++ Ukrainian War: Russia storms Mariupol steelworks

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Of: Julius Fastnacht, Tobias Utz


The situation in the Ukraine war continues to deteriorate – militarily, diplomatically and humanitarianly: Tuesday’s news.

  • Germany probably supplies tank howitzers: Ukraine should receive weapons from the federal government
  • Parts of Ukraine are to be annexed: Russia wants the “people’s republics” of Donetsk and Lugansk.
  • War of Russian Aggression in Ukraine: US warns of escalation of war in Ukraine. You can read all about the conflict in Ukraine in our news ticker. This is continuously updated.

+++ 1:45 p.m.: According to media reports, Russian troops have begun storming the besieged Azovstal steelworks in the disputed Ukrainian port of Mariupol. “They bombarded us from the air all night […] and now Azovstal is stormed,” the Ukrajinska Pravda newspaper said on Tuesday, citing the deputy commander of the Ukrainian Azov regiment, Svyatoslav Palamar. Palamar said two civilians were also killed in the recent Russian attacks.

Smoke rises from the Mariupol steelworks. The site was already attacked on Monday May 2. (File photo) © Valery Melnikov/Imago Images

There was initially no official confirmation from the Russian side. However, the state news agency Ria Novosti, citing a Defense Ministry spokesperson, reported that Azov fighters entrenched in the factory premises had used a ceasefire to return to their firing positions. These would now be attacked with artillery and air.

Ukrainian War: Nine dead near Donetsk

+++ 1:30 p.m.: According to a report, nine people were killed in Russian attacks in the Donetsk region. This was announced by the responsible governor, Pavlo Kyrylenki, according to the Kyiv Independent news portal.

+++ 12:45 p.m.: Vladimir Putin signed a decree on retaliatory actions. This applies in particular to economic sanctions. The president’s office in Moscow said the decree was a reaction to “hostile actions by some foreign states and international organizations.” Putin had already announced this last week.

For example, the new decree prohibits the export of raw materials and products to certain organizations or individuals. A passage that allows Russian businessmen to disregard their obligations to their contractual partners is particularly problematic. According to the presidential office, a precise list of sanctions will be established in the coming days.

War in Ukraine: the federal government probably supplies self-propelled howitzers

+++ 12:00 p.m.: The Federal Government has apparently decided to deliver seven Panzerhaubitz 2000s from Bundeswehr stocks to Ukraine. This is reported by the daily Welt – and points out that the decision of the Chancellery and the Ministry of Defense was probably taken against the advice of leading military experts from the Bundeswehr. As a result, they noted that only about 40 of the 119 2000 self-propelled howitzers are currently operational in the Bundeswehr. It was also questioned whether the howitzers would be of any use to Ukraine.

Ukrainian war: Russia is responsible for the death of 220 children

+++ 11:15 a.m.: Russia is responsible for the deaths of 220 children, according to the Ukrainian prosecutor general. More than 406 people have also been injured in the war in Ukraine so far, as reported by the Kyiv Independent news portal. “The figures are likely higher because they do not include child victims in areas where hostilities are still ongoing, as well as in temporarily occupied or recently liberated areas,” the report said.

War in Ukraine: the humanitarian situation in Mariupol a “catastrophe”

+++ 10:45 a.m.: According to Doctors Without Borders, the humanitarian situation in the port city of Mariupol, besieged for weeks, is a “total disaster”. This was explained to the newspapers of the Funke media group by the organization’s emergency coordinator in Ukraine, Anja Wolz. “I don’t think we have any idea what we’re going to see there. Butscha, Irpin and Hostomel are just the tip of the iceberg,” says Wolz. There is currently practically no way to bring medicine to Mariupol. In addition, there is a lack of medical personnel on site to treat the injured.

Ukraine War: Concerns over Russian mobilization in Ukraine grow

+++ 10:15 a.m.: In Ukraine, there are fears that Russian attacks will intensify significantly in the coming weeks. On Tuesday, several Ukrainian media outlets picked up a report by US television channel CNN on speculation that Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin could declare a state of war in Russia and order general mobilization in just a few days. Such plans could be made public by Putin on May 9, the “Day of Victory” over Nazi Germany. Ukraine’s military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov also spoke about Russian preparations for an open mobilization of soldiers and reservists. There is no evidence on this. So far, Russia has only officially spoken of a “special operation” in Ukraine.

The Kremlin did not initially react to the latest rumours. In the first weeks after the attack on the neighboring country on February 24, Moscow commented on the concerns of its own population and stressed that a general mobilization was not planned. Even in the case of such an order, however, the scope would be completely unclear: Russian legislation also provides for the possibility of partial mobilization, which would then only affect individual regions of the giant country.

Ukrainian war: the British secret service with a new prognosis

+++ 10:00 a.m.: The British secret service sees the Russian army considerably weakened in the war in Ukraine. According to the latest situation report from the Ministry of Defense, the ongoing invasion of Ukraine will have a lasting impact on the armed forces. Russia’s defense budget doubled between 2005 and 2018. However, “modernization of material equipment” did not allow Russia to “dominate Ukraine”. According to British intelligence, the Russian military failed in strategic and operational execution.

Ukrainian War
A Ukrainian tank on a road near Sviatohirsk in the Donbass. (File photo) © Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP

War in Ukraine: Pope wants audience with Putin

+++ 9:30 a.m.: Pope Francis has requested an audience with Vladimir Putin. He wants to meet the Russian president in Moscow, he told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. However, he fears “that Putin cannot or will not have this meeting at the moment,” the pope continued. A visit to kyiv, on the other hand, is not planned. “I feel like I shouldn’t go there. First I have to go to Moscow, first I have to meet Putin,” Francis said in an interview. However, he is just a priest who only does what a priest can do – “if only Putin would open the door”.

+++ 9:15 a.m.: A scandal erupted in international airspace off the island of Rügen: German Air Force Eurofighters pushed back a Russian military plane.

Ukrainian war: Russian plan to annex Donbass leaks

First report for Tuesday, May 3, 8:45 a.m.: Washington DC – If the United States has its way, Russia will soon try to incorporate the two self-proclaimed “people’s republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk in the east of the country into the Ukraine conflict. In doing so, he could resort to a strategy strongly reminiscent of the annexation of Crimea in 2014: manipulated referendums on the union of the two separatist regions. This was announced by the American Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Michael Carpenter, on Monday 3 April.

The diplomat gave more details about the Russian plans:

  • Marked referendums on the annexation of Donbass must take place from mid-May.
  • Russia is planning a similar action in the Kherson region in southern Ukraine, which it already controls militarily. Moscow wants to impose the use of the ruble as the local currency.
  • Fake referendums are “not considered legitimate” – such as the referendum on the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014.

The American secret service was already right in its predictions: weeks before the start of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the United States had urgently warned of the danger of Russian forces invading the neighboring country. Washington thus came up against the skepticism of the Western allies.

This is another reason why OSCE Ambassador Carpenter called reports of recent Russian annexation plans “very credible.” “Unfortunately, we were more right than wrong in disclosing (Russia’s) next steps.”

Ukraine War: US State Department Responds to What Happened

Meanwhile, Carpenter was not the only US diplomat to comment on the news of the war in Ukraine on Monday. A Pentagon representative from the US Department of Defense also commented on the recent developments:

  • Russian Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov visited Donbass last week. He stayed there for “several days”, but is now thought to have returned to Russia.
  • Reports that Gerasimov was injured in a Ukrainian attack may be wrong.
  • Although the Ukrainian army bombed a Russian command center in the town of Izyum south of Kharkiv, Gerasimov had probably paid a visit. At the time of the Ukrainian attack, however, he was apparently no longer there.
  • Russia is making “minimal” progress in the Donbass. Russian soldiers take control of individual villages – but then lose control again to the Ukrainian army.

(jf/tu with dpa/AFP)

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