Sunday, June 23, 2024

Live Updates: Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 62

Russia, wary of NATO’s eastward expansion, began a military campaign in Ukraine on February 24 after the Western-leaning Kiev government turned a deaf ear to Moscow’s calls for its neighbor to maintain its neutrality. In the middle of the mayhem, Moscow and Kiev are trying to hammer out a peaceful solution to the conflict. Follow the latest about the Russia-Ukraine conflict here:

US says Russia tarnished UN and welcomes veto resolution

The United States called out Russia’s multiple vetoes in the UN Security Council on Tuesday, saying they were “extraordinarily troubled by Russia’s pattern of abusing its veto right over the past decade.”

Richard Mills, Jr., deputy US Ambassador to the UN, called Russia’s history of vetoes a “long and shameful list.”

The United States, Russia, China, France, and the United Kingdom are the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (also referred to as the “P5”) and all five countries have veto power.

“The veto was not intended as a carte-blanche for impunity for the P5. It was not meant to confer automatic protection from accountability in perpetuity,” Mills stated Tuesday.

“Russia has diminished the role and reputation of the UN Security Council … and has tarnished the UN as a whole,” Mills added.

Gennady Kuzmin, Russian deputy ambassador to the UN, spoke earlier during the UN General Assembly session on Tuesday, stating that they “categorically reject” the approach that the newly-adopted veto resolution takes.

“The right of the veto for the permanent members of the Security Council is a cornerstone of the United Nations architecture. Without it, the Security Council would become a rubber-stamping body, rubber-stamping questionable decisions imposed by the nominal majority, Kuzmin said, adding, “The decision which was made today, whilst it does have a very pretty packaging is without any doubt an attempt to create an instrument of exerting pressure on the permanent members of the Security Council. And this is an approach that we categorically reject.”

Serhii Dvornyk, counsellor to the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the UN, said Tuesday that P5 members have extraordinary power granted to them and that Russia has abused that power.

“Let me remind that almost every draft resolution in the Security Council on the Russian aggression against Ukraine was blocked. It happened due to the abuse of veto by the country which occupies the Soviet seat in the Security Council, the Russian Federation,” Dvornyk added.

“Every veto with respect to crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide is a manifestation of utmost disregard for those who have been killed and injured, as well as those who could be killed – killed in particular, because Russia considers their veto as a greenlight for such crimes,” he continued.

UN says Putin agreed “in principle” to UN & Red Cross involvement in evacuating civilians from Mariupol

Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed “in principle” to United Nations and International Committee for the Red Cross involvement in the evacuation of citizens from the Azovstal plant in Mariupol, according to a readout of the UN secretary-general’s Tuesday meeting with Putin in Moscow.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres also “reiterated the United Nations’ position on Ukraine, and they [Guterres an Putin] discussed the proposals for humanitarian assistance and evacuation of civilians from conflict zones,” the readout from the UN secretary-general’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

Further conversations between UN United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the Russian Defense Ministry will be had at a later date, the UN added.

UN approves measure requiring states to justify veto

The 193 members of the United Nations General Assembly have adopted by consensus a resolution requiring the five permanent members of the Security Council to justify their use of the veto.

The push for reform, which was greeted with applause in the chamber, was revived by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The measure is intended to make veto-holders the United States, China, Russia, France and the United Kingdom “pay a higher political price” when they use the veto to strike down a Security Council resolution, said one ambassador who asked to remain anonymous.

It is unclear if the five permanent members will use the veto less, or more – as they could propose controversial texts they know their rivals will veto only to force them to justify their stance publicly.

First proposed more than two years ago, the measure provides for the General Assembly to be convened within 10 working days after a veto “to hold a debate on the situation as to which the veto was cast”, according to the text.

The assembly is not required to take or consider any action, but the discussion could put veto-wielders on the spot and let a raft of other countries be heard.

Almost 100 countries joined Liechtenstein in co-sponsoring the reform, including the US, UK and France – a rapid rally of support that caused widespread surprise at the UN.

Neither Russia or China were among the sponsors, though.

Borrell: EU, Russia need to reorganise relations, agree on security guarantees but process will be long & difficult

The EU and Russia need to reorganise relations and agree on security guarantees, but the process will be long and difficult, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell believes.

“Unless we choose to remain in perpetual tension or conflict, and this is certainly not the option preferred by the EU, we will need to find ways to reorganise the relationship between the EU and Russia and agree on security guarantees and mechanisms to allow for peaceful coexistence to take hold again,” Borrell said in a statement.

This will for sure be a very difficult and lengthy process. The Russian leadership must first understand that its own security cannot and will not be attained at the expense of broader European security and that of its neighbours,” he added.

Russia struggles to hold referendum in Kherson, succeeds in changing local government: Ukrainian official

Ukrainian officials say Russia is running into trouble over plans to hold a referendum in occupied Kherson in Ukraine’s south as early as Wednesday.

Ukraine has announced Russia plans to hold a vote in the region to try to win popular support for the creation of a new entity called the Kherson People’s Republic, which would mirror similar entities in Ukraine’s far east, around Donetsk and Luhansk, which were created eight years ago.

Vladimir Putin’s recognition of the independence of those two entities in February was among the Russian President’s key announcements in the days leading up to the launch of his attack on Ukraine two months ago.

But on Tuesday morning, Ukrainian Interior Ministry advisor Vadym Denysenko said that pro-Russian officials were struggling to find enough people to facilitate a popular vote in Kherson.

“They cannot even hold a mock referendum, as they did in 2014 in Luhansk and Donetsk, because they realize they do not have a critical mass of people [to support them], even just to get a picture for TV,” Denysenko continued, adding, “Besides, there are no people who will be ready to work at the polling stations.”

Two officials in the region also told CNN that pro-Russian forces were finding it difficult to arrange a planned referendum.

Yurii Sobolevskyi, a deputy head of the Kherson regional council, told CNN that when votes took place in Donetsk and Luhansk in 2014, and in Crimea’s independence referendum the same year, many local officials had supported the pro-Russian initiative.

“This greatly simplified the task of holding a referendum and absorbing the territories [so they came under Russia’s influence]. It’s not like that here,” he said.

Another local official stated a lack of support among regional councilors was holding up the preparation of lists of eligible voters and ballot printing but admitted a vote could still take place at some point.

“They will theoretically be able to hold it, but it will take time to prepare,” Hlan Serhii, a Kherson city council deputy, added.

In another development in Kherson on Tuesday, the Ukrainian administrator for the region said that Russian forces had installed a new local government.

Hennadii Lahuta, the Kherson regional administrator, made the announcement in a video posted to his social media accounts. The installation of the new government took place less than 24 hours after Russian forces took control of the Kherson City Council building, removing the elected government and replacing its security with Russian military troops.

According to Lahuta, a meeting was held at the Kherson City Council building on Tuesday, “to install the so-called ‘Mayor of the Kherson Regional Administration,’ Volodymyr Saldo and the ‘Head of the Kherson City Administration,’ Oleksandr Kobets.”

Saldo, a former mayor of Kherson, has been accused in the past of cooperating with the Russian KGB but has never been charged. Under martial law, the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council banned his party, the Bloc of Volodymyr Saldo, for its alleged ties to Russia.

In meeting with Guterres, Putin hopes talks with Ukraine will yield positive result

Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country and Ukraine were continuing talks in an online format.

At the start of his meeting with UN Secretary-General Guterres in Moscow, Putin also stated he hopes that the talks would yield a positive result.

Putin noted that Russia and Ukraine had managed to achieve a “serious breakthrough” during talks in Istanbul, Turkey, but the situation changed “dramatically” following the allegations against Russia for crimes in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.

“In Istanbul, we managed to achieve a serious breakthrough, because our Ukrainian colleagues did not associate the requirements of security, international security of Ukraine, with such a concept as internationally accepted borders of Ukraine … But, unfortunately, after reaching agreements and after our clearly demonstrated intentions to create conditions for favorable conditions for the continuation of negotiations, we encountered a provocation in the village of Bucha, to which the Russian army has nothing to do,” Putin said, speaking alongside Guterres in Moscow.

“And the position of our negotiators from Ukraine on a further settlement, it changed dramatically after that. They departed from their previous intentions to put aside the issues of security guarantees and the territories of Crimea, Sevastopol and the republics of Donbass. They just gave up on it,” he continued.

Guterres stated he proposed to create a three-party humanitarian group between the UN, Russia, and Ukraine to coordinate cooperation on evacuation corridors in Ukraine.

Netherlands to provide howitzers to Ukraine: Local media

The Dutch government will provide a “limited number” of armoured howitzers to Ukraine to support its war effort, ANP news agency has reported, citing the Dutch defence minister.

The howitzers, described as among the most powerful the Dutch army has, are to be delivered in cooperation with Germany, the report added.

Top US general: Lavrov’s comments on nuclear war “completely irresponsible”

US Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley stated it was “completely irresponsible” for any senior leader of a nuclear power to start “rattling a nuclear saber” when asked about Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov calling the danger of a nuclear war “serious and real.”

“Any time a senior leader of a nation state starts rattling a nuclear saber, then everyone takes it seriously,” said Milley in a live interview with CNN.

Lavrov said Monday that nuclear deterrence is Russia’s “principled position,” but he added “the danger is serious, it is real, it cannot be underestimated.”

Milley noted the US military is monitoring the nuclear threat from Russia along with “friends and allies.”

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced the international community, including the US and Ukraine, are focused on not letting the situation “spin out of control.”

Any “possibility of use of nuclear weapons is very dangerous and unhelpful. Nobody wants to see a nuclear war. Nobody can win that,” he added.

Milley also told CNN that he believes “what’s at stake” in this war “is much greater than Ukraine.”

“What’s at stake is the security, for the security of Europe since the end of World War II. And indeed, you can easily make the case that what’s at stake is the global international security order that was put in place in 1945,” Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told CNN’s Jim Sciutto.

“That international order has lasted 78 years. It’s prevented great war. And underlining that entire concept is the idea that large nations will not conduct military aggression against smaller nations, and that is exactly what’s happened here, by Russia against a smaller nation,” he added.

Milley continued by saying that if Russia gets away with its aggression in Ukraine “cost-free,” then “so goes the so-called international order.”

“If that happens, then we’re heading into an era of seriously increased instability,” Milley added.

“So right now … now is the time and right now is the opportunity here to stop aggression and to restore peace and security to the European continent,” he stated.

Milley said the policy of governments supporting Ukraine is to see the embattled country free and independent and a “weakened Russia.”

“At the end of the day, what we want to see, what I think the policy of all of the governments together is a free and independent Ukraine, with the territory intact and their government standing,” he continued, adding, “I think that’s going to involve a weakened Russia.”

He added that the unity among western countries is key.

“The unity of the West and the unity of NATO, and indeed, the unity of the globe has probably never been stronger than it is in the face of this unprovoked aggression. That’s where we’re heading,” he said.

UN nuclear chief visits Chernobyl nuclear plant

The head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog has warned Russian forces’ seizure of Ukraine’s defunct Chernobyl nuclear power plant could have led to an “accident” at the site decades after a reactor exploded there.

Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), made the remarks while on a visit to the facility to mark the anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986.

“The situation in 1986 was completely different. [But] In this case, what we had was a nuclear safety situation which was not normal, and could have developed into an accident,” he stated.

Russian troops moved into the radiation-contaminated Chernobyl exclusion zone in February on their way toward the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, and withdrew late last month as Russia switched its focus to fighting in eastern Ukraine. The site is now back in Ukrainian hands and communications which were disrupted have been restored.

Washington ‘largely aligned’ with Kyiv on what Ukraine needs: Blinken

Washington and Kyiv are “largely aligned” on what Ukraine needs to continue its fight against Russia’s invasion, US 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.

He also added weapons were being delivered more quickly. In the past, Blinken noted it “needed weeks” to get military equipment to the Ukrainians who needed it.

Now, he stated, it often takes only 72 hours between President Joe Biden deciding to send support and the time it is in the hands of Ukrainian forces.

US, allies to meet monthly on arming Ukraine

The United States and its allies will meet once a month to discuss Ukraine’s defence needs to battle invading Russian troops, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has said.

“Today’s gathering will become a monthly Contact Group on Ukraine’s self-defence,” he stated following a meeting of officials from more than 40 countries at the Ramstein Air Base in southwestern Germany, the headquarters for the US Air Force in Europe.

Austin noted that for the war in Ukraine to come to an end Russian President Vladimir Putin “needs to make a decision to end this conflict.”

“I think the first step is to end this conflict. And I think that what needs to happen to cause the conflict to come to an end is Mr. Putin He’s the person that started it,” Austin continued.

Austin called Putin’s decision to attack Ukraine “unjustified.”

He added that it will be Putin’s decision “to de-escalate and then go back to the negotiating table.”

“And we really all would like to see that happen,” Austin said.

Asked by a reporter if the war in Ukraine was becoming a proxy war between the United States and Russia, Austin denied that it was and said it is “clearly Ukraine’s fight.”

“Ukraine’s neighbors and allies and partners are stepping up to make sure they have what they need in order to be successful,” Austin said, adding, “Ukrainians are there fighting to protect their sovereignty.”

Austin’s comments come after previous remarks that one of the goals of the US was to “weaken” Russia to the point that they would not be able to threaten their allies as they did to Ukraine.

US diplomats returned to Ukraine today for first time since Russia’s invasion: Source

US diplomats returned to Ukraine today for the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The diplomats crossed into the country from Poland and traveled to the western city of Lviv for a day trip, according to the source.

The visit comes after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that Washington would send diplomats into the country starting this week when he visited the Ukrainian capital over the weekend.

The department plans to reassess the security situation for the diplomats’ day trips into Lviv constantly, the source added.

The department is also reexamining the security situation in Ukraine more broadly after Russia bombed five railway stations in central and western Ukraine on Monday, according to the source and another source familiar with the discussions. The attacks that rocked the railway stations just hours after Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin completed their visit to Kyiv.

“The Kremlin’s brutal tactics and utter indifference to human life are appalling. This is the latest example of attacks that have killed civilians and destroyed civilian infrastructure in the Russian government’s brutal war against Ukraine,” said a State Department spokesperson when asked about the recent bombings and the plan to send US diplomats back into the country.

“As the secretary said, US diplomats will return to Ukraine this week. We are constantly reassessing and evaluating the security situation with a view toward resuming Embassy Kyiv operations as soon possible to facilitate our support to the government and people of Ukraine as they bravely defend their country,” the spokesperson continued.

While US diplomats going into Lviv for day trips to not travel on trains, the sources said, the trains are a critical piece of the Ukrainian fight because they are one way that new military equipment is getting into Ukraine.

Russia warned the US against arming Ukraine earlier this month in a diplomatic cable.

Russian security official claims Ukraine heading for collapse

The secretary of Russia’s Security Council has said that Western and Ukrainian government policy is leading towards the break-up of Ukraine.

Nikolai Patrushev was quoted by government newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta as saying that Russia’s neighbour would collapse into several states due to the positions being adopted by Kyiv and its allies.

Bridge over estuary near Odesa hit in missile attack

A road and railway bridge across the mouth of the river Dniester in southwest Ukraine has been heavily damaged in an explosion.

The bridge, which is near the city of Odesa, appears to have been damaged by a missile strike.

“Circumstances and information about the victims are being clarified,” authorities claimed.

No humanitarian corridors operating: Ukrainian official

Ukraine’s deputy prime minister announced no humanitarian corridors are operating on Tuesday due to there being no break in the fighting.

Iryna Vereshchuk’s remarks came after the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for the establishment of corridors to evacuate civilians and deliver aid to conflict zones in Ukraine following talks with Russia’s foreign minister in Moscow.

US official claims Russia weakened by war

A Pentagon spokesman has claimed Russia has a weakened military and is already a weakened state two months after it launched its invasion of Ukraine.

“Its economy is in tatters. Its military has been depleted in many ways, not completely, but certainly they have suffered casualties and they have suffered losses in this invasion of Ukraine,” John Kirby told CNN.

“We want Russia not to be able to threaten their neighbours again in the future,” he stated.

Kremlin: Putin tells Erdogan military actions are no longer taking place in Mariupol

Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during a phone conversation on Tuesday that there is no fighting currently ongoing in Mariupol, the Kremlin said.

“Russian President Vladimir Putin had a phone conversation with Turkish Presidenet Recep Tayyip Erdogan… In connection with the issue raised by Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the situation in Mariupol, the president of Russia noted that this city was liberated and there were no military operations there,” the Kremlin announced in a statement, adding that Ukraine should instruct fights hiding in the Azovstal plant to lay down weapons.

In addition, Putin informed Erdogan about current developments at Russia-Ukraine talks, the Kremlin said, adding that humanitarian issues were also discussed.

Mariupol mayor says three mass graves around city, claims locals forced to work at sites

A third mass grave has been found near Mariupol, the mayor of the besieged southeastern city told Ukrainian television Tuesday.

In addition to mass graves uncovered in the villages of Mangush and Vynohradne, “now we see there is another one,” said Vadym Boichenko.

New satellite imagery has shown a mass grave at the village of Staryi Krym, according to the Telegram channel of the city authorities.

The images showed excavated trenches on the territory of the Old Crimean cemetery, the city council announced on Telegram.

They appeared on March 24, after the village was occupied by the Russians, and were about 60 to 70 meters long, the council added.

By April 7, according to new imagery, part of the trenches had been covered, the council said, and the burial area had grown.

“New trenches were recorded on April 24. The length of the mass grave has increased to more than 200 meters,” it added.

Boichenko accused Russian forces of involving the local population in mass burials in exchange for food.

“They [the locals] told us that you have to work ‘hours’ to have food and water. Now there is not enough humanitarian aid in Mariupol so people are forced to do it,” he stated on Telegram.

Ukraine situation is a “catalyst” for “great number of problems”: Russia’s FM tells UN secretary-general

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday the situation around Ukraine “has become a catalyst” for “a great number of problems,” and therefore Russia responded “expeditiously” to the request by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for talks.

“We definitely appreciate your desire to have another round of talks at this hard time,” Lavrov told Guterres at the beginning of a meeting in Moscow aimed to discuss the situation in Ukraine and its global impact.

Lavrov said the meeting between Guterres and Russian President Vladimir Putin later Tuesday “emphasizes the significance that we attach to our contacts with the United Nations.”

Guterres told Lavrov, “we are extremely interested” in finding ways to create conditions for effective dialogue, for a ceasefire “as soon as possible” and “conditions for a peaceful solution.”

“I know today we are facing a complex situation in Ukraine, different interpretations about what is happening in Ukraine, but that does not limit the possibility to have a very serious dialogue on how best we can work to minimize the suffering of people,” Guterres stated.

“These are also very deep interests that I have in the present moment — to do everything possible to end the war as soon as possible, and to do everything possible to minimize the suffering of the people and to address the impacts of the vulnerable populations” in other parts of the world as well that have been impacted by the war,” he continued.

“It is very important to support all countries around the world in relation to food, in relation to energy, in relation to finance,” Guterres added.

After meeting with Putin and Lavrov, Guterres will then travel to Kiev to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, as well as with staff of various United Nations agencies.

Russia supports a negotiated settlement to the Ukraine crisis, but negotiations are unlikely to succeed if Kiev continues its present course, and continues to be pumped up with weapons, Lavrov has indicated.

“We are in favour of a negotiated solution. As you know, we immediately agreed after President Zelensky proposed negotiations in early March. But given the way the Ukrainian delegation behaved itself at the talks, and the way Zelensky himself behaved, refusing to confirm receiving new proposals which Russia had sent a week before is of course depressing. Apparently, they are not particularly interested in negotiations,” Lavrov said.

Lavrov told his colleague from the UN that the present moment was a time when the world will have to choose its future fate – resigning itself to US hegemony or returning to the principles laid down in the UN Charter.

“I believe that this kind of conversation cannot be put off. We have arrived at a moment of truth in the development of international relations: either we will accept that one country and its satellites will decide how humanity will live, or humanity will live on the basis of the UN Charter. This, in fact, is a very simple choice,” the Russian foreign minister added.

UN investigating 300 unlawful killings in Ukraine: Head of monitoring mission

The UN is investigating 300 unlawful killings in Ukraine, the head of its monitoring mission in the country Matilda Bogner told CNN Tuesday.

Speaking on CNN Newsroom, Bogner relayed the scale of civilian atrocities the mission has documented throughout the war so far, including cases of sexual violence and arbitrary detentions.

So far the mission has documented up to 5,000 civilian casualties, Bogner said, noting the actual number will be “thousands” higher. Currently the UN is investigating 150 cases of enforced disappearances.

“Again, the number of cases are higher than that, these are just the cases that we have sufficient information about to already look into,” she added.

“We are hearing in some of the areas occupied by the Russian Federation, that they are targeting people who have pro Ukrainian views. For example, local officials, activists, human rights defenders, sometimes journalists who they consider have pro Ukrainian views are being detained. They often disappear. Some have been released, which is good, but others have since been found dead,” she stated.

“We are also trying to document cases of sexual violence. Unfortunately it’s very difficult to get full information. Victims usually are not willing to speak in areas that are unsafe, when they haven’t had services provided to them,” she continued.

“So it is very important that these services are provided, that people are able to have access, and move to safer areas. And it’s only when that happens that we will start to get the full picture of what’s really going on in the country,” she told CNN.

EU weighs Russian oil price cap

EU member states are considering setting a ceiling on what they would pay for Russian oil as a way to strike at Moscow’s revenues, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday. However, the bloc is not considering an immediate ban on Russian crude exports, it added.

According to the report, an oil price cap is one of the proposals being discussed as EU ambassadors prepare for talks in the coming days about a sixth package of sanctions. Another alternative would reportedly involve the EU imposing a tariff on Russian oil to force Moscow to cut prices to stay competitive.

Russia provides more than a quarter of the EU’s crude oil imports, while member states have paid over €13 billion for the supplies since the conflict in Ukraine started, according to the research organization CREA.

This month, the bloc approved a ban on Russian coal but failed to reach an agreement on an embargo of oil and natural gas. Many EU countries are heavily dependent on Russian energy. This is particularly the case for landlocked nations, which do not have the alternative of receiving shipments of liquefied natural gas.

Poland will not pay for Russian gas in Rubles: Government commissioner

Poland will not pay for Russian gas in rubles, Government Plenipotentiary for Strategic Energy Infrastructure Piotr Naimski stated on Tuesday.

“We will not pay [in rubles],” Naimski told reporters.

Moscow declares three diplomats of Swedish embassy personae non gratae

Russia has declared three Swedish diplomats personae non gratae in response to the unfriendly actions of the Swedish authorities, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

According to the ministry, the Swedish Ambassador to Russia Malena Mard was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry in connection with the “hostile actions” of the Swedish authorities against the three diplomatic employees of the Russian Embassy in Stockholm, who were “groundlessly” expelled from the country in early April.

“Malena Mard was notified that in response to this, the Russian side decided to declare ‘persona non grata’ three diplomats of the Swedish Embassy in Russia,” the ministry added.

Erdogan tells Putin momentum in talks needs to be maintained

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has told President Vladimir Putin in a phone call that maintaining the “positive momentum” achieved in talks between Ukraine and Russia earlier this month in Istanbul would benefit all sides, his office says.

“President Erdogan, who stated the importance of achieving a ceasefire, of working humanitarian corridors effectively, and of carrying out evacuations in a safe way, noted that Turkey would continue doing its utmost to halt this course of events damaging everyone and ensure lasting peace,” the Turkish presidency said in a statement.

He also repeated an offer to host the Russian and Ukrainian leaders for peace talks, it said. On Sunday, Erdogan also spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

US vows to move ‘heaven and earth’ to bolster Ukraine

The US has vowed to move “heaven and earth” to help Ukraine win its battle against Russia’s invasion, as allies from 40 nations met to bolster Kyiv’s defence against Moscow.

The meeting called by the US at its Ramstein airbase in southwestern Germany aims “to help Ukraine win the fight against Russia’s unjust invasion and to build up Ukraine’s defences for tomorrow’s challenges”, said Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin as he opened the talks.

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

The US is already the biggest supplier of international military aid to Ukraine and Austin stated Washington is “going to keep moving heaven and earth so that we can meet” Kyiv’s needs.

Austin said Russia’s invasion and atrocities in Ukraine are “indefensible” as Russia has bombed hospitals and left children “traumatized.”

“Russia’s invasion is indefensible and so are Russian atrocities,” he stressed.

At the talks, German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht confirmed that Berlin has agreed to give the go-ahead to the delivery of used Gepard anti-aircraft tanks to Ukraine.

Donetsk governor: Two people killed by Russian shelling

Two people have been killed and six others wounded by Russian shelling in Ukraine’s eastern region of Donetsk, according to its governor.

Pavlo Kyrylenko said in a Telegram post that one person had been killed in the town of Nyu-York, and another in Travneve. Russian shooting was continuing along the entire front line, he added.

Explosions hit radio tower in Russia-backed Transnistria

The interior ministry of Transnistria, a separatist Russia-backed territory in ex-Soviet Moldova, said that two explosions targeted a radio centre near the border with Ukraine.

“Early on April 26, two explosions were heard in the village of Mayak in Grigoriopolsky district,” the interior ministry of the breakaway republic announced in a statement.

It added the blasts at 6:40am and 7:05am local time targeted the “Mayak” radio centre, about 30 miles from the regional capital, Tiraspol.

The ministry stated two “powerful” antennae that were re-broadcasting Russian radio were out of order.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia is closely following events in Moldova’s pro-Russian breakaway region of Transnistria, adding that news from the region was a cause for serious concern.

Transnistria has raised its “terrorist threat level” to red and introduced checkpoints after several blasts in the region, according to a report by the country’s official news agency.

Rocket strike on Zaporizhzhia kills at least one

At least one person was killed and another wounded in a rocket strike on a commercial premises in the southern Ukrainian region of Zaporizhzhia, local authorities claimed.

The regional administration announced two rockets hit the premises and a third rocket exploded before reaching its target.

Ukraine prepares war crimes charges against Russian pilots

Three Russian pilots suspected of bombing civilian buildings in the Kharkiv and Sumy regions are among at least seven Russian military personnel that Kyiv is preparing war crimes charges against, the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office told Reuters.

It said the other individuals include two operators of a rocket launcher who allegedly shelled settlements in the Kharkiv region and two army servicemen suspected of murdering a Kyiv area resident and raping his wife.

The prosecutor’s office said it had notified the individuals that they are suspects and the investigations are ongoing, adding no charges had been filed with the court.

It didn’t name the suspects or provide evidence to support the allegations. It said some of the suspects were held as captives, without specifying where, while other charges were being prepared in absentia.

Ukraine says it is investigating some 7,600 potential war crimes and at least 500 suspects following the Russian invasion.

UN chief says he wants ceasefire ‘as soon as possible’ during Moscow visit

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said during a visit to Moscow that he was looking to find ways to stop the fighting in Ukraine as quickly as possible.

“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,” Guterres stated at the start of talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Guterres noted he has proposed the establishment of a humanitarian contact group bringing together representatives from Russia, Ukraine and the UN to “look for opportunities for the opening of safe corridors” to evacuate civilians.

“Simultaneously, we recognise that we face a crisis within a crisis in Mariupol,” he told the joint news conference alongside Lavrov.

“Thousands of civilians are in dire need of life-saving humanitarian assistance and many of evacuation,” Guterres added.

“The United Nations is ready to fully mobilise its human and logistical resources to help save lives in Mariupol,” he continued.

Guterres proposed coordinated work with the Red Cross to allow people holed up inside the city’s Azovstal steel plant to leave.

Guterres said he is visiting Moscow as a “messenger of peace” but warns there are competing viewpoints over Russia’s offensive which are complicating efforts to end the war.

“My objective and my agenda is strictly linked to saving lives and reducing suffering,” he told reporters at the joint news conference in Moscow.

“[But] It is clear that there are two different positions on what is happening in Ukraine. According to the Russian Federation, what is taking place is a special military operation, with the objectives that were announced. According to the UN … Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a violation of its territorial integrity,” Guterres added.

“But it is my deep conviction that the sooner we end this war the better – for the people of Ukraine, for the people of the Russian Federation and those far beyond,” he noted.

China not interested in World War III, favors peace in Ukraine

The Chinese authorities are not seeking World War III and are in favor of resolving the conflict in Ukraine through diplomacy, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Tuesday.

“No one wants to see World War III, <…> it is necessary to support the process of promoting peace talks [between Russia and Ukraine],” he said at a briefing, responding to a Western journalist’s question about how the Chinese foreign ministry assesses Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s recent words about the threat of World War III.

According to Wang, the armed conflict in Ukraine should not be allowed to become protracted. He pointed to the need to prevent negative consequences that could result in the Ukrainian conflict affecting not only Europe but the entire world.

“We hope that all parties concerned will show equanimity and prevent escalation,” the Foreign Ministry spokesman concluded.

EU official says further sanctions against Russia expected ‘very soon’

Kadri Simson, the European Union’s energy policy chief, stated a sixth package of sanctions against Russia is expected to be agreed upon “very soon”.

The bloc has moved to impose sweeping penalties on Moscow over its attack on Ukraine, alongside the United States, United Kingdom and other Western allies.

UN expecting more than eight million Ukrainians to flee as refugees

The UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) says it now expects some 8.3 million people to flee Ukraine this year, revising up its previous projection.

UNHCR spokeswoman Shabia Mantoo’s update came after the agency had initially planned for about four million refugees in the immediate aftermath of Russia’s invasion in late February but this figure was surpassed last month.

She added that more than 12.7 million people had now fled their homes since Russia invaded Ukraine two months ago, including 7.7 million people displaced internally and more than five million who have left to other countries.

Poland imposes sanctions against Gazprom, Novatek, other companies & individuals From Russia & Belarus

Poland has imposed its own sanctions against Gazprom, Novatek, Akron and other companies and individuals from Russia and Belarus, Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski said on Tuesday.

“The list includes such enterprises as Gazprom, which was sanctioned as part of the activities of EuroPolGaz, such enterprises as Akron and the Russian oligarch Viatcheslav Kantor, who owns about 20% in the Polish company Azoty, all enterprises that supplied Poland with Russian coal and coal from Donbas, companies such as Novatek, PhosAgro, also on the list are oligarchs associated with [Belarusian President Alexander] Lukashenko regime, Beloil,” Kaminski told reporters.

In total, Poland has imposed sanctions against 35 companies and 15 individuals who “work on the territory” of the country.

Ukraine has potential to create chemical weapons: Russian envoy to OPCW

Russian Permanent Representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Alexander Shulgin stated on Tuesday that Ukraine has a potential to create chemical weapons.

“When Ukraine joined the chemical convention, it did not declare the presence of chemical weapons on its territory, but I think that, one way or another, the Ukrainians will play this card, I already spoke about encroachments regarding chemical provocations against our country,” Shulgin said during a press conference at the Rossiya Segodnya information agency, adding that Kiev has potential, including “chemical industry.”

Russia claims overnight strikes killed 500 Ukrainian troops

Russia’s defence ministry says its forces struck over 90 military targets in Ukraine overnight, killing at least 500 soldiers and destroying dozens of armoured vehicles, artillery and other military equipment.

The ministry also added its troops had hit two ammunition depots in Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region.

Russian forces have eliminated 583 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles, 2,576 tanks and armored vehicles and 287 multiple rocket launchers since the start of their special military operation in Ukraine, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said on Tuesday.

“Overall, the following targets have been destroyed since the start of the special military operation: 141 aircraft, 110 helicopters, 583 unmanned aerial vehicles, 269 surface-to-air missile systems, 2,576 tanks and other combat armored vehicles, 287 multiple launch rocket systems, 1,111 field artillery guns and mortars and also 2,392 special military motor vehicles,” the spokesman added.

Germany to supply Gepard anti-aircraft systems to Ukraine: Report

Germany will pledge to supply Gepard anti-aircraft systems to Ukraine, daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung has reported, in what would be a clear switch in Berlin’s cautious policy on military backing for Kyiv.

The paper said German defence minister Christine Lambrecht was set to offer the weapons at Tuesday’s meeting with allies at the United States’ Ramstein Air Base.

Ukraine says Russia escalating offensive in south & east, but facing stiff resistance in areas

Russian forces have stepped up their offensive in both the south and east of the country — but resistance has been able to push back in some locations, Ukrainian officials stated Tuesday.

“Russian troops have launched an offensive in all directions,” said Alexei Arestovych, an advisor to President Volodymyr Zelensky, on Ukrainian television.

Russian forces are focusing particularly on the Kramatorsk and Sloviansk towns in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region, and on Kryvyi Rih in the southern Kherson region, he added.

The Russians have held Kherson since the early days of the invasion, and have been trying to push northward from there.

Russia is also continuing to build up troops in the northeast, intended to partially blockade the heavily hit city of Kharkiv, the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said on Tuesday.

It added that Russian forces had tried unsuccessfully to launch attacks elsewhere in the Donetsk region.

“Over the past 24 hours, six enemy attacks have been repulsed in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, four tanks, five artillery systems, thirteen units of armored vehicles, fifteen units of motor vehicles, two tankers and one anti-aircraft gun have been destroyed,” the General Staff said.

Russian troops are also conducting an offensive to the south, in the region of Zaporizhzhia, the General Staff said. Ukrainian forces have struck back, destroying a Russian ammunition depot, the military leadership added, claiming that some 70 Russian soldiers had been killed and that the Russians also suffered losses in two settlements south of Kryvyi Rih.

In the same region, the Southern Command of the Ukrainian Infantry said Russian forces had again tried to advance toward the city of Mykolaiv with increased shelling and artillery  but two attacks “were repelled by our units, including the destruction of tanks and an APC (military vehicle).”

“The rest of the forces retreated under our fire to the previous positions,” it added.

UN to vote on Security Council veto reforms

The 193 members of the UN General Assembly are set to vote on a resolution that would require the five permanent members of the Security Council to justify their use of the veto in future.

Discussions of veto reform are rare and controversial, but have been revived by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Directly targeting the US, China, Russia, France and the UK – who are the only holders of the veto right – the measure would “make them pay a higher political price” when they opt to use their veto to strike down a Security Council resolution, said an ambassador from a country that does not have the veto.

The measure was introduced by Liechtenstein. Around 60 countries, including the US have joined in co-sponsoring the reform.

Russian forces trying to encircle Ukrainian positions in east: UK

The British Ministry of Defence announced Russian forces are likely attempting to encircle heavily fortified Ukrainian positions in the east of Ukraine.

In its latest intelligence update, the ministry said heavy fighting has been reported as “Russian forces attempt to advance towards the cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk from the north and the east”.

The two cities are in the Donetsk region.

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

Spain seizes 12 bank accounts, 3 yachts, 23 properties belonging to Russians

Spanish authorities have frozen 12 bank accounts and funds and seized three yachts and 23 properties belonging to Russian oligarchs since the war broke out in Ukraine, the prime minister’s chief of staff said.

Speaking in the Spanish parliament, Oscar Lopez stated the assets have been seized in line with the sanctions imposed by the European Union on Russian oligarchs.

Over the last two months, Spanish authorities have seized the yachts of billionaires Viktor Vekselberg, Alexander Mikheev and Sergey Chemezov.

Nighttime curfew declared in Kyiv to protect population from Russia’s “provocative actions”

A nighttime curfew has gone into effect in Kyiv from Monday to Friday this week because of Russia’s “provocative actions,” Oleksandr Pavliuk, the head of the Kyiv Regional Military Administration, said in a Telegram post.

The curfew will last from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. local time.

“We remind you that during the curfew it is forbidden to be on the street and in other public places, to move by transport or on foot,” Pavliuk stated.

Those involved in the work of critical infrastructure who have a special permit and ID are exempt, he continued.

“During martial law, it is important to adhere to the requirements and decisions that are implemented on the ground. Such measures help protect the population from the provocative actions of the enemy,” Pavliuk added.

Moscow’s envoy: US tries to prolong Russian special operation in Ukraine by all means

The US tries to prolong Russia’s special operation in Ukraine by all means, attempting to cause Russia the utmost harm, according to a commentary by Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov published on the Russian Embassy’s Telegram channel.

“It is obvious that behind Washington’s actions an aspiration is hidden to prolong the Russian special operation by any means, trying to cause the utmost harm to Russia and to fight until the last Ukrainian,” the envoy noted, reiterating that the White House is asking the US Congress for funds to provide additional military aid to Ukraine while its total volume since the current administration came to power has surpassed $4 bln.

“The US wants to preserve the hotbed of instability in Europe, thereby uniting Western allies around itself in order to preserve US positions on the global arena,” the diplomat pointed out, noting that the conflict in Ukraine and Russia’s image as an external threat “are being actively exploited by the powers that be in order to distract voters from their own failures in public administration and the growing heap of political and socio-economic problems in the US.”

“All of this makes one think that the Ukrainian conflict was intentionally provoked by the US,” the ambassador stated.

According to him, it is impossible to ignore the fact that the world is moving towards multipolarity.

“Russia won’t be brought down to its knees. Illusory Western projects remained in the past,” he emphasized.

The Russian envoy reiterated that “the special military operation is not directed against the Ukrainians” while its main goals are the “protection of the DPR and LPR, Ukraine’s neutral and non-nuclear status, the demilitarization and denazification of this republic.”

“For our national security it is important to remove the threats coming from Ukrainian territory due to its development by NATO. Our goals will be fully attained,” the diplomat concluded.

UK bans exports to Russia can be used against Ukraine

The UK government introduces a ban on export to Russia of those products that can be used against the people of Ukraine, according to a statement published on Monday night by the UK Department for International Trade.

“The UK has also announced an export ban on products and technology that Russia could use to repress the heroic people of Ukraine. Products targeted could include interception and monitoring equipment,” the document said.

The agency also announced the cancellation of tariffs and quotas on Ukrainian products. “All tariffs on goods imported from Ukraine will now be reduced to zero and all quotas will be removed under the free trade agreement, providing Ukraine economic support in their hour of need,” the UK government reported.

It is noted that the decision on cutting tariffs was made in response to a request by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

New mass grave identified north of Mariupol

Officials in Mariupol claim a new mass grave has been identified north of the Ukrainian port city.

Mayor Vadym Boychenko stated authorities are trying to estimate the number of victims in the grave about 10km (6 miles) north of Mariupol.

Russia has used more than 1100 missiles in Ukraine: Zelensky

Ukraine’s president has praised his people for withstanding Russia’s attacks in his nighttime video address.

“In two months, they used more than 1100 missiles against us. Countless bombs and artillery. They tortured, robbed, executed. They mined our land. Peaceful cities and villages were turned into hell,” Volodymyr Zelensky said.

“But they did not achieve anything. And they will not achieve,” he added, stating that this war had become a “people’s war for Ukraine”.

“At any age, any property status, with any education – Ukrainian men and women equally stood up for the state” he continued.

Zelensky has said Russia will not be able to win the war against his country and called on residents to do everything to make the presence of Russian troops in Ukraine “unbearable”.

The president stated Russia will lose the war, but to get there, Ukrainians must think of how to make “the presence of occupiers [in] our land even more unbearable”.

“Ukraine is ready for peace … But in order to make Russia seek peace, every Ukrainian man and woman must fight, must defend freedom. Because every day of the fight will add years and years to the peaceful life after this war, after our victory,” he added.

Ukraine tells UN chief to push Russia for Mariupol evacuation

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has urged the UN chief to press Russia for an evacuation of the besieged port of Mariupol.

He told The Associated Press that Antonio Guterres could be vulnerable to falling into a Kremlin “trap” in the war by visiting Moscow before he travels to Kyiv on Tuesday.

Kuleba stated Guterres “should focus primarily on one issue: evacuation of Mariupol”.

An estimated 100,000 people are trapped in the seaside city while a contingent of Ukrainian fighters are holding out against Russian forces in a steel mill where hundreds of civilians also are taking shelter.

Russia’s aggression ‘direct threat’ to Europe

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has described Russia’s aggression in Ukraine as a direct threat to Europe’s security.

“Targeting and killing innocent civilians. Redrawing borders by force. Subjugating the will of a free people. This goes against core principles enshrined in the UN Charter. In Europe, we see Russia’s aggression as a direct threat to our security,” von der Leyen said in a speech at the Raisina Dialogue, a geopolitics conference in India’s New Delhi.

She added Moscow’s “unprovoked and unjustified aggression against Ukraine” was bound to be a “strategic failure” and the European Union was “doing all we can to help Ukraine fight for its freedom.”

Ukraine FM says Russia ‘senses defeat’

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has criticised his Russian counterpart for warning of a “real” danger of World War III, saying Sergey Lavrov’s comments indicated that “Moscow senses defeat”.

“Russia loses last hope to scare the world off supporting Ukraine. Thus the talk of a ‘real’ danger of WWIII,” Kuleba wrote on Twitter.

“This only means Moscow senses defeat in Ukraine. Therefore, the world must double down on supporting Ukraine so that we prevail and safeguard European and global security,” he added.

Two attacks on Kherson prevented: Ukraine army

The Ukrainian army says it has prevented two attacks in the Kherson region over the past two days.

In a statement on Facebook, the General Staff of the Armed Forces announced Ukrainian troops also killed 48 personnel and destroyed 13 pieces of enemy equipment, including two tanks.

It added that in the Black Sea, Russia was using its submarines to “terrorise civilian shipping” so it would be free to lift its sunken warship, the Moskva.

Russian troops fire on Sumy region

Ukraine’s State Border Service says Russian troops have launched cross-border attacks on Sumy region, according to the Ostrov news agency.

“The Sumy region was shelled four times from Russian territory. In particular, from the side of the Russian village of Tetkino, heavy weapons were used in the direction of the Ukrainian village of Rivne, in the Konotop region,” the report added.

There were no reports of casualties.

Russia’s FM warns of ‘real’ danger of World War III

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said that peace talks with Ukraine would continue, while warning there was a “real” danger of a World War III.

Speaking to Russian news agencies, he criticised Kyiv’s approach to the talks, adding: “Goodwill has its limits. But if it isn’t reciprocal, that doesn’t help the negotiation process.”

Deliveries of Western weaponry to Ukraine mean that the NATO alliance is “in essence engaged in war with Russia” and Moscow views these weapons as legitimate targets, Lavrov also told state television.

“These weapons will be a legitimate target for Russia’s military acting within the context of the special operation,” the foreign minister noted.

“Storage facilities in western Ukraine have been targeted more than once [by Russian forces]. How can it be otherwise?” he continued, adding, “NATO, in essence, is engaged in a war with Russia through a proxy and is arming that proxy. War means war.”

Russia wants to reduce all chances of “artificially” elevating the risk of nuclear conflict, Lavrov stated.

“This is our key position on which we base everything. The risks now are considerable,” Lavrov stressed.

The US and the UK advise Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to tighten Kiev’s position at every round of talks with Moscow, Lavrov said.

“As for the talks, we know it for sure, that neither the US nor the UK, which seeks to compensate for its current lonely status after the exit from the EU with its unbridled activity, advises Zelensky to speed up the talks. They advise Zelensky to tighten his position every time,” he added.

Washington has renounced practically all contacts with Moscow against the background of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine, Foreign Minister stated.

More sanctions against Russia likely: White House

The US is likely to impose more economic sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine and “no one is safe from our sanctions”, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has said.

Psaki would not comment specifically on a Wall Street Journal report that the reported mother of three of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s children had so far not been sanctioned to avoid riling Putin.

Poland has delivered tanks to Ukraine: Polish PM

Poland has sent tanks to Ukraine, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said without giving any further details.

“Yes,” Morawiecki stated when asked if Poland had or would send tanks to Ukraine. He declined to reveal any further details including the number of tanks sent.

In March, Poland announced it was ready to deploy all its MiG-29 jets to Ramstein Air Base in Germany and put them at the disposal of the United States, but Washington rejected a surprise offer.

“There is no such necessity, there are no such demands, there are no such requests,” Morawiecki noted when asked if sending planes to Ukraine was still being considered.

War has disrupted Ukrainian agricultural production: UK

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has significantly disrupted Ukrainian agricultural production, the UK Ministry of Defence tweeted in a regular bulletin.

“Ukrainian grain harvest for 2022 is likely to be around 20% lower than 2021 due to reduced sowing areas following invasion,” it said.

The reduced grain supply from Ukraine will generate inflationary pressures, elevating the global price of grain, the UK military intelligence added.

Russia claims its missiles target railway supplies of weapons to Ukraine

Russia’s defence ministry has announced that its high-precision missiles destroyed six facilities powering the railways that were used to supply Ukrainian forces with foreign weapons.

Ukraine: Russia targeting railways to cut arms supply routes

Ukraine’s military command has announced that Russia was trying to bomb Ukraine’s rail infrastructure in order to disrupt arms supplies from foreign countries.

“They are trying to destroy the supply routes of military-technical assistance from partner states. To do this, they focus strikes on railway junctions,” the armed forces command wrote in a post on Facebook.

West needs to make sure cost of war for Russia is “as high as possible”: Danish FM

The West needs to make sure the cost for Russia for the war in Ukraine is “as high as possible,” Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod told CNN.

“It is very important that we help Ukraine defend their own country and to make the cost for Russia, as high as possible, also in the battlefield,” Kofod said, adding, “That is what we are doing and we will continue to do that.”

Stopping Moscow’s aggression in Ukraine means European nations must impose further sanctions on Russia and send more military aid to Kyiv, he continued.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen promised on a visit to Kyiv Thursday to send more military assistance to Ukraine, increasing contribution by $87 million to around $144 million.

Denmark will increase its natural gas production in the North Sea “for a limited time period,” to reduce its dependency on Russian energy imports, Frederiksen said on Tuesday, adding that the country is ultimately aiming to phase out its use natural gases to become independent of Russian supplies.

“Everything is on the table from the Danish side. We are ready to do the most sanctions we can agree upon,” Kofod told CNN, noting, “Of course, continuing to offer support to isolate Russia politically with our partners, but also the rest of the world — that is really what we had to.”

Russian diplomat says ceasefire unlikely “right now”

A deputy to Russia’s ambassador to the UN took to the stakeout podium at the UN Monday to say that a ceasefire in Ukraine is not a good option right now.

“We don’t think that ceasefire is a good option right now because the only advantage it will give it will give possibility for Ukrainian forces to regroup and to stage more provocations like Bucha,” Dmitry Polyanskiy, First Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia’s mission to the United Nations, said.

“Frankly it’s not up to me to decide but I don’t see any reasons (this would be pursued) right now,” he added.

He also alleged that Ukraine, with backing from the US, was preparing to deploy “chemical, biological, and tactical nuclear weapons” in a false flag operation, and claim that Russia had been responsible.

The representative also stated he did not think it was time for a humanitarian ceasefire.

Polyanskiy was speaking on the eve of the UN secretary general’s visit to Russia, where he will be received by President Vladimir Putin.

“Our ministry of defense keeps collecting information that the Kyiv regime backed by the US is preparing staged provocations in order to accuse the Russian armed forces of using chemical, biological, and tactical nuclear weapons,” Polyanskiy noted.

The US has denied that it has been developing chemical or bioweapons in Ukraine, noting that the biological research facilities it funds in Ukraine were created to help minimize the risk of old Soviet weapons left behind in the region.

US officials have warned that Russia may be sowing disinformation about alleged US-backed bioweapons in advance of its own use of bioweapons in Ukraine.

Still, Polyanskiy gave several speculative scenarios in which he claimed a Ukrainian attack could happen.

He urged the media to take note of specific locations so it “does not come as a surprise if an incident happens” adding “we have warned the world about it.”

“What has long been considered as unthinkable is now a realistic scenario plotted by the Kyiv regime, encouraged and supported by the USA,” he continued, parroting the accusations of Russian leaders.

He added “the US and its allies have a proven record of using (allegations of) weapons of mass destruction… to assault sovereign countries which do not want to succumb to their pressure,” referencing justifications US officials gave for previous military actions in Iraq and Syria.

The Russian diplomat also denied that the Russians were responsible for the killing of civilians in Bucha.

Moscow: Humanitarian Corridor for Civilians from Mariupol Sabotaged by Kiev

A new attempt to set up a humanitarian corridor to evacuate civilians allegedly trapped at the besieged Azovstal steel mill in Mariupol has failed, the Russian military admitted late on Monday, as Moscow and Kiev blamed one another for the evacuation attempt yielding no result.

“The Kiev authorities today again cynically disrupted this humanitarian operation. As of April 25, 2022, at 8pm (MSK), no one has used the proposed humanitarian corridor,” Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev, the head of Russia’s National Defense Management Center, announced in a statement.

The official squarely pinned the blame for the failure of the new evacuation attempt on the Kiev authorities. Despite repeatedly bemoaning the fate of the civilians said to be holed up alongside Ukrainian fighters at the plant, Kiev has not taken any “practical steps” to facilitate their evacuation, Mizintsev pointed out.

“Such absolutely illogical and inconsistent behavior of the Kiev authorities once again confirms their blatant indifference to the fate of individual people – to the citizens of their own country,” he stressed.

Earlier in the day – shortly after the corridor was supposed to open at 2 pm MSK – Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk pinned the blame for the evacuation failure on Moscow. While she first told the Ukrainian media that Kiev was ready to do “everything” to make it work, shortly afterwards she claimed the corridor was not set up properly and did not work.

“It is important to understand that the humanitarian corridor is opened by agreement of both parties. The corridor announced unilaterally does not provide security, and therefore, in fact, is not a humanitarian corridor,” Vereshchuk claimed in a Telegram statement.

“I declare officially and publicly: unfortunately, there are no agreements on humanitarian corridors from Azovstal today,” Vereshchuk continued.

› Subscribe


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

More Articles