On the 43rd day of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, Russian forces appear to have withdrawn completely from Kyiv and Chernihiv, according to the Pentagon, but could prepare to intensify attacks in Kharkiv, Lugansk and Donetsk. As strong Russian offensive is expected in these areas in just a few days, Ukrainians began to leave the Donetsk, Lugansk and Kharkov regions.
Russian troops bombard civilian areas in Severodonetsk. Yesterday, 1,200 civilians were evacuated from the locality.
At the same time, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has made new calls a complete financial blockade on Westerners against Russia and a halt to Russian oil imports. He thanked for the new package of sanctions, which are harsh but not sufficient.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday urged the democratic world not to import Russian oil and said the failure to quickly accept an embargo was costing Ukrainian lives, Reuters reported. In a morning video, Zelensky said that he will keep on insisting that Russian banks are totally blocked in the international financial system.
In his turn, Ukrainian FM Dmitro Kuleba, who traveled to Brussels to attend the NATO summit, has called on member states to provide weapons and military equipment. Germany has made a “revolutionary” decision to offer military equipment, but there is room for more, Kuleba said, adding that it is in constant contact with the government led by Olaf Scholz.
“Weapons, weapons, weapons,” is the agenda of Kyiv, which calls for increased military assistance from allied states, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba said on Thursday at the NATO summit in Brussels.
The NATO summit in Brussels will be attended on Thursday by foreign ministers from Ukraine, Sweden, Finland and Georgia, as well as representatives of Asia-Pacific partners (Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea).
Number of war crimes on the rise
Ukraine’s General Prosecutor’s Office has announced that the number of alleged Russian war crimes has climbed to 4,820, with more investigations under way. It is also believed that 167 Ukrainian children have been killed since the Russian invasion in Ukraine.
British intelligence report
According to the British intelligence daily report, the progress of offensive operations in eastern Ukraine is the main objective of the Russian military forces. They say the Russian artillery and airstrikes continue along the control line in Donbas, and that attacks by the Russian military on infrastructure targets inside Ukraine are likely to undermine the Ukrainian army’s ability to resupply itself and increase pressure on the Ukrainian government.Despite the reorientation of forces and logistical capabilities to support operations in Donbas, Russian forces will continue to face morale and shortage of staff and supplies.
German BND intercepted Russian soldiers talking about killing Ukrainian civilians
The German intelligence service (BND) has intercepted talks between Russian soldiers in Ukraine, which is supposed to be evidence that the shooting of civilians is part of Russia’s war strategy in that country, Der Spiegel writes on Thursday.
BND has intercepted radio talks between Russian soldiers, which mention the deaths of some civilians, and some of them could be related to cases of civilians found dead on the streets of Bucha, near Kyiv, according to the weekly Spiegel, taken over by EFE.
One soldier tells another, in one of these interceptions, how he and other soldiers shot a person on a bicycle. In another conversation intercepted by BND, a man is heard saying that “first the civilians are interrogated, then they are shot”.
Ten more humanitarian corridors intended
Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereșciuk has announced that the Kyiv authorities intend to open ten humanitarian corridors for Thursday, according to The Guardian. Those who want to leave the port city of Mariupol will have to use their personal cars, Vereșciuk specified. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs released some images during the April 6 evacuation of civilians. “The State Emergency Service of Ukraine in the Donetsk region evacuated 198 people on April 6, including 45 children,” said the institution’s representatives.
Russia is blocking humanitarian access to Mariupol to hide “thousands” of victims in the besieged city in southeastern Ukraine, which is under attack and bombing, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said, confirming the Mariupol mayor’s statements.
The mayor of Mariupol estimated that the number of civilians killed in the city mounts to over 5,000, including 210 children.
1 in 3 Russian soldiers from the Bucha brigade fought in Syria
Every third Russian soldier in the 155th Brigade of the Pacific Fleet in the Russian Navy has fought in Syria, defending the regime of Bashar al-Assad – according to the investigation portal Slidstvo.Info, which consulted the lists of Russian soldiers previously published by the intelligence service of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense.
According to the Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) in Kyiv, representatives of this brigade occupied Bucha, Irpin and Hostomel in the Kyiv region, where hundreds of brutally killed Ukrainian civilians were later discovered. The lists of the 155th Marine Brigade contain the names and personal data of 82 Russian soldiers. At least 24 of them took part in the war in Syria, where Russia supported Bashar al-Assad’s criminal regime. On average, every third Russian soldier in the brigade fought in Syria, according to the Ukrainians in Unian, Rador was quoted as saying.
The journalists found out that a significant number of occupants of this brigade, whose names are on the GUR list, were born in the years 1998-2002. I mean, now they’re between 20 and 25 years old. Some of these 20-year-old Russian soldiers boast on social media that they are cutting off the ears of Ukrainians and threatening to kill them.
At the same time, Ukraine began hunt for commander Azatbek Omurbekov, “Bucha butcher”. Russian Lieutenant-Colonel Azatbek Omurbekov has been identified as the “Bucha Butcher”, the commander of the 64th Motorized Infantry Brigade, which was involved in the occupation of the Ukrainian city and the massacres committed by the Russian army there.
Russian troops under his command are suspected of killing hundreds of unarmed civilians and brutally raping women and children. The mass graves and the bodies of the Ukrainians shot with their hands tied behind their backs found here after the withdrawal of Russian troops shocked the international public opinion. Satellite images show that Russian soldiers dug a mass grave, including on a church site, and contradict Moscow’s claim that the bodies appeared after the withdrawal of its forces or that they were “staged” by Ukrainians. 57 bodies were found in a single mass grave after the Ukrainian army recaptured the city.
More expulsions of Russian diplomats
Austria has joined actions of the Western states that expelled Russian diplomats, announcing it has ousted four Russian diplomats. Most Western countries had taken similar actions, accusing Russian diplomats of spying. Romania has expelled ten, while Poland around 45.
In its turn, Canada has summoned Russia’s ambassador following the discovery of the crimes in Bucha and Irpin, Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly said.
From the other side, Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov said in an interview with French television station LCI that if Western countries continue to expel Russian diplomats, Moscow does not rule out the possibility of severing diplomatic relations with them, the Kremlin spokesman warned on Wednesday. Peskov also said, referring to the sanctions ahead Putin’s daughters, that they are part of a wider “frenzy” of the West against Russia.
The new sanctions announced by Washington on Wednesday target Russia’s elites and close Kremlin financiers, members of the families of Putin’s inner circle officials, as well as Vladimir Putin’s two known daughters, Katerina and Maria, whom U.S. officials believe hide a secret. part of the wealth that the Russian president owns.
Russian Foreign Minister spokeswoman Maria Zaharova said Moscow was considering countermeasures against Tokyo, which had imposed a series of sanctions on Russia for invading Ukraine. The Japanese government “feeds anti-Russian hysteria into Japanese society,” Zaharova told reporters at a news conference. She also criticized Japan for “following instructions from overseas” and said Tokyo was undermining Russia-Japan relations.
In retort, Japan condemned Russia’s threats to come up with countermeasures in response to Tokyo’s sanctions on Moscow. “Any Russian countermeasures against Japan would be unacceptable,” said Japanese Cabinet Secretary-General Hirokazu Matsuno. “This whole situation is generated by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Any response that tries to transfer responsibility to Japan is extremely unjustified and unacceptable,” Matsuno told a news conference on Thursday.
Andrzej Duda accuses the Moscow regime of genocide for the Bucha massacre. “Russia blackmails all over Europe”
The President of Poland, Andrzej Duda, describes as “genocide” the actions of the Russian army in Ukraine. In an interview with CNN, Duda said it was hard to deny that Russia’s actions in Bucha were genocide. The Polish president once again called on the West to strengthen sanctions against Russia and to issue an ultimatum to Moscow such as “if you do not meet these conditions, we have nothing to discuss.”
“It’s hard to deny this, of course. This is a crime that meets the characteristics of a genocide, especially if you look at the context of the various conversations that are taking place,” said Andrzej Duda.
The Polish president said that Vladimir Putin’s regime, when talking about the “denazification” of Ukraine, was looking for a false pretext “to carry out a massacre”. “The fact that the civilians of Ukraine are being killed best shows the purpose of the Russian invasion,” the Warsaw leader said. “The purpose of this invasion is simply to extinguish the Ukrainian nation.”
“Dialogue with Russia does not make sense,” the Polish president believes. “You have to present very harsh conditions to Vladimir Putin. You have to say, “If you don’t meet these conditions, we have nothing to talk about. We will provide decisive support to Ukraine, we will increase the sanctions regime, because if you lead a dialogue that leads to nothing, it is just a game from which Russia gains time “, said Andrzej Duda.
“Russia is blackmailing not only Germany, right now, Russia is actually blackmailing the whole of Europe by saying that it is impossible to impose an embargo on Russian gas,” Duda added.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki criticized French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday for trying to negotiate with Vladimir Putin, saying “no one has negotiated with Hitler. There is nothing to negotiate with the criminals. ” Morawiecki addressed the French leader after the massacre of civilians in Bucha.
“Mr. President Macron, how many times did you negotiate with Putin? What did you obtain? Did you manage to stop at least part of these actions? It’s nothing to negotiate with criminals. You must fight with criminals. Nobody negotiated with Hitler. What could you negotiate with Hitler? What could you negotiate with Stalin or Pol Pot?,” asked Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki, in a press conference.
In retort, French President Macron said the Polish leader was from a “far-right party” and was “supporting” his rival Marine Le Pen in France’s presidential election this month.
“These statements are both baseless and scandalous,” Macron told TF1 on Wednesday evening when asked about the remarks which threaten to undermine EU unity during the bloc’s face-off with Moscow over Ukraine.
“I take full responsibility for having spoken to the president of Russia, in the name of France, to avoid the war and to build a new architecture for peace in Europe several years ago. I did it from the beginning of my term in office,” “I was never naive, unlike others. I was never complicit, unlike others.” he added.
European Commissioner: Ukraine will need an updated Marshall Plan to recover from the Russian invasion
Ukraine will need, after the war with Russia, a reconstruction plan similar to the one offered by the USA after the Second World War, European Commissioner for Budget Johannes Hahn said on Wednesday. Under the post-World War II Marshall Plan, the United States provided Europe with $ 200 billion worth of economic and technical assistance for four years today. “I think what we need for Ukraine at the end of the day is an updated model of the Marshall Plan,” Hahn said in a press briefing, according to Reuters.
Russia continues shocking statements. Medvedev: “We want the opportunity to build a Eurasia from Lisbon to Vladivostok”
Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s former president and former prime minister and current deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, says Russia’s goal in a month-and-a-half-long bloody war against Ukraine is “the opportunity to build an open Eurasia from Lisbon to Vladivostok”.
Medvedev made the shocking statement in a post on his Telegram account. He also said that Putin had “firmly set the goal of demilitarizing and denazifying Ukraine”, echoing the Kremlin’s ridiculous rhetoric that the leadership of the Ukrainian state is “Nazi”.
“The most important goal is to change the bloody and mythical conscience of some of today’s Ukrainians. The goal is peace for future generations of Ukrainians and the opportunity to build an open Eurasia, from Lisbon to Vladivostok,” the Russian PM said.
Pentagon spokesperson: Ukraine can win the war
Asked in a press briefing if the U.S. goal is strategic defeat of Russia, Pentagon spokesperson, John F. Kirby said that “U.S. goal is to make sure that Ukraine can continue to defend itself as they continue to work on a on a diplomatic solution here. And then the secondary goal is to make sure that we can bolster NATO’s Eastern Flank so that we can deter any aggression, any potential aggression by Russia and by Mr. Putin.”
Also questioned whether Ukraine can win this war, Kirby replied: “Of course, they can win this. And if you look at what they’ve been able to do just thus far, Mr. Putin has achieved exactly zero of his strategic objectives inside Ukraine. He didn’t take Kyiv. He didn’t topple the government. He didn’t remove Ukraine as a nation state. And he’s really only taken control of a small number of population centers.
Mariupol is still not taken. He’s moved his forces out of Kyiv. He’s moved his forces out of Cherniniv. They haven’t taken Kharkiv. They haven’t taken Mykolayiv in the south. So, I think the proof is literally in the outcomes that you’re seeing every day.”
The Pentagon official added that Ukrainians are bravely fighting for their country. “And they have denied Mr. Putin so many of his strategic objectives. So absolutely, they can win. And the — we have to just keep reminding ourselves that there shouldn’t be any need for them to have to — for us even have to answer that question, because there shouldn’t be a war in Ukraine. And Mr. Putin can end it today.”
Ukraine accuses Hungary of helping Putin’s war
The row between Hungary and Ukraine after Hungarian PM Viktor Orban had won elections on Sunday continued with new cross-talk.
On Thursday, Kyiv accused Hungary of “helping Putin” in the war against Ukraine, a day after Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said he was willing to pay in rubles for Russian gas, unlike other EU countries.
“Budapest has taken the next step: it is helping Putin to continue his aggression against Ukraine,” Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said in a statement, saying that Hungary was “destroying EU unity” by doing so.
Ukraine also “considers statements by Hungary that it is ready to buy Russian gas in rubles as an enemy position against our state,” he said, adding that Hungary’s proposal to hold Russian-Ukrainian peace talks in Budapest was “cynical.”
The invitation issued by Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Wednesday came after his foreign minister Peter Szijjarto earlier this day summoned the Ukrainian ambassador to Budapest to convey his dissatisfaction with the Hungarian government’s description of what he described as “insulting statements” by Kyiv.
Earlier, Viktor Orban called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky one of his “opponents” in his speech after winning Sunday’s parliamentary election.