Russia-Ukraine war latest: Zelenskiy warns Moscow wants to ‘capture other countries’ as Moldova expresses concern over Russian plans – live


Russian invasion of Ukraine only ‘a beginning’, Zelenskiy warns

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is only the beginning and comments by a senior Russian commander on Friday indicate Moscow will attack other countries too, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has warned in his latest nightly address.

This only confirms what I have said many times: the Russian invasion of Ukraine was intended only as a beginning, then they want to capture other countries

Rustam Minnekayev, acting commander of Russia’s central military district, said on Friday that Russia’s new goal was to gain control of southern Ukraine, giving it access to Transnistria, a pro-Russian breakaway region of Moldova.

In Moldova, Zelenskiy noted, Russia has claimed that the rights of Russian speakers have been violated.

Although, to be honest, the territory in which Russia should take care of the rights of Russian-speakers is Russia itself. Where there is no freedom of speech, no freedom of choice. Where there is simply no right to dissent. Where poverty thrives and where human life is worthless. To the extent that they come to us, go to war to steal at least something that resembles a normal life.

You know they used to talk about their biggest dream: to see Paris and die. And their behavior is now just shocking. Because their dream now is to steal the toilet and die.

Moldova expressed “deep concern” following Minnekayev’s comments and summoned the Russian ambassador.

These statements are unfounded and contradict the position of the Russian Federation supporting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova, within its internationally recognized borders,” Moldova’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

In a meeting with Russian ambassador Oleg Vasnetov, the ministry “reiterated that the Republic of Moldova, in line with its Constitution, is a neutral state and this principle must be respected by all international actors, including the Russian Federation,” it continued.

Some recent images from Mariupol, from where Ukraine deputy prime minister, Iryna Vereshchuk, has said that “there is a possibility” a humanitarian corridor could be opened to allow the evacuation of civilians on Saturday.

A man walks past damaged buildings in Mariupol. Photograph: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters
Maria Miroshnichenko, 84, a former social services worker, stands outside a heavily damaged residential building in Mariupol. Photograph: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters
Damaged and burned vehicles are seen at a destroyed part of the Illich Iron & Steel Works Metallurgical Plant, as smoke rises from the Metallurgical Combine Azovstal in Mariupol. Photograph: Alexei Alexandrov/AP
Barriers made of vehicles on a road in Mariupol. Photograph: Chingis Kondarov/Reuters
Varta, 81, from Mariupol, in the back of her family’s car after a four-day journey to an evacuation point in Zaporizhzhia for people fleeing from Mariupol, Melitopol and surrounding towns under Russian control. Photograph: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

“Heavy fighting” continues to take place in Mariupol, the UK’s Ministry of Defence has said in its latest intelligence update, despite Russia’s “stated conquest” of the southern port city.

The fighting was “frustrating Russian attempts to capture the city thus further slowing their desired progress in the Donbas,” it said.

“Despite increased activity, Russian forces have made no major gains in the last 24 hours as Ukrainian counter-attacks continue to hinder their efforts,” it added.

“Russian air and maritime forces have not established control in either domain owing to the effectiveness of Ukraine’s air and sea defence reducing their ability to make notable progress.”

Many people around the world have been surprised at how Ukraine has withstood Russia’s attack on its territory, even successfully repelling its assault on the capital, Kyiv. Guardian reporters Isobel Koshiw, Ed Ram and Dan Sabbagh report here on the bravery of Ukraine’s armed forces and their determination to fight:

A group of Ukrainian infantry soldiers stood in a warehouse in south-western Ukraine when they were shelled by Russian artillery. Serhiy was hit in the face with shrapnel. He and his recent best friend Hennadiy took a selfie clutching part of the shell which did not hit them.

Moments later, Russian tanks appeared on a hill opposite and fired across the village in front of them, including at the warehouse. Hennadiy and the rest of the group – all natives of the Zaporizhzhia region – were also hit by shrapnel and all of them suffered hearing damage.

“They had three tanks on the hill and they were just shooting down at us. We just had rifles,” said Hennadiy. “We had some equipment that the Americans and Poles gave us, but it wasn’t enough to fight.”

They said they escaped from the warehouse under plumes of smoke and walked to the next village, from where they were taken to the Zaporizhzhia military hospital.

The Guardian was granted access to the military hospital to speak to soldiers on the condition that reporters not identify specific locations of battles or publish the full names of soldiers interviewed.

“There are plenty of people motivated to fight,” said Serhiy, speaking from a hospital ward with the rest of the company who escaped from the warehouse. “But we are underarmed and desperately trying to hold the whole mass [of the Russian army].”

“There’s also just not enough time to train everyone who wants to fight,” added Dmytro, another member of the company, who was lying on a bed in the ward.

Read on below:

Russian invasion of Ukraine only ‘a beginning’, Zelenskiy warns

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is only the beginning and comments by a senior Russian commander on Friday indicate Moscow will attack other countries too, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has warned in his latest nightly address.

This only confirms what I have said many times: the Russian invasion of Ukraine was intended only as a beginning, then they want to capture other countries

Rustam Minnekayev, acting commander of Russia’s central military district, said on Friday that Russia’s new goal was to gain control of southern Ukraine, giving it access to Transnistria, a pro-Russian breakaway region of Moldova.

In Moldova, Zelenskiy noted, Russia has claimed that the rights of Russian speakers have been violated.

Although, to be honest, the territory in which Russia should take care of the rights of Russian-speakers is Russia itself. Where there is no freedom of speech, no freedom of choice. Where there is simply no right to dissent. Where poverty thrives and where human life is worthless. To the extent that they come to us, go to war to steal at least something that resembles a normal life.

You know they used to talk about their biggest dream: to see Paris and die. And their behavior is now just shocking. Because their dream now is to steal the toilet and die.

Moldova expressed “deep concern” following Minnekayev’s comments and summoned the Russian ambassador.

These statements are unfounded and contradict the position of the Russian Federation supporting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova, within its internationally recognized borders,” Moldova’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

In a meeting with Russian ambassador Oleg Vasnetov, the ministry “reiterated that the Republic of Moldova, in line with its Constitution, is a neutral state and this principle must be respected by all international actors, including the Russian Federation,” it continued.

Roundup of latest developments

Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s live coverage of the latest developments in Ukraine with me, Helen Livingstone.

Here’s a summary of the latest developments in Ukraine, where the time is approaching 9am.

  • The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has warned Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is “only a beginning” and that Moscow has designs on capturing other countries after a Russian general said it wants full control over southern Ukraine. “All the nations that, like us, believe in the victory of life over death must fight with us. They must help us, because we are the first in line. And who will come next?” Zelenskiy said in a video address late on Friday.
  • Rustam Minnekayev, the deputy commander of Russia’s central military district, was quoted by Russian state news agencies as saying full control over southern Ukraine would give it access to Transnistria, a breakaway Russian-occupied part of Moldova in the west.
  • Moldova’s foreign ministry said it had summoned Moscow’s ambassador on Friday to express “deep concern” about the general’s comments. Moldova was neutral, it said. Moldova last month formally applied to join the European Union, charting a pro-western course hastened by Russia’s invasion.
  • Fears continue to grow for hundreds of civilians holed up in the Azovstal steel factory in the besieged port city of Mariupol, with the last remaining, outgunned contingent of Ukrainian fighters. Russia’s defence ministry said it was ready to allow civilians to leave the steelworks if Ukrainian forces surrendered. But according to Petro Andryushchenko, an adviser to Mariupol’s mayor, Russian forces are continuing to drop bombs on the plant.
  • Another mass grave has been found outside of Mariupol, the Associated Press has reported, citing the city council and an adviser to the mayor. The city council posted a satellite photo provided by Planet Labs showing what it said was a mass grave 45 metres by 25 metres that could hold the bodies of at least 1,000 Mariupol residents outside the village of Vynohradne.
  • Ukraine deputy prime minister, Iryna Vereshchuk, said that “there is a possibility” a humanitarian corridor could be opened up out of Mariupol on Saturday. She was speaking in an online address to the people waiting to be evacuated.
  • The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, has called for the release of prominent Russian opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza, who was detained outside his home in Moscow on 11 April, hours after CNN aired an interview in which he criticised Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
  • The United Nations chief, António Guterres, will meet Putin in Moscow next week, seeking an end to the bloodshed. Two days later Guterres will also meet Zelenskiy in Kyiv, the UN announced.
  • The US military expects more than 20 countries to attend Ukraine-focused defence talks it will host in Germany next week that will focus in part on Kyiv’s long-term defence needs, the Pentagon said on Friday.
  • Western allies are preparing to offer Ukraine a series of “security guarantees” that should make the country “impregnable” to a future Russian invasion, the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, was reported saying by the Press Association.
  • Zelenskiy has said he is “grateful” to Britain after Johnson announced the reopening of the UK embassy in Kyiv.
  • Russia’s defence ministry has reported that one sailor died and 27 more remain missing after one of its premier warships, the missile cruiser Moskva, sank last week in the Black Sea south of the threatened Ukrainian port of Odesa.
  • The UN human rights office said it has seen growing evidence of war crimes in Ukraine, describing the war as a “horror story of violations against civilians”. The UN human rights commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, said “almost every resident” of the town of Bucha had a story about the death of a relative, a neighbour or even a stranger.



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