Ukraine war latest updates: ‘20,000 civilians killed in Mariupol’

Ukraine news from April 12: Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko says more than 20,000 civilians have been killed in the city.

Russian soldiers are seen patrolling a street in Volnovakha, eastern Ukraine.
Russia is building up its forces in Ukraine's eastern Donbas region as it switches the focus of its offensive [Alexander Nemenov/AFP]
  • The mayor of the Ukrainian city of Mariupol estimates about 21,000 civilian residents of the city have been killed since the start of the Russian invasion.
  • President Vladimir Putin states Russia will continue its offensive in Ukraine after holding talks in Russia’s far east with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko.
  • The mayor of Bucha reveals authorities in the Ukrainian town have found 403 bodies of people they believe were killed by Russian forces.
  • Ukraine says Russia is likely to try and capture the besieged port city of Mariupol as fears rise over an expected offensive on the eastern Donbas region.
  • The United Nations demands an independent investigation into allegations that Russian forces have raped women and committed other forms of sexual violence.

Ukraine Who Controls What Map

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These are all the updates from April 12:

US aims to force Russia to shift money away from war: official

The United States and its allies are pushing ahead with sanctions aimed at forcing Putin to spend Russia’s money propping up its economy rather than sustaining its “war machine”, according to a top US Treasury Department official.

Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo told The Associated Press news agency that the goal is to make Russia “less able to project power in the future”.

The Netherlands targets 20 yachts over Ukraine war sanctions

Dutch customs authorities have said they had impounded a total of 20 yachts at shipyards in the Netherlands targeted by sanctions against Russia and Belarus over the Ukraine conflict.

“Following the sanctions against Russia and Belarus, customs placed 20 yachts in nine shipyards and traders under increased surveillance,” customs authorities said in a statement.

“Because these 20 yachts are under increased surveillance, they are not authorised to be delivered, transferred or exported.”

OPCW says it is monitoring the Ukraine situation

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is concerned by the recent unconfirmed report of chemical weapons use in Mariupol, according to a spokesperson.

“The … OPCW is monitoring closely the situation in Ukraine,” the spokesperson said quoted by the Reuters news agency.

Ukraine’s president publishes photo of pro-Russian politician in handcuffs

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has published a photo of prominent pro-Russian Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedchuk in handcuffs after a reported operation by the security forces.

In February, Kyiv said Medvedchuk, the leader of the Opposition Platform – For Life party, had escaped from house arrest.

Last year, authorities opened a treason case against Medvedchuk who says Russian President Vladimir Putin is godfather to his daughter, and who denies wrongdoing.

US ‘cannot confirm’ use of chemical weapons

The US was “not in a position to confirm” recent reports of chemical weapons use in Ukraine but was working to determine what happened, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said.

Ukraine said earlier it was checking unverified information that Russian forces may have used chemical weapons while besieging the city of Mariupol.

“We’re in direct conversation with partners to try to determine what actually has happened,” the top US diplomat told reporters.

“We had credible information that Russian forces may use a variety of riot control agents, including tear gas mixed with chemical agents that would cause stronger symptoms to weaken and incapacitate entrenched Ukrainian fighters and civilians, as part of the aggressive campaign to take Mariupol,” he added.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks
Top US diplomat says he is ‘not in a position to confirm’ allegations that Moscow used chemical weapons [File: AP]

Mayor calls Mariupol killings ‘genocide’

The mayor of Mariupol says more than 20,000 civilian residents of the port city have been killed since the start of the Russian invasion.

In televised comments, Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko said it was difficult to calculate the exact number of casualties since street fighting started.

He said, “We know and there is evidence that bodies disappear from the streets. We know that there are so-called ‘concentration places’ where they hide bodies and they then plan to destroy the evidence of tortures they committed in the city of Mariupol. We call it ‘genocide’, we call it ‘war crime’.”

Pope condemns ‘abominable actions’ in Ukraine

Pope Francis has said that the war in Ukraine is marked by “the forces of evil” because it was leaving in its wake abominations such as the massacre of civilians.

“The present moment leaves us deeply troubled, because it is marked by the forces of evil,” he said in a message.

“The suffering inflicted on so many frail and defenceless persons; the many civilians massacred and the innocent victims among the young; the desperate plight of women and children … All this troubles our consciences,” he added.

Pope Francis
Pope Francis on the window of the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican [File: Reuters]

Who is the general leading Russia’s new war strategy in Ukraine?

Recently reported to have been appointed as the supreme commander of Russia’s forces in Ukraine, Aleksandr Dvornikov commanded a Russian motor rifle division that stormed Grozny, the capital of the de facto independent southern Russian province of Chechnya, in late 1999 and early 2000.

He also led the Russian forces in Syria fighting on the side of the Syrian government.

Read more about him here.

Russian President Vladimir Putin poses for a picture with General Alexander Dvornikov after he was awarded the title of Hero of the Russian Federation in Moscow, Russia, in 2016.
Putin, left, poses for a picture with Alexander Dvornikov in 2016 [Sputnik/Alexey Nikolsky/Kremlin via Reuters]

French forensic experts in Bucha to help investigate possible war crimes

French forensic experts have arrived in Bucha near Kyiv to help Ukraine authorities establish what happened in the town where hundreds of bodies have been discovered since Russian forces withdrew.

Ukraine says the people were killed by Russian forces during their occupation of the area. Moscow has denied responsibility and dismissed allegations its troops committed war crimes as fake news.

The discovery of so many slain civilians in Bucha after the Russian withdrawal has provoked a global outcry.

IMF staff agrees to boost Moldova funding to cover war-related cost surge

The International Monetary Fund has said it reached a staff-level agreement to boost funding for Moldova by $267m for it to deal with a surge in costs related to the war in Ukraine.

The agreement, which must still be approved by the IMF’s board, would bring total IMF funding to about $815m, the international organisation said.

The IMF said Moldova faced an estimated $1.7bn in urgent balance of payments needs arising from the escalating shocks in 2022-2023, including surging food and energy prices.

About 21,000 civilians killed in Mariupol, mayor says

Mariupol’s mayor says the latest estimate of civilian casualties there stands at about 21,000 people.

In televised comments, Vadym Boichenko said it had been difficult to calculate the exact number due to fighting in the city.

Al Jazeera was unable to independently verify the figures provided.

Kyiv says negotiations with Russia ‘extremely difficult’

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak has described talks with Russia about ending the conflict as “extremely difficult” after Putin accused Kyiv of derailing the discussions by shifting its demands.

“The Russian side adheres to its traditional tactics of public pressure on the negotiation process, including through certain public statements,” Podolyak said in written comments to reporters.

Talks about ending Russia’s nearly two-month assault on Ukraine have continued since early in the fighting but offered no concrete results as of yet.

US says it cannot confirm whether chemical weapons were used in Mariupol

The United States cannot currently confirm whether Russian forces used chemical weapons in Mariupol, a senior US defence official has said.

The official told reporters at a Pentagon briefing on condition of anonymity that Washington did not have information to confirm any movement of chemical agents by Russia in or near Ukraine.

Ukrainian Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Malyar said earlier on Tuesday that Kyiv was checking unverified information that Russia may have used such weapons while besieging Mariupol.

German president says offer to visit Ukraine ‘not wanted’ by Kyiv

Germany’s president says his offer to visit Ukraine with other European Union leaders has been rejected by Kyiv.

“I was prepared to do this, but apparently, and I must take note of this, this was not wanted in Kyiv,” Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters during a visit to Warsaw.

Steinmeier, a former foreign minister, was long an advocate of Western rapprochement with Russia prior to its invasion. He has since expressed regret for taking such a position.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier
Steinmeier, a former foreign minister, was long an advocate of Western rapprochement with Russia prior to its invasion [File: Markku Ulander/Lehtikuva via Reuters]

WFP warns of ‘multiyear problem’ for global food supplies due to war

The world is facing “a multiyear problem” in the food supply as the war in Ukraine drives global prices higher and disrupts the production of staple crops, the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) has warned.

David Beasley, WFP’s executive director, issued his warning at a news conference in Rome after French and EU officials met there to discuss a food security initiative in response to the conflict.

Ukraine says more than 870,000 who fled war have returned

The State Border Guard Service of Ukraine says more than 870,000 people who fled abroad in the wake of Russia’s invasion have since returned to the country.

Andriy Demchenko, a spokesman for the service, said between 25,000 and 30,000 Ukrainian nationals were now returning each day, including a growing number of women, children and the elderly.

“They say they see that the situation is safer, especially in the western regions,” Demchenko told a news briefing. “They are ready to return to the country and stay here.”

What did Putin say?

Putin has spoken extensively on the conflict in Ukraine at a joint news conference with Lukashenko. Here are some of his claims:

  • Western sanctions imposed on Moscow in a bid to make it change course have failed, the Russian president said, adding the “blitzkrieg on which our foes were counting on did not work”.
  • He blamed Ukraine’s “inconsistency” for derailing talks between the two sides, suggesting the discussions had reached “a dead end”.
  • Putin also said Ukrainian allegations that Russian servicemen killed civilians in Bucha were false.
  • In a bleak comparison, he said the Bucha allegations evoked what he called staged chemical weapons attacks in Syria aimed at incriminating the country’s leader, Bashar al-Assad.

UN calls for independent investigation into reports of sexual violence

The UN has demanded an independent investigation into allegations that Russian forces have raped women and committed other forms of sexual violence in Ukraine.

Read more here.

Russia to ‘calmly’ continue Ukraine offensive: Putin

Putin has said Moscow will press ahead with its plan for what it refers to as its “special military operation” in Ukraine.

“Our task is to fulfil and achieve all the goals set, minimising losses. And we will act rhythmically, calmly, according to the plan originally proposed by the General Staff,” Putin said during the joint televised news conference with Lukashenko.

He added Moscow’s goals were “clear and noble”.

Mayor of Ukraine’s Bucha says 403 bodies found so far

The mayor of Bucha says that authorities in the Ukrainian town, near Kyiv, have so far found 403 bodies of people they believed were killed by Russian forces during their occupation of the area.

Anatoliy Fedoruk said during a news briefing that the number was growing and warned it was too early for residents to return to the town, from which Russian forces retreated late last month.

Al Jazeera could not independently verify the figures provided by Fedoruk.

Mini map showing Bucha's location within Ukraine
(Al Jazeera)

Ukraine says it thwarted Russian cyberattack on power grid

Ukrainian officials have accused Russian hackers of attempting to launch a destructive cyberattack on the country’s electricity grid.

The group, dubbed “Sandworm” by security researchers and previously tied to destructive cyberattacks attributed to Russia, deployed destructive and data-wiping malware on computers controlling high voltage substations in Ukraine, the Computer Emergency Response Team of Ukraine (CERT-UA) said in a statement on its website.

“The victim organisation suffered two waves of attacks. The initial compromise took place no later than February 2022. The disconnection of electrical substations and the decommissioning of the company’s infrastructure was scheduled for Friday evening, April 8, 2022,” the CERT-UA statement said.

Officials managed to prevent the attack from taking place, it added. The statement did not say which Ukrainian energy provider was targeted. Russia has consistently denied accusations it has launched cyberattacks on Ukraine.

World Bank says it is preparing $1.5bn aid package for Ukraine

The World Bank is preparing a new $1.5bn support package for Ukraine, including a $1bn payment from the development lender’s fund for the poorest countries, its president has said.

Speaking in Warsaw, David Malpass said the package was enabled by Monday’s approval by donor and recipient countries of $1bn in International Development Association aid, as well as a $100m payment to neighbouring Moldova.

He added the bank’s support, which has already seen it marshal nearly $923m in loans and grants for Kyiv, was helping Ukraine to provide critical services, including paying wages for hospital workers, pensions and social programmes.

Amid war fears, Ukraine stocked up on Turkish defence equipment

Turkey’s defence exports to Ukraine soared in the first quarter of 2022, according to figures recently released by the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly.

Most sales took place in January, the month before Moscow launched its invasion, as Kyiv readied for a feared Russian attack.

Read more here.

Six people found killed in basement near Kyiv: Ukraine’s prosecutor general

Six people have been found shot dead in the basement of a building on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine’s prosecutor general says.

The prosecutor general’s office said in a statement that the killings took place in the city of Brovary, 25km (15.5 miles) northeast of the capital, and alleged they were carried out by Russian forces who took control of the area at the beginning of Moscow’s invasion.

It also published an image of what it said was the scene of the discovery with several bodies in a dark, concrete hole lit by a flashlight.

There was no immediate reaction to the claim from Moscow. Al Jazeera was unable to independently verify the prosecutor general’s report.

Poland arrests Russian man suspected of spying

Poland has arrested a Russian citizen and charged him with espionage, a spokesman for the Polish minister coordinator of special services says.

The man had been living in Poland for 18 years, the spokesman said in a statement. He was arrested on April 6 and will be held in custody for three months.

“The evidence gathered by the Military Counterintelligence Service indicates that the man, instructed by the Russian special services, collected information concerning the military readiness of the Polish Armed Forces and of NATO troops,” the spokesman added.

Germany says more than 330,000 refugees have arrived from Ukraine

German authorities say that more than 330,000 refugees from Ukraine have entered the country since Russia launched its offensive.

The interior ministry said most of those who have arrived are women and children.

The true number of refugees in Germany could be higher, however, since there are no strict controls on the country’s eastern border and Ukrainian citizens can stay in the EU for up to 90 days without a visa. Officials say an unknown number has also moved on to other European countries.

INTERACTIVE Russia-Ukraine war Refugees DAY 48 April 12 12GMT

Zelenskyy urges quick EU sanctions on Russian oil, all banks

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged the EU to immediately impose sanctions on all Russian banks and oil exports and to set a deadline for ending imports of gas from the country.

“We cannot wait … We need powerful decisions, and the EU must take them now,” he told the Lithuanian Parliament in a video address.

“Only then will the Russian government understand they need to seek peace, that the war is turning into a catastrophe for them,” Zelenskyy added.

Senegal’s Sall says Zelenskyy has asked to address African Union

Senegal’s President Macky Sall has said he spoke to Zelenskyy about the impact of the war on “the world economy and the need … for a negotiated outcome to the conflict”.

Sall, who also serves as the current chairman of the African Union, added in a post on Twitter that the Ukrainian president had requested to “make a communication” to the bloc during the pair’s talks by phone.

Read more here.

Putin says Russia’s aims in Ukraine will be achieved

Putin has said Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine aims to ensure Russia’s security and pledged that its goals will be achieved.

Speaking during a visit to the Vostochny space launch facility in Russia’s far east, he accused Ukraine of being an “anti-Russian bridgehead” where “sprouts of nationalism and neo-Nazism were being cultivated”. Putin added Moscow had “no other choice” but to take action against its neighbour.

Ukraine and its Western allies have dismissed such claims as a cover for aggression.

186 children killed amid Russia’s invasion: Ukrainian prosecutors

At least 186 children have been killed in Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s attack, according to Ukrainian officials.

A further 344 have been wounded, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office said in a post on Telegram.

Al Jazeera was unable to independently verify the figures provided.

Reporting by Al Jazeera’s Mansur Mirovalev in Vinnytsia, Ukraine

Ukraine’s military says Russian forces ‘likely’ to capture Mariupol soon

Ukraine’s military has said Moscow’s forces are regrouping in western Russia near the border with Ukraine.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in a post on Facebook that it was “likely” that Russian troops would soon move to try and seize full control of Mariupol.

It added that Ukrainian forces had repelled six “enemy attacks” in the country’s eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions, known collectively as the Donbas, where Moscow is expected to launch a new offensive soon.

Four Russian tanks, a plane, two helicopters and several other vehicles were reportedly destroyed during the fighting.

UN: Nearly two-thirds of Ukraine’s children displaced

Nearly two-thirds of all Ukrainian children have fled their homes in the six weeks since Russia’s invasion started, the UN’s children’s agency (UNICEF) has said.

Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF’s emergency programmes director who just returned from Ukraine, said having 4.8 million of Ukraine’s 7.5 million children displaced in such a short time is “quite incredible”. He added it was something he had not earlier seen happen so quickly in 31 years of his humanitarian work.

“They have been forced to leave everything behind — their homes, their schools and, often, their family members,” he told the UN Security Council.

Russian-backed forces deny using chemical weapons in Mariupol: Report

Russian-backed separatist forces did not use chemical weapons in their attempts to take full control of Mariupol despite Ukrainian allegations to the contrary, Eduard Basurin, a separatist commander, has told the Interfax news agency.

A Ukrainian unit defending Mariupol had claimed without providing evidence that a drone had dropped a poisonous substance on its positions. It indicated there were no serious injuries.

Basurin on Monday publicly called for Moscow to deploy its chemical, biological and radiological defence unit to “smoke out” Mariupol.

Mini map showing Mariupol's location within Ukraine

Mariupol mayor says Russian forces incinerating corpses

Russian forces are collecting “thousands” of bodies of civilians killed by shelling in Mariupol to bury or incinerate them to hide their war crimes, the city’s mayor has alleged.

Vadim Boychenko said this began on Tuesday. “They got a mobile crematorium, its [reassembled parts are] in many trucks, there is a tall pipe where they plan to put and burn the bodies, to hide their cynical crimes,” he said in televised remarks.

He also alleged that some bodies were being taken to another crematorium in the separatist-controlled town of Khartsyzk, near Mariupol.

Al Jazeera could not independently verify Boychenko’s claims.

Reporting by Al Jazeera’s Mansur Mirovalev in Vinnytsia, Ukraine.

NATO military chief: Up to Sweden, Finland to decide whether to join alliance

The chair of NATO’s military committee, Admiral Rob Bauer, says it is the sovereign right of countries like Sweden and Finland to decide if they want to join the alliance.

Speaking to reporters in Seoul, Bauer said NATO had not pressured any state to join, or for any countries to provide weapons to Ukraine.


Russia says it hit ammunition depots in two Ukrainian regions

The Russian defence ministry says its missiles destroyed ammunition depots in Khmelnytskyi and Kyiv regions.

The ministry said Russian forces had struck an ammunition depot and hangar at the Starokostiantyniv airbase in the Khmelnytskyi region, as well as an ammunition depot near Havrylivka north of the capital Kyiv.

Russia’s Gazprom continues gas exports to Europe via Ukraine: Interfax

Russian state-owned gas producer Gazprom continues to supply natural gas to Europe via Ukraine in line with requests from European consumers, the Interfax news agency reports.

Requests stood at 74.5 million cubic metres for April 12, Interfax reported, citing Ukraine’s gas pipeline operator.

Russian forces lost 19,500 personnel in the war: Ukraine army

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine says that Russia has lost 19,500 personnel, 732 tanks and 157 aircraft since the start of its invasion on February 24.

Ukraine says nine humanitarian corridors agreed

Ukraine’s deputy prime minister says Kyiv is aiming to evacuate civilians from several areas in the country’s south and east via nine humanitarian corridors on Tuesday 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.

Lukashenko and Putin to discuss measures to ‘counter’ sanctions

Putin has arrived in the Russian city of Blagoveshchensk, located on the border with China, ahead of his meeting with Lukashenko, Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency reports.

Before the talks, the heads of state are set to inspect the construction of the Russian spaceport, the Vostochny Cosmodrome, and infrastructure facilities from a helicopter.

At the one-on-one meeting, to be held at the cosmodrome, the presidents will discuss “joint measures to counter pressure of sanctions from the collective West, the situation in the region and the world, and events in Ukraine,” RIA reported, quoting the Belarus state press service.

Russian forces continue redeploying from Belarus to fight in Ukraine’s east: UK defence ministry

Russian forces continue to withdraw from Belarus to redeploy in support of operations in eastern Ukraine, according to the latest intelligence briefing from the UK’s Ministry of Defence.

“Russian attacks remain focused on Ukrainian positions near Donetsk and Luhansk with further fighting around Kherson and Mykolaiv and a renewed push towards Kramatorsk,” the ministry added.

It says fighting in the east will intensity over the next two to three weeks.

One person dead, three injured in Lysychansk

The Luhansk governor, Serhiy Haidai, says one person has died and three have been injured in the city of Lysychansk after shelling hit the Luhansk area in Ukraine’s east, Interfax news agency in Ukraine has reported.

Haidai said residential areas in the cities of Rubizhne, Lysychansk, Sievierodonetsk and Novodruzhesk suffered the most, adding that 12 residential buildings and four infrastructure facilities were damaged.

Russia receiving military equipment from Iraq to fight in Ukraine

Russia is receiving munitions and military hardware from Iraq for its war effort in Ukraine, with the help of Iranian weapons smuggling networks, the Guardian has reported.

This includes rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank missiles, and Brazilian-designed rocket launcher systems, as well as an Iranian-made Bavar-373 missile system, similar to the Russian S-300 long-range surface-to-air missile system, which was donated to Moscow by Tehran.

It says the information comes from Iranian-backed Iraqi militias and regional intelligence services with knowledge of the process.

Ban on Russian culture a ‘medical problem’: Medvedev

Russia’s former president and deputy chairman of its Security Council Dmitry Medvedev has hit out against global bans on Russia’s cultural products.

“The ban on Russian culture is a current Western trend,” he wrote in a post on Telegram, labelling it a “medical problem”.

“Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Shostakovich and Pushkin are anathematised by many Europeans with clinical pleasure,” but, he added: “Russia will not close itself from the world in retaliation for idiots.”

“We have a busy agenda with the countries of the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States, including Georgia and Belarus], BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa], Latin America and Africa. These states are home to billions of well-adjusted people who value, love and wait for us.”

Japan sanctions 398 Russians, including Putin’s daughters

Japan has announced further sanctions on Russia, saying it will freeze the assets of 398 Russian citizens and 28 organisations.

Asset freezes will also target Putin’s two daughters as well as Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s wife, Maria Lavrova and daughter, Ekaterina Lavrova.

Seven bodies found buried in rubble in Borodyanka

Ukraine has recovered the bodies of seven people buried in the rubble of two destroyed high-rise housing blocks in the town of Borodyanka on Monday, the state emergency service said.

More than 200 rescue workers have been scrambling to find missing residents since Ukraine retook the city west of Kyiv after Russian troops began pulling back from the region late last month.

So far, the bodies of 19 people have been found in the destroyed buildings, the state emergencies service said in a statement.

Zelenskyy has said the situation in the town of Borodyanka is “significantly more dreadful” than in nearby Bucha, where Ukraine has accused Russia of war crimes.

A man walks with bicycle next to truck carrying black bags with corpses exhumed from a mass grave for investigations in Bucha.
A man walks with a bicycle next to a truck carrying black bags with corpses exhumed from a mass grave for investigations in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, on Monday, April 11, 2022 [Rodrigo Abd/AP]

Pandora Papers Russia: New details about 800 Russians behind secret companies

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has publicised a trove of new information about shell companies linked to more than 800 Russians as part of a broader effort to spotlight the offshore, hidden wealth of Kremlin-linked figures.

Dubbed Pandora Papers Russia, the new publication includes details about companies tied to Putin’s allies and other Russian political figures who shelter assets behind opaque businesses to escape global sanctions.

“Putin’s former communications minister, a high-ranking regional political leader, an imprisoned cryptocurrency specialist and an oligarch are among the Russians whose names appear in the data,” the ICIJ writes. The new data can be accessed via the ICIJ’s public Offshore Leaks Database.

Ukraine investigates 5,800 cases of Russian war crimes

The prosecutor general of Ukraine told CNN on Monday that her office is investigating 5,800 cases of Russian war crimes with “more and more” proceedings every day.

Iryna Venediktova said Ukraine has identified more than 500 suspects in the probe, including Russian politicians, military personnel and propaganda agents.

“We want to prosecute these war criminals in our Ukrainian courts, named by Ukraine,” Venediktova told CNN.

Pentagon ‘concerned’ about reports Russia used chemical weapons in Mariupol

The Pentagon says reports of Russia’s use of chemical weapons in Mariupol are “if true, deeply concerning” and reflect the concerns it has had about Russia’s potential to use “riot control agents, including tear gas mixed chemical agents in Ukraine”.

The statement, posted by a senior Pentagon reporter on Twitter, says the defence department cannot confirm these allegations but will continue to closely monitor the situation.

Zelenskyy meets Dutch PM Rutte

Ukraine’s president says he spoke to the prime minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, on Monday about punishing those guilty of war crimes and discussed “cooperation in the energy sphere” with the Prime Minister of Norway.

But Zelenskyy added that his main objective is “a concrete increase in our ability to repel any attacks by Russian troops”.

“Unfortunately, we are not getting as much as we need to end this war sooner,” he said in a speech to the nation. “If we got jets and enough heavy armoured vehicles, the necessary artillery, we would be able to do it.”

Biden tells Modi more Russian oil imports not in India’s interest

US President Joe Biden has held a “constructive, direct conversation” with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the White House said. The US is seeking more help from India to apply economic pressure on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

In a news briefing on Monday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden told Modi his administration could help India diversify its oil imports – but that it was not in New Delhi’s interests to increase energy imports from Moscow.

The Biden administration already made it clear it does not want to see a significant uptick in Russian energy imports by India, which has purchased at least 13 million barrels of discounted Russian crude since the country invaded Ukraine in late February.

Read more here.

‘Our area is one of the most contaminated by mines in the world’: Zelenskyy

Zelenskyy has said “Russian troops left behind tens if not hundreds of thousands of dangerous objects”.

“These are shells that did not explode, mines, tripwire mines. At least several thousand such items are disposed of daily,” Zelenskyy said in his nighttime address.

“In the houses they seized, just on the streets, in the fields, they mined people’s property, mined cars, doors. They consciously did everything to make the return to these areas after de-occupation as dangerous as possible. Due to the actions of the Russian army, our territory is currently one of the most contaminated by mines in the world.”

Rape and sexual violence are rising concerns, UN Women chief says

Sima Bahous, the executive director of UN Women, has said her agency is increasingly hearing reports of rape and sexual violence in Ukraine. She said the risk of human trafficking, especially of young women and unaccompanied teenagers, is also a rising concern.

“The combination of mass displacement with the large presence of conscripts and mercenaries, and the brutality displayed against Ukrainian civilians, has raised all red flags,” Bahous told the UN Security Council.

Russia’s deputy UN ambassador denied the allegations and accused Ukraine and allies of “a clear intention to present Russian soldiers as sadists and rapists.”

No confirmation of chemical attack in Mariupol

Petro Andryushchenko, an aide to the mayor of Mariupol, wrote on Telegram that reports of a chemical attack in the city had not been confirmed. He added that he expected to provide details and clarifications later.

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby earlier said the US was aware of the reports but could not confirm them.

“These reports, if true, are deeply concerning and reflective of concerns that we have had about Russia’s potential to use a variety of riot control agents, including tear gas mixed with chemical agents, in Ukraine,” Kirby told reporters.

Russia took children out of the country, Ukrainian official alleges

Ukraine’s UN ambassador, Sergiy Kyslytsya, has claimed Russia has taken more than 121,000 children out of Ukraine and reportedly drafted a bill to simplify and accelerate adoption procedures for orphans or even children who have parents and other relatives.

He said most of the children were removed from Mariupol and taken to eastern Donetsk and then to the Russian city of Taganrog.

IMF sets up administered account to allow donors to fund Ukraine

Ukraine’s finance ministry has welcomed the creation of a special new account set up by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to give bilateral donors and international organisations a secure way to send financial resources to Ukraine.

The IMF’s executive board approved the creation of the new account after the Canadian government proposed disbursing up to 1 billion Canadian dollars ($790,000) through the vehicle, which is to be administered by the IMF.

“Donors will benefit from the IMF’s tested infrastructure to quickly deliver authenticated payments,” the IMF said.

Experts on missing people heading to Ukraine next week

International experts will travel to Ukraine next week to help authorities investigate reports of people who have gone missing during the war, the head of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has said.

“It’s not going to be easy,” Kathryne Bomberger, the group’s director-general, told Al Jazeera, explaining that the ICMP team was invited by Ukraine’s government. Among other tasks, Bomberger said the experts would try to see whether it is possible to identify remains and would work with families that have reported missing loved ones.

“Evidence will be collected. Hopefully, that evidence can be provided to the [International Criminal Court] or other courts that will be conducting investigations into what’s happened and be used for criminal trial purposes,” she said.

Ukrainian authorities in Kharkiv begin clearing landmines

Ukrainian authorities in the northeastern city of Kharkiv have warned people not to go near what they said were landmines being dropped on the city.

Lieutenant Colonel Nikolay Ovcharuk, head of the demining unit of the state emergency service, said the devices were plastic PTM-1M mines, which detonate using timers and were widely used by Soviet forces in Afghanistan.

“They have self-destructing timers,” he said as loudspeakers warned people not to approach the cordoned-off area where mine disposal teams were working.

Kharkiv map

Ukrainian children in need of protection: UNICEF chief

The UN children’s agency says nearly two-thirds of all Ukrainian children have fled their homes in the six weeks since Russia’s invasion began.

Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF’s emergency programmes director, who visited Ukraine last week, said that of the 3.2 million children estimated to have remained in their homes, “nearly half may be at risk of not having enough food”.

He said the situation is worse in cities like Mariupol and Kherson in the south, which have been besieged by Russian forces and where children and their families have spent weeks without running water, sanitation or a regular supply of food.

People with children wait at a train station in Dnipro, Ukraine.
Families with children waiting at the train station during an evacuation of women, children and people with disabilities, in Dnipro [File: Mykola Synelnikov/Reuters]

Rape being used as a weapon of war: Ukraine rights group

Kateryna Cherepakha, president of Ukrainian rights group La Strada-Ukraine, has accused Russian troops of using rape as a weapon of war.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” she told the UN’s Security Council via video. “We know and see – and we want you to hear our voices – that violence and rape is used now as a weapon of war by Russian invaders in Ukraine.”

She said her organisation’s emergency hotlines had received calls accusing Russian soldiers of nine cases of rape involving 12 women and girls. Russia has repeatedly denied attacking civilians.

US official says vaccinations in Ukraine have come to a ‘sudden halt’

COVID-19 vaccinations in Ukraine have come to a “sudden halt” amid the Russian assault, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said.

“Russia’s unprovoked, brutal invasion has meant that COVID-19 vaccine distribution and routine immunisations have come to a sudden halt,” Thomas-Greenfield told the UN Security Council.

“Since the start of the war, COVID-19 vaccinations have plummeted from more than 52,000 a day to less than a thousand a day,” she said.

Americans blame Biden, Putin for higher gas prices: Poll

A new ABC News/Ipsos poll has found that half of Americans are experiencing financial hardship due to high gas prices, with one in five reporting “serious” difficulties.

According to the poll, Americans blamed several factors for the costs, including Putin, oil companies, and Biden and the Democrats.

Fifty-one percent of respondents blamed Biden, while 71 percent said Putin was at fault, the poll found.

Three killed by Russian attacks in Donetsk region, governor says

Three people have been killed and eight civilians were wounded by Russian attacks on Ukraine’s eastern region of Donetsk, Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said in a post on Telegram.

The attacks come as Ukrainian officials warn that Russian forces are preparing to launch a large-scale military offensive in the Donbas.

“We forecast that active combat will begin in these areas in the nearest time,” Ukraine defence ministry Spokesperson Oleksandr Motuzyanyk said.

Russia arrests critic of Ukraine offensive, lawyer says

Vladimir Kara-Murza, one of the leading critics of the Kremlin and its offensive in Ukraine still living in Russia, has been arrested near his home, his lawyer said.

“I learned of his arrest less than 10 minutes ago, I will join him,” lawyer Vadim Prokhorov told the Interfax news agency.

The reasons for the arrest were not immediately known and there was no immediate comment from the authorities.

Kyiv accuses Moscow of holding civilians in prisons on Russian territory

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],” Vereshchuk said in televised comments. “They are forcibly held.”

Russia has repeatedly denied targeting civilians.

Mariupol mayor: More than 10,000 civilians have died in besieged city

The mayor of Mariupol says more than 10,000 civilians have died in the besieged Ukrainian port city since the start of the Russian invasion.

Boychenko told The Associated Press that corpses were “carpeted through the streets of our city” and that the death toll could be more than 20,000.

Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Read all the updates from Monday, April 11 here.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies