War in Ukraine: Latest developments

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·3-min read
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin says he hopes that the war in Ukraine will hobble the Russian military (AFP/Oleksandr GIMANOV) (Oleksandr GIMANOV)
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Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:

- Putin congratulates Macron -

Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulates French President Emmanuel Macron on his re-election following a run-off with far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, seen as closer to Moscow.

"I sincerely wish you success in your state activities, as well as good health and well-being," Putin says in a telegram to the europhile Macron.

- US wants 'weakened' Russia -

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin says he hopes that the war in Ukraine will hobble the Russian military.

"We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can't do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine," he says after a visit to Kyiv with Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

He adds that Ukraine can win the war if it has the "right equipment."

"We believe that we can win, they can win if they have the right equipment, the right support."

Austin and Blinken pledge $700 million (653 million euros) in additional military aid during their visit.

- US diplomats to return -

Blinken confirms that US diplomats, withdrawn at the start of Russia's invasion, will gradually return to Kyiv and that the US will soon name a new ambassador to Ukraine.

Several European countries have also reopened their embassies in Kyiv since Russia withdrew its forces from the region.

- Drones shot down: Russia -

The governor of Russia's Kursk region, which borders Ukraine, says Russian forces shot down two Ukrainian drones near the boundary between the two countries, in Kursk's Rylsky district.

Roman Starovoyt says there were no casualties or damage.

In recent weeks, Russia has repeatedly accused Ukrainian forces of launching strikes on its soil.

- Ukraine proposes Mariupol talks -

Ukraine has invited Russia to talks near Mariupol's besieged Azovstal steelworks, the last holdout of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians in a devastated city largely under Moscow's control.

"We invited Russians to hold a special round of talks on the spot right next to the walls of Azovstal," says Oleksiy Arestovych, an aide to President Volodymyr Zelensky.

- Six more civilians killed -

Donetsk governor Pavlo Kyrylenko says five civilians were killed Sunday and another five wounded in the eastern region as Ukrainians mark a sombre Orthodox Easter.

Also in eastern Ukraine, the Kharkiv prosecutor's office reports one woman killed and a man wounded by shrapnel.

- Russia still attacking Mariupol troops -

The deputy commander of the far-right Azov Regiment in Mariupol's Azovstal steel plant Sviatoslav Palamar says Russian forces continue to bombard the site and attempt to breach its defences.

The Kremlin claims to have "liberated" the city, which is pivotal to plans to forge a land bridge to Russian-occupied Crimea.

- 20,000 Mariupol civilians dead -

Mayor Vadym Boychenko says more than 20,000 civilians have died in Mariupol since Russia's invasion and that more than 100,000 remain in the city "begging for rescue".

"I want to emphasise once again -- unfortunately, for two days in a row, Russian occupation forces are disrupting the evacuation," he adds.

- EU to press India over Ukraine -

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen arrives in India, where she will press leaders over the country's neutral stance on the Ukraine war.

- OSCE 'concerned' over missing members -

The world's largest security body says it is "extremely concerned" after several of its Ukrainian members were believed to have been arrested in pro-Russian separatist territories in the country's east.

- UK urges France, Germany to do more -

Britain says "it would be good to see more from France and Germany" to support the Ukraine war effort.

Minister Oliver Dowden tells the BBC that the West should "continue to tighten the ratchet on Russia" as Moscow ramps up its offensives in the south and east of Ukraine.

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