Russia-Ukraine live news: Zelenskyy slams UN chief’s Russia visit | Russia-Ukraine war News

  • Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy criticised a decision by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to visit Moscow on Tuesday before heading to Kyiv.
  • Zelenskyy said Ukraine hoped to secure heavy weapons at talks with the US secretaries of state and defence in Kyiv on Sunday, but reiterated calls for a meeting with Putin to “end the war”.
  • The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe says it is working to secure the release of a number of Special Monitoring Mission members detained in eastern Ukraine.
  • A series of cruise missile attacks killed at least eight people in Ukraine’s Odesa region, including a three-month-old baby, Zelenskyy says.

Here are the latest updates:

Ukraine asks IAEA for equipment to operate nuclear power plants

Ukraine has asked the International Atomic Energy Agency for “a comprehensive list of equipment” it needs to operate nuclear power plants during the war with Russia, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said.

This includes radiation measurement devices, protective material, computer-related assistance, power supply systems and diesel generators, he said in a statement.

“We will coordinate the implementation of the assistance that the IAEA and its member states will provide, including by delivering required equipment directly to Ukraine’s nuclear sites,” he said.

Ukraine has 15 operational reactors at four plants of which seven are currently connected to the grid, including two at the Zaporizhzhia facility which is currently controlled by Russia.

Putin attends midnight Orthodox Easter mass in Moscow

Vladimir Putin has attended an Easter mass conducted by the Russian Orthodox Church, which has strongly backed the Kremlin leader’s “special military operation” in Ukraine.

Putin, dressed in a dark blue suit, a white shirt and dark purple tie, stood to one side in Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral, holding a lit red candle, live images of the midnight service showed.

The Russian leader crossed himself several times during the ceremony. When Patriarch Kirill announced “Christ has risen”, Putin joined the other members of the congregation with the reply “Truly he is risen”. He otherwise did not speak.

At an outdoor service in Moscow on Saturday, Kirill said he hoped the conflict in Ukraine would end quickly but did not condemn it. His statements backing Russia’s intervention, which has been condemned by Kyiv and Western nations as an act of aggression, have splintered the worldwide Orthodox Church.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Moscow's Mayor Sergei Sobyanin hold candles as they attend the Orthodox Easter service at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow
Putin, left, and Moscow’s Mayor Sergei Sobyanin attend an Orthodox Easter service at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow [Maxim Shemetov/Reuters]

Russia accused of planning to conscript Ukrainian citizens in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia

The Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate and General Staff have accused Russia of planning to conscript Ukrainian civilians from the Russian occupied Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, according to the British Ministry of Defence.

“This would follow similar prior conscription practices in the Russian-occupied Donbas and Crimea,” the ministry said on Twitter.

“Article 51 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states “the occupying power may not compel protected persons to serve in its armed or auxiliary forces”, and “no pressure or propaganda which aims at securing voluntary enlistment is permitted’,” it added.

Russian strikes kill six civilians in Ukraine’s Luhansk region: Governor

Six civilians died in Russian shelling in the village of Girske in Ukraine’s Luhansk region, its governor said.

“The village of Girske suffered heavy Russian shelling the entire day,” Sergiy Gayday said on Telegram. “Six inhabitants of the village died.”

Zelenskyy says baby among eight people killed in Russian strikes on Odesa

Ukraine’s president said that Russian missile strikes had killed eight people in the city of Odesa, including a three-month-old child.

He fought back tears at one point during the press conference in a Kyiv metro station, saying that he shared the pain of every Ukrainian who had lost children in Russia’s war.

A Ukraine official had earlier reported that five people were killed after Russian forces fired at least six cruise missiles at Odesa.

OSCE working to secure release of staff held in eastern Ukraine

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said it was trying to secure the release of a number of Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) staff members who had been detained in eastern Ukraine.

“The OSCE is extremely concerned that a number of SMM national mission members have been deprived of their liberty in Donetsk and Luhansk. The OSCE is using all available channels to facilitate the release of its staff,” its media office said, giving no more details .

In an address to the 157-member body on Friday, the UK’s deputy ambassador to the Vienna-based OSCE, Deirdre Brown, criticised Russia for refusing to extend the SMM’s mission in Ukraine beyond March, and said that the UK had “received alarming reports” that Russia’s proxies in Donbas are threatening mission staff, equipment and premises and that Russian forces have taken SMM staff members captive”.

Zelenskyy: Kyiv meeting set with US officials

Ukraine’s president said he hoped to secure heavy weapons at talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin in Kyiv on Sunday, supplies that he said were vital for Ukraine to eventually retake Russian-occupied territory.

“As soon as we have [more weapons]as soon as there are enough of them, believe me, we will immediately retake this or that territory, which is temporarily occupied,” he told reporters.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attends a news conference at a metro station in Kyiv
During a news conference in Kyiv, Zelenskyy again called for a meeting with his Russian counterpart to ‘put an end to the war’ [Gleb Garanic/Reuters]

Zelenskyy slams UN chief’s ‘illogical’ plan to visit Moscow before Kyiv

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has criticised a decision by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to visit Moscow on Tuesday before heading to Kyiv on Thursday.

“It is simply wrong to go first to Russia and then to Ukraine,” Zelenskyy told reporters in the Ukraine capital. “There is no justice and no logic in this order,” he added.

“The war is in Ukraine, there are no bodies in the streets of Moscow. It would be logical to go first to Ukraine, to see the people there, the consequences of the occupation,” he said.

Zelenskyy also called again for a meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in an effort to “put an end to the war”.

Read more here.

Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Read all the updates from Saturday, April 23 here.

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