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Latest Developments in Ukraine: April 16

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A family sits in the hallway of their apartment building as Russian attacks continue, in Kharkiv, Ukraine, April 15, 2022.

For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.

The latest developments of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. All times EDT:

Recap of April 16

FIGHTING

* Ukraine’s presidential office reported Saturday that missile strikes and shelling over the past 24 hours occurred in eight regions: Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv in the east, Dnipropetrovsk, Poltava and Kirovohrad in central Ukraine, and Mykolaiv and Kherson in the south.

* Russian officials say they are in full control of Mariupol, although Ukrainian fighters remain holed up in the city's fortresslike steelworks. Russia's Defense Ministry said that if Ukrainian forces still fighting in Mariupol lay down their arms Sunday, their lives will be spared.

* Russian officials said that another of its generals was killed in combat in Ukraine, according to The Wall Street Journal.

* A military hardware factory in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv was hit by strikes early Saturday, an Agence France-Presse journalist said, a day after Russian forces bombed a missile unit outside the city.


HUMANITARIAN

* Russia’s bombardment of Ukrainian cities on Saturday included an explosion in Kharkiv that destroyed a community kitchen set up by World Central Kitchen. The mayor of Kharkiv said that elsewhere in the city three people were killed and 34 wounded by missile strikes Saturday.

* A total of 1,449 people were evacuated from Ukrainian cities through humanitarian corridors on Saturday, fewer than the 2,864 who escaped on Friday.

* The Associated Press reports trucks and other vehicles carrying humanitarian aid were queued to enter Ukraine from Poland's Medyka border station on Saturday. The line was estimated to be 2.5 km long, with drivers carrying goods and aid for the country ahead of Easter.

DIPLOMACY

* Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman on Saturday, their second call since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Saudi readout of the call said the crown prince affirmed support for efforts that would lead to a political solution to the crisis in Ukraine.

* Russia's foreign ministry said on Saturday it had barred entry to the country for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace and 10 other British government members and politicians.

SANCTIONS

* Despite a U.S. ban on seafood imports from Russia Russian-caught pollock, salmon and crab are likely to enter the U.S. anyway, by way of the country vital to seafood supply chains across the world: China.

* A yacht linked to Russian aluminum tycoon Oleg Deripaska arrived in a bay near the southwestern Turkish resort of Gocek on Saturday, Reuters reports.

* Germany’s energy minister has called on people to cut back their energy consumption, including by drawing curtains and lowering the temperature in their homes, as part of what he described as a national effort to reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels, The New York Times reports.

8:22 p.m.: In an Easter message, Prince Charles paid tribute to refugees and those who open their doors to them, referring to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“Today millions of people find themselves displaced, tired from their journey from troubled places, hurt by the past, fearful of the future, and in need of a kind welcome and a chance to rest,” said Charles, 73, eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II, who will be 96 next Thursday.

Criticized for the complexity of the steps Ukrainian refugees have to go through to join relatives in the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson's government has launched a stay-at-home program in which 200,000 Britons have offered to host fleeing Ukrainians at home.

According to the latest official figures, the British government had until April 13 issued 56,500 visas for 94,700 applications.

7:37 p.m.: Russia’s bombardment of Ukrainian cities on Saturday included an explosion in Kharkiv that destroyed a community kitchen.

The kitchen was set up by World Central Kitchen, which is run by celebrity chef José Andrés to feed people in disaster and war zones. Andrés tweeted that the non-governmental organization’s staff members were shaken but safe.

Andrés said that his group’s chefs will keep cooking for Ukraine.

The mayor of Kharkiv, Ihor Terekhov, said that elsewhere in the city three people were killed and 34 wounded by missile strikes Saturday.

7:20 p.m.: Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman on Saturday, their second call since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Saudi Press Agency said the two discussed bilateral relations and “ways of enhancing them in all fields.”

The Saudi readout of the call said the crown prince affirmed support for efforts that would lead to a political solution to the crisis in Ukraine. The kingdom recently announced $10 million in humanitarian aid for Ukrainian refugees.

The Kremlin’s statement added the two also discussed the ongoing conflict in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition has been at war for years, as well as their joint work on an oil output agreement, known as OPEC+. The oil pact has kept a cautious lid on production by major producers, supporting oil prices.

6:40 p.m.: Mariupol has become a symbol of Ukraine's unexpectedly fierce resistance since Russian troops invaded the former Soviet satellite state on February 24, Agence France-Presse reports.

Russian officials say they are in full control there, although Ukrainian fighters remain holed up in the city's fortresslike steelworks.

"Their only chance to save their lives is to voluntarily lay down their arms and surrender," Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, said Saturday.

As the Russian forces close in, Zelenskyy issued a warning.

"The elimination of our troops, of our men (in Mariupol) will put an end to any negotiations," Zelenskyy told the Ukrainska Pravda news website.

"We don't negotiate neither our territories nor our people."

5:35 p.m.: Russia's Defense Ministry said that if the Ukrainian forces still fighting in Mariupol lay down their arms starting at 6 a.m. Moscow time (0300 GMT) Sunday, their lives will be spared, Tass news agency said.

Russia said the remaining fighters — which it claims are both Ukrainian and foreign — are blockaded in the Azovstal steel works.

4:25 p.m.: Britain's Prince Harry praised the courage of the Ukraine team on Saturday at an opening ceremony for the Invictus Games in The Netherlands, where the Ukrainian competitors also received a standing ovation, Agence France-Presse reports.

Harry said the team had told him of their wish to attend "despite all odds... not simply to show your strength, but to tell your truth. The truth of what is happening in your country.

"You know we stand with you. The world is united with you and still you deserve more."

"Glory to Ukraine," his wife Meghan added in Ukrainian

3:30 p.m.: The Ukraine war is far from over, as Russia renews strikes in Kyiv. The Associated Press reports that the whole country remains under threat despite Moscow’s pivot toward mounting a new offensive in the east. Officials in Moscow said they were targeting military sites, a claim repeated — and refuted by witnesses — throughout 52 days of war. The toll reaches much deeper. Each day brings new discoveries of civilian victims of an invasion that has shattered European security. As Russia prepared for the anticipated offensive, a mother wept over her 15-year-old son’s body after rockets hit a residential area of Kharkiv, a city in northeast Ukraine. An infant and at least eight other people died, officials said.

3:25 p.m.: A U.S. ban on seafood imports from Russia over its invasion of Ukraine was supposed to sap billions of dollars from Vladimir Putin’s war machine.

But, as The Associated Press reports, shortcomings in import regulations mean that Russian-caught pollock, salmon and crab are likely to enter the U.S. anyway, by way of the country vital to seafood supply chains across the world: China.

Like the U.S. seafood industry, Russian companies rely heavily on China to process their catch. Once there, the seafood can be re-exported to the U.S. as a “product of China” because country of origin labeling isn’t required.

The result is that nearly a third of the wild-caught fish imported from China is estimated to have been caught in Russian waters, according to an International Trade Commission study of 2019 data. For pollock and sockeye salmon, the rate is even higher — 50% to 75%.

3:15 p.m.: Russian billionaires head for Turkey to flee Western sanctions over Russia's invasion of Ukraine. A yacht linked to Russian aluminum tycoon Oleg Deripaska arrived in a bay near the southwestern Turkish resort of Gocek on Saturday, Reuters reports.

Deripaska, founder of Russian aluminum giant Rusal RUAL.MM, has been sanctioned by the United States, European Union and Britain. He had previously called for peace.

A Reuters witness saw the 73-meter (239.5 foot) yacht Clio arrive off the coast of Gocek in the Aegean coastal province of Mugla Saturday. The Cayman Islands-flagged vessel remains in a bay off Gocek.

The arrival of Clio in Turkish waters comes after two superyachts linked to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, who made a surprise appearance at Ukraine-Russia peace talks in Istanbul this month, docked in Turkish ports.

3:10 p.m.: Assets of Russian oligarchs frozen in France are worth an estimated $920 million, Forbes reports.

3:00 p.m.: Ukraine’s ombudsman for human rights Lyudmyla Denisova says Russian proxies in the occupied parts of Ukraine's Luhansk region conscript 16-17-year-old children. Several deaths among teenagers are already confirmed, she says, according to The Kyiv Independent.

2:27 p.m.: The elimination of the last Ukrainian troops trapped in the besieged port city of Mariupol would put an end to talks with Moscow, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Saturday, according to Agence France-Presse.

2:15 p.m.: “I feel so lost” says a septuagenarian Ukrainian woman, one of many elderly people, who stayed behind as millions of Ukrainians fled. Some, like her, survived the first weeks of the war only to find it had taken their children. The Associated Press has her story.

2:00 p.m.: Germany’s energy minister has called on people to cut back their energy consumption, including by drawing curtains and lowering the temperature in their homes, as part of what he described as a national effort to reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels, The New York Times reports.

1:55 p.m.: Russia is clamping down on news and the internet. Overseas media organizations and activists are finding new ways in. Watch this report by VOA’s Igor Tsikhanenka.

How Audiences in Authoritarian Countries Can Bypass Censorship
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1:50 p.m.: Russian officials said that another of its generals was killed in combat in Ukraine, according to The Wall Street Journal.

1:45.p.m.: What Russia did in Syria, may predict what happens next in Ukraine. There are some striking parallels between Russian military tactics in Syria and now in Ukraine, Hanna Notte, an expert at the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non‑Proliferation told Deutsche Welle.

1:35 p.m.: A total of 1,449 people were evacuated from Ukrainian cities through humanitarian corridors on Saturday, fewer than the 2,864 who escaped on Friday, a senior official said. Iryna Vereshchuk, Ukraine's deputy prime minister for the reintegation of temporarily occupied territories, announced the numbers in a Facebook post.

1:30 p.m.: How Russia’s disinformation campaign against Ukraine stretches beyond its borders? New York Times reporters traveled inside Transnistria, a Moscow-backed breakaway region in Moldova, and have this video report on how Russia’s disinformation campaign stretches beyond its borders.

1:10 p.m.: As Russia pivots east, Ukrainians there ask: Are we next? Watch a New York Times video that captured life on the front lines in southeast Ukraine, where, as the paper says, Russian shelling is relentless and it feels like the war is inching closer every day.

12:55 p.m.: Mental health professionals across Eastern Europe say they have seen an increase in patients with intense anxiety due to the war in Ukraine, The New York Times reports. Some patients are asking for more sleeping pills, and many are making escape plans.

12:30 p.m.: Germany's justice minister says the delivery of tanks and other heavy weaponry to Ukraine would not - by international law - constitute his country’s entry into the war against Russia, according to RFE/RL.

Marco Buschmann told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper in an interview that international law does not label the delivery of weapons as an entry into war. Therefore, if Ukraine “exercises its legitimate right of self-defense, supporting it by supplying weapons cannot lead to becoming a party to the war," said Buschmann.

The comments come a day after the German government said it plans to release more than 1 billion euros ($1.08 billion) in military aid to Ukraine following complaints by Kyiv that it is not receiving heavy weapons from Berlin.

12:25 p.m.: Italy closes its ports to Russian ships starting April 17. Under EU sanctions, Russian ships anchored in Italian ports will have to leave after completing their commercial activity. The ban will also apply to ships that changed their flag after Feb. 24 to circumvent sanctions, The Kyiv Independent reports.

11:30 a.m.: Ukraine's intelligence: The FSB (Russia's Federal Security Service) detained Russia's proxy in Ukraine's Donbas over a chemical weapons reveal. The detention of Eduard Basurin, a Kremlin proxy in the occupied parts of the region, is likely connected to his statement disclosing Russia’s plans to use chemical weapons in Mariupol, The Kyiv Independent reports.

11:29 a.m.: The toll of war has long been worn on the faces heads of state who lead their countries through intense periods of trauma and stress. National Public Radio looks at how Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky looked just before Russia's invasion and how he looks several weeks into it.

11:05 a.m.: Ukraine’s presidential office reported Saturday that missile strikes and shelling over the past 24 hours occurred in eight regions: Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv in the east, Dnipropetrovsk, Poltava and Kirovohrad in central Ukraine, and Mykolaiv and Kherson in the south.

Meanwhile The Associated Press reports, Russian forces shelled an empty oil refinery in the Ukrainian city of Lysychansk on Saturday, resulting in a large fire. Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Haidai said it wasn’t the first time the refinery was targeted and accused Russia of trying to “exhaust” local emergency services.

10:50 a.m.: After sheltering in a basement for more than two weeks, Mariupol women’s soccer team escapes besieged Ukrainian city, RFE/RL reports.

10:37 a.m.: The U.S. Departments of State and Justice are working with European allies to help Ukraine investigate possible war crimes since Moscow’s full-scale invasion, National Public Radio reports.

