RUSSIA’S President, Vladimir Putin, spoke in a rare public appearance and has vowed to continue the invasion of Ukraine until “noble” aims are fulfilled.
Mr Putin’s comments were his first on the conflict in more than a week.
He was visiting a space facility in eastern Russia with Belarusian leader Aleksandr Lukashenko, to mark the 61st anniversary of Yuri Gagarin becoming the first man in space.
There, the Russian leader claimed he had been left with no choice but to launch the invasion in a bid to protect Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine.
“Our task is to fulfil and achieve all the goals set, minimising losses. And we will act rhythmically, calmly, according to the plan originally proposed by the General Staff,” Putin said on Tuesday during a televised news conference.
Asked if the operation in Ukraine would achieve its goals, Putin said, “Absolutely. I don’t have any doubt at all.”
“Its goals are absolutely clear and noble,” Putin said. “There is no doubt that the goals will be achieved.”
“That blitzkrieg on which our foes were counting on did not work,” Putin added.
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Russia plans ‘victory day’ carnival parade in Mariupol
According to the aid of Mariupol’s mayor, Petro Andryushchenko, Russia may be planning a “Victory Day parade” in the devastated Ukrainian port city, has said on Telegram.
He said Kostyantyn Ivashchenko, whom is in charge of Russian troops in Mariupol, was ordered “to clear a part of the city’s central district of rubble and dead bodies to ensure that a parade can be held on 9 May”.
“Judging from the whole array of data, the occupiers are planning to hold a ‘victory carnival’ in Mariupol in case their ‘special operation’ is successful,” Andryushchenko has said.
He added: “The good news is that there are no vehicles or people in the city to carry out such events.”
Putin: Russia to seek alternative to European energy market
Russian President Vladimir Putin said today that Moscow will be looking into alternative markets for its energy exports after Western capitals sanctioned Russia over its military operation in Ukraine.
Since Moscow’s troops moved into its pro-Western neighbour on February 24, Russia has faced a barrage of unprecedented sanctions, including embargoes on its energy exports.
“We have all the resources and opportunities to quickly find alternative solutions,” Putin said during a televised government meeting on the development of the Russian Arctic.
“As for Russian oil, gas and coal — we can increase their consumption on the domestic market… and also increase the supply of energy resources to other parts of the world, where they are really needed,” Putin added.
Russian embassy in Bosnia warns of destabilization
The Russian embassy in Bosnia today criticised the suspension of a Bosnian-Serb property law and warned of potential destabilization in the tense Balkan country unless the decision by the top international official is revoked.
The embassy in a statement carried by local media reiterated that Moscow does not recognise German diplomat Christian Schmidt as the head of the U.N. Office of the High Representative in Bosnia – and considers his moves illegitimate.
The Russian comments highlight a dispute with the West over policies in the volatile Balkans where Moscow has sought to increase its historic sway. With war raging in Ukraine, there have been fears of tensions soaring in the Balkans as well.
Schmidt on Tuesday suspended the law that the semi-autonomous Bosnian Serb region passed in February, and which declares that the property used by local public authorities belongs to the Republika Srpska entity.
The law is seen as part of the Serb drive in Bosnia to gain as much independence as possible.
Bosnia also has a Bosniak-Croat entity, along with joint, central institutions designed to keep the country together after its 1992-95 war.
UK sanctions 206 more Russian entities
The UK’s foreign office has just announced that another 206 Russian individuals and businesses have been added to the sanctions list.
Viktor Medvedchuk, who has been captured by Ukrainian forces, is among those who have seen their assets frozen.
Another high-profile person is Russian oil magnate and head of LUKOIL, Vagit Alekperov.
Heads of four eastern European countries travel to Kyiv
The presidents of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia said they are heading to Kyiv to meet with Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky.
Estonian president Alar Karis tweeted: “We are visiting Ukraine to show strong support to the Ukrainian people, will meet dear friend President Zelensky.”
The other presidents on the trip are: Polish president Andrzej Duda, Lithuania’s Gitanas Nauseda, and Latvia’s Egils Levits.
German economic institutes faces sharp recession if Russian gas cut off
Germany would face a sharp recession if gas supplies from Russia are suddenly cut off, the country’s leading economic institutes said today, and the government said the war in Ukraine poses “substantial risks” for Europe’s largest economy.
A sudden stop in Russian energy supplies would slow economic growth to 1.9% this year and result in a contraction of 2.2% in 2023, they said.
“If gas supplies were to be cut off, the German economy would undergo a sharp recession,” said Stefan Kooths, vice president and research director business cycles and growth at the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
Fugitive Putin ally arrested
Ukraine says it has arrested fugitive pro-Russian politician Viktor Medvedchuk, who is seen as President Vladimir Putin’s closest ally.
Ukraine’s security service SBU posted a photo which shows Mr Medvedchuk in handcuffs and wearing Ukrainian military fatigues.
He had been under house arrest in the capital of Kyiv on suspicion of treason. However, he escaped soon after Russia began its invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.
Mr Medvedchuk, 67, denies wrongdoing.
In his nightly video address to the nation on Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky offered to exchange Mr Medvedchuk for Ukrainian “boys and girls who are now in Russian captivity”.
He earlier wrote on Facebook that Mr Medvedchuk had been arrested after a “special operation” by the SBU.
The security service said in a statement: “You can be a pro-Russian politician and work for the aggressor state for years. You may have been hiding from justice lately. You can even wear a Ukrainian military uniform for camouflage.
“But will it help you escape punishment? Not at all! Shackles are waiting for you and same goes for traitors to Ukraine like you.”
France seizes £20 BILLION worth of Russian Oligarch assets
France has seized more than £20billion-worth of cash and property belonging to Russian oligarchs including Roman Abramovich in response to the Ukraine War.
The incredible figure was confirmed by Economy and Finance Ministry in Paris today, as it confirmed that 12 properties belonging to former Chelsea Football Club owner were among the assets frozen.
“They include homes, superyachts and helicopters, and add up to well over 25 billion euros,” said a ministerial source.
“There are 33 properties that have been frozen, including a dozen belonging to Roman Abramovich.
“It is all part of the programme of sanctions being brought against the Russian Federation in response to its invasion of Ukraine.”
Freezing property assets mean they cannot be sold or used for rental income, the source explained.
What you need to know right now
If you’re just joining the blog, here’s the latest news on the Russia-Ukraine war:
- Russia’s defence ministry said that 1,026 soldiers of Ukraine’s 36th Marine Brigade, including 162 officers, had surrendered in the besieged port city of Mariupol
- Ukraine’s defence ministry spokesman said he had no information on such a surrender
- The mayor of Mariupol, Vadym Boichenko, said in televised remarks that more than 100,000 people remained in the city awaiting evacuation
- At least seven people were killed and 22 wounded by shelling in Ukraine’s northeastern region of Kharkiv over the past 24 hours, Governor Oleh Synegubov said
- Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said it was not possible to open any humanitarian corridors today
- Russia said that claims by the United States and Ukraine that its forces could use chemical weapons were disinformation because Moscow destroyed its last chemical stockpiles in 2017
- U.S. President Biden said for the first time that Russia’s invasion amounts to genocide
- Polish President Andrzej Duda and the presidents of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are on their way to Kyiv to meet Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, an adviser to the Polish leader said
- Russian President Putin reappeared after a rare public silence to say the invasion was a “noble” cause and that peace talks had reached a dead end
- Russia’s defence ministry said that 1,026 soldiers of Ukraine’s 36th Marine Brigade, including 162 officers, had surrendered in the besieged port city of Mariupol
Symbols reveal Putin’s ‘plan to kill hundreds of civilians’
CHILLING symbols reveal Vladimir Putin plans to kill hundreds of civilians and then blame Ukraine for the war, a whistleblower has claimed.
A secret service source in Moscow warned the Russian President’s sinister plans include a major “false flag” attack in border areas of Russia.
The hit which will cause the “deaths of hundreds of civilians” will be later “blamed on Ukrainians” and “internal enemies”.
According to the source, the attacks will be against “Z” and “V” war symbols which are to be painted in the coming days on prominent residential buildings.
The signs will be daubed on the walls of buildings in apartment blocks-local authorities in Russia have the right to place slogans on residential buildings.
Explosions in blocks of flats could cause “hundreds of civilian victims”, the whistleblower, purportedly an FSB insider said.
Zelensky: ‘We’ll find Russian troops involved in violent crimes’
Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, has said that his country would find all Russian’s involved in crimes against his civilians – such as rape.
In his latest video message last night, the president said: “There is more and more evidence and other official data of the investigation about the terrible crimes of the occupiers in those areas where, unfortunately, they were able to enter.”
He contined: “About the inhuman cruelty of the Russian military towards women and children. About multiple rapes.
“Not all serial rapists reached the level of cruelty that Russian soldiers did. Of course, we will establish the full truth about all these monsters. No matter how much time and effort it would take, we will find everyone.
“And let [Viktor] Medvedchuk be a good example for you. Even the former oligarch did not escape. Let alone much simpler criminals from the Russian hinterland. We will get everyone.”
Seven killed & 22 wounded by shelling in Kharkiv region
At least seven people were killed and 22 wounded by shelling in Ukraine’s northeastern region of Kharkiv over the past 24 hours, Governor Oleh Synegubov said today, reported Reuters.
In an online post, he said a 2-year-old boy was among those killed in the 53 artillery or rocket strikes he said Russian forces had carried out in the past day in the region.
Reuters have not independently verify the information.
And, Russia denies targeting civilians.
Ukraine says risk of Russia using chemical weapons remains high
Ukraine’s Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Malyar said on today there was a high risk of Russia using chemical weapons against her country, echoing warnings by President Volodymyr Zelensky 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 phosphorous munitions had been used.
Russia has previously called U.S. 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.
Over 1,000 Ukrainian soldiers surrender in Mariupol
Russia’s defence ministry said Wednesday more than a thousand Ukrainian soldiers have surrendered in Mariupol, a strategic port city in eastern Ukraine that has been besieged by Moscow’s troops for over a month.
“In the city of Mariupol… 1,026 Ukrainian servicemen of the 36th marine brigade voluntarily laid down their arms and surrendered,” the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said that the soldiers surrendered near the “Mariupol Metallurgical Plant named after Illich”, a large steel factory.
Among the troops were 162 officers and 47 were women, the ministry added. More than 100 were wounded.
Inflation rate ‘reflects immediate effects of Ukraine war’
According to Sky News, the effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is reflected in the 30-year high inflation rate currently at 7 per cent.
The rate is “ahead of expectations” including that of the Bank of England, the channel’s business correspondent Paul Kelso said.
He added that inflation is expected to exceed 8 per cent at some point this year.
One civilian killed in Russian shelling of Ukraine’s Luhansk region
One civilian was killed in Russian shelling of Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region over the past 24 hours, Luhansk Governor Serhiy Gaidai said today.
In a post on the Telegram messaging app, he said that three trains would be offered today to residents who wanted to leave the region, which he said was under constant shelling and may face a new large offensive by Russian forces.
Ukraine’s state railway company said in a separate statement on Wednesday that a train station in central Ukraine had been shelled overnight.
Russia says U.S. spreading lies on possible chemical attack in Ukraine
Russia said today that claims by the United States and Ukraine that Russia could use chemical weapons in Ukraine were disinformation because Moscow destroyed its last chemical stockpiles in 2017.
Ukraine’s defence ministry said on Tuesday that it was checking claims that Russia may have used chemical weapons in the southern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol.
Russia’s embassy in Washington said: “We call on Washington to stop spreading disinformation.
“Ned Price once again distinguished himself by his idle talk, not substantiated by a single piece of evidence.”
Chechen chief says over 1,000 Ukrainian marines surrender in Mariupol
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said more than 1,000 Ukrainian marines had surrendered in the besieged port city of Mariupol and urged remaining forces holed up in the Azovstal steel mill to surrender.
There was no comment from Ukrainian officials on the statement made on Kadyrov’s Telegram channel.
Ukraine’s General Staff, in its morning report otoday, said that Russian forces were proceeding with attacks on Azovstal and the port.
It was not clear what plant – Azovstal or Illich Iron and Steel Works – Kadyrov meant when he talked about the 1,000 surrendered Ukrainian marines.
“Within Azovstal at the moment there are about 200 wounded who cannot receive any medical assistance,” Kadyrov said in his post on Telegram.
“For them and all the rest it would be better to end this pointless resistance and go home to their families.”
No humanitarian corridors open today
Unfortunately, it has not been possible to open humanitarian corridors today, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister has said.
Iryna Vereshchuk noted that work was ongoing to get them reopened.
This comes after the Mayor of Mariupol sad that there are more than 100,000 residents awaiting to be evacuated from the area – one of the most heavily bombarded cities in Ukraine.
Ben Wallace offers PM ‘full support’ despite Partygate scandal
Last night Ben Wallace said: “Right now the Ukraine war is an urgent challenge and this PM has led the international response.
As Defence Secretary, he has given me his full backing to deliver the aid requested and desperately needed.
“He has my full support.”
Russian soldiers found rotting
This is an exclusive by Jerome Starkey, in Mala Rohan
DEAD Russian soldiers were left rotting in their bunkers yesterday as Ukraine’s troops overran their positions — but a deadly new onslaught by Putin’s forces is feared within days.
The Sun witnessed scenes of carnage following a major battle outside Kharkiv — even as Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to press on with his slaughter in the east.
Bodies lay slumped in blown-open dugouts after Ukraine seized control of a ridgeline in the three-day battle for Mala Rohan — where soldiers are confident they can defeat Russia.
One said: “Whatever Putin does, we won’t surrender. We have won the battle of Mala Rohan. We are one step closer to winning the war.”
But it comes amid rising fears Russia will unleash chemical weapons to turn the tide in its bloodbath invasion after many defeats.
Read more of the article here.
Biden: Russia war a ‘genocide’ & trying to ‘wipe out’ Ukraine
President Joe Biden said Russia’s war in Ukraine amounted to “genocide, accusing President Vladimir Putin of trying to wipe out the idea of even being a Ukrainian.”
“Yes, I called it genocide,” he told reporters in Iowa today, shortly before boarding Air Force One to return to Washington.
“It’s become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out the idea of even being a Ukrainian.”
Biden’s comments drew praise from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who had encouraged Western leaders to use the term ‘genocide’ to describe Russia’s invasion of his country.
“True words of a true leader @POTUS,” he tweeted.
“Calling things by their names is essential to stand up to evil. We are grateful for US assistance provided so far and we urgently need more heavy weapons to prevent further Russian atrocities.”
A United Nations treaty, to which the U.S. is a party, defines genocide as actions taken with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.
MoD latest intelligence report
The UK’s Ministry of Defence’s latest intelligence report says the appointment of General Alexander Dvornikov – who is widely dubbed the ‘butcher of Syria’ – to head up the conflict for the Russia is seen as an attempt to centralise command.
Here is the latest report:
Help those fleeing conflict with The Sun’s Ukraine Fund
PICTURES of women and children fleeing the horror of Ukraine’s devastated towns and cities have moved Sun readers to tears.
Many of you want to help the five million caught in the chaos — and now you can, by donating to The Sun’s Ukraine Fund.
Give as little as £3 or as much as you can afford and every penny will be donated to the Red Cross on the ground helping women, children, the old, the infirm and the wounded.
Donate here to help The Sun’s fund
Or text to 70141 from UK mobiles
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Texts cost your chosen donation amount (e.g. £5) +1 standard message (we receive 100%). For full T&Cs visit redcross.org.uk/mobile
The Ukraine Crisis Appeal will support people in areas currently affected and those potentially affected in the future by the crisis.
In the unlikely event that the British Red Cross raise more money than can be reasonably and efficiently spent, any surplus funds will be used to help them prepare for and respond to other humanitarian disasters anywhere in the world.
For more information visit https://donate.redcross.org.uk/appeal/disaster-fund.