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What you need to know right now

* Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Russian forces control most of Mariupol but Ukrainian troops remain in a part of it. About 120,000 civilians were blocked from leaving, he said.

* Hundreds of Ukrainian troops remain bunkered down at Mariupol’s Azovstal steel factory. Putin told his troops to blockade it.

* Putin alone can decide the fate civilians still trapped in Ukraine’s war-torn Mariupol, Mayor Vadym Boichenko told Reuters, saying satellite images of a mass grave site were proof Russians were burying bodies to hide the toll.

* Russian forces captured 42 villages in the eastern Donetsk region, an aide to Zelenskiy’s chief of staff told Ukrainian television.

* Russian forces are advancing towards Kramatorsk, also in the east, which continues to be hit by rocket attacks, the British Ministry of Defence said.

* The mayor of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city, said it was under intense bombardment.

DIPLOMACY

* U.S. President Joe Biden pledged $800 million in more weaponry for Ukraine and said he would ask Congress for more money to help the Ukrainian military.

* Newly disclosed “Ghost” drones that are part of America’s latest arms package for Ukraine were developed by the U.S. Air Force for attacking targets and are destroyed after a single use, the Pentagon said.

* Zelenskiy ruled out heading to Moscow for direct talks with Russian leaders on ending the war. He said Russia had rejected a proposal for an Easter truce.

* British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak and his Canadian counterpart Chrystia Freeland walked out of an International Monetary Fund meeting in Washington to protest the invasion of Ukraine when Russia’s delegate spoke.

ECONOMY

* Ukraine is working with lawyers on a mechanism to use frozen Russian funds to compensate it for its economic losses, its justice minister told Reuters.

* Ukraine’s central bank governor said the country expects to lose a third of its GDP in 2022.

* World Bank President David Malpass said the food security crisis caused by the war was likely to last months and that Ukraine had suffered some $60 billion worth of physical damage.

* U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urged countries that have not yet condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to do so and to avoid violating sanctions imposed on Russia.

QUOTES

* “There’s no need to climb into these catacombs and crawl underground through these industrial facilities … block off this industrial area so that not even a fly can get through”: Putin on sealing off the steel plant.

“If you have a helmet and a bulletproof vest, but you do not have a gun in your hands, you are doomed”: Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, appealing for military aid.

(Compiled by Alexandra Hudson and Rosalba O’Brien)


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