10:35 a.m.: Minesweeping dogs help clear Ukraine's Chernihiv of Russian explosives, the BBC reports.

10:25 a.m.: Viktoria Kovalenko bore witness to the death of her husband and elder daughter when their car was hit by a shell in northern Ukraine. By the time her loved ones got a proper funeral, she was 500 kilometers away, able to watch the burial only on a cellphone video sent to her by relatives, The Associated Press reported.

10:07 a.m.: More than 10,000 volunteers register to help rebuild Ukraine. The volunteers currently work in the Kyiv oblast (region), particularly in the areas that have already been demined. They are cleaning the streets by picking up dismantled debris and contributing to the search operations, according to the State Emergency Service, The Kyiv Independent reported.

10:00 a.m.: A village in southern Spain has changed its name to Ukraine in solidarity with those caught up in the conflict more than 4,000 km (2,500 miles) away, Reuters reports.

On a sign at a roundabout at the village's entrance, Ukraine has replaced Fuentes de Andalucia and the country's blue and yellow flag has been painted alongside.

Streets have been renamed City of Kyiv, Odesa and Mariupol in the village of more than 7,100 inhabitants east of Seville.

"The main objective is to raise awareness about the conflict in Ukraine but also about where countries are at war in current times," Francisco Martinez told Reuters as he stood in City of Kyiv street.

Martinez said the name change was more than a gesture and villagers had also raised 3,500 euros ($3,780) within two days towards a planned refugee center. The village wants to offer homes to up to 25 refugees at the center or with families.

9:57 a.m.: Despite just seven weeks of war, much of Ukraine is already littered with deadly unexploded ordnance and mines. A spokesman for the State Emergency Service said 54,000 mines and unexploded ordnance — including almost 2,000 missiles — have been found and deactivated. More than 600 deminers are at work across the country, and the department is rushing to hire more, The Washington Post reported.

9:32 a.m.: Russia's foreign ministry said on Saturday it had barred entry to the country for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace and 10 other British government members and politicians.

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, Reuters reported.

The Kremlin has described Johnson, who has been one of Ukraine's staunchest backers, as "the most active participant in the race to be anti-Russian."

A week ago, Johnson visited Kyiv where he and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy hailed their cooperation since the Russian invasion, which Moscow calls a "special operation."

"The UK and our international partners stand united in condemning the Russian government’s reprehensible actions in Ukraine and [are] calling for the Kremlin to stop the war," a British government spokesperson said in response to Moscow's decision to bar Johnson and other British politicians. "We remain resolute in our support for Ukraine," the spokesperson added.

9:27 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with officials and architects on Saturday to discuss infrastructure problems caused by the war, The Associated Press reports.

During the meeting plans were discussed for restoration works in Kyiv and around the country, officials said.

Russian forces resumed scattered attacks on Kyiv, western Ukraine and beyond on Saturday in a stark reminder to Ukrainians and their Western supporters that the whole country remains under threat despite Russia’s pivot toward mounting a new offensive in the east.

9:15 a.m.: Ukraine's richest man has pledged to help rebuild the besieged city of Mariupol, a place close to his heart where he owns two vast steelworks that he says will once again compete globally, Reuters reports.

Rinat Akhmetov has seen his business empire shattered by eight years of fighting in Ukraine's east but remains defiant, sure that what he calls "our brave soldiers" will defend the Sea of Azov port city reduced to a wasteland by seven weeks of bombardment.

For now, though, his Metinvest company, Ukraine's biggest steelmaker, has announced it cannot deliver its supply contracts, and while his financial and industrial SCM Group is servicing its debt obligations, his private power producer DTEK "has optimized payment of its debts" in an agreement with creditors.

8:59 a.m.: Ukraine is working with NATO member Turkey as much as possible for more support over Russia's invasion, and understands - even though it is not happy with - the reality of Ankara's parallel ties with Moscow, Reuters reported, citing a Ukrainian diplomat.

Ankara has criticized the invasion and sold drones to Kyiv despite Russian objections. But it has also opposed Western sanctions against Moscow and maintained a careful rhetoric by refraining from accusing either country over the conflict, even amid reports of Russia allegedly committing war crimes in parts of Ukraine.

8:47 a.m.: According to The Washington Post, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said enhancing his country’s arsenal and imposing tougher economic sanctions on Moscow will determine whether the war with Russia will last weeks, months or years.

