Russia-Ukraine live news: UN suspends Russia from rights council

Ukraine news from April 7: UN members vote 93-24 in favour of a resolution suspending Russia from UN human rights body after alleged atrocities.

A completed resolution vote tally to affirm the suspension of the Russian Federation from the United Nations Human Rights Council is displayed during a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly [John Minchillo/AP Photo]
  • The UN General Assembly (UNGA) has voted in favour of a US-initiated resolution to suspend Russia from the world body’s Human Rights Council.
  • Of the 193 members of the UN assembly, 93 voted in favor of Russia’s suspension while 24 voted against and 58 abstained.
  • Ukraine has urged citizens in the country’s east to flee as Moscow refocuses its offensive on the Donbas region.
  • President Alexander Lukashenko says Belarus must be involved in any deal brokered to end the war.
  • Russia’s prime minister says attempts to isolate Moscow from the global economy will fail as Western powers roll out new sanctions.

INTERACTIVE Russia Ukraine War Who controls what Day 43

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These were the updates on April 7:

Ukraine says 4,676 evacuated through humanitarian corridors

A total of 4,676 people were evacuated on Thursday from Ukrainian towns and cities through 10 “humanitarian corridors”, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has said.

Vereshchuk, in a video post on her Telegram channel, said among the evacuees were 1,205 residents of the besieged city of Mariupol, who were taken to Zaporizhzhia.

UN aid chief: ‘I’m not optimistic’ about Ukraine ceasefire

The United Nations’ humanitarian chief is not optimistic about securing a ceasefire to halt the fighting in Ukraine, he said following high-level talks in Moscow and Kyiv that underscored how far apart the two sides are.

“I think it’s not going to be easy because the two sides, as I know now … have very little trust in each other,” Undersecretary-General Martin Griffiths told the Associated Press agency.

“I’m not optimistic,” he added later.

Some 5,000 civilians killed in Mariupol, pro-Russian authorities say

The “new mayor” of Mariupol, put in place by pro-Russian forces, has announced that around 5,000 civilians had died in the southeastern Ukrainian city which has been under siege for weeks by the Russian army and separatist allies.

“Around 60-70 percent of the housing stock has been destroyed or partially destroyed,” said Konstantin Ivashchenko, who was named as the town’s mayor on Wednesday by Denis Pushilin, leader of the separatists in the breakaway Donetsk region.

EU approves embargo on Russian coal, official says

The European Union said it has approved an embargo on Russian coal, as well as the closing of the bloc’s ports to Russian vessels over the Ukraine war.

An official from the French presidency of the European Council said the moves spearhead a “very substantial” fifth round of sanctions against Moscow which will also include a ban on high-tech exports.

Shelling in Ukraine’s Kharkiv kills one person, wounds 14, says governor

At least one person was killed and 14 wounded in shelling on Ukraine’s northeastern city of Kharkiv, regional governor Oleh Synehubov has said in an online video address.

The Ukrainian military earlier said Russian troops were bombarding the city with shells and rockets. Russia denies targeting civilians.

Kremlin says Russia has suffered ‘significant losses’ in Ukraine

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said that Russia had sustained “significant losses” in Ukraine.

Russia’s defence ministry said on March 25, its most recent update, that 1,351 Russian soldiers had been killed since the start of the campaign, and 3,825 had been wounded.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said two days later that at least 10,000 Russian soldiers had probably been killed.

“We have significant losses of troops,” Peskov told the British channel Sky News in an interview, “and it’s a huge tragedy for us.”

Ukraine says 26 bodies found under two ruined buildings near Kyiv

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova has said 26 bodies had been found under two ruined buildings in the Kyiv region town of Borodianka, which is been being searched by the authorities after Russian troops occupying it withdrew.

In a televised briefing, Venediktova did not say if the authorities had established the cause of death, but she accused Russian troops of carrying out air raids on the town before they seized control of it.

“Borodianka is the worst in terms of destruction and in terms of the uncertainty about [the number of] victims,” she said.

Montenegro expels four Russian diplomats: report

Montenegro’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has ordered four Russian diplomats to leave the country over violations of diplomatic norms, the Podgorica-based Pobjeda newspaper reported, citing sources from the ministry.

A diplomatic note has been handed over to Russia’s ambassador to Montenegro and the diplomats have a week to leave the country, the report said.

The government of Montenegro, a small ex-Yugoslav republic of just 628,000, has joined international sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

Montenegro already expelled one Russian diplomat in March, again citing violations of diplomatic norms.

US ends normal trade ties with Russia over Ukraine invasion

The US Congress has voted to end normal trade relations with Moscow, as the White House ratcheted up pressure on President Vladimir Putin over his invasion of Ukraine.

The legislation – which also applies to Russia’s ally Belarus and enables President Joe Biden to inflict steep tariff hikes on imports – passed the Senate unanimously before being rubber-stamped by the House of Representatives.

Russia calls its suspension from UN rights council illegal

Russia has said that a vote by United Nations member states to suspend it from the UN Human Rights Council was illegal and politically motivated, the RIA news agency reported.

RIA also quoted Gennady Kuzmin, deputy Russian ambassador to the United Nations, as saying Russia had decided to give up its membership immediately, on April 7.

Blinken: US will not let anything stand in way of sending Ukraine arms

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said Washington will not let anything stand in the way of sending Ukraine the weapons it needs in its fight against Russia.

Speaking to reporters at NATO following a meeting of foreign ministers, Blinken said the United States is looking at what new weapons it can send Ukraine.

EU’s von der Leyen to travel to Kyiv Friday

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will travel to Kyiv on Friday to show Europe’s “unwavering support” for Ukraine in its fight against Russia, she said.

“The Ukrainian people deserve our solidarity. That’s why I will travel to Kyiv tomorrow,” she told reporters during a visit to Stockholm, adding: “I want to send a very strong message of unwavering support to the Ukrainian people and their brave fight for our common values.”

Russia bars Australian leaders and lawmakers from entering

Russia’s foreign ministry has said it had imposed entry bans on 228 Australian government members and lawmakers, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison, in response to sanctions from Canberra.

It published a list of 228 Australian lawmakers and government members who were barred from entering Russia.

Blinken says US building pressure on Russia

Blinken has said the United States is sustaining and building its pressure on Russia, as he warned that there are more credible reports of torture, rape and killings by Russian forces in Ukraine.

Blinken said there is a growing coalition of countries with Ukraine and against Russia.

“We’re sustaining and building up pressure on the Kremlin and its neighbours,” Blinken said.

Ukraine thanks UN for suspending Russia from human rights council

Ukraine’s foreign minister has welcomed a decision by the UNGA to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council over reports of violations and abuses of human rights by its troops in Ukraine.

“War criminals have no place in UN bodies aimed at protecting human rights. Grateful to all member states which supported the relevant UNGA resolution and chose the right side of history,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter.

Ukraine supplied 25,000 anti-aircraft weapons by US, allies

Ukraine has received about 25,000 anti-aircraft weapons systems from the United States and its allies, helping Kyiv prevent Russia from establishing air superiority that would have aided Moscow’s ground invasion, the top US general has said.

Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the United States and its allies had also supplied Ukraine with 60,000 anti-tank systems.

“The Ukrainians … are very, very thankful, extraordinarily thankful,” Milley told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

UN General Assembly suspends Russia from Human Rights Council

The UN General Assembly has voted to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council as punishment for the invasion of Ukraine.

Of the 193 members of the assembly, 93 voted in favour of suspension while 24 voted against and 58 abstained, suggesting weakening international unity against Russia.

It was the second-ever suspension of a country from the council. Libya was the first, in 2011.Interactive UNGA resolution vote to suspend Russia from Human Rights Council

Ukraine is effectively using landmines in war with Russia: US general

Ukraine is effectively using landmines in the conflict with Russia, forcing Russian armoured vehicles into engagement areas where they are vulnerable to US-supplied anti-tank weaponry, the top US general has told a Senate hearing.

“That’s one of the reasons why you see column after column of Russian vehicles that are destroyed. So anti-tank or anti-personnel mines are very effective,” Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Russian envoy accuses West of trying to ‘destroy existing human rights architecture’

Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN has urged the General Assembly to reject the United States-initiated resolution on removing Moscow from the world body’s Human Rights Council.

“We … call on all those present here to really consider your decision and to vote against the attempt by Western countries and their allies to destroy the existing human rights architecture,” Gennady Kuzmin said at the meeting at the UN’s headquarters in New York.

Ukrainian ambassador urges UNGA to suspend Russia from rights council

Ukraine’s ambassador to the UN has called on the General Assembly to back the resolution calling for Russia’s removal from the world body’s Human Rights Council.

“In a couple of minutes, you will have a chance to prove that you are not an indifferent bystander,” Sergiy Kyslytsya said.

“All you need to do is to press the yes button … to save the Human Rights Council and many lives around the world and in Ukraine,” he added.

“On the other hand, pressing no means pulling the trigger and means a red on the screen as red as the blood of the innocent lives lost.”

Russia says Ukraine fired missiles at ammunition depot near Belgorod: Report

Russia’s Investigative Committee has reportedly accused the Ukrainian army of firing at least three missiles at an ammunition depot near the southern city of Belgorod during an attack on the site last week.

The TASS news agency quoted the committee as saying that eight Russian citizens had been wounded by the alleged attack, which it said had also destroyed a warehouse.

NATO agrees to strengthen its support for Ukraine

NATO members have agreed to strengthen their support for Ukraine and are providing a wide range of weapon systems to the country, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said.

Stoltenberg told reporters following a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels that the alliance would boost cybersecurity assistance to Kyiv and provide equipment to Ukraine to help protect the country against potential chemical and biological threats.

Ukraine says about 18,900 Russian troops killed since start of war

About 18,900 Russian troops have been killed since Moscow launched its offensive, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine says.

The military department said in a Facebook post that nearly Russian 700 tanks and 1,900 other armoured vehicles have been destroyed, as well as about 285 planes and helicopters.

Al Jazeera was unable to independently verify the figures provided. Russia’s last official death toll, announced on March 25, put the number of its casualties at 1,351.

Reporting by Mansur Mirovalev in Vinnytsia, Ukraine.

Photos: Ukrainian refugees fleeing war wait at US-Mexico border

Hundreds of Ukrainian refugees continue to arrive at the US-Mexico border in the hopes of crossing into the United States.

Al Jazeera has put together a photo gallery documenting the situation at the frontier, click here to access it.

A Ukrainian mother holds her child as they wait to seek asylum in Tijuana, Mexico.
A Ukrainian mother holds her child at the US-Mexico border [Zaydee Sanchez/Al Jazeera]

Ukraine says battle for Donbas will be reminiscent of World War II

Ukraine’s foreign minister has warned that the anticipated battle for control of the country’s eastern Donbas region will be reminiscent of World War II.

Dmytro Kuleba told reporters at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels that the fight would see large operations manoeuvres involving thousands of tanks, planes and armoured vehicles.

He also reiterated his call for the alliance’s member states to supply Kyiv with weapons.

“Either you help us now – and I’m speaking about days, not weeks – or your help will come too late, and many people will die,” Kuleba said.

Sixth week of Russia’s war on Ukraine sees atrocities. What next?

Security expert Andreas Iliopoulos, a retired Greek lieutenant-general, has told Al Jazeera he believes Russia will soon move to try and seize the city of Odesa in southwestern Ukraine.

Read more here.

Ukraine dismisses Russian criticism of draft peace deal as ‘propaganda’

Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak has dismissed suggestions from Russia’s foreign minister that Kyiv presented Russia with a draft peace deal that deviated from proposals both sides had previously agreed on.

Podolyak told the Reuters news agency in a written statement that Sergey Lavrov was not directly involved in negotiations and his statements were “of purely propagandistic significance”.

He also accused Moscow of wanting to divert attention away from Russia’s alleged atrocities in the town of Bucha.

Meduza editor: ‘Russia’s state media is terrifyingly effective’

Al Jazeera has spoken to Russian journalist Alexey Kovalyov about the country’s media landscape amid Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, among other things.

Read the Q&A here.

Lukashenko says there must be no Ukraine deal ‘behind Belarus’s back’

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has said that his country must be involved in negotiations to resolve the conflict in Ukraine.

“This war is just over the fence from our country and it affects the situation in our country in the most serious way,” Lukashenko was quoted as saying by the Belta state news agency.

“Therefore, there can be no separate agreements behind Belarus’s back,” he added.

Lukashenko said that he expected to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, his key foreign ally, in the next few days.

Dnipro residents urged to leave as fighting intensifies in the east

The mayor of Dnipro, in central-eastern Ukraine, has urged women, children and the elderly to leave the city ahead of an anticipated intensified offensive from Moscow in the Donbas region.

“The situation in the Donbas is gradually heating up, and we understand that April will be rather intense,” Borys Filatov said in an online video address. “All those who have the ability … should leave.”

His remarks echoed an earlier plea by authorities in Ukraine’s Luhansk region, which is east of Dnipro, for civilians to flee while they still could.

Mini map showing Dnipro's location within Ukraine

G7 says it is ‘time to suspend’ Russia from UN Human Rights Council

The G7 group of industrialised nations has said it “is time” for Russia to be suspended from the UN’s Human Rights Council because of its “heinous acts and atrocities” in Ukraine.

“Haunting images of civilian deaths, victims of torture, and apparent executions, as well as reports of sexual violence and destruction of civilian infrastructure show the true face of Russia’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine and its people,” the group’s foreign ministers said in a joint statement.

The G7 comprises Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. The group’s statement came before a scheduled UN General Assembly vote later on Thursday on whether to suspend Russia from the world body’s Human Rights Council.

Moscow says Ukraine presented ‘unacceptable’ draft peace deal: Report

Russia’s foreign minister has been quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying that Kyiv has presented Moscow with a draft peace deal that contains “unacceptable” elements.

Sergey Lavrov also accused Ukraine of drawing out and undermining peace talks but said Russia would nonetheless continue talks and press to secure its own requirements, Interfax reported.

Ukrainian security service compiling list of alleged war crime perpetrators

Ukraine’s state security service (SBU) says it is compiling a list of Russian troops suspected of carrying out alleged war crimes in the Kyiv region, including in the town of Bucha.

“The SBU will identify anyone involved in atrocities in Bucha and other cities in [the] Kyiv region,” the service said in a statement.

It added that it had interviewed almost 2,000 witnesses to date and identified 33 people suspected of collaborating with Russia.

Ukrainian official warns of possible renewed attack on Kyiv

Russia is likely to renew its attack on Kyiv if its forces succeed in taking full control of the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, the deputy chief of staff of Ukraine’s ground forces has said.

“It is likely the enemy has not given up the goal of a second attack on Kyiv – there is such a threat,” Oleksandr Gruzevich said at an online briefing about efforts to defend the capital.

Mini map showing Kyiv's location within Ukraine

Mariupol mayor says 100,000 people still need to be evacuated

Mariupol’s mayor says more than 100,000 people still need to be evacuated from the besieged southeastern port city.

“A full-scale evacuation is needed,” Vadym Boychenko said on national television, adding those still trapped in Mariupol were “praying for rescue”.

He described the situation in the city, which has been relentlessly bombarded by Russian forces for weeks, as a humanitarian catastrophe.

Zelenskyy urges West to roll out ban on Russian oil

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called on countries in the West to “bring Russia to justice” by banning imports of Russian oil and blocking its banks from the international finance system.

“Once and for all, we can teach Russia and any other potential aggressors that those who choose war always lose … those who blackmail Europe with economic and energy crisis always lose,” Zelenskyy said in an address to Greek lawmakers.

“Let us be honest, since the very beginning Russia’s actions were directed not only against Ukraine but also Europe,” he added.

A flame burns from a tower at Vankorskoye oil field in Russia
Oil sales are vital to Russia, which is the world’s largest energy exporter [File: Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters]

Ukrainian forces appear to kill captured Russians in video: Report

A video posted online and verified by the New York Times appears to show Ukrainian troops shooting what is believed to be a captured Russian soldier outside of a village west of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv.

Three other apparent Russian soldiers can be seen dead nearby, one with a head wound and his hands tied behind his back.

Al Jazeera was unable to independently verify the video.

Read more here.

WHO making contingency plans for possible ‘chemical assaults’

The World Health Organization (WHO) says it is preparing for possible “chemical assaults” in Ukraine as Moscow continues to press ahead with its offensive.

“Given the uncertainties of the current situation, there are no assurances that the war will not get worse,” the Reuters news agency quoted Hans Kluge, WHO’s regional director for Europe, as saying in a statement.

“WHO is considering all scenarios and making contingencies for different situations that could afflict the people of Ukraine, from the continued treatment of mass casualties, to chemical assaults,” Kluge added, without providing further details.

Attempts to economically isolate Russia will fail, PM says

Russia’s prime minister has said attempts to isolate Russia from the global economy will fail despite Western powers rolling out further sanctions on Moscow.

Mikhail Mishustin conceded the country was facing its most difficult situation in three decades due to the sweeping measures but said the situation also provided room for new business opportunities as foreign companies leaving Russia would make space for others.

INTERACTIVE- Which countries have sanctioned Russia - APRIL 6

Russians killed 11 civilians for ‘target practice’, ex-minister alleges

Ukraine’s former interior minister has accused Russian snipers of shooting dead 11 civilians in the town of Hostomel, near Kyiv, for “target practice”.

Citing testimony from local residents, Arsen Avakov alleged in a post on Telegram that the troops had dragged the civilians’ bodies to a garage on the town’s Sviato-Pokrovsk street after they were killed.

He posted accompanying footage which appeared to show several corpses in an undisclosed, indoor location. Avakov did not specify the date on which the alleged incident took place or provide any other further details.

There was no immediate reaction to the allegation from Moscow and Al Jazeera was unable to independently verify Avakov’s claims.

Reporting by Mansur Mirovalev in Vinnytsia, Ukraine.

Ukrainian official warns of ‘last chance’ to flee Russian attacks in east

A regional governor in eastern Ukraine has warned citizens there that time is running out to flee from Russia’s offensive as Moscow moves to seize control of the region.

Serhiy Haidai, the governor of Luhansk, said in a post on Facebook that all villages in the area were currently under attack.

“These few days may be the last chance to leave,” he added, cautioning that Russian forces were “trying to cut off all possible ways of taking people out”.

