Live blog | Kiev: all women and children from the Azovstal factory; ‘Battle of Kharkov may be in crucial phase’

It is day 73 of the war in Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky says “influential mediators” and “influential states” are involved in rescuing Ukrainian soldiers trapped in the Azovstal complex in Mariupol.

ANP / Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP

Kiev: all women and children are now leaving the Azovstal factory

18:56 | According to Ukrainian authorities, all women, children and the elderly have now been evacuated from the Azovstal factory in Mariupol. Earlier in the day, pro-Russian separatists reported that 176 civilians had left the huge industrial area of ​​the southeastern port city. Fifty people who had been trapped in the steel factory’s basements for weeks could also be brought to safety on Friday.

Bloomberg: Gazprom tries to allay European gas procurement concerns

16:55 | The Russian state gas company Gazprom has tried to assure European customers that they can still buy gas without violating sanctions against Russia due to the country’s invasion of Ukraine. This is stated in a letter from Gazprom to customers, which was seen by the news agency Bloomberg.

Ukraine reports Russian missile attacks on Odessa

16:52 | Ukraine reports new Russian missile attacks on Odessa, the largest city on the Black Sea. Earlier Saturday, rockets were supposed to have landed near the strategically important Ukrainian port city. Authorities said nothing about the victims.

It was reported on Twitter that the smoke was rising from an aircraft factory after explosions. A military airport is also said to have been hit.

The Russians seem to want to conquer the entire coastal area of ​​Ukraine. The land is then cut off from the Black Sea. In addition, Russia then has a direct connection with Transnistria, a pro-Russian microstat that is separated from Moldova and hardly recognized internationally.

There were also reports of rocket attacks elsewhere in Ukraine. In the northeastern border region of Sumi, a person is said to have been injured.

Dutch Zr.Ms. Karel Doorman joins NATO’s flash force

15:31 | The Dutch naval vessel Zr.Ms. Karel Doorman joins NATO’s rapidly deployable flash force this weekend. The ship departed from the port of Den Helder on Saturday.

The standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1), to which Karel Doorman joins, is mainly active in the North Atlantic, the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. The Netherlands is currently commanding the fleet, where in addition to ships from other NATO member countries also Zr.Ms. The Seven Provinces are a part of it.

Karel Doorman is a logistics support ship and can “supply the other units in the squadron with fuel and goods,” says the Ministry of Defense. Two combat helicopters and about 250 soldiers, including about thirty Germans, are also involved.

“The ships are participating in various exercises to strengthen mutual cooperation,” says the Ministry of Defense. ‘Above all, they are available 24/7 for missions at NATO Headquarters and can be used immediately for crisis situations.’

The NATO flash force has existed since 2003, but was activated for the first time this year for the collective defense of the alliance due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The flash force must act as a deterrent to Russia, said NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg in February.

The Zr.Ms. Karel Doorman is expected back in Den Helder at the end of September.

Pro-Russian rebels: Another 50 civilians leave the Mariupol factory

14:13 Pro-Russian troops report that another 50 people were evacuated on Saturday from the besieged Azovstal steelworks in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol. The headquarters of the defense of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic reports on Telegram that a total of 176 civilians have now left the site.

The report on the new evacuations has not yet been independently confirmed. The Ukrainian government in Kiev has not yet responded.

In recent days, there have been several evacuations from the Azovstal factory, mostly by women, children and the elderly. The Ukrainian authorities and the Russian Ministry of Defense also reported on Friday that 50 civilians had been brought to safety. Many soldiers and wounded are still believed to be trapped in the steel mill, which is surrounded and attacked by Russian troops.

The Azovstal steelworks is the last stronghold of Ukrainian resistance against the Russians and pro-Russian rebels. Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky said in a video message Friday night that diplomatic efforts are being made to rescue the soldiers still trapped in the complex.

Germany is preparing for pro-Russian demonstrations

12:15 | Germany is preparing for pro-Russian demonstrations, especially on May 9, when Russia traditionally celebrates the 1945 victory over Nazi Germany. The day of remembrance for the end of World War II is now extra filled with the bloody Russian invasion of neighboring Ukraine. Especially in the capital Berlin, the authorities expect major problems from Russian propaganda.

The ruling Liberal Party FDP says it finds it disturbing that sympathizers of Russian President Vladimir Putin are abusing the day. “No one should show solidarity with Putin’s criminal regime,” FDP chief Christian Lindner told German media.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, Andrij Melnik, is outraged at the ban on Ukrainian flags at monuments related to the victory of the then Red Army. That ban in Berlin also applies to the display of Russian flags. Melnik urges the city to reverse the police ‘outrageous’ decision. He calls the ban a blow to Ukraine and a blow to the face of the Ukrainian people.

3 billion euros for Chelsea acquisitions, 2 billion in investments

10:55 | A US partnership led by businessman Todd Boehly is paying £ 2.5 billion to take over Chelsea from Roman Abramovich. In addition, the Americans want to invest 1.75 billion pounds, converted almost 2 billion euros, in the club.

Military think tank: The Battle of Kharkov may be in the decisive phase

10:20 | The battle for the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkov may have entered a crucial phase, according to an evaluation by a US military think tank, the BBC reported on Saturday.

According to the results of the Institute for the Study of War, Ukrainian troops are involved in a counter-offensive in Kharkov and may soon be able to liberate the metropolis from the ‘threat of Russian artillery’. This would allow Ukraine to conquer a strategically crucial city in the eastern Donbas region.

Russia announced in late March that it would focus mainly on the ‘liberation’ of the Donbas area, but has made little progress. Ukrainian soldiers managed to push the Russians back into Kharkov before. The Kremlin troops are in ‘offensive state’, but are not as successful as expected.

Ukraine’s second largest city has been under attack since almost the beginning of the war. It is unknown how many civilians and soldiers from both sides have been killed in Kharkov since February.

Ukrainian cars damaged in Rotterdam

09:52 | Cars belonging to refugees from Ukraine have been damaged in Rotterdam, the Ukrainians reported in the Holland Foundation. Police confirmed Saturday that 11 cars were damaged.

Pictures show that, among other things, windows on cars have been smashed. According to the fund, these are cars belonging to refugees from Mariupol, and money and a children’s bicycle have allegedly been stolen from the damaged cars.

A policewoman cannot say where in Rotterdam the incident took place. It is unclear whether all damaged cars belong to Ukrainians. She knows the victims will file a report with the help of the Salvation Army.

Zelensky: Influential states working to rescue Azovstal soldiers

04:45 | Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky says “influential mediators” and “influential states” are involved in rescuing Ukrainian soldiers trapped in the Azovstal complex in Mariupol. “We are also working on diplomatic capabilities to rescue our military personnel, who are still there in Azovstal,” Zelensky said in his daily video message Friday night.

In recent days, there have been several evacuations from the Azovstal factory, but only civilians, especially women, children and the elderly. Many soldiers and wounded are still believed to be trapped in the steel mill, which is surrounded and attacked by Russian troops.

The Azovstal steelworks is the last stronghold of Ukrainian resistance against the Russians and pro-Russian rebels, who have already conquered the rest of Mariupol in a bloody battle.

The United States provides Ukraine with 150 million military aid package

00:01 | US President Joe Biden on Friday presented a military aid package to Ukraine, which experts say is worth $ 150 million (142 million euros). This includes ammunition and radar equipment.

The US government is running out of funds it has available to help Ukraine. Biden called on the US Congress to approve a proposed $ 33 billion rescue plan.

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