Viktor Medvedchuk, now in detention in Ukraine, with Vladimir Putin (File)

EA on TRT World: Putin’s War on Ukraine — The Latest from Mariupol to Finland

TikTok Goes to War with Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

Saturday’s Coverage: Defense of Mariupol Ends


Concertgoers in St. Petersburg protest, “Fuck The War”:


Russia’s proxy “mayor” of Enerhodar has been seriously injured in an explosion in the occupied town in southern Ukraine.

Andrei Shevchuk is in intensive care, according to Russian State media and the Enerhodar Mayor Dmytro Orlov.

Russia seized the town early in its invasion. Many of the more than 50,000 residents work at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear complex, also seized by the Russians.


Polish President Andrzej Duda has met Ukraine counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kyiv.

Duda also addressed the Ukrainian Parliament, the first foreign head of state to do so since Russia invaded Ukraine. He declared, “I will not rest until Ukraine becomes a member of the European Union.”

On Saturday, Zelenskiy hosted Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa. The Ukrainian leadere said:

The world community must help Ukraine unblock seaports, otherwise the energy crisis will be followed by a food crisis and many more countries will face it.

Russia has blocked almost all ports and all, so to speak, maritime opportunities to export food — our grain, barley, sunflower and more. A lot of things.

There will be a crisis in the world. The second crisis after the energy one, which was provoked by Russia. Now it will create a food crisis if we do not unblock the routes for Ukraine, do not help the countries of Africa, Europe, Asia, which need these food products.

Zelenskiy said military assistance to Ukraine would assist with operations to unblock the ports.


From the accounts of witnesses, The New York Times documents one Russian military unit involved in the killings of hundreds of civilians in Bucha, northwest of Kyiv, from the start of the invasion until the end of March.

When the soldiers of Russia’s 64th Motorized Rifle Brigade arrived in Bucha in mid-March, they brought a new level of death and terror to the city.

Over the next 18 days, in just one corner of this Kyiv suburb where the brigade took control, 12 people were killed, including all of the inhabitants of six houses where the soldiers set up camp.

Ruslan Kravchenko, the chief prosecutor for the Bucha district, explains, “They tied their hands and legs and taped their eyes. They beat them with fists and feet, and with gun butts in the chest, and imitated executions.”

Then the brigade moved to real executions. Olha Havryliuk’s son and son-in-law, along with a stranger, were shot in the head in the yard of their house. She recounts:

From this house to the end, no one is left alive. Eleven people were killed here. Only we [she and her daughter Iryna] stayed alive….

They tortured them and burned them to cover their tracks.


After three months, Kyiv’s Grand Opera House reopened on Saturday night with a performance of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville.

For now, performances will only take place on weekend afternoons, with a maximum of 300 tickets. There is also the possibility of an air-raid siren prompting the audience to move to the basement, and the four tiers of gilded balconies are roped off to ensure a quick evacuation.

But Volodymyr, a soldier, said, “It is an incredible feeling to hear this music and to be in a different world for a little while, before coming back to our reality.”

Soprano Olha Fomichova, in the lead role of Rosina on Saturday, reflected, “When you take a Ukrainian flag on to the stage for the curtain call and you are met with a 10-minute standing ovation, I don’t have words to describe the feeling.”


Russia’s Transport Minister Vitaly Savelyev has acknowledged the effect of international sanctions on Moscow.

The sanctions that have been imposed on the Russian Federation today have practically broken all logistics in our country. And we are forced to look for new logistics corridors together.


Russia’s struggling offensive in eastern Ukraine is focusing on a breakthrough in the city of Severodonetsk, the easternmost city under Ukrainian control.

UK military intelligence notes that Russia has apparently deployed its only operational company of BMP-T Terminator tank support vehicles in the area.

The deployment indicates that Russia’s Central Grouping of Forces, the only formation fielding the Terminator, is in the assault force.

CGF suffered heavy losses as it failed to advance in the eastern Kyiv region in the first phase of the Russian invasion.

But the UK analysts are sceptical of Russian success, “The Severodonetsk area remains one of Russia’s immediate tactical priorities. However, with a maximum of ten Terminators deployed, they are unlikely to have a significant impact on the campaign.”

Russian shelling of areas in and near Severodonetsk has killed at least 19 people since Thursday.

Serhiy Haidai, the military governor of the Luhansk region, said in a video on Telegram, “Shelling continues from morning to the evening and also throughout the night.”

He said the Russians had attacked the city from “four separate directions”, but had not succeeded in entering, although a bridge to nearby city Lysychansk had been destroyed.

Meanwhile, a symbolic victory for Ukrainian defenders:

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Russia has suggested that it may swap POWs from Mariupol, the occupied port city in southern Ukraine, for a detained Ukrainian ally of Vladimir Putin.

Viktor Medvedchuk is leader of a pro-Russian political party. He has gone on vacation with the Russian leader at Putin’s residence in Sochi in southern Russia and Medvedchuk’s villa in Russian-occupied Crimea. Putin is godfather to his daughter Daria.

Ukraine’s authorities said on April 12 that Medvedchuk had been detained in a special forces operation, showing him in military camouflage and handcuffs. US intelligence said Putin had hoped to install him as head of a Russian proxy government in Kyiv; however, the plan was foiled when Moscow’s forces failed to enter the capital and foster an uprising against President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Leonid Slutsky, a senior member of Russia’s negotiating team on Ukraine, said on Saturday that “we are going to study the possibility” of an exchange.

The final defenders in Mariupol, on the Sea of Azov, surrendered on Friday after a 12-week onslaught by the Russian invasion. Russia’s Defense Ministry said its forces have “full control” of the Azovstal steel works, the last site of resistance.

Announcing the capture of Medvedchuk last month, Zelenskiy said, “I propose to Russia to exchange this man of yours for our boys and our girls who are now in Russian captivity.”

The Kremlin initially cut Medvedchuk loose. Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said:

As for the [prisoner] exchange numerous actors in Kyiv have been talking about with so much passion, ardor, and pleaure, Medvedchuk is not a Russian citizen and bears no relation to the special military operation. He is a foreign politician.

Besides, we do not know whether he wants Russia to be involved in any way in the resolution of the … situation he is currently facing.

Zelenskiy: Negotiations Depend on Safety of Azovstal Defenders

Zelenskiy said on Saturday that he is ready for renewed negotiations with Russia — but only if the POWs from Azovstal in Mariupol are not harmed.

Russian officials have threatened a show trial of more than 1,700 fighters, saying that they are in “pre-trial detention” in a prison colony in a Russian proxy area of eastern Ukraine.

Zelenskiy told Ukrainian TV:

Discussions between Ukraine and Russia will undoubtedly take place. Under what format I don’t know – with intermediaries, without them, in a broader group, at the Presidential level.

But the war will be bloody, there will be fighting, and [it] will only definitively end through diplomacy.

However, he added, “The most important thing for me is to save the maximum number of people and soldiers.”

Earlier on Saturday, Presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak emphasized that Ukraine will not cede any territory to the occupying Russians. He said concessions meant “the war will not stop”: “It will just be put on pause for some time. They’ll start a new offensive, even more bloody and large-scale.”