It’s mid-afternoon in Kyiv. Here’s what you need to know

Ukraine has accused Russian forces of threatening global food security by stealing wheat, and there’s a continued military bombardment across the east of the country. There’s fresh hope for civilians trapped inside a steel plant in the southern city of Mariupol, however.

Here are the latest developments:

  • Eastern assault: Heavy shelling by Russian forces is continuing along “the entire line of contact” in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, Ukraine’s General Staff of the Armed Forces said Friday. Russian troops also struck an important railway hub and supply line for Ukrainian troops in the country’s east, according to video footage published on Thursday and Friday.

600 injured in recent bombing of Azovstal steel plant, Mariupol mayor says

The mayor of Mariupol said that more than 600 people were injured in Russian bombing that struck the makeshift hospital facility within the besieged Azovstal steel complex.

“You already know that they dropped bombs on the hospital, aerial bombs destroyed the hospital, and that is a sign of a war crime, because the number of wounded before that was 170, and now it is over 600,” the mayor, Vadym Boichenko, said on Ukrainian television.

The Azovstal plant was heavily bombed on Wednesday night, according to multiple accounts.

A screen grab shows what is said to be the aftermath of Russian bombardment of a military field hospital in the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol, Ukraine, on April 28.
A screen grab shows what is said to be the aftermath of Russian bombardment of a military field hospital in the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol, Ukraine, on April 28. (Azov Regiment/Reuters)

Boichenko also claimed that the Russians had set up four “filtration” centers in the city where those who want to be evacuated are screened.

“If someone leaves the city and he is, in one way or another, connected with the civil service, with the municipal service, they get the sad news that they go to prison. Such people are being held and tortured there,” he claimed.

CNN cannot verify the mayor’s allegations. He said some families who wanted to leave for Ukrainian territory were being forced to go to Russian-controlled areas.

  • “Illegal theft of grain”: Ukrainian officials have accused Russian forces of “robbing” wheat from parts of the country they have occupied, a move which increases the threat to international food supplies. “The looting of grain from the Kherson region, as well as the blocking of shipments from Ukrainian ports and the mining of shipping lanes, threaten the world’s food security,” the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said in a statement reported by Reuters. The ministry also demanded that Russia stops “the illegal theft of grain, unblock Ukrainian ports, restore freedom of navigation and allow the passage of merchant ships.” CNN is unable to verify these allegations independently and the Kremlin has said it had no information on the matter.
  • Last stand at the steel plant: The Ukrainian President’s office said renewed efforts would be made to evacuate people from the Azovstal industrial complex in Mariupol, where hundreds of civilians are thought to be trapped. But Russian forces have closed off an area in the city, potentially ahead of another attempt to storm the plant, a Ukrainian official has said. The pocket of fighters entrenched at the steel works has become a symbol of Ukraine’s unwavering resistance in the face of an enemy that far outnumbers them.
  • Civilian casualties: A Ukrainian journalist has died as a result of a missile attack on Kyiv’s Artem plant, according to a Kyiv police spokesperson. Vira Hyrych, 54, was identified in a rescue operation early Friday after the Kyiv mayor initially reported no casualties. A friend of Hyrych’s told CNN that she worked as a journalist for Radio Liberty in the Ukrainian capital. Iryna Androsova, also a Radio Liberty journalist, said Hyrych’s body was found in her apartment on the second floor of a building next to the factory. 
  • UK to fly war crime experts to Ukraine: The UK will send a team of war crime experts to Ukraine to help investigate “atrocities” by Russian troops in the country, British officials have said. They will arrive in Poland next week to meet the Ukrainian government, international partners, NGOs and refugees, according to a statement from the Foreign Office. The aim is to help gather evidence to prosecute Russian war crimes, it said Friday. The team will include experts in conflict related sexual violence, following reports of abuse by Russian forces in Ukraine.
  • Diplomatic relations: Sweden and Finland could deepen their military cooperation if the security situation in the Baltic Sea region deteriorates generally or is triggered by a potential application to join NATO, Finland’s Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said Friday. But, standing alongside his Swedish counterpart Ann Linde at a Helsinki news conference, Haavisto said that neither country has decided yet whether to apply for NATO membership. Russia has previously warned that such a move could lead to a more aggressive stance from Moscow. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has accepted an invitation to attend the G20 summit that will be held on the Indonesian island of Bali in November, the country’s President Joko Widodo said Friday. 

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