on the “whole of the civilised world” to unite and provide weapons to enable Ukraine to “achieve this victory”.

    He said: “The faster they get to the Ukrainian armed forces the faster we will be able to return home.

    “I will go home to Mariupol and others will return to other cities.

    “We must take those decisions sooner one way or another. We must understand there is no other choice, it doesn’t exist.

    “We the Ukrainians must be given the possibility to liberate our land.”

  • Zelensky: Russia strikes on Kyiv aimed at humiliating UN

    President Volodymyr Zelensky yesterday said that the Russian strikes that hit a residential neighbourhood in Kyiv as the UN’s secretary general was visiting today were an attempt “to humiliate” the global body.

    “Today (Thursday), immediately after the end of our talks in Kyiv, Russian missiles flew into the city. Five rockets.

    “And this says a lot… about the Russian leadership’s efforts to humiliate the UN and everything that the organisation represents,” Zelensky said, adding that it required “a correspondingly powerful reaction”.

  • UN ‘doing everything it can’ to help evacuate civilians from Mariupol

    UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said Thursday his organisation was doing all it could to help evacuate those trapped inside the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol.

    Speaking at a news conference in Kyiv yesterday with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the UN chief said he was in Ukraine to “zero in” on needs on the ground and scale up operations.

    “Mariupol is a crisis within a crisis. Thousands of civilians need life saving assistance. Many are elderly in need of medical care or have limited mobility,” he said.

    “They need an escape route out of the apocalypse.

    “During my visit to Moscow, President Putin agreed in principle to the involvement of the UN and International Committee of the Red Cross in the evacuation of civilians in the Azovstal plant in Mariupol. 

    “Today, President Zelenskyy and I have the opportunity to address this issue and as we speak there are intense discussions to move forward on this proposal to make it a reality.”

    Mr Guterres added: “At the present moment I can only tell you we are doing everything we can to make it happen. I’m not going to enter into any comment that could undermine that possibility.”

  • Chelsea has weeks to complete sale, says UK minister

    Premier League club Chelsea is on borrowed time and only has weeks to complete its sale, Britain’s Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport told the BBC today.

    Chelsea were put up for sale by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich before sanctions were imposed on the oligarch by the British government.

    Final bids for the club were submitted earlier this month.

    “Chelsea is very much on borrowed time at the moment. There is a very short window left for that sale to take place. It has to happen soon,” Nadine Dorries told the BBC’s Newscast podcast.

  • Kremlin tightly controlling Putin to hide ill health

    RUSSIA has managed to keep its leader under strict control in a bid to hide his poor health.

    It is of the utmost importance for Kremlin to maintain Vladimir Putin’s strongman image.

    Moscow has remained tight-lipped as over the past few years Putin has made periodic disappearances from public life, what appearances he makes are carefully stage managed, and there are reportedly even time limits on his meetings with ministers.

    The Russian tyrant’s health has long been the source of speculation, with Western intelligence suggesting he has serious health issues such as cancer and Parkinson’s.

    Russian officials have always denied the claims there is something wrong with their leader.

    But despite Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov insisting that Mad Vlad’s health is “excellent”, his recent public appearances have sparked rumours about his physical state.

    Read the article in full here.

  • Ukraine identified ‘more than 8,000 cases’ of suspected war crimes

    Ukrainian investigators have identified more than 8,000 cases of suspected war crimes since Russia’s invasion, Ukraine prosecutor general Iryna Venediktova told a German TV channel yesterday.

    “It’s actually 8,600 cases only about war crimes, and more than 4,000 cases that are connected with war crimes,” Venediktova told the Deutsche Welle broadcaster.

    Venediktova has been investigating and tallying the mounting cases of suspected crimes by Russian forces since their invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

    There are now more than 8,000 investigators gathering evidence on the ground, she said, including state security services, national police and foreign investigators.

    The alleged crimes documented include “killing civilians, bombing of civilian infrastructure, torture” and “sexual crimes” that are being reported in the “occupied territory of Ukraine”, Venediktova said.

  • Ukraine welcomes back soldiers & civilians in prisoner exchange 

    Russia has handed over 33 Ukrainian soldiers, including 13 officers, in an exchange of prisoners of war with Ukraine, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk confirmed yesterday.

    “We are also bringing home 12 civilians,” Vereshchuk wrote on the Telegram messaging app. Five of the troops exchanged today had been wounded, she said.

    Vereshchuk did not say how many Russians were involved in the exchange.

  • British national who died in Ukraine named

    Yesterday, Brit was killed fighting Russian troops in Ukraine and it has been reported that another one is missing.

    Scott Sibley has been named as the Briton who died, while the second Briton’s whereabouts remain unknown.

    It is thought the pair had been fighting against Russian troops as volunteers in support of Ukraine’s military, although this has not been confirmed.

