Russia-Ukraine latest updates: France expels six Russian agents
Russia-Ukraine war news from April 11: France declares Russian agents posing as diplomats as persona non grata.
- France announces it is expelling six Russians suspected of working as spies under diplomatic cover in Paris, after the French intelligence services uncovered a clandestine operation.
- Russian-backed rebel forces declare they will “intensify” their battle against Ukrainian troops in the country’s east.
- President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says tens of thousands of Ukrainians have likely been killed in Russia’s assault on Mariupol.
- Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer becomes first European leader to hold in-person talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin since Moscow launched its invasion.
- Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov discloses Russia will not pause its offensive for, or during, any further talks with Ukraine.
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These were the updates on April 11:
Ukraine says 4,354 people evacuated via humanitarian corridors
A total of 4,354 people were evacuated from Ukrainian cities through humanitarian corridors on Monday, including 556 from Mariupol, Ukraine Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has said in a post on the Telegram messaging service.
Ukraine says Russia holding many civilians in prisons
Ukraine’s deputy prime minister has accused Russia of holding civilians, including journalists, activists and elected officials, in prisons on Russian territory.
“We have many priests, journalists, activists, mayors, and in general civilians who are in prisons, not, for example, even on the territory of Ukraine, but in [the] Kursk, Bryansk, Rostov [regions of Russia] … They are forcibly held” there, Iryna Vereshchuk said in televised comments.
France declares six Russian spies persona non grata over clandestine operation
France has declared six Russian agents posing as diplomats as persona non grata after an investigation by the domestic intelligence services concluded they were working against French national interests, the foreign ministry said.
“Following a very long investigation, the General Directorate of Internal Security [DGSI] revealed on Sunday April 10 a clandestine operation carried out by the Russian intelligence services on our territory,” the foreign ministry said in a statement without elaborating.
“Six Russian agents operating under diplomatic cover and whose activities proved contrary to our national interests have been declared persona non grata,” the ministry said.
France’s Macron says will travel to Ukraine only if trip is ‘useful’
French President Emmanuel Macron has said he was prepared to travel to Kyiv or any other city in Ukraine only if he felt his visit would help in the current crisis.
“I am ready to go anywhere and even to Kyiv if it could be useful, if it would help start a dialogue,” Macron told BFM television.
Austria’s Nehammer ‘pessimistic’ over Putin’s ‘war logic’
Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer has said he was “rather pessimistic” about the prospects for diplomacy ending the Ukraine conflict after his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Describing Putin as having “massively entered into a logic of war”, Nehammer told reporters following his meeting that he was “rather pessimistic” about the success of negotiations “because peace talks are always very time-intensive while military logic says: ‘Don’t spend too much time and go directly into battle'”.
Russia moving army vehicles to prepare for new assault, Ukraine governor says
Russia is moving military vehicles closer to the front lines in Ukraine’s Luhansk region in what looks like a move to prepare for a new assault, Serhiy Gaidai, the region’s governor, has said on television.
Multiple casualties after shelling of Kharkiv, mayor tells TV
Ukraine’s eastern city of Kharkiv came under heavy shelling, causing multiple casualties including one dead child, Mayor Ihor Terekhov has said in a televised interview.
When asked about the risk of a new Russian assault on the city, which Ukraine’s defence ministry recently warned of, Terekhov said that Ukrainian forces were focused and ready to defend the city.
“There is no panic in the city,” Terekhov said.
War in Ukraine could halve 2022 global trade growth: WTO
Russia’s war in Ukraine could almost halve world trade growth this year and drag down global gross domestic product (GDP) growth, according to an economic simulation model issued by the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
“The crisis could lower global GDP growth by 0.7 to 1.3 percentage points, bringing growth to somewhere between 3.1 percent and 3.7 percent for 2022. The model also projects that global trade growth this year could be cut almost in half from the 4.7 percent the WTO forecasted last October to between 2.4 percent and three percent,” the Geneva-based organisation said.
Russian regions bordering Ukraine step up security
Three Russian regions bordering Ukraine have said they are stepping up security measures over what they warned were “possible provocations” from the Ukrainian side.
The authorities in the Belgorod, Voronezh and Bryansk regions announced they were boosting security and urged citizens to be more vigilant. Another region bordering Ukraine, Kursk, was the first to announce similar measures on Sunday.
Moscow has accused Ukraine of targeting its border regions, including by striking a fuel depot in the city of Belgorod earlier this month.
Russia accuses Ukraine of preparing more ‘false provocations’
Moscow has accused Ukraine of preparing new “false” allegations about Russian violence against civilians with the help of British intelligence.
“New false staged provocations accusing the armed forces of the Russian Federation of allegedly cruel treatment of the population of Ukraine are being prepared by the Kyiv regime under the leadership of British special services on the territory of the Sumy region,” Russia’s defence ministry said.
The ministry did not provide any evidence to support its claim.
Russia starting to reinforce positions in eastern Ukraine, US official says
The United States believes that Russia has started reinforcing and resupplying its troops in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region, a senior US defence official has said.
However, Washington did not believe this marked the start of a new offensive in the area, the official told reporters at a Pentagon briefing on condition of anonymity.
Moscow-backed separatists claim control of Mariupol port
The Russian-backed leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) in eastern Ukraine has said that separatist forces have taken control of the port in the southeastern city of Mariupol.
“Regarding the port of Mariupol, it is already under our control,” Denis Pushilin said in televised remarks. Al Jazeera could not independently verify his claim.
Mariupol lies between eastern areas of Ukraine held by Russian-backed separatists and the Crimean Peninsula, which was annexed by Moscow in 2014.
Austrian leader holds ‘open and tough’ talks with Putin
Nehammer has concluded his talks with Putin, describing the pair’s meeting as “very direct, open and tough”.
The Austrian chancellor’s office said in a statement that he had told Russia’s leader the conflict in Ukraine must end because “in a war there are only losers on both sides”.
It added Nehammer had “mentioned the serious war crimes in Bucha and other locations and stressed that all those responsible have to be brought to justice”.
A spokesman for the Austrian leader said that the meeting took place at Putin’s official Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow. Austrian media reported that the pair’s talks lasted for about 90 minutes.
Croatia orders 24 Russian embassy staff to leave
Croatia has ordered 24 Russian embassy staff to leave the country over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and “brutal aggression” there, the country’s foreign ministry says.
The group included 18 diplomats, the ministry said in a statement. Croatia’s move comes after a wave of earlier expulsions by other European countries.
Russia looms large before Biden, Modi virtual meet
US President Joe Biden is set to meet virtually later on Monday with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Biden is expected to urge New Delhi to take a harder line on Russia during the pair’s talks.
Read more here.
Austrian leader starts meeting with Putin
Nehammer’s meeting with Putin has started, making him the first European Union leader to meet the Russian president in person since Moscow launched its invasion.
As news of the Austrian chancellor’s plan to visit Moscow emerged on Sunday, reactions ranged from surprise to dismay.
Nehammer’s own coalition partner party, the Greens, condemned the trip as a public relations coup for Putin but German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he welcomed it.
Kyiv expects Russian attack in eastern Ukraine ‘will begin soon’
Kyiv expects Russia will launch a major offensive in eastern Ukraine “soon”, a spokesman for the country’s defence ministry has said.
“The enemy has almost finished preparation for [an] assault on the east, the attack will begin soon,” Oleksandr Motuzyanyk said at a news conference.
Lavrov says Russia will not pause offensive for talks
Russia’s foreign minister has said Moscow will not pause its offensive for subsequent rounds of talks with Ukrainian officials.
Sergey Lavrov told state television he saw no reason not to continue the discussions but insisted Russia will not halt what it describes as its “special military operation” when the two sides convene again.
He said that Putin had ordered a suspension in military action during the first round of talks between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators in late February but that Moscow’s position had changed since.
“After we became convinced that the Ukrainians were not planning to reciprocate, a decision was made that during the next rounds of talks, there would be no pause [in military action] so long as a final agreement is not reached,” Lavrov added.
A displaced Ukrainian women’s choir sings in defiance of Putin
Dyvyna’s repertoire of 300 folk songs from Donetsk is an artistic refutation of Russia’s claims over Ukrainian culture.
Read more here.
‘Pick-up in shelling’ in Ukraine’s east: AJE correspondent
Al Jazeera’s Rob McBride, reporting from the city of Lviv in western Ukraine, says there have been “reports confirming that there has been a pick-up in the amount of shelling that is going on” in eastern Ukraine.
“President Zelenskyy has warned Ukraine that the next four or five days are going to be crucial, with this expected renewed assault by Russian forces,” McBride said.
“There are reports of the Russians moving tens of thousands of troops in readiness for this … and a lot of attention seems to be on the very strategically significant city of Slovyansk,” he added.
“This is close to the breakaway self-styled Donetsk People’s Republic. It is controlled by Ukrainian forces still, but there is speculation that if the Russians can take Slovyansk, then potentially they could move to encircle quite a sizeable portion of the Ukrainian forces in the east.”
Hungary says roubles-for-Russian-gas plan breaches no EU sanctions
Hungary’s foreign minister says the country plans to pay for Russian gas in euros through Gazprombank, which will convert the payment into roubles to meet a new requirement set by Putin.
Under the scheme, Hungarian energy group MVM’s subsidiary, CEEnergy, would pay an upcoming bill in euros, which Gazprombank would convert into roubles and then transfer to Russia’s Gazprom Export, Peter Szijjarto told a news conference.
He said the move would not violate any European Union sanctions. The bloc has sought a united front in opposing Moscow’s demand for payment in the currency.
Canada rolls out new sanctions on Russia’s defence sector
Canada has announced new sanctions on dozens of companies in the Russian defence sector that Ottowa says have provided support for Russia’s invasion.
The measures impose restrictions on 33 entities, the Canadian government said in a statement.
“These entities have provided indirect or direct support to the Russian military and are therefore complicit in the pain and suffering stemming from Vladimir Putin’s senseless war in Ukraine,” the statement said.
Ukrainian forces preparing for ‘last battle’ in Mariupol
Ukrainian forces are preparing for a “last battle” for control of Mariupol, soldiers in the city have said, adding they have been “pushed back” and “surrounded” by Russian forces.
“Today will probably be the last battle, as … ammunition is running out,” the 36th marine brigade of the Ukrainian armed forces said in a post on Facebook.
“It’s death for some of us, and captivity for the rest,” the brigade added.
Kremlin says there is no ‘reason’ for Russian debt default
The Kremlin has said that Russia has the resources to pay its debt so there is no “objective reason” for a default.
“There can only be a technical, man-made default,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
Russia has not defaulted on its external debt since the aftermath of its 1917 revolution, but its bonds have now emerged as a flashpoint in its economic tussle with Western countries.
A default was unimaginable until recently, with Russia rated as investment grade prior to its invasion of Ukraine.
Putin taking Russia into an ‘era of economic darkness’
Timothy Ash, an economist at the United Kingdom-based BlueBay asset management investment firm, says Putin is taking Russia into “into an era of darkness from an economic perspective”.
“The [economic] outlook is terrible, because of this war, sanctions will remain in place for a long time and the West will cut Russia out of its supply chains,” Ash told Al Jazeera.
“Russia will go into default, full default, very shortly and be out of international capital markets for a decade. There will be no financing, capital inflows, or investment and [it will experience] a brain drain and falling living standards,” he added.
“The losses to Russia, because of this, over the longer term, could be much higher than for Ukraine.”
Lithuania wants NATO to expand Baltic battalions into brigades
Lithuania wants NATO battalions currently stationed in the Baltic states to be expanded into brigades, the country’s defence ministry has said.
A brigade consists of several battalions of troops.
The Baltic states are Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
Germany urges ‘further military support’ for Ukraine
Germany Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has said Ukraine needs “further military support to defend itself”, particularly “heavy weapons”, as it readies for an anticipated renewed Russian offensive in its eastern Donbas region.
