The Kremlin’s ‘second Phase’ Goal Is To Take Over Southern Ukraine And Donbas. Ukrainian Officials Describe Heavy Fighting Throughout The Regions.

The Kremlin’s ‘second Phase’ Goal Is To Take Over Southern Ukraine And Donbas. Ukrainian Officials Describe Heavy Fighting Throughout The Regions.

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33 min agoIt’s just past 7 p.m. in Kyiv. Here’s what you need to know.Investigations into allegations of civilian deaths in Kyiv, Bucha and elsewhere continue as more evidence emerges.

Meanwhile, civilians remain trapped in Ukrainian cities like Mariupol and Luhansk, with no new evacuation corridors established Friday. Mariupol’s mayor told CNN in an interview that “one clear day of cease fire” is needed to evacuate civilians sheltering in the Azovstal iron and steel plant in the besieged city.

Here are the latest developments on Russia’s war in Ukraine:

Russia’s land bridge ambition: Russia has revealed that the goal of its invasion of Ukraine is to take “full control” over southern Ukraine as well as the eastern Donbas region, and establishing a land corridor connecting Russia to Crimea, the peninsula it annexed in 2014. Ukrainian officials described heavy fighting throughout the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions, in addition to at least 20 injured in “intensified” shelling in the southern Mykolaiv region. Mass graves: Ukrainian officials say they have identified mass graves outside the city of Mariupol. The claim is supported by photos collected and analyzed by US satellite imagery company Maxar Technologies that appear to show more than 200 new graves to the west of Mariupol.No way out: No evacuation corridors in Ukraine have been agreed with the Russians due to “danger on the routes,” Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said Friday. The president of the European Council, Charles Michel, said he “strongly urged” for immediate humanitarian access and safe passage from Mariupol and other besieged cities in a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday. The European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, also called for evacuation corridors in Mariupol to be created “immediately.”Bodies examined: Forensic investigators are examining 1,084 bodies of civilians found in the Kyiv region following the withdrawal of Russian forces, according to the police.A call for larger NATO presence: Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda has called on NATO to send more troops to eastern Europe including to his own country.Killings in Bucha: UN human rights officers have documented the “unlawful killing, including by summary execution, of some 50 civilians” in Bucha, a town on the outskirts of Kyiv, the UN Human Rights Office said Friday.Luhansk evacuation disrupted: Serhiy Haidai, the head of the Luhansk region military administration, said Friday that Russian shelling disrupted an attempt to evacuate civilians from the heavily contested eastern Ukrainian town of Rubizhne, stopping a bus from reaching the town.UK PM on Putin’s prospects: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday that Russia has a “realistic possibility” of winning the war in Ukraine, calling the situation there “unpredictable” at the moment.Ukraine alleges Russian orders were given to kill POWs: Ukraine’s military intelligence on Wednesday released a purported communications intercept of Russian armed forces referring to an alleged order to kill Ukrainian prisoners of war in the city of Popasna in the eastern region of Luhansk, which is bearing the brunt of Russia’s renewed attack. It appears to feature Russian soldiers saying: “Keep the most senior among them, and let the rest go forever. Let them go forever, damn it, so that no one will ever see them again, including relatives.”40 min agoEU’s top diplomat calls for evacuation corridors to be created “immediately” in MariupolFrom CNN’s Sarah Diab in London and James Frater in Brussels

High Representative Josep Borrell speaks at a European Council meeting in Strasbourg, France on April 6. (Philipp von Ditfurth/picture alliance/Getty Images)The European Union’s top diplomat, High Representative Josep Borrell, called for evacuation corridors in Mariupol to be created “immediately with necessary ceasefire assurances, from Azovstal and other areas of the city to other parts of Ukraine” in a written statement on Friday.

“Free and safe access for those delivering humanitarian assistance must be ensured, in line with basic human rights principles and international humanitarian law,” he urged.

Borrell commended Ukraine’s “efforts to finding a diplomatic solution for the evacuation of civilians” but said the EU regrets “that Russia is not reciprocating.”

In the statement, Borrell also highlighted the urgency of the situation, saying:

“For weeks now, the world has borne witness to a cruel, illegal onslaught in Mariupol by Russia leading to wide-scale destruction of the city, including atrocities against civilians, under a twisted pretext of ‘liberating’ the city.” “Thousands of its inhabitants have been deported to Russia or forcibly displaced to the non-government-controlled areas of Ukraine,” he said.

Borrell added that over 100,000 civilians remain in Mariupol, including as many as 1,000 who have taken refuge at the Azovstal steel plant and are defended by Ukrainian Armed Forces.

1 hr 42 min agoInternational swimming body suspends Russian Olympic champion for attending Putin rallyFrom CNN’s Sammy Mngqosini in London 

Evgeny Rylov competes at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)The International Swimming Federation (FINA) – swimming’s governing body – announced on Thursday that it had suspended two-time Olympic champion Evgeny Rylov for nine months for attending a rally hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in March. 

“The FINA Bureau met today and acknowledged the decision of the FINA Disciplinary Panel to suspend Evgeny Rylov (RUS) from all competitions and activities organized or sanctioned by FINA, including any International Competition on the FINA World Aquatic Calendar, for a period of nine months, following Mr. Rylov’s attendance and conduct at an event held at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on 8 March 2022. Mr. Rylov’s suspension took effect on 20 April 2022,” according to a statement. 

Rylov, a gold medalist in the 100 meter and 200 meter at last year’s Tokyo Olympics, earlier pulled out of the June 18 to July 3 world championship in support of banned Russian athletes. 

The statement also confirmed that Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials will not be invited to any FINA competitions for the remainder of 2022. 

CNN has reached out to Rylov as well as Russian and Belarusian swimming federations for comment. 

2 hr 8 min

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