Steve May 7, 2022
  • 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.

INTERACTIVE Russia Ukraine War Who controls what Day 73

Here are the latest updates:

Bomb attack on Luhansk school, two reported dead

The bodies of two people have been pulled out of the rubble of a school building in the town of Belogorovka in the Luhansk region, according to Ukraine’s emergency services.

Authorities there said some 90 people had been sheltering in the school when the Russians dropped a bomb on Saturday.

Al Jazeera could not verify the reports independently.

What is the cost of the energy war between Russia and Europe?

Russian President Vladimir Putin is making good on his threat to turn off the natural gas supply to Europe.

Supplies to Bulgaria and Poland have been halted after the two countries refused to pay for gas in roubles. Other European countries may also be cut off within weeks if they reject Russia’s demand.

The European Union, however, has dismissed the move as “blackmail” and is under pressure to cut the cord on Russian energy. The bloc has proposed a complete ban on Russian oil imports by the end of this year.

What is the cost of this energy war?

Watch the latest episode of Counting the Cost to find out.

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, in the Luhansk region.

Kadyrov, who has often described himself as Putin’s “foot soldier”, made his announcement on the Telegram messaging app.

There was no immediate response from Ukraine but Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Zelenskyy, said late on Saturday that heavy fighting for the town continues.

“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,” he said in a video on social media.

G7 leaders to hold virtual talks with Zelenskyy

The leaders of the G7 countries – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the United States – are due to hold a virtual meeting with 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, come a day before Moscow marks its Victory holiday.

UK to provide 1.3 billion pounds of additional military aid to Ukraine

The UK 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 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.

“Putin’s brutal attack is not only causing untold devastation in Ukraine, it is also threatening peace and security across Europe,” UK 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 attack 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 … a bomb hit the museum,” said Natalia Mitsai, director of the museum. “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. “[T]o 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 Azovstal has called for help after the last civilians were evacuated from Azovstal.

“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,” Serhiy Volinski, commander of the 36th marine infantry brigade said.

“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. He added that his troops could only hope for a miracle now.

Zelenskyy vows to rescue fighters trapped in Azovstal

Zelenskyy has pledged to continue the “extremely difficult but essential” efforts to evacuate all those remaining in Azovstal.

“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,” Zelenskyy said in his nighttime video address.

“We managed to save more than 300 people, women and children … 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.

An aerial view shows shelling in the Azovstal steel plant complex, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Mariupol, Ukraine, in this screen grab taken from a handout video released on May 5, 2022.
An aerial view shows shelling in the Azovstal steel plant complex in this screen grab taken from a handout video released on May 5, 2022 [Azov Regiment/Handout via Reuters]

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Read all the updates from Saturday, May 7 here.

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