May 1, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Maureen Chowdhury, Joe Ruiz, Mike Hayes, Nectar Gan, Andrew Raine, Eliza Mackintosh, Jack Bantock and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 12:05 AM ET, Mon May 2, 2022
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11:52 p.m. ET, April 30, 2022

Ukrainian commander inside Mariupol steel plant says evacuations of civilians have begun

From CNN's Julia Kesaieva and Tim Lister

A satellite image shows an overview of the Azovstal steel plant, the last Ukrainian military holdout which is also serving as a civilian shelter in Mariupol, Ukraine, on April 29.
A satellite image shows an overview of the Azovstal steel plant, the last Ukrainian military holdout which is also serving as a civilian shelter in Mariupol, Ukraine, on April 29. (Maxar Technologies/Reuters)

Some civilians have been evacuated from the Azovstal steel works in Mariupol after a ceasefire was introduced, according to a commander in the Azov Regiment, one of the Ukrainian soldiers trapped at the plant.

Capt. Svyatoslav Palamar, the deputy commander of the Azov Regiment, said the ceasefire, which was supposed to begin at 6 a.m. local time, ended up starting at 11 a.m. local time.

"As of now, it's the truth, both sides follow the ceasefire regime," he said.

The evacuation convoy was very delayed, he said. "Since 6 a.m., we've been waiting for the evacuation convoy to arrive, which only arrived at 6:25 p.m."

"We have brought 20 civilians to the agreed meeting point, whom we've managed to rescue from under the rubble. These are women and children. We hope these people will go the agreed destination, which is Zaporizhzhia, the territory controlled by Ukraine," Palamar said.

"As of now, the rescue operation is ongoing, conducted by the servicemen of Azov - we rescue the civilians from under the rubble," he added.

"These are women, children and the elderly," he said in a video message on the regiment's Telegram channel.

"We hope that this process will be further extended and we will successfully evacuate all civilians," he said.

"As for the wounded — those people who require urgent medical care — it is unclear to us why they are not being evacuated and their evacuation to the territory controlled by Ukraine is not being discussed," he added.
"I emphasize that we ask to guarantee the evacuation not just for civilians but also for our wounded servicemen who require medical care."

TASS, Russia's state news agency, said earlier Saturday that a group of civilians left the steel plant. A correspondent on the scene told TASS that a total of 25 people came out, including six children under the age of 14. CNN cannot independently verify the TASS reporting.

There are thought to be hundreds of people inside the steel complex, including dozens injured during an intense Russian bombardment over the past several weeks. The latest satellite images of the plant show that many of its buildings have been reduced to ruins.

The defenders of the Azovstal plant said that attacks on Wednesday night had hit the makeshift hospital inside the complex, greatly adding to the number of injured. 

Here's what a part of the plant looked like approximately six weeks ago:

A satellite image from March 22 shows an overview of the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine.
A satellite image from March 22 shows an overview of the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine.

11:52 p.m. ET, April 30, 2022

Multiple explosions reported in Odesa

From CNN's Tim Lister and Julia Presniakova

Ukrainian media and witnesses reported multiple explosions in the southern city of Odesa soon after 6 p.m. local time. One witness told CNN that she saw at least one combat plane over the city.

The military's Operational Command (South) said on Telegram that the runway at Odesa's airport had been damaged.

The blasts were heard soon after air raid sirens sounded across the city.

A witness to the explosions told CNN she was about one kilometer (.62 miles) away from the airport when she heard two explosions. She said the attack lasted about 10 minutes and she was still experiencing hearing difficulties because of the noise from the impacts.

11:51 p.m. ET, April 30, 2022

Russia steps up efforts to rub out Ukrainian identity as Lenin reappears in the southern part of the country

From CNN's Andrew Carey, Yulia Kesaieva, Kostan Nechyporenko and Olga Voitovych 

A popular Ukrainian supermarket in the southern region of Zaporizhzhia announced a grand reopening Saturday under new – Russian – management. It is the latest sign of attempts by Moscow’s occupying forces to rub out Ukrainian identity in territories under its control. 

Formerly, the shop in Melitopol was part of the ATB chain, a Dnipro-based business. But a leaflet posted on a local TV station’s Telegram channel boasts the supermarket is now part of the MERA chain, which is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Russia. 

The leaflet promises that shoppers spending at least 500 hryvnia (about $16) will be entered into a “super prize draw” – though details of what the winner could take home are not revealed. 

Elsewhere in the region, a large Ukrainian coat of arms has been removed from the front of the mayor’s office in the town of Tokmak. Photos circulating on social media show the distinctive Ukrainian symbol – a yellow trident on a blue background – propped up against the entrance of the building. An earlier photo on the same Telegram channel shows a man up a ladder apparently working to loosen the trident from its place. 

And as if to underline the sense of a clock being turned back, video has emerged from the neighboring region of Kherson — also under Russian occupation — of a statue of former Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin being re-erected in the town of Nova Kakhovka. 

One video captures the statue of the Russian revolutionary and first leader of the Soviet Union being carried flat on a truck through the city. 

A later photo shows the statue being winched onto a plinth in front of the city council building. 

“While Ukraine is the first in the world to introduce e-passports, ‘orcs’ are restoring Lenin's monument in temporarily occupied Nova Kakhovka,” Mykhailo Fedorov, Deputy Prime Minister, said in a Telegram post under the photo, using the popular Ukrainian slang term for Russian forces. 

Some context: Statues of Vladimir Lenin were a hallmark of towns and cities across the Soviet Union, but many have been removed from Ukrainian locations in recent years as relations with Russia have deteriorated.