As the Russia-Ukraine war enters its 61st day, today April 25, 2022, we take a look at the main developments.
1. Ukrainian officials say Russian forces attempted to storm the Azovstal steel plant, the main remaining Ukrainian stronghold in Mariupol, adding that more than 1,000 civilians are also sheltering there. It was not possible to independently verify the information.
2. Russia’s defence ministry says its high-precision missiles struck nine Ukrainian military targets, including four arms depots in the Kharkiv region, where artillery was stored.
3. A large fire broke out at an oil storage facility in the Russian city of Bryansk, 154 km (96 miles) northeast of the Ukrainian border.
4. Russia has deployed Iskander-M mobile battlefield missile launchers within 60km (40 miles) of the Ukrainian border, Ukraine’s military says. Each of the systems’ two ballistic missiles has a range of up to 500km (300 miles) and can carry conventional or nuclear warheads.
5. The British ministry of defence says Russia is “planning a staged referendum in the southern city of Kherson aimed at justifying its occupation.”
6. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says “light would defeat darkness” as Ukrainians observe a bitterly emotional Orthodox Easter.
7. Ukrainian refugees filled churches across central Europe for Orthodox Easter.
8. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual head of Eastern Orthodox Christians worldwide, calls for the opening of humanitarian corridors in Ukraine where, he says, “an indescribable human tragedy is unfolding”.
9. US officials said Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met Zelenskyy in Kyiv and pledged new assistance worth $713m for Ukraine and other countries in the region.
10. Washington’s diplomats, withdrawn at the start of Russia’s invasion on February 24, will gradually return to the Ukrainian capital, Blinken says.
11. The trip by Blinken and Austin is the highest-level visit of its kind since the start of the war.
12. The European Union is preparing “smart sanctions” against Russian oil imports, possibly an oil embargo, the Times newspaper says on Monday, citing the European Commission’s executive vice president, Valdis Dombrovskis.
13. Turkey is ready to give all possible assistance during negotiations between Ukraine and Russia, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tells Zelenskyy in a telephone call.
14. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will visit Ankara before heading to Moscow next week to meet Putin and then to Ukraine for talks with Zelenskyy, the UN says.
15. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has arrived in India, where she will press leaders over the country’s neutral stance on the Ukraine war.