Live updates | Ukraine opens corridors out of Mariupol, more
LVIV, Ukraine — Seven humanitarian corridors will be open on Tuesday, including from the besieged port city of Mariupol and the Russian-controlled Berdyansk, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on the messaging app Telegram.
According to Vereshchuk’s post, residents of Mariupol and Berdyansk will be able to leave to Zaporizhzhia on their own transport. Corridors will also be open from the city of Tokmak in the Zaporizhzhia region and cities of Severodonetsk, Lysychansk, Popasna and Hirske in the Luhansk region.
Vereshchuk said in the same post that the Russian troops “don’t allow anyone to enter Mariupol,” and that the Russians “blocked the representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross” in the settlement of Manhush just west of Mariupol.
Vereshchuk said that, after negotiations, the Red Cross representatives “were released at night and sent to Zaporizhzhia.”
It was not immediately clear from Vereshchuk’s statement whether Russia has agreed to halt the fighting along the announced corridors. Some of the Ukrainian efforts to evacuate civilians via humanitarian corridors had previously failed as fighting along them continued even despite agreements with Russia.
KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:
— Russia faces growing outrage amid new evidence of atrocities
— World reacts with horror at images of slain civilians in Ukraine towns
— Zelenskyy to address UN amid outrage over civilian deaths
— Japan’s top envoy brings back 20 Ukrainians from Poland
— Go to https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine for more coverage
LONDON — British defense officials say Ukrainian forces have taken back more territory as Russian troops continue to retreat in Ukraine’s north.
Britain’s Ministry of Defense says Ukrainian forces “have retaken key terrain” after forcing Russian units to retreat north of Kyiv and around the northern city of Chernihiv. The ministry says “low-level fighting is likely to continue in some parts of the newly recaptured regions, but diminish significantly over this week as the remainder of Russian forces withdraw.”
In an intelligence update posted online, the U.K. says many of the Russian units “are likely to require significant re-equipping and refurbishment before being available to redeploy for operations in eastern Ukraine.”
Ukrainian and Western officials say Russia is refocusing its offensive on the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.
BERLIN — Germany’s president is admitting mistakes in policy toward Russia in his previous job as foreign minister.
President Frank-Walter Steinmeier served twice as ex-Chancellor Angela Merkel’s foreign minister, most recently from 2013 to 2017, and before that as ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s chief of staff. In that time, Germany pursued dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin and cultivated close energy ties.
Steinmeier told ZDF television Tuesday that “we failed on many points,” including efforts to encourage Russia toward democracy and respecting human rights.
The president conceded that “there were different assessments” of Russia among European countries. He added: “It is true that we should have taken the warnings of our eastern European partners more seriously, particularly regarding the time after 2014” and the building of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
Sticking to that project was a mistake that cost Germany “a lot of credit and credibility” in eastern Europe, he said. Chancellor Olaf Scholz suspended the pipeline in the week Russia invaded Ukraine.
LVIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s General Staff reports Tuesday morning that Russia is regrouping its troops and preparing for an offensive in Donbas.
“The goal is to establish full control over the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk regions,” the update posted on the General Staff’s Facebook page says.
In the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the Russian military are focusing their efforts on taking control of Popasna and Rubizhne cities, as well as establishing full control over Mariupol, the General Staff said. Other towns and settlements in the two regions are subject to continued shelling.
The Russian troops also continue to block Kharkiv, according to the General Staff.
BANGKOK — A report by the World Bank says disruptions to supplies of commodities, financial strains and higher prices are among the shocks from the war in Ukraine that will slow economies in Asia in coming months.
The report released Tuesday forecasts slower growth and rising poverty in the Asia-Pacific region this year. Growth for the region is estimated at 5%, down from the original forecast of 5.4%. It anticipates that China, the region’s largest economy, will expand at a 5% pace.
The report says “multiple shocks” are adding to troubles for people and for businesses and that governments whose finances have been stretched by the pandemic have less capacity to help.
UNITED NATIONS — A top official in the global campaign against the use of land mines is urging Russia to halt the use in Ukraine of these weapons that too often kill and maim civilians.
Alicia Arango Olmos, Colombia’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva and this year’s president of the state parties to the 1997 convention banning the production and use of land mines, expressed deep concern at media reports that Russia is using land mines in its war in Ukraine.
She pointed to Human Rights Watch which said on March 29 that Ukrainian explosive ordnance disposal technician located banned anti-personnel mines in the eastern Kharkiv region a day earlier.
The rights group said Russia is known to possess the type of mines that were discovered, but Ukraine doesn’t have them.
Arango Olmos told a news conference Monday that Ukraine is one of the 164 state parties to the convention, but Russia is not.
Monday was the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.
LVIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said he spoke Monday with U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres about events in Bucha in what appear to be deliberate killings in the town on the outskirts of the capital Kyiv.
“No place for Russia on the UN Human Rights Council,” Kuleba said on Twitter. “Ukraine will use all available UN mechanisms to collect evidence and hold Russian war criminals to account.”
Videos and photos of streets in Bucha strewn with corpses of what appeared to be civilians, some with their hands tied behind their back, have led to global revulsion, calls for tougher sanctions, and Russia’s suspension from the U.N.’s premiere human rights body, the Human Rights Council.
According to Ukraine’s prosecutor-general Iryna Venediktova, the bodies of 410 civilians have been removed from Kyiv-area towns that were recently retaken from Russian forces.
Associated Press journalists have reported seeing dozens of the bodies in various spots around Bucha, northwest of the capital.
PARIS — The French foreign ministry announced Monday that France has decided to expel “numerous” Russian diplomats, saying their “activities were contrary to our security interests.”
The announcement came hours after Germany said it was expelling 40 diplomats and Lithuania said it expelled the Russian ambassador and will recall its envoy in Moscow. No number was immediately given for how many are being expelled by France.
German news agency dpa quoted German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser as saying that the diplomats being expelled are those “whom we attribute to the Russian intelligence services.”
Faeser says that “we won’t allow this criminal war of aggression to also be conducted as an information war in Germany.”