Russian ground forces have attacked a massive steel plant in Mariupol, the last holdout of Ukraine's military in the city. A total of 127 people were evacuated from the Azovstal mill, and from the Mariupol area on Tuesday, in buses that arrived in government-controlled Zaporizhzia. The UN says some civilians who were rescued from Azovstal chose to stay behind and search for loved ones in the ruined city.
Meanwhile Russia struck cities across Ukraine on Tuesday evening, damaging three power plants in Lviv leaving the city partially without electricity. There was also strikes on the cities of Vinnytsia and Kirovograd in the centre of Ukraine, and Odesa in the south. Shelling at a chemical plant in Avdiivka, a city in eastern Ukraine, killed at least 10 people and wounded 15 more on Tuesday evening.
Follow Tuesday's developments as they unfolded in our live blog below.
Tuesday's key points:
- Russian ground forces have launched an assault on the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, the last holdout of Ukrainian military in the city.
- A total of 127 people were evacuated from Azovstal and the Mariupol area in buses that arrived in government-controlled Zaporizhzia on Tuesday.
- French President Emmanuel Macron spoke to Vladimir Putin on the phone and urged him to allow civilians to leave the city.
- Russia hit cities across Ukraine on Tuesday evening, and damaged three power plants in the western city of Kyvi, causing electricity blackouts in some neighbourhoods.
- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has addressed the Ukrainian parliament via videolink, announcing an extra £300 million (€357 million) in military aid.
- Germany's Chancellor Scholz has ruled out an immediate visit to Kyiv amid diplomatic tension with Ukraine.
- A diplomatic row has escalated between Israel and Russia amid international outrage at comments on Monday by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, suggesting Hitler had Jewish origins as he alleged again that Ukraine is run by Nazis.
That's the end of our Ukraine live blog for Tuesday.
We're back on Wednesday morning with all the latest developments.
Biden: Ukrainian army 'making fools of Russian military' with Javelin missiles
President Joe Biden on Tuesday credited the assembly line workers at a Javelin missile plant for doing life-saving work in building the antitank weapons that are being sent to Ukraine to stifle Russia’s invasion as he made a pitch for Congress to approve $33 billion so the US can continue hustle aid to the front lines.
“You’re allowing the Ukrainians to defend themselves,” Biden told the workers, his podium flanked by Javelin missile launchers and shipping containers. “And, quite frankly, they’re making fools of the Russian military in many instances.”
The president’s visit to the Lockheed Martin factory in Alabama also drew attention to a growing concern as the war drags on: Can the US sustain the cadence in shipping vast amounts of arms to Ukraine while maintaining a healthy stockpile it may need if conflict erupts with North Korea, Iran or elsewhere?
The US has provided at least 7,000 Javelins, including some transferred during the Trump administration, or about one-third of its stockpile, to Ukraine in recent years, according to an analysis by Mark Cancian, a senior adviser with the Center for Strategic and International Studies international security program. The Biden administration says it has committed to sending 5,500 Javelins to Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on 24 February.
Analysts also estimate that the United States has sent about one-quarter of its stockpile of shoulder-fired Stinger missiles to Ukraine. Raytheon Technologies CEO Greg Hayes told investors last week during a quarterly call that his company, which makes the weapons system, wouldn’t be able to ramp up production until next year, due to parts shortages.
Slovakia will repair Ukrainian military vehicles
A Slovak company will repair damaged Ukrainian armored vehicles, responding to a request from Kyiv, the Defense Ministry in Bratislava announced on Tuesday.
"The state-owned company Konstrukta - Defence has concluded a contract with the Ukrainian side for the repair and modernization of Ukrainian military equipment," Defense Ministry spokeswoman Martina Koval Kakascikova said in a statement.
The first batch of military equipment sent to Slovakia from Ukraine will consist of dozens of BRDM-2 armored reconnaissance vehicles, she said.
Slovakia's Prime Minister Eduard Heger and Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad had previously expressed their willingness to help Ukraine by repairing its equipment.
Based in eastern Slovakia, Konstrukta - Defence repairs vehicles and equipment of all categories used by the Slovak armed forces, according to the company's website. The company also produces ZUZANA 2 self-propelled howitzers.
Similar aid was offered to Ukraine last month by the Czech Republic, and Ukraine's Soviet-designed T-64 tanks will be repaired there.
UN Chief wants more 'humanitarian pauses' in Ukraine war
United Nations Secretary General António Guterres said on Tuesday he hoped that "more humanitarian pauses” could be organized with Ukraine and Russia, on the model of the one that allowed the evacuation of a hundred civilians from Azovstal steelworks.
“I hope continued coordination with Kyiv and Moscow will lead to more humanitarian pauses that will allow civilians to walk safely away from the fighting and help reach people where they are most needed,” Guterres he said in a statement without specifying the location.
During a video link with journalists at the UN in New York, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine, Osnat Lubrani, also hoped that the operation organized last weekend in Mariupol could be repeated.
She said there are still civilians trapped inside the sprawling Soviet-era steel mill, "some of them may have been afraid to come out, or probably couldn't get out."
Russia claims it hit 400 targets in Ukraine on Monday
The Russian military says its artillery has hit more than 400 Ukrainian targets during the last day.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said Tuesday that targets included Ukrainian artillery positions, troops strongholds and two fuel depots.
Konashenkov said Russian aircrafts have hit 39 other targets, including concentrations of troops and weapons and two command posts.
He charged that a US-supplied artillery radar, four air defense radars and six ammunition depots were among the targets destroyed with precision-guided weapons over the last day.
Konashenkov’s claims couldn’t be independently verified.
Explosions heard in western city of Lviv
Russian strikes have apparently targeted the western Ukraine city of Lviv.
The strikes happened just before 8:30 pm local time on Tuesday in multiple directions. At least four distinct explosions could be heard from downtown Lviv.
It wasn’t immediately clear what was targeted. Mayor Andriy Sadovyi wrote on a social message app that those in the city should take shelter. Trains coming out of Lviv stopped service.
Car alarms went off after the blasts and emergency sirens could be heard.
Electricity flickered momentarily in the city. Sadovyi acknowledged in another message the attacks had affected the power supply, without elaborating.
American basketball star 'unfairly detained' in Russia
The Biden administration has determined that WNBA star Brittney Griner is being wrongfully detained in Russia, meaning the United States will more aggressively work to secure her release even as the legal case against her plays out, two U.S. officials said Tuesday.
Griner was detained at an airport in February after Russian authorities said a search of her bag revealed vape cartridges containing oil derived from cannabis. Since then, US officials had stopped short of classifying the Phoenix Mercury player as wrongfully detained and said instead that their focus was on ensuring that she had access in jail to American consular affairs officials.
Now, though, US officials have shifted supervision of her case to a State Department section -- the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs -- that is focused on negotiating for the release of hostages and other Americans classified as being wrongfully detained in other countries.
“Brittney has been detained for 75 days and our expectation is that the White House do whatever is necessary to bring her home,” said Griner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas.
The president of the WNBA players' union, Nneka Ogwumike, noted in a separate statement that “it has been 75 days that our friend, teammate, sister, Brittney Griner, has been wrongfully detained in Russia.”
“It is time for her to come home," Ogwumike added. “Having learned that the US government has now determined that BG is being wrongfully detained we are hopeful that their efforts will be significant, swift and successful.”
It was unclear what prompted the shift in approach to Griner's case, though President Joe Biden's administration had been under pressure from members of Congress and others to make her release a priority.
For a summary of Monday's developments, click here.