War in Ukraine has devastating effect on journalism, says RSF in Press Freedom Index publication

More than 100 evacuees from a steel plant in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol have arrived in Zaporizhzhya, the Mariupol city council announced, as Russian forces resumed their assault on the complex.

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The council said in a statement that those who arrived in Zaporizhzhya — a town about 230 kilometers northwest of Mariupol — were receive after spending weeks in the bunkers of the sprawling Azovstal factory.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said 156 people had been evacuated. She said several hundred more people remained inside the factory and tens of thousands of women, children and the elderly remained in Mariupol.

“There are no medicines, water or communication services,” she said during a May 3 briefing, adding that authorities must rescue anyone who wanted to escape.

The United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross coordinated the evacuation of women, children and the elderly from the steel mills.

“We would have hoped that a lot more people could have joined the convoy and got out of hell. That’s why we have mixed feelings,” ICRC’s Pascal Hundt told reporters in a videoconference.

Osnat Lubrani, UN humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine, said 101 women, men, children and elderly people could finally leave the factory, and several dozen more joined the convoy in a town on the outskirts of Mariupol . Some evacuees decided not to stay with the convoy and headed to destinations other than Zaporizhzhya, Lubrani said.

A few women who arrived in Zaporizhzhya held up handmade placards calling on the Ukrainian authorities to evacuate the soldiers still entrenched in the factory as well as their trapped relatives and relatives.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he hopes continued coordination with Kyiv and Moscow will lead to more humanitarian pauses that will allow civilians to leave the fighting safely.

WATCH: Current Time reporter Borys Sachalko comes under fire as he accompanies a Red Cross team attempting to evacuate a village between Russian-occupied Kherson and Ukrainian-held Mikolayiv in southern Ukraine .

Despite calls for further evacuations, Russian troops began to storm the plant shortly after the release of the last group of people, the Ukrainian Strategic Communications Center under the National Security and Defense Council said in a May 3 statement.

According to the Vereshchuk, Russia deliberately resumed the assault after some civilians walked out.

“That was their plan: to let a few civilians go and then continue the bombardments. However, civilians remain there, there are people who did not have time to get out of the rubble because the blockades were so heavy that in two days they simply couldn’t physically lift them. We must continue the humanitarian operation, including Azovstal,” Vereshchuk said.

French President Emmanuel Macron has also urged that evacuations from the steelworks be allowed to continue.

Macron spoke by telephone with Russian President Vladimir Putin on May 3, calling on Russia to assume its responsibilities as a permanent member of the UN Security Council by ending its devastating aggression, according to a press release. ‘Elysium.

The storming of the factory comes days after Putin said he had canceled plans for such an operation. Putin instead said he wanted Russian forces to block the sprawling factory “so a fly couldn’t get through.”

Later on May 3, Russian strikes began targeting the western city of Lviv. The strikes took place just before 8:30 p.m. local time. It was not immediately clear what was being targeted.

Mayor Andriy Sadoviy wrote on social media that residents of the city should take shelter. The train service from Lviv has been suspended.

Sadoviy acknowledged in another message that the attacks had damaged power stations, knocking out electricity in some neighborhoods.

The governor of Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine said Russian troops shelled a coking plant in the town of Avdiyivka, killing at least 10 people and injuring 15 others.

“The Russians knew exactly where to aim – the workers had just finished their shift and were waiting for a bus at a bus stop to take them home,” Pavlo Kyrylenko wrote in a Telegram post. “Another cynical crime of the Russians on our land.”

Kyrylenko said 11 other people were killed in the bombardment of four towns in the region. The number includes five killed in the town of Lyman and four in Vuhledar.

Kyrylenko said the death toll on May 3 was the highest in a single day since a Russian strike on a railway station in the city of Kramatorsk killed 57 people on April 8 and injured 109 others.

WATCH: Ukrainian troops southeast of Kharkiv examine heavy damage to a community cultural center, reflecting the impact on residents, now nearly gone.

Ukrainian officials said the Russian military also struck rail infrastructure across the country on May 3.

Oleksandr Kamyshin, head of Ukraine’s state-run railways, said Russian strikes hit six stations in the country’s central and western regions, inflicting heavy damage.

Dnipro region governor Valentyn Reznichenko said Russian missiles hit railway infrastructure in the area, injuring one person and disrupting train service.

Earlier on May 3, in a video address to the Kyiv parliament, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcement 300 million pounds ($376 million) in additional military aid for Ukraine.

Britain has already sent military equipment, including missiles and missile launchers, to Ukraine. The new aid will consist of electronic warfare equipment, a battery-powered radar system, GPS jamming equipment and thousands of night vision devices.

In his speech, Johnson referenced a speech given in 1940 by World War II leader Winston Churchill as Britain faced aggression from Nazi Germany.

“The British people showed such unity and determination that we remember our time of greatest peril as our finest hour,” Johnson told the Verkhovna Rada. “This is Ukraine’s finest hour, an epic chapter in your national history that will be remembered and retold for generations to come.”

“We will continue to provide Ukraine … with weapons, funding and humanitarian aid, until we have achieved our long-term goal, which must be to fortify Ukraine so that no one ever dares to attack you again,” Johnson said. .

In Brussels, the EU executive indicated it was ready to propose another sanctions package to punish Moscow for invading Ukraine. But Slovakia and Hungary will not support sanctions against Russian energy, including oil imports.

Both countries say they are too dependent on Russian oil and there is no immediate alternative.

The sanctions will also target Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, which will be barred from the SWIFT global banking reporting system, unnamed diplomats said.

Fighting also raged in the strategic port city of Odessa and across eastern Ukraine. A 15-year-old boy was killed in another Russian strike on Odessa, the city council said.

Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, was being shelled, the army said May 3, while the General Staff said Ukrainian forces were defending the approach to Kharkiv from Izyum, some 120 kilometers away. At the South-East.

Since Russia launched its unprovoked war on February 24, its troops have failed to fully take control of any major Ukrainian city.

Diplomatically, Germany’s conservative opposition leader traveled to Kyiv on May 3 for meetings with Ukrainian officials, but Chancellor Olaf Scholz has made it clear that he will not be visiting Ukraine anytime soon. .

Friedrich Merz, who leads former Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right Union bloc, visited the town of Irpin, on the outskirts of kyiv, which was heavily shelled by Russian forces.

Scholz refused to travel to Ukraine due to kyiv’s refusal to invite the German head of state, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, whom Ukrainians accuse of getting closer to Russia when he was foreign minister .

“It can’t work that a country that provides so much military aid, so much financial aid… then you say the president can’t come,” Scholz told public broadcaster ZDF on May 2.

The United States has warned that Moscow plans to formally take control of the eastern regions of Ukraine.

Michael Carpenter, the US ambassador to the OSCE, said Russia plans to imminently annex the territories of Lugansk and Donetsk in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region, using referendums after failing to overthrow the Kyiv government.

Russia has encountered surprisingly stiff resistance in the north around the kyiv and Chernihiv regions, forcing it to redeploy its troops to the south and east, where fighting has intensified in recent days.

Eastern and southern Ukraine are considered key strategic objectives for Russia, allowing it a land link with Crimea.

Separately, Russian state news agency TASS on May 3 quoted the Defense Ministry as saying that more than a million people, including nearly 200,000 children, had been taken from Ukraine to Russia over the past two months.

Defense Ministry official Mikhail Mizintsev said that these civilians “had been evacuated to the territory of the Russian Federation from the dangerous regions” of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, and from other parts passed under Russian control.

No details were provided on the location or circumstances of the moves.

With reporting from Reuters, AP, AFP, BBC and dpa

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