Ukrainian service members fire as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Saturday. Reuters
President Volodymyr Zelensky is also set to hold talks with G7 leaders via video conference to discuss the situation in his country, which fears a renewed intensity to Moscow's offensive after the evacuation of civilians from Mariupol's Azovstal steelworks.
The complex — the final pocket of Ukrainian resistance in the devastated port city — has taken on a symbolic value in the war, with the last soldiers holed up in its sprawling network of underground tunnels and bunkers.
Taking full control of Mariupol would allow Moscow to create a land bridge between the Crimean peninsula, which it annexed in 2014, and regions run by pro-Russian separatists in the east.
Smoke rises from the Metallurgical Combine Azovstal during shelling, in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Saturday. AP
"The enemy is trying to finish off the defenders of Azovstal, they are trying to do it before May 9 to give (Russian President) Vladimir Putin a gift," Oleksiy Arestovych, an aide to Ukraine's president, said.
Ukraine's far-right Azov battalion, leading the defence at the steelworks, said one of its fighters had been killed and six wounded when Russian forces opened fire during an earlier attempt to evacuate people by car.
Zelensky said hundreds of people had been removed from the plant Saturday and that preparations for another stage of evacuation comprising the wounded and medics were under way.
Civilians who have escaped have described passing through Russian "filtration" sites where several evacuees told AFP they were questioned, strip-searched, fingerprinted, and had their phones and documents checked.
A destroyed residential area is seen after Russian shelling in Irpin, Ukraine, on Saturday. Reuters
"They asked us if we wanted to go to Russia or to stay in (eastern Ukraine's self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic) or stay and rebuild the city of Mariupol," said Azovstal evacuee Natalia, who spoke on condition that her full name not be published.
"But how can I rebuild it? How can I return there if the city of Mariupol doesn't exist anymore?"
Earlier, Kyiv's defence ministry said Russian forces had resumed their assault on the site, despite talk of a truce to allow trapped civilians to flee.
Russia's forces may be seeking to hand Putin a win ahead of Monday's Victory Day, when the country celebrates its 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany.
With the date fast approaching, Ukrainian officials fear more intense missile and artillery bombardments and renewed assaults as Moscow scrambles for symbolic victories.
Heavy fighting also raged on Wednesday at the Azovstal steel mill in Mariupol that represented the last stronghold of Ukrainian resistance in the ruined southern port city, according to the mayor.
Oleh Synehubov, the head of Kharkiv’s regional administration, made the announcement Tuesday via a message on social media. Izyum is in the Kharkiv region.
The governor of Luhansk warned that Ukrainian soldiers may have to retreat from Sievierodonetsk to avoid being surrounded. But he predicted an ultimate Ukrainian victory.
Nearly 40 miles (60 kilometres) to the east, Russian troops on Saturday sought to encircle Ukrainian defenders in the manufacturing center of Sievierodonetsk, where the fighting cut power and cellphone service and terrorised the civilians who hadn't fled.
The shooters claimed that the woman wanted to marry her cousin Waqas, brother of Abbas, who was living in Italy but her brother opposed it. According to the report, the brother wanted her sister to marry a well-educated person, but she refused.
Several infrastructure projects and emissions from nearby refineries were the possible reasons, said a government official who did not want to be named as he was not authorised to talk to the media.
"I think it's very exciting that the UAE, an OPEC member, is going to host COP28, and it's so important that you have an oil and gas producing nation step up and say we understand the challenge of the climate crisis,” Kerry told Reuters in an interview.