Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Sunday that Russian leader Vladimir Putin was responsible for “war crimes,” during a visit to Ukraine where he met with President Volodymyr Zelensky. Follow FRANCE 24's live updates below. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).
11:40pm: UK slaps fresh sanctions on Russia, Belarus
The UK on Sunday said it was slapping fresh sanctions on Russia and Belarus over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, including import tariffs on precious metals and export bans.
The import tariffs, including on platinum and palladium, target trade worth £1.4 billion ($1.7 billion or 1.6 billion euros), while export bans worth £250 million target Russia's manufacturing and heavy industry, said a statement from the Department for International Trade.
"This far-reaching package of sanctions will inflict further damage on the Russian war machine," said Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan.
"It is part of a wider coordinated effort by the many countries around the world who are horrified by Russia's conduct and determined to bring to bear our economic might to persuade (Russian President Vladimir) Putin to change course."
The UK's new sanctions bring the total value of products subjected to full or partial import and export sanctions to more than £4 billion.
11:30pm: Russia has 'forgotten' all that mattered to WWII victors, says Zelensky
Russia has forgotten everything that mattered to the victors of World War II, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday, a day before Moscow commemorates the Soviet Union's defeat of Nazi Germany.
Denouncing Russia's heavy shelling in the east of the country including one strike on a school that he says killed 60 people, he added: "Russia has forgotten everything that was important to the victors of World War II."
While normal people associated the anniversary with peace and the slogan "Never again!", Russia was continuing its attacks, said Zelensky in his nightly address.
Russia will on Monday mark the 77th anniversary since victory in what Russia calls the Great Patriotic War.
10:16pm: Evacuees from Azovstal plant reach Zaporizhzhia
A convoy of buses carrying evacuees from southeastern Ukraine, including some 40 civilians who had been holed up in the Azovstal steel plant in besieged Mariupol, arrived on Sunday in the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhzhia, a UN official said.
Osnat Lubrani, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine, said eight buses had arrived in the city. About 40 of the 174 evacuees on board had been rescued from the steel plant. Lubrani said in a statement that the evacuations brought to more than 600 the number of people evacuated from the area in the past 10 days.
"Our work, however, is not yet done," she said in the statement. "The UN is aware that scores of people who wanted to join the evacuation convoys over the last days were unable to do so. We will continue our engagement with both parties to the conflict to make sure that those who want to leave have the guarantees to do so safely and in the direction of their choice."
8:21pm: 'Putin is responsible for heinous war crimes', says Canadian PM Justin Trudeau
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Sunday that Russian leader Vladimir Putin was responsible for “war crimes,” during a visit to Ukraine where he met with President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“It is clear that Vladimir Putin is responsible for heinous war crimes,” Trudeau said at a news conference with the Ukrainian leader, adding that “there must be accountability” and that he had "witnessed first-hand the brutality of Russia's illegal war".
6:58 pm Putin's actions in Ukraine 'bring shame on Russia': G7
Russian President Vladimir Putin's “unprovoked war of aggression” in Ukraine has brought “shame on Russia and the historic sacrifices of its people," the G7 group of wealthy nations said Sunday in a statement.
“Russia has violated the international rules-based order, particularly the UN Charter, conceived after the Second World War to spare successive generations from the scourge of war,” said the statement, made as the G7 met by videoconference and commemorated the end of World War II in Europe.
“We remain united in our resolve that President Putin must not win his war against Ukraine,” it said.
6:27pm: US sanctions target Russian media
The United States will sanction three major Russian television stations, and deny all Russian companies access to consulting and accounting services offered by US firms, according to a statement released Sunday by the White House.
The moves against Joint Stock Company Channel One Russia, Television Station Russia-1, and Joint Stock Company NTV Broadcasting Company prohibit any US company from financing them through advertising or selling them equipment.
6:13pm: G7 countries commit to stop importing Russian oil
The entire G7 club of rich nations is "committed to phasing out or banning the import of Russian oil," the White House said Sunday, escalating pressure on Moscow over the invasion of Ukraine.
"This will hit hard at the main artery of Putin's economy and deny him the revenue he needs to fund his war," the Biden administration said in a statement, without specifying exactly what commitments the G7 members — France, Germany, Canada, Italy, Japan, Britain and the US — have made.
The United States, which was not a major consumer of Russian hydrocarbons, has already banned their import.
4:34pm: Canadian PM Justin Trudeau visits Ukrainian town of Irpin
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made on Sunday an unannounced visit to the Ukrainian town of Irpin, which had been temporary held by Russian troops, the town's mayor said on Telegram.
“I’ve just had an honor to meet with the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, who came to Irpin to see with his own eyes all the horror which Russian occupiers have caused to our town,” Oleksandr Markushyn said on his Telegram channel.
4:15pm: US first lady makes unannounced visit to Ukraine
US first lady Jill Biden made an unannounced visit to western Ukraine on Sunday, holding a surprise Mother’s Day meeting with the nation’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, as Russia presses its punishing war in the eastern regions.
Biden traveled under the cloak of secrecy, becoming the latest high-profile American to enter Ukraine during its 10-week-old conflict with Russia. “I wanted to come on Mother’s Day,” Biden told Zelenska. “I thought it was important to show the Ukrainian people that this war has to stop and this war has been brutal and that the people of the United States stand with the people of Ukraine.”
The first lady traveled by vehicle to the town of Uzhhorod, about a 10-minute drive from a Slovakian village that borders Ukraine. She spent about two hours in Ukraine.
On this Mother’s Day, my heart is with you, First Lady Olena Zelenska, and all of the brave and resilient mothers of Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/tCMXCXhgiY
— Jill Biden (@FLOTUS) May 8, 2022
3:15pm: U2's Bono puts on 'freedom' show in Kyiv metro
Irish rock star Bono praised Ukraine's fight for “freedom” during a performance in a metro station in downtown Kyiv Sunday, where the U2 frontman also issued his own prayer “for peace”.From the platform of a Kyiv metro station, the 61-year-old rock icon belted out U2 classics “Sunday Bloody Sunday”, “Desire” and “With or without you”.
“The people in Ukraine are not just fighting for your own freedom, you are fighting for all of us who love freedom,” said Bono during a break.
12:58pm: Jill Biden visits Ukrainian mothers and children, says Russian war is 'hard to understand'
US first lady Jill Biden spent Mother’s Day in Slovakia, meeting with Ukrainian mothers who have been displaced by Russia’s war and assuring them that the “hearts of the American people” are behind them.
At a bus station in the city of Kosice that is now a 24-hour refugee processing center, Biden found herself in an extended conversation with an emotional Ukrainian woman who said she struggles to explain the war to her three children because she cannot even explain it to herself.
“I cannot explain because I don’t know myself and I’m a teacher,” Viktoriia Kutocha, who had her arms around her 7-year-old daughter, Yulia, told Biden.
At one point, Kutocha asked “why?” seeming to seek an explanation for Russia’s decision to invade Ukraine on Feb. 24.
"It’s so hard to understand,” the first lady replied.
Biden, wearing a flower corsage on her wrist — a Mother's Day gift from President Joe Biden — also dropped in at a Slovakian public school that has taken in displaced students.
Biden is on a four-day visit to Eastern Europe to highlight US support for Ukrainian refugees and for the allied countries, like Romania and Slovakia, that are providing a safe haven for them.
In Košice, Slovakia, the local bus station has transformed into a 24 hour aid center.
Here, humanitarian workers welcome Ukrainians after they cross the border, providing warm food and clothing, plus medical aid and counseling. pic.twitter.com/TA9P7cIC4j
— Jill Biden (@FLOTUS) May 8, 2022
12:45pm: Britain pledges an extra $1.6 billion in military aid to Ukraine
Britain will provide an extra 1.3 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) in military support to Ukraine to help the country defend against Russian forces, officials said Sunday.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, U.S. President Joe Biden and leaders from other Group of Seven countries are expected to hold online talks with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday to discuss the further support.
The meeting is partly meant to display unity among Western allies on Victory in Europe Day, which marks Nazi Germany's surrender in 1945.
10:51am: Sixty feared dead in Ukraine school bombed by Russia, governor says
As many as 60 people were feared to have been killed in the Russian bombing of a village school in the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk, the regional governor said on Sunday.
Governor Serhiy Gaidai said Russian forces dropped a bomb on Saturday afternoon on the school in Bilohorivka where about 90 people were sheltering, causing a fire that engulfed the building.
"The fire was extinguished after nearly four hours, then the rubble was cleared, and, unfortunately, the bodies of two people were found," Gaidai wrote on the Telegram messaging app. "Thirty people were evacuated from the rubble, seven of whom were injured. Sixty people were likely to have died under the rubble of buildings."
Reuters could not immediately verify the report.
10:46am: Zelensky says evil has returned in VE Day address
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday evil has returned to Ukraine as he gave an emotional address for Victory Day, when Europe commemorates the formal surrender of Germany to the Allies in World War Two.
"The evil has returned. Again!" Zelensky said. "In a different form, under different slogans, but for the same purpose."
But he said Ukraine will emege triumphant: "No evil can escape responsibility, it cannot hide in a bunker."
9:41am: Russia says it hit Ukrainian warship near Odesa
Russia's defence ministry said on Sunday it had destroyed a Ukrainian corvette warship near Odesa by a missile strike overnight.
The ministry also said its air defences had shot down two Ukrainian SU-24 bombers and a helicopter over the Snake island in the Black Sea. Reuters could not independently verify the report.
9:40am: Ukraine VE Day 'aligned westwards'
"This is May 8, Victory Day in Europe, marking the defeat of the Nazis at the end of the Second World War; now, interestingly, until 2015, the year after the Russian occupation of Crimea began, Victory Day in Ukraine was marked tomorrow, on the 9th of May," FRANCE 24's Nadia Massih reported from Kyiv. "But since that occupation of Crimea, the authorities here in Kyiv took the decision to effectively align themselves westward rather than eastward."
8:53am: Russia's Gazprom continues gas exports to Europe via Ukraine
Russian gas producer Gazprom said it was supplying natural gas to Europe via Ukraine on Sunday in line with requests from European consumers.
Requests stood at 92.1 million cubic metres (mcm) for May 8 compared with 92.4 mcm on May 7.
7:06am: Bombing of school in Ukrainian town kills at least two
Two people have been killed in the Russian bombing of a school in the Ukrainian village of Bilohorivka and 60 who remained under debris are feared dead, Serhiy Gaidai, governor of the Luhansk region, said on Sunday.
Gaidai said Russia dropped a bomb on Saturday afternoon on the school where about 90 people were sheltering. Thirty people have been rescued.
"Seven of them were injured," Gaidai wrote in a post on the Telegram messaging app. "Sixty people were likely to have died under the rubble of buildings."
6:59am: Mariupol defenders face final showdown with Russian invaders
President Volodymyr Zelensky is also set to hold talks with G7 leaders via video conference to discuss the situation in his country, which fears a renewed intensity of Moscow's offensive after the evacuation of civilians from Mariupol's Azovstal steelworks.
The complex — the final pocket of Ukrainian resistance in the devastated port city — has taken on a symbolic value in the war, with the last soldiers holed up in its sprawling network of underground tunnels and bunkers.
Taking full control of Mariupol would allow Moscow to create a land bridge between the Crimean peninsula, which it annexed in 2014, and regions run by pro-Russian separatists in the east.
"The enemy is trying to finish off the defenders of Azovstal, they are trying to do it before May 9 to give (Russian President) Vladimir Putin a gift," Oleksiy Arestovych, an aide to Ukraine's president, said.
Ukraine's far-right Azov battalion, leading the defence at the steelworks, said one of its fighters had been killed and six wounded when Russian forces opened fire during an earlier attempt to evacuate people by car.
Zelensky said hundreds of people had been removed from the plant Saturday and that preparations for another stage of evacuation comprising the wounded and medics were under way.
(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP and REUTERS)