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Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (May 4)

The PCK oil refinery, which is majority-owned by Russian energy company Rosneft and processes oil coming from Russia via the Druzhba pipeline, in Schwedt, Germany.
Hannibal Hanschke
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The PCK oil refinery, which is majority-owned by Russian energy company Rosneft and processes oil coming from Russia via the Druzhba pipeline, in Schwedt, Germany.

As Wednesday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day:

The European Union has proposed to cut itself off from Russian oil. The ban would hit at a pillar of Russia's economy by phasing out the import of Russian crude oil to Europe within six months, and refined oil by year's end. Russia is the EU's top supplier of oil, and Germany warned the move could lead to a surge in oil prices. Hungary and Slovakia want exemptions from the oil ban, and the Czech Republic has sought a longer phase-in. The European Commission also moved to disconnect Russia's biggest bank from the international SWIFT system.

Fighting continues at the Azovstal plant, the final holdout of Ukrainian forces in the strategic coastal city of Mariupol. The Russian military has claimed it seized the city, but Ukrainian troops and civilians remain inside the vast bunkers and tunnels under the steel plant. Aid workers are working to evacuate more people from the facility. Dozens who recently escaped the weeks-long siege describe the situation inside.

Russian attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure are targeting the flow of weapons and other supplies. Russia's military claimed its missiles had disabled six Ukrainian railway stations used to ship Western arms to Ukrainian forces in the country's east. The Kremlin has long complained about the West providing arms to Ukraine, and cited that as one of the justifications to launch what it still calls a "special operation" to demilitarize Ukraine.

The Pentagon said Russian attacks on railroads and electricity infrastructure have had "no appreciable impact" on the ability of the U.S. and its allies to deliver aid. Russia is firing roughly 40 to 50 missiles a day into Ukraine, according to a senior U.S. defense official. The strikes are focused on the front-line Donbas region in the east and nearby Mariupol, with some also targeting major hubs such as Lviv in the west and the capital Kyiv.

In-depth

Ukrainian doctors describe delivering babies as Russia shelled the hospital.

How cooking oil prices are affecting the global economy: NPR's Planet Money dips into the war's impact on exports of sunflower and palm oil.

Residents of Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine are struggling as the city runs out of food and gas. Hear their stories.

As the White House seeks to boost aid to Ukraine, a retired colonel weighs in on the rise of Javelin missiles.

Earlier developments

You can read 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.

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