Ukraine news from April 15: Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskyy appealed to US President Joe Biden, Washington Post reports.
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These were the updates on April 15:
Responding to Russian defence ministry claims that they had hit a weapon-producing factory on the outskirts of the capital last night, a statement from the Kyiv regional military administration says “three objects” were targeted by Russian forces, Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford reported from Kyiv.
Five people were killed by shelling in Mykolaiv and cluster munitions were used, Vitaliy Kim, the governor of Mykolaiv region, has said on Telegram.
Al Jazeera could not independently verify the statement.
Russia has warned the United States of “unpredictable consequences” should US President Joe Biden’s administration continue to transfer weapons to Ukraine, The Washington Post reported.
The Post said on Friday that it had reviewed a copy of a diplomatic note that Russia sent the US this week, which warned that US and NATO shipments of the “most sensitive” weapons systems to Ukraine could bring “unpredictable consequences”.
Read more here.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recently made a direct appeal to President Joe Biden for the US to designate Russia a “state sponsor of terrorism,” the Washington Post reported, citing people familiar with the conversation.
Biden did not commit to specific actions during that call, the Post said.
The label can be applied to any country that has “repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism,” the newspaper said, citing a State Department fact sheet.
The list currently includes four countries: North Korea, Cuba, Iran and Syria.
An academic at Portsmouth University told Al Jazeera that the Russian army has evident endemic problems with its equipment, training, morale and doctrine.
“As a result … Russia has been defeated in the field, or to a point where it was effectively routed from the north of the country [Ukraine],” Frank Ledwidge said.
Military experts estimate that Russia has lost almost 3,000 pieces of equipment in the Ukraine war.
The losses are being blamed on advanced weapons that NATO countries have given Ukraine and Russia’s miscalculations.
Fishing is big business in Russia, one closely linked to the Kremlin and President Vladimir Putin’s projection of power at sea.
The country is one of the world’s top seafood producers and was the eighth-largest exporter to the United States last year, with more than $1.2bn worth of sales, the bulk of it king crab.
But it is unknown exactly how much manages to land in the US by way of China, which sent another $1.7bn in fish to the US last year. Nor does the Biden administration’s ban require companies importing from China to find out.
Read more here.
There are reports of ongoing fierce fighting in pockets in Mariupol, specifically in and around a steel plant in the besieged city, Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford reported from Kyiv.
“We understand that there’s fierce resistance there by Ukrainian marines, and Ukrainian members of the Azov Battalion … we understand that there are still tens of thousands of people trapped inside the city,” he added.
Five people have been killed by shelling in the Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv and cluster munitions were used, Vitaliy Kim, the governor of Mykolaiv region, said on Telegram.
The United States now believes the sunken Russian missile cruiser Moskva was hit by two Ukrainian missiles, a senior US official said.
The senior official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they were Neptune anti-ship missiles. The US believes there were Russian casualties, though numbers are unclear, the official added.
According to the Russian defense ministry, they will increase the scale of their missile attacks on Kyiv should there be any attacks on Russian territory, Al Jazeera’s Dorsa Jabbari reported from Moscow.
“This comes after reports of two incidents alongside Russia’s border with Ukraine on Thursday,” she added.
“Now, we cannot independently verify the information that has come from those regions but according to the local governor of Bryansk region, which borders Ukraine and Belarus, Ukrainian helicopters entered Russian air space on Thursday and carried out at least six missile strikes on residential areas.”
More than 900 bodies of civilians were discovered in the Kyiv region following the withdrawal of Russian forces, the regional police chief has said in a briefing.
Andriy Nebytov, the head of Kyiv’s regional police force, said the bodies were abandoned in the streets or given temporary burials. He cited police data indicating that 95 percent died from gunshot wounds.
“Consequently, we understand that under the [Russian] occupation, people were simply executed in the streets,” Nebytov said.
Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has revealed that 2,864 people had been evacuated from conflict areas.
These include 363 people from Mariupol who used their own vehicles, she said in a statement on Telegram.
Evacuees also included 370 people from Luhansk region in the east and 2,131 people from cities in Zaporizhzhia region, Vereshchuk added.
Pope Francis has hinted that racism was behind the fact that many countries have been more welcoming to refugees from war-torn Ukraine than to those from other parts of the world.
“The refugees are divided. First class, second class, by skin colour, whether you come from a developed country or a non-developed one,” he said while speaking to Italian television station RAI.