    It is understood that Mr Sibley is a veteran of British armed forces.

  • Ukraine & Bulgaria reach agreement on shipping Ukrainian grain

    Ukraine and Bulgaria have reached an agreement on transporting Ukrainian grain via the Bulgarian port of Varna, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Thursday after talks with Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov.

    He gave no timeline and provided no details of the volumes of grain to be shipped via Varna on the Black Sea.

    “Bulgaria will be more than happy to have Varna as a logistics hub for grains and sunflowers and distribute all the grains that you cannot through your ports,” Petkov told a joint news conference in Kyiv. 

  • Help those fleeing conflict with The Sun’s Ukraine Fund

    PICTURES of women and children fleeing the horror of Ukraine’s devastated towns and cities have moved Sun readers to tears.

    Many of you want to help the five million caught in the chaos — and now you can, by donating to The Sun’s Ukraine Fund.

    Give as little as £3 or as much as you can afford and every penny will be donated to the Red Cross on the ground helping women, children, the old, the infirm and the wounded.

    Donate here to help The Sun’s fund

    Or text to 70141 from UK mobiles

    • £3 — text SUN£3
    • £5 — text SUN£5
    • £10 — text SUN£10

    Texts cost your chosen donation amount (e.g. £5) +1 standard message (we receive 100%). For full T&Cs visit redcross.org.uk/mobile

  • Thank you for reading my coverage this evening. My colleague Joe Gamp will pick up the blog again in the morning.

    Before I log off, I’ll leave you with a summary of the news:

    • The mayor of Mariupol, Vadym Boychenko, has said the besieged city will never surrender ‘for the sake of peace’
    • Ukraine has lashed out after Russian strikes slammed into the capital Kyiv, saying they are a ‘heinous act of barbarism’
    • Russia’s defence ministry has said that the military had fired missiles at six arms and fuel depots in Ukraine and destroyed them
    • Ukraine identified ‘more than 8,000 cases’ of suspected war crimes
    • Russia has handed over 33 Ukrainian soldiers, including 13 officers, in an exchange of prisoners of war with Ukraine, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk confirmed today
    • A Brit has been killed fighting Russian troops in Ukraine and another one is missing
      • Scott Sibley has been named as the Briton who died
    • Russia’s foreign spy chief has today accused the United States and Poland of plotting to gain a sphere of influence in Ukraine
  • Mariupol will ‘never surrender for the sake of peace’

    Speaking to Sky News this evening, the mayor of Mariupol has said the besieged city will never surrender.

    Vadym Boychenko also urged Western allies to provide more weapons to help Ukraine in its fight against Russian forces.

    Boychenko said: “It will not be raised ever to surrender Mariupol for the sake of peace.

    “We can only return what is ours and Mariupol has been and will remain Ukrainian and we will do everything to ensure this.”

    The mayor went on to call on the “whole of the civilised world” to unite and provide weapons to enable Ukraine to “achieve this victory”.

    He said: “The faster they get to the Ukrainian armed forces the faster we will be able to return home.

    “I will go home to Mariupol and others will return to other cities.

    “We must take those decisions sooner one way or another. We must understand there is no other choice, it doesn’t exist.

    “We the Ukrainians must be given the possibility to liberate our land.”

  • Zelensky: Russia strikes on Kyiv aimed at humiliating UN

    President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that the Russian strikes that hit a residential neighbourhood in Kyiv as the UN’s secretary general was visiting today were an attempt “to humiliate” the global body.

    “Today, immediately after the end of our talks in Kyiv, Russian missiles flew into the city. Five rockets.

    “And this says a lot… about the Russian leadership’s efforts to humiliate the UN and everything that the organisation represents,” Zelensky said, adding that it required “a correspondingly powerful reaction”.

  • UN ‘doing everything it can’ to help evacuate civilians from Mariupol

    UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said today his organisation was doing all it could to help evacuate those trapped inside the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol.

    Speaking at a news conference in Kyiv with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the UN chief said he was in Ukraine to “zero in” on needs on the ground and scale up operations.

    “Mariupol is a crisis within a crisis. Thousands of civilians need life saving assistance. Many are elderly in need of medical care or have limited mobility,” he said.

    “They need an escape route out of the apocalypse.

    “During my visit to Moscow, President Putin agreed in principle to the involvement of the UN and International Committee of the Red Cross in the evacuation of civilians in the Azovstal plant in Mariupol. 

    “Today, President Zelenskyy and I have the opportunity to address this issue and as we speak there are intense discussions to move forward on this proposal to make it a reality.”

    Mr Guterres added: “At the present moment I can only tell you we are doing everything we can to make it happen. I’m not going to enter into any comment that could undermine that possibility.”

    Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres pose for a picture before their meeting, Ukraine April 28, 2022.
    Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres pose for a picture before their meeting, Ukraine April 28, 2022.Credit: Reuters
  • Ukraine condemns Kyiv strikes as ‘heinous act of barbarism’

    Ukraine has lashed out after Russian strikes slammed into the capital Kyiv as UN chief Antonio Guterres was visiting.

    “By this heinous act of barbarism Russia demonstrates once again its attitude towards Ukraine, Europe and the world,” tweeted Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba.

  • Russian strikes hit Kyiv as UN chief visits

    Earlier we reported that Russian strikes slammed into Kyiv this evening as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was visiting. We now have more on this story…

    It is the first such bombardment of Ukraine’s capital since mid-April, the mayor and AFP correspondents said.

    Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said there had been “two hits in the Shevchenkovsky district” in a post on Telegram and said they were clarifying details about casualties.

    AFP correspondents saw black smoke pouring into the air and a building in flames with a heavy presence of police and rescuers in the area.

    “Missile strikes in the downtown of Kyiv during the official visit of @antonioguterres,” tweeted Mykhaylo Podolyak, a senior aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

    “The day before he was sitting at a long table in the Kremlin, and today explosions are above his head,” Mykhaylo said referring to Guterres’ visit to Moscow where he met Russian President Vladimir Putin a few days ago.

  • Chelsea has weeks to complete sale, says UK minister

    Premier League club Chelsea is on borrowed time and only has weeks to complete its sale, Britain’s Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport told the BBC today.

    Chelsea were put up for sale by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich before sanctions were imposed on the oligarch by the British government.

    Final bids for the club were submitted earlier this month.

    “Chelsea is very much on borrowed time at the moment. There is a very short window left for that sale to take place. It has to happen soon,” Nadine Dorries told the BBC’s Newscast podcast.

  • Explosions heard in Kyiv

    Eyewitnesses have told Reuters that two explosions have been heard in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.

    No further details of what caused the blasts were immediately available. 

  • Russia says it destroyed 6 arms & fuel depots in Ukraine

    Russia’s defence ministry has said that the military had fired missiles at six arms and fuel depots in Ukraine and destroyed them.

    The ministry also said that Russia had hit 76 Ukrainian military facilities.

    There was no immediate reaction from Ukraine to the Russian statements, which could not be independently verified.

  • Kremlin tightly controlling Putin to hide ill health

    RUSSIA has managed to keep its leader under strict control in a bid to hide his poor health.

    It is of the utmost importance for Kremlin to maintain Vladimir Putin’s strongman image.

    Moscow has remained tight-lipped as over the past few years Putin has made periodic disappearances from public life, what appearances he makes are carefully stage managed, and there are reportedly even time limits on his meetings with ministers.

    The Russian tyrant’s health has long been the source of speculation, with Western intelligence suggesting he has serious health issues such as cancer and Parkinson’s.

    Russian officials have always denied the claims there is something wrong with their leader.

    But despite Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov insisting that Mad Vlad’s health is “excellent”, his recent public appearances have sparked rumours about his physical state.

    Read the article in full here.

  • Ukraine identified ‘more than 8,000 cases’ of suspected war crimes

    Ukrainian investigators have identified more than 8,000 cases of suspected war crimes since Russia’s invasion, Ukraine prosecutor general Iryna Venediktova told a German TV channel today.

    “It’s actually 8,600 cases only about war crimes, and more than 4,000 cases that are connected with war crimes,” Venediktova told the Deutsche Welle broadcaster.

    Venediktova has been investigating and tallying the mounting cases of suspected crimes by Russian forces since their invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

    There are now more than 8,000 investigators gathering evidence on the ground, she said, including state security services, national police and foreign investigators.

    The alleged crimes documented include “killing civilians, bombing of civilian infrastructure, torture” and “sexual crimes” that are being reported in the “occupied territory of Ukraine”, Venediktova said.

  • Blasts heard in Russia’s Belgorod

    Witnesses have told Reuters that two blasts were heard in the Russian city of Belgorod today.

    The blasts were heard in the southern part of the city.

    However, it is not immediately clear what caused them and whether there were any casualties or damage.

  • Biden to ask Congress for $33 billion Ukraine war funds

    US President Joe Biden is asking Congress to authorise $33 billion (£26.55 billion) in new funding to address the war in Ukraine, including $20 billion (£16 billion) in military assistance, a senior US official said today.

    The bulk of the huge new package will be the “$20 billion in military and other security assistance. This means weapons and ammunition flowing to the Ukrainian people,” the official said.

  • Ukraine welcomes back soldiers & civilians in prisoner exchange 

    Russia has handed over 33 Ukrainian soldiers, including 13 officers, in an exchange of prisoners of war with Ukraine, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk confirmed today.

    “We are also bringing home 12 civilians,” Vereshchuk wrote on the Telegram messaging app. Five of the troops exchanged today had been wounded, she said.

    Vereshchuk did not say how many Russians were involved in the exchange.

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