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Ukraine live news: US rejects Putin’s claim of Mariupol victory | Russia-Ukraine war News

  • Washington says Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claim that Moscow “liberated” the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol is “yet more disinformation”.
  • Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy calls for more weapons and tougher sanctions against Russia as its eastern offensive continues.
  • US President Joe Biden pledges more heavy artillery, ammunition and drones to Ukraine as part of a new $800m weapons package.
  • World Bank chief says Russia’s invasion has caused $60bn in damage to buildings and infrastructure across Ukraine so far.
(Al Jazeera)

Here are all the latest updates:

Ukrainian troops begin training in Britain as Johnson steps up support

A small number of Ukrainian troops are being trained in Britain as Prime Minister Boris Johnson steps up his military support to help Ukraine fight off Russia and the troops began training with armoured patrol vehicles donated by Britain this month, Johnson’s spokesman has said.

“It is only sensible that they get requisite training to make best use of it,” the spokesman said. “We are always conscious of anything perceived to be escalatory but clearly what is escalatory is the actions of (Vladimir) Putin’s regime.”

Britain is providing Ukraine with 120 armoured patrol vehicles, including the Mastiff, which can be used as a reconnaissance or patrol vehicle.The spokesman said Britain, in conjunction with its allies, was providing new types of equipment to Ukrainian soldiers that they may not have used before.

‘Yet more disinformation,’ US says of Russian claim about Mariupol

The US State Department has said it understood Ukrainian forces still held ground in Mariupol and called Putin’s claim to have liberated the city “yet more disinformation from their well-worn playbook”.

Putin hailed Russia’s “liberation” of the Ukrainian port city after Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu told him Moscow controlled it, apart from the Azovstal steel plant.

“Block off this industrial area so that not even a fly can escape,” Putin said in a televised meeting, adding it would be “impractical” to storm the huge industrial area, where more than 2,000 Ukrainian servicemen remain, according to Shoigu.

OAS suspends Russia as permanent observer

The Organization of American States (OAS) has adopted a resolution suspending Russia as a permanent observer to the inter-governmental institution over the invasion of Ukraine.

The move comes as pressure is growing to exclude Russia from various international organisations in response to the war. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken welcomed Russia’s OAS suspension.

US defence chief to host Ukraine talks at US base in Germany next week

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will host Ukraine-focused defence talks with allies at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on April 26, the Pentagon has said.

“The goal is to bring together stakeholders from all around the world for a series of meetings on the latest [Ukrainian] defence needs and … ensuring that Ukraine’s enduring security and sovereignty over the long-term is respected and developed,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.

Kirby did not say how many allies would participate.

Mass grave site near Mariupol expanded in recent weeks: US company

Satellite imagery from near the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol shows a mass grave site that has expanded in recent weeks to contain more than 200 new graves, a private US company has said.

Maxar Technologies said a review of images from mid-March through mid-April indicates the expansion began between March 23 and 26. The site lies adjacent to an existing cemetery in the village of Manhush, 20 kilometers west of Mariupol, Maxar said.

Al Jazeera could not independently verify the imagery.

US again warns China against backing Russia in war

US Secretary of State spokesman Ned Price has warned China against supporting Russia in its military offensive, but said Washington does not believe Beijing has provided any weapons to Moscow.

“We offered an assessment a couple of weeks ago that we had not seen any such support on the part of the PRC [People’s Republic of China]. That remains the case today,” Price told reporters.

“We’ve made clear that any country that seeks to undermine our sanctions regime or seeks to provide support to Russia’s war effort in Ukraine would face consequences,” he added.

Chinese president says talks, not sanctions resolve conflicts

Xi Jinping has said his government supports negotiations and opposes the “wanton use” of sanctions to resolve international disputes, remarks seen as confirming that China is sticking to its stance of refusing to criticise Russia’s invasion.

Beijing has faced calls from US and European leaders to speak out against Russian atrocities in Ukraine and pressure President Vladimir Putin to end the conflict.

Xi said China rejects “double standards, and oppose the wanton use of unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction”. Read more here.

World Bank estimates $60bn in physical damage in Ukraine

The World Bank has estimated that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused $60bn in damage to buildings and infrastructure across Ukraine so far.

World Bank President David Malpass told a conference on Ukraine’s financial assistance needs that the early estimate of “narrow” damage costs does not include the growing economic costs of the war.

“Of course the war is still ongoing, so those costs are rising,” Malpass said.

Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Read all the updates from Thursday, April 21 here.

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