Live updates | Ukraine says Russian attacks continue in east

KYIV, Ukraine – The Ukrainian military says Russian forces have continued to press their attacks in the east.

The General Staff of the Ukrainian armed forces said Sunday that the Russians fired on Ukrainian positions along the entire line of contact on the war’s 60th day. It also said the Russian military intensified its offensive and assault operations in the Siverodonetsk, Kurakhiv and Popasna directions.

A regional official in eastern Ukraine says at least eight people have been killed by the Russian shelling.

Luhansk regional Governor Serhiy Haidai said Sunday that two others were wounded by the Russian barrage in the past 24 hours.

The General Staff added that Russian forces have also continued to pummel the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, hitting it with air strikes, including by long-range aircraft.

The shelling comes as the Russians are pressing their offensive in a bid to gain full control over Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland called Donbas.

The Russians have also shelled the Dnipro region west of Donbas, where at least one person was killed by a Russian missile, according to Dnipro regional Governor Valentyn Reznichenko.

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KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:

– Ukrainian counterattacks slowing Russian offensive in the east

– Ukrainian village faces a churchless Easter

– Sanctions hit Russian economy, though Putin says otherwise

– Refugees in the Czech Republic make protective vests for volunteer fighters

– Possible mass graves near Mariupol shown in satellite images

– Follow all AP stories on Russia‘s war on Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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OTHER DEVELOPMENTS:

KYIV, Ukraine – The Ukrainian military said Saturday it destroyed a Russian command post in Kherson, a southern city that fell to Russian forces early in the war.

The Ukrainian military intelligence agency posted a statement saying the command post was hit on Friday and two generals were killed and one was critically wounded.

Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said in an online interview that 50 senior Russian officers were in the command center when it came under attack. He said their fate was unknown.

The Russian military did not comment on the claim, which could not be confirmed.

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KYIV, Ukraine – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said new evidence is emerging that shows Russian troops killed tens of thousands of civilians in Mariupol and then tried to cover it up. He said Ukraine has intercepted Russian conversations about “how they are concealing the traces of their crimes.” Satellite images have shown what appear to be mass graves dug in towns to the west and east of Mariupol.

Zelenskyy said the Russians set up “filtration camps” near Mariupol for those trying to leave the city, which has largely been reduced to rubble. He said those who survive these camps are sent to areas under Russian occupation or to Russia itself, often as far as Siberia or the Far East. Many of them, he said, are children.

He said he spoke with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday about the situation in Mariupol and the general course of the war.

Zelenskyy promised to find and punish those responsible for the missile attack on Odesa, which he said killed eight people and wounded 18.

Zelenskyy urged Ukrainians to observe a curfew and not attend Orthodox Easter services overnight. The lengthy services traditionally begin late Saturday and run through Sunday morning. “But starting from 5 a.m. you may go to the church in your city, town or community,” he said.

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SLOVIANSK, Ukraine – The sound of outgoing artillery and air raid sirens were heard Saturday in Sloviansk, a town in northern Donbas that had come under Russian attack the day before.

Two servicemen were brought to a hospital from a nearby town, but one of them was mortally wounded and could not be saved.

The Russian strike early Friday had damaged several buildings, including a school.

The war has brought back painful memories for residents of Sloviansk, where in 2014 Ukrainian government forces repulsed Russia-backed separatists after a fierce battle. In the years since, the separatists maintained control over part of the Donbas, and Moscow has now set out to capture the entire region.

Anna Direnskaya, 70, said she and her son and daughter-in-law decided to remain in Sloviansk.

“I lived through 2014. I was also here. I didn’t go anywhere and I don’t want to go anywhere. I am not hiding from myself,” she said while sitting in a wheelchair outside her damaged apartment building. “I want peace.”

Direnskaya, who like many in eastern Ukraine is a native Russian speaker, said she wishes the Russians would understand that Ukrainians are not bad people and there is no enmity between them.

“Why did this happen? Why is this happening? I don’t know. Tell everyone I want peace and quiet,” she said.

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KYIV, Ukraine – Ukraine’s president says he will meet Sunday in Kyiv with the U.S. secretary of state and secretary of defense.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke of the plans Saturday during a press conference. He did not immediately share more detail about the visit from Antony Blinken and Lloyd Austin.

The White House declined to comment on Saturday. The U.S. State Department also declined comment.

Zelenskyy has for weeks urged Western allies to send Ukraine more weapons to counter the Russian invasion.

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WARSAW, Poland – Poland and Ukraine have signed an agreement increasing cooperation in the railway transport sector, aiming to help Ukraine maintain its trade exchange with foreign countries as the Russian invasion affects its ports.

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and Poland’s premier, Mateusz Morawiecki, met on Saturday in Krakow, Poland.

Morawiecki said on Facebook that they both agreed that current sanctions on Russia are insufficient, which can be seen by the condition of the “Russian currency, bonds or inflation.” They appealed to the international community for tougher steps that would stop Russia’s aggression on Ukraine and for more military aid to help Ukraine.

Morawiecki drew special attention to the plight of civilians seeking protection in a steel plant in Mariupol, as he called for the assistance.

“In Mariupol soldiers – or rather Russian criminals want to make women and children starve to death. They are waiting until they run out of water. What kind of strategy is that? This is not war. This is genocide.”

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