Russian FM Lavrov warns of ‘real’ danger of World War III

  • Russia’s defence ministry claims its high-precision missiles destroyed six facilities powering railways used to deliver foreign weapons to Ukrainian forces in the eastern Donbas region.
  • Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says Western weapons sent to Ukraine “will be a legitimate target” for the Russian military.
  • The US is considering imposing additional sanctions on Russia, the White House says.
  • UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
(Al Jazeera)

Here are all the latest updates:

Russian troops fire on Sumy region: Reports

Russian troops fired four times at the Sumy region from Russian territory over the evening, the Ostrov news agency reports citing the press service of the State Border Service.

“The Sumy region was shelled four times from Russian territory. In particular, from the side of the Russian village of Tetkino, heavy weapons were used in the direction of the Ukrainian village of Rivne, in the Konotop region,” the report said.

There were no reports of casualties.

A Ukrainian serviceman inspects a heavily damaged apartment building after Russian bombardment in Kharkiv
A Ukrainian serviceman inspects heavily damaged apartment building after Russian bombardment in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Sunday, April 24, 2022. [Felipe Dana/AP]

UK removing tariffs on Ukraine imports

The UK is removing all tariffs covered by the UK-Ukraine trade deal and hitting the Putin government with fresh sanctions, a statement from the government says.

All tariffs on goods imported from Ukraine will now be reduced to zero and all quotas removed under the free trade agreement.

“Removing tariffs on key Ukrainian exports including barley, honey, tinned tomatoes and poultry will help Ukrainian businesses and producers when they need it most,” the statement said.

The UK has also announced an export ban on products and technology
Russia could use to repress the people of Ukraine, such as interception and monitoring equipment. “This will close any existing loopholes to ensure that Russia is not buying these goods from the UK,” the statement added.


Ukraine FM says Russia ‘senses defeat’

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has criticised his Russian counterpart for warning of a “real” danger of World War III, saying Lavrov’s comments indicated that “Moscow senses defeat”.

“Russia loses last hope to scare the world off supporting Ukraine. Thus the talk of a ‘real’ danger of WWIII,” Kuleba wrote on Twitter.

“This only means Moscow senses defeat in Ukraine. Therefore, the world must double down on supporting Ukraine so that we prevail and safeguard European and global security.”


US hosting Ukraine talks in Germany as war enters critical phase

The United States will host Ukraine-focused defence talks at an American airbase in Germany, which officials have said are expected to bring together more than 40 countries.

US Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said a key goal of the event at Ramstein Air Base was to synchronise and coordinate mounting security assistance to Kyiv that includes heavy weaponry, like howitzer artillery, as well as armed drones and ammunition.

“The next several weeks will be very, very critical,” Milley told reporters travelling with him. “They need continued support in order to be successful on the battlefield. And that’s really the purpose of this conference.”


New mass grave identified north of Mariupol, officials say

Officials in Mariupol say a new mass grave has been identified north of the Ukrainian port city.

Mayor Vadym Boychenko said authorities are trying to estimate the number of victims in the grave about 10km (6 miles) north of Mariupol.

Satellite photos released over the past several days have shown what appear to be images of other mass graves.


Western weapons in Ukraine legitimate targets for Russian military: Lavrov

Deliveries of Western weaponry to Ukraine mean that the NATO alliance is “in essence engaged in war with Russia” and Moscow views these weapons as legitimate targets, Lavrov has said.

“These weapons will be a legitimate target for Russia’s military acting within the context of the special operation,” the foreign minister told state television.

“Storage facilities in western Ukraine have been targeted more than once [by Russian forces]. How can it be otherwise?” he said. “NATO, in essence, is engaged in a war with Russia through a proxy and is arming that proxy. War means war.”


Ukraine’s Zelenskyy says Russia will not win the war

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said Russia will not be able to win the war against his country and called on residents to do everything to make the presence of Russian troops in Ukraine “unbearable”.

Zelenskyy said Russia will lose the war, but to get there, Ukrainians must think of how to make “the presence of occupiers [in] our land even more unbearable”.

“Ukraine is ready for peace … But in order to make Russia seek peace, every Ukrainian man and woman must fight, must defend freedom. Because every day of the fight will add years and years to the peaceful life after this war, after our victory,” Zelenskyy said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Zelenskyy called on Ukrainians to make it ‘unbearable’ for Russian troops to stay on Ukrainian territory [Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP]

Russia seeks to reduce existing ‘serious’ risks of nuclear war: Lavrov

Russia wants to reduce all chances of “artificially” elevating the risk of nuclear conflict, Lavrov has said in a television interview.

“This is our key position on which we base everything. The risks now are considerable,” Lavrov told Russia’s state television, based on a transcript provided on the ministry’s website.


UK to send ambulances, medical aid to Ukraine

The United Kingdom is providing Ukraine with new ambulances, fire engines, medical supplies and funding for health experts to help its emergency services deal with the aftermath of Russian attacks, the government has said.

“We have all been appalled by the abhorrent images of hospitals deliberately targeted by Russia since the invasion began over two months ago,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

“The new ambulances, fire engines and funding for health experts announced today will better equip the Ukrainian people to deliver vital health care and save lives.”


War has disrupted Ukrainian agricultural production: UK

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has significantly disrupted Ukrainian agricultural production, the UK Ministry of Defence tweeted in a regular bulletin.

“Ukrainian grain harvest for 2022 is likely to be around 20% lower than 2021 due to reduced sowing areas following invasion,” it said.

The reduced grain supply from Ukraine will generate inflationary pressures, elevating the global price of grain, the UK military intelligence said.


US leader sees fast action on upcoming Ukraine military aid request

US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said he expected “swift, bipartisan” passage of another bill to aid Ukraine in its fight against Russia once President Joe Biden submits a new funding request.

“We must continue helping the people of Ukraine in their fight against Russian aggression,” he said, without providing any details on the possible amount of assistance that will be approved.

“I expect swift bipartisan cooperation to get it done,” he added.


Russia’s Lavrov warns of ‘real’ danger of World War III

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said that peace talks with Ukraine would continue while warning there was a “real” danger of a World War III.

“The danger is serious, it is real, you can’t underestimate it,” Lavrov told the Interfax news agency.

He also criticised Kyiv’s approach to the talks, adding: “Goodwill has its limits. But if it isn’t reciprocal, that doesn’t help the negotiation process.”


Russia says two injured in shelling of village bordering Ukraine

Two people were injured in shelling of a village in Russia’s Belgorod region bordering Ukraine, the region’s governor, Vyacheslav Gladkov, has said in a post on social media.

Officials in southern Russian regions have in the past few weeks reported cases of what they said was cross-border shelling that damaged residential buildings, although reports of civilians sustaining injuries have been rare.

Gladkov said some homes were damaged in the latest shelling without providing further details. He said earlier that four homes and a car had been damaged in the shelling of another village.


More sanctions against Russia likely: White House

The US is likely to impose more economic sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has said, warning that “no one is safe from our sanctions”.

Psaki would not comment specifically on a Wall Street Journal article that the reported mother of three of Vladimir Putin’s children had so far not been sanctioned to avoid riling the Russian president.


Supplemental US aid for Ukraine likely to be in longer-term package

New aid for Ukraine requested by US President Joe Biden is likely to be part of a longer-term package that will require approval from Congress, the White House has said.

Biden said last week that he would seek approval from Congress soon for more assistance for Ukraine after announcing $800m in additional military assistance last week.


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

Read all the updates from Monday, April 25 here.

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