Ukraine-Russia war LIVE: 'Bodies line streets of Mariupol' as Putin's shelling and air strikes bombard targets

RUSSIAN shelling and air strikes have hit multiple targets across Ukraine and five people have reportedly been killed in shelling of the city of Kharkiv, officials say.

Another 13 people have been injured in Kharkiv as Putin's air strikes cause more terror and destruction.

Ukrainian authorities condemned Russian artillery attacks on cities in the northeast and the continuing siege of the southern port city of Mariupol.

Moscow said it had taken almost full control, following almost two months of bloody fighting.

After failing to overcome Ukrainian resistance in the north, the Russian military has refocused its ground offensive on Donbas, while launching long-distance strikes at targets elsewhere, including the capital, Kyiv.

In Mykolaiv, near the port of Odesa, the governor has claimed that there have been continuous rocket attacks.

The news comes as Ukraine's President, Volodymyr Zelensky, has warned 'we must prepare' for a Russian nuclear attack, and has urged the world to stock up on anti-radiation medicine and build air raid shelters.

Russia is willing to use nuclear weapons to bring a catastrophic end to its invasion of Ukraine, Zelensky warned.

Follow our Russia-Ukraine live blog below for up-to-the-minute updates…

  • Louis Allwood

    Zelensky invites Macron to see the 'genocide'

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he has invited Emmanuel Macron to visit Ukraine to see for himself that Russian forces had committed “genocide” in an interview with CNN.

    Macron has been reluctant to use the word genocide, stating earlier that he was "not sure that an escalation of rhetoric serves that cause".

    Zelensky said: "I invited him to come when he will have the opportunity. He'll come and see, and I am sure he will understand."

  • Joseph Gamp

    Boris Johnson among others barred entry to Russia

    Earlier we reported that Russia’s foreign ministry has banned Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and 10 other British government members from entering Russia.

    The move was taken “in view of the unprecedented hostile action by the British government, in particular the imposition of sanctions against senior Russian officials,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that it would expand the list soon. 

    Also banned from entering Russia are:

    • Dominic Raab
    • Grant Shapps
    • Priti Patel
    • Rishi Sunak
    • Kwasi Kwarteng
    • Nadine Dorries
    • James Heappey
    • Nicola Sturgeon
    • Suella Braverman
    • Theresa May

    Russia plans to restrict Mariupol access from Monday

    There are reports that Mariupol will be completely closed for entry and exit from Monday.

    An adviser to the city’s mayor, Petro Andryushchenko, said on Telegram earlier today that Russian forces plan to bar people from leaving or entering Mariupol starting from 18 April.

    “They ask for internal passes, and [those] who do not have these passes will go to ‘filtration’,” he said.

    • Joseph Gamp

      Why is Russia invading Ukraine?

      In December 2021, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that he had no plans to attack Ukraine, however, on February 24, 2022, he launched an attack on the country.

      Putin is believed to want to reclaim many territories lost at the fall of the Soviet Union.

      A month after the war began, Putin offered to end the war if Ukraine gave up the city of Mariupol, but Ukraine denied the chilling ultimatum.

      As a result of the invasion, many countries have implemented sanctions against Russia that have reportedly already begun hurting their economy.

      At this time, it remains unclear if NATO countries will get involved in the war.

    • Joseph Gamp

      Was Volodymyr Zelensky a comedian before he was president?

      Zelensky’s path to fame began when he entered a TV talent show aged 17 and then created a comedy outfit called Kvartal 95, which in 2003 began producing shows for a Ukrainian channel.

      He became a household name after appearing on the country’s version of Dancing With The Stars in 2006 and began appearing in films in 2008.

      Kvartal 95 started producing political satire series Servant of the People in 2015.

      In the series, Zelensky’s character becomes famous for an anti-corruption rant that went viral on social media, and becomes the President of Ukraine.

      In the real-life presidential election, he ran under a political party with the same name as his show.

      The funnyman is a fan of Britain’s Monty Python and Benny Hill and has an entertainment empire is estimated to be worth tens of millions.

    • Joseph Gamp

      Is Volodymyr Zelensky married and does he have children?

      Volodymyr Zelensky has been married to Ukrainian architect and screenwriter Olena Kiyashko since 2003.

      They met in the school they both attended.

      The couple’s first daughter, Oleksandra, was born in July 2004.

      Their second child, a son named Kyrylo, was born in January 2013.

