The New Arab's live coverage of the latest from Russia's invasion of Ukraine concludes for today.
Join us tomorrow for the latest updates from Ukraine.
Russia struck over 90 military targets in Ukraine overnight, killing at least 500 Ukrainian soldiers and destroying dozens of armoured vehicles, artillery and other military equipment, the defence ministry said.
Russia also said it struck two ammunition depots in Ukraine's eastern Kharkiv region.
Meanwhile, the Russian-backed separatist leader of the Ukrainian breakaway region of Donetsk urged Moscow on Tuesday to launch the next stage of its military campaign in Ukraine after reaching the region's frontiers.
Denis Pushilin, the leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, said on a Russian talk show broadcast online that the next phase of Russia's military intervention was crucial following security incidents outside the region.
He cited blasts that hit the Moldovan breakaway region of Transdniestria bordering Ukraine on Monday, as well as Russian allegations of shelling of its border regions by Ukrainian forces.
"The pace at which the (military) operation reaches our borders is important to us in order to launch its next phase, which is needed after what we witnessed in Transdniestria and Russia's border regions," RIA news agency quoted Pushilin as saying.
The New Arab is providing live updates of what's been happening on the ground and additional analysis on the conflict's significance.
Main story: The New Arab Staff & Agencies
US, allies to meet monthly on arming Ukraine: Austin
The United States and its allies will meet once a month to discuss Ukraine's defence needs to battle invading Russian troops, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said Tuesday.
"Today's gathering will become a monthly Contact Group on Ukraine's self-defence," Austin said following the first session of a weapons summit.
"The Contact Group will be a vehicle for nations of goodwill to intensify our efforts, coordinate our assistance, and focus on winning today's fight and the struggles to come," he added.
Forty nations joined Tuesday's meeting at the Ramstein US airbase in southwestern Germany, including NATO members but also countries such as Israel, Japan and Australia.
At the start of the talks, Austin had said Washington would "move heaven and earth" to help Ukraine win its battle against Russia's unprovoked invasion.
German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht meanwhile announced that Berlin has agreed to give the go-ahead to the delivery of used Gepard (Cheetah) anti-aircraft tanks to Ukraine.
Austin praised the "major decision" by Berlin to supply the 50 anti-aircraft systems, and added that Canada would also send eight armoured vehicles.
We just kicked off a historic meeting — more than 40 countries gathered together to help Ukraine win the fight against Russia's unjust invasion. Our goal is to leave here with a common, transparent understanding of Ukraine's short-term and long-term security requirements. pic.twitter.com/sRuhu7aPis— Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (@SecDef) April 26, 2022
Russia warns Britain of 'proportional response' for provoking Ukraine to attack
Russia on Tuesday warned Britain that if it continued to provoke Ukraine to strike targets in Russia then there would be an immediate "proportional response," the RIA news agency quoted the defence ministry as saying.
Britain's armed forces minister James Heappey said on Tuesday that it was completely legitimate for Ukraine to strike Russian logistics lines and fuel supplies.
He acknowledged the weapons the international community was now providing had the range to be used in Russia.
Chernobyl radiation 'abnormal' since Russian takeover: IAEA chief
The UN atomic watchdog chief on Tuesday described radiation levels at the Chernobyl nuclear disaster site as "abnormal", saying the area's brief Russian occupation had been "very, very dangerous".
"The radiation level, I would say, is abnormal," said International Atomic Energy Agency director Rafael Grossi during a visit on the anniversary of the world's worst nuclear disaster.
"There have been some moments when the levels have gone up because of the movement of the heavy equipment that Russian forces were bringing here, and when they left," he said.
Russia 'ready to cooperate' with UN to help civilians in Ukraine: Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday Moscow was ready to cooperate with the United Nations to help civilians in Ukraine, where Russia has been conducting a military operation for over two months.
"Our goals are primarily to protect the civilian population and here we are ready to cooperate with our colleagues from the UN to alleviate the plight of the civilian population," Lavrov said during a press conference with visiting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
⚡️Lavrov: 'Real risk' of nuclear war.— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) April 25, 2022
The risk of a nuclear war shouldn’t be underestimated, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told state-controlled media. Lavrov earlier said that if World War III were to take place, it would involve nuclear weapons and be destructive.
Ukraine says Russian rockets flew over Europe's biggest nuclear power plant
Ukraine's state-run atomic energy company said Russian missiles flew at low altitude over Europe's largest nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine on Tuesday, and reiterated warnings that Russia's invasion could lead to a "nuclear catastrophe".
Energoatom issued its latest warning about the risks caused by the war with Russia on the 36th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident at the now defunct Chornobyl plant, in what was then Soviet Ukraine.
The company said cruise missiles had flown over the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant during an air strike which local authorities said hit a commercial building in the city of Zaporizhzhia, killing at least one person.
"Missiles lying at a low altitude directly over the site of the ZNPP (Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant), where there are 7 nuclear facilities with a huge amount of nuclear material, poses huge risks," Petro Kotin, Energoatom's acting chief, said.
US hosts weapons summit for Ukraine as Moscow warns of world war
Top US officials hosted emergency talks with allies in Germany on Tuesday on supplying Kyiv with more weapons to fend off Russia's assault, as the UN 'schief headed to Moscow in a bid to avert further escalation of the conflict.
The meeting of 40 countries at the US Ramstein Air Base in Germany comes after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Ukraine of only "pretending" to negotiate a cease-fire and warned of a "real" risk of a new world war.
Moscow's invasion of its neighbour, now in its eighth week, has triggered widespread outrage among Western nations who have provided weapons and other assistance to Ukraine's embattled President Volodymyr Zelensky.
But the Western powers have been reluctant to deepen their direct involvement, wary of drawing Moscow's ire and sparking military confrontations beyond Ukraine's borders.
"We believe that they can win if they have the right equipment, the right support," US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said following his visit to Kyiv on Sunday with Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The two officials promised $700 million in new aid to Ukraine, after months of pleas by Zelensky for heavier firepower.
UN expecting 8.3 million refugees from Ukraine this year
The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) is expecting some 8.3 million people to flee Ukraine this year, revising up its previous projection, a spokesperson said on Tuesday.
More than 12.7 million people have fled their homes in the past two months, including 7.7 million people displaced internally and more than 5 million who have fled over borders, UNHCR spokesperson Shabia Mantoo told a UN news briefing.
UNHCR had previously planned for some 4 million refugees in the immediate aftermath of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 but this was surpassed last month.
"The scale of the crisis, definitely the rapidity of people fleeing, we have not seen in recent times," Mantoo told the briefing. Syria remains the biggest current refugee crisis in the world, with 6.8 million people having fled, she added.
The defence ministers of 40 countries are expected at a security summit at a US airbase in Germany to discuss boosting arms supplies to Ukraine and ensuring the country's longer-term security once the war is over.