‘Fake news’: Mariupol mayor denies Russian claim port was seized

  • Ukraine claims it struck Russia’s Black Sea warship Moskva with two cruise missiles, causing severe damage.
  • Russia confirms the ship has been damaged and crew evacuated due to fire but says it is investigating the cause.
  • Moscow warns NATO against accepting Sweden and Finland’s memberships, saying there could be no more talk of a “nuclear-free” Baltic.
  • Ukrainian officials say at least four people have been killed in the eastern city of Kharkiv amid increasing Russian bombings.
(Al Jazeera)

Here are all the latest updates:

Ukraine’s 2022 World Cup play-off with Scotland on June 1: FIFA

Ukraine’s 2022 World Cup play-off with Scotland rearranged following the Russian invasion will take place on June 1, world governing body FIFA has announced.

The winners of the match at Hampden Park in Glasgow will play Wales on June 5 in Cardiff for a spot at this year’s finals in Qatar.


Village in Russia’s Belgorod region hit by Ukrainian shelling: Governor

A village in Russia’s Belgorod region has come under fire from Ukraine, the region’s governor has said.

“The village of Spodaryushino has been subjected to fire from Ukraine,” Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said in a post on the Telegram messaging service. He said no one had been injured and that the village and one other settlement had been evacuated.

Ukraine’s defence ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on allgeations of cross-border shelling.


Russia says Ukraine fired mortars at Bryansk border post

A border post in the Bryansk region has been fired at with mortars from Ukraine, Russia’s security service has said, in the latest of a series of reported cross-border attacks.

No one was injured in the incident but some vehicles were damaged, a spokesman for Russia’s FSB security service told state television.

Ukrainian interior ministry adviser Anton Herashchenko said in a post on the Telegram messaging service that something “fell and caught fire” at a military facility in Bryansk near the border.

The post did not explicitly deny Ukraine was responsible. Russia’s defence ministry said on Wednesday that the continuation of “sabotage and attacks” by Ukrainian forces could trigger strikes on Kyiv.


Dutch government to instruct firms not to pay for Russian gas in roubles

The government of the Netherlands will instruct companies not to pay for Russian gas in roubles as Moscow has proposed, as doing so would violate European Union sanctions.

A Ministry of Economic Affairs spokesperson said the country had adopted that position following a decision by the European Commission on Wednesday and that it was being communicated to energy companies.

“What has changed is that the (European) Commission has concluded yesterday that paying in roubles would violate sanctions, and so would the construction with Gazprombank,” the spokesperson said.


Russia says fire on the Moskva missile cruiser is contained

Russia’s defence ministry has said that sailors have contained a fire on board the Moskva missile cruiser, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, and that measures were being taken to tow it back to port.

The ministry said the cruiser’s main weaponry had not been damaged and that its crew had been evacuated onto other ships in the Black Sea.

Moscow has claimed the blaze broke out after ammunition blew up on board, while Kyiv said it had been hit by two Ukrainian-made Neptune anti-ship cruise missiles.


Four civilians killed, 10 wounded in shelling in Kharkiv: Governor

The governor of Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, Oleh Synyehubov, says four civilians have been killed and 10 wounded during Russian shelling of the city of Kharkiv.

In a statement, the governor also urged residents of some towns to evacuate as military operations were expected to take place in the area.

Emergency workers carry the body of local resident Sergiy, 41, from his destroyed apartment, following an artillery attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
Emergency workers carry the body of resident Sergiy, 41, from his destroyed apartment, following an artillery attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine [Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters]

Mariupol mayor denies Russian reports that port has been taken

The mayor of the heavily embattled city of Mariupol, Vadym Boychenko, has told German broadcaster ARD that: “Mariupol was, is, and will continue to be a Ukrainian city.”

Boychenko called the Russian reports that the city’s port had been taken and that more than 1,000 Ukrainian fighters had surrendered “fake news”.

The city, on the banks of the Sea of Azov, has been under siege by Russian troops and pro-Russian separatists for weeks.


Lithuania says Russian threat to increase military in the Baltic region is ‘nothing new’

Russia’s threat to increase its military presence – including nuclear – in the Baltic region is “nothing new”, Lithuania’s Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte has said.

“That Russia threatens, it is nothing new,” she told reporters. “Kaliningrad is a very militarised zone, has been for many years, and it is in the Baltic region”.

Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave, on the shore of the Baltic Sea, is sandwiched between NATO members Lithuania and Poland.


Russia opens criminal cases into alleged torture of its soldiers by Ukraine

Russia’s Investigative Committee has said it is opening criminal cases into Ukrainian servicemen’s alleged torture of their Russian counterparts.

The committee, which probes major crimes, said some Russian soldiers had been captured by Ukrainian forces in the Zaporizhzhia and Mykolaiv regions and held illegally by Ukraine’s security service.

“Russians were subjected to physical violence and torture in order to force them to give false explanations about the actual conditions of their illegal detention on the premises of the Security Service of Ukraine, as well as on (Russia’s) special military operation,” it said in a statement.


Russia warns NATO over Sweden and Finland membership

Russia has warned NATO that, if Sweden and Finland join the military alliance, it will have to bolster its defences and there could be no more talk of a “nuclear-free” Baltic.

“There can be no more talk of any nuclear–free status for the Baltic – the balance must be restored,” Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said.

“Until today, Russia has not taken such measures and was not going to,” he added.


Kramatorsk and Kostiantynivka likely to face ‘indiscriminate attacks’: UK

The British Ministry of Defence has said the Ukrainian towns of Kramatorsk and Kostiantynivka were likely targets of “indiscriminate attacks”, as Russian forces prepare to stage a new offensive in the east of the country.

“Urban centres have faced repeated indiscriminate attacks from Russia throughout the conflict,” the ministry said in its latest intelligence update, adding that the two towns were likely to face “similar levels of violence”.

Ukraine’s defence of the port city of Mariupol is “currently tying down significant numbers of Russian troops and equipment,” it said on Twitter, and an offensive in the east will “require significant force levels”.


Ukraine investigating almost 6,500 alleged war crimes

The prosecutor’s office has said it is investigating almost 6,500 alleged war crimes committed by Russian troops in Ukraine.

A total of 6,492 cases have been reported and 197 children have been confirmed killed, the office said on Twitter.


Ukraine says restarting evacuations after halt

Ukraine has said it is reopening humanitarian corridors allowing for the evacuation of civilians from war-scarred regions of the country, after a day-long pause that Kyiv attributed to Russian violations.

Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in a statement on social media that nine routes in the east and south of the country would be operating a day after they were shut because as the time they were “too dangerous”.


European Space Agency stops cooperation with Russian lunar missions

The European Space Agency has ended cooperation with Russia on three missions to the Moon due to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, following a previous decision to do the same for a Mars mission.

“As with ExoMars, the Russian aggression against Ukraine and the resulting sanctions put in place represent a fundamental change of circumstances and make it impossible for ESA to implement the planned lunar cooperation,” the ESA said in a statement.

The ESA said it would “discontinue cooperative activities” on Luna-25, 26 and 27, a series of Russian lunar missions on which the European agency had aimed to test new equipment and technology.


IT firm Infosys moves out of Russia

Global IT firm Infosys is moving business out of Russia “to an alternate location” amid the continuing conflict with Ukraine, the Times of India reports.

This comes after other IT companies such as Oracle Corp also announced they were suspending all operations in Russia.


Fiji police question captain of sanctioned Russian billionaire’s superyacht

Fiji police have investigated the arrival of a luxury vessel owned by a sanctioned Russian oligarch and questioned its captain about how he brought the boat to the Pacific island nation without customs clearance, Reuters news agency reports.

Fijian newspapers earlier reported police had seized the superyacht Amadea, owned by Russian billionaire, Suleiman Kerimov, who has been sanctioned by the United States, Britain and the European Union over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and detained its crew.

The US embassy said it was aware the Amadea had docked in Fiji’s Lautoka port and the embassy was cooperating with Fijian authorities on the matter, Reuters reports.


‘I won’t survive if Russians take over’: Ukrainian parliamentarian

A Ukrainian parliamentarian has said she can’t imagine any other way for Ukraine to survive than to win the war against Russia.

“I don’t think I can survive in this country if Russians will take over,” Ivanna Klympush, Chair of the Parliamentary Committee of Ukraine’s Integration into the European Union, told CNN.

“Or any of my friends or any people who have been building a democratic, free and independent country over these 30 years of independence,” she added.


Reports emerge of explosion in Kherson’s Chornobaivka airfield

Reports and videos have emerged of an explosion in Chornobaivka airfield in Kherson.

These have not been verified.


Reports of ‘Ukrainian women feeling at risk from male sponsors’ in UK: UN refugee agency

The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) has expressed concern over the potential exploitation of Ukrainian women in relation to a UK scheme that allows British residents to house Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion.

The agency said it was aware of an increasing number of reports of Ukrainian women feeling at risk from male sponsors, and that it believed women and mothers with children should be matched with couples or families rather than with single men.

“Matching done without the appropriate oversight may lead to increasing the risks women may face, in addition to the trauma of displacement, family separation and violence already experienced,” the UNHCR said in a statement.

The British government introduced the “Homes for Ukraine” scheme last month, allowing Britons to sponsor Ukrainians and provide them somewhere to live for a minimum of six months.


US to expand intelligence provision for Ukraine’s fight in the east

The US plans to step up the intelligence it provides Ukraine so its forces can target Russia’s military units in Donbas and Crimea, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The report notes Russia’s pullback of troops from capital cities to focus on an offensive on Donbas and other areas in eastern Ukraine “contributed to the [Biden] administration’s decision late last week to step up intelligence sharing”.

But it adds officials have stressed the US will “refrain from providing intelligence that would enable the Ukrainians to strike targets on Russian territory”.


Food, blankets and first aid kits part of Thailand’s relief package for Ukraine

The Thai embassy in Warsaw on Wednesday delivered its first batch of relief items to the Polish Red Cross for distribution in Ukraine, according to a statement from Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The aid package consists of 71,000 items which include food, blankets and sleeping bags, baby and child products, hygiene items and first aid kits.

The relief items are part of the Thai government’s humanitarian assistance for Ukraine worth two million baht ($60,000).


Australia levels new sanctions on Russia, targeting 14 companies

Australia has imposed a new set of sanctions on 14 state-owned enterprises of “strategic and economic importance to Russia”, according to a statement from defence minister Marise Payne.

Included in the sanctions are defence-related transportation companies Kamaz and the United Shipbuilding Corporation. Sanctions also extend to Ruselectronics, “which is responsible for the production of around 80 per cent of all Russian electronics components” and Russian Railways, “one of the largest single contributors to Russia’s GDP”.

“By preventing dealings with these important sources of revenue for the Russian government, we are increasing the pressure on Russia and undercutting its ability to continue funding Putin’s war”, Payne’s statement says.


Ukraine planning exchange of 169 service members Russia took prisoner at Chernobyl nuclear plant

Negotiations are reportedly under way to exchange 169 service members of Ukraine’s National Guard who were taken prisoner at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. This was posted on the official Telegram channel of Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, citing an announcement by minister Denys Monastyrsky.

Monastyrsky said some of the prisoners are in Belarus and some in Russia.

“We were at the place where they were kept. This is a dungeon without light, without the ability to communicate properly. And then they were taken out. Unfortunately, I can’t say what their fate is,” the minister said, adding the exchange would only be possible “after the end of the active phase of hostilities”.


‘The fight for Europe’s future is happening here’: Lithuanian president on Ukraine visit

Presidents of four countries on Russia’s doorstep visited Ukraine on Wednesday to underscore their support and demand accountability for what they called war crimes carried out by Russian forces.

The presidents of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia travelled by train to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, to meet with Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and visited Borodyanka, one of the nearby towns where evidence of atrocities was found after the withdrawal of Russian troops.

“The fight for Europe’s future is happening here,” Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said, calling for tougher sanctions including against Russia’s oil and gas shipments and all the country’s banks.

Lithuania's President Gitanas Nauseda, Polish President Andrzej Duda, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Latvian President Egils Levits and Estonia's President Alar Karis attend news conference during meeting in Kyiv
Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nauseda, Polish President Andrzej Duda, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Latvian President Egils Levits and Estonia’s President Alar Karis attend a news conference during a meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 [Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP]

Russian warship ‘Moskva’ capsized, reports suggest

Reports on Telegram suggest the Russian warship “Moskva” has capsized. The information is being verified.


Russia’s Black Sea Fleet warship severely damaged, crew evacuated

Ukraine launched two Neptune anti-ship cruise missiles at Russia’s missile cruiser Moskva in the Black Sea, causing serious damage, the head of Odesa’s regional administration said on Telegram.

Russia’s defence ministry has confirmed the ship was “seriously damaged” and the crew completely evacuated “as a result of detonation of ammunition caused by fire”, its state agency TASS reports. The ministry said the cause of the fire was being determined.

Moskva is the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet, reportedly leading the naval assault on Ukraine.

A man looks out to sea as the Russian warship "Moskva" ("Moscow") sails at a Black Sea shore outside the town of Myrnyi, western Crimea, Ukraine
A man looks out to sea as the Russian warship “Moskva” (Moscow) sails on the Black Sea outside the town of Myrnyi, western Crimea, Ukraine, on Thursday, March 6, 2014 [Darko Vojinovic/AP]

Executives from top weapons manufacturers meet with Pentagon officials

Executives from the top United States weapons makers have met with Pentagon officials to discuss challenges for the industry in the event of a protracted Ukraine conflict.

In a statement, Pentagon spokesperson Eric Pahon said the discussion “focused primarily on accelerating production and building more capacity across the industrial base for weapons and equipment that can be exported rapidly, deployed with minimal training, and prove effective in the battlefield”.


Expert welcomes additional US military aid to Ukraine

John Spencer, a retired US army major and expert on urban warfare at the Madison Policy Forum, has said that he was pleased to see that Washington is sending artillery and artillery rounds to Ukraine.

“You need these bigger, more powerful weapons … to match what Russia is bringing to try to take eastern Ukraine,” Spencer said.


Zelenskyy says he is thankful for US military aid

Zelenskyy has said he is “sincerely thankful” to the US for pledging an additional $800m in military assistance to Ukraine.

“We have agreed on $800m in military assistance, including weapons, ammunition, artillery systems, armoured personnel carriers, helicopters and others. Sincerely thankful for the support,” he said.

In his daily address to the nation, Zelenskyy also said he was thankful for Wednesday’s visit by the presidents of Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.


US yet to commit to its own genocide probe of Russia

The US has stopped short of promising to launch its own inquiry to determine whether “genocide” was committed by Russia in Ukraine but said it will support international efforts to hold Russia accountable.

US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price declined to say whether Biden’s comments reflected the overall position of the US government but said the president “was speaking to the impression he had garnered from watching the horrific footage that we’ve all seen” from Ukraine.

“What we are doing is the most effective means of achieving that ultimate goal of accountability,” Price said.


Some US arms will require training for Ukrainian forces: Pentagon

Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby has said some of the weapons systems the US is sending to Ukraine, like howitzers and radars, will require additional training for Ukrainian forces not accustomed to using American military equipment.

“We’re aware of the clock and we know time is not our friend,” Kirby said when asked about the speed of deliveries.


Industrial control system malware discovered: US agencies

Multiple US government agencies have issued a joint alert warning of the discovery of malicious cyber tools created by unnamed advanced threat actors that they said were capable of gaining “full system access” to multiple industrial control systems.

The public alert from the Energy and Homeland Security Departments and the FBI and National Security Agency did not name the actors or offer details on the find. But their private-sector cybersecurity partners said the evidence suggests Russia is behind the tools, which were configured to initially target North American energy concerns.

One of the cybersecurity firms involved, Mandiant, said in a report that the tools’ functionality was “consistent with the malware used in Russia’s prior physical attacks”. It called them “exceptionally rare and dangerous”.

Ukrainian soldier holding a Swedish shoulder-launched weapon system.
Ukrainian service members study a Swedish shoulder-launched weapon system, Carl Gustaf M4, during a training session near Kharkiv [File: Andrew Marienko/AP]

Russian gov’t will discuss giving subsidies to airlines, airports: Interfax

The Russian government will discuss giving subsidies to airlines and airports to help them cope with the economic damage caused by western sanctions, the Interfax news agency has said.

Airlines will be able to receive compensation for lost revenues stemming from forced flight cancellations, while the state will support 11 airports in central and southern Russia, Interfax said.

The sanctions have banned the supply of spare parts to Russian airlines, making maintenance more complicated.


US has additional sanctions it can impose on Russia: White House

The US has a wide variety of additional sanctions that it can impose on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has told reporters.

Psaki said secondary sanctions and the targeting of additional financial firms are among a range of potential actions remaining that could be aimed at Russia.


At least four killed, 10 injured in Ukraine’s Kharkiv, officials say

Four civilians have been killed and 10 others injured in Ukraine’s eastern city of Kharkiv, local officials said, as Russian forces stepped up their bombing campaign.

“The enemy is bombing residential homes, residential areas. Unfortunately, there are civilian casualties – the worst thing is that children are dying,” Kharkiv mayor Ihor Terekhov told Ukrainian national television.

Kharkiv region Governor Oleh Synehubov later wrote on the Telegram messaging app that four people were killed and 10 wounded by attacks on the city.


Macron, Scholz steer clear of Biden’s ‘genocide’ claim

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz have avoided echoing Biden’s accusation that Russia is carrying out “genocide” against Ukrainians, warning that verbal escalations would not help end the war.

But Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he believed it was “absolutely right” to describe Russian actions in Ukraine as “genocide”.

“I think it’s absolutely right that more and more people be talking and using the word ‘genocide’ in terms of what Russia is doing, what Vladimir Putin has done,” Trudeau told reporters.


Ukraine war is causing a ‘three dimensional crisis’: UN Secretary-General

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said the war on Ukraine is “supercharging” food, energy and economic crises, which will affect the world’s most vulnerable people.

“The war is supercharging a three-dimensional crisis — food, energy and finance — that is pummeling some of the world’s most vulnerable people, countries and economies,” Guterres said in a speech.

“And all this comes at a time when developing countries are already struggling with a slate of challenges not of their making — the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and a lack of access to adequate resources to finance the recovery in the context of persistent and growing inequalities.”


Biden administration announces $800m in additional military aid to Ukraine

US President Joe Biden has approved $800m in new military assistance to Ukraine, including artillery and helicopters, to bolster its defences against an intensified Russian offensive in the country’s east.

Biden announced the aid after a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to coordinate the delivery of the assistance.

“This new package of assistance will contain many of the highly effective weapons systems we have already provided and new capabilities tailored to the wider assault we expect Russia to launch in eastern Ukraine,” he said in a statement.

Read more here.


Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Read all the updates from Wednesday, April 13 here.

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