The Russia-Ukraine conflict is now in its 403rd day.

Ukrainian soldiers fire artillery at Russian positions near Bakhmut, where the war's heaviest fighting is continuing.
Ukrainian soldiers fire artillery at Russian positions near Bakhmut, where the war's heaviest fighting is continuing. (AP Archive)

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that the military situation around the city of Bakhmut, besieged by Russian forces from months, was "especially hot".

Zelenskyy also said in his nightly video address that two people had died in a Russian mortar attack in the northern region of Sumy. 

He noted earlier reports that Russian shelling had killed at least six people in the city of Kostyantynivka in Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine.

Follow more updates 👇

1304 GMT — Ukrainian official offers plan for a Crimea without Russia

A top Ukrainian official has outlined a series of steps the government in Kiev would take after the country reclaims control of Crimea, including dismantling the strategic bridge that links the seized Black Sea peninsula to Russia.

Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, published the plan as Ukraine's military prepares for a spring counteroffensive in hopes of making new, decisive gains after more than 13 months of the war to end Russia's full-scale attack.

Among other things, Danilov suggested prosecuting Ukrainians who worked for the Moscow-backed administration in Crimea, adding that some would face criminal charges and others would lose government pensions and be banned from public jobs.

READ MORE: Top Ukrainian official outlines plan for a Crimea without Russia

1201 GMT — Russia will not send fencers to Poland due to conditions: Federation

Russia will not send fencers to an Olympic qualifier event in Poland this month because of "unacceptable" conditions, the head of Russia's Fencing federation was quoted by Russian media.

"Will Russian fencers take part in Poland? Of course not, it is unacceptable," Ilgar Mamedov told RIA Novosti after Poland said Russian athletes had to sign a written statement saying they did not support Russia's campaign in Ukraine.

0933 GMT — Russian missile strike kills six civilians in Donetsk: Ukraine

At least six people have been killed and eight injured in a missile strike on the city of Kostiantynivka in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region, the head of the Ukrainian Presidential Office has said.

Kostiantynivka, home to about 70,000 people before the war, is just 20 kilometres (12.5 miles) west of Bakhmut, the epicentre of fighting for at least eight months as Russian forces try to capture the city.

The head of the Ukrainian Presidential Office, Andriy Yermak, said 16 apartment buildings, eight private houses, a children’s preschool, the building of the Kostiantynivka State Tax Inspectorate, gas pipes and three cars were damaged in the attack.

0930 GMT — Year after Bucha 'massacre', Ukraine army chief vows to fight on

Ukraine will continue to fight for its independence, the chief of the army has said, a year after bodies of civilians were found in Bucha after Russian troops retreated.

"We will continue to fight for the independence of our nation," Valery Zaluzhny wrote on Telegram.

Russian forces withdrew from Bucha, a commuter town northwest of Kiev, on March 31, 2022 — just over a month after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to attack Ukraine — and left a trail of death and destruction in their wake.

On April 2 last year, journalists discovered the bodies of at least 20 people in civilian clothing, some with their hands tied behind their backs, lying in a street of the suburb.

Moscow has claimed the atrocities carried out in Bucha were staged.

0700 GMT — War has killed 262 Ukrainian athletes, sports minister says

Russia's war against Ukraine has claimed the lives of 262 Ukrainian athletes and destroyed 363 sports facilities, the country's sports minister, Vadym Huttsait, has said.

Meeting the visiting president of the International Federation of Gymnastics, Morinari Watanabe, Huttsait said no athletes from Russia should be allowed at the Olympics or other sports competitions.

The International Olympic Committee has recommended the gradual return of Russian and Belarusian athletes to international competitions as neutrals. It has not decided on their participation in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

0200 GMT — Ukraine sanctions over 650 individuals for 'Russia collusion' 

Zelenskyy has signed two decrees, sanctioning over 650 people who he said work for Russia.

"These are officials of the aggressor state, its defence industry — hundreds of companies — and collaborators. It is about more than 650 newly sanctioned persons," Zelenskyy said in a statement.

"The NSDC (National Security and Defense Council) will continue this work. And none of those who help terrorists, work for them, supply or manufacture weapons for terror – none will escape liability."

Zelenskyy added that the blocking of accomplices of terror, the isolation of Russia, its defeat, and trials are what awaits those "who started and are waging war against Ukraine and the international order."

2002 GMT — Zelenskyy assails 'bankrupt' UNSC as Russia takes over charge

Ukraine’s Zelenskyy has sought reforms in United Nations Security Council (UNSC) after Russia assumed charge of the Council, sparking angry reaction from Ukraine.

"It is hard to imagine something evident that proves the complete bankruptcy of such institutions..." Zelenskyy said.

"There is no such form of terror that has not yet been committed by Russia," Zelenskyy alleged, adding "there will be no such reason that will stop the reform of global institutions, in particular, the UN Security Council."

"The reform that is clearly overdue — so that a terrorist state and any other state that wants to be a terrorist cannot disrupt the peace," he said.

For our live updates from Saturday (April 1), click here.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies