Some of the first evacuees from the besieged Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol are due to arrive in the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhzhia on Monday morning, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said. On Sunday, around 100 civilians were evacuated from the factory, the last redoubt of Ukrainian forces in the city. Zelenskiy said he hoped “all necessary conditions” would be met to allow the evacuation to continue on Monday.
US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has become the highest ranking US official to visit Ukraine since the start of the war, where she met with President Zelenskiy. At a press conference afterwards, Pelosi said the United States would not be intimidated. “If they make threats, you can’t back down,” she said. Pelosi was awarded the Olga Princess Order medal by Zelenskiy.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has denied that Russia is demanding the “surrender” of Zelenskiy as a condition of peace, or that Russia will attempt to claim victory in Ukraine by May 9. “The pace of the operation in Ukraine depends, above all, on the need to minimize risks to the civilian population and Russian military personnel,” he told Italian TV channel Mediaset.
The latest Russian strikes, particularly on grain warehouses and residential areas, “prove once again that the war against Ukraine is a war of extermination for the Russian army”. Zelenskiy said in his Sunday evening speech, asking, “What could be Russia’s strategic success in this war? “People’s lives ruined and property burned or stolen will give nothing to Russia.”
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has pledged to continue supporting Ukraine with money, aid and weapons, saying a pacifist approach to war is “outdated”. His remarks at a May Day rally in Düsseldorf were an implied rebuke to a group of intellectuals, lawyers and creatives who condemned Russia’s war of aggression in an open letter, but urged Scholz to not to send heavy weapons to Ukraine. Opposition leader Friedrich Merz is expected to visit Kyiv on Monday.
Pope Francis described the war in Ukraine as a “macabre regression of humanity” which makes him “suffer and cry”, in a speech delivered at noon on Sunday in Saint Peter’s Square. “My thoughts go immediately to the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, the city of Mary, barbarously bombed and destroyed,” he said of the mainly Russian-controlled southeastern port city, which bears the name of the Virgin Mary.
The governor of Kharkiv city in the northeast of the country urged people not to leave shelters on Sunday due to heavy shelling. Posted on Telegram, Oleh Synyehubov said: “Due to intense shelling, we urge residents of northern and eastern districts of Kharkiv, especially Saltivka, not to leave the shelter during the day without an emergency.
The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed an attack on an airfield near Odessa on Saturday. He said his forces destroyed a runway and a hangar at an airfield, which contained US and EU-supplied weapons.
A fire broke out on Sunday at a Russian Defense Ministry site in Belgorod, near the border with Ukraine, said the governor of the region, injuring one person. “On the borders of three municipalities – Borisov, Belgorod and the urban district of Yakovlevsky – a fire broke out in one of the facilities of the Ministry of Defense,” said the governor of the Russian region of Belgorod, Vyacheslav Gladkov, on Telegram.
The European Union could phase out imports of Russian oil by the end of the year, as part of the latest round of sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s war machine being discussed in Brussels. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said for weeks that the EU is working on sanctions targeting Russian oil, but the key question is how and when the product will be phased out.
Russia’s online trolling operation is becoming increasingly decentralized and gaining ‘incredible traction’ on TikTok with disinformation aimed at casting doubt on the events in Ukraine, warned an American researcher on social media. Darren Linvill, a professor at Clemson University in South Carolina who has been studying the Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency (IRA) troll farm operation since 2017, said she was successful in creating more authentic messages.