Putin’s Wagner mercenaries throw grenades into houses in Ukraine

Moscow has claimed to have destroyed a large stockpile of military equipment from the US and several European countries near the Bohodukhiv railway station in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region.

Russia’s defence ministry also said it had hit 18 Ukrainian military facilities overnight, including three ammunition depots in Dachne, near the port city of Odesa.

It comes afrer Amnesty International said on Friday there was compelling evidence that Russian troops had committed war crimes, including extrajudicial executions of civilians, when they occupied an area outside Ukraine’s capital in February and March.

Civilians also suffered abuses such as “reckless shootings and torture” at the hands of Russian forces during their failed onslaught on Kyiv in the early stages of the invasion launched by the Kremlin on 24 February, the rights group claimed in a report.

Amnesty’s senior crisis response adviser Donatella Rovera told a news conference in Kyiv “these are not isolated incidents”.

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Trudeau and Draghi join condemnation of Lavrov’s Hitler comments

The leaders of Canada and Italy have joined the condemnation of Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov’s claims that Adolf Hitler potentially had Jewish origins.

“They are ridiculous and unacceptable,” Canada’s Justin Trudeau told reporters in Ontario, adding: “What the Russian foreign minister just said is unbelievable.”

Italy’s Mario Draghi said Mr Lavrov’s comments – made in an interview on Italian television – were “obscene”, telling reporters that Italy, unlike Russia, allowed freedom of expression, and had allowed Lavrov to give his views in Sunday’s interview “even when false and aberrant”.

Israel has summoned the Russian ambassador over the comments, which foreign minister Yair Lapid called “unforgivable and scandalous and a horrible historical error”.

“The Jews did not murder themselves in the Holocaust, Mr Lapid said. “The lowest level of racism against Jews is to blame Jews themselves for antisemitism.”

Andy Gregory2 May 2022 21:28

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One dead after rocket strike in Odesa, officials claim

A rocket strike hit a dwelling and a church in the Black Sea port city of Odesa in southwestern Ukraine on Monday evening, killing a child, officials were quoted as saying.

Five people were in the residential building were when the rocket struck, Interfax Ukraine news agency quoted a security official in the port as saying. A second child was taken to hospital.

The official said the blast damaged windows, walls and the roof of the adjacent Orthodox church.

The Secretary of Ukraine‘s Security Council, Oleksiy Danylov, quoted by media, confirmed there had been dead and injured in the attack. The strike, he said, had blown the roof off the church.

Joe Middleton2 May 2022 20:53

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Mariupol steelworks evacuees head to Ukraine-held city as Russia ‘resumes shelling civilians’

Around 100 civilians have been evacuated from the besieged city of Mariupol, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has said, but many more remain trapped in the Azovstal steelworks and are facing a “humanitarian catastrophe”.

The UN had on Sunday negotiated safe passage for some civilians from the plant, the last stronghold of resistance against the Russian attack. However, Russian forces resumed shelling after some of the evacuees left, according to reports on Monday.

Civilians trapped in the bunkers and tunnels of the Azovstal complex are running out of water, food and medicine.

“The situation has become a sign of a real humanitarian catastrophe,” Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Iryna Vereschuk said.

Joe Middleton2 May 2022 20:20

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Up to 200 civilians remain trapped inside Azovstal steel works, claims fighter

A Ukrainian fighter holed up the city of Mariupol said on Monday that up to 200 civilians remained trapped inside bunkers in the Azovstal steel works after an evacuation operation led by the United Nations to save civilians from the site.

Captain Sviatoslav Palamar, 39, a deputy commander of Ukraine’s Azov Regiment, told Reuters that his fighters could hear the voices of people trapped in bunkers of the vast industrial complex.

He said they were women, children and elderly people, but that the Ukrainian forces there did not have the mechanised equipment needed to dislodge the rubble, he said.

“We were planning to tear up the bunkers, the entrance to which is blocked, but all night into Monday naval artillery and barrel artillery were firing. All day today aviation has been working, dropping bombs,” Palamar said by Zoom.

An unknown number of civilians and Ukrainian forces have been holed up in the Azovstal steel works in the port city of Mariupol that has been devastated by weeks of Russian shelling.

Joe Middleton2 May 2022 20:09

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Scholz: ‘We will never accept annexation of Crimea’

Germany will never accept the annexation of Crimea, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in an interview on ZDF public television.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 but its claimed sovereignty over the region has not been recognised by many other states.

Mr Scholz said Germany’s aim was for Russia to end the war in Ukraine and withdraw its troops from Ukrainian territory.

He also said western allies must aim to stop Russia from succeeding in using violence to achieve its goals.

The chancellor has been accused at home and abroad of being timid and hesitant in the face of Russian aggression.

Germany is debating whether to totally break ties with the Russian energy market in the wake of the invasion.

Liam James2 May 2022 19:48

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Ukrainian refugee gets lifesaving treatment in Israel

A five-year-old girl was able to be transported to Israel for a lifesaving heart treatment.

A doctor near the Ukrainian-Polish border last month found that young Karina Andreiko had a congenital heart defect that could be easily treated in Israel, but not Ukraine.

Save a Child’s Heart, an Israeli nonprofit, agreed to transport Karina to Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, near Tel Aviv, for treatment.

On Monday, two weeks after she was diagnosed, doctors in Israel treated Karina with the catheterisation expected to allow her to live a normal life.

“I am happy that I came to Israel for my child to have an operation here,” said Karina’s mother, Iryna Andreiko. “On the one hand, I am very worried about her, but I think everything will be fine.”

Liam James2 May 2022 19:14

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Scholz declines to say if he would share a table with Putin at G20 summit

German chancellor Olaf Scholz declined to answer when asked if he would sit at a table with Russian president Vladimir Putin at a G20 summit Indonesia is hosting later this year.

“We will decide on that if the matter arises,” he said in an interview with ZDF public television. “It would be unwise to do anything else.”

Joe Middleton2 May 2022 18:56

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Russian roubles payment scheme would breach sanctions, says EU policy chief

Using Moscow’s proposed scheme for foreign companies to pay for gas by enabling Russia to convert their payments into roubles would breach European Union sanctions, the bloc’s energy policy chief said on Monday.

“Paying rubles through the conversion mechanism managed by the Russian public authorities and a second dedicated account in Gazprombank is a violation of the sanctions and cannot be accepted,” EU energy commissioner Kadri Simson told a news conference after a meeting of EU energy ministers in Brussels.

Joe Middleton2 May 2022 18:28

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Ukrainians denounce dire conditions in Mariupol bunkers

Ukrainians denounce dire conditions in Mariupol bunkers

Joe Middleton2 May 2022 18:15

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Russia banned from making Euro 2028 bid as part of Uefa measures

Russia have been banned from making a bid to host the men’s European championships in both 2028 and 2032, as part of a number of measures relating to the country’s continued suspension from international football announced by Uefa.

Russia had declared an interest in rivalling the UK and Ireland for the right to host Euro 2028 but will not be allowed to continue its bid following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

It comes as Uefa reached decisions on a number of areas relating to Russia’s involvement in continental competitions.

Portugal will replace Russia in this summer’s women’s European championships in England, while Russian clubs have been banned from next season’s Champions League.

Joe Middleton2 May 2022 17:57