Russia-Ukraine latest updates: Zelenskyy calls for more arms

Ukraine news from April 13: President warns of ‘endless bloodbath’ unless forces are provided with more heavy weapons.

A Ukrainian service member walks along a trench with a next generation light anti-tank weapon in the north Kyiv region, Ukraine.
A Ukrainian service member walks along a trench with a next generation light anti-tank weapon at a position on the front line in the north Kyiv region, Ukraine [Gleb Garanich/Reuters]
  • ICC chief prosecutor says Ukraine is a “crime scene” during visit to Bucha.
  • President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urges Ukraine’s western allies to supply it with additional weaponry, warning the war “will become an endless bloodbath” unless they do so.
  • Kremlin slams US President Joe Biden for accusing Russia of “genocide“, denouncing the remarks as “unacceptable”.
  • Moscow claims 1,026 Ukrainian soldiers have surrendered in the besieged southeastern port city of Mariupol.


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These were the updates from April 13:

US says it has additional sanctions it can impose on Russia

The United States has a wide variety of additional sanctions that it can impose on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, according to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.

Psaki said secondary sanctions and the targeting of additional financial firms are among a range of potential actions remaining that could be aimed at Russia.

U.S. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 7, 2022.
Psaki says targeting of additional financial firms are among actions the US might take [File: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

Four civilians killed by Russian attacks in Kharkiv: governor

Russian attacks on Kharkiv have killed four civilians, according to the governor of the northeastern region.

“Unfortunately, 4 civilians were killed and 10 wounded in the shelling during the day,” Governor Oleg Synegubov said on social media.

‘This is not war, this is terrorism’: Polish leader in Kyiv

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda has branded Russia’s war on Ukraine “terrorism” as he visited Kyiv with his counterparts from the Baltics.

“This is not war, this is terrorism. If someone sends planes and soldiers to bomb residential areas and kill civilians, that is not war. It is cruelty, banditry, terrorism,” Duda said at a press conference with Zelenskyy.

Zelenskyy calls Macron’s refusal to talk of ‘genocide’ in Ukraine ‘painful’

Zelenskyy has denounced French leader Emmanuel Macron’s refusal to call killings in Ukraine “genocide” and his reference to Russians as a “brotherly” people.

“Such things are very painful for us, so I will definitely do my best to discuss this issue with him,” Zelenskyy said at a press conference.

Russia slaps sanctions on 398 members of US Congress

Russia has said that it had introduced sanctions against 398 members of the US Congress in retaliation against Washington’s punitive measures over Ukraine and said more sanctions would follow.

The Russian foreign ministry said in a separate statement that it had introduced sanctions against 87 members of the Senate of Canada.

Top US official urges China to pressure Russia to end war

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has called on China to pressure Russia to end its military offensive in Ukraine, saying Beijing risked losing its standing in the world if it does not help end the “heinous war”.

Yellen said she “fervently” hoped that China would make something positive out of its “special relationship” with Russia.

Read more here.

Zelenskyy says he was not approached about German president visit

Zelenskyy has said he had not been officially approached by Germany’s president or his office over a visit to Ukraine, a trip that Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Kyiv had not wanted to take place.

“We were not officially approached by the German president or the office of the German president for this visit,” Zelenskyy told a news conference.

Steinmeier, long a proponent of reconciliation with Russia, said on Tuesday Kyiv did not want him to visit. A Ukrainian official subsequently denied that  Zelenskyy had rejected a visit offer from Steinmeier.


Polish president calls war ‘terrorism’, demands justice

Polish President Andrzej Duda has called the war in Ukraine “terrorism”, saying those who committed crimes must be brought to justice and that that must extend to those who gave the orders.

In Kyiv to meet Zelenskyy alongside the three leaders of the Baltic states, Duda told a news conference: “This is not war, this is terrorism.” He had earlier visited the town of Bucha just outside Kyiv, where the discovery of slain civilians after Russian forces withdrew has provoked a global outcry.

Mayor of Kharkiv says bombing of city has increased significantly

The mayor of Kharkiv has said Russian bombing of the Ukrainian city had increased significantly since Tuesday and reported there were casualties, including dead children.

“The enemy is bombing residential homes, residential areas. Unfortunately, there are civilian casualties – the worst thing is that children are dying,” Ihor Terekhov told Ukrainian national television.

US announces new $800m military aid package for Ukraine

US President Joe Biden has announced a new $800m military aid package for Ukraine, including weapons, ammunition, armoured personnel carriers and helicopters.

“This new package of assistance will contain many of the highly effective weapons systems we have already provided and new capabilities tailored to the wider assault we expect Russia to launch in eastern Ukraine,” Biden said in a statement.

He added: “These new capabilities include artillery systems, artillery rounds, and armored personnel carriers. I have also approved the transfer of additional helicopters. In addition, we continue to facilitate the transfer of significant capabilities from our Allies and partners around the world.”


Trudeau welcomes use of ‘genocide’ to describe Russian war effort

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said he believes it is “absolutely right” to see more people using the term “genocide” to describe Russian actions in Ukraine.

However, Trudeau stopped short of directly echoing Biden’s comments from a day earlier, when the US president for the first time accused his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin of committing “genocide”.

Read more here.

Jersey freezes $7bn of assets connected to Roman Abramovich

The Royal Court of Jersey has imposed a formal freezing order on $7bn worth of assets linked to Roman Abramovich while police have searched properties associated with the billionaire, said the Law Officers’ Department of Jersey.

Abramovich was among several wealthy Russians added last month to United Kingdom and European Union sanctions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Jersey is a self-governing British Crown Dependency in the Channel Islands.

Read more here.

Russia warns of striking Kyiv if Ukraine continues attacks on Russian territory

The Russian defence ministry has said that if attacks on Russian territory continue then its forces will strike at the places in Ukraine, including Kyiv, where such decisions are made.

“We are seeing Ukrainian troops’ attempts to carry out sabotage and strike Russian territory,” the Russian defence ministry said in a statement. “If such cases continue, the Russian armed forces will strike decision-making centres, including in Kyiv.”

It also said that Mariupol’s trade seaport was under full control, while all the “hostages” from the vessels at the port have been freed.

Biden, Zelenskyy discuss US support for Ukraine

US President Joe Biden called his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy to update him on “ongoing US support” for Kyiv, the White House has said.

Zelenskyy for his part tweeted that he and Biden had discussed an “additional package of defensive and possible macro-financial aid”.

The hour-long conversation came as Washington was reportedly poised to announce the delivery of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of new military equipment to Kyiv.

UN chief says humanitarian truce not possible at moment

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said a humanitarian ceasefire in Ukraine does not seem possible at the moment.

Guterres sent UN aid chief Martin Griffiths to Russia and Ukraine recently to see if a humanitarian truce could be agreed upon.

IMF, World Bank, WFP and WTO urge coordinated action on food security

The World Bank, International Monetary Fund, United Nations World Food Program and World Trade Organisation have called for urgent, coordinated action on food security, and urged countries to avoid export bans on food or fertiliser.

In a joint statement, the leaders of the four institutions warned that the war in Ukraine was adding to existing pressures from the COVID-19 crisis, climate change and increased fragility and conflict, threatening millions of people worldwide.

Sharply higher prices for staple goods and supply shortages were driving pressure on households, they said. The threat is greatest to the poorest countries, but vulnerability was also increasing rapidly in middle-income countries, which host the majority of the world’s poor.

Macron resists accusing Russia of genocide

French President Emmanuel Macron has steered clear of calling Russia’s actions in Ukraine genocide.

“I am prudent with terms today … Genocide has a meaning. The Ukrainian people and Russian people are brotherly people. It’s madness what’s happening today. It’s unbelievable brutality and a return to war in Europe,” Macron replied when asked on France-2 television about Biden’s use of the term.

“But at the same time, I look at the facts, and I want to continue to try the utmost to be able to stop the war and restore peace. I’m not sure if the escalation of words serves our cause,” he added.

Macron did, however, accuse Moscow of having “unleashed an excessively brutal war in a unilateral way” and said it had been “established that war crimes have been committed by the Russian army”.

Russia accuses Ukraine of ‘dragging out’ talks

A spokeswoman for Russia’s foreign ministry has accused Kyiv of “dragging out” talks with Moscow over ending the war.

Speaking at her weekly briefing, Maria Zakharova added that discussions between the two sides were continuing in an online format.

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.

Zelenskyy warns war will become an ‘endless bloodbath’ unless Kyiv gets more weapons

Zelenskyy has urged Ukraine’s allies to supply it with additional weaponry, warning the war “will become an endless bloodbath spreading misery, suffering, and destruction” unless they do so.

“Nobody will stop Russia except Ukraine with heavy weapons,” the Ukrainian president said in a video address, calling for heavy artillery, armoured vehicles, air defence systems and combat aircraft, in particular.

“Western countries have everything to make it happen. The final victory over the tyranny and the number of people saved depends on them,” he added.

Zelenskyy also warned Russia still has the capacity to attack other states, claiming “Poland, Moldova, Romania, and the Baltic states will become the next targets if the freedom of Ukraine falls.”

Finland, Sweden veer closer to NATO in historic policy shift

Helsinki and Stockholm are weighing whether to join NATO as Russia presses on with its offensive.

But Moscow has warned Finland and Sweden against becoming part of the alliance, arguing the move will not bring stability to Europe.

Read more here.

Post-war, France’s Le Pen wants closer NATO-Russia links

French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has said that if she were elected to office, then she would propose closer links between NATO and Russia once the war is over.

A Le Pen victory in France’s presidential election runoff on April 24 would reverberate through Europe and across the Atlantic, installing a deep eurosceptic in the Elysee Palace and someone who had long professed admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“As soon as the Russian-Ukrainian war is over and has been settled by a peace treaty, I will call for the implementation of a strategic rapprochement between NATO and Russia,” Le Pen told a news conference packed with international reporters.

Czech Republic reopens embassy in Kyiv

The Czech Republic has reopened its embassy in Kyiv in a move its foreign ministry said was “one of many steps expressing our support for Ukraine”.

“Czechia has and always will stand behind Ukraine,” the ministry tweeted.

Russia says US, NATO weapon transports in Ukraine are ‘legal military targets’

Russia will view any United States and NATO vehicles transporting weapons on Ukrainian territory as “legal military targets”, Sergei Ryabkov, the country’s deputy foreign minister has told the TASS news agency.

Washington and several other members of the US-led alliance have supplied arms to Kyiv as it faces down Moscow’s offensive, but both have also moved cautiously to try and prevent the conflict from escalating further, potentially drawing Western powers into direct confrontation with Russia.

Russian artist faces jail for supermarket price tags protest

A Russian artist has been arrested after replacing price tags in supermarkets with anti-war appeals and graphic images of alleged atrocities in Ukraine.

Alexandra Skochilenko, who was detained on Monday, is accused of spreading “deliberately false information” about the Russian Armed Forces, the Moscow Times newspaper reported, adding she faces up to 10 years in jail.

Skochilenko, 31, denies any wrongdoing. Her case comes amid a crackdown on dissent by the Kremlin.

Ukrainian official denies Zelenskyy snubbed German president’s offer to visit Kyiv

A Ukrainian official has denied that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy rejected an offer from his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier to visit Kyiv.

Serhiy Leshchenko, an adviser to Zelenskyy’s chief of staff, issued the rebuttal in an interview with CNN on Wednesday after reports of the apparent snub emerged a day earlier.

Steinmeier said on Tuesday that he had planned to visit Kyiv with his Polish counterpart and the presidents of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia “to send a strong signal of European solidarity with Ukraine … [but] that was not wanted in Kyiv”.

Kremlin slams Biden’s ‘genocide’ comments

The Kremlin has slammed Biden’s description of Russia’s actions in Ukraine as “genocide”, accusing the US president of an “unacceptable … effort to distort the situation.”

“This is hardly acceptable from a president of the United States, a country that has committed well-known crimes in recent times,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.

Biden said on Tuesday that Russia’s behaviour in Ukraine amounted to “genocide” in his view. It was the first time he had used the word to describe events in Ukraine.

Who is Viktor Medvedchuk, Putin’s main man in Ukraine?

Medvedchuk was recently captured by Ukrainian forces having fled house arrest soon after the war began.

Read more here.

On Bucha visit, ICC chief prosecutor says Ukraine is a ‘crime scene’

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has called Ukraine a “crime scene” during a visit to the town of Bucha, near Kyiv, where Ukraine alleges Russian forces killed hundreds of civilians.

“We’re here because we have reasonable grounds to believe that crimes within the jurisdiction of the court are being committed,” Karim Khan told reporters, adding the ICC needed to “pierce the fog of war to get to the truth”.

“We have to keep an open mind and we have to follow the evidence,” he said. “The law needs to be mobilised and sent into battle to protect civilians”.

Moscow has repeatedly denied that its troops killed civilians in Bucha, dismissing Kyiv’s allegations as “propaganda”.

Bucha mass grave
Mass graves were uncovered in Bucha following Russian troops’ withdrawal from the town as they pulled back from positions in northern Ukraine [Vladyslav Musiienko/Reuters]

OSCE report documents ‘humanitarian law violations’ by Russian troops

An initial report by a mission of experts set up by the Organization for Security and Co-operation and Europe (OSCE) has documented “clear patterns of international humanitarian law violations” by Russian forces in Ukraine.

The 110-page report, presented at a meeting of the OSCE’s permanent council, said that if Moscow had respected its international obligations “the number of civilians killed or injured would have remained much lower”

The three experts who wrote the report, which included information from NGOs on the ground, said given the timeline and scope of their mission it was not possible to identify war crimes.

The mission was set up following a request by Ukraine on March 3. It covered the period from the beginning of the invasion on February 24 until April 1, before images of civilian killings emerged as Russian troops withdrew from northern Ukraine.

Nearly 100 heritage sites damaged by war: UNESCO

Nearly 100 cultural and religious sites in Ukraine have sustained damage since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24, a representative for the United Nations cultural agency has said.

“The mark of 100 damaged or totally destroyed sites will be reached on Thursday or Friday – this morning we are at 98 sites and monuments listed in eight regions of the country,” Lazare Eloundou Assomo, director of world heritage at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), told the AFP news agency.

Assomo said the figure included a range of sites, including some from the early medieval era to others seen as landmarks of early Soviet architecture.

“Some of these sites and monuments will take time to rebuild and others probably cannot be rebuilt at all,” he added.

Workers wrap a statue to protect it in case of possible shelling in Lviv
Workers in Lviv wrap a statue to protect it from possible Russian shelling [File: Pavlo Palamarchuk/Reuters]

Russia warns of Bosnia destabilisation as war rages in Ukraine

The Russian embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina has criticised the suspension of a Bosnian Serb property law and warned of potential destabilisation in the country unless the decision by the top UN representative is revoked.

The Russian comments highlight a dispute with the West over policies in the volatile Balkans, where Moscow has sought to increase its historic sway, raising fears of an uptick in tensions in the region while the war rages in Ukraine.

Read more here.

UK sanctions Russian-backed separatists in breakaway regions

The United Kingdom has imposed new sanctions on 206 individuals in response to Russia’s invasion, including 178 who it alleged were involved in propping up two Russian-backed breakaway regions in Ukraine’s east.

Those targeted by the new measures include Alexander Ananchenko and Sergey Kozlov, the self-styled prime minister and the chair of the government of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, respectively, the UK’s foreign ministry said.

“We are today sanctioning those who prop up the illegal breakaway regions and are complicit in atrocities against the Ukrainian people,” Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said. “We will continue to target all those who aid and abet Putin’s war.”

Dnipro official says 1,500 Russian soldiers in city morgues

A local official in Ukraine’s central-eastern city of Dnipro has alleged that more than 1,500 Russian soldiers killed amid Moscow’s offensive are being kept in its morgues.

Deputy Mayor Mikhail Lysenko told reporters that nobody appeared to want to “retrieve” the corpses. He added that he hoped Russian mothers would “be able to come and pick up their sons”.

Al Jazeera was unable to independently verify Lysenko’s claims.

Mini map showing Dnipro's location within Ukraine

Pentagon to meet largest US arms makers over Ukraine: Reports

The Pentagon is set to host a meeting with eight of the largest defence contractors in the United States, as Washington aims to up military assistance to Ukraine, according to multiple reports.

Read more here.

Finland to make decision on NATO bid in coming weeks

Finland’s prime minister has said the country will make a decision about whether to apply to join the 30-member NATO transatlantic military alliance in the next few weeks.

“There are different perspectives to apply [for] NATO membership or not to apply and we have to analyse these very carefully,” Sanna Marin told reporters in Stockholm on Wednesday during a joint news conference with her Swedish counterpart.

“But I think our process will be quite fast, it will happen in weeks,” she added.


Putin says Russia can redirect energy exports away from the West

Russia can easily redirect exports of its vast energy resources away from the West to countries that really need them while increasing domestic consumption of oil, gas and coal, Putin has said.

Speaking at a meeting with officials to discuss development in the Russian Arctic, he said Moscow had suffered from an absence of cooperation amid sweeping Western sanctions imposed on the Kremlin but claimed the situation had also created new possibilities.

US warns it ‘will not be indifferent’ to those who undermine Russia sanctions

Countries that are seeking advantage by failing to condemn Russia’s “heinous war” against Ukraine are being short-sighted and will face consequences if they undermine Western sanctions, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said.

The US and its partners “will not be indifferent” to actions that undermine the sweeping measures they have imposed on Moscow over the invasion, she warned in wide-ranging remarks prepared for an event hosted by the Atlantic Council think-tank.

Yellen said the war had redrawn the world economic outlook and the Biden administration was resolute in its commitment to “push Russia further towards economic, financial, and strategic isolation” over its “horrific conduct” and alleged violations of international law.

INTERACTIVE- Which countries have sanctioned Russia - APRIL 6

What do we know about Russia’s involvement with chemical weapons?

While chemical weapons were banned in 1972, Russia has been accused of using them on several different occasions in recent years.

Now, there are fears Moscow may deploy such weapons in Ukraine after a regional official in Donetsk appeared to call for their use.

Read more here.

Ukraine’s president says Russian forces using phosphorus bombs

Zelenskyy has accused Russian forces of using phosphorus bombs in Ukraine.

In an address to Estonia’s parliament, the Ukrainian president said Moscow was using “terror tactics” against civilians. He did not provide evidence for his claim about the use of phosphorus munitions.

Ukrainian officials have repeatedly accused Russia of using such bombs, a charge Moscow denies. International law bans their use in areas where they may endanger civilians.

Zelenskyy also accused Russia of forcibly deporting Ukrainians and called for further sanctions on Moscow, arguing such measures were the only way to force Putin to agree to a peace deal.

Areas northwest of Kyiv ‘completely devastated’: AJE correspondent

Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan, reporting from Kyiv, says areas northwest of the capital that were until recently occupied by Russian forces, such as Bucha, Irpin and Hostomel, have been “completely devastated”.

Local authorities have warned it will take “years” to rebuild the areas as residents begin to cautiously return, Khan said.

“People are going back, and a lot of them are finding their houses completely, completely destroyed,” he added.

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

Presidents of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland head to Ukraine

The presidents of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland are travelling to Kyiv to meet with Zelenskyy.

The four join a growing number of European politicians to visit the Ukrainian capital since Russian forces were driven from the country’s north earlier this month.

Read more here.

Seven killed by shelling in Kharkiv, regional governor says

At least seven people have been killed and 22 others wounded by Russian shelling in Ukraine’s northeastern region of Kharkiv over the past 24 hours, its governor has said.

In an online post, Oleh Sinegubov said a two-year-old boy was among those killed in the 53 artillery or rocket attacks that he alleged Russian forces had carried out in the past day.

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

Kharkiv map

Ukraine says ‘no information’ on surrender of marines in Mariupol

Ukraine’s defence ministry says it has no information about the surrender of a Ukrainian marine brigade in Mariupol that was earlier reported by Moscow.

“I don’t have information,” Oleksandr Motuzyanyk told the Reuters news agency in reply to a request for comment.

Russia says 1,026 Ukrainian marines surrendered in Mariupol

Russia’s defence ministry says that 1,026 soldiers of Ukraine’s 36th Marine Brigade, including 162 officers, have surrendered in the besieged southeastern port city of Mariupol.

“In … Mariupol, near the Ilyich Iron and Steel Works, as a result of successful offensives by Russian armed forces and Donetsk People’s Republic militia units, 1,026 Ukrainian soldiers of the 36th Marine Brigade voluntarily laid down arms and surrendered,” the ministry said in a statement.

It added that 151 wounded Ukrainian soldiers were treated on the spot and subsequently taken to Mariupol’s city hospital.

There was no immediate reaction to the claims from Kyiv.

Ukraine: Russia-backed separatist stirs fears of chemical weapons

On Monday, Eduard Basurin, the spokesman for the pro-Russian separatist “Donetsk People’s Republic”, appeared on a Russian television channel and stirred fears over the possible use of chemical weapons in Ukraine.

“I think that [Russian troops ] should turn to the chemical warfare forces who would find a way to smoke the moles out of their holes,” he said in televised remarks, referring to Ukrainian service members in Mariupol.

Read more here.

Ukraine deputy PM says not possible to open humanitarian corridors

Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has said it was not possible to open any humanitarian corridors, and she accused occupying Russian forces of violating a ceasefire and blocking buses evacuating civilians.

Vereshchuk added in a statement on the Telegram messaging app that authorities would work to reopen the humanitarian corridors as soon as possible.

German politicians call for EU ban on Russian oil after Ukraine visit

The European Union should impose an embargo on Russian oil as soon as possible, the chairmen of three German parliamentarian committees has said after a visit to Ukraine.

German Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael Roth said cutting Russian oil would be a very important signal because it would affect Russia’s main source of income.

With mounting civilian deaths in Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion, Germany, Europe’s largest economy, is under pressure to wean itself off Russian gas and oil, as critics say the revenue provides Moscow with vital funds to wage war.

The EU is drafting proposals for an oil embargo on Russia although there is no agreement among member states on banning Russian crude. EU diplomats say Germany is not actively supporting an immediate embargo on Russian oil.

Ukraine says risk of Russia using chemical weapons remains high

Ukraine’s Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Malyar has said there was a high risk of Russia using chemical weapons against her country, echoing warnings by Zelenskyy earlier in the week.

On Tuesday, Malyar said authorities were checking unverified reports that Russia may have already used chemical weapons while besieging the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol and that there was a theory that phosphorus munitions had been used.

Russia has previously called US talk of Russia using chemical weapons a tactic to divert attention away from awkward questions for Washington and accused Ukraine of preparing to use them.

A man walks past the Kharkiv Regional Institute.
Russia has previously called US talk of Russia using chemical weapons a tactic to divert attention away from awkward questions for Washington [File:Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters]

Mayor of Ukraine’s Mariupol says more than 100,000 people awaiting evacuation

The mayor of the besieged Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, Vadym Boichenko, has said in televised remarks that more than 100,000 people remained in the city awaiting evacuation.

Six attacks repelled in Donbas, says Ukrainian military

Ukrainian forces have fended off six Russian attacks in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, known collectively as the Donbas, the country’s General Staff of Armed Forces has said.

Russian forces also continue to pummel Kharkiv, which is partially blockaded, as well as Mariupol, it said in a post on Facebook.

In Mariupol, Russian troops are closing in on the Azovstal, a giant metallurgic plant where hundreds of Ukrainian servicemen have been staving off attacks for weeks.

Their resistance stalled Moscow’s attempts to create a land bridge between the separatist-controlled parts of Donbas and annexed Crimea.

Reporting by Mansur Mirovalev in Kyiv, Ukraine.

191 children killed in Ukraine: ombudswoman

At least 191 children have been killed in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on February 24, including five in the past 24 hours, Ukraine’s ombudswoman, Lyudmyla Denisova, has said.

Another 349 have been wounded, Denisova said on Telegram.

Ukrainian prosecutors said earlier that most of the deaths occurred in the southeastern Donetsk region partially controlled by pro-Russian separatists, as well as around Kyiv and in the Kharkiv region.

Reporting by Mansur Mirovalev in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Satellite images show Russian convoy on the move

Newly released Maxar Technologies satellite imagery has shown a convoy of military vehicles in southeastern parts of Ukraine in recent days, and ground forces moving towards Russia’s border with Ukraine, likely in preparation for an offensive.

In Ukraine, Maxar said it had noted convoys of military equipment travelling in and near the Donbas region – adding they comprised about 200 vehicles including tanks, artillery and armoured personnel carriers.

On Monday, satellite photos from the US firm captured new deployment of troops, tents and vehicles in Russian rural area Soloti.

Putin said on Tuesday that Russia will press on with its military action in Ukraine until its goals are fulfilled.

He said the campaign is going according to plan.

BBC finds evidence cluster bomb used in Kramatorsk attack

A BBC investigation has found “clear evidence” a cluster bomb was used in an attack on Kramatorsk railway station in Ukraine on April 9. Evidence included patterns on the ground consistent with the use of a cluster-munitions warhead.

Cluster bombs are packed with smaller submunitions or bomblets, which randomly scatter over a wide area on explosion. More than 120 countries have agreed to a treaty banning the use of these weapons, but not Russia.

Around 57 people died when the missile struck the station, crowded with people trying to leave the east of the country.

One dead, two injured in Babai, Kharviv region

Russian troops fired on the village of Babai, in the Kharkiv region, killing a 37-year old man, according to the press service of the Kharkiv regional prosecutor’s office.

Two more people were injured and a number of houses damaged and destroyed,” the statement said.

Russia’s new commander an attempt to regain control: UK defence

Russia’s ability to coordinate its military in Ukraine has been hampered to date, and appointing General Alexander Dvornikov “represents an attempt to centralise command and control,” the UK’s Ministry of Defence says in its latest intelligence brief.

“Dvornikov’s selection further demonstrates how determined Ukrainian resistance and ineffective pre-war planning have forced Russia to reassess its operations,” the brief says noting Russia’s renewed focus in the east of Ukraine.

Reports Russia fired on central Ukrainian railway, no casualties

The head of Ukraine’s railways says Russian forces fired on a busy station in central Ukraine during the night. But there were no casualties, Alexander Kamyshin wrote on his Telegram channel.

“For safety reasons, we changed the route and schedule for 17 passenger trains,” he wrote, adding the longest delay was seven hours and 23 minutes.

Russia sceptical pro-Kremlin tycoon detained by Ukraine

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said it is too early for him to tell whether the footage of pro-Kremlin oligarch, Victor Medvedchuk, being detained by Ukraine is authentic.

“The Ukrainian side stoops to the most intricate ways of producing fake news,” Peskov told Russia’s state-sponsored TASS news agency.

Earlier on Wednesday, Zelenskyy published a photo of Medvedchuk in handcuffs after what he said was an operation by security forces. Zelenskyy then offered to exchange him for Ukrainians held hostage by Russia.

Presidents of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in Ukraine

The presidents of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have arrived in Ukraine, and are on their way to Kyiv to meet with Zelenskyy, the Polish Press Agency has reported.

Andrzej Duda, Gitanas Nausėda, Egils Levits and Alar Karis are reportedly there in a show of support.

More than 3,000 criminal proceedings against Russian troops in Kyiv region

Ukraine has opened more than 3,000 criminal proceedings against Russian troops in the Kyiv region since the Russian invasion started, Ukraine’s national news agency reports, citing a statement made by the head of the Kyiv regional police Andrii Niebytov.

This includes 1,463 cases of violating the laws and customs of war.

“The number of the civilian bodies found and examined in Kyiv region has already exceeded 720. Meanwhile, 200 more people are reported as missing,” Niebytov added.

Putin says Russia ‘had no other choice’ in Ukraine

Putin says Russia’s military action in Ukraine was “unavoidable” and pledged that its goals in the conflict will be achieved.

His comments on Tuesday came after he flew into Russia’s far east Amur region where he met Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

Speaking at the Vostochny space launch facility, Putin charged that Ukraine was turned into an “anti-Russian bridgehead” where “sprouts of nationalism and neo-Nazism were being cultivated”.

“This new generation of Ukrainian nationalists are especially clashing with Russia. You see how Nazi ideology became a fact of life in Ukraine,” he argued.

Read more here.

Russian President Vladimir Putin walks with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin after arriving at the Vostochny cosmodrome.
Putin walks with Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko and Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin after arriving at the Vostochny cosmodrome in Russia’s far eastern Amur region, April 12 [Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP]

Price of oil may rise to $150 per barrel with EU ban, Russian minister says

The price of oil may rise to $150 a barrel if the European Union were to ban Russian oil imports, Russia’s state-owned RIA news agency reports, citing the country’s energy minister Nikolay Shulginov.

“The cost of oil in the range of $80-150 per barrel is in principle possible… but our task is to ensure the functioning of the oil industry,” Shulginov said in an interview with the Izvestia newspaper. The minister also added Russia is ready to supply oil to “friendly countries at any cost”.

The United States has banned oil and gas imports from Russia but the EU is still debating how to bring limits on oil imports into its next set of economic measures against Russia.

Russia facing biggest drop in GDP since the years after Soviet Union fell

Russia’s economy is on track to contract by more than 10 per cent in 2022, the biggest fall in gross domestic product since the years following the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union, former finance minister Alexei Kudrin said on Tuesday, Reuters news agency reports.

Russia is facing soaring inflation and capital flight while grappling with a possible debt default after the West imposed crippling sanctions to punish Putin for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A source close to the Russian government who spoke on condition of anonymity told Reuters that the economy ministry projects a GDP contraction of between 10 and 15 per cent this year.

A contraction of 10% would amount to the biggest decline in gross domestic product since 1994, according to World Bank and International Monetary Fund data.

Russian student journalists sentenced to two years of correctional labour

A Moscow court has sentenced four ex-editors of a Russian independent student news site DOXA to two years of correctional labor, the Moscow Times reports.

The sentences ended a year-long trial over a video in which Armen Aramyan, Alla Gutnikova, Natasha Tyshkevich and Vladimir Metelkin told young Russians not to be afraid to protest against the jailing of Kremlin critic and Russia’s opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

In April 2021, they were charged with inciting minors, in the video, to join nationwide protests in support of Navalny.

In March 2022, a Russian court sentenced Navalny to an additional nine years in a maximum security penal colony after finding him guilty of large-scale fraud and contempt by a Russian court. Navalny’s supporters say the trial was politically motivated.

Russian statesman says unconfirmed biowarfare labs in Ukraine ‘unacceptable’

Russia’s Deputy Chairman of the Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, has reiterated claims that the United States funded biological laboratories in Ukraine to develop biological weapons.

“These laboratories were not set up to pursue methods of eliminating dangerous diseases”, the former Russian president said in a video posted on his Telegram channel.

“The work that was done there involved investigating pathological organisms that carry a threat to all of humanity,” he added, saying Russia considers such activity “unacceptable”.

In late March, Russia’s parliament set up a working group to investigate “the activities of biological laboratories in Ukraine”. Independent scientists, Ukrainian leaders, and officials at the White House and Pentagon have denied Russia’s claims.

‘World must respond now’: Zelenskyy on reports Russia used chemical weapons

Zelenskyy has called on the world to respond to unconfirmed reports Russia used chemical weapons in Mariupol.

“Obviously it is impossible to conduct a full investigation and full analysis in the besieged city,” he said in his night-time address.

But he added that given “Russian propagandists” repeated threats to use chemical weapons in Mariupol and the Russian army’s repeated use of phosphorus munitions in Ukraine, “the world must respond now. Because after the use of weapons of mass destruction, any response will not change anything. And it will only look like a humiliation for the democratic world.”

Zelenskyy offers prisoner swap with Russia: Medvedchuk for ‘our boys and girls’

President Zelenskyy has offered to exchange pro-Kremlin politician Viktor Medvedchuk for Ukrainians held by Russia.

“I offer the Russian Federation to exchange this guy of yours for our boys and our girls who are now in Russian captivity,” Zelenskyy said in his daily night-time address.

On Tuesday, authorities said they had captured Medvedchuck, a prominent pro-Kremlin tycoon who escaped from house arrest after Russia’s invasion. The Ukrainian businessman had previously been held on charges of treason.

“And let Medvedchuk be an example for you. Even the former oligarch did not escape, not to mention much more ordinary criminals from the Russian boondocks. We will get everyone,” Zelenskyy warned.

Zelenskyy praises Biden’s ‘genocide’ comments

Zelenskyy has praised Joe Biden’s remarks that Russia committed genocide in Ukraine.

“True words of a true leader. Calling things by their names is essential to stand up to evil,” Ukraine’s President wrote on Twitter.

Arbitrary killings, forced disappearances in Crimea: human rights report

An annual human rights report released by the US cites “credible reports” of significant human rights issues in Russian-occupied Crimea.

These include “unlawful or arbitrary killings, including extrajudicial killings; forced disappearance; torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment by Russia or Russia-led ‘authorities’ – including punitive psychiatric incarceration; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions and transfer of prisoners to Russia.”

Russia annexed Ukraine’s territory of Crimea in 2014 and formally integrated it into Russia. Ukraine, the US, the European Union and many other countries, consider the annexation a violation of international law.

Biden stands by ‘genocide’ remark: ‘Sure seems that way to me’

Biden has stood by his characterisation of Russia’s actions in Ukraine as “genocide”, saying Putin “is trying to wipe out the idea of being able to be Ukrainian”.

“I called it genocide because it has become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out the idea of being able to be Ukrainian and the evidence is mounting,” Biden told reporters.

“We’ll let the lawyers decide internationally whether or not it qualifies, but it sure seems that way to me,” he said.

Read more here.

Joe Biden
Biden spoke to reporters while departing Des Moines International Airport in Iowa [Al Drago/Reuters]

FIFA warned court of World Cup chaos if Russia played

Letting Russia try to qualify for the World Cup risked doing “irreparable and chaotic” harm to the competition, FIFA has argued successfully at sport’s highest court.

The legal debate between FIFA and the Russian soccer federation was published by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, explaining why its judge denied an urgent Russian request to freeze a ban that excluded its teams from the men’s and women’s World Cups.

“Those decisions are both fully understandable and cannot be criticised from either a legal or moral point of view,” FIFA lawyers said in a submission to the court.

Russia, China seek to undercut US in space, US agency finds

A report on space and security conducted by the US’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) has shown that Russia and China may be taking steps to undercut the US in its advantage in space, with both nations seeing space as a requirement for winning modern wars.

Those conclusions were spelled out at the Pentagon in the release of “Challenges in Security in Space Report – 2022”.

“Evidence of both nations’ intent to undercut the United States and allied leadership in the space domain can be seen in the growth of combined in-orbit assets of China and Russia,” said Kevin Ryder, a senior analyst at DIA.

Ukrainians return home to widespread destruction

Areas that were retaken by Ukrainian forces north of the capital, Kyiv, have sustained widespread damage by Russian shelling.

A few people have returned to see the devastation for themselves, Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan reports from Irpin, Ukraine.

Zelenskyy proposes swapping pro-Russian politician for prisoners

Zelenskyy has proposed swapping Viktor Medvedchuk, a Ukrainian tycoon and politician with close ties to Putin, for male and female prisoners of war being held by Moscow’s forces.

In his daily address, the Ukrainian president said it was “important for our security forces and military forces to consider such a possibility”.

US to announce $750m more in weapons for Ukraine: Officials

The Biden administration is expected to announce another $750m in military assistance for Ukraine for its fight against Russian forces, two US officials familiar with the matter told the Reuters new agency.

The equipment would be funded using Presidential Drawdown Authority, or PDA, in which the president can authorize the transfer of articles and services from US stocks without congressional approval in response to an emergency.

One of the officials said final determinations were still being made about the mix of equipment.

Biden says Russia is committing ‘genocide’

Biden has accused his Russian counterpart Putin of committing “genocide” in Ukraine.

“Your family budget, your ability to fill up your tank – none of it should hinge on whether a dictator declares war and commits genocide half a world away,” the US president said at an event in Iowa on rising gas prices in the US.

Biden had previously described Putin as a “war criminal“, drawing rebuke from Moscow, but this is the first time he has used the word “genocide” to describe events in Ukraine.

World Bank to send Ukraine $1.5bn as food, energy prices spike

The World Bank is preparing a $1.5bn support package for Ukraine, the bank’s president, David Malpass, has said.

In remarks at the Warsaw School of Economics in Poland, Malpass said the bank was helping Ukraine provide critical services, including paying wages for hospital workers, pensions and social programmes.

“The World Bank was created in 1944 to help Europe rebuild after World War Two. As we did then, we will be ready to help Ukraine with reconstruction when the time comes,” Malpass said.

Chemical weapons watchdog says it is monitoring situation in Ukraine closely

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has said it is concerned by the recent unconfirmed report of chemical weapons use in Mariupol.

A spokesperson for the chemical weapons watchdog said the OPCW “is monitoring closely the situation in Ukraine”.

The group also said it had “uninterruptedly been monitoring the situation around declared chemical industrial sites” in the country.

Woman holding picture frame
A woman carries the portrait of Dmytro Stefienko, 32, a civilian killed during the war with Russia, during his funeral in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv [Rodrigo Abd/AP]

Top US diplomat says Washington cannot confirm use of chemical weapons in Ukraine

The United States is “not in a position to confirm” recent reports of chemical weapons use in Ukraine but is 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,” Blinken told reporters.

Zelenskyy publishes photo of pro-Russian politician in handcuffs

Zelenskyy has published a photo of prominent pro-Russian Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedchuk in handcuffs after what he said was an operation by security forces.

Kyiv said in February that 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 Putin is the godfather to his daughter, and who denies wrongdoing.

Ivan Bakanov, the head of Ukraine’s national security agency, said on the agency’s Telegram channel that Medvedchuk had been detained.

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

Read all the updates from Tuesday, April 12 here.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies