Vladimir Putin meets UN Secretary-General António Guterres in the Kremlin, Moscow, Russia, April 26, 2022
EA on PTV World: How Russia’s Ukraine Invasion Adds to a Global Food Crisis
EA on RTE and BBC: Holding Back Russia in Ukraine
Russia: Pro-Ukraine Group Tried to Assassinate State TV Host — With a Green Wig and “The Sims 3” Expansion Packs
Tuesday’s Coverage: 40+ Countries Discussing More Military Aid for Kyiv
UPDATE 2145 GMT:
Canada has imposed sanctions on another 203 individuals over complicity in Russia’s occupation of parts of the Donbas in eastern Ukraine.
The Government plans to change its sanctions laws to allow so seized funds and property can be used to help rebuild Ukraine and those affected by Russia’s invasion.
Canadian legislators voted unanimously to call Russia’s attacks a “genocide” with “ample evidence of systemic and massive war crimes against humanity”.
The House of Commons said the war crimes include mass atrocities, systematic instances of willful killing of Ukrainian civilians, the desecration of corpses, forcible transfer of Ukrainian children, torture, physical harm, mental harm, and rape.
UPDATE 2129 GMT:
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has welcomed a European Union proposal to remove duties and quotas on imports from Ukraine.
Zelenskiy noted in an address on social media, “The European Commission has agreed to remove all duties and quotas on Ukrainian exports for a year, as well as to suspend anti-dumping tariffs. I discussed the details of this proposal with President Ursula von der Leyen today. I am grateful to her personally and to all our European friends for this step.”
Zelenskiy said he thanked Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi for investigation of crimes committed by the Russian military: “We appreciate Italy’s support for truly effective sanctions that can end the war.”
UPDATE 2120 GMT:
The Biden Administration has authorized $670m in assistance to alleviate food insecurity exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Department of Agriculture and the Agency for International Development are providing $282m in food commodities to Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Yemen. Another $388m will go toward logistics, including transportation and shipping.
UPDATE 2113 GMT:
The Latvia-based news outlet Meduza says the Kremlin intends to hold “referenda” in the Russian proxy areas of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, establishing the pretext for Russian annexation.
When the proxy areas declared their “independence” weeks before the Russian invasion, Vladimir Putin insisted that he had no intention of annexing the “republics”.
Meduza says Putin planned to hold the referenda before now, but was checked by Russia’s setbacks on the battlefield.
UPDATE 1517 GMT:
In his latest video appeal from the Azovstal steel works in besieged Mariupol, commander Serhiy Volyna says there are more than 600 injured civilians and fighters in the complex.
Volyna, who leads the 36th marine brigade, said there is no medication or treatment for the wounded. Hundreds of civilians, including children, are living in unsanitary conditions and running out of food and water.
Situation in Mariupol Azovstal growing more dire. Marine commander Serhiy Volyna says ~600 wounded troops in serious condition, w/o meds, in unsanitary conditions; 100s of civilians including many kids, people with disabilities underground. They’re running out of food and water. pic.twitter.com/MaHdsByoBH
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) April 27, 2022
UPDATE 1514 GMT:
The 27-foot Soviet-era Monument of People’s Friendship has been dismantled in Kyiv.
The statue erected in 1982 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Soviet Union, including its takeover of Ukraine. It depicted a Ukrainian and Russian worker on a plinth, holding aloft a Soviet Order of Friendship.
UPDATE 1448 GMT:
Russian shelling of a hospital in eastern Ukraine has killed a woman.
The hospital in the city of Sievierodonetsk was one of only two still in operation in the area.
“The Russians knew that the hospital was not empty, there were patients in different conditions with doctors – and that did not stop them,” Luhansk Governor Serhiy Gaidai.
Video showed caved-in brick walls, broken hospital beds and medical appliances, and glass and rubble.
“The destruction of the building is significant. Several floors were damaged at once,” Gaidai wrote.
UPDATE 1314 GMT:
Belarusian legislators have begun the process of imposing the death penalty for acts of sabotage.
Activists have disrupted the railway network during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, hindering the movements of Moscow’s forces, vehicles, and weapons.
The Belarusian lower house of parliament approved the measure on Wednesday. It now goes to the uppe house and then to Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko for confirmation.
UPDATE 1309 GMT:
Russian troops injured four people in occupied Kherson in southern Ukraine as they used tear gas to disperse protesters.
A local hospital treated three people for burns and one for a broken leg.
Russia seized Kherson in the initial days of its invasion but has faced regular demonstrations by residents.
Today, Kherson residents gathered for a peaceful rally to show that they are part of #Ukraine and are against Russian occupation. The Russian military dispersed the activists, using tear gas and stun grenades. At least two people are known to have been injured pic.twitter.com/3E9Z9Ukq9U
— Hanna Liubakova (@HannaLiubakova) April 27, 2022
UPDATE 1257 GMT:
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has spoken to legislators about Russia’s“gas imperialism” with a threatened halt of supplies (see 0636 and 0812 GMT).
Russia not only carried out a brutal, murderous attack on Ukraine… but Russia also attacked all of Europe’s energy security and food security.
It is a direct attack on Poland….We’ll deal with this blackmail, this pistol to the head in such a way that it doesn’t affect Poles.
Poland will not need Russian gas.
But Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov expanded the threat of cutoff to other European Union countries if they refuse to pay in roubles.
Then Peskov said, “Russia was and remains a reliable supplier of energy resources to its consumers and remains committed to its contractual obligations.”
UPDATE 1023 GMT:
Germany’s Economy Minister Robert Habeck has said that the country will soon be independent of oil imports from Russia.
Habeck declared on Tuesday, “Today I can say that an embargo has become manageable for Germany.”
German Economy Minister Robert Habeck says 🇩🇪 could completely stop importing oil from 🇷🇺 within days thanks to a deal with Poland.
Visiting Warsaw today, Habeck said that oil imported to the Port of Gdańsk would be crucial to help Germany stop importing Russian oil. pic.twitter.com/AfyNGYrGlN
— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) April 26, 2022
UPDATE 0821 GMT:
The Ukraine military says Russia’s offensive in eastern Ukraine has seized two towns, Zarichne in northern Donetsk and Novotoshkivske in the Luhansk region.
The military said it repelled nine Russian attacks, destroying nine tanks and 11 artillery systems.
UPDATE 0812 GMT:
Bulgarian Prime Minister Kirill Petkov has said of Russia’s announcement that it will cut gas supplies (see 0636 GMT): “One-sided blackmail was not acceptable”.
Petkov said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen assured him of the EU’s common response.
Von der Leyen echoed Petkov’s statement on Twitter:
Gazprom's announcement is another attempt by Russia to blackmail us with gas.
We are prepared for this scenario. We are mapping out our coordinated EU response.
Europeans can trust that we stand united and in solidarity with the Member States impacted.
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) April 27, 2022
UPDATE 0718 GMT:
The leading drone manufacturer DJI Technology is the first major Chinese firm to suspend business in Russia.
DTI said it is ensuring its products are not used in combat while “internally reassessing compliance requirements in various jurisdictions”.
The firm is also halting business in Ukraine.
UPDATE 0658 GMT:
An ammunition depot near the Russian city of Belgorod is reportedly ablaze, after blasts close to the village of Staraya Nelidovka, about 40 km (25 miles) from the Ukraine border.
Regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said he woke “to a loud sound like an explosion” at about 3.35 am in an update posted to Telegram.
The explosions were said to have come from near the village of Staraya Nelidovka which lies about 40km away from the border.
Gladkov said, “So far, not a single duty service of the city and the region has found the cause of this sound….There is no destruction of residential buildings, houses. There were no casualties among the civilian population.”
Explosions near Belgorod were also reported on March 29 and April 1, with a fuel depot set on fire in the latter incident.
UPDATE 0651 GMT:
Australia and Canada have issued the latest announcements of military aid to Ukraine.
Australia will send six M777 howitzers and ammunition as part of a A$26.7m package, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Defence Minister Peter Dutton citing “Russia’s brutal, unrelenting and illegal invasion”.
Canada will send eight armored vehicles “as quickly as possible”.
UPDATE 0636 GMT:
Russia has said it will cut gas supplies to Poland and to Bulgaria.
Moscow initially declared a halt of exports to Poland, with Polish officials and the largest gas supplier PGNiG accusing Gazprom of breach of contract.
The halt of supply followed Poland’s announcement of sanctions on 50 Russian entities and individuals, including Gazprom, Russia’s largest gas company. Warsaw has also refused Vladimir Putin’s ultimatum to pay in roubles.
Supplies to Poland through the Yamal pipeline were briefly halted early Wednesday but resumed. However, Gazprom insisted in a statement that it “has completely suspended gas supplies to Bulgargaz (Bulgaria) and PGNiG (Poland) due to absence of payments in roubles”.
Poland’s Climate Minister Anna Moskwa said:
There are no worries about shortages of gas in our homes. It is worth pointing out that liquified natural gas alone supplies the market sufficiently. LNG deliveries in [terminal] Świnoujście are growing – in 2015 there was one, in 2021 it was already 35. As of today, it provides for about 50 deliveries.
Russia currently supplies about 55% of Poland’s consumption of about 21bn cubic meters of gas. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has said Warsaw will stop all Russian gas and oil imports by the end of 2022.
Bulgaria, which covers 90% of its gas needs with Russian imports, said late Tuesday that it had been informed of a halt of supply through the TurkStream pipeline.
Prime Minister Kiril Petkov and ministers in his coalition government are in Kyiv on Wednesday for talks with Ukrainian officials.
The Government said no restrictions will be imposed on domestic gas consumption.
Andriy Yermak, the chief of staff to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said the Kremlin is “beginning the gas blackmail of Europe”:
Russia is trying to shatter the unity of our allies. Russia is also proving that energy resources are a weapon. That is why the EU needs to be united and impose an embargo on energy resources, depriving the Russians of their energy weapons.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: In a meeting in Moscow, Vladimir Putin has rebuffed UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ appeal for a ceasefire and humanitarian aid for Ukraine’s civilians, repeatedly lying about the Russian invasion.
Guterres said he made the trip because he is he seeking ways to stop the fighting as quickly as possible. He specifically sought a commitment over the besieged port city of Mariupol in southeast Ukraine, saying, “The United Nations is ready to fully mobilise its human and logistical resources to help save lives” with “the safe evacuation of the civilians who want to leave” the Azovstal steel plant and the port city “in any direction they choose”.
Putin feigned concern that the situation amid the Russian bombardment and siege — in which about 21,000 people have died, according to Mayor Vadym Boychenko — is “complicated” and “tragic”. He then blatantly lied, “There are no military operations in Mariupol.”
He continued with the falsehood that about 100,000 trapped civilians can leave, insisting that more than 100,000 who did get out are “free to go anywhere”: “Some people want to go to Russia, some to Ukraine.”
Putin then said of the mass killing of hundreds of civilians in Bucha, northwest of Kyiv, by Russian troops in March:
Russia was faced with provocation in Bucha, something the Russian side had nothing to do with.
Russian forces had no connections to Bucha. We know who did it. We know who prepared this provocation, the means they used. We know who they are.
He claimed that after their “provocation”, the Ukrainians “backtracked” on talks with Russia and “intentions to set aside the territories of Crimea, Sevastopol and the republics of Donbas” in the issues of security guarantees”.
In an earlier meeting, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov initially chose to be direct rather than deceptive. He immediately knocked back Guterres’ call for ceasefires and negotiations, specifically over Mariupol and generally with Ukraine. Lavrov said it is too early to talk about mediation to resolve the conflict.
But the Foreign Minister then added his own misinformation. Covering up Russia’s refusal to discuss the substance of a 15-page Ukrainian proposal, tabled in talks in Istanbul at the end of March, he declared that Moscow is still waiting for a response from Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on a Russian counter-proposal: “They better answer…as soon as possible.”
Zelenskiy has explained that he has not seen or heard about any document from the Kremlin.
The Secretary-General diplomatically pushed back on Russian rhetoric. He responded to Lavrov’s attempt to blame Kyiv for “blatant sabotage of the Minsk agreements” and the complaint that “the UN did not intervene”:
Responding to the Russian Foreign Minister, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres says: 'There is one thing that is true and obvious. We don't have Ukrainian troops in Russia, but have Russian troops in Ukraine.'
Latest on Ukraine: https://t.co/Kerc77lRC1
📺 Sky 501 and YouTube pic.twitter.com/Dre5Gu6gEQ
— Sky News (@SkyNews) April 26, 2022
In his late-night video address to the nation, Zelenskiy pointed to a Russian attempt to undermine neighboring Moldova, amid explosions in Russian-occupied Transnistria: “The goal is obvious – to destabilize the situation in the region, to threaten Moldova. They show that if Moldova supports Ukraine, there will be certain steps.”
The President said Ukraine’s forces are ready for an escalation by Russian troops.
Last week the commander of Russia’s Central Military District called for an offensive to take control of all of southern Ukraine, establishing land bridges to Transnistria as well as the Russian occupation of Ukraine’s Crimea.
Zelenskiy said the Kremlin seeks not only to occupy the territory of Ukraine but to “dismember the entire center and east of Europe” and “deal a global blow to democracy”. He summarized, “The free world has the right to self-defense”.