Ukraine

DOZENS of people are feared dead after a bomb hit a school in east Ukraine, where government forces are battling Russian troops and separatists.


Luhansk region’s governor, Serhiy Haidai, confirmed two deaths, saying 60 people were feared dead under the rubble of the school in Bilohorivka.

About 90 people had been sheltering in the building and 30 were rescued, seven of them wounded, he added.

Mr Haidai said a Russian plane had dropped the bomb on Saturday. His accusation could not be verified independently and there was no immediate response from Russia.

Luhansk has seen fierce combat as Russian troops and separatist fighters seek to surround government forces, just over two months since the start of the Russian invasion.
Much of Luhansk, which along with Donetsk forms part of the Donbas region, has been under the control of the separatists for the past eight years.

Bilohorivka is close to the government-held city of Severodonetsk, where heavy fighting was reported in the suburbs on Saturday. One Ukrainian newspaper, Ukrayinska Pravda, says the village became a “hot spot” during fighting last week.


The blast brought down the building which caught fire and it took firefighters three hours to extinguish the blaze, according to the governor, writing on Telegram.


He said almost the entire village had been sheltering in the basement of the school.
The final death toll would only be known when the rubble had been cleared, the governor said.


US First lady Jill Biden makes surprise visit to Ukraine
United States of America (US) First lady Dr. Jill Biden made a surprise trip to Ukraine yesterday, meeting with the first lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska and visiting with Ukrainian children who have been displaced by the ongoing war with Russia.


Biden, who embarked on her trip to Eastern Europe on Thursday, crossed the border from Slovakia into southwestern Ukraine on Sunday afternoon for the unannounced visit to a public school in Uzhhorod that was converted into a temporary shelter, housing 163 Ukrainians, including 47 children. It was a rare visit by a U.S. first lady into a war zone.


The first lady was greeted by Zelenska, who has not been seen in public since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24, according to a U.S. official. The official said the two women have exchanged correspondence over the last few weeks.

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“I wanted to come on Mother’s Day,” Biden told reporters traveling with her. “We thought it was important to show the Ukrainian people that this war has to stop, and this war has been brutal, and that the people of the United States stand with the people of Ukraine.”


Zelenska called the visit by Biden a “very courageous act.”

Russia claims attack on U.S.-supplied weapons in Ukraine
Russia’s high-precision missiles destroyed weapons and equipment at a railway station near the town of Soledar, according to a Russian defence ministry statement reported by Reuters.


Moscow said the supplies had been sent to Ukrainian forces by the United Stated and unspecified Western countries, Reuters reported.


Russia has today also targeted Ukraine’s cultural jewel and Black Sea port Odesa, according to local reports seen by the Press Association.

Canadian PM Trudeau promises new weapons and support for Ukraine
The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau yesterday promised new weapons and military equipment for Ukraine.


He was speaking from the capital Kyiv during a surprise visit to Ukraine. Earlier he appeared in Irpin, northwest of Kyiv, the local mayor said.


UK Labour leader accused of hypocrisy over lockdown event
DEPUTY Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Dominic Raab has accused Sir Keir Starmer, Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition of “hypocrisy” after police launched an investigation into whether he breached Covid rules in 2021.


The deputy PM stopped short of calling for the Labour leader to quit over what he called “rank double standards”.


But he said Sir Keir had “a bunch of questions to answer” about the event.


Labour’s Lisa Nandy said the gathering at a Labour MP’s office was a work event and it was “absurd” to compare it to Boris Johnson’s “serial partying”.


When the Metropolitan Police launched an investigation into Covid rule-breaking in No 10 in January, Sir Keir said the PM should quit, but the Labour leader has now ruled out resigning himself.


Asked if Sir Keir should resign, Ms Nandy told the BBC’s Sunday Morning show the two situations were “not the same”.


“Downing Street was under investigation for 12 separate gatherings which we now know included karaokes, celebrations, leaving drinks, garden parties, pub quizzes and suitcases of wine,” added the shadow levelling up secretary.


She argued that to compare that with “a work meeting where people stopped to eat” was “pretty desperate” and accused the Conservatives and “their cheerleaders in the media” of “flinging mud”.


And she insisted that as a former director of public prosecutions – in charge of the Crown Prosecution Service – Sir Keir was “not the sort of man to tear up the rulebook”. In a Sky News interview, she described her leader as “Mr Rules”.


But Justice Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister Mr Raab said the Labour leader was guilty of “complete hypocrisy” and had “a bunch of questions to answer” about the Durham event.


He avoided saying whether he thought the Labour leader should resign, saying the government was focused on issues that mattered more to voters, such as the cost of living.


Labour has cancelled an event for Monday in which Sir Keir was due to give a speech and take questions from journalists ahead of Tuesday’s Queen’s Speech. The Institute for Government think tank, which was hosting the event, was not given any specific reasons for why Labour had cancelled it.
The Labour Party has declined to comment.

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