Ukraine is calling for more weapons and harsher sanctions after accusing Moscow for a missile attack that killed at least 52 people at a train station packed with civilians.

Saturday's evacuation was about 2,000 fewer than Friday.
Saturday's evacuation was about 2,000 fewer than Friday. (AP)

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Ukraine: Over 4,530 people evacuated from combat areas

A total of 4,532 people were evacuated from Ukrainian cities through humanitarian corridors on Saturday, fewer than the 6,665 who escaped on Friday, a senior official said.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of Ukraine's presidential administration, made the announcement in an online post. 

Governor: Russia kills, wounds several civilians in Donetsk

Russian shelling killed five civilians and wounded five others in two east Ukrainian cities Saturday, the local governor said.

"Today, five people were killed after Russian shelling in the region of Donetsk," the Donetsk governor Pavlo Kyrylenko posted on Telegram.

Four of them died in the city of Vugledar, and one in the town of Novomikhaylovka, he added.

Italy moves its embassy to Kiev

Italy’s Embassy in Ukraine will move to Kiev “just after Easter,” which will be observed on April 17, the country’s Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said.

“We were the last to leave Kyiv and we will be among the first to return,” Di Maio said in Rome after a videoconference with Italian ambassadors to Ukraine and Russia.

The minister said the decision was “another gesture to show support to the Ukrainian people, a concrete way of saying that diplomacy has to prevail.”

Italy to sign 'gas deal' with Algeria

An Italian government source said Italian Premier Mario Draghi is traveling to Algeria on Monday to sign a deal for more gas.

Italy has been urgently looking for alternatives to natural gas from Russia since its invasion of Ukraine. Russia is Italy’s biggest supplier, representing 40 percent of total imports.

Italy’s foreign minister has travelled to Algeria as well as Azerbaijan, Qatar, Congo, Angola and Mozambique to secure more deals. Algeria is Italy’s second-largest supplier of natural gas, which is the main source of the nation’s electricity, providing some 21 billion cubic meters of gas via the Trans-Mediterranean pipeline.

Italian energy company ENI has operated in Algeria for 40 years. ENI announced a significant oil and gas discovery in Algeria last month and said it would work with Algerian partner Sonatrach to fast-track its development for the third quarter of this year.

Zelenskyy says he is committed to pressing for peace

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that he is committed to pressing for peace despite Russian attacks on civilians that have stunned the world.

“No one wants to negotiate with a person or people who tortured this nation. It’s all understandable. And as a man, as a father, I understand this very well,” Zelenskyy said in an interview. But “we don’t want to lose opportunities, if we have them, for a diplomatic solution.”

Zelenskyy said he is confident Ukrainians would accept peace despite the horrors they have witnessed in the more than six-week-long conflict.

Ukraine exchanges prisoners with Russia, 12 soldiers coming home - official

Ukraine has carried out a prisoner exchange with Russia, the third such swap since the start of the conflict, and 12 soldiers are coming home, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has said in an online post.

Vereshchuk also said that as part of the deal, 14 civilians were returning to Ukraine. She did not say how many Russians had been released.

Global pledging event raises $11B for Ukraine

A global pledging event for Ukrainian refugees called Stand Up for Ukraine has raised $11 billion (10.1 billion euros), European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen has said in Warsaw.

"The 'Stand Up For Ukraine' campaign has raised 9.1 billion euros for people fleeing bombs, inside and outside Ukraine, with an additional billion pledged by EBRD (the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development)," von der Leyen said.

Moscow says scuppers attempt to evacuate Azov commanders from Mariupol

Moscow has said Russian troops have opened fire on a Ukrainian vessel trying to evacuate commanders of the Azov battalion from the besieged city of Mariupol.

"The Kiev regime is not abandoning attempts to evacuate the leaders of the nationalist Azov regiment and foreign mercenaries from Mariupol," the Russian defence ministry said in a statement.

IMF creates secure way to funnel Ukraine aid

The International Monetary Fund has created an account to give donor countries a secure way to funnel financial assistance directly to Ukraine.

The multilateral lender said in a statement that it’s launching the account at the request of several member countries.

The goal is to help Ukraine meet its payment obligations and help stabilise its economy using loans or grants from pooled resources.

Johnson meets with Zelenskyy in Kiev

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a visit to Kiev.

Johnson met Zelenskyy "in a show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people," a Downing Street spokesperson said.

Johnson set out extra military aid of 120 armoured vehicles and new anti-ship missile systems, "to support Ukraine in this crucial phase while Russia's illegal assault continues", according to a Downing Street statement.

Civilian death toll from Ukraine conflict climbs to 1,766: UN

The civilian death toll in Russia-Ukraine conflict has climbed to 1,766 people with 2,383 others injured, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has said.

In its daily update, the OHCHR said most of the civilian casualties recorded were caused by the use of explosive weapons, including shelling from heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems, and missile and air strikes.

The actual figures, it added, are considerably higher, as the receipt of information from some locations where intense hostilities have been going on has been delayed.

YouTube bans Russian parliament channel

YouTube has banned the channel of Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, prompting government officials to renew longtime threats against the platform.

The Duma TV channel reported the ban on the messaging app Telegram, noting that it had 145,000 subscribers and over 100,000 million total views. 

In comments to the Russian news agency Interfax, Google didn’t give an exact reason for the move, but said the company follows “all applicable sanction and trade compliance laws.”

Kiev  'still ready' to continue negotiations with Moscow

Ukraine is "still ready" to continue negotiations with Moscow, which have stalled since the reported atrocities in Bucha and other areas near Kiev, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said.

"We are ready to fight and to look in parallel to end this war through diplomacy," Zelenskyy said in a press conference with the Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, who visited the capital and Bucha.

More than 4.4 million Ukrainians flee: UN

More than 4.4 million Ukrainian refugees have fled their country since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a military operation on February 24, according to figures from the UN refugee agency.

The UNHCR said there were 4,441,663 Ukrainian refugees on Saturday. That was 59,347 more than the previous day.

Europe has not seen such a flood of refugees since World War II. Ninety percent of those who have fled Ukraine are women and children, as the Ukrainian authorities do not allow men of military age to leave.

Russia stages war games in Kaliningrad enclave: Ifax

Russia has staged war games in Kaliningrad - an enclave on the Baltic Sea sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania - Interfax news agency has cited the Baltic Fleet Command as saying.

"Up to 1,000 military personnel... and more than 60 military equipment units were involved in the control checks," Interfax news quoted the Russian Baltic Fleet Command's press service as saying.

Separately, 20 Su-27 fighters and Su-24 front-line naval aviation bombers conducted planned combat training overnight, simulating attacks on low-speed air and ground targets, command posts and military equipment in Kaliningrad, Interfax said.

Italy to reopen embassy in Kiev: report

Italy’s foreign minister has reportedly told staff that Italy will reopen its embassy in the Ukrainian capital after Easter.

News agency ANSA quoted Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio as telling his ministry’s crisis unit that Italy “will be among the first to return” to Kiev.

He called it “another gesture to demonstrate support for the Ukrainian population, a concrete way to affirm that diplomacy must prevail.”

Russian forces lost over 19,000 troops, Ukraine claims

Ukraine claimed that a total of 19,100 Russian soldiers have been killed since the start of Russia’s offensive against its neighbour.

Since the beginning of the attack, the Ukrainian army has destroyed 151 Russian-owned aircraft, 136 helicopters, 705 tanks, 1,895 armoured vehicles, 335 artillery systems, and seven boats, the Ukrainian General Staff said.

Russian forces also lost 108 multiple rocket launcher systems, 1,363 vehicles, 76 fuel tanks, 55 anti-aircraft warfare systems, and 112 unmanned aerial vehicles, according to the statement of General Staff.

Evacuations continuing from Kramatorsk: railway operator

Ukraine's railway operator said that operations are halted at the train station in Kramatorsk, which was damaged in a missile strike on Friday, but evacuations of civilians will continue through other stations in eastern Ukraine.

The company said that evacuations will continue from the stations in Slovyansk and Pokrovsk in the Donetsk region and Novozolotarivka in the Luhansk region.

The statement on the messaging app Telegram said that “the railways do not stop the task of taking everyone to safety.”

Operations are halted at the train station in Kramatorsk, which was damaged in a missile strike on Friday, but evacuations of civilians will continue through other stations in eastern Ukraine.
Operations are halted at the train station in Kramatorsk, which was damaged in a missile strike on Friday, but evacuations of civilians will continue through other stations in eastern Ukraine. (AFP)

Russian forces destroy ammo depot at Ukrainian air base 

Russian forces have destroyed an ammunition depot at the Myrhorod Air Base in central Ukraine, Interfax news agency reported, quoting the Russian Defence Ministry.

A Ukrainian air force MiG-29 fighter and a Mi-8 helicopter were also destroyed in the attack on the base in the Poltava region, ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.

UK: Russian naval forces firing into Ukraine 

Russian naval forces are launching cruise missiles into Ukraine to support military operations in the eastern Donbas region and around the cities of Mariupol and Mykolaiv, Britain’s Ministry of Defence has said.

In its daily report on the conflict, the ministry said Russia’s air forces are expected to increase activity in the south and east of Ukraine to further support these operations.

The ministry said these actions come as attempts to establish a land corridor between Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, and Russian-controlled parts of the Donbass region “continue to be thwarted by Ukrainian resistance.”

More evacuations needed from Ukraine's Luhansk: governor

More evacuations are needed from the Luhansk region in Ukraine as shelling has increased in recent days and more Russian forces have been arriving, Luhansk Governor Serhiy Gaidai has said.

He said that some 30 percent of people still remain in settlements across the region and have been asked to evacuate.

"They (Russia) are amassing forces for an offensive and we see the number of shelling has increased," Gaidai told the public television broadcaster.

Ten humanitarian corridors agreed for Saturday: Ukraine

Ten humanitarian corridors to evacuate people from Ukraine's besieged regions have been agreed for Saturday, Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has said.

The planned corridors include one for people evacuating by private transport from the city of Mariupol, Vereshchuk said.

Zelenskyy seeks 'firm global response' to train station bombing 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called for a "firm global response" after a missile strike killed at least 52 people at a train station in eastern Ukraine where civilians had gathered to flee a feared Russian offensive.

"This is another Russian war crime for which everyone involved will be held accountable," Zelenskyy said in a video message, referring to Friday's missile strike, whose victims included five children.

"World powers have already condemned Russia's attack on Kramatorsk. We expect a firm global response to this war crime," he continued.

Forty victims of mass grave in Bucha are civilians: Ukraine

Forty victims found in a Ukrainian mass grave in the Kiev suburb of Bucha were civilians who "did not resist," according to the nation’s capital police chief.

Police are investigating mass graves in Bucha, according to Andriy Nebytov, who said Russian forces "regularly fired on civilians."

Some civilians were killed during shelling of the city by Russian artillery. Among those killed were civilian men and women between the ages of 40 and 60, he said. He noted that bullet wounds to the head and body were found on victims - an indication they were killed by an automatic weapon or a sniper’s rifle.

31,000 civilians in Mariupol forcibly relocated to Russia — Mayor

At least 31,000 civilians from southeastern Ukraine's besieged port city of Mariupol were forcibly taken to Russia, according to the mayor.

Vadim Boychenko told local television that civilians from Mariupol were forcibly taken to Russia or the so-called "Donetsk People's Republic" by Russian forces and officials have a verified list of residents forcibly relocated from their homes.

Noting that residents were subjected to various humiliations, Boychenko said Russian authorities treated them harshly, took fingerprints and forced them to sign various documents.

Biden speaks with South Africa's Ramaphosa

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa held telephone talks with US President Joe Biden, a day after the continental powerhouse abstained from voting on a resolution suspending Russia from a UN rights body over its aggression in Ukraine.

Ramaphosa tweeted that he had "a productive" telephone call with Biden.

Local media suggested it was Biden who initiated the phone call to Pretoria which South Africa has maintained a non-aligned stance on the conflict in Ukraine, touting negotiation as the best option to end the conflict despite international outrage and condemnation.

Biden signs bill limiting trade with Russia

US President Joe Biden has signed legislation axing normal trade ties with Russia, the newest move Washington has taken to punish Moscow for its Ukraine incursion.

US president also inked a bill codifying the nation's ban on Russian oil imports, the White House announced.

The development came about a month later along the decisions taken by Group of Seven (G-7) nations.

For live updates from Friday (April 8), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies