Putin agrees to Azovstal evacuation, as Poland gas supply halted | #cybersecurity | #cyberattack


President Vladimir Putin has agreed “in principle” for the UN and ICRC to be involved in the evacuation of civilians from the Azovstal plant in Mariupol, the United Nations said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Follow-on discussions will be had with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the Russian Defence Ministry,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement after Putin met with its secretary-general Antonio Guterres in Moscow today.

At the same meeting, Putin alleged he had ordered his forces not to assault the vast plant, which has reportedly been acting as a shelter to Ukrainian civilians.

Elsewhere, Poland’s climate ministry has said that the country’s energy supplies are secure after Gazprom informed Poland‘s PGNiG that it would cut off supplies through the Yamal pipeline on Wednesday morning.

Climate minister Anna Moskwa said there was no need to draw gas from reserves and that gas to Polish customers won’t be cut.

Key points

  • Germany vows to send heavy weapons for first time
  • More than 8 million expected to flee Ukraine this year, UN says
  • ‘Nuclear threat should not be underestimated’, warns Russia
  • Russia hits faraway targets in Ukraine
  • UK estimates 15,000 Russian troops killed in Ukraine

Ammunition depot on fire in Belgorod, says governor

04:51 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

An ammunition depot near the village of Staraya Nelidovka, located just 20 miles from the Ukrainian border in the east, was ablaze, governor of Belgorod Oblast Vyacheslav Gladko alleged on Wednesday.

“I contacted the head of the Golovinsky rural settlement, Denis Zolotukhin. According to preliminary information, an ammunition depot is on fire near the village of Staraya Nelidovka,” Mr Gladkov was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying.

“There is no destruction of residential buildings, houses. There are no casualties among the civilian population,” he added.

Russia claims its Belgorod region has been shelled multiple times by the Ukrainian forces.

After Poland, Russia halts gas supply to Bulgaria

04:47 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Russian energy giant Gazprom is suspending gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria from Wednesday, the Nato countries have said.

Russian president Vladimir Putin has demanded that countries he terms “unfriendly” agree to a scheme under which they make payments for Russian gas imports in roubles. Both Bulgaria and Poland have refused to do this.

The two countries are the first to have their gas cut off by Europe’s main supplier since Moscow launched its invasion of Ukraine in mid-February.

Poland’s gas supply contract with Gazprom covers about 50 per cent of national consumption.

Bulgaria, which meets 90 per cent of its gas needs with Gazprom’s imports, said it has taken steps to find alternative supplies and no restrictions on consumption was required for now.

Germany ‘evicting’ Afghan refugees to accommodate people fleeing Ukraine

04:00 , Emily Atkinson

Germany has displaced Afghan refugees from government accommodation to make way for Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s invasion, according to reports.

Hundreds of Afghan families are being evicted in Berlin to create space for incoming refugees fleeing Ukraine, Foreign Policy reported. The German government justified it by saying that Afghans were being removed from “arrival centres” designed for short term stays.

However, activists said that some refugees had been evicted from the accommodation they had lived in for years.

“The evictions purposefully weren’t publicised,” said Tareq Alaows, a board member of the Berlin Refugee Council.

Thomas Kingsley has the story:





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Germany ‘evicting’ Afghan refugees to accommodate people fleeing Ukraine

Watch: Boris Johnson says Putin is popular enough in Russia to back down on Ukraine

03:00 , Emily Atkinson

U.S. offers $10 mln reward for information on Russian intelligence officers -State Dept

02:00 , Emily Atkinson

The United States on Tuesday offered a reward of up to $10 million for information on six people it described as Russian military intelligence officers who had conducted cyber attacks affecting critical U.S. infrastructure.

The six officers work in a cyber-focused unit of Russia‘s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) and were involved in a 2017 global malware attack that infected the computers of several private U.S. entities, including a hospital system, the U.S. State Department said.

The 2017 “NotPetya” cyber attack crippled parts of Ukraine’s infrastructure and damaged computers in countries across the globe including France, Germany, Italy and the United States, causing billions of dollars in estimated damage.

Russia denies any involvement in the incident.

Reuters

Putin’s alleged mistress may be sanctioned by US over Ukraine invasion, reports say

01:00 , Emily Atkinson

The United States is reportedly considering imposing sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s alleged mistress Alina Kabaeva.

Questions were raised after The Wall Street Journal reported that US officials made a last minute decision to remove Ms Kabaeva from a new set of sanctions against the Russian leader’s inner circle.

The Journal suggested the Biden administration was reluctant to anger Mr Putin by sanctioning the 38-year-old Russian gymnast and Olympic gold medalist.

Bevan Hurley reports:





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Putin’s alleged mistress may be sanctioned by US over Ukraine invasion, reports say

Watch: Top US general says ‘security of Europe’ is at stake

Wednesday 27 April 2022 00:00 , Emily Atkinson

More than 70% of Americans back US efforts to supply Ukraine with weapons, poll finds

Tuesday 26 April 2022 23:24 , Emily Atkinson

Almost three quarters of Americans support US efforts to supply Ukraine with weapons, a poll has found.

The most recent poll from Reuters/Ipsos found that 73 per cent back US efforts to bolster Ukraine’s defensive efforts – the highest level of support since Russia invaded its neighbor in February.

The two-day poll comes as the United States and its allies ramp up plans to deliver heavy weapons to Ukraine and as a senior Russian official warned the West should not underestimate the elevated risk of nuclear conflict.

A previous Reuters/Ipsos poll, conducted in late March before global outrage erupted over the discovery of slain civilians north of Kyiv, found that 68 per cent of respondents backed shipping arms to Ukraine.

Blinken tells Rand Paul that Russia has no right to invade ex-Soviet countries in tense exchange

Tuesday 26 April 2022 23:02 , Emily Atkinson

Secretary of State Antony Blinken had a tense exchange with Senator Rand Paul about Russia having the right to invade countries that used to be part of the Soviet Union.

Mr Blinken was testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday about the State Department’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2023.

Mr Paul expressed his concern that if Ukraine were to join Nato, that would lead to US troops fighting in the nation, which he opposed. This comes despite the fact President Joe Biden has said there would not be ground troops in Ukraine.





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Blinken tells Rand Paul Russia has no right to invade ex-Soviet countries

Canada to alter sanctions law to allow paying compensation from sanctioned assets

Tuesday 26 April 2022 22:46 , Emily Atkinson

The Canadian foreign ministry has announced it will change its sanctions law to allow for seized and sanctioned foreign assets to be redistributed as compensation to victims or to help in rebuilding a foreign state from war.

“Today, we are seeking the capacity to not only seize but to allow for the forfeiture of the assets of sanctioned individuals and entities and to allow us to compensate victims with the proceeds,” foreign minister Melanie Joly said.

“These changes would make Canada’s sanctions regime the first in the G7 to allow these actions.”

“We will continue to apply maximum pressure on the Putin regime and impose severe costs for this war of choice,” Joly added.

Top US general says Russia is ‘irresponsible’ for ‘rattling nuclear sabre’

Tuesday 26 April 2022 22:29 , Emily Atkinson

The US’s highest-ranked military officer has criticised Russia’s “nuclear sabre rattling” as it continues to suffer setbacks in its invasion of Ukraine.

Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley told CNN on Tuesday it was “completely irresponsible” for any senior Government official of a nuclear power to threaten to use atomic weapons.

His comments came a day after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov described the danger of nuclear war as “serious, real, and we must not underestimate it,” in an interview on state television.

Bevan Hurley reports:





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Top US general says Russia is ‘irresponsible’ for ‘rattling nuclear sabre’

Danish power company says it has not been in dialogue with Gazprom

Tuesday 26 April 2022 22:10 , Emily Atkinson

The Danish power company Orsted has not been in dialogue with Gazprom – with whom it has a long-term gas contract – since Russia demanded that foreign buyers pay for gas in roubles, it said.

It comes after Russia threatened to cut off supply to countries who refuse to pay for gas in roubles, but Orsted repeated that it has “no intention” of doing this.

“We have not been in dialogue with Gazprom Export since they demanded on 1 April that we pay in roubles,” it said in a statement.

Gazprom has asked Orsted to answer before the end of May if it intends to comply with the requirement.

Moldova raises terror threat to highest level after blasts in pro-Russian breakaway region of Transnistria

Tuesday 26 April 2022 21:25 , Emily Atkinson

Moldova has raised its terrorist threat level and the Kremlin voiced serious concerns after two blasts damaged Soviet-era radio masts in the breakaway region of Transnistria where authorities said a military unit was also targeted.

The Moldovan authorities are sensitive to any sign of growing tensions in Transnistria, an unrecognised Moscow-backed sliver of land bordering southwestern Ukraine, especially since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Russia has had troops permanently based in Transnistria since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Kyiv fears the region could be used as a launchpad for new attacks on Ukraine, while there are concerns of the situation leading to a wider conflict across Europe.





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Moldova raises terror threat level after blasts in pro-Russian Transnistria region

US mission travel to Ukraine after relocating to Poland

Tuesday 26 April 2022 21:00 , Emily Atkinson

Members of the US mission in Ukraine have traveled to Lviv after relocating to Poland, the US state department said on Tuesday.

US diplomats departed the Kyiv embassy nearly two weeks before Russia‘s invasion of Ukraine, moving some functions to Lviv before eventually relocating to Poland.

IAEA agrees to help repair defunct Chernobyl nuclear power plant

Tuesday 26 April 2022 20:32 , Emily Atkinson

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency has agreed with Ukraine to help repair the defunct Chernobyl nuclear power plant after it was occupied by Russian troops.

“It is visible that there is damage and we are assessing that,” IAEA director general Rafael Grossi told a news conference in Kyiv.

Lavrov’s nuclear comments dubbed ‘height of irresponsibility’

Tuesday 26 April 2022 20:20 , Emily Atkinson

Washington has criticised Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov’s comments about the potential of a nuclear war, saying loose talk about nuclear escalation was the “height of irresponsibility.”

Lavrov warned the West on Monday not to underestimate the elevated risks of nuclear conflict over Ukraine and said he viewed Nato as being “in essence” engaged in a proxy war with Russia by supplying Kyiv with weaponry.

PM does not expect Putin to use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine

Tuesday 26 April 2022 20:08 , Emily Atkinson

Prime minister Boris Johnson has said he does not expect president Vladimir Putin to use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine if he faced more military failures in the country.

Mr Johnson told Talk TV today he thought his Russian counterpart had enough political space, and support in Russia, to be able to back down and withdraw from Ukraine.

Asked if he expected Putin to consider using tactical nuclear weapons if he suffered more military failures in Ukraine, he said he did not think that would happen.

Poland claims its energy supplies are secure following Russia’s supply withdrawal

Tuesday 26 April 2022 19:47 , Emily Atkinson

Poland’s climate ministry has said that the country’s energy supplies are secure after Gazprom informed Poland‘s PGNiG that it would cut off supplies through the Yamal pipeline on Wednesday morning.

Climate minister Anna Moskwa said there was no need to draw gas from reserves and that gas to Polish customers won’t be cut.

Flows from other directions will replace Gazprom’s supplies, energy security minister Piotr Naimski said, adding that the Yamal contract was meant to end in December anyway.

Putin agrees to Azovstal evacuation

Tuesday 26 April 2022 19:35 , Emily Atkinson

President Vladimir Putin has agreed “in principle” for the UN and ICRC to be involved in the evacuation of civilians from the Azovstal plant – which is reprotedly acting as a shelter to Ukrainian civilians – in Mariupol, the United Nations said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Follow-on discussions will be had with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the Russian Defence Ministry,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement after Putin met with its secretary-general Antonio Guterres in Moscow.

Russia claims it has liberated entire Kherson region

Tuesday 26 April 2022 19:15 , Emily Atkinson

Russian forces have liberated the entire Kherson region in the south of Ukraine, Moscow has claimed.

Interfax news agency have cited a senior official for Russia’s defence ministry as saying elsewhere in the south of Ukraine, Russian troops had taken parts of the Zaporizhzhia and Mykolaiv regions, as well as part of the Kharkiv region to the east of Kyiv.

PM does not believe Putin will use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine

Tuesday 26 April 2022 19:58 , Emily Atkinson

Prime minister Boris Johnson has said he did not expect president Vladimir Putin to use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine if he faced more military failures in the country.

The PM told Talk TV he thought his Russian counterpart had enough political space, and support in Russia, to be able to back down and withdraw from Ukraine.

Asked if he expected Putin to consider using tactical nuclear weapons if he suffered more military failures in Ukraine, he said he did not think that would happen.

Putin claims any military operations in Mariupol have stopped

Tuesday 26 April 2022 18:59 , Emily Atkinson

President Vladimir Putin today described the situation in the besieged city of Mariupol as “tragic” and “complicated”, adding that any Russian military operations in the area had stopped.

Speaking at a meeting in Moscow with UN secretary general Antonio Guterres, he also alleged he had ordered his forces not to assault the Azovstal steel plant.

Mr Putin said he had been informed by Kyiv that civilians were sheltering underneath the vast plant and called for Ukraine’s forces to release them, otherwise he would consider them to be acting as “terrorists.”

He also accused the Ukrainian forces defending the plant of hiding behind those civilians.

Putin hopes talks with Ukraine bring positive results

Tuesday 26 April 2022 18:28 , Emily Atkinson

Vladimir Putin has said that Russia and Ukraine are continuing talks in an online format.

At the start of his meeting with UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres in Moscow, Putin also said he hopes that the talks would yield a positive result.

Russia warns of nuclear war risk as western nations vow to send arms to Ukraine

Tuesday 26 April 2022 18:21 , Emily Atkinson

Russia has accused Nato of fighting a proxy war by supplying Ukraine with arms and warned that the conflict could turn nuclear as western nations met on Tuesday to pledge sending heavy weapons to Kyiv.

In a notable escalation between Moscow and the west, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said the danger of a third world war was “serious and real” and should not be underestimated, before taking aim at the military alliance.

Mr Lavrov spoke as Russia continued to pound eastern and southern Ukraine on Tuesday, while explosions in the separatist breakaway region of Transnistria raised fears of a wider conflict erupting across Europe.

My colleague Thomas Kingsley reports:





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Russia warns of nuclear war risk as western nations vow to send arms to Ukraine

Defensive weapon supply to Ukraine not enough, says Truss

Tuesday 26 April 2022 18:08 , Emily Atkinson

Foreign secretary Liz Truss today told the Commons it was no longer good enough to only supply Ukraine with defensive weaponry to combat the Russian invasion.

“For too long, there was a false distinction between defensive and offensive weapons. It became an excuse for some to drag their feet. That time has now passed,” she said.

The UK initially limited its supply of weapons to those classified as defensive, but has since spoken about expanding the arms it is supplying and using its military vehicle stock to enable others – such as Poland – to supply tanks direct to Ukraine.

She was the girl in a red coat in ‘Schindler’s List’. Now, she’s helping Ukrainian refugees in Poland

Tuesday 26 April 2022 17:55 , Emily Atkinson

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, Dabrowska was reminded of the character she played — and it pushed her to do something, writes Clémence Michallon. To her, the girl in the red coat was a symbol of trauma, embodying the atrocities of the Holocaust and of the Second World War. On 9 March, she shared an artwork of the same girl, this time in a blue coat, against a yellow background – matching the colors of the Ukraine flag. Inspired by conversations with two of her friends, Dabrowska has reimagined the girl in the blue coat as representing healing in the aftermath of trauma.





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She was Schindler’s List’s girl in a red coat. Now, she’s helping Ukrainian refugees

Finland and Sweden may decide together on Nato membership

Tuesday 26 April 2022 17:40 , Emily Atkinson

Finland and Sweden might decide together whether or not they will join Nato in the wake of following Russia‘s invasion of Ukraine, a top Finnish official has suggested.

“Now that Sweden has decided to bring forward somewhat their own parliamentary process, it is possible that the decisions related to joining, if they are taken, will take place on the same days or at least within the same weeks,” foreign minister Pekka Haavisto said on Tuesday.

‘Increasingly deep skepticism’ over China’s position on Russia-Ukraine conflict, says US

Tuesday 26 April 2022 17:18 , Emily Atkinson

The US secretary of state has said there is “increasingly deep skepticism” among European countries over China’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

China, which is one of the biggest markets for Russian oil, gas and coal, has sought to remain neutral on the conflict.

Despite calling for a peaceful solution, it has yet to condemn the Russian invasion and has criticised Western sanctions.

Watch: Zelensky accuses Russia of building ‘millennial Reich’ and says Putin ‘will lose’

Tuesday 26 April 2022 16:59 , Emily Atkinson

Russian gas supplies to Poland halted, Polish media reports

Tuesday 26 April 2022 16:45 , Emily Atkinson

Russian gas supplies under the Yamal contract to Poland have been halted, private broadcaster Polsat News and the Onet.pl website reported, citing unnamed sources.

PGNiG SA, which buys gas from Gazprom under a long-term contract that expires this year, declined to comment.

Reuters

US looking into reason for alleged Transdniestria attacks

Tuesday 26 April 2022 16:34 , Emily Atkinson

The US is investigating the cause of recent violence in the Russia-backed breakaway region of Transdniestria, defence secretary Lloyd Austin has said.

“Not really sure what that’s all about, but it’s something that we will stay focused on,” Austin said.

It follows several attacks in the Moldovan region over the past day, local authorities say.

US ‘largely aligned’ with Ukraine on what it needs to fight Russian invasion

Tuesday 26 April 2022 16:22 , Emily Atkinson

Washington and Kyiv are “largely aligned” on what Ukraine needs to continue its fight against the Russian invasion and what the US can provide, its secretary of state Antony Blinken has said.

Blinken told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee he discussed those needs with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during his recent trip to Ukraine.



 (REUTERS)


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(REUTERS)

What weapons does Ukraine have to fight Russia and does it have nuclear missiles?

Tuesday 26 April 2022 16:12 , Emily Atkinson

Nato members continue to extend diplomatic support, aid and weapons to Ukraine but refuses to impose a no-fly zone over the country for fear of being drawn into a much larger war over Eastern Europe, leaving the country in a lonely fight to retain its independence.

Although Russia’s military is significantly larger than Ukraine’s in every area, Mr Zelensky’s forces still pose a threat and at the very least can mount a defence against Russia’s ongoing invasion as the world has seen since the outbreak of war on 24 February.

Thomas Kingsley takes a look at the combatant’s comparative capabilities:





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What weapons does Ukraine have to fight Russia?

Kyiv expresses concern over Moldovan breakaway region

Tuesday 26 April 2022 15:56 , Emily Atkinson

The Ukrainian foreign ministery has expressed concern over the situation in Moldova’s pro-Kremlin breakaway region of Transdniestria.

It also condemned what it said were Russian attempts to drag the region into Moscow’s war on Ukraine.

The ministry said in an online statement that a series of incidents, which included several explosions, “coincided with the statements of the Russian military command about their plans to occupy the entire south of Ukraine and establish a land corridor to the Transdniestrian region of Moldova.”

“Ukraine strongly supports the territorial integrity of Moldova in its internationally recognised borders, condemns attempts to involve the Transdniestrian region of Moldova in Russia‘s … full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and calls for a de-escalation of the situation,” it said.

Russia warns UK of ‘proportional response’ if it continues to ‘provoke’ Ukraine into striking targets in Russia

Tuesday 26 April 2022 15:45 , Emily Atkinson

Moscow has today warned the UK that if it continues to provoke Ukrainian forces into striking targets in Russia there would be an immediate “proportional response”.

The Russian defence ministry on Tuesday citied statements from armed forces minister James Heappey as telling the BBC that it was entirely legitimate for Ukraine to hunt targets in the depths of Russia to disrupt logistics and supply lines.

“We would like to underline that London’s direct provocation of the Kiev regime into such actions, if such actions are carried out, will immediately lead to our proportional response,” Russia‘s defence ministry said.

“As we have warned, the Russian Armed Forces are in round-the-clock readiness to launch retaliatory strikes with high-precision long-range weapons at decision-making centers in Kyiv.”

It also added that if such Russian strikes were made it would not necessarily be a problem if representatives of a certain Western country were located at Ukraine’s decision making centres.

It comes after Heappey also acknowledged the weapons the international community was now providing had the range to be used in Russia.

Putin ally says Ukraine heading for collapse into several states

Tuesday 26 April 2022 15:35 , Emily Atkinson

The secretary of Russia’s security council has claimed that Western and Ukrainian government policy was leading towards the break-up of Ukraine.

Reuters adds:

The comments from Nikolai Patrushev amounted to a warning that Russia‘s war in Ukraine could lead to a carve-up of the country, for which Moscow would seek to pin the blame on its opponents.

In an interview with government newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Patrushev – a key ally of President Vladimir Putin – said the United States had for years been trying to instil hatred for everything Russian in Ukrainians.

“However, history teaches that hatred can never become a reliable factor in national unity,” Patrushev said.

“If anything today unites the peoples living in Ukraine, it is only fear of the atrocities of nationalist battalions,” Patrushev said – a reference to units of Ukraine’s armed forces that Moscow has branded as Nazis as part of its stated rationale for invading the country.

Therefore the result of Western and Kyiv policy could only be the disintegration of Ukraine into several states, he was quoted as saying.

Talks to introduce safe corridors out of Mariupol unlikely to go ahead, Lavrov claims

Tuesday 26 April 2022 15:21 , Emily Atkinson

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a “dangerous wake-up call for the United Nations”, a top Moscow official has alleged.

Speaking at a news conference with UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov also claimed the UN was trying to “cross out the basic rules” of its own charter.

Mr Lavrov later went on to suggest that talks with Ukraine on allowing creating safe corridors for trapped civilians to leave the besieged southern port city of Mariupol were unlikely to go ahead.



 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)


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(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Asked about the prospect of discussions, he said it was a “theatrical gesture” from Ukraine and “they probably wanted another heartrending scene”.

“If we talk about serious attitudes to work as part of the talks, they better answer our proposals as soon as possible,” he said, before suggesting that Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky had been ignoring the Kremlin’s latest proposals.

Moldovan president says attacks in breakaway region are attempt to escalate tensions

Tuesday 26 April 2022 14:35 , Matt Mathers

Moldova’s president warned on Tuesday that a spate of attacks in its Russia-backed breakaway region of Transdniestria were an attempt to escalate tensions, blaming “pro-war factions” within the territory.

Speaking at a news conference after an emergency Security Council meeting, president Maia Sandu said she did not plan to talk with the Kremlin about the incidents over the past 24 hours that included an attack on Transdniestria’s interior ministry and the destruction of two radio masts that broadcast Russian radio.

Russia hits Wikimedia Foundation with additional fine -TASS

Tuesday 26 April 2022 14:17 , Matt Mathers

A Russian court on Tuesday fined Wikipedia owner Wikimedia Foundation an additional 2 million roubles ($26,900) after an earlier penalty for not deleting articles Russia has demanded it remove, the TASS news agency reported.

Russia has objected to articles that it says contain inaccurate information about what Moscow calls its special military operation in Ukraine.

More explosions heard in sepratist Trans-Dniester region

Tuesday 26 April 2022 14:00 , Matt Mathers

Police in the separatist region of Trans-Dniester have said two explosions at a radio facility close to the Ukrainian border knocked two powerful antennas out of service.

Trans-Dniester, a strip of land in Moldova with about 470,000 people, has been under the control of separatist authorities since a 1992 war with Moldova.

Russia bases about 1,500 troops there, nominally as peacekeepers, but concerns are high that the forces could be used to invade Ukraine.

Tuesday’s blasts occurred in the small town of Maiac, roughly 12 kilometres (seven miles) west of the border, according to the region’s Interior Ministry.

More than 8 million refugees to flee Ukraine this year, UN estimates

Tuesday 26 April 2022 13:40 , Matt Mathers

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has said it is expecting some 8.3 million people to flee Ukraine this year, revising up its previous projection of refugees driven abroad by Russia’s war.

UNHCR spokesperson Shabia Mantoo said that more than 12.7 million people had fled their homes since Russia invaded Ukraine two months ago, including 7.7 million people displaced internally and more than 5 million who have fled over borders.

My colleague Thomas Kingsley has more details below:





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More than 8 million refugees to flee Ukraine this year, UN estimates

ICYMI: Moldova raises terror threat level

Tuesday 26 April 2022 13:25 , Zoe Tidman

Moldova has raised its terrorist threat level and the Kremlin voiced serious concerns after two blasts damaged Soviet-era radio masts in the breakaway region of Transnistria where authorities said a military unit was also targeted.

More here:





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Moldova raises terror threat level after blasts in pro-Russian Transnistria region

Germany will supply anti-aircraft tanks to Ukraine in policy switch

Tuesday 26 April 2022 13:13 , Matt Mathers

Germany has announced it will approve the delivery of anti-aircraft tanks to Ukraine for the first time – marking a major policy shift.

Defence minister Christine Lambrecht made the announcement at a US-hosted meeting of 40 nations coordinating military support for Ukraine in its fight against Russia.

My colleague Thomas Kingsley has the story:





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Germany will supply anti-aircraft tanks to Ukraine in defence policy switch

Russia expels four Swedish diplomats

Tuesday 26 April 2022 13:06 , Zoe Tidman

Russia has decided to expel four Swedish diplomats, the foreign minister of Sweden has said.

She called the move “unmotivated and disproportionate” on Twitter:

Poland sanctions Gazprom along with other companies and oligarchs

Tuesday 26 April 2022 12:51 , Zoe Tidman

Poland has announced sanctions on 50 Russian oligarchs and companies – including gas giant Gazprom.

“This is the first sanctions list,” the interior minister said. “There are oligarchs and companies that do real business [in Poland].”

He said the list would likely end up widened.

Russian missiles ‘fly over nuclear plant at low altitude’

Tuesday 26 April 2022 12:38 , Zoe Tidman

Ukraine‘s state-run atomic energy company said Russian missiles flew at low altitude over Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, and reiterated warning that Russia’s invasion could lead to a “nuclear catastrophe”.

Energoatom issued its latest warning about the risks caused by the war with Russia on the 36th anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear accident at the now defunct Chornobyl plant.

The company said cruise missiles had flown over the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant during an air strike on the nearby city of the same name.

Liz Truss says sexual violence should be ‘red line’ like chemical weapons

Tuesday 26 April 2022 12:18 , Zoe Tidman

The UK’s foreign secretary has condemned the “appalling reports” on the use of rape by Russian forces.

She told MPs that the UK was working to collect evidence to “make sure the perpetrators are brought to justice”.

Liz Truss said the UK wants new international agreement to make the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war a “red line”.

She told the Commons: “It needs to be regarded in the same way as the use of chemical weapons.”

Breakaway Moldovan region raises terrorist threat level following attacks

Tuesday 26 April 2022 12:09 , Zoe Tidman

The breakaway Moldovan region of Transdniestria has raised its “terrorist threat level” to red and introduced checkpoints after several blasts in the region, its official news agency said.

The Russia-backed region has been hit by several attacks in the past day, local authorities say, after a military unit was targeted, blasts at Transdniestria’s state security HQ and two explosions damaged old Soviet-era radio antennae.

Reuters

Civilians ‘killed by small metal arrows’ in Ukraine

Tuesday 26 April 2022 11:55 , Zoe Tidman

Dozens of Ukrainian civilians who died during Russia’s occupation of the town of Bucha last month were killed by small metal arrows from artillery shells that are like flying nail bombs, forensic doctors have revealed.

Thomas Kingsley has more:





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Ukrainian civilians in Bucha killed by metal darts from Russian ‘nail bomb’ artillery

‘Ukraine clearly believes that it can win, and so does everyone here,’ US defence secretary says at defence talks

Tuesday 26 April 2022 11:46 , Zoe Tidman

Over in Germany, the US defence secretary has kicked off defence talks by hammering home international support for Ukraine.

“As we see this morning, nations from around the world stand united in our resolve to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s imperial aggression,” Lloyd Austin told dozens of nations involved in the meeting at an American air base.

He added: “Ukraine clearly believes that it can win, and so does everyone here.””



The US defence secretary addresses a meeting with members of a Ukraine Security Consultative Group at a US air base in Germany (AFP via Getty Images)


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The US defence secretary addresses a meeting with members of a Ukraine Security Consultative Group at a US air base in Germany (AFP via Getty Images)

Germany vows to send heavy weapons for first time

Tuesday 26 April 2022 11:37 , Zoe Tidman

Germany has announced it will send heavy weapons to Ukraine for the first time.

The defence minister said the country would send tanks at a US-hosted defence talks.

“We decided yesterday that Germany will facilitate the delivery of Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft guns to Ukraine,” she told delegates at the US air base in her country.

UN general secretary in Moscow

Tuesday 26 April 2022 11:30 , Zoe Tidman

Antonio Guterres, the head of the United Nations, is in Moscow today to meet both the Russian foreign minister and Vladimir Putin.

First, he spoke to Sergei Lavrov about the need for a ceasefire.

“We are extremely interested in finding ways in order to create the conditions for effective dialogue, create the conditions for a ceasefire as soon as possible, create the conditions for a peaceful solution”, he told the foreign minister.

Mr Guterres is due to meet Vladimir Putin later.

Here he is with Mr Lavrov in Moscow today:



 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)


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(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)



Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov meets with UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres in Moscow (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)


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Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov meets with UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres in Moscow (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Putin and Erdogan discuss Ukraine in call

Tuesday 26 April 2022 11:15 , Zoe Tidman

Vladimir Putin and Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s leader, have spoken about Ukraine in a phone call, the Kremlin said.

No further details were give.

More than 8 million expected to flee Ukraine this year, UN says

Tuesday 26 April 2022 11:04 , Zoe Tidman

The UN’s refugee agency says it expects more than 8 million people to flee Ukraine this year.

More than 12.7 million people have fled their homes in the past two months, including 7.7 million people displaced internally and more than 5 million who have fled over borders, a spokesperson told a UN news briefing.

More than 40 countries join defence talks

Tuesday 26 April 2022 10:50 , Zoe Tidman

The Ukrainian defence minister is in Germany today for US-hosted talks that seek to ensure a robust, synchronized flow of arms to Kyiv.

More than 40 countries are taking part in the event being held at Ramstein Air Base.

Some pictures from the talks here:



Delegates sit in the plenum of the Ukraine Security Consultative Group meeting at Ramstein air base (Getty Images)


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Delegates sit in the plenum of the Ukraine Security Consultative Group meeting at Ramstein air base (Getty Images)



Ukrainian Minister of Defence Oleksii Reznikov (L) attends the Ukraine Security Consultative Group meeting at Ramstein air base in Germany (Getty Images)


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Ukrainian Minister of Defence Oleksii Reznikov (L) attends the Ukraine Security Consultative Group meeting at Ramstein air base in Germany (Getty Images)

‘Legitimate’ for Ukraine to strike military targets in Russia, UK minister says

Tuesday 26 April 2022 10:06 , Zoe Tidman

The UK’s armed forces minister has suggested it is “completely legitimate” for Ukraine to carry out strikes on military targets in Russian territory, including ammunition depots and fuel supplies.

James Heappey said it was “not necessarily a problem” if British-donated weapons are used to hit sites, insisting that if logistics aren’t disrupted they would “directly contribute to the death and carnage on Ukrainian soil”.

Full story:





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Defence minister backs Ukraine striking Russian soil with British weapons

UK to send more ambulances

Tuesday 26 April 2022 09:55 , Zoe Tidman

Liz Truss, the UK’s foreign secretary, says Britain will send more ambulances and fire engines to Ukraine:

Russia and Belarus to hold joint drills

Tuesday 26 April 2022 09:44 , Zoe Tidman

Russia and Belarus will hold joint drills of their air forces and air defence forces in Belarus, Minsk’s defence ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

The drills will take place from 26 to 29 April, the ministry said.

Reuters

UK minister dismisses Lavrov’s comments

Tuesday 26 April 2022 09:15 , Zoe Tidman

The UK’s armed forces minister has called Russian foreign minister’s comments on the possible use of nuclear weapons in the war as “bravado”.

James Heappey told BBC this style had been his “trademark over the course of 15 years or so”.

“What the West is doing to support its allies in Ukraine is very well calibrated,” the minister added.

One killed in rocket attack in Zaporizhzhia

Tuesday 26 April 2022 08:54 , Zoe Tidman

Two rockerts have hit commercial premises in the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia, with at least one person killed, local authorities say.

Ukraine’s war update

Tuesday 26 April 2022 08:23 , Zoe Tidman

Ukrainian forces have repelled six attacks in the past 24 hours in the two regions that comprise the Donbas, Ukraine’s industrial heartland, the General Staff said in its Tuesday morning update.

It said Russian forces continue offensive operations in the country’s east in an effort to take full control of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and establish a land corridor to Crimea.

Fighting continues around the cities of Rubizhne and Popasna in the Luhansk region, the update said.

The Russian forces also continue to shell Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, and to block Ukrainian units in the area of Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol — the last remaining stronghold of the Ukrainian forces in the besieged port city.

AP

How likely is nuclear attack?

Tuesday 26 April 2022 08:00 , Zoe Tidman

The Russian foreign minister said the danger of a nuclear confrontation was “serious”. But how likely is a nuclear attack?

Isobel Frodsham takes a look:





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How likely is it that Russia will launch a nuclear attack?

Four people killed in Donetsk shelling on Monday, official says

Tuesday 26 April 2022 07:49 , Zoe Tidman

Four people died and nine more were wounded in Russian shelling of the Donetsk region on Monday, the region’s governor Pavlo Kyrylenko has said.The victims included a 9-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy, he said in the messaging app Telegram.

AP

UK defence minister says ‘every chance’ Ukraine can ‘see Russians off’

Tuesday 26 April 2022 07:35 , Zoe Tidman

The UK’s armed forces minister has said there is “every chance” that the Ukrainians will see off the Russians in the invasion, arguing Moscow’s victory in the east of Ukraine is not inevitable.

James Heappey told Sky News: “We’ll see a conflict between two forces that are much more evenly balanced, where the Ukrainians have the advantage of defensive positions that have been dug in and prepared over the last eight years and that’s going to make it an extraordinarily difficult nut for the Russians to crack.

“And with all the support that the Ukrainians are getting from around the world, there’s every chance the Ukrainians can see them off.”

PA

Some women raped before being killed, claim doctors

Tuesday 26 April 2022 07:11 , Namita Singh

Doctors carrying out autopsies on bodies in mass graves found north of Kyiv say their examinations reveal that some women were raped before being killed by Russian forces.

“We already have a few cases which suggest that these women had been raped before being shot to death,” Vladyslav Perovskyi, a Ukrainian forensic doctor, told the Guardian.

“We can’t give more details as my colleagues are still collecting the data and we still have hundreds of bodies to examine,” he said.



Cemetery workers exhume the corpse of a civilian killed in Bucha from a mass grave, in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, 13 April 2022 (AP)


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Cemetery workers exhume the corpse of a civilian killed in Bucha from a mass grave, in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, 13 April 2022 (AP)

Dr Perovskyi and his team of coroners have been examining about 15 bodies a day found from Bucha, Irpin and Borodianka, many of them mutilated.

“There are many burnt bodies, and heavily disfigured bodies that are just impossible to identify,” he told the outlet. “The face could be smashed into pieces, you can’t put it back together, sometimes there’s no head at all.”

Russia’s scaremongering ‘a sign of weakness’

Tuesday 26 April 2022 06:41 , Namita Singh

Hours after Russia warned the world that the threat of nuclear confrontation was “serious, real”, Ukraine said it regarded this as scaremongering and a sign of weakness.

Russia had lost its “last hope to scare the world off supporting Ukraine”, said Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba.

“This only means Moscow senses defeat.”

Russia and India in talks to resolve impasse over coking coal supplies

Tuesday 26 April 2022 06:23 , Namita Singh

Russia and India are in talks to resolve an impasse over the shipping of coking coal to an Indian steelmaker, reported Reuters citing sources.

Imports make up around 85 per cent of India’s overall coking coal needs, which is between 50-55 million tonnes a year.India had signed a deal last year to import from Russia, which usually supplies about 30 per cent of European Union, Japanese and South Korean coking coal needs.

But the international sanctions on Russia over its war on Ukraine has propelled countries to look for alternative sources, including Australia and United States, leading to an increase in the prices.

Australia, which is India’s top supplier of coking coal, raised prices from $200 to $700 per tonne this year, while flows from Russia have dried up completely since March, reported Reuters, citing sources.

Kreminna has fallen to Russia, claims UK defence intelligence

Tuesday 26 April 2022 06:07 , Namita Singh

”The city of Kreminna has reportedly fallen and heavy fighting is reported south of Izium, as Russian forces attempt to advance towards the cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk from the north and east,” the UK defence ministry said in its daily intelligence update.

“Russian forces are likely attempting to encircle heavily fortified Ukrainian positions in the east of Ukraine,” it added.

“Ukrainian forces have been preparing defences in Zaporizhzhia in preparation for a potential Russian attack from the south.”

Russia hits faraway targets in Ukraine

Tuesday 26 April 2022 05:55 , Namita Singh

Russia on Monday unleashed a string of attacks against rail and fuel facilities deep inside Ukraine in an effort to stop Kyiv from marshalling supplies for the fight.

Five railroad stations in central and western Ukraine were hit and one worker was killed said Oleksandr Kamyshin, head of Ukraine’s state railway.



Local resident Oksana surveys the destroyed second floor of her multi-generational home while searching for salvageable items on 25 April 2022 in Hostomel, Ukraine (Getty Images)


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Local resident Oksana surveys the destroyed second floor of her multi-generational home while searching for salvageable items on 25 April 2022 in Hostomel, Ukraine (Getty Images)

The bombardments included a missile attack near Lviv, the west Ukrainian city close to the Polish border.At least five people were killed by Russian strikes in the central Vynnytsia region.

The invading forces also destroyed oil refinery in Kremenchuk, in central Ukraine, along with fuel depots there, said Russian defence ministry spokesperson Major General Igor Konashenkov.

‘Russia is failing, Ukraine is succeeding’, says Blinken

Tuesday 26 April 2022 05:35 , Namita Singh

ICYMI: “Russia is failing. Ukraine is succeeding,” was the message from US secretary of state Antony Blinken after he visited Kyiv to meet president Volodymyr Zelensky.

Mr Blinken added that the US has approved a $165m sale of ammunition — non-US ammo, mainly if not entirely for Ukraine’s Soviet-era weapons — and will also provide $300m in financing to buy more supplies.



In this image provided by the U.S. Air Force, pallets of ammunition, weapons and other equipment bound for Ukraine are loaded on a plane by members from the 436th Aerial Port Squadron during a foreign military sales mission at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware on 3 January 2022 (AP)


© Provided by The Independent
In this image provided by the U.S. Air Force, pallets of ammunition, weapons and other equipment bound for Ukraine are loaded on a plane by members from the 436th Aerial Port Squadron during a foreign military sales mission at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware on 3 January 2022 (AP)

Going further on the attack against Russia, defence secretary Lloyd Austin said that while the US wants to see Ukraine remain a sovereign, democratic country, it also wants “to see Russia weakened to the point where it can’t do things like invade Ukraine”.

The comments about weakening Russia appeared to represent a strategic shift from the previous position of the US where it said that the aim of American military aid was to help Ukraine to defend its territory and other Nato neighbours against Russian aggression.

‘Nuclear threat should not be underestimated,’ warns Russia’s foreign minister

Tuesday 26 April 2022 05:15 , Namita Singh

Russia’s top diplomat has warned the west against provoking World War 3 as he said that the threat of a nuclear conflict “should not be underestimated”.

The warning came as Russia unleashed a string of attacks targeting rail and fuel facilities deep inside Ukraine, in an apparent attempt to thwart Kyiv’s efforts to organise its supplies.

Weapons supplied by western countries “will be a legitimate target” for Russian bombardments, said foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, adding that Russian forces had already targeted weapons warehouses in western Ukraine.



In this image provided by the US Air Force, Airmen and civilians palletize ammunition, weapons and other equipment bound for Ukraine during a foreign military sales mission at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, 21 January 2022 (AP)


© Provided by The Independent
In this image provided by the US Air Force, Airmen and civilians palletize ammunition, weapons and other equipment bound for Ukraine during a foreign military sales mission at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, 21 January 2022 (AP)



Smoke rises above a plant of Azovstal Iron and Steel Works during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine 25 April 2022 (Reuters)


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Smoke rises above a plant of Azovstal Iron and Steel Works during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine 25 April 2022 (Reuters)

“Everyone is reciting incantations that in no case can we allow World War 3,” he said in a wide-ranging interview on Russian TV, as he accused Ukraine of provoking Russia by asking Nato to participate in the conflict.

He said that the Nato forces are “pouring oil on the fire” by providing weapons, according to a transcript on the Russian foreign ministry’s website.

Elaborating on the possibility of nuclear war, Mr Lavrov said: “I would not want to see these risks artificially inflated now, when the risks are rather significant.

“The danger is serious,” he said. “It is real. It should not be underestimated.”

Ukraine attacks Russian village, claims Russian official

Tuesday 26 April 2022 04:23 , Namita Singh

Several buildings in Russia’s Golovchino village were damaged after they came under fire from Ukraine on Tuesday morning, said regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov on Telegram without proving any evidence for the claim.

Hours earlier, the governor had said that at least two people had been hurt in an attack on another village, Zhuravlyovka.

Mr Gladkov did not specify whether the two attacks were cases of artillery or mortar shelling or missile strikes.

Tuesday 26 April 2022 04:18 , Namita Singh

Good morning and welcome back toThe Independent’s live blog as we resume our coverage of the war in Ukraine for 26 April 2022.

Monday 25 April 2022 23:04 , Tom Barnes

We are pausing our live coverage of the war in Ukraine for this evening, join us again tomorrow morning when we will be resuming live updates.

Russia says two injured in shelling of village bordering Ukraine

Monday 25 April 2022 21:39 , Eleanor Sly

Two people were injured in shelling of a village in Russia’s Belgorod region bordering Ukraine, the region’s governor, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said in a post on social media.

Officials in southern Russian regions reported cases of what they said was cross-border shelling over the past few weeks. These apparently damaged residential buildings, although reports of civilians sustaining injures have been rare.

Mr Gladkov said some homes were damaged in the latest shelling but did not provide further details. He said earlier on Monday that four homes and a car had been damaged in the shelling of another village.

UK believes 15,000 Russian troops killed in Ukraine as it pledges further help

Monday 25 April 2022 21:19 , Eleanor Sly

Around 15,000 Russian troops have been killed in the 61 days since they launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, according to the UK.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace also told MPs more than 2,000 of Russia’s armoured vehicles have either been destroyed or captured as he outlined further UK support to Ukraine to help defend its territory.

With Russia switching its attention to further occupying the Donbas region in the south east, Mr Wallace confirmed a “small number” of Stormer armoured vehicles fitted with anti-air missile launchers will be gifted to Ukraine.

Read more here:





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UK believes 15,000 Russian troops killed in Ukraine as it pledges further help

US Secretary of State tweets about his recent trip to Ukraine

Monday 25 April 2022 21:00 , Eleanor Sly

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, tweeted about his trip to Ukraine.

White House says request for supplemental Ukraine aid likely to be longer-term package

Monday 25 April 2022 20:46 , Eleanor Sly

New aid for Ukraine requested by President Joe Biden is likely to be part of a longer-term package that will require approval from Congress, the White House said on Monday.

Biden said last week that he would seek approval from Congress soon for more assistance for Ukraine after announcing $800 million in military assistance last week.





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