Second mass grave discovered outside Mariupol: Russia-Ukraine live updates

As Russia focuses on eastern Ukraine in an effort to control the Donbass region, more Western countries have pledged to send artillery to support Ukraine’s defense.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly called on international leaders to send more military aid, saying his country needs billions in aid each month to offset economic losses since the start of the Russian invasion, and to hundreds of billions to rebuild its infrastructure.

French President Emmanuel Macron has promised anti-tank missiles and howitzers. He told the French newspaper Ouest France this week that France would continue to support Ukraine as much as it could without coming into direct conflict.

Canada pledges weapons to help Ukraine and recently delivered four M-777 howitzers, CBC News reported Friday, after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said earlier this week he would send “heavy artillery” .

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden on Thursday announced additional military aid to Ukraine totaling around $800 million, matching the same amount designated last week. Zelenskyy said it was “just what we expected”.

NEW WAR PHASE: What a new phase of war means for Eastern Ukrainians

USA TODAY ON TELEGRAM: Join our new Russia-Ukraine war channel

Latest developments:

►The Pentagon announces that US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will convene defense officials and military leaders from more than 20 countries in Germany next week to discuss Ukraine’s immediate and long-term defense needs .

►The Russian Defense Ministry said on Friday that one serviceman died, 27 others were missing and 396 were rescued after a fire on the notorious Russian warship Moskva last week.

►The UN human rights office said its investigators had documented at least 50 civilian deaths, including by summary execution, in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha.

►Putin declared victory in Mariupol, but this is far from the truth. The war in Ukraine is entering a “critical window” to set the stage for the next phase of the war, President Joe Biden has said.

Modern political disinformation has its roots in a centuries-old Russian myth

Russian Empress Catherine the Great ruled a vast empire and over the years conquered many new lands.

She appointed her boyfriend, Grigory, to oversee one of those conquests – a place now called Ukraine. Over time, he informed her that the citizens were flourishing and happy. But, according to a version of the tale passed down for centuries, it was a lie.

In the legend, Catherine planned to visit and observe the prosperous and cheerful subjects. Fearing that his deception would be revealed and eager to please his beloved, Grigory asked minions to build fake villages along the river – freshly painted facades.

To this day, people around the world still refer to fake news and fake fronts using its name: “Potemkin villages”.

But history and politics are a tangle of lies and intrigue, especially in Russia, so there is a twist to this story: there were no fake villages. Researchers say Grigory’s achievements in Ukraine were genuine, and popular claims to the contrary are fiction – a libel spewed out by Russian rivals at the time and forever etched into belief and vernacular .

“The very concept of ‘Potemkin village’ is a Potemkin village,” said Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of “Catherine the Great & Potemkin: Power Love & Russian Empire”.

Although the legend may be wrong, historians believe that the Crimean Expedition and Potemkin’s fable remain central to the current conflict in Ukraine. Simply put, they argue, thousands have been killed and millions displaced in a war based on Putin’s misrepresentation of this history.

– Denis Wagner

Putin declares victory in Mariupol, but ‘no proof’ fighting is over

After reducing the port city of Mariupol in eastern Ukraine to rubble, President Vladimir Putin on Thursday called the military campaign a success, something he desperately needs as the war enters its third month.

It is anything but.

Russia failed to drive hundreds of Ukrainian fighters out of the giant steel plant in the strategic city. Ukraine and President Joe Biden have rejected Putin’s claim of victory.

“There is no evidence yet that Mariupol has completely fallen,” Biden said after announcing a new round of military aid to Ukraine, bringing total US aid to around $3.4 billion since then. that Putin invaded Ukraine.

“We are now in a critical window of time where they will set the stage for the next phase of this war,” Biden said.

What is clear is that the people of Mariupol endured some of the worst atrocities committed by the Russians even as Russia lost around a quarter of its combat forces in Ukraine – troops, planes, tanks, ships and others. equipment – ​​since the start of the war on February 24. .

– Maureen Groppe, Tom Vanden Brook

PERSPECTIVES ON WAR:Putin claims victory in Mariupol. What does this mean in a war in Ukraine that Russia is losing?

240 attacks on cultural sites recorded, Ukrainian officials say

More than 240 cultural heritage sites, from churches to theaters, have been damaged by Russian forces, Ukraine’s Culture Ministry said on Saturday.

Some 242 attacks on Ukrainian cultural sites have been recorded in 11 regions of the country, according to the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture and Information Policy. The Kharkiv region suffered the most damage, with 84 recorded attacks, followed by Donetsk and Kyiv.

More than 90 religious buildings were destroyed or damaged, including churches, mosques and synagogues. Other sites damaged or destroyed include 29 memorials to honor historical figures and events, 19 museums, and 33 historic cultural buildings, such as theaters and museums.

Ukraine’s culture ministry described the attacks as “war crimes”, citing the 1954 Hague Convention which established a global commitment to the protection of cultural heritage during armed conflict.

“We document each episode and form a detailed basis of atrocities committed by the Russian military against cultural heritage,” Oleksandr Tkachenko, Ukraine’s culture and information policy minister, said in a statement. “All documents will be used as evidence in criminal cases against war criminals.

“The aggressor will not be able to break the Ukrainian spirit,” Tkachenko said.

–Ella Lee

Russian Ministry of Defense: 1 dead, 27 missing from the Moskva ship

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Friday that one serviceman died, 27 are missing and 396 were rescued after a fire on the guided-missile cruiser Moskva last week.

The statement comes a week after the sinking of the ship. The Pentagon could not confirm the source of the damage to the ship, but Odessa Governor Maksym Marchenko said on Telegram that Ukrainian forces hit the guided-missile cruiser with two missiles, USA TODAY previously reported. .

Shortly after the incident, the ministry said the entire crew of the vessel, which was believed by media to be around 500 people, had been rescued. The ministry did not provide an explanation for the conflicting reports.

The sinking of the legendary Russian warship Moskva, whose history dates back to the Cold War era, was a blow to Moscow’s war effort in Ukraine and a symbolic defeat for Russia.

– Ella Lee, Associated Press

Second mass grave discovered outside Mariupol, officials say

A second mass grave has been discovered outside the beleaguered port city of Mariupol, its city council said on Friday. The council shared a Planet Labs satellite photo with Telegram of what it described as a mass grave in the village of Vynohradne, east of Mariupol.

The grave measures at least 45 meters by 25 meters, or about 147 feet by 82 feet, and could hold the bodies of at least 1,000 Mariupol residents, city officials said.

“We will see more and more such graves,” Mariupol Mayor Vadim Boychenko said in the statement. “This is the biggest genocide in Europe since the Holocaust.”

Earlier this week, satellite photos from Maxar Technologies revealed what appeared to be rows upon rows of more than 200 freshly dug mass graves in the town of Manhush, located west of Mariupol. The mayor and city council said the site could hold up to 9,000 civilians. The discovery of mass graves has led to accusations that the Russians are trying to cover up the massacre of civilians in the city.

–Ella Lee, Jeanine Santucci and Associated Press

DISCOVERED MASS BURIAL:Russians accused of burying 9,000 civilians in mass grave near Mariupol: April 21 recap

More civilian deaths attributed to Russian bombing

At least three civilians died and seven others were injured in shelling in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine on Friday as Russian forces continued to push into the country’s industrial east, the government said. governor of the region in a Telegram article.

Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko blamed the deaths of “three more peaceful residents” in a small town and two villages on Russian shelling.

Also on Friday, the local prosecutor’s office in the northeastern region of Kharkiv said the charred bodies of two residents were discovered near the town of Izyum on the same day. The post accused Russian soldiers of torturing residents and burning their bodies.

Humanitarian corridors considered dangerous

A senior Ukrainian official said the humanitarian corridors would not be open on Friday because they were unsafe. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has asked people awaiting evacuation from war zones to be “patient” and “hang in there”.

Vereshchuk said Russian forces had offered to open a corridor for the military surrender, but not for around 1,000 civilians sheltering in a steel mill that is the last Ukrainian stronghold in the besieged southern city of Mariupol. country.

Corridors have been closed to Ukrainians hoping to evacuate for several days over the past week. The humanitarian corridors, agreed ceasefire zones to allow civilians safe passage, have been lifelines for many people still in areas of heavy fighting. But Ukrainian officials have accused Russian forces of ignoring agreed corridors and continuing dangerous shelling along the roads.

Contribute: The Associated Press

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