Russia-Ukraine live news: Zelenskyy vows not to give up territory – Al Jazeera English

President Zelenskyy says Ukraine will offer tough resistance ahead of an expected Russian assault in the east.
INTERACTIVE Russia Ukraine War Who controls what Day 53
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Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has compained in a newspaper interview that Western diplomatic efforts to persuade Vladimir Putin to halt the war in Ukraine have so far led nowhere.
“I am beginning to think that those people are right when they say ‘It is useless to talk to him, it’s just a waste of time’,” Draghi told the daily Corriere della Sera, adding Putin’s goal appears to be “to annihilate the Ukrainian resistance, occupy the country and entrust it to a friendly government”.

Ukrainian officials warn that Russian forces are preparing to launch an attack on the port city of Kherson in order to blame the Ukrainian army. This will then be used to hold a pseudo-referendum in the city,
“Kherson residents report that Russian invaders are preparing a provocation in the city. This should be the reason to ‘save’ the city by holding a ‘referendum’ there,” Serhiy Bratchuk, the speaker of the Odesa regional military administration, wrote on his Telegram channel.
Kherson has been occupied by Russian forces for more than two weeks. There have been reports Russia might stage a referendum on independence from Ukraine in the largely Russian-speaking city, as it previously did in Crimea after annexing it in 2014.

The self-proclaimed head of the occupied territory of Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov, has announced teachers from Kherson, Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia regions will have to attend summer “retraining camps” in Crimea, Ukraine’s Center for Countering Disinformation has reported.
It also said Ukrainian children will also be forced to take Russian language classes.

The Russian military has forcibly removed around 150 children from Mariupol, the Crimean Human Rights Group has reported.
An adviser to Mariupol’s Mayor, Petro Andriushchenko, said that many of the children were taken from hospitals and were not orphans. The children have reportedly been transferred in the direction of the temporarily occupied Donetsk region and the Russian city of Taganrog.
Lyudmyla Denisova, the ombudsman for human rights in Ukraine, has previously said more than 120,000 children have been forcibly deported to Russia from Ukraine.

Ukraine says it has completed a questionnaire which will form a starting point for the European Union to decide on membership for Kyiv. The questionnaire was handed to Zelenskyy by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen during her visit to Kyiv on April 8.
An aide to the Ukrainian president told the country’s public broadcaster that the European Commission will now need to issue a recommendation on Ukraine’s compliance with the necessary membership criteria. “We expect the recommendation … to be positive, and then the ball will be on the side of the EU member states,” said Ihor Zhovkva, deputy head of Zelenskyy’s office.
He added that Ukraine expects to acquire the status of a candidate country for EU accession in June during a scheduled meeting of the European Council meeting. “Next, we will need to start accession talks. And once we hold those talks, we can already talk about Ukraine’s full membership in the EU,” Zhovkva said.

The Sumy region has received the first 250 million hryvnia (around $8.5 million) of assistance from the Ukraine government to restore destroyed territories and infrastructure, the head of the regional state administration Dmitry Zhivitsky, has said.
Russian troops began retreating from the Sumy region, bordering Russia, in early April. On April 8, Zhivitsky had announced Ukrainians were in control of the entire northeast region.
⚡️Sumy region completely free of Russian forces.
Sumy Oblast Governor Dmytro Zhyvytsky announced on Facebook that the region is clear of Russia’s forces, but that explosions may still be heard as rescue service workers dispose of ammunition left by the Russian military.
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) April 8, 2022

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said Russian troops in southern Ukraine have been carrying out torture and kidnappings.
“Torture chambers are built there,” the president said in an evening address to the nation. “They abduct representatives of local governments and anyone deemed visible to local communities.”
He also said the Russians are creating separatist states and introducing Russian currency, the rouble, in occupied parts of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions.

Two people have died and four more were injured following Russian shelling in the Donetsk region on Sunday April 17, the governor of the Donetsk oblast, Pavlo Kyrylenko, has said on Telegram.
“It is impossible to determine the exact number of victims near Mariupol and Volnovas,” he added.

A British soldier fighting with the Ukrainian army, Shaun Pinner, has been paraded on Russian television. This comes a few days after Russian media showed another captured British soldier Aiden Aslin.
In this video the 48 year old says: “Hi, I’m Shaun Pinner. I am a citizen of the UK. I was captured in Mariupol. I am part of the 36 Brigade First Battalion Ukrainian Marines.”
Pinner is believed to have moved to Ukraine four years ago and lived with his wife in Donbas. In January he had told the Daily Mail he was fighting to defend his family and “adopted city”. He also said he feared for his life as “the Russians will treat us differently if we are captured because we are British”.

Belgium, Estonia and Bulgaria have implemented a European Union ban on Russian ships entering their ports, starting from Sunday, April 17.
This comes after Italy also barred Russian ships from entering its ports on Sunday as part of extended EU sanctions.

The “hot phase” of the war in Ukraine will end in two to three weeks, and the war should be completely over in two to three months, Fyodor Venislavsky, a member of Ukraine’s Committee on National Security, Defense and Intelligence (also know as Verkhovna Rada) said on television.
He said his assessment was based on a number of factors, including that Ukrainian armed forces “have demonstrated how can push the enemy back from Ukrainian lands,” and that “Western partners have not only changed their assessments that Ukraine urgently needs more new models of weapons, they are already being delivered”.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal has said the remaining Ukrainian forces in the port city of Mariupol were still fighting and continued to defy the Russian demand that they surrender.
“The city still has not fallen,” Shmyhal told ABC’s This Week programme.
Read the full story here.

The UN refugee agency has said 4,869,019 million Ukrainians have left the country since Russia invaded on February 24 – up 32,574 on Saturday’s total.
“As Christians celebrate resurrection on this sombre Easter Sunday, we must stubbornly hope that in the days, months and years to come the methods and language of war will not prevail over those – more difficult, more complicated – that lead to peace,” said UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi.
The UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) has said an addditional 215,000 third-country nationals have also escaped to neighbouring countries since the war began.

Eighteen people have been killed and more than 100 wounded in Russian shelling in the past four days in the northeast Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s president has said.
On Sunday, five people were killed and 20 were injured when a missile and artillery fire hit the city centre and the Saltivka suburb, regional governor Oleh Synyehubov said earlier.
Al Jazeera was unable to confirm the death toll.
Zelenskyy said in his nightly address that Russia’s shelling of Kharkiv has been constant.
“This is nothing but deliberate terror: mortars, artillery against ordinary residential quarters, against ordinary civilians,” Zelenskyy said.

Zelenskyy has said he spoke with IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva about Ukraine’s financial stability and the country’s post-war reconstruction.
“Discussed with IMF Managing Director Georgieva the issue of ensuring Ukraine’s financial stability & preparations for post-war reconstruction. We have clear plans for now, as well as a vision of prospects. I’m sure cooperation between the IMF & Ukraine will continue to be fruitful,” he wrote in a tweet.
Discussed with IMF Managing Director @KGeorgieva the issue of ensuring Ukraine’s financial stability & preparations for post-war reconstruction. We have clear plans for now, as well as a vision of prospects. I’m sure cooperation between the IMF & 🇺🇦 will continue to be fruitful.
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) April 17, 2022

Georgieva later confirmed the call in a post on Twitter. She wrote support is “essential to lay the foundations for rebuilding a modern competitive #Ukraine”.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said Ukraine is not willing to give up territory in the eastern part of the country to end the war with Russia and is preparing to offer tough resistance in the face of an expected large-scale offensive there.
Read the full story here.
Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine. Read all the updates from April 17 here.
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