      In Zelensky’s 2014 movie 8 New Dates, their daughter played Sasha, the daughter of the protagonist.

    • Joseph Gamp

      All you need to know about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

      Everything you need to know about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine…

      • Why is Russia invading Ukraine?
      • Will the UK go to war?
      • How can I join the Ukraine foreign legion?
      • What can I do to help Ukraine?
      • Who is Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy?
      • How much gas does the UK get from Russia?
      • Is Russia a part of Nato?
      • Does Russia have nuclear weapons?
      • Why is Ukraine not in Nato?
      • How big is the Russian army?
      • What is Article 5 of the Nato treaty?
      • What is the Minsk agreement?
      • Which countries were in the Soviet Union?
      • What does the Z mean on Russian tanks? Meaning behind symbols explained

      Help those fleeing conflict with The Sun’s Ukraine Fund

      PICTURES of women and children fleeing the horror of Ukraine’s devastated towns and cities have moved Sun readers to tears.

      Many of you want to help the five million caught in the chaos — and now you can, by donating to The Sun's Ukraine Fund.

      Give as little as £3 or as much as you can afford and every penny will be donated to the Red Cross on the ground helping women, children, the old, the infirm and the wounded.

      Donate here to help The Sun's fund

      Or text to 70141 from UK mobiles

      £3 — text SUN£3
      £5 — text SUN£5
      £10 — text SUN£10

      Texts cost your chosen donation amount (e.g. £5) +1 standard message (we receive 100%). For full T&Cs visit redcross.org.uk/mobile

      Daughter of captured Ukrainian paramedic appeals for mother's release

      The teenage daughter of a Ukrainian paramedic captured by Russian soldiers has asked her mother's captors: "Bring back my mum to me."

      Yuliia Paievska, also known as Taira, was due to compete as part of the Ukrainian team at the Invictus Games, but she was taken prisoner four weeks ago.

      The 52-year-old is said to be a well known paramedic, and is the founder and leader of Taira's Angels, a volunteer medical evacuation unit that rescues the wounded, both military and civilians.

      In Mariupol, Taira's Angels rescued wounded soldiers and provided support to local people.

      Her daughter, Anna-Sofia Puzanova, who turns 19 on Monday, has travelled to The Hague for the event.

      Ms Puzanova told the PA news agency: "My mum was captured by Russian soldiers near Mariupol on March 16, one month ago already.

      "And now she's probably in Russia. To be honest I don't know exactly where she is because we don't have any contact with her."

      She added: "I really miss her. I really care about this because I don't know how to help her by myself except giving interviews and sharing information."

      • Joseph Gamp

        Ukraine vows to fight to the end for Mariupol

        Ukraine on Sunday vowed to fight to the end in Mariupol after a Russian ultimatum expired for remaining forces to surrender in the Black Sea port city where Moscow is pushing for a major strategic victory.

        "The city still has not fallen," Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said hours after Moscow's deadline for fighters holed up and surrounded in a sprawling fortress-like steelworks to surrender passed.

        "There's still our military forces, our soldiers. So they will fight to the end," he told ABC's "This Week".

        Moscow has shifted its military focus to gaining control of the eastern Donbas region and forging a land corridor to already-annexed Crimea.

        Russia's defence ministry said there were up to 400 mercenaries inside the encircled Azovstal steel plant, calling on Ukrainian forces inside to "lay down their arms and surrender in order to save their lives".

        Moscow claims Kyiv has ordered fighters of the nationalist Azov battalion to "shoot on the spot" anyone wanting to surrender.

      • Joseph Gamp

        Five dead after Kharkiv City shelling

        Reuters, April 17 (Reuters) – Five people were killed and 20 were injured during shelling of the city centre of Kharkiv on Sunday, regional governor Oleh Synehubov said.

        In a post on the Telegram messaging app, Synehubov said that the city centre and the Saltivka suburb were hit by rocket launcher and artillery fire on Sunday, causing casualties and destroying apartment blocks.

        Synehubov said Ukraine's armed forces had succesfully engaged in counter-attacks in the Kharkiv region, recapturing two villages fully and another partially.

      • Joseph Gamp

        Boris Johnson: Good will triumph over evil

        Christ's message that good will triumph over evil will resonate even more this year amid the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, Boris Johnson has said.

        Delivering his Easter message in a video on Twitter, the Prime Minister paid tribute to "the Christians of Ukraine, whether they're marking Easter today, or its orthodox equivalent later this month, for whom Christ's message of hope, the triumph of life over death and good over evil, will resonate this year, perhaps more than any other".

        Speaking in Ukrainian, and referencing a Psalm, he said: "Be strong and have courage in your heart, you all who trust in the Lord."

        Mr Johnson said: "Easter tells us that there is light beyond the darkness, that beyond the suffering lies redemption."

        The Archbishop of Canterbury also referenced the conflict in his Easter sermon.

        Justin Welby said: "Ukrainians have woken up to the end of the world as they knew it.

        "Now they are awakened by the noises of war, and the sickening reality of terror. They wake up to mortal fear.

        He later added: "Let this be a time for Russian ceasefire, withdrawal and a commitment to talks.

        "This is a time for resetting the ways of peace, not for what Bismarck called blood and iron. Let Christ prevail. Let the darkness of war be banished."

      • Joseph Gamp

        Russian court threatens to fine Google and Wikipedia over ‘fake content’

        A Russian court has threatened U.S. Internet giant Google and Wikipedia owner Wikimedia Foundation with fines for failing to delete what it said was “fake” information about the Ukraine conflict, Interfax news agency reported on Friday.

        Russia’s communications watchdog said on Thursday that Google would face fines over its failure to delete from video sharing site YouTube content that Moscow considers illegal. 

      • Joseph Gamp

        Russia says that increased Nato activity in Arctic is ‘cause for concern’

        Russia is worried about increased Nato activity in the Arctic potentially causing “unintended incidents” in the region, TASS news agency cited Russian ambassador-at-large Nikolai Korchunov as saying today.

        “The recent increase in Nato’s activity in the Arctic is a cause for concern. Another large-scale military exercise of the alliance was recently held in northern Norway. In our view, this does not contribute to the security of the region” Korchunov said.

      • Joseph Gamp

        ‘Russia’s ultimate objective remains the same’

        The UK’s Ministry of Defence has provided its latest intelligence update this morning, claiming Russia’s “ultimate objective remains the same”.

        It said: “Russian forces continue to redeploy combat and support equipment from Belarus towards eastern Ukraine. 

        “This includes locations close to Kharkiv and Severdonetsk.”

        It added: “Russian artillery continues to strike Ukrainian positions throughout the east of the country where Russia plans to renew its offensive activity.

        “Though Russia’s operational focus has shifted to eastern Ukraine, Russia’s ultimate objective remains the same. 

        “It is committed to compelling Ukraine to abandon its Euro-Atlantic orientation and asserting its own regional dominance.”

      • Milica Cosic

        Thank you for reading my coverage of the Ukraine – Russia war this morning. My colleague Joe Gamp will now be looking after the blog until 10pm.

        Before I leave, here's a summary of the news from this morning:

        • Ukraine says it is pausing the evacuation of civilians from the war-scarred east of the country for a day because of a failure to agree terms with Russian forces.
        • Russia's defence ministry says it has struck a military plant outside Kyiv, as Moscow intensifies its attacks on the Ukrainian capital.
        • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says the situation in the eastern city of Mariupol is "inhuman"
          • "Russia is deliberately trying to destroy everyone who is there," he said in a video address.
          • UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, says 4,836,445 million Ukrainians have left the country since the Russian invasion on February 24 — up 40,200 on Friday's total.

          Archbishop of Canterbury: 'Ukrainians have woken up to the end of the world as they knew it.'

          In his Easter sermon today, The Archbishop of Canterbury called for Russia to declare a ceasefire and withdraw from Ukraine.

          Speaking from Canterbury Cathedral, the leader of the Anglican church said: "Ukrainians have woken up to the end of the world as they knew it.

          "Now they are awakened by the noises of war, and the sickening reality of terror. They wake up to mortal fear."

          He went on to call for a commitment to peace talks as the war in Ukraine continues.

          "This is a time for resetting the ways of peace, not for what Bismarck called blood and iron. Let Christ prevail! Let the darkness of war be banished," he added.

          Russia says that increased Nato activity in Arctic is ‘cause for concern’

          Russia is worried about increased Nato activity in the Arctic potentially causing “unintended incidents” in the region, TASS news agency cited Russian ambassador-at-large Nikolai Korchunov as saying today.

          “The recent increase in Nato’s activity in the Arctic is a cause for concern. Another large-scale military exercise of the alliance was recently held in northern Norway. In our view, this does not contribute to the security of the region” Korchunov said.

          Russia: Mariupol fighters 'will be destroyed'

          The Russian military has warned that Ukrainian troops refusing to surrender in the besieged port of Mariupol will be destroyed.

          The Russian Defense Ministry gave the Ukrainians at Mariupols giant Azovstal steel mill until 1 p.m. Sunday (10:00 GMT) to surrender, saying that those who put down their weapons will be guaranteed to keep their lives.

          Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said that the Ukrainian military command had banned its troops from surrendering. He said the Russian military received the information from intercepted communications.

          Konashenkov warned that all those who will continue resistance will be destroyed.

          Pope Francis says Ukraine 'dragged into cruel and senseless conflict'

          Pope Francis addressed thousands of people in St Peter's Square today, as he urged world leadersto hear the people's plea for peace in Ukraine today as he marked an "Easter of war".

          In his address, the 85-year-old pontiff said Ukraine was "sorely tried by the violence and destruction of the cruel and senseless war into which it was dragged".

          "Our eyes, too, are incredulous on this Easter of war," he said.

          "We have seen all too much blood, all too much violence. 

          "Our hearts, too, have been filled with fear and anguish, as so many of our brothers and sisters have had to lock themselves away in order to be safe from bombing."

          Pope Francis called for a "decision for peace" and an "end to the  flexing of muscles while people are suffering" as the war in Ukraine continues.

          Prince Charles praises Brits opening homes to Ukrainian refugees

          Prince Charles has praised Britons who have offered their homes to Ukrainian refugees "facing such soul-destroying sorrow and hardship" amid war.

          In his Easter Sunday message, the Prince of Wales highlighted the plight of Ukrainians fleeing their homes after Russia's invasion.

          He said it was "profoundly moving" to witness people "ready to open their homes to those in need".

          His message in full was: "Today, millions of people find themselves displaced, wearied by their journey from troubled places, wounded by the past, fearful of the future – and in need of a welcome, of rest and of kindness.

          "Over the past years, I have found myself heartbroken at the sufferings of the innocent victims of conflict, or persecution, some of whom I have met and who have told me stories of unutterable tragedy as they have been forced to flee their country and seek shelter far from home.

          "But amidst all this sadness and inhumanity, it has been profoundly moving to see how so many people are ready to open their homes to those in need, and how they have offered their time and their resources to help those facing such soul-destroying sorrow and hardship."

          • Milica Cosic

            New MoD map shows Russian advances in Ukraine

            The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) has today released a map detailing the movements of Russian troops in Ukraine.

            Kremlin troops are likely to continue advancing into the east of Ukraine from the border with Russia, according to British intelligence.

            Movements are also predicted towards Nova Kakhovka, Zaporizhzhia, Melitopol, Berdyansk, and Kherson.

          • Milica Cosic

            Ukraine says besieged Mariupol still holding

            Ukraine Ukraines deputy defence minister says that the key port of Mariupol is holding despite the continuing Russian attacks.

            The defence minister, Hanna Malyar, said today that the defenders of the key Sea of Azov port have tied up significant Russian forces besieging the city.

            She described Mariupol as a shield defending Ukraine that prevents the Russian troops encircling the city from advancing to other areas of the country.

            Malyar said that the Russians have continued to hit Mariupol with air raids and were possibly preparing an amphibious landing to beef up their forces in the city.

          • Milica Cosic

            Bulgaria bans Russian ships from ports

            Bulgaria Bulgaria has banned Russian-flagged ships from entering its Black Sea ports as part of expanded EU sanctions, the countrys Maritime Administration announced on its website on Sunday.

            All vessels registered under Russian flag, as well as all vessels that have switched their Russian flag, or flag or maritime register registration to any other state whatsoever after Feb. 24, are forbidden access to Bulgarian maritime and river ports, the authority said.

            Exceptions will be made only for ships in distress or seeking humanitarian assistance, or ships transporting energy products, food and pharmaceuticals to EU countries.

          • Milica Cosic

            Kyiv pauses civilian evacuations from east Ukraine

            As a result of humanitarian corridors being paused today, due to Ukraine failing to agree terms with Russian forces, Ukrainian authorities have urged people in the eastern Donbas area to move west to escape a large-scale Russian offensive to capture its composite regions, Donetsk and Lugansk.

            They have also recently accused Russian forces of targeting evacuation infrastructure, including busses and a train station in Kramatorsk where more than 50 people were reported killed in Russian strikes.

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