(Reuters) – Russia gave Ukrainian fighters still holding out in Mariupol a fresh ultimatum to surrender as it pushed for a decisive victory in its new eastern offensive, while Western governments pledged more military help to Kyiv.
* Russia called on Ukrainian troops at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol to surrender, saying its troops will observe a ceasefire while the proposal is in effect. No Ukrainian fighters responded to a similar call on Tuesday, Russia said.* About 120 civilians living next to the plant left via humanitarian corridors, the Interfax news agency reported, quoting Russian state TV.* Russian forces seized Kreminna, an administrative centre of 18,000 people in Luhansk, one of the two Donbas provinces.
* Russia handed over 60 soldiers and 16 civilians to Ukraine in the fifth such exchange of prisoners of war, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister said.
* At least four people were killed and 14 wounded in Russian shelling of Kharkiv, the regional governor said.
* U.S. President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged to send more artillery weaponry to Ukraine.* Western nations are preparing to stage coordinated walk-outs and other diplomatic snubs to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at Wednesday’s meeting of G20 finance ministers in Washington.
* Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak said it was hard to say when the next direct peace talks would be possible as Russia was now “seriously betting” on its offensive in eastern Ukraine.
* U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for a four-day humanitarian pause in fighting in Ukraine over the Orthodox Easter.
* Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, who started transitioning to the IMF’s economic counselor role in January, said the war in Ukraine may damage expectations for decades-high inflation to start to subside this year.
* Russia’s war in Ukraine is to blame for exacerbating “already dire” world food insecurity, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said.
* World Bank President David Malpass will host a meeting on Thursday with Ukraine’s prime minister and finance minister to discuss further financial assistance.
* “The Russian army will forever inscribe itself in world history as perhaps the most barbaric and inhuman army in the world,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a video address.
(Editing by Himani Sarkar and Lincoln Feast)