Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (April 20)
As Wednesday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day:
Fighting intensified in Ukraine's east, including the Donbas region, where Russian troops have built up in recent weeks. Shelling continued on Ukraine's second-biggest city of Kharkiv in the northeast. Russia said it had control over most of the southeastern port city of Mariupol, under siege and heavy fire for weeks. Russian forces had surrounded the vast Azovstal steel plant in the city, with Ukrainian soldiers and civilians inside. Russia's military issued a renewed ultimatum for the soldiers to surrender.
More critical weaponry is heading to Ukraine, a senior U.S. defense official said. That includes 18 howitzers, and the U.S. is training Ukrainians outside the country on how to use the big artillery guns. The U.S. and its allies also have provided spare aircraft parts that have allowed the Ukrainians to fix and return to service more than 20 warplanes in the past three weeks, the official said.
More than 5 million people have fled Ukraine in the nearly two months of the war, according to the United Nations' refugee agency. Overall, more than 10 million Ukrainians have been displaced by the war. The vast majority of those who have fled the country — nearly 3 million — have gone to Poland, followed by other Eastern European countries like Romania and Hungary.
Russia test-launched a new intercontinental ballistic missile, which President Vladimir Putin praised as a new addition to the country's nuclear arsenal. The Sarmat missile launched from Russia's northwest and struck a target on Kamchatka in the far east. The Pentagon said Russia had notified the U.S. of the test and it was not deemed to be a threat to the U.S or allies.
Russian and Belarusian players were banned from this year's Wimbledon, including men's world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev of Russia and women's world No. 4 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus. This makes Wimbledon one of the first tennis events to suspend players from the two countries since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.
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As Russia moves on eastern Ukraine, soldiers refuse to surrender Mariupol.
You can read more news from Wednesday here and more daily recaps here. For context and more in-depth stories, you can find NPR's full coverage here. Also, listen and subscribe to NPR's State of Ukraine podcast for updates throughout the day. Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.