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Luhansk Could Be ‘even Worse’ Than Mariupol As Russia Attacks Increase, Says Governor




The situation in Luhansk will be the same or “even worse” than in places such as Mariupol and Bucha, the region’s governor has said.

Russia has withdrawn troops from around Kyiv after failing to penetrate the city and is said to be focusing on the east, where it has long supported separatist fighters.

Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai told Sky News he feared a fresh offensive in “approximately a few days” and urged people to evacuate while they still can, in case escape routes are cut off.

He said the situation will become as bad as in Mariupol – the besieged southern city where thousands are left sheltering in basements without food, water or power.

Pro-Russian militia hoist flags in the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic in Stanytsia Luhanska on 27 February

“The thing is that some people actually don’t want to leave but they should see what the Russians did with Mariupol, Bucha, Irpin,” Mr Haidai told Sky News.

“The situation will be the same here, maybe even worse. This is why there should be no delays. Please, use our offer, evacuate to preserve life.”

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Ukrainian forces have been battling Russian-backed fighters in the Donbas – which includes the Luhansk region – since 2014 and President Putin recognised two separatist-held regions just before he launched the invasion.

Russian troops now control 70% of Luhansk, said Mr Haidai, and are already using tanks, artillery, bombs and missiles on areas still held by Ukraine.

He said he expected the ferocity of attacks to increase.

“We observe the concentration of troops. I think that they will go on an offensive in approximately a few days,” he said.

“Before that, however, they will conduct a large-scale shelling with missiles and artillery from the region’s territory held by them.”

A woman before and after she was rescued in the town of Rubizhne in the Luhansk region

The Luhansk governor told Sky News that Russian troops were “not concerned about people’s lives” and would “destroy everything that stands in their way”.

“We have many such examples when they shell schools, kindergartens. We don’t have a single hospital left that has not been shelled,” he said.

Mr Haidai said more weapons were urgently needed but that Ukrainian forces were still having success against the Russians.

“We need three things: modern antitank weapons, modern anti-aircraft weapons, and modern long-range artillery systems. We really do not have enough of these things,” said the governor.

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‘Inhumane’: Bucha residents recount horror

“But we will not meet the enemy empty-handed… I can say that there have been many recent examples when we repel all the attacks, destroy tanks, destroy enemy convoys, and the Russian army loses dozens of its troops in each attack.”

Pictures from Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, have revealed bodies of civilians apparently shot dead with their hands bound and locals reporting other apparent war crimes.

Key developments:
o Evacuations through 11 humanitarian corridors to be attempted today, says Ukraine deputy PM
o Mariupol’s humanitarian situation worsening, says UK Ministry of Defence
o Ukraine’s president tells Irish parliament Russia using hunger as ‘weapon’
o France’s president agrees to give technical support for investigation into alleged war crimes

There are fears such atrocities could be repeated and the urgency to get people to safety is increasing.

Sky’s Mark Austin will interview Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov

The governor said they were evacuating more than 1,000 people per day and called on Luhansk civilians “to evacuate either using their own transport or accept our offer”.

Eleven humanitarian corridors will be attempted from Ukrainian cities on Wednesday, according to Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk.

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WHO Estimates 15m People Have Died Directly or Indirectly From COVID – More Than Double Official Death Toll




The World Health Organisation estimates that 15 million people worldwide have now died of coronavirus – or as a result of its impact on health services.

WHO data shows the number of excess COVID mortalities to be somewhere between 13.3 million and 16.6 million people from 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2021. This is more than double the official death toll of around six million.

Excess mortality refers to the number of people who have died of the virus either directly or indirectly by being unable to access health services for other conditions.

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The figures were compiled using country-reported data and statistical modelling, the WHO said.


There were 14.9 million excess deaths associated with COVID-19 by the end of 2021, the UN body said on Thursday.

Most excess COVID deaths (86%) happened in Asia, Europe and the Americas, according to the figures.

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Middle-income countries accounted for 81% of deaths, with 28% occurring in upper-middle-income countries and 4% in low-income ones.

Some 68% of all excess deaths worldwide happened in just 10 countries.

There was a higher rate for men (57%) than there was for women (43%), with more excess deaths among the elderly than younger generations.

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WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus commented: “These sobering data not only point to the impact of the pandemic but also to the need for all countries to invest in more resilient health systems that can sustain essential health services during crises, including stronger health information systems.

“WHO is committed to working with all countries to strengthen their health information systems to generate better data for better decisions and better outcomes.”

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Pope Francis Seen Using Wheelchair for the First Time for Mobility Reasons




The Pope has been pictured using a wheelchair – the first time he’s used one in public due to the knee pain that’s made it hard for him to walk and stand.

Francis, 85, was wheeled on stage and helped into a seat during an audience with a group of nuns and religious superiors from around the world at the Vatican.

He appears to be having a flare-up of sciatica, a nerve condition he suffers with that he’s called his “troublesome guest”.

The Pope has had to cancel or cut short activities several times in the last month because of pain in his right knee.

He was pictured in a wheelchair last July after major intestinal surgery, but this is believed to be the first time he’s used one in public due to his mobility problems.


Before Thursday’s event, he was able to walk the roughly 10 metres or so from the side entrance of the stage to his seat with some help.

He recently received some injections to try to relieve the pain but has continued to struggle.

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His impaired movement was apparent over Easter when he attended but did not take charge of masses at St Peter’s Basilica, instead delegating a cardinal or archbishop to preside.

During a trip to Malta in April he was also pictured using an elevator platform to get on and off the plane.

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Woman Pulled Alive From Rubble Six Days After Building Collapsed




A woman has been found alive in the rubble of a building that partially collapsed almost six days earlier, Chinese state media has said.

At least five people are confirmed to have died and possibly dozens are still missing following the disaster in the city of Changsha, in central China‘s Hunan Province, on 29 April.

The unidentified woman has become the 10th survivor and was rescued shortly after midnight today, about 132 hours after the rear of the six-storey building suddenly caved in, the official Xinhua News Agency has reported.

The woman was conscious and told rescuers how to pull her out without causing further injury, Xinhua added.

Teams had used dogs and hand tools as well as drones and electronic life detectors in the search.


All the survivors were reportedly in good condition after being treated in a hospital and it is thought intermittent rain showers over the last few days may have helped their chances of survival without food or water.

At least nine people have been arrested in relation to the collapse of what Xinhua has described as a “self-built building”.

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This includes its owner, on suspicion of ignoring building codes or committing other violations.

Three people in charge of design and construction were also held, along with five others who allegedly gave a false safety assessment for a guest house on the building’s fourth to sixth floors.

The building also housed residences, a cafe and shops.

An aerial photo shows the site of the collapsed residential building in Changsha, central China’s Hunan Province

There has been increase in the number of collapses of self-built buildings in recent years.

Last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for additional checks to uncover structural weaknesses.

Following the building collapse at the weekend, he urged for more victims to be found in the rubble “at all costs”.

Poor adherence to safety standards, including the illegal addition of extra floors and failure to use reinforcing iron bars, is often blamed for similar disasters.

China also suffers from decaying infrastructure such as gas pipes that has led to explosions and collapses.

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