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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4:59 p.m. ET, May 1, 2022

Shelling resumes at Azovstal steel plant, Ukrainian officer says

From CNN's Mariya Knight, Olga Voitovych and Tim Lister

Birds fly near a plant of Azovstal Iron and Steel Works during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine on April 29.
Birds fly near a plant of Azovstal Iron and Steel Works during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine on April 29. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

After a rare period of quiet that allowed about 100 people to be evacuated, the Azovstal steel complex in Mariupol came under fire again Sunday night, according to a Ukrainian soldier in Mariupol who spoke to Ukrainian television.

The occupiers began firing on Azovstal again as soon as the evacuation of some Ukrainians was completed," according to the commander of the 12th brigade of the National Guard Denis Schlega.

They were using "all kinds of weapons," he claimed. 

It's unclear whether the renewed shelling will jeopardize the next stage of the evacuation from Azovstal, which is due to take place Monday. It's estimated hundreds of Ukrainian civilians are still trapped in the ruins of the plant.  

Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister, Iryna Vereshchuk, said "hundreds of civilians remain blocked in Azovstal together with the defenders of Mariupol. The situation has become a sign of a real humanitarian catastrophe, because people are running out of water, food and medicine," she said.

The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, said in an interview on Italian television Sunday the "Kyiv authorities are trying by all means to achieve the withdrawal of the Ukrainian radicals remaining in Azovstal, since among them there may be Western officers and mercenaries."

There's been no firm evidence western nationals are among the fighters at Azovstal.

"The situation with the confrontation at the Azovstal plant in Mariupol and the stubborn, even hysterical desire of [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky, his team and his Western patrons to achieve the withdrawal of all these people and send them to the territory of Ukraine is explained by the fact that there are many characters who will confirm the presence of mercenaries and, perhaps, active officers of the Western armies on the side of the Ukrainian radicals," Lavrov said.
4:22 p.m. ET, May 1, 2022

Pelosi on Poland visit: 'America stands firmly with our NATO allies in our support for Ukraine'

From CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux

US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, center, talks during her meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Saturday, April 30.
US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, center, talks during her meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Saturday, April 30. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office/AP)

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says a Congressional delegation’s visit to Poland sends “an unmistakable message to the world: that America stands firmly with our NATO allies in our support for Ukraine.”

Pelosi said the delegation was able to meet with troops from the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division in Poland, and is looking forward to meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda on Monday.

“These engagements are even more meaningful following our meeting in Kyiv with President Volodymr Zelenskyy and other top Ukrainian leaders. In that profound and solemn visit, our delegation conveyed our respect and gratitude to President Zelenskyy for his leadership and our admiration of the Ukrainian people for their courage in the fight against Russia’s diabolical invasion. Our Members were proud to deliver the message that additional American support is on the way, as we work to transform President Biden’s strong funding request into a legislative package,” Pelosi said.
9:32 p.m. ET, May 1, 2022

UN OCHA announces evacuation of women, children and the elderly out of Azovstal

From CNN’s Richard Roth

A woman is seen inside a bus before departing from a temporary accommodation center for evacuees during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the village of Bezimenne in the Donetsk Region, Ukraine on May 1.
A woman is seen inside a bus before departing from a temporary accommodation center for evacuees during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the village of Bezimenne in the Donetsk Region, Ukraine on May 1. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) announced Sunday that a safe passage operation is underway in Ukraine, where civilians from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol are being evacuated to Zaporizhzhia, according to OCHA Spokesperson Saviano Abreu.

The UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross are coordinating the safe passage of women, children and the elderly who have been stranded in Azovstal for nearly two months, the statement reads. Evacuees are expected to receive humanitarian support, including psychological services in Zaporizhzhia, Abreu said.

UN OCHA’s operation began on Friday alongside a joint UN/ICRC convoy traveling from Zaporizhzhia and reached the steel plant in Mariupol on Saturday morning.

