Europe’s worst conflict in decades has killed as many as 20,000 people since Russia’s February 24 invasion, according to Ukrainian estimates.
More than 4.2 million Ukrainians have fled the country and about 6.5 million have been internally displaced, the United Nations agencies say.
The world, however, keeps hoping for a respite, amid the avalanche of criticisms and sanctions pelted at the Russian aggressor, and NATO’s unstinting military support for embattled Ukraine, to tide it over any possible reinforcements of invading troops within its territory.
Here are updates on the war in Ukraine to keep you in the loop.
– Zelensky to address UN –
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is set to address the United Nations Security Council for the first time since the invasion of his country.
Zelensky is expected to discuss the grisly discovery of dozens of bodies in Bucha and other towns around Kyiv from which Russian forces have withdrawn.
During a visit to Bucha on Monday, he accused Russia of “genocide”.
– Ukraine ‘staging’ footage –
Moscow denies responsibility for civilian deaths, claiming images of dead bodies in Bucha and other Kyiv suburbs are “fakes”.
The Russian defence ministry accuses the Ukrainian military of staging civilian deaths in a video it claims was made on Monday in the village of Moshchun North-West of Kyiv but provides no proof of its claims.
– More deaths uncovered –
Ukrainian authorities say they found the bodies of five civilians with their hands tied in the village of Motyzhyn, west of Kyiv, including those of the mayor, her husband and son.
Police show AFP journalists four bodies, including that of the mayor, half-buried in a grave in a forest near her house and the fifth body in a nearby well.
Ukrainian Prosecutor General, Iryna Venediktova, says on Twitter that the bodies of five men tortured and killed by Russian troops have been found in the basement of a children’s health resort in Bucha.
– Kyiv mayor warns against returns –
Kyiv’s Mayor Vitali Klitschko warns residents who fled the capital not to return for “at least another week”, cautioning that explosives laid around the area are still a threat.
Some residents have begun returning to the region since the withdrawal of Russian forces.
– Red Cross team released –
The Red Cross says a team that was detained on its way to help evacuate civilians from the besieged port city of Mariupol on Monday has been released.
The workers were detained in the town of Mangush, which is under Russian control.
– ‘Big attack’ coming in East –
Russian troops are gearing up for a big attack in the Lugansk region of eastern Ukraine, the local governor Sergiy Gaiday says on Telegram.
“We see that equipment is coming from different directions, they are bringing manpower, they are bringing fuel,” he says.
– Diplomats kicked out –
Denmark says it is expelling 15 Russian diplomats for spying, a day after Germany and France also ordered dozens of Russian diplomats home.
The former Soviet republic of Lithuania expels the Russian ambassador to Vilnius over what it calls the “horrific massacre” in Bucha and atrocities in other cities.
In the same vein, Spain is set to expel around 25 Russian diplomats and embassy staff over the Russian invasion of Ukraine, following similar moves by Germany, France and Denmark, Spain’s foreign minister said Tuesday.
“The unbearable images we have seen of the massacre of civilians in the town of Bucha after the withdrawal of the Russian army deeply outrage us,” Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said in a reference to a town outside Kyiv.
The Russian diplomats and staff “represent a threat to the interest of the country” and they will be expelled “immediately”, he told a news conference following a weekly cabinet meeting.
“We are talking about a group of around 25 people, we are completing the list,” he added.
– Bid to suspend Russia from Rights Council –
The United States and Britain announced plans to seek Russia’s suspension from the UN Human Rights Council over killings in Bucha.
Russia reacts furiously, deeming the bid “unbelievable” and “unprecedented”.
– Russia aiming to occupy ‘entire’ Donbas –
Russia plans to militarily take the “entire” Donbas region in eastern Ukraine with the aim of creating a corridor from Russia to annexe Crimea, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday.
Russian forces are moving away from Kyiv to “regroup, re-arm and resupply and they shift their focus to the east”, he told a media conference ahead of a Wednesday meeting of NATO foreign ministers.
“In the coming weeks, we expect a further Russian push in the eastern and southern Ukraine to try to take the entire Donbas and to create a land bridge to occupied Crimea,” he said.
– 7.1 million internally displaced in Ukraine –
New data released by the UN’s International Organization for Migration on Tuesday shows that more than 7.1 million are estimated to have been internally displaced by Russia’s war in Ukraine, having fled their homes but remained in the country.
This figure is a climb-up against the previously issued 6.48 million internally displaced persons estimated in a first study by the IOM on March 16.
“People continue to flee their homes because of war, and the humanitarian needs on the ground continue to soar,” said IOM Director-General, Antonio Vitorino.
“Humanitarian corridors are urgently needed to allow the safe evacuation of civilians and ensure the safe transportation and delivery of much-needed humanitarian aid in order to rapidly assist those internally displaced,” Vitorino added.
The IOM had conducted its second survey between March 24 and April 1 and estimated that 7,138,715 people were internally displaced within Ukraine as of Friday.
59 per cent of the IDPs were estimated to be women.
It was estimated that nearly 2.4 million people had fled the Kyiv region; 2.4 million had fled the east, and 1.7 million had fled the north.
The survey found that 41 per cent of the IDPs – 2.9 million people – were now located in the west of the country.
It also found that more than 60 per cent of displaced households had children; 57 per cent included elderly members, and 30 per cent had people with chronic illnesses.
More than a third of displaced households indicated that they had had no income in the last month.
– Safety fears –
Beyond the estimated 7.1 million IDPs, “more communities in need remain trapped”, said the IOM.
A further 2.9 million people were estimated to be considering leaving their homes.
As for the reasons why people are staying in their homes, 16 per cent said it was not safe for them to leave; six per cent said they did not want to leave family members behind; three per cent said they would not know where to go, and one per cent said they could not leave due to health issues.
The rapid representative assessment was conducted through interviews with 2,000 anonymous respondents aged over 18 who were contacted at random over the telephone.
The survey is used by the IOM to gather insights into internal displacement and mobility and to assess the humanitarian needs in Ukraine.
The IOM said cash, transportation, food, shelter and hygiene items were among the most pressing needs for displaced people.
IDPs also need greater access to medicines and health services, the organisation said.