War in Ukraine, day 69: Russian assault on Azovskal, Macron calls for continued evacuations



► The Russian army and pro-Russian forces launch an offensive on the Azovstal factory

The Russian army and pro-Russian forces on Tuesday relaunched an offensive on the Azovstal factory, the last pocket of Ukrainian resistance in the city of Mariupol, from which civilians have been evacuated in recent days thanks to a ceasefire. .

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“Units of the Russian army and the Donetsk People’s Republic, using artillery and aircraft, begin to destroy” the “firing positions” of Ukrainian fighters left the factory, indicated the ministry for defense, quoted by the Russian agencies.

→ ANALYSIS. War in Ukraine, evacuations of civilians follow one another in Mariupol

For the first time in two months of siege and bombing, a hundred people holed up in the cellars of the huge Azovstal steelworks were able to get out of the city. “I am happy and relieved to confirm that 101 civilians have been successfully evacuated”the United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine said on Tuesday.

► The pope says he is “ready to go to Moscow”

Pope Francis is ready to travel to Moscow to see Russian President Vladimir Putin and try to stop the fighting in Ukraine. In an interview with the Italian dailyCorriere della Serapublished Tuesday, May 3, the pontiff claimed to have “called on the phone” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky from “the first day of the war”.

→ THE FACTS. Pope Francis ‘ready to travel to Moscow’ to meet Putin

“How do we fail to stop all this brutality? We saw the same thing 25 years ago with Rwanda”, he added, referring to the 1994 genocide in which 800,000 people were killed. Francis also ruled out going to kyiv for the time being, despite the Ukrainians’ invitation.

► Emmanuel Macron and Vladimir Poutine called each other

Emmanuel Macron has asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to “allow evacuations to continue” from Azovstal to Mariupol, announced the Elysée after a 2:10 phone call between the two leaders.

This evacuation must be done “in coordination with humanitarian actors and leaving the choice of destination to the evacuees, in accordance with international humanitarian law”specified the French presidency.

► London increases its military aid to Ukraine

The United Kingdom will increase its military aid to Ukraine by 300 million pounds (about 355 million euros) including radars and drones, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Tuesday during a video speech in front of the Ukrainian Parliament.

“I can announce today a new UK government aid package totaling £300m, including radars to track artillery bombarding your towns, heavy-lift drones to supply your forces, and thousands of night vision devices »promised Boris Johnson.

► Moscow accuses Israel of supporting the “neo-Nazi” regime in kyiv

Moscow accused Israel of “supporting the neo-Nazi regime in kyiv”, driving the point home after the head of Russian diplomacy took up a conspiracy theory on the “Jewish blood” of Adolf Hitler.

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“We have paid attention to the anti-historic statements of (Israeli) Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, which largely explain the decision of the current government to support the neo-Nazi regime in kyiv”Russian diplomacy said in a statement. “History unfortunately knows tragic examples of cooperation between Jews and Nazis”the statement added.

► The European Union is preparing an oil embargo against Russia

A draft embargo on oil and petroleum products purchased from Russia was submitted to EU member countries on Tuesday but the measure still raises reservations, several European officials and diplomats said.

→ REREAD. War in Ukraine: Europe rushes on American gas

The European Commission has finalized its proposal for a sixth sanctions package against Moscow to cut funding for its war effort against Ukraine. It provides for a gradual cessation of European purchases over a period of 6 to 8 months, with an exemption for Hungary and Slovakia, two landlocked countries totally dependent on deliveries by the Druzhba pipeline, which will be able to continue their purchases from Russia until in 2023, said a European official.

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