- Washington says Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claim that Moscow “liberated” the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol is “yet more disinformation”.
- Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy calls for more weapons and tougher sanctions against Russia as its eastern offensive continues.
- US President Joe Biden pledges more heavy artillery, ammunition and drones to Ukraine as part of a new $800m weapons package.
- World Bank chief says Russia’s invasion has caused $60bn in damage to buildings and infrastructure across Ukraine so far.
Here are all the latest updates:
US helping collect evidence of possible war crimes in Ukraine: Attorney general
The US has been in contact with Ukraine’s prosecutor and is assisting with the preservation and collection of evidence of war crimes committed by Russia, US Attorney General Merrick Garland has said.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) launched an investigation into possible war crimes in Ukraine in early March.
Jordan says its reserves have cushioned fallout of Ukraine war
Jordan’s stockpile of wheat reserves, its fuel contracts, and its healthy foreign currency reserves have so far helped it absorb the Ukraine war’s impact on its economy, the finance minister has said.
“Jordan has prepared well for such a crisis,” Al Ississ told Jihad Azour, the director of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Middle East and Central Asia Department, in an online discussion.
“If history has taught us anything, it is the most vulnerable who suffer,” Al Ississ said.
Mariupol mayor says lives of city’s trapped residents are in Putin’s hands
Putin alone can decide the fate of the 100,000 civilians still trapped in Ukraine’s war-torn Mariupol, Mayor Vadym Boichenko has told the Reuters news agency.
Boichenko said satellite images of a mass grave site were proof that Russian forces were burying bodies to try to hide the death toll.
“It’s important to understand that the lives that are still there, they are in the hands of just one person – Vladimir Putin. And all the deaths that will happen after now will be on his hands too,” Boichenko said.
Trudeau says Canada would support Sweden and Finland joining NATO
Canada would support adding Sweden and Finland to the NATO military alliance, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted both countries to consider joining.
“Conversations are being had around Sweden and Finland looking to join NATO, and Canada, of course, is very supportive of that,” Trudeau told reporters.
What’s in the latest US military aid package for Ukraine?
The Pentagon has unveiled more details about a new US military aid package to Ukraine, which Biden said aims to help bolster Ukrainian forces respond to Russia’s offensive in the country’s east.
The Pentagon said the aid is “tailored to meet critical Ukrainian needs for today’s fight as Russian forces launch a renewed offensive” in the eastern Donbas region.
Biden announced the new $800m assistance package earlier on Thursday, adding that he would be asking US lawmakers for more funds to keep the military aid “flowing without interruption” to Ukraine.
Read more here.
Obama official to coordinate aid to Ukraine
Biden has tapped retired Lieutenant General Terry Wolff, a former three-star Army general and former National Security Council official during the Obama administration, to coordinate billions of dollars in security assistance being sent into Ukraine.
Wolff recently joined the Biden White House but his appointment has not been formally announced, according to a White House official who was not authorised to comment and spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
As an army officer, Wolff served three tours of duty in Iraq and has held senior roles at the Pentagon, Joint Staff, and State Department. In 2015, the Obama administration appointed him to serve as deputy special presidential envoy for the global coalition to counter ISIL (ISIS).
Zelenskyy says Russia has rejected proposal for an Easter truce
Zelenskyy has said Russia rejected a proposal for a truce over the Orthodox Christian Easter period this weekend, but added he still harboured hopes for peace.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had earlier this week appealed for a four-day truce during the Holy Week to allow for civilian evacuations and the delivery of humanitarian aid.
The Orthodox Easter service starts late on Saturday into Sunday morning.
Ukrainian troops begin training in Britain as Johnson steps up support
A small number of Ukrainian troops are being trained in Britain, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said, as the UK steps up its military support to Ukraine.
The troops began training with armoured patrol vehicles donated by the UK this month, the spokesman said. “It is only sensible that they get requisite training to make best use of it,” the spokesman said.
“We are always conscious of anything perceived to be escalatory but clearly what is escalatory is the actions of Putin’s regime.” Britain is providing Ukraine with 120 armoured patrol vehicles, including the Mastiff, which can be used as a reconnaissance or patrol vehicle.
‘Yet more disinformation,’ US says of Russian claim about Mariupol
The US State Department has said it understood Ukrainian forces still held ground in Mariupol and called Putin’s claim to have liberated the city “yet more disinformation from their well-worn playbook”.
Putin hailed Russia’s “liberation” of the Ukrainian port city after Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu told him Moscow controlled it, apart from the Azovstal steel plant.
“Block off this industrial area so that not even a fly can escape,” Putin said in a televised meeting, adding it would be “impractical” to storm the huge industrial area, where more than 2,000 Ukrainian servicemen remain, according to Shoigu.
OAS suspends Russia as permanent observer
The Organization of American States (OAS) has adopted a resolution suspending Russia as a permanent observer to the inter-governmental institution over the invasion of Ukraine.
The move comes as pressure is growing to exclude Russia from various international organisations in response to the war. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken welcomed Russia’s OAS suspension.
Complete text of the resolution “Suspension of the Status of the Russian Federation as a Permanent Observer of the Organization of American States” adopted by the #OAS Permanent Council pic.twitter.com/uGulsmLuWR
— OAS (@OAS_official) April 21, 2022
US defence chief to host Ukraine talks at US base in Germany next week
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will host Ukraine-focused defence talks with allies at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on April 26, the Pentagon has said.
“The goal is to bring together stakeholders from all around the world for a series of meetings on the latest [Ukrainian] defence needs and … ensuring that Ukraine’s enduring security and sovereignty over the long-term is respected and developed,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.
Kirby did not say how many allies would participate.
Mass grave site near Mariupol expanded in recent weeks: US company
Satellite imagery from near the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol shows a mass grave site that has expanded in recent weeks to contain more than 200 new graves, a private US company has said.
Maxar Technologies said a review of images from mid-March through mid-April indicates the expansion began between March 23 and 26. The site lies adjacent to an existing cemetery in the village of Manhush, 20 kilometers west of Mariupol, Maxar said.
Al Jazeera could not independently verify the imagery.
US again warns China against backing Russia in war
US Secretary of State spokesman Ned Price has warned China against supporting Russia in its military offensive, but said Washington does not believe Beijing has provided any weapons to Moscow.
“We offered an assessment a couple of weeks ago that we had not seen any such support on the part of the PRC [People’s Republic of China]. That remains the case today,” Price told reporters.
“We’ve made clear that any country that seeks to undermine our sanctions regime or seeks to provide support to Russia’s war effort in Ukraine would face consequences,” he added.
Chinese president says talks, not sanctions resolve conflicts
Xi Jinping has said his government supports negotiations and opposes the “wanton use” of sanctions to resolve international disputes, remarks seen as confirming that China is sticking to its stance of refusing to criticise Russia’s invasion.
Beijing has faced calls from US and European leaders to speak out against Russian atrocities in Ukraine and pressure President Vladimir Putin to end the conflict.
Xi said China rejects “double standards, and oppose the wanton use of unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction”. Read more here.
World Bank estimates $60bn in physical damage in Ukraine
The World Bank has estimated that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused $60bn in damage to buildings and infrastructure across Ukraine so far.
World Bank President David Malpass told a conference on Ukraine’s financial assistance needs that the early estimate of “narrow” damage costs does not include the growing economic costs of the war.
“Of course the war is still ongoing, so those costs are rising,” Malpass said.
Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.
Read all the updates from Thursday, April 21 here.