Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (May 3)
As Tuesday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day:
A new barrage of Russian missile attacks across Ukraine included targets in the western city of Lviv. Local authorities said rockets hit electrical substations, damaging the city's electrical grid and disrupting the water supply. Russia's Interfax news agency quoted the military as saying the Russian artillery hit more than 400 Ukrainian targets over the past day.
Russian forces attacked the besieged steel plant in the bombed-out Ukrainian port city of Mariupol. Russian news agency RIA Novosti claimed this was in response to Ukrainian forces inside the plant breaking an earlier cease-fire to get into firing position. Dozens of civilians previously evacuated from the Azovstal plant have reached Ukraine-controlled Zaporizhzhia, but many more are believed to still be sheltering inside. A United Nations humanitarian official said about 30 people evacuated from the plant chose to stay in Mariupol.
Hungary and Slovakia are pushing back against a potential phase-in of a ban on Russian oil in Europe, citing their dependence on such imports. European leaders have been meeting in Brussels to hash out new sanctions against Russian energy. This could include a full oil embargo, though Hungary and Slovakia might receive exemptions.
Pope Francis said he offered to travel to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a bid to help stop the war. He said he made the offer in the first month of the Ukraine invasion, which began Feb. 24, but has not yet heard back. Francis said NATO's "barking at Russia's door" perhaps led the Kremlin to "react badly and unleash the conflict."
Russia has so far skirted the risk of economic default. Russia's dollar payments on two bonds appear to be going through after the country tapped its domestic reserves of the U.S. currency.
The Biden administration said WNBA superstar Brittney Griner is being wrongfully detained by the Russian government — a shift in language that indicates the U.S. will likely work more aggressively to secure her release. The State Department hadn't gone so far in its previous statements about Griner, who was arrested at an airport outside Moscow in February after authorities there reportedly found vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage.
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