RUSSIA,UKRAINE, INDONESIA : Russia pounded southern and eastern Ukraine with missile strikes on Saturday, Ukrainian officials said, while some women and children evacuated a steel plant in the besieged city of Mariupol where they had holed up for more than a week, Agencies reported. Moscow has turned its focus to Ukraine’s south and east after failing to capture the capital Kyiv in a nine-week assault that has flattened cities, killed thousands of civilians and forced more than 5 million to flee abroad. The fighting between Russian and Ukraine forces continues for the 67th consecutive day.
Meanwhile, Hollywood actor and UN humanitarian Angelina Jolie made a surprise visit to the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on Saturday, the Lviv regional governor said on Telegram.
According to Maksym Kozytskyy, Jolie — who has been a UNHCR Special Envoy for Refugees since 2011 — had come to speak with displaced people who have found refuge in Lviv, including children undergoing treatment for injuries sustained in the missile strike on the Kramatorsk railway station in early April.
Meanwhile, Russian forces have stolen “several hundred thousand tonnes” of grain in the areas of Ukraine they occupy, Ukraine’s Deputy Agriculture Minister said on Saturday. Speaking to Ukrainian national TV, Taras Vysotskiy expressed concern that most of what he said was 1.5 million tonnes of grain stored in occupied territory could also be stolen by Russian forces.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Saturday said more than one million people have been evacuated from Ukraine to Russia since February 24, news agency Reuters reported.
The figures include more than 100,000 foreigners and people evacuated from Donetsk and Luhansk, which happen to be Russia-backed regions.
Lavrov, in comments to the Xinhua news agency published on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website, said 2.8 million people in Ukraine have asked to be evacuated into Russia.
Meanwhile, Indonesia has invited both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to the Group of 20 (G20) summit in November, Indonesian President Joko Widodo said Friday.
– THE HINDUSTAN TIMES, IANS