‘Borodyanka is worse than Bucha’: Reporter

A Ukrainian journalist who visited the town of Borodyanka, northwest of Kyiv, has alleged that the number of civilians killed there is “worse than in Bucha”.

Roman Bochkala said in a post on Facebook on Wednesday that Russian forces had destroyed all of the town’s housing amid their offensive, alleging they had “wanted everyone to die”.

“People who were hiding from the air strikes were killed. The basements of multi-story buildings became a trap,” he said.

Bochkala added that it would take two or three days for rescue workers to retrieve the bodies from under the rubble that is strewn across the town.

His claims came after Ukraine’s prosecutor general said on Monday that the number of civilian casualties in Borodyanka may outweigh those in Bucha, where dozens of non-combatants have been found dead.

Reporting by Mansur Mirovalev in Vinnytsia, Ukraine.

Ukraine announces 10 humanitarian corridors

Ukraine’s deputy prime minister says Kyiv is aiming to evacuate civilians from several regions in the country’s south and east via 10 humanitarian corridors on Thursday after agreeing on the routes with Russia.

Iryna Vereshchuk said in a post on Telegram that civilians from the Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia regions will be evacuated to the cities of Zaporizhzhia and Bakhmut.

She added that residents trying to leave Mariupol would have to use their own vehicles.

Efforts to get convoys of buses into the city to deliver aid and evacuate tens of thousands of residents trapped there have repeatedly failed.

Russian air attacks focused on the east: Ukrainian official

Russian air attacks are now mainly focused on areas in eastern Ukraine, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said.

Oleksiy Arestovych said in a televised address that Moscow’s forces were trying to encircle Ukrainian troops in the region.

He added that Mariupol was holding out despite fierce bombardment and that he believed Russia’s efforts to seize full control of the region, swaths of which are already held by Moscow-backed separatists, would be in vain.

Mini map showing Mariupol's location within Ukraine

Russia says it destroyed fuel storage facilities in four Ukrainian cities

Russia’s defence ministry says its forces destroyed four fuel storage facilities in the Ukrainian cities of Mykolayiv, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia and Chuhuiv overnight.

The ministry said the facilities were used by Ukraine to supply its troops near the cities of Mykolaiv and Kharkiv, as well as in the Donbas region.

There was no immediate reaction to the claims from Kyiv.

Ukraine urges Hungary to ‘get on the right side of history’

Ukraine has accused Hungary of undermining European Union unity over the bloc’s stance on Russia’s invasion after Budapest said it was prepared to pay in roubles for gas exports from Moscow.

“If Hungary really wants to help end the war, here’s how to do it: stop destroying unity in the EU, support new anti-Russian sanctions, provide military assistance to Ukraine, and not create additional sources of funding for Russia’s military machine,” Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said.

“It is never too late to get on the right side of history,” he added.

UK says Russian ‘artillery, air strikes’ continue along Donbas line of control

Russian “artillery and air strikes” are continuing along the Donbas line of control, the United Kingdom’s defence ministry has said in its latest intelligence update on the war.

The ministry said the main focus of Russian forces was “progressing offensive operations in eastern Ukraine”.

Shell says Russia exit has already cost up to $5bn

Shell says its decision to pull out of Russia in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine has already cost the international energy giant as much as $5bn.

The reduced value of Russian assets, credit losses and “onerous” contract terms will cut earnings for the first three months of the year by between $4bn and $5bn, the company said in a statement.

Energy companies are under pressure to cut ties with Russia because oil and natural gas exports are crucial revenue sources for Moscow.

A Shell logo is seen on a fuel pump
Shell has announced plans to fully withdraw from Russia [File: Kacper Pempel/Reuters]

Ukrainian foreign minister makes NATO weapons appeal

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has called on NATO member states to provide Kyiv with more weaponry as it faces down Russia’s offensive.

“My agenda is very simple. It has only three items on it. It’s weapons, weapons, and weapons,” Kuleba told reporters at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels as its member states’ foreign ministers gathered to discuss ways to shore up support for Kyiv.

“We know how to fight. We know how to win. But without sustainable and sufficient supplies requested by Ukraine, these wins will be accompanied by enormous sacrifices. The more weapons we get and the sooner they arrive in Ukraine, the more human lives will be saved.”

Bucha mayor says 90 percent of victims shot, not shelled

Nearly all of the Ukrainian civilians killed in Bucha were deliberately shot, the town’s mayor, Anatoly Fedoruk, has alleged.

“Almost 90 percent are bullet shots, not shrapnel,” Fedoruk told the Deutsche Welle broadcaster, contesting Russian claims that the victims were killed by shelling from the Ukrainian side.

He said by Wednesday night, the bodies of 320 civilians had been found. The number is rising because many bodies have been buried or left in parks and squares of villages outside Bucha.

Russia called the photos and videos of Bucha victims “fake”, claiming they were concocted by Ukrainian forces that entered the town after weeks of Russian occupation.

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

Austria says it is expelling four Russian diplomats

Austria is expelling four Russian diplomats for acting in a way incompatible with their diplomatic status, a spokeswoman for the country’s foreign minister has said, joining a group of EU countries that have taken similar action this week.

Unlike those other EU countries, which include France, Italy and Germany, the spokeswoman for Alexander Schallenberg did not say the move was because of Russian forces’ actions in Ukraine.

The three diplomats working at Russia’s embassy and one based in Salzburg must leave the country by April 12, she said.

EU’s top diplomat says new Russia sanctions imminent

The EU’s top diplomat has said a fifth round of sanctions on Russia, including a ban on coal imports, could be agreed on by the bloc imminently.

“Maybe this afternoon, or tomorrow at the latest,” Josep Borrell told reporters as he arrived at a NATO meeting.

Australia to impose sanctions on 67 Russians over Ukraine

Foreign Minister Marise Payne has said Australia is imposing sanctions on 67 Russians over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Today, I’m announcing 67 further sanctions of Russian elites and oligarchs, those close to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin who facilitate and support his outrageous actions,” she told reporters as she arrived at NATO.

Russia says it launched a “special military operation” in Ukraine.

Four civilians killed in Donetsk city of Vuhledar, governor says

The governor of Ukraine’s Donetsk region has said Russian shelling killed four civilians queueing up for humanitarian aid in the city of Vuhledar. Another four were injured, Pavlo Kyrylenko wrote on Telegram.

He added one more civilian was killed in the settlement of Ocheretyne.

Putin’s daughters targeted in US sanctions: Who are they?

The latest round of sanctions by the US on Russia has drawn renewed scrutiny to the family life of Russian President Vladimir Putin, unveiling two new targets: daughters Katerina and Maria.

Despite Putin’s domination of Russian politics, he rarely talks about his family and little is known about his personal life or children.

Katerina and Maria have never confirmed publicly the Russian leader is their father. Putin’s marriage to their mother Lyudmila, who was once part of the cabin crew with national carrier Aeroflot, ended with divorce in 2013.

Read more here.

Russian elites won’t be able to stop war in Ukraine, expert says

Elites close to President Putin who disagree with the invasion of Ukraine will not be able to influence the situation, a Russian political scientist has told an independent news programme.

Speaking on exiled Russian businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s YouTube channel, Valery Solovei said some of the elites wanted Russia “to get out” of Ukraine “at any price”. But he stressed it was impossible for them to unite and change Russia’s position on Ukraine.

“They fear each other. And they don’t fear for nothing. That’s because they know if they say anything in the company of three people, two of those people will sell them out.”

Solovei is the former head of the public relations department at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. He resigned for unspecified reasons. Russian authorities previously detained him for anti-Kremlin rhetoric and protest participation.

US Senate to vote on ending normal trade with Russia

The US Senate will vote on Thursday to end normal trade relations with Russia and to ban the importation of its oil. Both bills have been bogged down in the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he wished the vote could have happened sooner, “but after weeks of talks with the other side, it’s important that we have found a path forward”.

The trade suspension measure paves the way for US President Joe Biden to enact higher tariffs on certain Russian imports. The bill banning Russian oil would codify restrictions Biden has already put in place through executive action.

US sanctions will hurt people, says Russian ambassador

US sanctions in relation to Sberbank and Alfa-Bank are a “direct blow to ordinary Russians”, Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov has said.

The ambassador called sanctions “non-stop attacks” and said the US was trying to tarnish Russia’s reputation by making it difficult for it to make debt payments.

Russian teacher faces prison after telling students of bombings in Mariupol

A teacher in the Russian town of Penza is facing a fine of three to five million roubles ($36,500-$61,000) or five to 10 years in prison after telling her students about Russian forces bombing Mariupol.

US government-funded news organisation Radio Liberty reported the teacher, Irina Gen, was interviewed by an agent of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) after her students posted her lesson online. She has been charged with spreading “fake news” about the Russian army.

“He insisted that I confess to spreading fakes on purpose. But I was one hundred percent sure that all this was true,” Gen told Radio Liberty.

The Russian parliament toughened its “fake news” laws in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine. Under the legislation, those who “knowingly” spread so-called false information about Russian state bodies operating abroad face fines and a prison sentence of up to 15 years.

Gen told Radio Liberty she was “in for a painful trial”.


UN to vote on suspending Russia from its human rights body

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) will vote on Thursday on whether to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council.

US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield brought the move for Russia to be stripped of its seat on the 47-member council, in the wake of videos and photos of corpses strewn along the streets of Bucha, near Kyiv.

UNGA Spokeswoman Paulina Kubiak said the assembly will meet to vote on the resolution to suspend Russia at 10am on Thursday. The resolution’s approval requires a two-thirds majority of assembly members that vote “yes” or “no”.

Ukrainian serviceman amid destroyed Russian tanks in Bucha
Ukrainian serviceman amid destroyed Russian tanks in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, April 6, 2022 (Felipe Dana/AP)

US House passes bill to collect evidence of war crimes in Ukraine

The US House of Representatives has passed legislation calling on the federal government to detail its efforts to collect evidence of war crimes committed in the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Legislators backed the measure by a vote of 418-7 after gruesome reports of atrocities in towns around Kyiv, particularly Bucha. US President Joe Biden previously said a “war crimes trial”could be held over the civilian deaths in Bucha.

Russian forces ‘dismiss’ Zaporizhzhia mayor: Kyiv Independent

The Kyiv Independent news website says Russian forces have dismissed the mayor of Enerhodar in the Zaporizhzhia Region, Dmytro Orlov, and installed a regime-friendly head.

Enerhodar is the location of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant where a fire broke out in March after shelling. The town has been partially occupied by Russian forces.

According to Energoatom, the operator of nuclear power stations in Ukraine, a deputy of the Enerhodar city council was chosen as head of the city administration “by an illegal order”, the Kyiv Independent said on Twitter.

Al Jazeera could not verify this information.

Key moment for citizens of Russia: Zelenskyy

The Ukrainian president has spoken directly to Russian citizens saying now is the time for them to decide whether they are for war or peace.

“Everyone in Russia who will not demand an end to this shameful war and the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine has no future,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly national address.

“It is better now, demanding peace, to lose something, to somehow face the Russian repressive machine than to be equated with the Nazis for the rest of your life,” he added.

‘Very small’ number of Ukrainian troops get drone training in US

Ukrainian soldiers are being trained in the US to operate the Switchblade drones that Washington is supplying to Kyiv, a Pentagon official has said.

Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby said a “very small” number of Ukrainian troops – less than a dozen – who were already present in the US before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began, are being trained.

“We took the opportunity, having them still in the country, to give them a couple of days’ worth of training on the Switchblades, so they can go back … to train others in the Ukrainian military,” Kirby said, adding that 100 drones have been sent to Ukraine.

Delay on Russia oil embargo decision is costing lives: Zelenskyy

The Ukrainian president has blasted Western leaders for being too slow to agree to impose an embargo on Russian oil – at the cost of Ukrainian lives.

“Some politicians are still unable to decide how to limit the flow of petrodollars and oil euros to Russia so as not to put their own economies at risk,” Zelenskyy said in a video.

“The only question is how many more Ukrainian men, how many more Ukrainian women, the Russian military will have time to kill in order for you, certain politicians – and we know who you are – to find some determination.”

Zelenskyy added that Moscow was making so much money from oil exports that it did not need to take peace talks seriously and called on the “democratic world” to shun Russian crude.

Russia has completed withdrawal from around Kyiv: US official

The US has assessed that Russia has completed its withdrawal from around Kyiv and is refitting and resupplying its troops for an expected redeployment into Ukraine, a senior US defence official said.

“We are assessing that all the Russians have left,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, adding that the US assessment was completed in the past 24 hours.

But the official said Kyiv remained under threat, even if Russian ground troops had left the area. “The threat of [a] ground invasion [of Kyiv] is clearly gone for the moment … but it’s not clear what their longer-range goals are,” the official said.

Ukrainian refugees continue to stream to US-Mexico border

Ukrainian refugees have continued to make their way to Tijuana, Mexico, as they wait to cross the border into the US, and temporary shelters have sprung up in Mexico.

“This is very nice, really very nice. We have food. We have sleep,” Anastasiia Derezenko, a Ukrainian refugee, told the Associated Press news agency from a shelter run by a charity called Agape Ministries.

“For us, it’s difficult – a little cold at night … But you know it’s not dangerous. We stay without worry. Because we think about our people who stay now in Brovary, in Kyiv, in Bucha, in Irpin,” she said.

Coordinator Alex Fedorchuk said that 2,000 refugees have already made their way through the shelter to date.

IMF cuts Japan’s growth forecast amid Ukraine war fallout

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has cut Japan’s economic growth forecast and urged policymakers to consider preparing a contingency plan in case the Ukraine crisis derails a fragile recovery.

“Escalation of the Ukraine conflict poses significant downside risks to the Japanese economy,” the IMF said in a staff report.

The IMF said it now expects Japan’s economy to grow 2.4 percent this year, lower than a projection for 3.3 percent expansion made in January.

Ukraine war is descending towards ‘brutalisation’: expert

Jonathan Leader Maynard, an expert on genocide and war crimes at King’s College in London, has said that there is now evidence that the war in Ukraine is seeing an increasing “brutalisation”.

“To some extent, all wars involve significant civilian suffering, but this kind of severe violations of the laws of war is not universal, it is specific to certain conflicts,” Maynard told Al Jazeera.

“The evidence so far would suggest that this has been much more widespread in areas of Russian occupation particularly against civilians but there have been a few isolated crimes that appears to show Ukrainian forces engaging in violations of the law of war as well,” Maynard said in reference to a recent video that emerged that appeared to show Ukrainian soldiers shooting a captured Russian soldier.

Putin’s daughters hiding president’s wealth: US officials

US officials have said that Putin’s two adult daughters, Katerina and Maria, are hiding his wealth.

“We have reason to believe that Putin, and many of his cronies, and the oligarchs, hide their wealth, hide their assets, with family members that place their assets and their wealth in the US financial system, and also many other parts of the world,” a senior US administration official said.

“We believe that many of Putin’s assets are hidden with family members, and that’s why we’re targeting them,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Read more here.

More than 1,000 people evacuated to Zaporizhzhia: Red Cross

An International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) team says it has led a convoy of buses and private cars carrying more than 1,000 people to Zaporizhzhia after the civilians fled Mariupol on their own.

“This convoy’s arrival to Zaporizhzhia is a huge relief for hundreds of people who have suffered immensely and are now in a safer location,” Pascal Hundt, the ICRC’s head of delegation in Ukraine, said in a statement.

“It’s clear, though, that thousands more civilians trapped inside Mariupol need safe passage out and aid to come in.”

US treasury secretary says Biden wants Russia out of G20

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned that Russia’s aggression will have “enormous economic repercussions in Ukraine and beyond” and that President Joe Biden wants Moscow expelled from the Group of 20.

“President Biden’s made it clear, and I certainly agree with him, that it cannot be business as usual for Russia in any of the financial institutions,” Yellen said. “He’s asked that Russia be removed from the G20, and I’ve made clear to my colleagues in Indonesia that we will not be participating in a number of meetings if the Russians are there.”

Her comments at a US House Financial Services Committee hearing raised questions about the future of the G20, which has been the premier global economic and policy forum since the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

Read more here.

Janet Yellen
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says Biden wants Russia out of the G20 [Evan Vucci/AP]

US sanctioning relatives of Russian officials in push to seize assets: White House

The US is imposing sanctions on the relatives of Russian officials to prevent them from concealing their assets, the White House has said.

Washington has imposed sanctions on Putin’s two adult daughters as well as Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s wife and daughter.

“We’ve seen a pattern over time [that] President Putin and Russian oligarchs stash assets and resources in the bank accounts of their family members. And so, this was an effort to get at those assets, and that’s why these individuals were sanctioned,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.

FBI says it disrupted Russian hackers

US officials have said that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) disrupted thousands of routers and firewall appliances away from Russian military hackers.

“Fortunately, we were able to disrupt this botnet before it could be used,” US Attorney General Merrick Garland said.

An unsealed and redacted affidavit described the unusual operation as a preemptive move to stop Russian hackers from mobilising the compromised devices into a “botnet” – a network of hacked computers that can bombard other servers with rogue traffic.

Boston Marathon restricts Russian and Belarusian runners

The Boston Athletic Association (BAA) has said that Russian and Belarusian athletes who were accepted through open registration to the Boston Marathon and reside in their home countries will not be allowed to compete in this month’s event.

“We are horrified and outraged by what we have seen and learned from the reporting in Ukraine,” BAA President and CEO Tom Grilk said in a statement. “We believe that running is a global sport and, as such, we must do what we can to show our support to the people of Ukraine.”

Runners who are Russian and Belarusian citizens but reside outside either country will be permitted to compete but not under the Russian or Belarusian flag.

Russia faces ‘genocide’ charge, but experts urge caution

Images of corpses lining the streets and bodies stuffed into plastic bags in Bucha, near Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, have shaken the world, raising calls for credible investigations and accountability.

But the explosive “genocide” charge levied by Ukrainian and foreign government officials against Russia over the killings has proven contentious.

Legal experts say it is too early to determine whether genocide has occurred in Ukraine, stressing that while the term is politically damning, other human rights violations are also serious and should not be ignored.

Read more here.

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

Read all the updates from Wednesday, April 6 here.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies