Leaders on either side of the Atlantic diverge on whether to label Russia's actions in Ukraine as "genocide," as fierce fighting in the eastern European country continues on the 51st day.

Seven people, including a seven-month-old child, have been killed in shelling of a residential neighbourhood in Kharkiv.
Seven people, including a seven-month-old child, have been killed in shelling of a residential neighbourhood in Kharkiv. (Reuters)

Friday, April 15, 2022

Zelenskyy echoes concern Russia could use nuclear arms

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned that Russia could use nuclear weapons out of desperation as its offensive falters, echoing comments by CIA director William Burns.

Asked about the threat, Zelenskyy said "all of the world" should be worried that Russia "began to speak about... nuclear weapons or some chemical weapons."

"They could do it, I mean they can," he told CNN. "For them, life of the people is nothing... let's not be afraid -- be ready."

Russian warship hit by two Ukrainian missiles before sinking: Pentagon

Russia's Moskva warship was hit by two Ukrainian missiles before it sank in the Black Sea, a senior Pentagon official has said, calling it a "big blow" for Moscow. Russia claims the incident was caused by exploding ammunition on board.

Briefing reporters on condition of anonymity, the official confirmed Kiev's account of the incident, saying "We assess that they hit it with two Neptunes," referring to Ukrainian anti-ship cruise missiles.

He said the strikes were believed to have caused casualties, but that it was "difficult to assess how many," adding that the United States had observed survivors being recovered by other Russian vessels in the area.

Five killed in shelling in city of Mykolaiv: Ukraine

Five people were killed by shelling in the Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv and cluster munitions were used, Vitaliy Kim, the governor of Mykolaiv region, has said on Telegram.

Reuters news agency could not independently verify the statement.

Russia denies targeting civilian areas in Ukraine.

Zelenskyy asked Biden to designate Russia a 'state sponsor of terrorism: report

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has recently made a direct appeal to US President Joe Biden for the United States to designate Russia a "state sponsor of terrorism," the Washington Post reported, citing people familiar with their conversation.

Biden did not commit to specific actions during that call, the newspaper reported.

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. 

7 killed in shelling of Kharkiv - official

Seven people, including a seven-month-old child, have been killed in shelling of a residential neighbourhood in the city while 34 other people were wounded, the governor of the Kharkiv region Oleh Sinehubov said in a Telegram post.

Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, has been heavily hit by shelling and rocket attacks during the Russian military operation in Ukraine.

Germany releases billions to move away from Russian gas

Germany has released nearly $3.2 billion (three billion euros) to acquire floating liquefied natural gas import terminals, the finance ministry said, as it seeks to move away from dependence on Russian gas.

"Dependence on Russian energy imports must be reduced quickly and sustainably," tweeted Finance Minister Christian Lindner. "Floating LNG terminals make an important contribution to this, for which we must provide funding," he added.

A total of 2.94 billion euros has been made available for the lease of these huge LNG carriers, the finance ministry told AFP news agency.

Five million people have fled the conflict in Ukraine: UN

More than five million people have fled Ukraine since the Russian attack on February 24, UN figures showed.

UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, said 4,796,245 million Ukrainians had fled across the borders, while the UN's International Organization for Migration (IOM) says nearly 215,000 third-country nationals have also escaped to neighbouring countries.

The exodus is Europe's fastest-growing refugee crisis since World War II. The new figures from the UNHCR were up 59,774 on those issued the previous day.

Russia had announced it had used Kalibr sea-based long-range missiles to hit a Ukrainian missile factory.
Russia had announced it had used Kalibr sea-based long-range missiles to hit a Ukrainian missile factory. (AFP)

Moscow: 18 members of EU mission must leave Russia

Moscow has said that 18 members of the EU mission in Russia have been told to leave the country and blamed Brussels for destroying ties.

"Eighteen employees of the EU Delegation to Russia have been declared 'persona non grata' and will have to leave the territory of the Russian Federation in the near future," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The measure came after 19 Russian diplomats were ordered to leave the EU on April 5.

Police: More than 900 civilian bodies found in Kiev region

More than 900 bodies of civilians have been discovered in the Kiev region following the withdrawal of Russian forces, the regional police chief said in a briefing.

Andriy Nebytov, the head of Kiev’s regional police force, said the bodies were abandoned in the streets or given temporary burials. He cited police data indicating that 95% died from gunshot wounds.

More bodies are being found every day, under rubble and in mass graves, he said. “The most victims were found in Bucha, where there are more than 350 corpses,” he added.

Russia strikes Kiev missile factory after key ship sinks

Russian strikes have pounded a military factory near Kiev that makes the missiles Ukraine claims it used to sink the Moskva naval flagship, with Moscow vowing further such attacks.

A workshop and an administrative building at the Vizar plant, which lies near Kiev's international Zhuliany airport, were seriously damaged in the overnight strikes, an AFP news agency journalist at the scene saw.

Russia had earlier announced it had used Kalibr sea-based long-range missiles to hit the factory, which Ukraine's state weapons manufacturer Ukroboronprom says produced Neptune missiles.

Russia used long-range bombers on Mariupol; 1st time in war - Ukraine

For the first time since the start of its military campaign, Russia used long-range bombers to attack the besieged port city of Mariupol, Ukraine's defence ministry spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk has said.

Motuzyanyk said Russia was concentrating its efforts on seizing the cities of Rubizhne, Popasna and Mariupol.

Moscow Times’ Russian site blocked over Ukraine coverage

Russia's media regulator has blocked the Russian-language website of the independent news outlet The Moscow Times over its coverage of Ukraine, further tightening the screws on independent journalism.

The Moscow Times, whose original English version was launched in 1992 by Dutch entrepreneur Derk Sauer, said its Russian service was shut down over what "authorities call a false report on riot police officers refusing to fight in Ukraine."

Seven killed in Russian attack on evacuees: Ukraine

Ukraine has reported that seven people were killed and more than two dozen injured in a Russian attack on buses ferrying civilians from the war-torn east of the country.

"On April 14, Russian servicemen fired on evacuation buses carrying civilians in the village of Borova in the Izium district," the office of Ukraine's prosecutor general said in a statement on social media.

"Preliminary data shows seven people died. Another 27 people were injured."

Russia warns of ‘consequences’ if Finland, Sweden join NATO

Russia's foreign ministry has warned of unspecified "consequences" should Finland and Sweden join the US-led NATO defence alliance, as Moscow's military actions in Ukraine have sparked a dramatic U-turn in the two Nordic countries over long-held policies of military non-alignment.

"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.

She added that the non-alignment policy of the two countries "provided a reliable level of security", while membership in the alliance is "not capable of strengthening their national security" as "They will automatically find themselves on the NATO frontline."

Russian regulator says French radio RFI’s website blocked

Russia's media watchdog Roskomnadzor has 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.

Russia warns US to stop arming Ukraine - Washington Post 

Russia has warned the United States that there will be "unpredictable consequences" if Washington keeps arming Ukraine, The Washington Post reported.

"We call on the United States and its allies to stop the irresponsible militarisation of Ukraine, which implies unpredictable consequences for regional and international security," the Post quoted Russia saying in a diplomatic note to the United States.

'Polish mercenaries' killed

Russia's defence ministry has said that it has killed up to 30 Polish mercenaries fighting for Ukrainian forces in the country's northeastern region of Kharkiv.

Its strategic rocket forces "eliminated up to 30 Polish mercenaries" in a strike on the village of Izyumskoe, not far from the city of Kharkiv, it says.

Ukraine swaps captured soldiers with Russia

Ukraine said it swapped several captured soldiers with Russia in the south of the country, where Moscow's attacking forces have solidified their greatest gains.

Russian troops have captured the city of Kherson, which is the administrative capital of the eponymous region where Friday's declared swap took place.

The exchange followed an announcement from Kiev on Thursday of a fourth swap of prisoners since the conflict began on February 24.

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.

Ukraine's defence ministry

Russia to carry out more missile strikes on Kiev

Russia's defence ministry has said that it had struck a military target on the edge of Kiev with cruise missiles overnight and promised more strikes against the Ukrainian capital.

The ministry said its forces had also completely taken control of the Ilyich Steel Plant in the besieged port city of Mariupol. The statement came after Russia accused Ukraine of targeting Russian border towns.

Russia had earlier said that 1,026 soldiers of Ukraine's 36th Marine Brigade, including 162 officers, had surrendered near the steel plant.

At least five dead in Russia strikes, blasts near Kiev

Ukraine has said that Russian strikes had killed five people in the east of the country after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Moscow's forces were aiming to "destroy" the region.

In a report issued by the presidency, Kiev said two people had been killed and two more wounded in the eastern Lugansk region while another three had been killed and seven wounded in the neighbouring Donetsk region.

The presidency said "fighting was continuing along the entire front line" in Donetsk.

Russia may be in default on dollar bonds: Moody's

Moody's Investors Service said that Russia may be in default after it made payments on dollar bonds with roubles.

"Russia reportedly made payments on two bonds maturing in 2022 and 2042 in rubles rather than US dollars which represents a change in payment terms relative to the original bond contracts and therefore may be considered a default under Moody's definition if not cured by 4 May, which is the end of the grace period," Moody's said in a statement.

Zelenskyy: Ukrainians should be proud of having survived 50 days under Russian attack

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told Ukrainians they should be proud of having survived 50 days under Russian attack when the Russians "gave us a maximum of five."

In his late-night video address, Zelenskyy called it "an achievement of millions of Ukrainians, of everyone who on February 24 made the most important decision of their life – to fight."

Zelenskyy gave an extensive and almost poetic listing of the many ways in which Ukrainians have helped to fend off the Russian troops, including "those who showed that Russian warships can sail away, even if it's to the bottom" of the sea.

It was his only reference to the Russian missile cruiser Moskva, which sank while being towed to port. Zelenskyy said he remembered the first day of the offensive when many world leaders, unsure whether Ukraine could survive, advised him to leave the country.

WFP: People being 'starved to death' in besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol

The head of the UN World Food Program has said people are being "starved to death" in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol and he predicted the country's humanitarian crisis is likely to worsen as Russia intensifies its assault in the coming weeks.

WFP executive director David Beasley also warned that Russia's offensive on grain-exporting Ukraine risks destabilising nations far from its shores and could trigger waves of migrants seeking better lives elsewhere.

The fluid nature of the conflict, which has seen fighting shift away from areas around the capital and toward eastern Ukraine, has made it especially difficult to reach hungry Ukrainians.

Powerful blasts heard in Ukraine's Kiev, Kherson

Powerful explosions were heard in the early hours on Friday in Ukraine's capital Kiev and the southern city of Kherson, local media reported.

Overnight, air raid sirens were going off over all of Ukraine.

Reuters news agency could not immediately verify the reports.

For live updates from Thursday (April 14), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies