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Russia-Ukraine live news: Eastern towns under ‘intense fire’ | Russia-Ukraine war News

  • UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres arrives in Ukraine for talks with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
  • Ukraine’s military says Russian offensive in east picks up momentum, with Russian forces “exerting intense fire”.
  • The Kremlin has warned that arms deliveries to Ukraine are dangerous for European security.
  • Russia’s RIA news agency says several rockets have hit the occupied city of Kherson in southern Ukraine, causing a series of blasts.
  • Russia-appointed officials in the Kherson region say the area will start transitioning to the rouble from May 1.


(Al Jazeera)

Here are all the latest updates:

Ukraine welcomes German decision to send weapons

Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak has welcomed a vote by Germany’s lower house of parliament backing the delivery of weapons, including heavy arms, to Kyiv.

“This vote will go down in history as one of the last nails in the coffin of Putin’s lobbying in Europe,” he said in a Tweet.

US accuses Russia of planning to shut down Ukrainian democracy

The United States has accused Russia of planning to short-circuit Ukrainian democracy by forcing the government from power and dismantling local authorities.

“We have information that Russia’s planning for its further invasion of Ukraine includes a forced capitulation of Ukraine’s democratically elected government, including dissolving all local municipal governments in Ukraine,” US Ambassador Michael Carpenter said in an address to the Vienna-based Organization for Security and Cooperating in Europe (OSCE).

“New governance structures were to be set up in ‘liberated’ territories under Russian control,” he added in the speech posted online.

Carpenter also referred to Russia’s invasion in a Tweet as a “wholly barbaric enterprise.”

Russia not allowing evacuation from Mariupol steel works: Local official

Russia is not allowing wounded Ukrainian fighters to be evacuated from the Azovstal steel works where they are holed up in the southern city of Mariupol, the local governor has said.

Pavlo Kyrylenko, the Donetsk region’s governor, said Russia was also not allowing humanitarian corridors to be established to evacuate civilians in the region. But he said only 370,000 residents remain in Ukrainian-controlled parts of the Donetsk region compared with 1.67 million before Russia’s invasion.

Russia says it has not received response from Ukraine to latest peace proposal

Russia has still not received a response from Ukraine regarding its latest proposals for a possible peace agreement, foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova has said.

“As of this morning, at the time of preparing for the briefing, the Russian side has not received an answer,” she said.

Ex-PM says Russia will threaten Finland after NATO application

Finland’s former Prime Minister Alexander Stubb has told Al Jazeera that after its NATO application in mid-May, Helsinki will likely experience hybrid threats, cyberthreats and an “information war”.

“We’re prepared for that,” Stubb, who has long been in favour of joining the alliance, said.

Read the story here.

Brussels says EU states agree they are not willing to pay for Russian gas in roubles

EU countries all agree that they will not pay Russia directly in roubles for their imports of gas, noting that the deadline for next payments was expected to be May 20, a senior European Union official has said.

“What we do know, and there is consensus on this from all member states, is that none is willing to pay” in roubles, the official told a news briefing, adding that the EU Commission did not have an overview of how many buyers have opened accounts for gas payments with Gazprombank.

Weapons deliveries to Ukraine threaten European security: Kremlin

The Kremlin has said Western arms deliveries to Ukraine are dangerous for European security.

“The tendency to pump weapons, including heavy weapons into Ukraine – these are the actions that threaten the security of the continent, provoke instability,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Inforgraphic on the countries sending weapons to Ukraine

Ukraine says Russian offensive in east picks up momentum

Russia’s offensive in the east has picked up momentum, with several towns coming under intense attack as Moscow’s forces attempt to surround Ukrainian troops, according to the General Staff of Ukraine’s military.

Russian forces were “exerting intense fire” in several places as they pushed on with the second phase of their invasion, it said, adding that over the past 24 hours the Ukrainian forces have repelled six attacks in the Donbas.

Smoke rises following a military strike on a facility near the railway station.
Smoke rises following a military strike on a facility near the railway station in Lyman, Donetsk region [Jorge Silva/Reuters]

Russia accuses OSCE of handing information to Western intelligence

Russia has accused the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which has a monitoring mission in eastern Ukraine, of handing information on the location of Russian and pro-Russian forces to Western and Ukrainian intelligence.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova made the allegation during a briefing with reporters but did not provide evidence. She said investigators from the self-proclaimed breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic, which is backed by Russia, would provide additional proof.

World recognises Ukraine’s right to defend itself: Presidential aide

A Ukrainian presidential aide has said the world recognises that his country has the right to defend itself by carrying out attacks on Russian military bases and warehouses.

“Russia has attacked and [is] killing civilians. Ukraine will defend itself in any way, including strikes on the warehouses and bases of the killers. The world recognises this right,” presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak wrote on Twitter.

Moscow accuses West of inciting Ukrainian attacks on Russia

Western countries are openly calling on Ukraine to attack Russia, foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova has said, adding that the West should take Moscow seriously when it says strikes on Russian territory will lead to a response.

Russia reported a series of blasts in the south of the country and a fire at an ammunition depot on Wednesday, the latest in a spate of incidents that a top Ukrainian official described as payback for Moscow’s invasion.

Poland says countries paying for Russian gas in roubles should be penalised

The European Union should penalise countries that use roubles to pay for Russian gas, Poland’s climate minister has said, following Moscow’s decision to cut off supplies to Poland and Bulgaria over their refusal to do so.

The main EU member states resisting tougher gas sanctions on Russia are Austria, Germany and Hungary. “We are counting on there being consequences for these countries and that as a result they will cease paying in roubles,” Anna Moskwa told private broadcaster Polsat News.

EU member states appear split on how they can keep paying for gas without breaching European sanctions imposed over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Poland, one of the EU’s staunchest proponents of punitive sanctions against Moscow, says the bloc should ban purchases of Russian gas altogether.

Russia lost 22,800 soldiers: Ukraine’s military

Russia’s losses in Ukraine amount to 22,800 servicemen, including 400 in the past 24 hours, Ukraine’s General Staff of Armed Forces has said.

Moscow also lost 970 tanks, 2,389 armoured vehicles, 187 planes and 155 helicopters since the invasion began on February 24, it said on Facebook.

In late March, Moscow said that 1,351 troops were killed and about 4,000 were wounded. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov admitted in early April that Russia has suffered “significant losses”.

Reporting by Mansur Mirovalev in Kyiv.

UK says Ukraine can attack Russian logistics, unlikely to use its weapons

British defence secretary Ben Wallace has said it would be legitimate for Ukrainian forces to target Russian logistics to cripple their supply of food, fuel and munitions but they were unlikely to use British weapons to do so.

“Part of defending itself in this type of invasion is obviously where Ukraine will go after the supply lines of the Russian army because without fuel and food and ammunition, the Russian army grinds to a halt and can no longer continue its invasion,” he told BBC.

Wallace said Britain had sent artillery to Ukraine that was being used within Ukraine on Russian forces, but he added that it had not, and was unlikely, to send weapons that could be used for longer-range attacks.

German parliament approves petition to deliver heavy arms to Ukraine

Germany’s Bundestag lower house of parliament has overwhelmingly approved a petition backing the delivery of weapons including heavy arms to Ukraine.

“Alongside the broad economic isolation and decoupling of Russia from international markets, the most important and effective means to stop the Russian invasion is to intensify and speed up the delivery of effective weapons and complex systems including heavy arms,” it read.

The petition was backed by both the three parties in the ruling coalition as well as the opposition conservatives, passing with 586 votes in favour, 100 against and seven abstentions, according to Bundestag Vice President Wolfgang Kubicki.

Ukraine can cover its energy needs for now: Senior parliamentarian

The head of Ukrainian parliament’s energy committee has said Ukraine has enough gas and electricity to meet its needs at the moment, but it is less certain it will be able to do so in the late autumn.

“Today, if we talk about gas volumes, we have enough. We consume less gas than is produced and even today gas is pumped into underground storage facilities,” Andriy Herus said on national television. “The same goes for electricity.”

“There are enough gas and electricity resources in the country,” he added.

Guterres urges Russia to cooperate with ICC on Ukraine

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged Russia to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) on investigations into possible war crimes carried out during its invasion of Ukraine.

“I fully support the ICC and I appeal to the Russian Federation to accept, to cooperate with the ICC. But when we talk about war crimes, we cannot forget that the worst of crimes is war itself,” the UN’s chief said during a visit to Bucha outside Kyiv, where hundreds of dead civilians were discovered after Russian troops pulled out.

Finland and Sweden could join NATO quickly: Stoltenberg

Finland and Sweden will be able to join NATO quickly should they decide to ask for membership in the Western military alliance, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said.

“If they decide to apply, Finland and Sweden will be warmly welcomed and I expect the process to go quickly,” Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels, adding he planned to speak with the Finnish president later in the day.

He said he was sure arrangements could be found for the interim period between an application by the two Scandinavian countries and the formal ratification in the parliaments of all 30 NATO members.

Ukraine says Russia aiming to encircle forces in Donetsk

Russian forces have intensified their efforts to encircle Ukrainians in the southeastern Donetsk region, the General Staff of the Armed Forces has said.

They are also focusing their assault in the eastern Kharkiv region trying to move towards the villages of Sulihivka and Velyka Komyshuvakha that lies close to the Russian border, it said on Facebook.

Russian shelling of the regional capital, Kharkiv, also intensified, it said.

Reporting by Mansur Mirovalev in Kyiv.

Russia says it destroyed two ammo depots overnight

Russia’s defence ministry has said its missilesstruck four Ukrainian military targets overnight, destroying two missile and ammunition depots near the settlements of Barvinkove and Ivanivka in the east of the country.

It said Russian forces had also downed a Ukrainian Su-24 aircraft near Luhansk.

‘War is an absurdity in 21st century’: UN’s Guterres in Ukraine

UN Secretary-General Guterres has described war as “evil” and absurd during a visit to Borodianka outside Kyiv, where Moscow’s troops are accused of killing civilians during their occupation.

“I imagine my family in one of those houses that is now destroyed and black. I see my granddaughters running away in panic. The war is an absurdity in the 21st century. The war is evil. There is no way a war can be acceptable in the 21st century,” Guterres said.

UK says Ukraine can attack Russian logistics

British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said would be legitimate for Ukrainian forces to target Russian logistics but they were unlikely to use British weapons.

Moscow has accused London of provoking Ukraine to strike targets in Russia, saying there would be an immediate “proportional response” if it continued.

“If Ukraine did choose to target logistics infrastructure for the Russian army, that would be legitimate under international law,” Wallace told BBC TV.

Klavidia, 91, is carried on an improvised stretcher as she boards a train, fleeing the war in Severodonetsk at a train station in Pokrovsk, Ukraine
Klavidia, 91, is carried on an improvised stretcher as she boards a train, fleeing the war in Severodonetsk at a train station in Pokrovsk, Ukraine. [File: Leo Correa/The Associated Press]

Civil defence is trending in Taiwan after Ukraine war

Late one April weeknight, the mood in a basement office workshop in Taipei was surprisingly upbeat as participants took turns wrapping each other in homemade stretchers and learned how to pack a gunshot wound.

The event, organised by non-governmental organisation Forward Alliance, was the first of a series of workshops designed to teach civilians the basics of trauma medicine and the skills to survive an emergency.

The subtropical island sits along the Pacific Ring of Fire, where the Earth’s tectonic plates rub against each other, so it is regularly hit by earthquakes. With typhoons and the occasional flood or rockslide also part of the mix, learning what to expect and how to prepare is an essential skill for many Taiwanese.

But more recently, people have been thinking about Taiwan’s position in yet another hotspot – as the target of China’s ruling Communist Party.

Read more here on Taiwanese civilians attempts to equip themselves for a potential conflict.

Cover illustration of handbook showing a character dresser in military clothing.
Taiwan has seen a resurgent interest in civil defence since the war in Ukraine began. This handbook from Watch Out offers advice on how to prepare [Photo courtesy of Watch Out]

IAEA chief calls for access to Europe’s largest nuclear plant

Rafael Grossi, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has called for access to the nuclear plant in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia, saying the level of safety there is like a “red light blinking”.

The plant – Europe’s largest nuclear facility – is currently under Russian occupation.

