Here are the key events so far on Saturday, April 2.
- Residents fleeing the besieged region around the southern port city of Mariupol took a convoy of buses and private cars to reach Ukrainian-controlled Zaporizhzhia.
- The fleet arrived as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said more than 3,000 people have been rescued from Mariupol, though it was not immediately clear if he was referring to the bus passengers.
- The Red Cross said its own Mariupol rescue effort was forced to turn back after “arrangements and conditions made it impossible to proceed”, but added its team will try again on Saturday.
- Seven humanitarian corridors to evacuate people from Ukraine’s besieged regions are planned for Saturday, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has said. The planned corridors include one for people evacuating by private transport from the city of Mariupol and by buses for Mariupol residents out of the city of Berdyansk, Vereshchuk added.
Ukraine accused of Russia attack
- Ukrainian helicopters carried out a strike on a fuel storage facility in Russia’s western town of Belgorod, some 40km (25 miles) from the border, according to the local governor.
- Vyacheslav Gladkov said on Telegram the air strike was “carried out by two Ukrainian army helicopters, which entered Russian territory at a low altitude”. Ukraine would neither confirm nor deny the attack.
Peace talks resume
- Peace talks between Ukrainian and Russian officials resumed via video conference, but Moscow warned that the helicopter attack would hamper negotiations.
- Moscow’s chief negotiator Vladimir Medinsky said on Telegram: “Our positions on Crimea and Donbas have not changed”.
UN official to visit Moscow, Kyiv
- A top UN official is set to fly to Moscow on Sunday, and then on to Kyiv to try and secure a “humanitarian ceasefire” in Ukraine, said the body’s chief Antonio Guterres.
- Both Russia and Ukraine have agreed to meet Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Guterres said.
- Ukraine’s economy could shrink by 40 percent this year as a result of Russia’s military invasion, the country’s economy ministry said in a statement, citing preliminary estimates.
- Ukrainian forces continue to advance against withdrawing Russian forces in the vicinity of Kyiv, British military intelligence said.
- Russian forces are also reported to have withdrawn from Hostomel airport near the capital, which has been subject to fighting since the first day of the conflict, the British ministry of defence said in a regular bulletin. Al Jazeera has not been able to independently verify the claims.
- The UN’s cultural agency UNESCO said it has confirmed that at least 53 Ukrainian historical sites, religious buildings and museums have sustained damage during Russia’s invasion of the country.
- The number of Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russia’s war in their country has crossed 4.1 million, the United Nations says.
SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES