Amid intense fighting, Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky confirmed the death toll of 60 dead in Saturday’s Russian attack on a school in the eastern town of Bilogorivka, one of the highest death tolls in a single day since The Russian invasion began on February 24.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will lead Monday’s commemorations of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany, but Ukraine wants to deny Moscow any sense of military might.
Putin has sought to legitimize the invasion of Ukraine by comparing it to the fight against Nazism and the national pride it aroused.
“Today our soldiers, like their ancestors, fight shoulder to shoulder for the liberation of their homeland from Nazi filth, confident that, as in 1945, victory will be ours,” Putin said, on the eve of the celebrations of the Victory Day.
Zelensky also pointed to the end of the 1939-45 war by comparing Ukraine’s struggle to the war of resistance against former Nazi occupiers.
“Decades after World War II, darkness returned to Ukraine, and it has turned black and white again,” he declared in a video recorded outside a bombed-out residential building.
“Evil has returned in a different uniform, under different slogans, but with the same purpose,” he added.
In a subsequent message, Zelensky declared that the attack on the school revealed that “Russia has forgotten everything that was important to the victors of World War II.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “horrified” by the bombing of the school and said that “civilians and civilian infrastructure must be preserved in times of war,” his spokesman said on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian soldiers from the Azov battalion, who remain entrenched in the huge Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol (southeast), assured that they do not intend to capitulate.
“Surrendering is not an option because Russia is not interested in our lives,” Ilya Somoilenko, an intelligence officer with the Azov battalion, said during a video news conference.
“The enemy does not cease its offensive operations in the eastern operational zone to establish full control on the territory of the Donetsk, Lugansk and Kherson regions, and to maintain the land corridor between these territories and occupied Crimea” since 2014, the State indicated. Ukrainian major on Sunday.
He added that in the Donetsk region, Russian troops were continuing their operations around Lyman, Popasnyansky, Severodonetsk and Avdiivka. The situation was “tense” near Moldova.
On the Russian side, the Ministry of Defense claimed Sunday the destruction of the “command post of a mechanized brigade” in the Kharkov region (east), as well as “the communication center of the Chervonoglinskoye military airfield, near Artsyz”.
So far Russia can only claim complete control of one major city, Kherson.
This Sunday the G7, to which Germany, Canada, the United States, France, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom belong, indicated in a statement that the “unprovoked” war promoted by President Putin brought “shame to Russia and the historical sacrifices from his town”.
And the White House claimed that the G7 countries have “committed to ban or phase out imports of Russian oil.”
The British government also announced a new package of trade sanctions against Russia and Belarus that includes export bans on Russian industry and higher tariffs.
Meanwhile, the members of the European Union (EU) will continue negotiating “early this week” in view of an agreement on a possible embargo on Russian oil, a plan that does not generate unanimity.
The United States also announced that it will sanction three major Russian television channels and that it will ban Russian companies and large fortunes from access to American and British accounting and consulting services.
Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and US First Lady Jill Biden visited Ukraine separately.
Justin Trudeau visited Irpin, a kyiv suburb devastated by fighting before Russian forces occupied it in March.
“It is clear that Vladimir Putin is responsible for heinous war crimes,” Trudeau said at a press conference with Zelensky, assuring that “there must be accountability” and that he himself was “a direct witness to the brutality of the war. illegal from Russia.
In a surprise move, according to her spokesperson, Jill Biden met her Ukrainian counterpart, Olena Zelenska, at a school near the Slovak border. “I wanted to come on Mother’s Day,” she told reporters, insisting that “this war has to stop” and that “the people of the United States stand with the people of Ukraine.”
And in another show of solidarity, the Irish singer Bono offered a concert this Sunday in the kyiv metro. “The people of Ukraine” are “fighting for all of us who love freedom,” he said.
In Mariupol, after multiple attempts, civilians from the Azovstal steelworks were evacuated, Zelensky said on Saturday night.
According to kyiv, these operations, sponsored by the UN and the Red Cross, allowed the removal of nearly 500 people in a week.
According to Yevgenia Tytarenko, a military nurse whose husband, a nurse and member of the Azov battalion, and his companions are still inside the steel mill, “many soldiers are in serious condition, wounded and have no medicine.” “There is also a lack of food and water.”
“I will fight until the end,” her husband Mijailo wrote to her in an SMS that AFP was able to consult. They were married two days before the Russian invasion.