“The amount of support for Ukraine directly affects the restoration of peace,” he said. “It literally defines how many more Ukrainians the occupiers will manage to kill.”

8:32 a.m.: Russian shelling of the city of Lysychansk in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region is threatening to disrupt the evacuation of civilians from the city, The Washington Post reported, citing a statement Saturday by regional governor Serhiy Haidai.

“Do not hesitate to evacuate,” he told citizens in a video on Telegram. “The situation is escalating. The Luhansk region is constantly on fire from hits by enemy weapons. It becomes more difficult to break into settlements to bring help.”

Haidai said Russian forces targeted the oil refinery in Lysychansk, starting a fire there. He warned residents to remain in shelters. He accused Russian forces of “directly shelling” cities “without consideration about residential buildings.”

8:20 a.m.: The Associated Press reports trucks and other vehicles carrying humanitarian aid were queued to enter Ukraine from Poland's Medyka border station on Saturday. The line was estimated to be 2.5 km long, with drivers carrying goods and aid for the country ahead of Easter.

Several trucks and cars were reportedly waiting for more than two days to cross the border to Ukraine.

8:00 a.m.: The Associated Press reports Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said that one person died and several more were wounded in Saturday morning airstrikes on the Darnytski district of the capital, as Russian forces resumed scattered attacks. The strikes on Kyiv, the Russian Defense Ministry said, targeted an armored vehicle plant in the Ukrainian capital.

Klitschko urged Ukrainians not to return to Kyiv just yet in televised remarks Saturday, warning that strikes on the capital are likely to continue and that its suburbs are rigged with explosives left behind by retreating Russian troops.

The latest strikes served as a stark reminder to Ukrainians and their Western supporters that the whole country remains under threat, despite the Russian forces' pivot to the east, where a new offensive is feared.

7:50 a.m.: Reuters reports that in besieged Mariupol, scene of the war's heaviest fighting and worst humanitarian catastrophe, Russian troops pressed recent advances, hoping to make up for their failure to capture Kyiv by finally seizing their first big prize of the war.

Ukraine's military said Russian warplanes that took off from Belarus had also fired missiles at the Lviv region near the Polish border, where four cruise missiles were shot down by Ukrainian air defenses.

Across Ukraine to the southeast in Mariupol, Reuters journalists in Russian-held parts of the port city reached the Ilyich steel works, which Moscow claimed to have captured on Friday, one of two giant metals plants where Ukrainian troops have held out in underground tunnels and bunkers.

The factory was reduced to a silent ruin of twisted steel and blasted concrete, with no sign of defenders present. Outside, at least half a dozen civilian bodies were scattered on nearby streets, including a woman in a pink parka and white shoes.

6:33 a.m.: Reuters reports that Russia's foreign ministry has barred entry to the country for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace and 10 other British government members and politicians.

5:03 a.m.: A military hardware factory in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv was hit by strikes early Saturday, an Agence France-Presse journalist said, a day after Russian forces bombed a missile unit outside the city.

Russia's defense ministry said Moscow's forces had used "high-precision long-range" weapons to hit facilities at an armaments plant in Kyiv.

4:36 a.m.: Maksym Kozytskyy, the governor of the Lviv region in western Ukraine, said Russian Su-35 aircraft that took off from the Baranovichi airfield in Belarus carried out missile strikes in Lviv Saturday morning, according to the Associated Press.

In a Telegram post, Kozytskyy also said Ukraine shot down four cruise missiles.

3:15 a.m. Ukraine is using facial recognition software to identify dead or captured Russian soldiers, the Washington Post reports. Ukraine's IT Army, a volunteer force of hackers and activists says it has used those identifications to inform the families of the deaths of 582 Russians, including by sending them photos of the abandoned corpses. Some worry the practice, which seems designed to spark dissent inside Russia, could backfire.

2:20 a.m.: Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Telegram that over 2,800 people used humanitarian corridors Friday to escape regions in Ukraine where fighting continues. Most of the evacuees fled from Mariupol and Berdyansk to Zaporizhia.

12:45a.m.: Reuters reports that explosions were heard in the early hours on Saturday in Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, and the western city of Lviv. Air raid sirens were going off over most of Ukraine early on Saturday , but there has been no official confirmation of the explosions.

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