Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy during a visit to Avdiivka near the frontline in eastern Ukraine, April 18, 2023

Tuesday’s Coverage: UN Head — Russia Has Caused “Massive Devastation and Suffering”

Map: Institute for the Study of War


A Ukrainian reporter, working for Italy’s daily newspaper Repubblica has been shot dead by Russian snipers in the Kherson region in southern Ukraine.

His Italian colleague was wounded. The newspaper summarized:

Our correspondent Corrado Zunino and his fixer Bogdan Bitik were victims of an ambush by Russian snipers today on the outskirts of Kherson in southern Ukraine.

Bitik unfortunately did not make it and died: he leaves behind his wife and a son. Corrado, who was wounded in the shoulder, is in the civil hospital in Kherson.

Both reporters, who have provided extensive coverage of the conflict, were wearing bulletproof vests with “Press” on them.

Zunino said:

We were hit. I saw Bogdan on the ground, he wasn’t moving.

I crawled until I got out of the line of fire. I ran until I came across a civilian’s car. I was covered in blood, I got myself taken to the hospital in Kherson.

I tried several times to call Bogdan, he didn’t answer. He was a great friend of mine, the pain is excruciating.

Repubblica said it has been difficult to recover Bitik’s body because of the snipers.


Russia has given a scrambled response to the phone call between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy (see 1136 GMT), including Beijing’s promotion of a “strategic partnership” with Kyiv.

Avoiding any criticism of China, the Russian Foreign Ministry fumed, “The Ukrainian authorities and their western minders have already shown their ability to mess up any peace initiatives,” while noting “the readiness of the Chinese side to make efforts to establish a negotiation process”.

The Foreign Ministry ignored Xi’s appointment of a special envoy to Ukraine to insist, “We see a broad consonance in our approach and in the provisions in the paper [published by China].”

It maintained that Kyiv is rejecting “any sensible initiatives aimed at a political and diplomatic settlement”, as “the eventual consent to negotiations is conditioned by ultimatums with obviously unrealistic demands”.


Meeting Ukraine Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal in Rome, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and President Sergio Mattarella have promoted Italy’s major role in Ukrainian reconstruction.

The summit discussed reconstruction initiatives, with private and public capital contributing as well as international institutions and multilateral banks.

“We want to play a leading role not only politically, but also by involving businesses,” Meloni said. She called on Italian companies to contribute as a “far-sighted” investment.

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said Rome will help Kyiv join the European Union.

He added, “Any resolution of the conflict will have to ensure that Russia pays for the damage it has caused.”


Poland’s Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak has said the hub to repair German-made Leopard 2 battle tanks sent to Ukraine will be operational in May.

Błaszczak said Poland, Ukraine, and Germany had signed the agreement on the creation of the hub in Poland: “All these tanks will be serviced at Bumar-Labedy in Gliwice.”

He added, “I really wanted the Germans to also feel their responsibility and for this process to take place quickly and effectively.”


The head of the Wagner Group mercenaries, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has again challenged the Russian political and military leadership, saying that “a counteroffensive by the Ukrainians is inevitable”.

The Wagner head declared a “betrayal” inside Russia, condemning the Defense Ministry for not sending ammunition to his mercenaries.

Prigozhin insisted that his fighters, at the forefront of Russia’s “human wave” attacks on Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, would hold the 85% of the city they have occupied.

“We will advance at any cost, just to grind down the Ukrainian army and disrupt their offensive,” he said.

But he questioned why Russian forces had not launched offensives against other cities in the Donetsk region such as Slovyansk or Kramatorsk.


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has spoken with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in a phone call.

The conversation is the first between the two men since Russia’s invasion.

Zelenskiy said:

I had a long and meaningful phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping. I believe that this call, as well as the appointment of Ukraine’s ambassador to China [Pavlo Riabikin], will give a powerful impetus to the development of our bilateral relations.

Xi confirmed to Zelenskiy that hw will send a special representative to Ukraine.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying comemnted:

China is consistent and clear-cut in its readiness to develop bilateral relations with Ukraine. Two sides need to carry forward the tradition of mutual respect and sincerity, and take the China-Ukraine strategic partnership forward.

On the Ukraine crisis, China always stands on the side of peace. Its core stance is to facilitate talks for peace.

China did not create the Ukraine crisis, nor is it a party to the crisis. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a responsible major country, China would not sit idly by, nor would it add oil to the fire, still less exploit the situation for self gains.

Everything China does is above board. Dialogue and negotiation are the only viable way forward.


Russia has seized temporary control of the assets of the Finnish energy group Fortum and its former German subsidiary Uniper.

Vladimir Putin signed the decree late Tuesday for the seizure.

Moscow had already action against Uniper’s (UN01.DE) Russian division Unipro. The German company owns 83.73% of Unipro, which has about 4,300 employees and operates five power plants with a total capacity of over 11 gigawatts in Russia.


Ukrainian president Volodymr Zelenskiy, in his latest statement on Telegram, has said “no one can feel safe” unless Russia is held accountable for the war crimes of its troops.

Every manifestation of Russian terror, every day of aggression is an additional argument that all this must end in the Tribunal – in a new Nuremberg against ruscism, against those who destroy lives and people, who use missiles against museums and guided bombs against churches.

Russia must lose. The world cannot have any other goal.

Zelenskiy also said, following Tuesday’s deadly missile strike on a museum in Kupyansk in eastern Ukraine, that “more than 60 museums and galleries in different regions of our country have also been destroyed or damaged by the occupiers”.

He noted that a church was destroyed by a Russian strike in the Kherson region in southern Ukraine: “This church became one of hundreds of churches and prayer houses destroyed by Russian strikes.”

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Looking beyond the successful resistance of Russia’s invasion, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has declared that the country will return to economic growth in 2023.

Zelenskiy summarized a meeting in his office on Tuesday:

We are actively working on a new economic strategy of Ukraine. This year is the year when our economic growth begins. We are gradually rebuilding the infrastructure, but it is important to already start thinking about the economic recovery of our country now.

In addition to liberating territory last autumn, Ukraine withstood about 20 waves of Russian missile and drone strikes seeking to break energy infrastructure from October to March. Officials in charge of the grid said earlier this month that power had been fully restored after repairs.

Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on Tuesday that Ukraine plans to implement reconstruction projects worth $14 billion this year.

Moscow is continuing its shelling in the east and south of the country, and there are still missile strikes on civilian areas. An S-300 missile hit a museum in Kupyansk in eastern Ukraine yesterday, killing two people and wounding at least 10.

But the international community is providing support to bolster Ukraine’s public services and governance. On Tuesday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the latest allocation from a commitment of €18 billion: