Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky claimed that Ukraine would require hundreds of billions of dollars of financial aid after the hostilities are over; Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmygal provided a number of $600 billion.
On April 21, Russian troops managed to fully control the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, although there are still some 2,000 neo-Nazis and mercenaries holed up in the area of the Azovstal metallurgical plant. Below are the main developments of the conflict as they happen.
Ukraine to require hundreds of billions of dollars of aid, Zelensky tells World Bank
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky claimed that Ukraine will require hundreds of billions of dollars of financial aid after the hostilities are over; Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmygal provided a number of $600 billion. They made such statements during a video round table, organized by the World Bank Thursday.
"Currently, we need up to $7 billion every month to compensate our economic losses. And Ukraine will need hundreds of billions of dollars more after this war to rebuild. I am certain that every one of you have such calculations," Zelensky said in his speech.
According to Shmygal, Ukrainian government has started working on a program that aims not only to "rebuild the economy, but to build a new economy in Ukraine that will be completely integrated in the EU.
"As of today, such restoration, reconstruction and transformation will cost about $600 billion," the Prime Minister noted.
During his speech, Zelensky also opined that all countries of the world must get ready to cut all relations with Russia. He also proposed an idea to impose a "tax" on Russia’s export operations, which should be handed over to Ukraine and other states that, in his opinion, may suffer from Russia’s actions.
Russian forces take Azovstal plant administration building in Mariupol - Kadyrov
Administration building of the Azovstal plant in Mariupol and the adjacent territory is under control of Russian forces, Head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov said in his Telegram channel Thursday.
"Mariupol is ours!.. The city has been taken definitively and completely… The strategically important administration building of the Azovstal plant has been taken under control, and all adjacent territory has been cleared," Kadyrov said, adding that what little remains of Ukrainian nationalists "have been blocked under a thick layer of concrete and steel inside the plant."
According to Kadyrov, once the city’s defenses were breached, "such outcome was unavoidable," even despite the complications that Russian forces had because the nationalists used civilians as hostages and picked firing positions near or inside residential buildings.
"Because of this, elimination missions were twice as difficult. Civilian losses could not have been allowed, but a threat [had to be] eliminated. Response measures have been conceived and later implemented in the shortest time span," Kadyrov said.
Earlier on Thursday, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu reported to President Vladimir Putin that Russian and Donetsk People’s Republic forces liberated the city of Mariupol. According to Shoigu, the remaining nationalists hid in the Azovstal industrial area.
Russia blacklists 29 US citizens - Foreign Ministry
Russia blacklisted 29 US citizens including top officials, businessmen, experts and reporters, as well as spouses of high-ranking US officials, Russian Foreign Ministry announced Thursday.
"In response to constantly expanding US sanctions that Joe Biden’s administration subjects more and more Russian people to - officials, their family members, as well as businessmen, scientists and artists - a total of 29 Americans including top officials, businessmen, experts and reporters forming Russophobic agenda, as well as spouses of a number of high-ranking officials, are being blacklists," the Ministry said in its statement.
The blacklisted people include US Vice President Kamala Harris and Meta [deemed extremist in Russia] CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
"Another announcement about a new expansion of the Russian blacklist will follow shortly, as part of countermeasures to US hostile actions," the Ministry said.
Moscow says Kiev readies provocation near Nikolayev to accuse Russian troops of looting
Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev, head of Russia’s National Defense Management Center, on Thursday said the Kiev regime is preparing a staged video in the village of Voskresenskoye of the Nikolayev Region to accuse Russian troops of looting.
"According to reliable information that’s become available, the Kiev regime prepared in advance another sophisticated provocation in the settlement of Voskresenskoye of the Nikolayev Region in order to discredit the Russian armed forces before the world community," he said.
Mizintsev said that at the direction of the commanders of the armed forces of Ukraine, information and psychological operations specialists conducted a staged filming of "acts of looting" allegedly committed by Russian servicemen against civilians. The footage shows militants of the 191st battalion of the 123rd territorial defense brigade dressed in Russian uniforms and using cars with the sign "Z" robbing houses and making photos and videos of their actions with mobile phones, he said.
"We are warning the so-called civilized West in advance that this next fake news by the Kiev authorities ‘about the atrocities of the Russians’ is planned to be released in the near future through the ‘unbiased and ‘independent’ Western media with the full approval of your handlers in Kiev," Mizintsev said.
According to the defense official, these provocations by the Kiev regime again demonstrate complete disregard for the fate of civilians in Ukraine.
The U.S. will provide US$800 million in new security aid to Ukraine. On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced that the United States will provide Ukraine with an additional package of security assistance worth US$800 million.
This package includes heavy artillery, weapons, dozens of howitzers, 144,000 rounds of ammunition to go with those howitzers, and more tactical drones, he said, adding that his country will continue to share "significant timely intelligence" with Ukraine.
Washington will also provide Kiev with US$500 million worth of direct economic assistance to help the Ukrainian government support civilians. So far, the Biden administration has used over US$2.4 billion out of the US$3.5 billion in direct presidential drawdown authority with regard to Ukraine that Congress has approved for FY2021.
"Next week I'm going to have to be sending to Congress a supplemental budget request to keep weapons and ammunition flowing without interruption" to Ukraine, he said.
Zelensky wants to speed up the prisoner exchange. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said his country stands ready for any format of prisoner exchange with Russia to free people from Mariupol.
"We are ready for any format of exchange for the sake of our people, both military and civilian," he said, adding that some 120,000 civilians remain in Mariupol.
Russia releases 19 Ukrainians. On Thursday, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vershchuk announced that Russia released ten Ukrainian military personnel and nine civilians. This was the sixth prisoner exchange since February 24.
She also demanded that Russia open a humanitarian corridor to evacuate Ukrainian civilians and soldiers from the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol. The Zelensky regime holds that some 100,000 civilians remain in this city.
Spain sends more weapons to Ukraine. After a meeting with President Volodymir Zelensky held in Kyiv on Thursday, President Pedro Sanchez announced that the Spanish Navy ship "Ysabel" is transporting 200 tons of weapons to Ukraine.
The new contingent also includes 30 trucks and 10 smaller vehicles, Sanchez said, promising to increase its country's humanitarian aid, which will be managed by UNICEF.
According to military correspondents Andrey Rudenko and Semyon Pegov, after Shoigu announced that Mariupol had been taken under control, military units of the DPR and the Russian Federation are being transferred to another sector of the front. https://t.co/6CTN7ChuP1 #vicktop55 pic.twitter.com/hwfW8sH52t— Victor (@Vick_top55) April 21, 2022
Greece lifts blockade of Russian tanker. The Greek authorities decided to lift the blockade of the Russian oil tanker "Pegas", which had been immobilized due to the Western sanctions.
Anti-money laundering authorities, who ordered the vessel seized on April 15, thoroughly investigated the documents submitted by the owner company. After analyzing them, they concluded that Pegas is not on the EU and NATO sanctions lists. Before the Ukrainian conflict, the ownership of the tanker was transferred to a company that is not sanctioned.
The Russian tanker was intercepted in the Caristos Port in Euboea, where it had to seek refuge after suffering a mechanical problem. All 19 Russian crew members remained on board the ship throughout this time.
Russia closes consulates of Baltic countries and expels their diplomats. On Thursday, Russia announced the closure of the Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian consulates in Saint Petersburg and Pskov. Diplomats from these will have to leave Russian territory.
The measure is due to the "principle of reciprocity" and was motivated by "the provision by the authorities of those countries of military assistance to the Kyiv regime and the cover-up of the crimes of the Ukrainian nationalists against the civilian population of Donbas and Ukraine", the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry stated.
On April 5, Latvia and Estonia closed four Russian consulates on their territories and expelled 27 diplomats and staff. A day earlier, Lithuania expelled the Russian ambassador and closed the consulate in the Lithuanian city of Klaipeda.
Guterres seeks a meeting with Putin and Zelensky. the United Nations Secretary Antonio Guterres has asked both the Russian and Ukrainian leaders to receive him to discuss steps to bring about peace. Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for the UN Secretary, said that separate letters were sent to the permanent missions of Russia and Ukraine to the UN, asking Vladimir Putin to receive Guterres in Moscow and Volodymyr Zelensky to receive him in Kiev.
Alejandro Kirk reports at Mariupol, the port in the south of the #Donbas region, where has taken place intense attacks by ultra-nationalist Azov battalion #Russia #Ukraine pic.twitter.com/dFjKkpWQNI— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) April 19, 2022