- Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says 300 civilians have been evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol.
- He also pledges to continue “extremely difficult, but essential” efforts to rescue fighters trapped in the steel mill.
- The United Kingdom says it will provide Ukraine with an additional 1.3 billion pounds ($1.6bn) in military support.
- Leaders of the G7 are set to hold virtual meetings with Zelenskyy later on Sunday.
Here are the latest updates:
Chechen leader says his soldiers control Ukraine’s Popasna
Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of Russia’s republic of Chechnya, says his soldiers have taken control of most of the eastern Ukrainian city of Popasna.
“Fighters of the Chechen special forces … have taken most of Popasna under control,” Kadyrov, who has often described himself as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “foot soldier”, wrote in a post on the Telegram messaging app.
“The main streets and central districts of the town have been completely cleared.”
Popasna is in the Luhansk region.
There was no immediate response from Ukraine, but an adviser to Zelenskyy said late on Saturday that heavy fighting for the town continues.
“A battle for Popasna is ongoing,” Oleksiy Arestovych said in a video on social media.
“Russian propagandists have joyfully reported that they have already taken it, but this is not quite how it is. This is their 117th ‘capture of Popasna’ claim only this week.”
G7 leaders due to hold virtual talks with Zelenskyy
The leaders of the G7 countries – UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States – are due to hold a virtual meeting with Ukraine’s Zelenskyy.
The meeting will take place on Sunday afternoon, or morning in US time, according to the White House.
The talks, which will focus on the latest developments in the Ukraine war as well as sanctions against Russia, comes a day before Moscow marks its Victory holiday.
UK to provide 1.3 billion pounds of additional military aid to Ukraine
The United Kingdom says it will provide 1.3 billion pounds ($1.6bn) in military support and aid to Ukraine.
The new pledge almost doubles the UK’s previous spending commitments on Ukraine and the British government said this is the highest rate of spending on a conflict since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, although it did not give details of this calculation.
“Putin’s brutal attack is not only causing untold devastation in Ukraine – it is also threatening peace and security across Europe,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement.
Kharkiv museum workers lament destruction of famed collection
A small provincial museum dedicated to the life and works of Ukrainian philosopher Hryhoriy Skovoroda has been destroyed in a Russian missile strike in the Kharkiv region, according to workers there.
“May 6 was a terrible night. At 10:50 pm, I got a call and was told that the museum was on fire,” said Natalia Mitsai, director of the museum.
“A bomb hit the museum. The damage was incredible. The museum is essentially destroyed.”
But by some miracle that Skovoroda himself would appreciate, a gypsum statue of him survived the shelling and subsequent fire in one piece, just slightly tarnished.
Germany to help restore water supply, rebuild houses in Ukraine
Germany has announced an aid package of 63 million euros ($66m) to help rebuild conflict-torn areas in Ukraine.
“We have boosted the immediate aid programme for Ukraine from 122 million to 185 million euros,” said German Development Minister Svenja Schulze. “This will be used to restore the drinking water supply and rebuild destroyed apartments, schools and kindergartens.”
She added, “Where the bombs have stopped falling, Germany will assist with billions for rebuilding.”
‘Hellish reality show’: Trapped Mariupol fighter pleads for help
The commander of a group of soldiers still trapped in a Mariupol steel mill has called for help after the last civilians were evacuated from Azovstal.
Serhiy Volinski, the commander of the 36th marine infantry brigade, said his troops could only now hope for a miracle, “that a higher power find a way to figure out our rescue!”
“It feels like I’ve landed in a hellish reality show in which us soldiers fight for our lives and the whole world watches this interesting episode,” complained Volinski.
“Pain, suffering, hunger, misery, tears, fears, death. It’s all real,” he added, posting a picture of himself in which he is unshaven, bleary-eyed and seems to have an injured nose.
Zelenskyy vows to rescue fighters trapped in Azovstal
Ukraine’s president has vowed to continue the “extremely difficult but essential” efforts to evacuate all those remaining in Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant.
“I want to thank the teams of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations for helping us carry out the first phase of the Azovstal plant evacuation mission,” Zelenskyy said in his night time video address.
“We managed to save more than 300 people, women and children. In fact, we took all civilians out of the Azovstal plant and are now preparing for the second stage of the evacuation mission to evacuate those who are wounded and medics.
“Of course, if everyone fulfills the agreement. Of course, if there are no lies. Of course, we are working on evacuating our military, all the heroes who are defending Mariupol. It is extremely difficult but essential.”
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.
Read all the updates from Saturday, May 7 here.