‘Elimination’ of last Ukrainian troops in Mariupol would end negotiations: Zelensky

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that the elimination of the last Ukrainian troops trapped in the besieged port of Mariupol would put an end to talks with Moscow.

10:15pm: Zelensky says world should prepare for possible use of nuclear weapons by Russia

The world should prepare for the possible use by Russia of nuclear weapons, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky told journalists Saturday, repeating an earlier warning.

"We shouldn't wait for the moment when Russia decides to use nuclear weapons," he said in an interview with Ukrainian news media. "We must prepare for that."

Anti-radiation medicine and air raid shelters would be needed, he said. The Russians, he said, "can use any weapon, I'm convinced of it".

9:56pm: A difficult return for Irpin residents

“In Irpin, just over two weeks after the Russian army was forced out by the Ukrainians, there are some signs that things are beginning to return to normal, According to the Ukrainian police, people are beginning to return to the city to check whether their houses are still intact,” says FRANCE 24’s Rob Parsons.

8:34pm: All urban areas of Mariupol cleared of Ukrainian forces, says Russia

The Russian defence ministry on Saturday announced it had cleared the entire urban area of Mariupol of Ukrainian forces and said only a few fighters remained in the Azovstal steelworks, the scene of repeated clashes.

In an online post, the ministry said that as of April 16, Ukrainian forces in the besieged port city had lost more than 4,000 people, RIA added. Russian forces have been trying for several weeks to take the port, which is on the Sea of Azov, a body of water to the northeast of the Black Sea.

6:37pm: ‘Elimination’ of last Mariupol troops would end talks with Moscow, says Zelensky

“The elimination of our troops, of our men (in Mariupol) will put an end to any negotiations” between Ukraine and Russia, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with the Ukrainska Pravda news website.

“That will be an impasse as we don't negotiate neither our territories nor our people.”

The strategic port of Mariupol has been among the hardest hit after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. Capture of the port would allow Russia to connect by land the Crimean peninsula, which it annexed in 2014, and the Moscow-backed separatist statelets in Ukraine's east.

4:25pm: UN says another 40,000 Ukrainians have fled the war

Many of the nearly five million people who have fled Ukraine will not have homes to return to, the United Nations said Saturday as another 40,000 fled the country in 24 hours.

UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, said 4,836,445 million Ukrainians had left the country since the Russian invasion on February 24 -- a number up 40,200 on Friday's total.

The UN's International Organization for Migration (IOM) says nearly 215,000 third-country nationals -- largely students and migrant workers -- have also escaped to neighbouring countries, meaning more than five million people in all have fled Ukraine since the war began.

4:03pm: Russian plane lands in Paris to bring back nationals expelled by France

A special plane chartered by Moscow was at Roissy airport on Saturday to take back to Russia some 140 Russian nationals expelled by France, AFP reported. Some 137 passengers, "persona non grata" with their families and relatives, were boarding the plane in the middle of the afternoon.

France announced earlier this month the expulsion of 41 Russian diplomats who it said were engaged in espionage activities under cover of their embassies, saying the sanction was part of a "European approach".

3:15pm: One killed in Russian missile strike on Kyiv

Russia stepped up air strikes on Kyiv on Saturday, killing at least one person at a tank factory a day after Moscow warned it would renew attacks following two weeks of relative calm in the Ukrainian capital.

Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said at least one person was killed and several wounded in the attack.

Smoke rose from the Darnyrsky district in the southeast of the capital after what Moscow said were “high-precision long-range” strikes on the armaments plant.

2:20pm: Finns living near border keep a watchful eye on Russia

In the Finnish town of Imatra, on the country's eastern border with Russia, residents are keeping a watchful eye on their neighbours to the east as tensions mount over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. For some, the threat of confrontation with Russia recalls one of the darker chapters in the country's past.

11.30am: Russia bans entry for UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Moscow on Saturday announced it was banning entry to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and several other top UK officials, after London imposed sanctions on Russia over its military operation in Ukraine.

"This step was taken as a response to London's unbridled information and political campaign aimed at isolating Russia internationally, creating conditions for restricting our country and strangling the domestic economy," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

10:34am: US confirms belief that Ukrainian missiles sunk Russian warship

An American official on Saturday confirmed that they believed the Russian warship, the Moskva, was sunk by two Ukrainian anticruise Neptune missiles.

In Sevastopol, the largest city in Crimea, dozens of residents gathered to mourn former flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, FRANCE 24's Leo McGuinn reports.

10:24am: Rusia takes credit for attacks on military targets

Russia's defense ministry said Saturday its forces had struck a military hardware factory in Kyiv, a day after warning of intensified attacks on the Ukrainian capital.

"High-precision long-range air-launched weapons destroyed production buildings of an armaments plant in Kyiv," the ministry said in a statement on Telegram.

Russia also destroyed production buildings of an armoured vehicle plant in Kyiv and downed one Ukrainian SU-25 aircraft near the city of Izyum in Kharkiv Oblast of eastern Ukraine, Interfax news agency quoted Russia's defence ministry as saying on Saturday.

09:54am: Military hardware factory in Kyiv hit by strikes

A military hardware factory in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv was hit by strikes early Saturday, an AFP journalist said, a day after Russian forces bombed a missile unit outside the city.

Smoke rose from the area and there was a heavy police and military presence after Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko announced on social media there had been explosions in the city's Darnyrsky district.

09:03am: Ukrainian police investigate more than 900 bodies found in Kyiv region

Police investigations continue in to more than 900 hundred civilian bodies that Ukrainian authorities report have been found in areas surrounding Kyiv.

"A very high percentage of those who have been killed have been killed by sniper fire and other weapons," said FRANCE 24’s Rob Parsons, reporting from Kyiv.

Ukrainian authorities say they have identified over 200 Russian soldiers suspected of being involved in the killings that they hope to bring to justice in criminal court.

08:52am: Nine humanitarian evecuation corridors agreed for Saturday

Ukraine Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said nine humanitarian corridors had been agreed for Saturday to evacuate civilians, including from the besieged city of Mariupol by private cars.

Vereshchuk said in a statement that five of the nine evacuation corridors were from Ukraine's Luhansk region in the east of the country, which local officials have said is under heavy shelling.

08:15am: Rescuers and medics onsite following Kyiv explosion

Rescuers and medics were working on the site of an early Saturday blast on the outskirts of Kyiv, the mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, said in an online post.

The explosion took place in Kyiv's Darnytskyi district, Klitschko said in a post on the Telegram messaging app. It is the southeastern district of Kyiv, on the left bank of Dnipro river.

Klitschko added that information on wounded is being confirmed.

07:23am: 2,500 to 3,000 Ukrainian troops have died in war, says Zelensky

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday told CNN that between 2,500 to 3,000 Ukrainian troops have died so far in the war with Russia and another 10,000 have been injured.

06:54am: Missile factory attacked in Kyiv produced weapons that sank Russian warship, says Ukraine

Russia pounded a Ukrainian rocket factory following the sinking of its Black Sea flagship, as President Volodymyr Zelensky said his allies could shorten the war by delivering the weapons he had requested.

The Vizar factory, near Kyiv's international airport, was seriously damaged in the overnight strikes, an AFP journalist saw on Friday.

Russia said it had used sea-based long-range missiles to hit the plant, which Ukraine's state weapons manufacturer says produced Neptune cruise missiles -- the projectiles both Kyiv and Washington say were used to sink the Moskva warship.

"There were five hits. My employee was in the office and got thrown off his feet by the blast," Andrei Sizov, the 47-year-old owner of a nearby wood workshop, told AFP.

"They are making us pay for destroying the Moskva," he said.

>> Analysis: Russia loses warship, says attacks on Kyiv will increase

06:03am: Explosions heard in Kyiv and Lviv, says local media

Explosions were heard in the early hours on Saturday in Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, and the western city of Lviv, local media reported.

Air raid sirens were going off over most of Ukraine early on Saturday.

There has been no official confirmation of the explosions.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)

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