RUSSIA,UKRAINE,BELGIUM: Russian forces pounded targets across Ukraine, taking aim at supply lines for foreign weapons in the west and intensifying an offensive in the east, as the European Union moved Wednesday to further punish Moscow for the war with a proposed ban on oil imports.
The Russian military said Wednesday it used sea- and air-launched precision guided missiles to destroy electric power facilities at five railway stations across Ukraine, while artillery and aircraft also struck troop strongholds and fuel and ammunition depots.
The defense minister repeated that Russian forces have blocked off a steel mill in Mariupol from which scores of civilians were evacuated over the weekend. Another official denied they were storming the plant, as its defenders said a day earlier.
Meanwhile, European Council President Charles Michel has pledged to raise the European Union’s military aid to Moldova, a neighbouring country to Ukraine where tensions are rising following a series of explosions in a pro-Russia separatist region.
“This year we plan to significantly increase our support to Moldova by providing its armed forces with additional military equipment,” Michel told a joint news conference with Moldova’s President Maia Sandu during a visit to the country’s capital, Chisinau, on Wednesday. Michel said the bloc would increase its backing in the “field of logistics, of cyber-defence” and would seek to provide “more military-building capacities” to Moldova, without going into further detail.
Meanwhile, Data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), also known as the UN Refugee Agency, shows that 5.6 million people have fled Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion, demonstrating the massive humanitarian crisis the conflict has sparked.
The majority of those refugees — more than 3.3 million — fled Ukraine in March, while roughly 1.5 million left in April, according to the U.N. agency. The opening days of May have already seen more than 120,000 people depart the country.
The U.N.’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said Tuesday that it has recorded more than 3,000 civilian deaths in Ukraine since the beginning of the conflict, adding that it “believes the actual figures are considerably higher.”
Meanwhile, Ukraine on Wednesday accused Russia of planning to hold a military parade in the captured city of Mariupol on May 9 to celebrate victory over the Nazis in World War II.In a briefing on the army’s plan for May 9, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu made no mention of a celebratory march in Mariupol.
He said parades would take place in 28 cities, involving some 65,000 people, 2,400 pieces of military hardware and more than 400 aircraft.
– INDIAN EXPRESS,
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