War Day 83 Updates
Ukrainian defenders begin to evacuate the Mariupol steelworks.
8 were reportedly killed in a Russian airstrike in Chernihiv, northern Ukraine.
Missile fire reported in Lyiv, western Ukraine, near the Polish border.
The Finnish government approves the application for NATO membership.
US Treasury Secretary Yellen calls on West to help fund Ukraine’s short-term needs.
Ukraine’s military said on Tuesday it was working to evacuate all remaining troops from their last stronghold in the beleaguered port of Mariupol, ceding control of the city to Russia after months of bombardment.
The evacuation of hundreds of fighters, many of them wounded, to towns under Russian control marked the end of probably the longest and bloodiest battle of the Ukrainian War and a significant defeat for Ukraine. Mariupol now lies in ruins after a Russian siege that Ukraine says killed tens of thousands of people in the city.
“The ‘Mariupol’ garrison has fulfilled its combat mission,” the Ukrainian Armed Forces General Staff said in a statement.
“The Supreme Military Command ordered the commanders of the units stationed in Azovstal to save the lives of the personnel… The defenders of Mariupol are the heroes of our time,” he added.
Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Anna Malyar said 53 wounded soldiers from the steelworks had been taken to a hospital in the Russian-held city of Novoazovsk, about 32 kilometers to the east, while 211 other people were taken to the town of Olenivka, to a controlled area. by Russian-backed separatists.
All evacuees will be subject to a possible prisoner swap with Russia, she added.
WATCH | On board a Canadian flight bringing aid to Poland, eventually reaching Ukraine:
It is believed that around 600 soldiers were inside the steelworks. The Ukrainian military said efforts were underway to evacuate those still inside.
“We hope we can save the lives of our guys,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a morning address. “There are seriously injured among them. They are receiving treatment. Ukraine needs living Ukrainian heroes.”
At least seven buses carrying surrendered Ukrainian fighters left the Azovstal steelworks escorted by pro-Russian armed forces on Tuesday, a Reuters witness said.
Some of the transported Ukrainian fighters appeared uninjured, the witness said.
Reuters saw five buses carrying troops from Azovstal arriving in Novoazovsk on Monday evening. In one, marked with a Z like many Russian military vehicles in Ukraine, men were stacked on stretchers on three levels.
A Russian Defense Ministry statement confirmed that the fighters locked up in the Azovstal steelworks had surrendered and those in need of medical treatment had been sent to a hospital in Novoazovsk.
The Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin had personally guaranteed prisoners would be treated in accordance with international standards.
Heavy shelling reported
In recent days, Ukrainian fighters have driven Russian forces from the area near Kharkiv, the largest city in the east, after holding the capital kyiv and its surroundings.
But fierce fighting and shelling continued across a wide area in the east of the country.
WATCH | Ukrainians reeling from Kharkiv attacks as Russians retreat:
Zelensky’s office said on Tuesday that the entire front line around Donetsk was under constant heavy shelling, while in the northern Chernihiv region a missile strike on the village of Desna killed and injured an unknown number of people. .
The Ukrainian General Staff said Russian forces were strengthening and preparing to renew their offensive near Sloviansk and Drobysheve, southeast of the strategic town of Izyum, after suffering losses elsewhere.
Areas around kyiv and the western city of Lviv, near the Polish border, continued to be attacked by Russia. A series of explosions hit Lviv early on Tuesday, a Reuters witness said. A missile hit a military installation but there were no casualties, according to Zelensky’s office.
The Russian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that its missiles had destroyed US and European arms shipments in the Lviv region of western Ukraine.
Ukraine also suffered losses in the north near its common border with Belarus. Eight people were killed and 12 injured in a Russian airstrike on the village of Desna in Chernihiv, the regional emergency service said.
A village in the Russian province of Kursk, which borders Ukraine, came under Ukrainian fire on Tuesday, regional governor Roman Starovoit said. Three houses and a school were hit but there were no injuries, he said.
Russian border guards retaliated to suppress the firing of large-caliber weapons at the border village of Alekseyevka, Starovoit wrote on the Telegram messaging app.
Reuters could not immediately confirm details of the battlefield accounts.
Finnish legislature approves NATO bid
Finland’s parliament on Tuesday approved a proposal to apply to join the NATO military alliance, with 188 votes in favor and eight against, parliament speaker Matti Vanhanen said.
The vote followed a two-day debate over a historic policy shift prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
President Sauli Niinisto and the government formally decided on Sunday that Finland would apply for membership, but the decision awaits parliament’s approval, expected by an overwhelming majority.
Sweden held a similar vote on Monday, as developments promise to end decades of Nordic military neutrality.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a NATO member, has opposed Sweden and Finland joining NATO, saying they have not taken a ‘clear’ position against the militants Kurds and other groups that Ankara considers terrorists, and imposed military sanctions on Turkey.
NATO’s current 30 members must agree to let northern neighbors join.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday that Finland and Sweden joining NATO would probably “not make much difference” because the two countries had long participated in NATO military exercises. ‘alliance.
“Finland and Sweden, as well as other neutral countries, have participated in NATO military exercises for many years,” Lavrov said.
“Let’s see how their territory is used in practice in the North Atlantic alliance,” he added.
Putin launched the invasion on February 24 in what he said was an effort to curb NATO expansion, but saw that strategy backfire. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the membership process for both could be quick.
The White House announced on Thursday that it would welcome the Swedish and Finnish leaders to Washington to discuss their candidacy for the alliance.
Ukraine needs $5 billion a month for basic needs: Yellen
With the war having shut down up to half of Ukraine’s economy, the country needs short-term external financing of around US$5 billion a month to meet its basic needs, according to Zelensky and the Fund. international currency.
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US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called on US allies to step up financial support for Ukraine at the Brussels Economic Forum on Tuesday, saying the country’s financing needs are significant and the funds announced so far would not be enough for the country’s short-term needs as it fights a Russian invasion.
“In the months between resuming tax collection, Ukraine needs budget funding to pay soldiers, employees and pensioners, as well as to run an economy that meets the basic needs of its citizens. “Yellen said. “In a short time, he will have to turn to the repair and restoration of utilities and critical services.”
The European Union is set to offer a new loan package to Ukraine on Wednesday to provide immediate liquidity, as well as commitments for longer-term reconstruction. While the short-term package is still being worked out, two officials with knowledge of the talks told Reuters they expect it to roughly cover Ukraine’s financial needs for two months.