Russia faces global revulsion after its pullout from Kiev outskirts reveals streets strewn with corpses of what appears to be civilians, many of them evidently killed at close range in the ongoing offensive, now in its 41st day.

A tank of pro-Russian troops drives along a road near burnt-out residential buildings in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict in Mariupol city, on April 5, 2022.
A tank of pro-Russian troops drives along a road near burnt-out residential buildings in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict in Mariupol city, on April 5, 2022. (Reuters)

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

New Russian sanctions should correspond to Bucha — Zelenskyy

Ukraine's president Zelenskyy has said that and Western leaders have discussed a new round of sanctions against Russia.

"After what the world saw in Bucha, the sanctions against Russia must be commensurate with the gravity of the war crimes committed by the occupiers," Zelenskyy said in his daily night-time video address to the nation.

EU and G7 nations will announce extra sanctions on Russia that reportedly will include a ban on all new investments in the country.

Kiev: Nearly 1,500 evacuate besieged city of Mariupol

Russian troops have allowed 1,496 civilians to evacuate the besieged city of Mariupol by private vehicle but blocked a convoy of evacuation buses from entering, a Ukrainian official has said.

Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said the Russian forces stopped the buses accompanied by workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross from traveling to the Sea of Azov port on Tuesday. The civilians who were able to leave in their personal vehicles traveled to Zaporizhzhia.

Mariupol has been besieged by Russian forces for a month, cut off from food, water and energy supplies and has faced relentless artillery barrage and air raids that killed thousands.

West trying to derail Russia-Ukraine talks with 'hysteria' over Bucha: Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has accused the West of trying to derail negotiations between Russia and Ukraine by fuelling "hysteria" over Bucha, the RIA news agency has reported.

Kiev and the West say there is evidence Russia committed war crimes in Bucha. Moscow denies the charge and has called the allegations a "monstrous forgery."

"A question arises: What purpose does this blatantly untruthful provocation serve? We are led to believe it is to find a pretext to torpedo the ongoing negotiations," Lavrov said in a video message broadcast on Russian television.

3,846 people were evacuated from Ukrainian cities in the past day

A total of 3,846 people have been evacuated from Ukrainian cities through humanitarian corridors, slightly more than the 3,376 who escaped on Monday, Ukraine's deputy prime minister, Iryna Vereshchuk, said in an online post.

Russia reportedly prevented Ukraine officers fleeing Mariupol by air

The Russian army has said it shot down two Ukrainian helicopters trying to evacuate the leaders of a nationalist battalion defending the embattled port of Mariupol.

"This morning, April 5, around Mariupol, a new attempt by the Kiev regime to evacuate leaders of the nationalist Azov battalion was aborted," defence ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov said.

"Two Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopters, trying to reach the city from the sea, were shot down by portable anti-aircraft systems," he added.

Türkiye's Embassy in Ukraine returns to capital Kiev

Türkiye's Embassy in Kiev, which was temporarily moved to Ukraine's southwestern Chernivtsi city due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, returned to its location and is set to become operational as of tomorrow, an official statement said.

It further noted that as of Wednesday, the embassy will carry out its activities, including consular services, from its building located at "Panasa Mirnoho 22."

The embassy issued a notification on Twitter, saying it had to temporarily move its activities to Chernivtsi, which acted as a logistics center for evacuations by Türkiye.

UN chief warns Ukraine conflict one of greatest challenges to international order

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned the Security Council that Russia's operation in Ukraine is one of the greatest challenges ever to the international order "because of its nature, intensity, and consequences."

Guterres said the conflict was putting even more pressure on the developing world, with more than 1.2 billion people particularly vulnerable to to spiking food, energy and fertiliser costs.

"We are already seeing some countries move from vulnerability into crisis, and signs of serious social unrest," he added.

Putin: World faces food crisis due to West’s sanctions

President Vladimir Putin has said that Russia must keep a close eye on its food exports to hostile countries because the West's sanctions had fomented a global food crisis and spiralling energy prices.

"They will inevitably exacerbate food shortages in the poorest regions of the world, spur new waves of migration and in general drive food prices even higher," Putin told a meeting on developing food production.

"In these current conditions, a shortage of fertilisers on the global market is inevitable," Putin said. "We will have to be more careful about food supplies abroad, especially carefully monitor the exports to countries which are hostile to us."

US, allies to announce Russia sanctions

The United States and its allies will announce a sweeping new round of Russia-related sanctions on Wednesday, a source familiar with the planned announcement said.

The sanctions will ban on all new investments in Russia, increase curbs on financial institutions and state-owned enterprises in Russia, and target Russian government officials and their families, the source told Reuters news agency.

Romania to expel 10 Russian diplomats

Romania will expel ten Russian diplomats who are not acting in accordance with international rules, the foreign ministry said, joining other European countries which have expelled Russian diplomats in recent days.

"Romanian authorities have decided to declare persona non grata on Romanian territory ten people working at the Russian embassy in Bucharest, given that their actions ... contravene the Vienna Convention," the ministry said in a statement.

US to send drones with anti-armour warhead to Ukraine - Pentagon chief

The United States will send a variant of the Switchblade drone that has an anti-armour warhead to Ukraine as quickly as possible, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said.

"The Switchblade 600 and 300 will move as quickly as they possibly can," Austin said during a House Armed Services Committee hearing.

The 600 variant has the anti-armour warhead and can loiter over a target for more than 40 minutes, according to AeroVironment, which makes the drones.

Up to 300 bodies may be in Bucha mass grave: Ukraine's ombudswoman

Ukrainian human rights ombudswoman Lyudmyla Denisova has reported that between 150 and 300 bodies may be in a mass grave by a church in the town of Bucha, where Ukraine accuses Russian troops of killing civilians.

"Currently, the bodies of the dead are being collected by law enforcement officers to conduct the necessary examinations," Denisova said in an online post.

She did not say how the authorities had reached the estimate of the number of victims in the mass grave.

Alleged atrocities in Ukraine 'not confirmed' by witnesses: Russian envoy

Moscow's ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia has dismissed allegations that Russian troops carried out atrocities in Ukraine in a speech at the Security Council, saying there is no evidence from witnesses.

Directly addressing Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who spoke to the council moments earlier, Nebenzia said Moscow places "on your conscience the ungrounded accusations against the Russian military, which are not confirmed by any eye witnesses."

UN hails Türkiye's role in hosting direct Russia-Ukraine talks

The UN has praised Türkiye for hosting diplomatic efforts to end the conflict in Ukraine.

Speaking at a UN Security Council meeting, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo commended Türkiye "for hosting these discussions, as well as the efforts of many others engaging with Russia and Ukraine to help bring about peace."

Images of dead civilians from Bucha 'very disturbing' - China

The reports and images showing civilian deaths in Ukrainian city of Bucha are "very disturbing", China's ambassador to the United Nations has said, while adding that the circumstances should be verified and any accusations should be based on facts.

Speaking at a Security Council meeting, Ambassador Zhang Jun repeated Beijing's stance that sanctions are not effective in solving the Ukraine crisis but instead they accelerate the economic spillover.

Russian appeals against sports bans to be heard by CAS

Russian federations and athletes have filed multiple legal challenges to fight their bans from international sports events because of their country's offensive in Ukraine.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport said that Russian officials have filed appeals against governing bodies in soccer, figure skating and speed skating, gymnastics, rowing, rugby and biathlon.

Russian Olympic officials have also challenged the European OIympic Committee’s exclusion of teams and athletes from its youth multi-sport events.

Zelenskyy urges UN Security Council to 'act immediately'

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged the United Nations to act and reform its system which gives Security Council permanent member Russia a veto, saying everything must be done to ensure the international body works effectively.

Zelenskyy called on the 15-member council, which aims to ensure international peace and security, to "remove Russia as an aggressor and a source of war, so it cannot block decisions about its own aggression, its own war."

In a passionate address to the United Nations Security Council, Zelenskyy described in detail grim scenes in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, saying Moscow wanted to turn Ukraine into "silent slaves."

11 million have fled homes in Ukraine - UN

The UN migration agency now estimates that more than 11 million people have fled their homes in Ukraine since Russia’s offensive began.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), in its first such full assessment in three weeks, reported that more than 7.1 million had been displaced within Ukraine as of April 1.

That comes on top of the figure of more than 4 million who have fled abroad, reported by the UN refugee agency. Moreover, IOM said more than 2.9 million others are actively considering "leaving their place of habitual residence" due to conflict.

Spain to expel around 25 Russian diplomats

Spain will expel some 25 Russian diplomats and embassy staff from Madrid, joining other European Union countries in its response to alleged war crimes by Russian troops in Ukraine.

"We have decided to expel Russian diplomats and staff from the Russian embassy in Spain who represent a threat to the interests and security of our country," Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said, without ruling out further measures.

The minister added that the expulsions were also a response to "the terrible actions carried out in the past days in Ukraine especially in Bucha and the ones reported today from Mariupol."

Moscow accuses Ukraine of ‘staging’ new footage of dead civilians

Russia has accused Ukraine of staging new civilian deaths, with the Russian defence ministry saying the Ukrainian military recorded a fake video that purported to show "peaceful civilians allegedly killed by the Russian armed forces."

The video was made on Monday evening in the settlement of Moshchun some 20 kilometres (12 miles) northwest of Kiev and was designed to be distributed through Western media, Moscow said.

"Similar events are now being organised by the Ukrainian special services in Sumy, Konotop and other cities," the Russian defence ministry said, referring to cities in north-eastern Ukraine, but did not say how it obtained the information in its statement.

Europe expulsions of diplomats ‘short-sighted move’: Kremlin

The Kremlin has called mass expulsions of Russian diplomats by a number of European countries a "short-sighted move" that will only complicate communication.

"Narrowing down opportunities for diplomatic communication in such an unprecedentedly difficult crisis environment is a short-sighted move that will further complicate our communication, which is necessary to find a solution," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

"And this will inevitably lead to retaliatory steps," he added.

Israeli PM condemns Bucha killings, does not mention Russia

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has condemned the killing of civilians documented in the Ukrainian town of Bucha but stopped short of accusing Russian forces of responsibility.

"We're shocked by the terrible sights in Bucha - awful scenes - and we condemn them. The suffering of Ukrainian citizens is immense, and we're doing everything we can to assist," Bennett said during a televised news conference.

Israel has been restrained in its criticism of Russia during the crisis, citing Bennett's efforts to broker peace between Moscow and Kiev.

EU Commission head to meet Ukrainian president in Kiev

The European Commission head will visit Kiev this week to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the most high-profile visit by a Western official to Ukraine since the Russian offensive began on February 24.

During her visit to the Ukraine, Ursula von der Leyen will be accompanied by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, said Eric Mamer, an EU spokesperson, on Twitter.

The EU chief will meet with Zelenskyy “prior to the pledging event #StandUpForUkraine on Saturday in Warsaw,” Mamer added.

Putin-Zelenskyy meeting only possible once document is agreed: Kremlin

Russia doesn't reject the possibility of a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, but it can only happen once a document has been agreed, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has said.

Russia and Ukraine are continuing intensive peace talks via video link, Interfax news agency cited a deputy Russian foreign minister as saying.

NATO chief fears 'more atrocities' to be found in Ukraine

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has said he feared there were "more atrocities" to be discovered in areas of Ukraine that were occupied by Russian troops.

"When and if they withdraw the troops and Ukrainian troops take over, I'm afraid they will see more mass graves, more atrocities and more examples of war crimes," he told a media conference.

EU proposes ban on Russian coal imports

The European Union’s executive branch has proposed a ban on coal imports from Russia in what would be the first sanctions targeting the country’s lucrative energy industry over its offensive in Ukraine.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the EU needed to increase the pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin after what she described as the “heinous crimes” carried out around Kiev.

Von der Leyen said the ban on coal imports is worth $4.4 billion (4 billion euros) per year. She added that the EU has already started working on additional sanctions, including on oil imports.

Ukraine opens seven humanitarian corridors

Seven humanitarian corridors will be open, including from the port city of Mariupol and the Russian-controlled Berdyansk, Ukraine has said.

According to Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk, residents of Mariupol and Berdyansk will be able to leave to Zaporizhzhia on their own transport. 

Corridors will also be open from the city of Tokmak in the Zaporizhzhia region and cities of Severodonetsk, Lysychansk, Popasna and Hirske in the Luhansk region.

Denmark expels 15 Russian intel officers

Denmark says the country is expelling 15 Russian intelligence officers who worked at Russia’s Embassy in Copenhagen.

The officers have two weeks to leave Denmark. Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said "they pose a risk to our national security that we cannot ignore.”

Denmark's Foreign Ministry said Denmark strongly condemned “Russia’s brutality against Ukrainian civilians in Bucha” and stressed that "deliberate attacks on civilians are a war crime.”

Chinese, Ukrainian top envoys discuss Russian onslaught

China and Ukraine's foreign ministers have spoken for the first time in over a month, with Beijing maintaining its push for peace talks even as allegations of Russian atrocities in towns around Kiev grow.

During the call, which Beijing said was made at Kiev's request, Wang said China's "basic attitude towards the Ukraine issue is to promote peace talks", according to a Chinese foreign ministry readout.

"The war will someday end, and the key is how to learn from this painful experience to properly uphold lasting security in Europe," Wang said.

The Red Cross team
The Red Cross team "that was held by police in Mangush was released last night". (AA)

Red Cross: Team held near Mariupol 'released'

The Red Cross said the team that had been detained on its way to help evacuate civilians from the southern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol had been released.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, which for days has been trying to get a team to Mariupol to help provide safe passage for thousands of civilians seeking to leave, said on Monday its staff had been stopped in the nearby town of Mangush, currently under Russian control. 

The team "that was held by police in Mangush on Monday was released last night", the Geneva-based organisation said in a statement, adding, "This is of great relief to us and to their families."

Zelenskyy: Ukraine-Russia talks 'only option' 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said holding negotiations with Russia was the only option for his country although the possibility of having talks was now a "challenge".

But in comments broadcast on national television, he said it was possible that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin would not personally hold talks.

Russia regrouping forces for the offensive in Donbass

Ukraine has reported that Russia is regrouping its troops and preparing for an offensive in Donbass to establish full control over the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

In the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the Russian military are focusing their efforts on taking control of Popasna and Rubizhne cities, as well as establishing full control over Mariupol, Ukraine's General Staff said. 

Other towns and settlements in the two regions are subject to continued shelling. The Russian troops also continue to block Kharkiv, according to the General Staff.

Putin ally says Bucha killings are fake propaganda

One of Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin's closest allies has said that claims that Russian forces executed civilians in Bucha were fake products of Ukrainian and Western propaganda aimed at discrediting Russia.

"These are fakes that matured in the cynical imagination of Ukrainian propaganda," Dmitry Medvedev, who served as president from 2008 to 2012 and is now deputy secretary of Russia's Security Council, said.

"They were concocted for vast amounts of money," Medevedev said.

Tanya Nedashkivs'ka mourns the death of her husband, killed in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kiev.
Tanya Nedashkivs'ka mourns the death of her husband, killed in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kiev. (AP)

Britain says Ukraine forces have retaken the north

Ukrainian forces have retaken key northern terrain, forcing Russian forces to retreat from areas around the city of Chernihiv and north of the capital Kiev, British military intelligence said.

Low-level fighting is likely to continue in some of there captured areas, but reduce this week as the remainder of the Russian forces withdraw, the defence ministry said.

German president admits mistakes with Russia

Germany’s president has admitted mistakes in policy toward Russia in his previous job as foreign minister.

President Frank-Walter Steinmeier served twice as ex-Chancellor Angela Merkel’s foreign minister, most recently from 2013 to 2017, and before that as ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s chief of staff. 

In that time, Germany pursued dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin and cultivated close energy ties.

Ukraine: Situation in Mariupol much worse than Bucha 

Ukraine has said that what happened in the city of Bucha is just the "tip of the iceberg” and the situation in Mariupol is much worse.

"Ukraine won the battle for Kiev, but the war goes on," Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said at a joint news conference in Warsaw with his British counterpart Liz Truss.

Noting that his country is preparing for a new large-scale offensive by Russia in eastern Ukraine, Kuleba said Russian forces will try to capture more territories in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and will also try to take control of the city of Mariupol.

The horrors that we’ve seen in Bucha are just the tip of the iceberg of all the crimes that have been committed by the Russian Army in the territory of Ukraine so far

Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister

Ukraine's president forms delegation for talks with Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has signed a decree on the official creation of a delegation for talks with Russia.

According to a statement by the President's Office, the decree was signed "to form a delegation of Ukraine to participate in negotiations with the Russian Federation on the preparation and approval of a draft treaty on security guarantees for Ukraine.”

David Arakhamia, the leader of the parliamentary group of the ruling Servant of the People's Party, who also led the peace talks in Istanbul last week, has been appointed head of the delegation.

Russia urged not to use land mines

A top official in the global campaign against the use of land mines has urged Russia to halt the use in Ukraine of these weapons that too often kill and maim civilians.

Alicia Arango Olmos, Colombia’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva and this year’s president of the state parties to the 1997 convention banning the production and use of land mines, expressed deep concern at media reports that Russia is using land mines in its attack in Ukraine.

She pointed to Human Rights Watch which said on March 29 that Ukrainian explosive ordnance disposal technician located banned ant-personnel mines in the eastern Kharkiv region a day earlier.

Zelenskyy to address UNSC

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will address the UN Security Council for the first time at a meeting on Tuesday that is certain to focus on what appear to be deliberate killings allegedly by the Russian forces in the town of Bucha on the outskirts of the capital Kiev.

The discovery after the withdrawal of Russian troops has sparked global outrage and vehement denials from the Russian government.

The United Kingdom holds the council presidency this month and announced that the Ukrainian leader will speak at the open meeting.

'No place for Russia on UN Human Rights Council'

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said he spoke with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres about events in Bucha in what appear to be deliberate killings in the town on the outskirts of the capital Kiev.

"No place for Russia on the UN Human Rights Council," Kuleba said on Twitter. "Ukraine will use all available UN mechanisms to collect evidence and hold Russian war criminals to account."

Videos and photos of streets in Bucha strewn with corpses of what appeared to be civilians, some with their hands tied behind their back, have led to global revulsion, calls for tougher sanctions, and Russia's suspension from the UN's premier human rights body, the Human Rights Council.

For live updates from Monday (April 4), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies