War in Ukraine: thousands of people evacuated from Mariupol region
Sylvie Claire / April 2, 2022
Here is the latest information about the war in Ukraine.
Russian forces are making a rapid withdrawal from the regions of Kiev and Cherniguiv, in northern Ukraine, and aim to gain a foothold in the east and south, said Saturday a Ukrainian presidential adviser, Mykhaïlo Podoliak.
After a quick Russian withdrawal from the Kiev and Chernigiv regions, it is quite clear that Russia has chosen another priority tactic: to retreat to the east and south, keep control of large occupied territories and gain a powerful foothold there, he wrote on the Telegram messenger.
More than 3,000 people have fled the Mariupol region in buses and private cars, Ukrainian authorities announced, while the Red Cross, after a first failure, is preparing a new attempt to evacuate Saturday from the besieged and devastated port city. On the 37th day of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, which has left thousands of civilians and soldiers dead, Russian forces are loosening their grip on Kiev and Cherniguiv and are regrouping to focus on the east of the country, where they will face a battle-hardened Ukrainian army, raising the prospect of a protracted conflict that could last months, the Pentagon has warned.
In the south-east, Mariupol remains disputed by both sides, and the humanitarian situation there is catastrophic. After weeks of bombardment of this strategic city on the Sea of Azov, local authorities have reported that at least 5,000 inhabitants have been killed.
The Ukrainian Air Force still has supremacy over its airspace, Lieutenant-General Mykola Oleshchuk assured Friday evening.
The enemy does not and has not controlled the Ukrainian sky, he said in a statement posted on Facebook, although the assertion could not be independently verified. By attacking Ukraine as early as Feb. 24, Russian forces tried to eliminate the Ukrainian air force, without success, he added, noting that the Russians sent more rockets than they operated with bombing and aircraft.
Mr. Oleshchuk has called on the allies to provide more modern weapons, including combat aircraft and medium- and long-range air defence systems. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has regularly asked NATO to establish a no-fly zone over his country since the beginning of the war, but the alliance refuses to do so because it does not want to risk fighting between its aircraft and those of Russia.
The Pentagon will provide up to $300 million in additional military aid to Ukraine, a U.S. Defense Department spokesman announced in a statement Friday.
The United States has now committed more than $2.3 billion in military assistance to Ukraine since the Biden administration took office, including more than $1.6 billion in military assistance since the unprovoked and premeditated invasion by Russia, said John Kirby.