The sanctions imposed on Russia and its citizens in retaliation against this war have no comparison in history. In just a couple of weeks, my country has become the most sanctioned nation in the world.
With more than 6,000 restrictions, it has surpassed Iran and North Korea. To be sure, many of these restrictions are sensible. But others are devoid of logic.
Read more here.
A Finnish cabinet minister has said it was “highly likely” that Finland would apply for NATO membership, despite Russia’s warned of unspecified “consequences” should FInland and Sweden join the military organisation.
Finland’s prime minister said Wednesday that Nordic nation would decide whether to apply for NATO membership “within weeks”, and Sweden is also discussing joining the alliance.
The FSB security service of Russia said it had detained four members of an armed group in the Kaluga region south west of Moscow and said one was preparing a “terrorist attack”, the TASS news agency reported.
The four were members of the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham group, the local media outlet said.
More than five million people have escaped Ukraine since the war in began, according to the United Nations.
The UN Refugee Agency said 4,796,245 million Ukrainians had left the country since February 24.
Moreover, the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) claims some 215,000 third-country nationals have also fled to neighbouring nations.
Russia’s media watchdog Roskomnadzor blocked access to the website of French radio station RFI, saying it had violated a law banning the dissemination of false or “extremist” information.
The RFI website appeared in Roskomnadzor’s database of blocked websites and AFP journalists in Moscow were unable to access the station’s English, French or Russian-language websites.
The Ukrainian security service SBU has denied firing on Russian territory, calling Moscow’s accusations false.
“The incident was planned by Russia as a provocation,” the intelligence service said in a Facebook post.
The comment came a day after Russia said Ukrainian forces had shelled a village in the western Russian border region of Bryansk, wounding seven civilians including a small child. Moscow said the Ukrainian troops had attacked the area with helicopters.
Nine humanitarian corridors have been agreed to evacuate civilians from cities in the east, including from Mariupol and Berdyansk, said Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk.
Evacuations from “Luhansk region will operate provided that the shelling by the occupying forces ceases”, she added on her Telegram channel.
Russia wants to expand the use of the rouble for energy exports, the Kremlin has said, adding that it was too early to talk about details.
“The president has set a methodical and step-by-step approach to expanding the use of national currencies”, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.
His comment came a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the role of national currencies in export deals should rise, amid Russia’s stated desire to switch to roubles in payments for its gas supplies, mainly to Europe.
Finland and Sweden “should understand the consequences” of joining NATO, Russia’s foreign ministry has warned.
“The choice is up to the authorities of Sweden and Finland. But they should understand the consequences of such a step for our bilateral relations and for the architecture of European security as a whole,” Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement.
About 1,564 explosive devises, including two aerial bombs, were found and neutralised by pyrotechnic units in the past 24 hours, Ukraine’s emergency service (SES) has said on Telegram.
Most of the work was done in the regions of Kharkiv, Mykolayiv and Kyiv, it added.
Ukraine says that Russian attacks have killed five people in the east of the country after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Moscow’s forces were aiming to “destroy” the region.
Two people were killed and two more wounded in the eastern Luhansk region while another three were killed and seven wounded in the neighbouring Donetsk region, the Kyiv presidency says.
Commenting on Russia’s attack on the outskirts of Kyiv, Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford said that it came as a warning that the Ukrainian capital could become a target once again.
“These attacks are the first in and around Kyiv in two weeks since Russian forces withdrew from certain areas, certainly the north, east and south of the capital city,” Stratford said.
“An example that despite the withdrawal of Russian forces from this area, Kyiv could potentially become a target once again,” he added.
Russia and Ukraine have agreed to a prisoners’ swap in the southern region of Kherson, the Ukrainian defence ministry has said.
“After tense negotiations, we managed to reach agreements on a prisoner exchange near the village of Posad-Pokrovskoye, where four Russian military personnel were exchanged for our five,” the ministry said.
The move comes a day after Kyiv announced another swap involving 30 people, according to the deputy prime minister, marking the fourth exchange since the war began.
A Russian attack in northeastern Ukraine killed “up to 30 Polish mercenaries”, Moscow’s defence ministry has said.
The hit took place the village of Izyumskoe, near Ukraine’s second-largest city of Kharkiv.
Moscow’s defence ministry has warned it will intensify attacks on Kyiv in response to attacks on Russia’s soil.
“The number and scale of missile strikes against targets in Kyiv will increase in response to any terrorist attacks or sabotage committed by the Kyiv nationalist regime on Russian territory,” the ministry said in a statement.
Russian officials accuse Ukraine of sending two helicopters across the border to bomb a town in Russia’s southern Bryansk region, wounding seven people including a toddler. Ukraine has denied the accusations.
The ministry also said it hit a “military” factory outside Kyiv late Thursday using Kalibr sea-based long-range missiles.
The sinking of the Russian warship Moskva was “a very big loss” for Moscow, defence and military analyst Pavel Felgengauer told Al Jazeera.
“Losing a flagship during a war is really bad, it’s bad PR,” Felgengauer said. “It’s going to increase the morale of Ukrainians at a time when they are on the verge of losing Mariupol,” he added.
“The ship was important at it was specifically designed in Soviet times to attack and destroy American aircraft carrier groups with very long range supersonic cruise missiles,” Felgengauer noted.
President Vladimir Putin may resort to using a tactical or low-yield nuclear weapon in light of Russia’s military setbacks in Ukraine, the CIA director, William Burns, has argued.
“None of us can take lightly the threat posed by a potential resort to tactical nuclear weapons or low-yield nuclear weapons,” Burns said during a speech at Georgia Tech university in Atlanta.
“We’re obviously very concerned. I know President Biden is deeply concerned about avoiding a third world war, about avoiding a threshold in which, you know, nuclear conflict becomes possible,” he added.
A total of 2,557 people were evacuated from Ukrainian cities through humanitarian corridors on Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.
Of that, 289 people evacuated from the besieged southern port of Mariupol by their own transport, Vereshchuk said in an update over the Telegram messaging app.
Two people have died and two were injured after a day of shelling in the Luhansk region, the governor of Luhansk said on Telegram.
Serhiy Haidai wrote that Russian troops shelled houses and infrastructure 24 times.
The sinking of Russia’s flagship missile carrier Moskva marks the second time Russia has had a key naval asset damaged since its invasion of Ukraine. Both events will likely lead Moscow to review its maritime posture in the Black Sea, says the UK defence ministry in its latest intelligence briefing.
Russia’s Alligator-class landing ship Saratov, which had been docked at the Russian-occupied port of Berdiansk on the Sea of Azov, was damaged on March 24.
On the Soviet-era vessel Moskva, the UK’s defence ministry provided some background, saying it was commissioned in 1979 and was later extensively refitted, returning to operational status only in 2021.
Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 15 April 2022
Find out more about the UK government’s response: https://t.co/QSfJvjINwD
🇺🇦 #StandWithUkraine 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/y0p4n4J46U
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) April 15, 2022
Rescuers of the Kharkiv state emergency services went out 33 times in the past day to eliminate fires, 27 of which were caused by Russian shelling, the press service of the State Emergency Service in the Kharkiv region has reported.
The fires were in residential high-rise buildings, private houses, garages and cars, as well as warehouses and trade facilities.
Pyrotechnic units were called out 83 times to clear ammunition and other explosive objects, the press service added.
Russian forces during the past day “unsuccessfully” concentrated their efforts on capturing the cities of Popasna and Rubizhne in the Donetsk region, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine have said in a Facebook post.
The post said in Donetsk and Luhansk, Ukraine repulsed eight attacks from Russia and destroyed four Russian tanks, six armoured personnel carriers, four infantry fighting vehicles, and one enemy artillery system.
The Moskva, the warship named after the Russian capital and the pride of the country’s Black Sea fleet, has sunk after a fire on board.
The Soviet-era vessel saw service during conflicts in Georgia, Syria and Ukraine and helped conduct peacetime scientific research with the United States.
The 12,500-tonne vessel was armed with multiple anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles, and was the only ship of its class in the Black Sea. The two other missile cruisers – the Marshal Ustinov and the Varyag – are deployed with Russia’s Northern and Pacific fleets, respectively.
The Institute for the Study of War (IOW) says it was not able to verify that Ukraine had sunk the warship, but the Moskva’s loss – regardless of the cause – was a “major propaganda victory for Ukraine”. In contrast, it was likely to undermine Russian morale, the institute said.
Read more here.
A power outage has affected internet connectivity across the Kyiv region after several powerful explosions rocked the area early on Friday.
