This blog has ended. Please visit our continuing coverage here.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said fresh sanctions from the West would not be "enough" to respond to the atrocities Ukrainians say have been committed in the town of Bucha, near Kyiv, where grisly images purportedly show slain civilians.
"There will definitely be a new sanctions package against Russia," Zelenskyy said in a video address Sunday night. "But I'm sure that's not enough," he said as he made an impassioned plea for a stronger international response to Russia's invasion.
Residents of Bucha have accused Russian forces of targeting civilians in a deadly campaign that Mayor Anatoliy Fedoruk said left more than 300 people dead before troops pulled out of the city. Russia's Defense Ministry has denied the claims, calling them a "provocation," despite photographs and video showing damaged city streets strewn with dead bodies.
Meanwhile, in southern Ukraine, heavy fighting has continued in the besieged port city of Mariupol, according to Britain's defense ministry. It said as efforts to evacuate residents from the besieged city were set to continue Monday.
Human Rights Watch documents apparent war crimes in Ukraine
Russian forces were accused of "apparent war crimes" in a Sunday report by Human Rights Watch, which said its investigators had documented "summary executions" and "other grave abuses" in several regions they controlled in Ukraine.
The group said in a report that it had been told about two cases of summary execution, the repeated rape of a mother and other cases of unlawful violence and threats against civilians. These offenses were committed between Feb. 27 and March 14, it said.
Russian soldiers were also implicated in looting civilian property, including food, clothing and firewood, it said.
“The cases we documented amount to unspeakable, deliberate cruelty and violence against Ukrainian civilians,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Rape, murder, and other violent acts against people in the Russian forces’ custody should be investigated as war crimes.”
Southern port city Odesa hit by missile strikes
Russian missiles struck “critical infrastructure” in the southern Ukrainian city of Odesa early Sunday, its mayor said on Facebook.
There were no initial reports of casualties, Mayor Gennadiy Trukhanov said. He did not clarify what critical infrastructure was hit. Odesa is the key strategic port on the Black Sea that serves as the main base for Ukraine's navy.
In a TV interview, Trukhanov said later that the strikes had led to fires and smoke. He added that some houses had been damaged.
Russia's military said missiles from ships and aircraft struck an oil refinery and fuel and lubricants storage facilities near the city, the Interfax news agency reported.
Odesa has not been the scene a lot of military action since the invasion. If Russian forces were to gain control of it, they could cut off Ukraine’s access to the sea and Moscow would be able to build a land corridor all the way to the border with Moldova.
Zelenskyy: Troops shell retreating Russians
LVIV, Ukraine – President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukrainian troops retaking areas around Kyiv and Chernihiv are not allowing Russians to retreat without a fight, but are “shelling them. They are destroying everyone they can.”
Zelenskyy, in his Saturday night video address to the nation, said Ukraine knows Russia has the forces to put even more pressure on the east and south of Ukraine.
“What is the goal of the Russian troops? They want to seize the Donbas and the south of Ukraine,” he said. “What is our goal? To defend ourselves, our freedom, our land and our people.”
He said a significant portion of the Russian forces are tied up around Mariupol, where the city’s defenders continue to fight.
“Thanks to this resistance, thanks to the courage and resilience of our other cities, Ukraine has gained invaluable time, time that is allowing us to foil the enemy’s tactics and weaken its capabilities,” Zelenskyy said.
Lithuania says it's the first European country to fully nix Russian natural gas
Lithuania on Saturday declared it has completely cut off Russian natural gas imports, becoming the first European Union nation to fully nix supplies from Russia's state-owned fuel supplier, Gazprom, its Ministry of Energy said in a statement.
The country has been headed toward freedom from Russian natural gas since before the February invasion of Ukraine, the ministry said. Citing data from a transmission system operator, the ministry said it had no traces of the Russian fuel in its pipelines.
"We are the first EU country among Gazprom's supply countries to gain independence from Russian gas supplies, and this is the result of a multi-year coherent energy policy and timely infrastructure decisions," said Minister of Energy Dainius Kreivys said in the statement.
Lithuanians are dependent on liquified natural gas imported through the Klaipėda Oil Terminal, the ministry said, and other imports are "enough" to satisfy its heating and cooking needs. If necessary, the country could also open gas delivery through Latvia and, starting in May, Poland, the ministry said.