UN humanitarians help first evacuees from Mariupol steel works

The death toll of Russia’s bombing of a theatre in Mariupol is thought to be double the figure so far cited, new evidence suggests.

The investigation shared by The Associated Press found that the attack killed closer to 600 people inside and outside the building.

Using the accounts of 23 survivors, rescuers, and people intimately familiar with the Donetsk Academic Regional Drama Theatre’s use as a bomb shelter, the news agency recreated the 16 March assault.

The government estimated early on that around 300 people died and has since opened a war crimes investigation.

Drawing on the accounts of 23 survivors, rescuers, and people intimately familiar with the Donetsk Academic Regional Drama Theatre’s use as a bomb shelter, the news agency recreated the 16 March attack – the results from which arrived at a much higher number than previous estimates.

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How likely is it that Russia will launch a nuclear attack?

Vladimir Putin placed Russia’s strategic nuclear weapons forces on high alert during the first weekend of his war with Ukraine, prompting fears around the world over what could happen next.

The Russian president blamed “unfriendly actions in the economic sphere”, a reference to the punitive economic sanctions imposed on his country by the Western allies, and claimed leading Nato members had made “aggressive statements”, forcing his hand.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov duly blamed the increase in tensions on remarks made by UK foreign secretary Liz Truss, an ally of whom in turn hit back and denied that anything she had said across a series of Sunday morning interviews “warrants that sort of escalation”.

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Thomas Kingsley1 May 2022 20:45

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‘You can’t imagine what we’ve been through,’ says Mariupol steel plant evacuee

Usmanova, 37, spoke to Reuters on Sunday after being evacuated from the plant, a sprawling complex founded under Josef Stalin and designed with a subterranean network of bunkers and tunnels to withstand attack.

“I feared that the bunker would not withstand it – I had terrible fear,” Usmanova said, describing the time sheltering underground.

“When the bunker started to shake, I was hysterical, my husband can vouch for that: I was so worried the bunker would cave in.”

“We didn’t see the sun for so long,” she said, speaking in the village of Bezimenne in an area of Donetsk under the control of Russia-backed separatists around 30 km (20 miles) east of Mariupol.

She recalled the lack of oxygen in the shelters and the fear that had gripped the lives of people hunkered down there.

Usmanova was among dozens of civilians evacuated from the plant in Mariupol, a southern port city that has been besieged by Russian forces for weeks and left a wasteland.

Usmanova said she joked with her husband on the bus ride out, in a convoy agreed by the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), that they would no longer have to go to the lavatory with a torch.

“You just can’t imagine what we have been through – the terror,” Usmanova said. “I lived there, worked there all my life, but what we saw there was just terrible.”

(REUTERS)

Thomas Kingsley1 May 2022 20:30

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Nadal, Djokovic slam Wimbledon ban on Russian players

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic criticized Wimbledon’s decision to exclude Russian and Belarus players from this year’s tournament following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The two tennis greats said Sunday that Wimbledon had acted unfairly.

“I think it’s very unfair of (on) my Russian tennis mates, my colleagues … it’s not their fault what’s happening in this moment with the war,” Nadal, a 21-time Grand Slam winner, said in Spain where both he and Djokovic are preparing to play in the Madrid Open.

“I’m sorry for them,” Nadal said. “Wimbledon just took their decision … the government didn’t force them to do it.”

Nadal added: “Let’s see what happens in the next weeks, if the players will take some kind of decision in that regard.”

The ATP and WTA tennis tours have both publicly criticized the All England Club’s decision which was announced 20 April.

Wimbledon starts on 27 June.

Thomas Kingsley1 May 2022 20:15

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Pictured: Civilians arrive in a temporary camp after being evacuated from Mariupol

(REUTERS)

(REUTERS)

(REUTERS)

(REUTERS)

Thomas Kingsley1 May 2022 19:57

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Sweden claims Russian military plane violated airspace

Sweden said a Russian military plane violated Swedish airspace. The incident happened late on Friday in the Baltic Sea near the island of Bornholm.

In a statement on Saturday, the Swedish Armed Forces said a Russian AN-30 propeller plane flew toward Swedish airspace and briefly entered it before leaving the area.

The Swedish Air Force scrambled fighter jets which photographed the Russian plane.

Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist told Swedish public radio that the violation was “unacceptable” and “unprofessional”.

In a similar incident in early March four Russian warplanes violated Swedish airspace over the Baltic Sea.

Thomas Kingsley1 May 2022 19:30

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ICYMI: ‘Shady troll farm’ waging pro-Russia infowar from old arms factory, UK-funded research alleges

Online trolls are being ordered to spread information in support of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine from an old arms factory in Russia, new research funded by the UK government suggests.

The new study details how the Russian president’s regime is using openly-recruited trolls to post pro-Moscow messages on social media and in the comment sections of news websites.

The social media accounts targeted by the trolls include those of British prime minister Boris Johnson, German chancellor Olaf Scholz and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, the researchers said.

Thomas Kingsley1 May 2022 19:15

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Watch: Civilians evacuated from Azovstal plant in Ukraine’s Mariupol

Civilians evacuated from Azovstal plant in Ukraine’s Mariupol

Thomas Kingsley1 May 2022 19:00

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Germany: Quitting Russian oil by late summer is ‘realistic’

Germany says it’s making progress on weaning itself off Russian fossil fuels and expects to be fully independent of Russian crude oil imports by late summer.

Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck said Sunday that Europe’s largest economy has reduced the share of Russian energy imports to 12 per cent for oil, 8 per cent for coal and 35 per cent for natural gas. Germany has been under strong pressure from Ukraine and other nations in Europe to cut energy imports from Russia that are worth billions of euros, which help fill Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war chest.

“All these steps that we are taking require an enormous joint effort from all actors and they also mean costs that are felt by both the economy and consumers,” Habeck said in a statement. “But they are necessary if we no longer want to be blackmailed by Russia.”

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Thomas Kingsley1 May 2022 18:45

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Pictured: Civilians board a bus after being rescued from Mariupol steel works

(AP)

(AP)

(AP)

(AP)

Thomas Kingsley1 May 2022 18:33

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Ukraine postpones evacuations from other parts of Mariupol to Monday

A plan to evacuate civilians from areas of the devastated Ukrainian city of Mariupol outside of the Azovstal steel works has been postponed to 5am on Monday, Mariupol’s city council said.

Thomas Kingsley1 May 2022 18:15



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