Ukraine news – live: Russia bombs east as US promises new weapons

·35 min read

Russia has pounded eastern Ukraine as the US defence secretary promised to “keep moving heaven and earth” to get Kyiv the weapons it needs to repel the new offensive even as Moscow warned such support risked widening the war.

Two months into the devastating conflict, western arms have already helped Ukraine stall Russia’s invasion - but its leaders have said they need more support fast.

US defence secretary Lloyd Austin said that help was on the way, as he convened a meeting of officials from around 40 countries at the United States’ Ramstein Air Base in Germany to pledge more weapons.

Germany announced it has cleared the way for delivery of Gepard anti-aircraft guns to Ukraine.

“This gathering reflects the galvanised world,” Mr Austin said in his opening remarks.

He added that he wanted officials to leave the meeting “with a common and transparent understanding of Ukraine‘s near-term security requirements because we’re going to keep moving heaven and earth so that we can meet them”.

Key points

  • Germany vows to send heavy weapons for first time

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

  • Russia effectively at war with Nato, Lavrov says as he calls western weapons ‘legitimate targets’

  • ‘Nuclear threat should not be underestimated’, warns Russia

  • Ukraine accuses Russia of 'scaremongering'

  • Russia hits faraway targets in Ukraine

  • UK estimates 15,000 Russian troops killed in Ukraine

Russia hits Wikimedia Foundation with additional fine -TASS

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

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

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:

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

ICYMI: Moldova raises terror threat level

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:

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

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

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:

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

Russia expels four Swedish diplomats

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

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'

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

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

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

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:

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

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)
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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Military unsound’ decisions

10:34 , Zoe Tidman

Vladimir Putin is making “military unsound” decisions to win the war in Ukraine before Russia’s Victory Day parade on 9 May, a UK minister has said.

Thomas Kingsley reports:

Putin making ‘unsound decisions’ to claim victory before Victory Day in May, UK says

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

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:

Defence minister backs Ukraine striking Russian soil with British weapons

UK to send more ambulances

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

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

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

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.

08:43 , Zoe Tidman

From the US embassy in Ukraine...

Ukraine’s war update

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

BREAKING: Russia effectively at war with Nato, Lavrov says as he calls western weapons ‘legitimate targets’

08:01 , Zoe Tidman

Russia effectively at war with Nato, Kremlin says, after delivery of western weapons

How likely is nuclear attack?

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:

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

Four people killed in Donetsk shelling on Monday, official says

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'

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

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)
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’

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

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

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

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)
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

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)
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

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)
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)
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

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.

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:

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.

Hundreds of thousands of elderly Ukrainians stranded in freezing conditions, says NGO chief

Monday 25 April 2022 20:29 , Eleanor Sly

Hundreds of thousands of elderly Ukrainians are trapped in the east of the country, unable or unwilling to leave, as Russian forces bear down on their towns, a top humanitarian official has warned.

While the plight of children and mothers leaving areas in the east and heading to towns in the west of the country, or nations such as Poland, has received widespread media attention, the dangers facing the elderly have been largely overlooked, says Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

Egeland says many of these people aged in their 70s and 80s, have disabilities or else are bedridden. In some communities in eastern Ukraine, where Russia is now focusing its military operation, elderly people account for as much as 60 per cent of the population.

Read more:

Many thousands elderly Ukrainians stranded in freezing conditions, says NGO chief

Finland and Sweden to express wish to join NATO in May, tabloids say

Monday 25 April 2022 20:10 , Eleanor Sly

Finland and Sweden will together express their wish to join NATO in May, tabloid newspapers Iltalehti in Finland and Expressen in Sweden said on Monday.

Their reports cited sources close to the matter.

In spite of tightening cooperation with the NATO since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, the Nordic countries had both opted to stay out of the military alliance.

However, Sweden and Finland have been forced to examine whether their longstanding military neutrality is still the best means of ensuring national security, following the Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

According to Iltalehti, the leaders of Finland and Sweden plan to meet in the week of 16 May, following which it is said they will publicly announce their plans to apply to join the alliance.

Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto declined to comment.

Swedish daily Aftonbladet also reported a similar story separately, citing sources close to Swedish government office.

The Swedish foreign ministry also declined to comment on Expressen’s and Aftonbladet’s reports.

Ukrainian survivor gives her food away to 94-year-old neighbour

Monday 25 April 2022 19:48 , Eleanor Sly

Ukraine war crimes probe widens as UK says 15,000 Russian troops dead

Monday 25 April 2022 19:20 , Eleanor Sly

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is joining forces with European prosecutors who are investigating allegations of war crimes committed during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as scrutiny grows over reports of rape, torture and mass killings carried out by Kremlin forces.

ICC prosecutor Karim Khan has signed an agreement with prosecutors’ offices from Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine, marking the tribunal’s first-ever participation in an investigative team, it was announced on Monday.

“With this agreement, parties are sending a clear message that all efforts will be undertaken to effectively gather evidence on core international crimes committed in Ukraine and bring those responsible to justice,” said Eurojust, the EU’s agency for criminal justice cooperation.

Sam Hancock has more:

Refugee who sang ‘Let It Go’ hopes to return to Ukraine when they achieve ‘victory’

Monday 25 April 2022 18:35 , Eleanor Sly

Amelia Anisovych, the Ukrainian refugee who went viral for singing “Let It Go” in a Kyiv bomb shelter, hopes to return to her country once they achieve “victory”.

The seven-year-old sensation, who has since found safety across the border in Poland, was interviewed alongside her mother on Good Morning Britain on Monday.

Asked by Susanna Reid when she “hopes” to return to Ukraine, Amelia replied: “When the war is finished... when we have our victory.”

Watch the clip here:

Refugee who sang ‘Let It Go’ hopes to return to Ukraine when they achieve ‘victory’

Ukraine says Russia is targeting railways to cut arms supply routes

Monday 25 April 2022 18:02 , Eleanor Sly

Ukraine’s military command has said 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 on Facebook.

Ministers targeted by Russian hoax callers pretending to be captured British citizens

Monday 25 April 2022 17:40 , Eleanor Sly

Ministers are being targeted by hoax callers pretending to be British citizens captured by Russian forces in Ukraine, The Independent understands.

Russian information operations are believed to be behind the calls, which have been made to the private offices of cabinet members.

To date, two British soldiers fighting with the Ukrainian army have been captured by Vladimir Putin’s troops. Both were paraded on Russian television last week.

Samuel Lovett reports:

Ministers targeted by Russia hoax callers pretending to be captured British citizens

Team from UN nuclear watchdog is due to arrive Tuesday at Chernobyl

Monday 25 April 2022 17:21 , Eleanor Sly

Rafael Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), will head up a mission of experts to “deliver equipment, conduct radiological assessments and restore safeguards monitoring systems”.

Experts to discuss deciphering Russia’s misinformation: How do we sort fact from fiction?

Monday 25 April 2022 17:01 , Eleanor Sly

Discrediting real news as fake and spreading its own increasingly sophisticated fake news are tactics Russia has used for many years to sow confusion and undermine others.

An expert panel at a virtual event run by The Independent will explore how we can sort fact from fiction and get closest to the truth.

Click on the article link below to get your free ticket:

Monday 25 April 2022 16:33 , Eleanor Sly

The UK’s Defence Secretary has suggested that Vladimir Putin should leave all occupied territory in Ukraine including Crimea for true peace to be achieved.

Commons Defence Select Committee chairman Tobias Ellwood asked: “What does success in Ukraine look like? Are we doing enough to prevent Ukraine from losing but not enough to make sure that they win? What is our strategy?

“Is it to push Russia back from the pre-February lines or indeed liberate the entire Donbas region? If it is in Europe’s wider security interest to see Putin humiliated in Ukraine then the entire mainland must be liberated, that must be our strategic end.”

Ben Wallace replied: “Our strategic aim is twofold. One is that Putin must fail in Ukraine, he must fail in his invasion and I think he is on course to do that actually. He must fail in his occupation of Ukraine and I think he has definitely failed in achieving that.

“To the fine tuning of that, that is as much a matter of Ukraine’s choice as it is of anybody else - that Ukraine gets to choose where it wishes to settle for peace. We will do everything we can to support them.

“For my part, I want Putin not only beyond the pre-February boundaries. He invaded Crimea illegally, he invaded Donetsk illegally and he should comply with international law and in the long run leave Ukraine.”

Russia has ‘failed’, says defence secretary as UK to send Stormer vehicles to Ukraine

Monday 25 April 2022 16:14 , Adam Forrest

The UK will send a small number of Stormer armoured vehicles fitted with launchers for anti-air missiles to Ukraine, defence secretary Ben Wallace has announced.

Mr Wallace told the Commons that British assessments showed that around 15,000 Russian personnel had been killed in the conflict while 2,000 armoured vehicles including some 530 tanks had been destroyed, along with 60 helicopters and fighter jets.

The defence secretary said Russia has so far “failed in nearly every one of its objectives”, adding that Moscow’s high command had “regrouped, reinforced and changed focus to securing Donetsk and Luhansk”.

He added: “At the start of this conflict Russia had committed over 120 battalion tactical groups, approximately 65% of its entire ground combat strength. As of now we assess around over 25% of these have been rendered not combat effective.”

Hundreds of streets in Kyiv can be renamed to lose Russian links, says city council

Monday 25 April 2022 16:01 , Rory Sullivan

A total of 279 street names could be changed in Kyiv to remove links to Russia and Belarus, the city council has said.

Volodymyr Bondarenko, the secretary of the council, announced the potential move to the newspaper Ukrainska Pravda on Monday.

Russia continues to attack Azovstal plant in Mariupol, says Ukraine

Monday 25 April 2022 15:50 , Rory Sullivan

Russian troops are still attacking Ukraine’s last foothold in Mariupol, Kyiv has said.

Ukrainian presidential aide Oleksiy Arestovych said: “The enemy continues to attack our defences in the area of the Azovstal plant, using aircraft, artillery ... firing with tanks and trying to advance with assault groups, violating the order of their own supreme commander.”

Moscow’s forces reportedly launched a heavy attack against the steelworks on Saturday, two days after Vladimir Putin said he wanted his soldiers to blockade rather than storm it.

Thousands of Ukrainian troops and civilians are holed up at the Azovstal plant.

Watch live: Defence minister Ben Wallace updates parliament on Ukraine

Monday 25 April 2022 15:22 , Rory Sullivan

US names new ambassador to Ukraine

Monday 25 April 2022 15:19 , Rory Sullivan

The US has named veteran diplomat Bridget Brink as its new representative in Ukraine.

The position has been vacant for almost three years.

Ms Brink, who has worked as a diplomat for 25 years, speaks Russian and has worked in Slovakia, Uzbekistan and Georgia. Her “decades of experience make her uniquely suited for this moment in Ukraine‘s history”, the US state department said in a statement.

Yesterday, the US showed its ongoing support for Ukraine when senior Biden officials travelled to Kyiv to meet Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.

Russia to expel German diplomats

Monday 25 April 2022 15:00 , Rory Sullivan

The Kremlin has announced that it will expel 40 German diplomatic staff in a tit-for-tat move.

In a statement, the Russian foreign ministry said its decision followed Germany’s description of Russian embassy officials in Berlin as “undesirable”.

Russian attacks in eastern Ukraine being repelled, says Kyiv

Monday 25 April 2022 14:45 , Rory Sullivan

Russia is making no headway with its attacks in eastern Ukraine, Kyiv has said.

