Day 52 of Putin's war. Russians strike Kyiv, Lviv, prepare to close Mariupol to vet men for conscription

16 April, 06:39 PM
A building in Kharkiv was destroyed by the Russian airstrike on April 16 (Photo:REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis)

A building in Kharkiv was destroyed by the Russian airstrike on April 16 (Photo:REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis)

Saturday,  April 16, is the 52nd day of Ukraine's defense against full-scale Russian invasion.

UPDATE (1841): Ukraine has been conducting negotiations with the Russians to save the Ukrainian servicemen trapped in the besieged city of Mariupol, President Volodymyr Zelensky has said in a statement.

But the Russians keep insisting the Ukrainians must surrender, Zelensky said. "It is a very hard situation. Our servicemen are trapped, and our wounded are trapped. They have no food and water left, but they keep fighting," Zelensky said. 

Видео дня

UPDATE (1803): Russia's FSB Security Service has abducted one of Russia's top proxy commanders in the Donbas, Eduard Basurin, Ukraine's Defense Ministry Intelligence Directorate has said in a statement.

Basurin, who earlier openly said that Russians should use chemical weapons in Mariupol, has been taken to an unknown location.

The repression of Russian military commanders for "the failing military operation in Ukraine" continue, Ukrainian intelligence reported.

UPDATE (1726): Russian invading forces have disrupted evacuations from Lysychansk, Luhansk Oblast Governor Serhiy Haidai has reported.

The occupiers started shelling Lysychansk city center during an arranged ceasefire, the governor said. He said people who were ready to be evacuated had to stay in basements and shelters. "We've managed to evacuate only one person," Haidai wrote. 

Haidai said the Russian invaders might soon strike a railway station in Lozova and call it "another Ukrainian attack aimed at discrediting the Russian army." Despite threats, Ukraine keeps evacuating people from Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. 

"The Russians will launch a full-scale attack on the Donbas as soon as the (spring) rains end," Haidai said.

UPDATE (1456): Ukraine has received $924 million in donations from different businesses and people living in various parts of the world, Andriy Yermak, the head of the President's Office, has said in a statement.

Some 47% of the sum came from the United Kingdom, 18% was sent by citizens of the Netherlands, 11%b came from the Czech Republic, and 8%  from the United States.

UPDATE (1445): One person was killed and several were wounded in a Russian missile strike on the Darnitsky district of Kyiv in the morning of April 16, Mayor Vitaly Klitschko has said in a statement.

Meanwhile, a security guard was killed in another Russian attack in Poltava Oblast, local authorities reported on April 16. A Russian missile struck a farm near a small village.

UPDATE (1436): Russia is holding 700 Ukrainian servicemen and more than 1,000 civilians captive, Ukrainian Reintegration Minister Iryna Vereshchuk reported. According to her, 500 of the civilians currently illegally imprisoned by Russian occupying forces are women.

Ukraine has the same number of Russian POWs - also about 700 soldiers. 
Earlier, the Ukrainian authorities reported numerous cases of abduction of civilians in the occupied territories. Russians were searching for relatives and families of Ukrainian servicemen and police officers.

UPDATE (1253): Russian invading forces are planning to close off Mariupol for the exit and entry on April 18, Mariupol mayoral advisor Petro Andriushchenko has said in a Telegram statement.

According to Andriushchenko's sources in the besieged city, the occupiers are planning to vet men for conscription. The men are to be taken to the Novoazovsk filtration camp. Those, suitable for army service, will be conscripted into the Russian armed forces. Others will be used to clean the rubble in Mariupol. 

The occupiers do not fully control the destroyed city. Ukrainian forces are still fighting in the Azov Steel factory and port districts. 

UPDATE (1207): Professional firefighters and rescuers from the United States, Australia, Germany, and Poland have arrived in Ukraine to help their colleagues working in the recently liberated regions of Ukraine, the State Emergency Service of Ukraine has reported.

As of today, they started working in Borodyanka, a partially destroyed town in Kyiv Oblast that was liberated from Russian occupation at the beginning of April.

UPDATE (1034): Russian Su-35 jet fighters launched missiles at Lviv Oblast in the morning, Lviv Governor Maksym Kozytskiy has said in a statement.

Fortunately, Ukraine's air defense systems shot down all four of the air-launched cruise missiles over Lviv Oblast, he said.

The Russian jets flew into Ukraine from Baranovychi air field in Belarus, Kozytskiy said.

Morning Digest

President Volodymyr Zelensky has told CNN that Ukraine has lost up to 3,000 soldiers since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Russia's military losses have risen to 20,000 soldiers killed in action since Feb. 24, according to the Ukrainian army's reckoning.

Mariupol is no longer a city, but a territory soaked with blood, Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said in an interview. Despite that, the battle for Mariupol is still going on. The Azov Regiment and the marines remaining in the besieged city have been calling the Ukrainian government to save Mariupol. President Zelensky says he has had an emergency meeting with military generals on the Mariupol situation, revealing no details.

Ukrainian defenders are continuing to fight in the east and south of Ukraine. The Russians have occupied the towns of Skadovsk and Oleshky in Kherson Oblast. Occupying forces continue their repression of Ukrainians. 

In the morning the Russians carried out a missile strike on Kyiv's Darnitsky district, Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said in a Telegram post.  

"Rescuers and medics are working at a scene. Information about the number of casualties is still being clarified," Klitschko said. He once again urged Kyivans not to return to the capital yet, and asked those who are already in Kyiv not to ignore air raid warnings, which have become more frequent.

This is the second Russian missile strike on Kyiv Oblast in two days. On April 15 the Russians bombed a military factory in Vyshneve, where Ukraine was producing Neptune missiles. These were the missiles Ukraine says it used to strike the Russian flagship cruiser the Moskva, which caught fire and was then reported to have sunk on April 14.

Overnight Ukrainian air defense systems shot down Russian missiles over Lviv Oblast. Invading forces shelled a village in Poltava Oblast, killing one person. Another attack happened in Kirovohrad Oblast. 

As of April 16, the Russians had killed 200 children in Ukraine, the Ukrainian government has reported. Overall more than 2,000 civilians have been killed since Feb. 24, the UN has reported.

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