Zelenskyy says more than 300 civilians rescued from besieged steel plant, more evacuations planned

This was CNBC's live blog tracking Saturday's developments on the war in Ukraine. Click here for the latest updates.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said more than 300 civilians have been rescued from the besieged steel plant in the southeastern coastal city of Mariupol, in what he called the first phase of an evacuation mission. Zelenskyy said preparations are now under way to get the wounded and doctors out of the plant. 

To the north in Luhansk, the regional governor said Russia dropped a bomb on a school where 90 people were taking shelter from the fighting. About 30 people have been saved from the rubble so far, Gov. Serhiy Hadai said. 

The World Health Organization has documented 200 attacks on health-care facilities in Ukraine, according to its top official. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the global health agency stands with the people of Ukraine and called on Russia to end the war.

In Washington, CIA chief William Burns said Russian President Vladimir Putin believes he cannot afford to lose in Ukraine, and will likely double down on the war. In Lithuania, Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called for a special tribunal to prosecute Russia's leadership.

A dress rehearsal for Russia's annual "Victory Day" is underway on Saturday. May 9 will mark the anniversary of the then-Soviet Union's defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.

Zelenskyy says Russia's actions 'beyond words' after missile destroys museum

Museum workers carry the sculpture of Ukrainian philosopher Hryhorri Skovoroda from the destroyed building of the Hryhoriy Skovoroda National Literary Memorial Museum in the village of Skovorodynivka, in Kharkiv Region, on May 7, 2022, on the 73rd day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Sergey Bobok | AFP | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that everyday of this war, Russian forces does something that is "beyond words," following a strike against a museum in Ukraine.

"Every day of this war, the Russian army does something that is beyond words. But every next day it does something that makes you feel it in a new way," he said in a regular late-night address on Saturday.

"Targeted missile strikes at museums — this is not even every terrorist can think of," Zelenskyy added.

The museum that was destroyed is dedicated to the 18th century philosopher and poet Hryhoriy Skovoroda.

But this is the kind of army that is fighting Ukraine, and "this is what they want to bring to other European countries," he said.

As of May 7, the Russian army has destroyed or damaged nearly 200 cultural heritage sites, according to Zelenskyy.

— Weizhen Tan

UK to provide about $1.6 billion of further military support to Ukraine

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson attend a news briefing, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine April 9, 2022.
Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | Handout

Britain said it would provide a further 1.3 billion pounds (US$1.6 billion) in military support and aid to Ukraine, making the pledge ahead of a planned video call on Sunday by Group of Seven leaders with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Prime MinisteBoris Johnson has been one of the strongest supporters of Ukraine's efforts to resist Russian forces since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion on Feb. 24. Johnson's government has sent anti-tank missiles, air defense systems and other weapons to Ukraine.

The new pledge almost doubles Britain's previous spending commitments on Ukraine and the government said this is the highest rate of spending on a conflict since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, although it did not give details of this calculation.

"Putin's brutal attack is not only causing untold devastation in Ukraine — it is also threatening peace and security across Europe," Johnson said in a statement. Last week he became the first Western leader to address Ukraine's parliament since the start of the invasion.

The leaders of the G-7 countries — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States — will hold their virtual meeting with Zelenskyy on Sunday, the day before Russia marks its Victory Day holiday, which marks the end of World War II in Europe.

Britain said the extra spending on Ukraine will come from a reserve used by the government for emergencies.


Austrian foreign minister says happy to engage with NATO, but neutrality is anchored in the public mind

Austrian foreign minister says happy to engage with NATO, but neutrality anchored in the public mind
Austrian foreign minister says happy to engage with NATO, but neutrality anchored in the public mind

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg says it is important not to forget about the Western Balkans when discussing Ukraine's potential accession to the European Union. He also shares his views on the prospect of Sweden and Finland applying to join the U.S.-led military alliance of NATO.

Zelenskyy says more than 300 people evacuated from Mariupol steel plant

Smoke rises from the Metallurgical Combine Azovstal in Mariupol, in territory under the government of the Donetsk People's Republic, eastern in Mariupol, Ukraine, Thursday, May 5, 2022.
AP Images

More than 300 civilians have been evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

"I am grateful to the teams of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations Organization, who helped us organize the first phase of the evacuation missions from Azovstal," Zelenskyy said in a video posted to Telegram.

Civilians and soldiers have been barricaded at the massive steel plant since mid-April

Zelenskyy says preparations are underway for the second phase of the evacuation mission, which includes rescuing the wounded and the doctors.

— MacKenzie Sigalos

Russia drops bomb school in eastern Ukraine, says local governor

A Russian airstrike hit a school sheltering 90 people in the eastern village of Bilohorivka, according to Luhansk Regional Governor Serhiy Haidai.

Haidai wrote in a Telegram post that about 30 people have already been saved from the rubble, and the rescue operation remains underway.

The village has become a hot spot during the conflict, according to Haidai, who went on to note that "Russian forces are trying to make a breakthrough there," and "there are constant battles" in the small town.

"They dropped a bomb on a school where almost the entire village was hiding," continued Haidai. "Everyone who did not have time to evacuate."

— MacKenzie Sigalos

Ukraine's foreign minister calls for a special tribunal to prosecute Russian leadership

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (not seen) give a press conference before a meeting of NATO foreign ministers at NATO headquarters, in Brussels, on April 7, 2022.
Dursun Aydemir | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba is calling for a special tribunal to prosecute the crime of aggression committed against Ukraine.

"We need a special Tribunal for the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine to hold Russian leadership to account," Kuleba wrote in a tweet.

"Yesterday, I addressed the first International Conference on this issue in Vilnius. Grateful to organizers and reiterate my call to support the creation of the Tribunal," continued the message.

— MacKenzie Sigalos

Senior Russian lawmaker says U.S. directly involved in Ukraine fighting

Russia's most senior lawmaker on Saturday accused Washington of coordinating military operations in Ukraine, which he said amounted to direct U.S. involvement in military action against Russia.

"Washington is essentially coordinating and developing military operations, thereby directly participating in military actions against our country," Vyacheslav Volodin wrote on his Telegram channel.

Washington and European members of the transatlantic NATO alliance have supplied Kyiv with heavy weapons to help it resist a Russian offensive that has resulted in the occupation of parts of eastern and southern Ukraine but failed to take Kyiv.

However, the United States and its NATO allies have repeatedly said they will not take part in fighting themselves, in order to avoid becoming parties to the conflict.

U.S. officials have said the United States has provided intelligence to Ukraine to help counter the Russian assault, but have denied that this intelligence includes precise targeting data.

Volodin, speaker of the lower house of parliament, the Duma, is a prominent advocate of what Moscow calls its "special operation" in Ukraine to degrade its southern neighbor's military capabilities and root out what it calls fascist elements holding sway over the government and military.

Ukraine and the West say the fascist allegation is baseless, and that Russia has carried out an unprovoked act of aggression. The conflict has killed thousands in Ukraine, and more than five million people have fled the country.

Volodin said foreign advisers had been working in Ukraine since what he called the "coup d'etat", in an apparent reference to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's democratic election in 2019.

— Reuters

WHO says it stands with people of Ukraine, urges Russia to end the war

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a press conference on December 20, 2021 at the WHO headquarters in Geneva
Fabrice Coffrini | AFP | Getty Images

The chief of the World Health Organization is appealing to Russia to end its offensive on Ukraine.

"We continue to call on the Russian Federation to stop this war," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a live media briefing on Saturday.

Tedros said the WHO stands with "all the people of Ukraine" and vowed to support the government in its efforts to treat the injured, maintain health services, and repair and strengthen Ukraine's health systems.

Thus far, the organization has verified 200 attacks on health-care facilities in Ukraine since the war began.

"These attacks must stop. Health care is never a target," Tedros said.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, the WHO has delivered trauma and emergency supplies, which they say have been put to use in over 15,000 surgeries. The medicines and health-care equipment donated to the cause have served 650,000 people, and the group will donate over 20 ambulances on Sunday, according to the WHO.

The organization has also provided 15 diesel generators to provide electricity to hospitals and health facilities, including in some of the newly