Grossi told The Associated Press that IAEA needs to reestablish connections with the plant, which also requires repairs.

“And all of this is not happening,” he said. “So this is a pending issue. This is a red light blinking.”

INTERACTIVE_Nuclear Power Ukraine with control map

Putin set to dig in like ‘a cancerous growth’ in Ukraine: Wallace

British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace says Russian President Vladimir Putin may seek to consolidate what he has got in Ukraine and dig in, like a “cancerous growth” within the country.

“You can see in his current statements he is, in almost desperation, trying to broaden this either with threats or indeed, with potential false flags or attacks,” he told Sky News on Thursday

“I think it’s certainly the case that Putin, having failed in nearly all his objectives, may seek to consolidate what he’s got, sort of fortify and dig in as he did in 2014. Just be a sort of cancerous growth within the country in Ukraine and make it very hard for people to move them out of those fortified positions.”

Russia’s Black Sea fleets retains ability to attack Ukraine: UK

The British Ministry of Defence says Russia’s Black Sea fleet retains the ability to strike Ukrainian and coastal targets, despite its losses of the landing ship Saratov and the cruiser Moskva.

In its latest intelligence briefing, the ministry said about 20 Russian Navy vessels, including submarines, are in the Black Sea operational zone.

“The Bosphorus Strait remains closed to all non-Turkish warships, rendering Russia unable to replace its lost cruiser Moskva in the Black Sea,” it added.

Air defence activated in Russia’s Belgorod: Report

Russia’s TASS news agency says air defence systems have been activated in the Russian city of Belgorod.

It cited the local government saying that the systems were activated in the early hours of Thursday.

The Belgorod province borders Ukraine’s Luhansk, Sumy and Kharkiv regions, all of which have seen heavy fighting since Russia invaded Ukraine two months ago. Russia has accused Ukraine of carrying out strikes on targets in the region.

Global pledges of justice for Ukraine war crime victims

For the first time, key players seeking accountability for atrocities during the Ukraine war have come together at an informal meeting of the UN Security Council to press for investigations into abuses that many Western countries blame on Russia.

The session on Wednesday included the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor, the chair of the UN Commission of Inquiry, Ukraine’s top prosecutor and human rights lawyer Amal Clooney.

They pledged to bring to justice any perpetrators of war crimes committed in Ukraine.

Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney attends an informal meeting of the United Nations Security Council, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S., April 27, 2022.
Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney attends an informal meeting of the UN Security Council at the UN Headquarters in New York City, US, on April 27, 2022 [David ‘Dee’ Delgado/ Reuters]

Albanian foreign minister Olta Xhacka, who co-sponsored and chaired the meeting, said that as a veto-holding member of the Security Council, Russia is supposed to be a guardian of international peace but has “embarked on a war of choice against a neighbour committing immeasurable crimes in the process”.

France’s deputy UN ambassador, Nathalie Broadhurst, the other co-sponsor, said the images of atrocities in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha and other areas after Russian forces withdrew “are unbearable” and may amount to war crimes.

The legal chief at Russia’s UN mission, Sergey Leonidchenko, dismissed their statements, saying: “What we heard today was another portion of unsubstantiated claims and even fakes seasoned with lies, hypocrisy and pompous rhetoric.”

US energy industries on ‘war footing’: Official

US energy secretary Jennifer Granholm has said that Russia’s war on Ukraine “screams” that the world needs to stop importing oil and gas from Russia and instead move towards other forms of energy.

At an international forum on offshore wind energy in Atlantic City, Granholm said the US as well as its energy industries “are on a war footing,” and called for a rapid acceleration of renewable energy including offshore wind power.

“Russia is waging a war in Ukraine and the imperative to move away from Russian oil and gas, for the world to move away from Russian oil and gas screams that there is an imperative that we electrify,” said Granholm, the former Michigan governor.

“Offshore wind is just a huge component in that.”

Timeline: Week nine of Russia’s war in Ukraine

Russian forces intensified attacks in southeastern Ukraine during the ninth week of their invasion as several hundred Ukrainian troops continued to hold out in Mariupol.

Here’s a recap of the key events of the past week.

Will Russia succeed in seizing southwestern Ukraine?

After failing to capture the capital, Kyiv, and northern Ukraine, Russian forces are now focusing on completing their conquest of the south.

They have claimed complete control of the region of Kherson, but their offensives in Mykolaiv and Odesa have been far less successful.

Read more here.

Kherson blasts knock Russian channels off air

Ukrainian and Russian media say explosions near a television tower in Kherson city temporarily knocked Russian channels off the air.

Ukrayinska Pravda, an online newspaper, said the strikes set off a fire and caused Russian television channels to go off air.

RIA Novosti said the broadcast later resumed. It said Russian channels began broadcasting from Kherson last week.

Ukrainian forces prevented six Russian attacks in Luhansk, Donetsk: Military

Ukraine’s military says its forces prevented six Russian attacks in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions on Wednesday.

It also said Ukrainian forces destroyed five tanks, one artillery system, 21 armoured vehicles, one armoured combat vehicle, one car and one anti-aircraft installation.

Local boys Faddei and Oleksandr play in front of a church damaged during Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in the village of Kolychivka, in Chernihiv region.
Local boys Faddei and Oleksandr play in front of a church damaged during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in the village of Kolychivka, in Chernihiv region, Ukraine, on April 27, 2022 [Vladyslav Musiienko/REUTERS]

ICC prosecutor says ‘it’s time for action’ in Ukraine

The chief prosecutor of International Criminal Court has called for accountability for war crimes committed in Ukraine.

“This is not really a time for talking. It’s a time for action. International law cannot be a passive spectator,” Karim Asad Ahmad Khan told reporters after a meeting of the UN Security Council. “It needs to move with alacrity to protect and to insist on accountability.”

Khan said he was neither in favour nor against Russia or Ukraine.

“We are in favour of the law, which is in favour of humanity, which is to protect humanity,” he said.

“We should feel ashamed that in 2022 we continue, in so many parts of the world, to see violence that may constitute genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.”

International Criminal Court Prosecutor, Karim A.A, Khan QC speaks during an informal meeting of the United Nations Security Council, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City,
International Criminal Court Prosecutor, Karim Asad Ahmad Khan QC, speaks during an informal meeting of the UN Security Council in New York City, US, on April 27, 2022 [David ‘Dee’ Delgado/ Reuters]

Kherson to transition to rouble on May 1: Report

The southern Ukrainian region of Kherson will start transitioning to Russia’s currency from May 1, the RIA news agency has reported, citing the deputy chairman of the region’s military-civilian administration.

According to the official, the transition period will take up to four months, during which time both the Russian rouble and the Ukrainian hryvnia will circulate.

Russia claims it has taken control of the entire Kherson region and, according to RIA, has launched Russian television and radio broadcasting there. The report also said the local population has begun “to use Russian roubles more widely in settlements”.

Biden to speak on support for Ukraine

US President Joe Biden will deliver remarks on Thursday morning “on support for Ukrainians defending their country and their freedom against Russia’s brutal war,” the White House has said.

Ukrainian forces fired a Tochka-U missile at Kherson: Russian media

Russia’s RIA news agency says Ukrainian forces in the Mykolaoiv region used the Tochka-U ballistic missile in an attack targeting Kherson’s city centre.

Rights groups say the weapon is extremely inaccurate and must not be used in war.

A RIA journalist who witnessed the attack said: “First, there was an explosion from the Hurricane [rocket launcher system], they are usually launched before the Tochka-U to confuse the air defence. There was one explosion (from the Hurricane), then there was firing (air defence systems) … then I saw a flash in the sky, it was clear that it was flying from the side of the Nikolaev [Mykolaiv] region, from the northwest.”

He added that several large explosions followed and that he saw fragments of the Tochka-U on the ground.

The Tochka-U rocket was used in an attack on the Kramatorsk railway station on April 8. At least 57 people died.

UK’s Truss calls Russia ‘a desperate rogue operator’

British foreign secretary Liz Truss has described Russia as a “desperate rogue operator with no interest in international norms” as she called for more heavy weapons to be sent to Ukraine.

Delivering her annual foreign policy speech at Mansion House, the residence of London’s mayor, Truss said Russia was less rational than the Soviet Union. Although the Soviet Union inflicted “many evils” and regularly used their veto in the Security Council, “even they behaved with some kind of rationality on the world stage”, she said. 

“They were able to stick to deals when they saw risks to strategic stability, as they did with the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty,” she said.

Economic structures developed after World War II and the Cold War have “enabled rather than contained aggression”, she added, accusing Russia of violating several arms control treaties.

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss delivers a speech at Mansion House in London, Britain
British foreign secretary Liz Truss delivers a speech at Mansion House in London, Britain, on April 27, 2022 [Hannah McKay/REUTERS]

Germany was biggest buyer of Russia’s energy in first two months of Ukraine war: Study

Germany bought the most amount of Russian energy during the first two months of the Ukraine war, according to an independent research group.

The Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air calculated that Russia has earned 63 billion euros ($66.5bn) from fossil fuel exports since February 24, the date Russia began its invasion of Ukraine.

Using data on ship movements, real-time tracking of gas flows through pipelines and estimates based on historical monthly trade, the researchers said Germany alone paid Russia about 9.1 billion euros for fossil fuel deliveries in the first two months of the war.

The German government said it could not comment on estimates and declined to provide any figures of its own, saying these would need to come from companies that procure the coal, oil and gas, the Associated Press has reported.

Ukraine needs 600,000 apartments for those displaced: Official

A senior aide to Ukraine’s president says the country needs almost 600,000 apartments to provide housing for people displaced by conflict.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko made the comment during a meeting of Ukraine’s local and regional authorities, where participants discussed plans for the country’s reconstruction, which one official said would now cost $90bn, according to a statement from Zelenskyy’s office.

Participants made the decision to build some of the necessary apartments from scratch, as well as purchase some ready-made from developers. Zelenskyy also told participants that all new housing in Ukraine must be built with comfortable bomb shelters, and old housing stock should be equipped in accordance with the needs of public safety, the statement said.

A boy stands next to wrecked vehicle in front of an apartment building damaged during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol.
A boy stands next to a wrecked vehicle in front of an apartment building damaged during the Russia-Ukraine conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine April 24, 2022 [File: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters]

More than 50 Ukrainians completed howitzer training: Pentagon

More than 50 Ukrainian forces have completed US howitzer artillery training, a Pentagon spokesperson has said.

John Kirby told reporters that another group of more than 50 Ukrainians would also “go through training in the same location outside Ukraine”.

The howitzers were included as part of two recent US military assistance packages for Ukraine, each totalling $800m.

Zelenskyy praises Kherson protesters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has praised protesters who took part in a pro-Ukraine rally in the occupied city of Kherson.

Russian forces had used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse them.

“I am grateful to everyone who has not given up, who is protesting, who is ignoring the occupiers and showing the marginal people who have become collaborators that there is no future for them,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly address.

US to begin process of reopening embassy in Kyiv: Blinken

The US will begin the process of reopening its embassy in Kyiv “as quickly but also as safely as possible”, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said.

“We have diplomats going back to Ukraine this week as we speak to begin the process of looking to reopen the embassy in Kyiv,” Blinken told US legislators, according to a video shared online by the State Department.

He said the US will begin operating out of the Western Ukrainian city of Lviv before operating out of Kyiv.

Amal Clooney pushes for Ukraine war crimes justice at UN

Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has urged countries at the United Nations to focus on international justice for war crimes in Ukraine so evidence does not sit in storage – as it has done for victims of ISIL (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria.

“Ukraine is, today, a slaughterhouse. Right in the heart of Europe,” Clooney told an informal UN Security Council meeting on accountability in Ukraine organised by France and Albania.

UK foreign minister warns China to play by ‘the rules’

Liz Truss, the British foreign secretary, has warned China that failure to play by global “rules” would cut short its rise as a superpower.

China, which has taken a neutral public position on the war in Ukraine, has faced calls from European nations and the US to pressure Russia to end its invasion.

“They will not continue to rise if they do not play by the rules. China needs trade with the G7. We [the Group of Seven] represent around half of the global economy. And we have choices,” Truss said in a speech in London. “We have shown with Russia the kind of choices that we’re prepared to make when international rules are violated.”

US House of Representatives passes bill to help rebuild Ukraine

The US House of Representatives has passed a bipartisan bill that would encourage the use of sanctioned Russian assets to help rebuild Ukraine.

The bill was introduced by representative Tom Malinowski from New Jersey and Joe Wilson from South Carolina.

“It’s hard to imagine giving Russia’s wealth back to Putin while Ukrainians are burying their dead,” Malinowski said in a tweet. “We must be prepared to use Russia’s frozen assets to rebuild the country they are destroying.”

Russia coordinating cyberattacks with military strikes: Microsoft

A handful of hacker groups aligned with the Russian government have carried out hundreds of cyberattacks against Ukraine since Moscow invaded, US tech giant Microsoft said in a report.

“Starting just before the invasion, we have seen at least six separate Russia-aligned nation-state actors launch more than 237 operations against Ukraine,” Microsoft said. The company is working with Ukrainian cybersecurity experts and private sector partners to counter such attacks.

It said the cyber warfare included “destructive attacks that are ongoing and threaten civilian welfare”.

Canada legislators vote in favour of calling Russia’s acts ‘genocide’

Canadian politicians have voted unanimously to call Russia’s attacks in Ukraine a “genocide”, with members of parliament saying there was “ample evidence of systemic and massive war crimes against humanity” being committed by Moscow.

The Canadian Parliament’s motion said war crimes by Russia include mass atrocities, systematic instances of willful killing of Ukrainian civilians, the desecration of corpses, forcible transfer of Ukrainian children, torture, physical harm, mental harm, and rape.

Municipal workers remove the body of a man from a house in Bucha.
Municipal workers remove the body of a man from a house in Bucha, Ukraine, Thursday, April 7, 2022 [Vadim Ghirda/AP]

Ukraine fires three rockets at Kherson, a city held by Russia: RIA

Ukraine has fired three rockets at the centre of the southern city of Kherson but Russian occupying forces shot down two of them, the state-owned RIA news agency cited a security source as saying.

An RIA correspondent on the ground had earlier reported a series of powerful explosions near the television centre.

Pentagon says Russian nuclear threats are ‘irresponsible’

Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby has dismissed recent comments by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who earlier this week warned of a “serious, real” risk of nuclear war.

“The rhetoric that we keep hearing from Russian leaders – and just recently was Minister Lavrov, raising the spectre of nuclear confrontation – is irresponsible,” Kirby told reporters during a briefing.

“It’s certainly not what you would expect from a modern nuclear power, nor should anybody expect from a modern nuclear power,” he said.

US allocating $670m to international emergency food operations

The US Department of Agriculture and the US Agency for International Development will together contribute nearly $700m to international food aid efforts in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the agencies have said.

The money will go to emergency food operations in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Yemen. Of the announced sum, $282m will come from the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust, which is co-managed by the agencies, while USDA said it would additionally provide $388m for transportation, shipping, and other costs.

The Ukraine war is leading to a “staggering global food crisis”, said USAID Administrator Samantha Power.

Ukraine plans to rename streets linked to Russia

A number of Ukrainian cities plan to rename streets and squares associated with Russia under a process of “de-Russification” following Moscow’s invasion.

Ihor Terekhov, mayor of the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, said that as soon as the war with Russia ends he would table a bill to his city council to rename places with Russian-affiliated names.

“Even without these names, there will be too many scars that will remind us for a long time about what kind of neighbour is beyond our eastern and northern borders,” he wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

White House says supplemental Ukraine aid request could come on Thursday

The White House has said that a supplemental budget request that includes aid for Ukraine could be sent to Congress as soon as Thursday.

The plan will cover military, humanitarian and economic assistance for Ukraine, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.

White House promises to press for release of Paul Whelan

The White House has promised to keep pressing for the unconditional release of former US Marine Paul Whelan, who is imprisoned in Russia and accused of spying.

A US-Russia prisoner swap that obtained the release of Trevor Reed, also a former US Marine, brought a spotlight on Whelan, who holds US, British, Canadian and Irish passports.

Whelan was sentenced to 16 years on espionage charges in June 2020.

Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Read all the updates from Wednesday, April 27 here.

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