Latest Developments in Ukraine: May 2
For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.
The latest developments in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. All times EDT:
3:30 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Monday that Russia is blocking ships from going in and out of its Black Sea ports, triggering a food crisis that will affect Europe, Asia and Africa, Reuters reported. Zelenskyy said Ukraine can lose tens of millions of tons of grain as a result. “Russia wants to completely block our country’s economy,” he told the Australian news program 60 Minutes.
2:10 a.m.: Reuters reported that two explosions took place in the early hours on Monday in Belgorod, the southern Russian region bordering Ukraine, Vyacheslav Gladkov, the region’s governor wrote in a social media post.
“There were no casualties or damage,” Gladkov wrote.
1:45 a.m.: Ukrainian officials said they expect more civilians will be able to evacuate from the besieged city of Mariupol on Monday.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video message late Sunday that more than 100 civilians were able to leave Sunday, and that they were due to arrive Monday in Zaporizhzhia, about 200 kilometers away.
With Russian troops taking control of the rest of Mariupol, hundreds of civilians and an estimated 2,000 Ukrainian troops have been holed up at the Azovstal steel works. Multiple earlier attempts to evacuate civilians from the site fell apart with Ukraine accusing Russia of shelling evacuation routes. “For the first time, there were two days of real cease-fire on this territory,” Zelenskyy said.
1:15 a.m.: Britain’s defense ministry said more than one-fourth of the 120 battalion tactical groups Russia committed at the start of the conflict in Ukraine have likely “been rendered combat ineffective.” The ministry added that some of the most elite Russian units “have suffered the highest levels of attrition.”
12:15 a.m.: The White House announced first lady Jill Biden will begin a trip Thursday to Romania and Slovakia that will include meeting with Ukrainians displaced by Russia’s invasion. Biden will also meet with aid workers, local families supporting Ukrainian refugees and also educators who are helping Ukrainian children continue schooling.
12:01 a.m.: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi became the highest-ranking elected official to visit Ukraine’s president in Kyiv. She led a U.S. congressional delegation that promised more support for Ukraine and unwavering solidarity in its fight against Russian aggression. VOA’s Arash Arabasadi has more.
Some information came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.