Russia-Ukraine War News: Live Updates
BRUSSELS – Heavy fighting continues at the besieged Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol, where Russian forces are stepping up their attack. A senior Ukrainian official mentioned Friday that nearly 500 civilians had been evacuated from the steel plant and its surroundings, add that “the next step is underway to save our people” from the facility.
In his nightly video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky described the situation at the factory as “hell”, especially for the “many children still there”. A United Nations aid convoy is on its way to the destroyed port city.
European Union ambassadors are debating plans to ban imports of Russian oil, which would cut off a key source of funding for the Kremlin. However, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban warned on Friday that the proposals would amount to “dropping a nuclear bomb on the Hungarian economy“, proving that fractures persist in the economic bloc’s response to Moscow. EU ambassadors are now considering granting longer extensions to Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
On the battlefield, the governor of the Lugansk region in eastern Ukraine described the situation as “continuing horror”, accusing Russian forces on Friday of damaging homes and infrastructure. Ukrainian forces have shifted to counterattacks in the cities of Kharkiv and Izyum, with heavy clashes ongoing in the east, according to General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, Ukraine’s top military officer. Ukraine “is putting up very firm resistance”, although Russian forces are gradually advancing in the Donbass region, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Thursday.