– Ukraine said a Russian missile attack killed seven people in Lviv on Monday, the first civilian victims in the western city, and the commander of Ukrainian forces holding out in the devastated port city of Mariupol appealed to the pope for help.
FIGHTING* Lviv governor Maksym Kozytskyy said preliminary reports suggested four hits on Lviv — three strikes on warehouses that are not currently being used by the military, and another on a car service station.* Ukrainian forces in the besieged city of Mariupol are continuing to engage with the Russian military, Anton Herashchenko, an adviser to the interior minister, told national television on Monday.
* Ukraine called for Russia to facilitate a humanitarian corridor for evacuees from Mariupol and one from the steel plant that is the city’s last significant area of Ukrainian resistance.* Major Serhiy Volyna, commander of Ukraine’s 36th marine brigade which is still fighting in Mariupol, appealed for help in a letter to Pope Francis, saying women and children were trapped among fighters in the city’s steel works.* Russia said it had launched mass strikes overnight on the Ukrainian military and associated military targets.
* Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Gaidai said that Russians advanced overnight and took the town of Kreminna.
DIPLOMACY* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy formally submitted a completed questionnaire on European Union membership to an envoy on Monday and said he believed this step would lead to his country gaining candidate status within weeks.* Ukrainian foreign minister said there had not been any recent diplomatic communications between Russia and Ukraine at foreign minister level, adding the “dire” situation in Mariupol may be a “red line” in the path of negotiations.
* The Kremlin accused Ukraine of constantly changing its stance when it comes to issues that have already been agreed at peace talks.
ECONOMY* Russia on Monday flagged a likely further cut in interest rates and more budget spending to help the economy adapt to biting western sanctions as it heads for its deepest contraction since 1994.
* President Zelenskiy spoke with the head of the IMF about financial stability and post-war reconstruction. Prime Minister Shmyhal is expected to attend the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings in Washington this week.
“This is what hell looks like on earth … It’s time (for) help not just by prayers. Save our lives from satanic hands,”
Ukrainian major Volyna in a letter to the pope, referring to the situation in Mariupol.