4:08 p.m. ET, May 1, 2022

Kharkiv officials say 3 people killed in Russian shelling Sunday

From CNN's Olga Voitevych

A residential building destroyed by a Russian missile explosion is seen in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on April 30.
A residential building destroyed by a Russian missile explosion is seen in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on April 30. (Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Three people were killed and 8 others were injured in Russian shelling in the Kharkiv region on Sunday, according to Oleg Sinegubov, head of the Regional Military Administration.

"The most active hostilities in the Kharkiv region continue to take place in the Izium area, where the Russians are trying to advance, but have suffered losses and failed," he said.

"The occupiers also continued to fire on the positions of the Armed Forces in the areas of the settlements of Uda and Prudyanka, and also suffered heavy losses in the area of ​​the village of Stary Saltiv," Sinegubov said.

Russian forces have been trying to push south and west from the Izium area, much of which they captured a month ago. There has also been fighting east of Kharkiv, as Ukrainian units try to disrupt Russian supply lines from the border. 

3:59 p.m. ET, May 1, 2022

It's 11 p.m. in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know

Dmytro, 39, sits by the grave of his childhood friend Andrii Parkhomenko, on May 1, in Irpin, Ukraine.
Dmytro, 39, sits by the grave of his childhood friend Andrii Parkhomenko, on May 1, in Irpin, Ukraine. (Alexey Furman/Getty Images)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said during an address Sunday that for the first time today, the vital corridor to evacuate civilians from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol had started working.

Zelensky said for the first time, there have been two days of “real ceasefire” and added more than 100 civilians have been evacuated from the plant.

Earlier on Sunday, Ukrainian authorities alongside the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross confirmed that an effort to evacuate civilians sheltering in the plant was underway. 

The plant has been subject to heavy Russian bombardment in recent weeks. Hundreds of people, dozens of whom are injured, are thought to be inside the steel-making complex.

Zelensky said the first evacuees will arrive in Zaporizhzhia on Monday morning where the Ukrainian government will meet them. He added the Ukrainian government will continue to evacuate people from Mariupol on Monday, starting approximately around 8 a.m. local time.

The evacuation of civilians from the besieged southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol has been paused from Sunday night until Monday due to "security reasons," the Mariupol City Council said in a Telegram post.

Evacuations will now commence at 8 a.m. local time (1 a.m. ET), near the Port City shopping center in Mariupol, the post added. 

Here are more of the latest headlines from the Russia-Ukraine war:

  • Ukrainian foreign minister tells EU's top diplomat that Russian oil embargo must be included in next sanctions: Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has told the EU's top diplomat Josep Borrell that an embargo on Russian oil must be included in the bloc's next round of sanctions. In a tweet Sunday, Kuleba said he spoke with the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy regarding "the next round of EU sanctions on Russia which must include an oil embargo." The foreign minister has criticized the EU's failure to impose an embargo on Russian oil imports, telling a NATO press conference in early April that "as long as the West continues buying Russian gas and oil it is supporting Ukraine with one hand while supporting the Russian war machine with another hand." 
  • Russia's war in Ukraine causing a "catastrophic effect" on global food prices, says USAID administrator: Samantha Power, the administrator of the US Agency for International Development, said Sunday that the impacts of the war in Ukraine include global food shortages and prices, maintaining “our job is to look at it globally” when asked if the worldwide consequences are reflective of a brewing world war. "It is just another catastrophic effect of Putin's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine," Power said on ABC's "This Week.” This comes after US President Joe Biden pressed Congress on Thursday to consider supplying Ukraine with an additional $33 billion aid package, with $3 billion allocated for humanitarian assistance and food security funding.
  • Ukraine's Ambassador to US says Pelosi's Kyiv visit was "symbolic": Ukrainian Ambassador to the US Oksana Markarova said Sunday the recent visit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Kyiv was "symbolic" and that Ukraine looks forward to the approval by the US Congress of a $33 billion supplemental funding bill aimed at supporting Ukraine over the next several months. "We need all the assistance we can get in defensive weapons, in military support, in financial support but also in humanitarian support," Markarova said in an interview with ABC's "This Week." "We look forward to Congress approving it" and "we count on the US in this," she said. On Saturday, Pelosi led the first official US congressional delegation to Ukraine since Russia's invasion began. 
  • Ukraine's prosecutor general says there's more than 9,000 cases of war crimes being investigated: The prosecutor general of Ukraine said her office is opening new cases of alleged war crimes by Russian forces, with a total of 9,158 criminal cases "involving purely war crimes." Prosecutor Iryna Venedictova said: "We have already identified specific war criminals." She added, "There are 15 people in the Kyiv region for instance, 10 of them in Bucha. We are holding them accountable for torture, rape, and looting." Ukrainian prosecutors named ten Russian soldiers last week as suspected of a variety of crimes in Bucha.
3:11 p.m. ET, May 1, 2022

Four people killed by Russian shelling in eastern Ukrainian town of Lyman

From CNN's Tim Lister in Lviv

Four residents of the town of Lyman in the eastern region of Donetsk were killed by Russian shelling on Sunday, according to Pavlo Kyriyenko, head of the Donetsk Regional Military Administration.

Lyman has been shelled frequently in the last few days as Russian troops step up their offensive to seize Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The Ukrainian military says the Russians have injected fresh troops and artillery into the region, which has also suffered air and drone attacks.

Kyriyenko said another 11 people were wounded in the latest shelling: seven in Lyman, three in Volodymirivka and one in Yarova.

2:46 p.m. ET, May 1, 2022

Zelensky says evacuation corridor from the Azovstal has started working

From CNN's Mariya Knight

Azovstal steel plant employee Valeria (R), last name withheld, evacuated from Mariupol, hugs her sister Aleksandra as they meet at a temporary accommodation centre during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the village of Bezimenne in the Donetsk Region, Ukraine on May 1.
Azovstal steel plant employee Valeria (R), last name withheld, evacuated from Mariupol, hugs her sister Aleksandra as they meet at a temporary accommodation centre during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the village of Bezimenne in the Donetsk Region, Ukraine on May 1. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said during an address that for the first time today, the vital corridor to evacuate civilians from the Azovstal steel plant has started working.

Zelensky said for the first time, there have been two days of “real ceasefire” and added more than 100 civilians have been evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant.

He said the first evacuees will arrive in Zaporizhzhia on Monday morning where the Ukrainian government will meet them. He added the Ukrainian government will continue to evacuate people from Mariupol on Monday, starting approximately around 8 a.m. local time.

 

2:40 p.m. ET, May 1, 2022

Evacuation of civilians from besieged city of Mariupol paused until Monday, city council says

From CNN's Mariya Knight and Niamh Kennedy

The evacuation of civilians from the besieged southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol has been paused until Monday, according to the Mariupol City Council. 

In a Telegram post on Sunday, the city council said that due to "security reasons, the evacuation of the civilian population of Mariupol, located in other parts of the city, was postponed to Monday (May 2)." 

Evacuations will now commence at 8 a.m. local time (1 a.m. ET), near the Port City shopping center in Mariupol, the post added. 

On Sunday, Ukrainian authorities alongside the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross confirmed that an effort to evacuate civilians sheltering in the city's Azovstal steel plant was underway. 

 

2:13 p.m. ET, May 1, 2022

Pope Francis: "I suffer and weep" over plight of Ukrainian people

From CNN's Nicola Ruotolo and Manveena Suri

Pope Francis delivers his message from his studio window overlooking St. Peter's Square during the Regina Coeli prayer at the Vatican, on Sunday, May 1.
Pope Francis delivers his message from his studio window overlooking St. Peter's Square during the Regina Coeli prayer at the Vatican, on Sunday, May 1. (Gregorio Borgia/AP)

Pope Francis on Sunday described Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a "macabre regression of humanity," saying the suffering of the Ukrainian people makes him “weep.” 

“I suffer and weep, thinking of the suffering of the Ukrainian people, and in particular of the weakest, the elderly and children. There are even terrible reports of children being expelled and deported,” the Pope said after leading a recitation of the Regina Coeli prayer that pays tribute to the Virgin Mother.

He said his thoughts “go immediately to the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, ‘Mary’s city’," which has been "barbarously bombed and destroyed."  

The Pope went on to call for "safe humanitarian corridors" to be set up for those trapped in the besieged city's steelworks, asking “whether everything possible is being done to silence the weapons.”