Metrics by internet monitoring organisation Netblocks show connectivity fell to about 85 percent of normal levels.
⚠️Confirmed: A power outage has knocked out internet connectivity across Kyiv Oblast including #Vyshneve after explosions reported in Kyiv, Ukraine tonight; real-time metrics show national connectivity falling to 85% of ordinary levels from ~1:30 a.m. local time; incident ongoing pic.twitter.com/zmjoVJeAtg
— NetBlocks (@netblocks) April 15, 2022
Almost 85 percent of the bodies recovered in the city of Bucha had bullet holes, which indicates deliberate, premeditated murder, Bucha Mayor Anatoliy Fedoruk has said in televised comments.
Fedurok says these bodies were taken not just from mass graves but also individual burials in vegetable gardens, parks and squares.
He also said the work of retrieving bodies from the second mass grave found in the city, near the Church of the Holy Apostle Andrew, will likely be completed on Friday.
Canada will send up to 150 soldiers on a humanitarian mission to Poland to support its huge influx of Ukrainian refugees, Defence Minister Anita Anand has announced.
More than 4.7 million people have fled Ukraine to neighbouring countries, with more than half going to Poland.
Today, I announced that I have authorized the deployment of up to 150 @CanadianForces personnel to Poland. Approximately 100 CAF members will deploy immediately. They will assist Poland in caring for Ukrainians fleeing the violence caused by Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/WkExuMbtSl
— Anita Anand (@AnitaAnandMP) April 14, 2022
Russia’s defence ministry has today released new documents as part of a continuing project to showcase the “genocide of the Ukrainian population at the hands of Bandera nationalists” during the second world war and the years after.
Stepan Bandera was part of the far-right “Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists” in the early to mid 20th century.
On the new release Russia’s state news agency TASS wrote that the actions of many Ukrainian nationalists in the 40s were controlled by the Nazis, “who used Bandera to exterminate the Soviet peoples.”.
The project, The Archives Remember Everything!, was launched by Russia’s defence ministry in March 2022, nearly one month after Russia invaded Ukraine under the pretext of “denazifying” the country.
⚡️@mod_russia launched a historical multimedia project #ArchivesRememberEverything:https://t.co/vu9HTuSbW3
❗️ Numerous facts of genocide of Soviet civilians by fascist invaders & Ukrainian nationalists during #WWII were revealed and confirmed: https://t.co/5dNYD52WaX pic.twitter.com/joQSXyuJEn
— MFA Russia 🇷🇺 (@mfa_russia) March 21, 2022
Russian troops have destroyed 120 schools, 103 kindergartens and 37 universities in the Donetsk region, the Kyiv Post has reported citing the governor of Donetsk, Pavlo Kyrylenko.
Reduced production of crop seeds in Ukraine could affect the country’s grain production for several years, a French seed industry group said on Thursday.
Ukraine, one of the world’s largest grain exporters, is widely expected to see its harvest shrink this year as Russia’s invasion disrupts farming.
The expected decline would also include farms that grow crops to provide seeds for the following year, potentially leaving Ukrainian farmers short of seeds for 2023 planting, said Claude Tabel, president of French seed makers association UFS.
The US ambassador to the United Nations has accused Russia of making the precarious food situation in Yemen and elsewhere worse by invading Ukraine, calling it “just another grim example of the ripple effect Russia’s unprovoked, unjust, unconscionable war is having on the world’s most vulnerable.”
Linda Thomas-Greenfield told a UN Security Council meeting on war-torn Yemen on Thursday that the World Food Programme identified the Arab world’s poorest nation as one of the countries most affected by wheat price increases and lack of imports from Ukraine.
Russia’s deputy UN ambassador, Dmitry Polyansky, said the main factor for the instability was sanctions that seek to cut off supplies from Russia.
Powerful explosions were heard in Kyiv early Friday and air raid sirens blared across Ukraine as residents braced for new Russian attacks after Moscow’s lead warship in the Black Sea, the Moskva, sank following a fire.
The explosions appeared to be among the most significant in Ukraine’s capital region since Russian troops pulled back from the area earlier this month in preparation for battles in the south and east, the Reuters news agency reports.
3 explosions in #Kyiv right now. One after the other. The air raid warning has been on for an hour. Most likely #putin gone livid because of the #Moskva sinking. Oh well, we’ll just keep standing to #Russia’s annoyance
— Lesia Vasylenko (@lesiavasylenko) April 14, 2022
Ukraine claimed responsibility for sinking the Moskva, saying it was struck by one of its missiles. Russia said the damage was “a result of detonation of ammunition caused by fire”.
A group of UNESCO’s National Commissions – bodies set up by member governments – have signed a letter stating they will not travel to Russia’s city of Kazan, where the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee (WHC) is to be held, deeming the session “impossible”.
The letter states no WHC session should be held in Russia while its troops are “destroying ‘outstanding universal value’ in Ukraine”. “The credibility of UNESCO and the 1972 Convention concerning the Protection of the World’s Cultural and Natural Heritage is at stake”, the letter adds.
Recent figures released by UNESCO show that 53 of Ukraine’s cultural buildings, including historical monuments and places of worship, had been destroyed as of March 31 due to the Russian invasion. The 45th session of the heritage committee is due to be held in Kazan June 19-30.
Signatories to the letter include Australia, Albania, Finland, Denmark, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, New Zealand, South Korea, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
40 signatories National Commissions for @UNESCO deem it is impossible for the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee to be held either in #Kazan or under #Russian presidency while the latter is destroying “outstanding universal value” in #Ukraine 1/2 pic.twitter.com/KgmlfLkfOF
— Emine Dzheppar (@EmineDzheppar) April 14, 2022
Ukraine’s president has told the country’s athletes participating in the upcoming Invictus Games that beyond competing, they will be fighting for Russian war criminals to end up in the Hague, where the games take place. The Hague is also the location of the International Criminal Court.
“In The Hague today, you will basically fight for the Russian occupiers and all those who deserve to be in The Hague in due time. Because what they did is a crime against the people,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the 19-member team, most of whom are current service members of Ukraine’s National Guard.
Zelenskyy also noted the world needed to know the story of a member of the national team, Yulia “Tayra” Payevska, who is being held captive by the Russian occupiers. “You will tell about her to journalists, media and other athletes,” he said.
The head of the UN World Food Program has said people are being “starved to death” in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol and predicted the country’s humanitarian crisis is likely to worsen as Russia intensifies its assault in the coming weeks.
“It’s not just going to be the next few days – but the next few weeks and few months … it’s getting worse and worse, concentrated in certain areas, and the front lines are going to be moving,” David Beasley said in an interview with The Associated Press news agency.
Approximately 100,000 civilians remain trapped in the besieged city of Mariupol, in desperate need of food, water and heating. Beasley noted the lack of access to the city for aid workers and called the situation “devastating”.
In an address to the nation on the 50th day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has asked why the world is still debating the severity of necessary sanctions when “Russian troops are already repeating on our land what Europe saw only during World War 2”.
He asked why Russian troops are destroying towns and villages in Donbas, the area Russia wanted to “destroy in the first place … as if they want only stones to be left. And no people to be left at all.”
Zelenskyy stressed these were not rhetorical questions. “This is a question of how absurd this invasion of the Russian Federation is. How suicidal it is for everything that Russia allegedly ‘protects’. For Russian culture … even for the Russian language. Russia is burning all this with its weapons,” he added.
They’ve been trying to destroy us for 50 days, but the 🇺🇦 people are heroically resisting. We fear nothing, we know what we’re fighting for. We are brave enough to put an end to evil. Stop feeding the 🇷🇺 military machine. Help 🇺🇦 with weapons. Then peace & good will win faster. pic.twitter.com/WdDbZsvZ4e
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) April 14, 2022
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has upended the flow of food, fuel and money around the world.
That is because Moscow and Kyiv are leading food and energy suppliers.
Now, the United Nations has warned that the conflict’s cascading effects could affect nearly 1.7 billion people. Watch more here:
The UN has announced it is releasing $100m from its emergency fund for seven hotspots for hunger: Yemen, Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan and Nigeria.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s spokesperson said that while “armed conflict, drought and economic turmoil are the main drivers of food insecurity in the seven recipient countries”, the conflict in Ukraine is “making a dire situation even worse”.
The war is “disrupting food and energy markets and driving up the cost of imports beyond the reach of consumers”, Stephane Dujarric said.
The sinking of the warship Moskva is a “big blow” to Russia’s naval strength in the Black Sea, the Pentagon has said.
“This is a big blow to the Black Sea fleet, this is … a key part of their efforts to execute some sort of naval dominance in the Black Sea,” Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby told CNN.
“This is going to have an effect on their capabilities.”
David Beasley, executive director for the UN World Food Programme, has tweeted a video from the wreckage of what he said was an orphanage that previously housed 40 children in the Ukrainian city of Bucha, near Kyiv.
“What happened to this community is a horror story,” he wrote.
#Ukraine: This was an orphanage with 40 children in #Bucha; now it’s a pile of rubble. What happened to this community is a horror story—and families here need support. We’re doing as much as we can with residents, churches and local government to help as many people as possible. pic.twitter.com/VcwR5qrBVW
— David Beasley (@WFPChief) April 14, 2022
The United States is preparing new efforts to crack down on sanctions evasion by Russia, Biden’s national security adviser has said.
“Where our focus will be over the course of the coming days is on evasion,” Jake Sullivan said in an interview at the Economic Club of Washington.
“I think we’ll have some announcements in the next week or two that identify targets that are trying to facilitate that evasion both inside Russia and beyond,” he said, without giving details on the coming plans.
The Kyiv Independent media outlet has tweeted that air raids alerts have been declared in all Ukraine’s regions at the same time.
⚡️Air raid alert declared in all of Ukraine’s regions at once.
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) April 14, 2022
In a tweet, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said he held talks with France’s President Emmanuel Macron, during which they discussed the investigation into Russian crimes as well as the negotiations process.
“We appreciate the strong support of France. The negotiation process was also discussed. We strive for peace in Ukraine, in Europe!”
Held negotiations with 🇫🇷 President @EmmanuelMacron. Discussed the investigation of Russian crimes, the resistance of 🇺🇦 people to the invader. We appreciate the strong support of 🇫🇷. The negotiation process was also discussed. We strive for peace in Ukraine, in Europe!
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) April 14, 2022
International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan said that an investigation into allegations of war crimes will study all the evidence, and must be done “with some urgency”.
“We should do so with the realisation that already, for whatever reason, by whatever means people have died, buildings have been destroyed,” he said.
“I won’t accept from any NGO or even from the Ukrainian government or authorities, even from the prosecutor general, any evidence uncritically. We will review everything to make sure that we have it right and any evidence we review is reliable and is authentic,” he said.
Ukraine’s chief prosecutor has said the country wanted to pursue legal action into alleged war crimes committed by Russian forces.
In a briefing alongside International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan, Iryna Venediktova said achieving justice in Ukraine is urgent, even as the war remains ongoing.
“Ukrainians want justice now,” Venediktova said, “but we all understand that the process of criminal procedure for starting the collection of all evidence when we are still in the war actually, when we have a huge number of cases, it’s not so fast and it’s not so simple.”
Russia’s defence ministry has said the missile cruiser Moskva, the flagship of the country’s Black Sea fleet, sank as it was towed back to port in stormy weather following an explosion and fire, Russian news agencies reported.
The defence ministry said the vessel sank while being towed towards the destined port “given the choppy seas”.
“The vessel lost its balance due to damage sustained in the hull as fire broke out after ammunition exploded,” the state-owned TASS news agency quoted the ministry as saying.
A Russian legislator and two aides have been charged with conspiring to violate US sanctions, according to an unsealed indictment that accuses them of pushing a covert Russian propaganda campaign in the US to win support for moves against Ukraine and other countries.
Three conspiracy charges were brought in the indictment in Manhattan federal court against the legislator, Aleksandr Babakov, 59, and two of his staff members — Aleksandr Nikolayevich Vorobev, 52, and Mikhail Alekseyevich Plisyuk, 58.
All three men are based in Russia and remain at large, authorities said. Babakov currently serves as deputy chairman of the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian legislature, federal authorities said in a statement.
When asked how Washington views the potential addition of Sweden and Finland to NATO, the US State Department said there was no change in Washington’s position and repeated that “NATO’s open door is an open door”.
“Without speaking to any countries in particular, we would not be concerned that the expansion of a defensive alliance would do anything other than promote stability on the European continent,” spokesperson Ned Price said during a briefing.
Russia had earlier warned the two countries against joining the US-led alliance.
At least 503 civilians have been killed in Ukraine’s eastern Kharkiv region since Russia launched its invasion on February 24, the local governor has said.
Oleg Synegubov wrote on Telegram that the dead included 24 children.
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Ukraine news from April 15: Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskyy appealed to US President Joe Biden, Washington Post reports.