Her remarks came after the EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, earlier warned that the war is likely to intensify in the coming days.
“The Russian troops are massing on the east to launch an attack in the Donbas. The Ukrainians are very much aware of that. So, I’m afraid in the next days, the war will increase on the Donbas” he told reporters before a meeting of EU ministers in Luxembourg.
Kremlin says NATO membership for Finland, Sweden won’t bring stability to Europe
The Kremlin’s spokesman has warned against Sweden and Finland possibly joining the NATO transatlantic security alliance.
“We have repeatedly said that the alliance remains a tool geared towards confrontation and its further expansion will not bring stability to the European continent,” Peskov told reporters on a conference call.
His remarks came amid reports that NATO membership for both Nordic countries was discussed during talks between the alliance’s foreign ministers last week attended by representatives from Sweden and Finland.
Moscow-backed rebel forces to ‘intensify’ battle in eastern Ukraine
The Russian-backed leader of the DPR in eastern Ukraine says the rebel republic will “intensify” its battle against Ukrainian forces in the region.
“The more we delay, the more the civilian population simply suffers, being held hostage by the situation. We have identified areas where certain steps need to be accelerated,” Pushilin was quoted as saying by Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency.
Pushilin also said more than 5,000 civilians may have been killed in Mariupol, where Ukrainian forces have attempted to hold off a relentless Russian attack since Moscow launched its invasion.
German paper hires Russian journalist after anti-war stunt
German newspaper Die Welt says it has hired Marina Ovsyannikova, the Russian journalist who protested against Moscow’s offensive during a prime-time news broadcast on state television.
Ovsyannikova, 43, “is now a freelance correspondent for Die Welt, reporting from Ukraine and Russia, among other places”, the newspaper said in a statement.
Ovsyannikova, an editor at Russia’s Channel One television, barged onto the set of its flagship evening news programme in March holding a poster reading “No War” in English.
Zelenskyy says tens of thousands killed in Mariupol
Ukraine’s president says tens of thousands of people have been killed in Russia’s assault on the country’s southeastern port city of Mariupol.
“Mariupol has been destroyed, there are tens of thousands of dead, but even despite this, the Russians are not stopping their offensive,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video address to South Korean lawmakers.
Al Jazeera could not independently verify his claim. Read more here.
Russia claims to have hit missile systems
Russia’s defence ministry says its forces have destroyed a shipment of air defence missile systems provided to Ukraine by the West.
The ministry said Russian sea-launched Kalibr missiles hit the four S-300 anti-aircraft launchers on Sunday. It alleged the missile systems were concealed in a hangar on the outskirts of the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro. The ministry added that 25 Ukrainian soldiers were hit in the attack.
It did not say which European country had supplied the systems, however, Slovakia said on Friday that it had given its S-300 air defence system to Ukraine to help it defend against Russian attacks.
There was no immediate reaction from Kyiv to the Russian defence ministry’s claims.
Norway extends Lithuania troop deployment
Norway’s defence ministry says the country will extend its current NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) troop deployment in Lithuania until August.
The deployment was increased in February by about 50 servicemen, to a total of 200 overall, on a three-month basis. It has now been extended by a further three months.
Norway said it also plans to contribute troops to the eFP beyond August but did not say how many would be deployed.
‘Massive indications’ of war crimes in Ukraine, German minister says
Germany’s foreign minister has said there are “massive indications of war crimes” having been committed by Russian forces in Ukraine.
“In the end, the courts will have to decide, but for us, it is central to secure all evidence,” Baerbock told reporters before the meeting with fellow EU ministers in Luxembourg.
Ukraine says nine humanitarian corridors agreed
Ukraine’s deputy prime minister says Kyiv is aiming to evacuate civilians from several regions in the country’s south and east via nine humanitarian corridors on Monday after agreeing on the routes with Russia.
Iryna Vereshchuk said in a post on Facebook that the planned routes include one for people evacuating by private transport from the city of Mariupol.
Efforts to get convoys of buses into the city to deliver aid and evacuate tens of thousands of residents trapped there have repeatedly failed.
EU working on possible oil embargo on Russia, Ireland says
Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney says the European Commission is working on details of an oil embargo on Russia as part of a possible next sanctions package, but that nothing has been decided.
His comment came as the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said “sanctions are always on the table” when asked if the bloc was ready to consider a Russian oil embargo.
“Ministers will discuss which are the further steps,” Borrell added.
Railway station attack’s death toll rises to 57: Official
The death toll from the Russian cruise missile attack on a railway station in the eastern city of Kramatorsk has reached 57, according to a local official.
The attack also wounded 114 others, Pavlo Kirilenko, who governs the Ukrainian-controlled part of the Donetsk region, said on social media.
Thousands of civilians were waiting at the station as they prepared to evacuate Kramatorsk when the Tochka U cruise missile hit.
19,500 Russian servicemen killed: Ukraine’s military
Russia has lost about 19,500 soldiers since it invaded Ukraine on February 24, Ukraine’s military has said.
It also lost 725 tanks, 1,923 armoured vehicles, 154 planes and 137 helicopters, the General Staff of the Armed Forces said on Facebook, adding that the figures are approximate because of the ongoing hostilities.
On Friday, the Kremlin admitted to “significant losses”, but did not specify the number. NATO said on March 24 that Moscow lost up to 15,000 soldiers in Ukraine.
French bank Societe Generale ceases Russia activities
French banking group Societe Generale has said it is ceasing its activities in Russia and selling its stake in Russia’s Rosbank.
“With this agreement … the group would exit in an effective and orderly manner from Russia, ensuring continuity for its employees and clients,” the French bank said.
The deal, pending regulatory approval, would result in a write-off of about 2 billion euros ($2.2bn) and an exceptional non-cash item with no impact on SocGen’s capital ratio, it said.
More than 1,793 civilians killed in Ukraine war: UN
Since the start of Russia’s invasion,1,793 civilians have been killed and 2,439 injured, according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
“Most of the civilian casualties recorded were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems, and missile and air strikes,” the OHCHR notes in its civilian casualty update.
The organisation writes the actual figures are likely considerably higher, as information from areas where there are “intense hostilities” has either been delayed or is pending corroboration. This includes Mariupol, Izium and Borodyanka.
More than 180 children killed amid invasion, Ukraine reports
Ukraine’s ombudsman for human rights, Lyudmyla Denisova, has reported that 183 children are confirmed to have died since the start of the Russian invasion.
Al Jazeera could not independently verify these figures.
Bodies of 6 people found in Kharkiv: Interfax
Rescuers in the city of Kharkiv have found the bodies of six victims of shelling, Interfax Ukraine reports.
Al Jazeera could not independently verify these claims.
Russia may use phosphorous munitions in Mariupol: UK defence ministry
“Russian forces’ prior use of phosphorous munitions in the Donetsk Oblast raises the possibility of their future employment in Mariupol as fighting for the city intensifies,” the UKMinistry of Defence writes in its latest intelligence briefing.
It also notes that Russia has continued shelling the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and that Ukrainian forces have repulsed several assaults “resulting in the destruction of Russian tanks, vehicles, and artillery equipment”.
Russia continues using unguided bombs which “decreases their ability to discriminate” during attacks and increases “the risk of further civilian casualties,” the briefing adds.
Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 11 April 2022
Find out more about the UK government's response: https://t.co/3RYc4QJBuG
🇺🇦 #StandWithUkraine 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/p6jpNvs1eU
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) April 11, 2022
Biden and Modi to hold virtual meeting on Ukraine today
US President Joe Biden will speak virtually with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi later today as he presses world leaders to take a hard line against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
India has held a neutral stance towards Russia’s invasion. It was one of 58 members that abstained when the UN General Assembly voted last Thursday to suspend Russia from the 47-member Human Rights Council over allegations of rights violations in Ukraine.
Biden will discuss the consequences of the war in Ukraine “and mitigating its destabilising impact on global food supply and commodity markets”, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement Sunday. They will also discuss how to uphold a “free, open rules-based international order to bolster security, democracy, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific.”
NZ to send more military aid to Ukraine
New Zealand will send a C-130 Hercules aircraft, with 50 defence force personnel, to help transport and distribute donated military aid to Ukraine, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced.
“But at no point will they enter Ukraine, and nor have they been asked to,” Ardern said at a press conference. The aircraft will leave New Zealand for Europe on Wednesday.
New Zealand will also contribute $13m for military, legal and human rights support, including $7.5m for weapons and ammunition procurement via the UK, enabling the UK to help supply arms to Ukraine.
Finland and Sweden to join NATO in the coming months
Finland and Sweden are poised to join NATO within the coming months, The Times has reported, citing US officials. The move will enlarge the alliance from 30 to 32 members.
Officials said the Nordic countries’ NATO membership was “a topic of … multiple sessions” during talks between the alliance’s foreign ministers last week attended by Sweden and Finland, the report added.
Finland’s application is expected in June, with Sweden to follow, the report said.
South Korea says it won’t send Ukraine weapons
South Korea’s defence minister Suh Wook has told his Ukrainian counterpart that Seoul has “limits” when it comes to sending weapons to Ukraine, Yonhap news agency reported.
Ukrainian defence minister Oleksii Reznikov reportedly requested anti-aircraft weapons in a phone call with Suh on Friday. South Korea has refused to send weapons to Ukraine, providing largely humanitarian support.
Zelenskyy is set to deliver a video address to South Korea’s National Assembly later today where he is expected to again request weapons.
Russian forces will attack Kyiv, Chechen leader says
Head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, says Russian forces will stage an offensive against Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities.
“There will be an offensive … not only on Mariupol but also on other places, cities and villages,” Kadyrov said in a video posted on his Telegram channel.
“Luhansk and Donetsk – we will fully liberate in the first place … and then take Kyiv and all other cities,” he added.
Russia threatens legal action if the West forces debt default
Russia will take legal action if the West tries to force it to default on its sovereign debt, the country’s finance minister has told the pro-Kremlin Izvestia newspaper.
“Of course we will sue, because we have taken all the necessary steps to ensure that investors receive their payments,” Anton Siluanov said. “We will present in court our bills confirming our efforts to pay both in foreign currency and in roubles.”
Russia faces its first sovereign external default in more than a century after it made arrangements to make an international bond repayment in roubles earlier this week, even though the payment was due in US dollars.
The world responsible for atrocities in Ukraine: Zelenskyy
Zelenskyy has told CBS’s 60 Minutes the world is responsible for Russia’s atrocities in Ukraine.
“I remember, all of us remember, books about the second world war, and about the devil in uniform – Adolf Hitler. Are those countries who did not participate in the war responsible? … Does the world carry responsibility for the genocide? Yes. Yes, it does. When you [can] close the sky – yes it’s scary, that a world war could start … I cannot put pressure on these people because everyone is afraid of war. But whether the world [is responsible] for this, I believe so, yes. I believe so,” he said.
‘I am no longer interested in their diplomacy’: Zelenskyy on NATO and UN
Zelenskyy has criticised NATO and the UN in an interview on CBS’s 60 Minutes.
“When you are [working] at diplomacy, there are no results. I don’t have any more lives [to give]. I don’t have any more emotions. I’m no longer interested in their diplomacy that leads to the destruction of my country,” Zelenskyy said, after being asked about his outburst at NATO and the UN Security Council when he told the UNSC it should punish Russia or “dissolve itself”.
He told CBS: “We are defending the right to live. I never thought this right was so costly. These are human values. So that Russia doesn’t choose what we should do and how I’m exercising my rights. That right was given to me by God and my parents.”
"We are defending the right to live": Ukraine's president speaks with Scott Pelley about Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and recently uncovered alleged war crimes in Kyiv suburb of Bucha. https://t.co/be8bjqttcg
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 11, 2022
US and Ukraine condemn Russia’s elections in occupied Georgia
Ukraine’s foreign ministry has condemned Russia’s “unlawful” elections in Georgia’s South Ossetia region held on April 10. South Ossetia and Abkhazia have been occupied by Russia since it invaded Georgia in 2008.
The US embassy in Georgia also issued a statement saying it does not “recognise the legitimacy of the so-called presidential elections” and “will not acknowledge their outcome”.
“Our position on Abkhazia and South Ossetia remains clear: these regions are integral parts of Georgia. No ‘elections’ or a priori illegitimate ‘referendum’ calling for incorporation of South Ossetia into Russia can change this,” the statement said. It also called on Russia to immediately stop its war in Ukraine and occupation of Georgia.
We condemn Russia for organizing unlawful elections in the occupied parts of Georgia. They will have no legal implications. We believe severe sanctions on Russia and their strict implementation will advance the restoration of the territorial integrity of both Georgia and Ukraine.
— Oleg Nikolenko (@OlegNikolenko_) April 10, 2022
9.1 billion euros raised for people fleeing Ukraine
The Stand Up For Ukraine campaign’s pledging event has raised 9.1 billion euros ($9.9bn) for displaced Ukrainians, inside the country and abroad. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development also announced an additional billion euros ($1.088bn) in loans.
The global pledging event included a social media rally on Friday and a pledging conference on Saturday in Warsaw, Poland. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was in attendance.
Celebrities including Elton John, Alanis Morissette, Billie Eilish, Annie Lennox and Chris Rock joined the campaign alongside global leaders pledging for their countries.
Touching moments with refugees from Ukraine after our #StandUpForUkraine global pledging event.
We raised €9.1 billion to support those fleeing Russia’s invasion, inside the country and abroad.
And more support will come. We stand with the brave people of Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/uSaWViNWUy
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) April 10, 2022
Next few days of war are crucial: Zelenskyy
Ukraine’s president has warned his countrymen that the coming week would be as crucial as any since the invasion, as Russian troops “will move to even larger operations in the east”, he said in an address.
He accused Russia of trying to evade responsibility for war crimes and called on Western countries, including Germany, to provide more assistance to Ukraine. During talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Zelenskyy said he discussed “how to strengthen sanctions against Russia and how to force Russia to seek peace”.
EU ‘could revisit renewable targets’ in the push to quit Russian energy
The EU could set more ambitious targets for its transition to renewable energy as it seeks alternatives to importing oil and gas from Russia, EU climate policy chief Frans Timmermans has said.
The European Commission has proposed that the EU cut imports of Russian gas by two-thirds this year, and is drafting plans to phase them out by 2027. It will propose a “Repower EU” plan in May.
“What we will do … is work towards what I call the Repower EU initiative … we want to accelerate the energy transition. So … we might revisit our targets,” Timmermans told reporters during a visit to Cairo.
Austrian leader plans to meet Putin
Nehammer says he will meet Putin in Moscow on Monday.
The meeting will mark Putin’s first face-to-face talks with a counterpart from the EU since Russia launched its invasion.
Read more here.
War to slash Ukraine’s economic output: World Bank
Ukraine’s economic output will likely contract by 45.1 percent this year as Russia’s invasion forced businesses to close, slashed exports and destroyed productive capacity, the World Bank said in a new assessment of the war’s economic effects.
The World Bank also forecast Russia’s 2022 gross domestic product (GDP) output to fall 11.2 percent due to financial sanctions imposed by the US and its Western allies on Russia’s banks, state-owned enterprises and other institutions.
The World Bank’s Eastern Europe region, comprising Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova, is forecast to show a GDP contraction of 30.7 percent this year.
Ukraine says 2,824 more people evacuated
A total of 2,824 people were evacuated from Ukrainian cities through humanitarian corridors on Sunday, according to the country’s deputy prime minister.
Vereshchuk said in an online post that the figure included 213 residents of Mariupol.
Blasts heard in Ukraine’s Kharkiv, Mykolaiv: Local media
A series of powerful explosions were heard in Ukraine’s northeastern city of Kharkiv and in Mykolaiv, a city near the Black Sea in the southern part of the country, Ukrainian media has reported.
Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.
Read all the updates from April 10 here.