Oleksandr Motuzyanyk, a Ukrainian defence ministry spokesperson, said the Kremlin’s soldiers had sought to capture towns including Rubizhne and Popasna, and to advance from Izyum towards Barvinkove and Sloviansk.

Ukrainian town names street after ‘hero’ Boris Johnson

Monday 25 April 2022 14:25 , Rory Sullivan

A small town in southern Ukraine is renaming one of its roads after British prime minister Boris Johnson in recognition of the UK’s efforts to help the country in its war against Russia.

The street is in Fontanka, which sits on the outskirts of the Black Sea port city of Odesa.

My colleague Sam Hancock reports:

Ukrainian town names street after ‘hero’ Boris Johnson

Almost 4,000 Ukrainians killed by Russians in war, says prosecutor general

Monday 25 April 2022 14:02 , Rory Sullivan

Russian forces have killed 3818 and injured more than 4,000 people in the last eight weeks, Ukraine’s prosecutor general has said.

Iryna Venediktova noted that this figure is not accurate because it doesn’t include fatalitirs in Mariupol and temporarily occupied territories.

Stop buying Russian oil, says Ukrainian foreign minister

Monday 25 April 2022 13:45 , Rory Sullivan

If the world is serious about stopping the Kremlin’s crimes in Ukraine, countries must stop buying Russian oil, the Ukrainian foreign minister has said.

“Enough excuses and half-measures while Ukrainians are being bombed, killed, tortured, and raped. Russian oil is full of Ukrainian blood. Stop buying it,” Dmytro Kuleba said.

The EU is still undecided on whether to impose an embargo on Russian energy, with countries like Germany insisting such a move would wreck their economies.

Nato warships to conduct exercises with Finnish navy

Monday 25 April 2022 13:31 , Rory Sullivan

Three Nato warships have arrived off the coast of Finland to train the Finnish navy.

Their two-day exercise comes as Helsinki decides whether to join the military alliance, prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The navies will focus on “mine countermeasures and working in a multinational framework”, the Finnish defence forces said in a statement.

Russia did not agree to Mariupol evacuation, Ukraine says

Monday 25 April 2022 13:10 , Lamiat Sabin

Ukraine has not reached any agreement with Russia on opening a humanitarian corridor to evacuate civilians from Mariupol today, according to Kyiv.

Ukrainian deputy PM Iryna Vereshschuk said that no plans have been agreed with Vladimir Putin’s government to allow people in the besieged city to flee to safety.

Destroyed apartment block in Mariupol (REUTERS)
Destroyed apartment block in Mariupol (REUTERS)

Earlier, Russia had said it would open a humanitarian corridor for civilians to leave the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol where Ukrainian fighters and some civilians are hiding out.

Ms Vereshchuk said on Telegram: “It is important to understand that a humanitarian corridor opens by the agreement of both sides. A corridor announced unilaterally does not provide security, and therefore is not a humanitarian corridor.”

Russia to probe cause of oil depot fire, Kremlin says

Monday 25 April 2022 13:00 , Lamiat Sabin

Russia said it will investigate a large fire that broke out at an oil depot in one of its cities near the Ukrainian border.

Two explosions are heard in unverified footage shared on social media, that also show a fire raging around a giant fuel reservoir.

Smoke rising from the oil depot in the Bryansk region of Russia (AP)
Smoke rising from the oil depot in the Bryansk region of Russia (AP)

The fuel tanks at the facility in the Bryansk region were on fire, the Kremlin’s ministry of emergency situations confirmed. Nobody had been hurt in the incident, it said.

The fire had broken out at a facility owned by oil pipeline company Transneft at 2am Moscow time (11pm GMT), and that there had been no need to evacuate any parts of Bryansk, a city of 400,000 people – the ministry added.

There was no threat to diesel and gasoline supplies in the Bryansk region after the incident as there were enough fuel stockpiles, Russia’s energy ministry said. It added that the cause and the scale of the blaze were being assessed.

U.S. embassy in Kyiv may reopen in coming weeks – Blinken

Monday 25 April 2022 12:40 , Lamiat Sabin

The American embassy in Kyiv may reopen in the coming weeks, according to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

On a visit to Poland after visiting Ukraine, he told reporters: “Part of our commitment going forward involves a number of things... including the return of our diplomats starting next week.”

The US embassy in Kyiv (Google)
The US embassy in Kyiv (Google)

He also said at a press briefing aired by NBC News that he believed that the embassy might reopen in the next couple of weeks.

Putin and UN to discuss war-torn Mariupol in meeting this week

Monday 25 April 2022 12:20 , Lamiat Sabin

Russia intends to discuss with the UN this week issues related to the besieged Ukrainian port city of Mariupol and its Azovstal plant.

The Azovstal steel plant, which has come under Russian attack (Mariupol City Council/AFP via Ge)
The Azovstal steel plant, which has come under Russian attack (Mariupol City Council/AFP via Ge)

Vladimir Putin will meet UN Antonio Guterres, who will be visiting Moscow, according to Russian news agency RIA citing the foreign ministry.

Mr Guterres will then head to Ukraine for talks with president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the UN has previously said.

Civilians in besieged Mariupol steel works will be allowed to flee, claims Russia

Monday 25 April 2022 12:00 , Rory Sullivan

Russia has said it will stop hostilities around the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol from 11am GMT to allow citizens to flee.

The Kremlin’s defence ministry said citizens can escape in whatever direction they wanted.

Similar ceasefire promises have not always materialised in the past. Moscow has also been accused of forcibly relocating thousands of Ukrainians to Russia.

Photos: Anti-war protests continue

Monday 25 April 2022 11:44 , Rory Sullivan

Worldwide protests against Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine continue.

Yesterday, demonstrators in Mexico gathered to call for an end to the conflict:

 (Future Publishing via Getty Imag)
(Future Publishing via Getty Imag)
 (Future Publishing via Getty Imag)
(Future Publishing via Getty Imag)

A tragedy in every town: How two months of war has transformed Ukraine forever

Monday 25 April 2022 11:30 , Rory Sullivan

#icymi

Our international correspondent Bel Trew has spent much of the last two months in Ukraine covering the war.

In her latest report, she reflects on some of the most indelible scenes she has witnessed:

A tragedy in every town: How two months of war has transformed Ukraine forever

EU divided over Russian energy embargo, says Borrell

Monday 25 April 2022 11:10 , Rory Sullivan

The EU remains divided over whether to introduce an embargo on Russian energy, the bloc’s head of foreign affairs has said.

Josep Borrell told the German newspaper Die Welt that the EU “doesn’t have a unified position on this question”.

European countries continue to spend millions on Russian oil, which critics say is damaging to the western sanctions programme against the Kremlin.

US should not give Ukraine more weapons, warns Russia

Monday 25 April 2022 10:48 , Rory Sullivan

Russia has criticised the US for supplying Ukraine with weapons, saying it should stop arming Kyiv.

“We stressed the unacceptability of this situation when the United States of America pours weapons into Ukraine, and we demanded an end to this practice,” Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s US ambassador, said.

His comment followed a visit by senior Biden administration officials to Kyiv, where they pledged new assistance worth $713m to the Ukrainian government.

Photos appear to show Russian oil depot fire

Monday 25 April 2022 10:34 , Rory Sullivan

Photos are circulating on Telegram which reportedly show a fire at a Russian oil deport in the Bryansk region.

Here are a few of the images:

 (XU_kraine/Telegram)
(XU_kraine/Telegram)

Video: Russia is ‘failing’ in its Ukraine war aims, says US Secretary of State

Monday 25 April 2022 10:25 , Rory Sullivan