US sanctions Russian banks, Putin’s daughters

  • US unveils new sanctions on Russia as European Union weighs further measures, including a ban on coal imports.
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says horrific scenes in Bucha, near Kyiv, do not “look far short of genocide”.
  • NATO chief says Russian President Vladimir Putin is still seeking to “control the whole of Ukraine”.
  • Red Cross leads the evacuation of hundreds of people from Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia.

Here are all the latest updates:

UK unveils fifth package of Russia sanctions

The United Kingdom has imposed a new round of sanctions on Russia, marking its fifth such package since the war began.

The measures include a freeze on the assets of Russia’s Sberbank and a ban on outwards investment to Russia. A further eight oligarchs active in the fertilisers, oil and gas industries, among others, were also sanctioned.

The UK’s government added it intended to stop all imports of Russian coal and oil by the end of 2022, with a plan to halt gas imports “as soon as possible thereafter.”


Taiwan demands ‘end to violence’ against civilians in Ukraine

Taiwan’s president says the country stands “with the democratic world in demanding an end to violence against non-combatants in Ukraine”.

“Targeted killing of civilians must be condemned, and those responsible investigated and brought to justice under international law,” Tsai Ing-wen tweeted.


Who are the everyday Russians rallying behind Putin’s war?

Russia’s offensive has prompted domestic street protests and criticism by academics, priests and other high-profile cultural figures.

But how representative these critics are of Russia as a whole is uncertain.

A recent survey by the independent pollster Levada suggested that more than 80 percent of Russians support the country’s attack on Ukraine.

Read more here.


Ukrainian official says 400 people missing in Hostomel

More than 400 residents are missing in the town of Hostomel after a 35-day occupation by Russian forces, Ukraine’s human rights ombudswoman has said.

Lyudmyla Denisova quoted witnesses as saying some of the individuals had been killed, but added the alleged victims’ whereabouts were unknown. She did not provide any further details or cite direct evidence for her claim.

Russian forces seized Hostomel, which is near to Kyiv and a strategically important airfield, soon after invading Ukraine on February 24.

A Ukrainian service member is seen at the Hostomel airfield
Hostomel airfield was targeted by Russian forces soon after Moscow launched its invasion [Mikhail Palinchak/Reuters]

Biden links US sanctions to Bucha ‘atrocities’

President Joe Biden has linked the United States’s new sanctions on Russia to the alleged atrocities carried out by its forces in Bucha.

“I made clear that Russia would pay a severe and immediate price for its atrocities in Bucha,” Biden tweeted.


US sanctions Russian banks, Putin’s relatives

The US has targeted Russian banks and members of President Vladimir Putin’s own family with a new package of sanctions.

In addition to Putin’s two adult daughters, the measures also target Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s wife and daughter, and members of Russia’s security council.

Washington has applied “full blocking sanctions” on Russia’s Sberbank and Alfa Bank, two of its largest financial institutions, as well as some Russian state-owned enterprises, while the White House said President Joe Biden would sign an executive order to ban new US investment in Russia.

INTERACTIVE- Which countries have sanctioned Russia - APRIL 1


US charges Russian oligarch Malofeyev with violating sanctions

The US Justice Department has charged Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev with violating sanctions imposed on Moscow, saying he provided financing for Russians promoting separatism in the annexed Crimean Peninsula.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said authorities had also disrupted a type of global malicious computer network known as a “botnet” controlled by Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency.

The actions underscore what US officials say are their efforts to crack down on Russian criminal activity, choke off the flow of “dirty money” to and from Moscow and disrupt alleged malicious cyber activity by the Kremlin.

US Attorney General Merrick Garland
Attorney General Merrick Garland, center, accompanied by Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, left, and FBI Director Christopher Wray, right, speaks at a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, Wednesday, April 6, 2022, to discuss new and recent enforcement actions to disrupt and prosecute criminal Russian activity. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) (AP Photo)

Russian forces intensifying push for control of Mariupol: AJE correspondent

Al Jazeera’s Rob McBride, reporting from the city of Lviv in Western Ukraine, says Russian forces “appear to be making extra efforts to completely take over Mariupol”.

“That means conditions are deteriorating even further for the tens of thousands of civilians who are caught in the city, and who can’t get out,” McBride said.

Mariupol has been relentlessly bombarded by Russian forces for weeks, with vast swaths of the city reduced to rubble.

An aerial view shows damaged residential buildings in Mariupol
Russia’s assault on Mariupol has left tens of thousands of civilians trapped in the city, unable to escape to safety [Pavel Klimov/Reuters]

NATO chief says Putin still seeking to ‘control the whole of Ukraine’

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance has seen no indication that Russian President Vladimir Putin has “changed his ambition to control the whole of Ukraine and rewrite the international order”.

Speaking to reporters at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, Stoltenberg warned the war “may last for a long time, for many months, or even years.”

However, he also appealed to Putin to “sit down in good faith … [and] find a political solution” to end the conflict.


Russian far-right politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky dies at 75

Russian far-right politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky has died after a long illness, the speaker of the country’s parliament says.

Zhirinovsky, 75, was admitted to hospital earlier this year after contracting COVID-19, according to Russian media, and was too ill to speak out publicly on the war in Ukraine. He had for decades aired anti-Western grievances that found an echo in President Vladimir Putin’s increasingly bitter rhetoric in the run-up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Always, in any audience, in the most heated discussions, he defended the patriotic position, the interests of Russia,” Putin said in a tribute.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky
Zhirinovsky was known for his provocative stunts and anti-Western tirades [File: Maxim Zmeyev/Reuters]

Hungary’s Orban says he asked Putin for Ukraine ceasefire

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban says he talked with Putin at length earlier on Wednesday and asked him to agree to a ceasefire in Ukraine.

Orban told a news conference he had invited Putin for talks in Hungary along with the Ukrainian and French presidents, as well as the German chancellor.

He described Putin’s response as “positive”.


Ukrainian gymnast, 10: ‘I can’t put my athletic career on hold’

Ten-year-old gymnast Daria Oliinyk, or Dasha, as she is known, fled Ukraine to Romania and now trains via Zoom.

Read more here.


Netherlands sends four F-35 fighter jets to Bulgaria

The Netherlands says it has sent four F-35 warplanes to NATO ally Bulgaria to help with its air-policing tasks.

The warplanes, along with Bulgarian MiG-29 fighter jets, will help protect the airspace of the Black Sea country until May 31, in line with NATO’s integrated plan for air and anti-missile defence, the Dutch defence ministry said.

They will replace four Spanish fighter jets that have been helping conduct surveillance operations since the middle of February.

INTERACTIVE--NATO-in-Europe-map-updated


‘Only the dead feel no guilt’: Ukrainian refugees on surviving

Many Ukrainians who have managed to escape the war say they feel guilty for fleeing when others could not and surviving dangers others lost their lives to.

Read more here.

A Ukrainian child on a train
Russia’s offensive has sparked a major humanitarian crisis, sending millions fleeing from their homes in search of safety elsewhere [File: Petros Giannakouris/AP]

Mariupol mayor accuses Russia of ‘burning’ corpses to try and cover up civilian killings

Mariupol’s mayor has accused Russia of attempting to cover up what he said was the killing of possibly “tens of thousands of civilians” in the city by using mobile crematoriums to burn corpses.

“One week ago, cautious estimates put the death toll at 5,000. But given the size of the city, catastrophic destruction, the duration of the blockade and fierce resistance, tens of thousands of civilians from Mariupol could have fallen victim to the occupiers,” Vadym Boychenko said in a post on Telegram.

“The world has not seen the scale of the tragedy in Mariupol since the Nazi concentration camps,” Boychenko said, accusing Russia of turning the city into a “death camp”.

Al Jazeera could not independently verify his claims.

Reporting by Mansur Mirovalev in Vinnytsia, Ukraine.


Germany in ‘confidential talks’ with Kyiv over security guarantees

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says Berlin is in confidential discussions with Kyiv about possible security guarantees it could offer Ukraine.

Ukraine has proposed that third-party countries act as guarantors of its security as an alternative to NATO membership, given Moscow is vehemently opposed to it joining the alliance.

“We are in talks on guarantees with Ukraine,” Scholz told Germany’s Parliament. “These talks are confidential.”


Kyiv council says 89 killed in the capital since start of war

Kyiv’s city council says 89 people, including four children, have been killed in the Ukrainian capital since Russia launched its invasion on February 24.

A further 398 people have been wounded and 167 residential buildings damaged by Russian attacks, the council said in a statement.

It also warned residents to continue to follow air raid warnings despite a recent pull-back of Russian forces from the region, saying the threat of Russian “air strikes remains”.

Mini map showing Kyiv's location within Ukraine


Norway expels 3 Russian diplomats

Norway has decided to expel three diplomats working at Russia’s embassy in Oslo who have conducted activities that are incompatible with their diplomatic status, the country’s foreign ministry has said.

“It is not by chance that these expulsions take place now,” Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt said in a statement.

“They come at a time when the world is shocked by reports of Russian forces’ crimes against civilians … In this situation we pay particular attention to unwanted Russian activities in Norway,” she added.

Read more here.


UK’s Johnson says Bucha scenes do not ‘look far short of genocide’

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the images emerging from Bucha this week do not “look far short of genocide”.

“I’m afraid when you look at what’s happening in Bucha, the revelations that we are seeing from what [Russian President Vladimir] Putin has done in Ukraine, which doesn’t look far short of genocide to me, it is no wonder that people are responding in the way that they are,” Johnson told reporters.

The sight of civilians shot dead in the town’s streets, some with their hands tied, have triggered a global outcry and pledges of further sanctions against Russia.


Extent of Russian ‘destruction becoming more apparent’: AJE correspondent

Al Jazeera’s Resul Serdar, reporting from Kyiv, says as Russian forces leave the region around the Ukrainian capital “the scale of their destruction is becoming more apparent”.

He noted Ukraine’s prosecutor general had warned there would be more “horrors” discovered in Borodyanka, 25km (15 miles) northwest of Bucha.

“Based on that we went to Borodyanka and the scale of destruction [there] was beyond imagination,” Serdar said.

“Its facilities are destroyed, governmental buildings are collapsed and the residential areas have been heavily shelled,” he added.

The corpse of a civilian is seen near destroyed residential buildings in Borodyanka
Borodyanka was occupied by Russian forces for weeks before being recaptured by Ukrainian troops [Gleb Garanich/Reuters]

ICRC leads convoy of 500 evacuees out of Mariupol

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says a team of its staff in Ukraine has led a convoy of buses and private cars carrying more than 500 people from Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia.

“This convoy’s arrival to Zaporizhzhia is a huge relief for hundreds of people who have suffered immensely and are now in a safer location,” Pascal Hundt, the ICRC’s head of delegation in Ukraine, said in a statement.

“It’s clear, though, that thousands more civilians trapped inside Mariupol need safe passage out and aid to come in,” he added.

Mini map showing Mariupol's location within Ukraine


Moscow says talks with Kyiv moving too slow

The Kremlin says talks between Moscow and Kyiv are not progressing as rapidly as Moscow would like.

Speaking to reporters on a conference call, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said work on setting up a new round of talks was under way but that there remained a long road ahead to achieve any progress.

During discussions between the two sides in Istanbul last week, Ukraine set out a detailed framework for a peace deal under which the country would remain neutral but its security would be guaranteed by a group of third-party countries.


Crisis-hit Sri Lanka hosts thousands of stranded Ukrainians

Russia’s invasion has left thousands of Ukrainians, and many Russians, stranded in Sri Lanka amid the country’s worst economic crisis since independence.

Read more here.

A Ukrainian tourist
A Ukrainian tourist cries in front of the Russian embassy in Colombo during a protest against Moscow’s invasion [File: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters]

EU moves to boost defences against chemical, nuclear incidents

The European Commission says it has begun a stockpiling operation to boost its defences against chemical, nuclear and biological incidents amid concerns over the war.

The EU will increase its reserves of protective equipment, decontamination gear, vaccines and medicines, including iodide tablets, the EU’s executive arm said in a statement.


Luhansk governor says Russian forces control most of Rubizhne

Russian forces have seized control of about 60 percent of the town of Rubizhne, in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region, its governor has said.

Serhiy Haidai said in an online post that the town had been heavily shelled by Moscow’s troops as part of 81 mortar, artillery and rocket strikes carried out across the region during the past 24 hours.

Al Jazeera could not independently verify his claims.


Russia’s siege on Mariupol and the people left behind

In this episode, Al Jazeera’s The Take podcast hears from two evacuees from Mariupol about Russia’s relentless assault on the city.


Zelenskyy tells Irish parliament he cannot tolerate ‘indecisiveness’ on sanctions

Zelenskyy says he can not tolerate any “indecisiveness” from Western countries over whether to impose new sanctions on Russia.

In an address to Ireland’s parliament, Zelenskyy urged Dublin to convince its EU partners to roll out further measures.

He added that civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, including a fuel depot, was hit by Russian missiles overnight and accused the Kremlin of deliberately provoking a food crisis by using hunger as a “weapon”.


Two civilians killed in Russian attack on aid distribution point, official says

The governor of Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region says at least two civilians have been killed and five others wounded by Russian artillery strikes on a humanitarian aid distribution point in the town of Vuhledar.

In an online post, Pavlo Kyrylenko shared photos of the alleged attack. The images showed two women stretched out on the ground, another person with a serious wound to the leg and one other with a bloodied leg being helped into a rescue vehicle.

Al Jazeera was unable to independently verify the figures provided.


Ukraine says gas and oil embargo needed to ‘stop Putin’

Ukraine’s foreign minister has welcomed the EU’s proposed new sanctions but said an embargo on Russian gas and oil was needed “to stop” President Vladimir Putin.

“I appreciate the strengthening of the 5th EU sanctions package: bans on Russian coal, vessels accessing EU ports, and road transport operators,” Dmytro Kuleba tweeted.

“But it will take a gas/oil embargo and de-SWIFTing of all Russian banks to stop Putin. Difficult times require difficult decisions,” he added, citing the global payments messaging system.


Pope Francis deplores ‘atrocities’ in Ukraine

Pope Francis has condemned “the massacre of Bucha” and kissed a Ukrainian flag sent from the town, where Russian forces are alleged to have killed hundreds of civilians.

“Recent news from the war in Ukraine, instead of bringing relief and hope, brought new atrocities,” Francis said at the end of his weekly audience in the Vatican’s auditorium.

Pope Francis is seen holding the Ukrainian flag
Francis, the head of the Catholic Church, has repeatedly called for an end to the war in Ukraine [Remo Casilli/Reuters]

Francis said the darkened and stained flag, which had writing and symbols on it, was brought to him from Bucha on Tuesday.

Mini map showing Bucha's location within Ukraine


Greece asks 12 Russian diplomats to leave the country

Greece has declared 12 Russian diplomats “personae non-gratae” and will ask them to leave the country, its foreign ministry says.

The ministry’s general secretary has informed the Russian ambassador of the decision. The diplomats were not acting in accordance with international rules, a foreign ministry official said.


Russia wants to keep diplomatic ties with West despite expulsions: Report

Russia wants to maintain diplomatic relations with Western countries despite a series of expulsions of its diplomats, the country’s Interfax news agency cited its deputy foreign minister as saying.

Alexander Grushko said European countries disrupting the work of Russian diplomats were damaging their own interests, Interfax reported.


India trying to ‘stabilise economic transactions’ with Russia

India’s foreign minister says the country’s government is working to “stabilise economic transactions” with Russia, a day after New Delhi condemned the killing of civilians in Ukraine and called for an independent probe.

Subrahmanyam Jaishankar told India’s parliament that Russia continues to be a critical economic partner.

Russia is India’s main supplier of defence hardware but overall annual trade is small, averaging about $9bn in the past few years, and largely centred on fertiliser and oil.


Ukraine to make new attempt to evacuate civilians from Mariupol

Ukraine will try to evacuate civilians trapped in Mariupol through 11 humanitarian corridors, but those fleeing will have to use private vehicles, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has said.

Efforts to get convoys of buses into the southern port city to evacuate tens of thousands of residents have repeatedly failed.

Evacuees are seen on a bus as they leave Mariupol
Efforts to evacuate civilians from Mariupol have repeatedly faltered [Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters]

Russia’s Gazprom continues gas exports to Europe via Ukraine

Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom is continuing to supply natural gas to Europe via Ukraine in line with requests from European consumers, the company says.

Gazprom estimated the request for gas exports to Europe through Ukraine to be 108.3 million cubic metres on Wednesday.


Russians disrupt sowing season, loot equipment in Melitopol: Mayor

The mayor of the southern Ukrainian city of Melitopol has said occupying Russian troops were “doing their best” to disrupt the sowing season.

“They mine fields, search storage with farming equipment, steal the equipment,” Ivan Fyodorov said in televised remarks.

Russia and Ukraine are the world’s largest wheat producers. The disruption of exports from Ukraine is likely to drive grain prices up, benefitting Russian farmers.


Von der Leyen says EU likely to approve sanctions on Russian oil

The EU will impose more sanctions against Russia on top of the latest package announced on Tuesday, likely including measures against imports of Russian oil, head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen says.

“These sanctions will not be our last,” she told European Parliament in a presentation of the latest sanctions package that includes a ban on buying Russian coal.

“Now we have to look into oil and revenues the Russia gets from fossil fuels,” she said.


Putin ally Medvedev vows international legal battle over property seizures

Former President Dmitry Medvedev has said on Telegram that Moscow will fight attempts to seize Russian property abroad in courts around the world.

“Opponents of Russia … should understand that they will face a large number of cases in courts. Both in the national courts of the United States and Europe and in international courts,” said Medvedev, who served as president from 2008 to 2012 and is now deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council.


Website of Russian oil company Gazprom Neft goes down after apparent hack

The website of Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of Russian gas giant Gazprom, has gone down after an apparent hack.

The website briefly posted a statement purporting to be from Gazprom’s Chief Executive Officer Alexei Miller, a close ally of Putin, making critical comments about Russia’s decision to invade Ukraine.

A Gazprom spokesman dismissed the statement as nonsense. The page stopped working soon afterwards.


Car rams Russian Embassy gate in Romania, driver dead

A car has crashed into the gate of the Russian Embassy in Bucharest, bursting into flames and killing the driver, police have said.

The sedan rammed into the gate at about 6am local time (03:00 GMT) but did not enter the embassy compound. Video of the aftermath showed the car engulfed in flames as security personnel ran through the area.

In a statement after the incident, the Russian embassy said no employees had been injured and expressed condolences to the family of the driver.

Police officers are seen standing guard at the crime scene in Bucharest
The Russian embassy said none of its employees was injured in Wednesday’s incident [Inquam Photos/Octav Ganea via Reuters]

Russian guards came under fire in region bordering Ukraine: Official

Border guards in the Kursk region bordering Ukraine have come under fire, a Russian regional official has said.

“Yesterday, on April 5, they tried to fire mortars at the position of our border guards in the Sudzhansky district,” Roman Starovoit, governor of Kursk, said. “Russian border guards returned fire … There were no casualties or damage on our side.”

There was no immediate reaction from Ukraine.


Hungary’s foreign ministry summons Ukrainian envoy over ‘insults’

Hungary’s foreign ministry has summoned Ukraine’s ambassador over what it called offensive comments from Kyiv regarding Budapest’s stance on Russia’s invasion.

Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto said Hungary had condemned Russia’s invasion, acknowledged Ukraine’s sovereignty and taken in hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the war.

So it was “time for Ukrainian leaders to stop their insults directed at Hungary and acknowledge the will of the Hungarian people,” Szijjarto said in a statement, referring to Sunday’s election win.


Ukraine’s Luhansk region tells civilians to evacuate while they can

Authorities in the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk have urged residents to get out “while it is safe” through five “humanitarian corridors”.

Ukraine says Russian troops are regrouping and preparing for a new offensive in the Donbas area, which includes Luhansk.

“We will take everyone out if the Russians allow us to get to the meeting [point],” Haidai, the regional governor, wrote on the Telegram messaging app. He added that the fact that rail connections had been damaged this week was “another alarm bell.”


Dutch government preventing 14 Russian yachts from leaving

The Dutch government has said it is currently preventing 14 yachts from leaving the country due to sanctions on Russia, including 12 that were under construction for Russian owners.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs made the statement in a letter to parliament, updating politicians on the enforcement of sanctions.


UK health minister says world must act to stop ‘mass murder’ in Ukraine

The world must act to stop the mass murder in Ukraine, British health secretary Sajid Javid has said.

“This is mass murder on an unprecedented scale in Europe. We haven’t seen the likes of this I think since 1995,” he told BBC television.

“We have the power, the world has the power to stop this, and it must act.”


One civilian killed, 5 wounded in Luhansk: Official

Russian shelling has killed one civilian and wounded five others in Luhansk, according to the region’s governor.

Haidai said on Telegram that several towns in the region had been hit overnight, causing fires in apartment buildings and houses.


Ukraine retakes three villages in Kherson: Military

Three villages have been retaken from Russian troops in the southern region of Kherson, the General Staff of the Armed Forces says.

The villages of Dobryanka, Novovoznisenske and Trudolyubovka were “liberated” after weeks of occupation, it said in a video posted on YouTube.


Over 167 Ukrainian children killed by Russians: Prosecutors

At least 167 children have been killed in Ukraine, including two in the past 24 hours, Ukrainian prosecutors have said.

Some 279 have been wounded, the General Prosecutor’s Office said on Telegram.


Remains of child found in pile of burned bodies in Bucha

The AP says its reporters saw “the small, blackened foot of a child” in the tangle of a pile of six burned corpses in Bucha.

One of the blackened bodies had arms raised in supplication and a face contorted in a scream, while the skull of another had a bullet hole in the left temple.

It was not clear who the people were or under what circumstances they were killed, the agency said.


Russia hits fuel depot, factory in Dnipropetrovsk: Ukraine

Russian forces have attacked overnight a fuel depot and a factory in Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk region, Governor Valentyn Reznichenko has said on Telegram. The number of casualties was unclear.

“The enemy attacked our area from the air and hit the oil depot and one of the plants. The oil depot with fuel was destroyed. Rescuers are still putting out the flames at the plant,” Reznichenko wrote.


Russian air raids, heavy fighting continue in Mariupol: UK

The British defence ministry says the humanitarian situation in Mariupol is worsening due to continued Russian air raids and heavy fighting.

“Most of the 160,000 remaining residents have no light, communication, medicine, heat or water,” the ministry said in its latest intelligence update.

“Russian forces have prevented humanitarian access, likely to pressure defenders to surrender,” it added.


New Zealand to impose ‘significant sanctions’ on Russian imports

The New Zealand government says it will introduce a 35 percent tariff on all imports from Russia and ban the export of industrial products such as telecoms equipment and engines to Russia.

“Our response to the war in Ukraine is the most significant response to an international crisis we’ve undertaken as a nation in recent history,” New Zealand’s Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor said in a statement.

He added that images and reports of atrocities against civilians in Bucha were “abhorrent and “reprehensible” and that “New Zealand will not fund or support the Russia war machine”.


Intel leaves Russia

US computer chip designer and manufacturer Intel Corporation says it has suspended business operations in Russia.

The company told Reuters it “continues to join the global community in condemning Russia’s war against Ukraine and calling for a swift return to peace”.

Read more here.


US to provide $100m in military aid to Ukraine after Bucha killings

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says Washington will send an additional $100m in aid to Ukraine to meet its “urgent need” for anti-armour systems.

In a statement, Blinken said this was the US’s sixth drawdown of arms, equipment and supplies for Ukraine and that it brings the US’s total security assistance to Kyiv to more than $1.7bn since the Russian invasion began.

The Associated Press news agency, citing a US government official, said the additional aid was for the transfer of Javelin anti-armour missiles.


More than 200 people missing in Borodyanka, near Kyiv: NYT

A Ukrainian official has told the New York Times that as many as 200 people are missing and presumed dead in the town of Borodyanka, northwest of Kyiv.

Georgii Yerko, the acting mayor, said the number is a rough estimate and that most of the bodies were likely trapped in the rubble of collapsed apartments.

Ukrainian officials have previously said the civilian toll in Borodyanka was likely “much worse” than that in neighbouring Bucha.


Russia-Ukraine war: In Chinese media, the US is the villain

State news agency Xinhua calls the war “a special military operation” and “the Russia-Ukraine crisis” but never refers to it as an invasion. CCTV, the state broadcaster, mentioned civilian casualties for the first time only three weeks after Russia invaded.

More recently, state outlets doubled down on the Russian conspiracy theory claiming the US is funding the development of biological weapons in Ukraine, including migratory birds that could spread avian viruses in Russia.

Read more here on how Chinese state media are portraying the conflict in Ukraine.


Twitter moves to limit reach of Russian government accounts

Twitter has introduced new measures against Russian government accounts in a bid to reduce the effect of official propaganda on the social network.

“We will not amplify or recommend government accounts belonging to states that limit access to free information and are engaged in armed interstate conflict — whether Twitter is blocked in that country or not,” Twitter said in a statement.

The company said it will also remove tweets posted by government or state-affiliated media accounts that share media that depict prisoners of war in the context of the conflict in Ukraine.

 

 


UK to donate 20 ambulances to Ukraine

The UK’s National Health Service says it is sending 20 ambulances to Ukraine to help “bring vital lifesaving care” to Ukrainians wounded in Russian attacks.

The NHS said that the donation will also help replace the Ukrainian ambulances lost to Russian attacks.

The first vehicles will arrive in Ukraine’s western city of Lviv this week, it added.


NATO’s Stoltenberg expects to see ‘more mass graves’ as Russian troops retreat

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has blamed Russia for civilian killings in areas around Kyiv and said he expects more atrocities to come to light as Russian troops retreat from the region.

Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels “we haven’t seen everything that has taken place because Russia still controls most of these territories” around the capital.

“But when and if they withdraw their troops… I’m afraid they will see more mass graves, more atrocities,” he said.

The secretary-general also rejected Russian assertions that the atrocities were staged.

He said that “these atrocities have taken place during a period in which Russia controlled these areas. So they are responsible”.


US defence chiefs defend Ukraine response, warn of ‘protracted conflict’

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has defended Washington’s response to the war in Ukraine during a heated exchange with a Republican legislator who accused the Pentagon of over-estimating Russia’s military capability.

“Has it occurred to you that Russia has not overrun Ukraine because of what we’ve done? And our allies have done? Have you ever even thought about that?” Austin asked Representative Matt Gaetz during testimony to the House Armed Services Committee.

INTERACTIVE- Ukraine Russia head-to-head

During the same hearing, General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the conflict in Ukraine could last for years, adding that “NATO, the United States, Ukraine and all of the allies and partners that are supporting Ukraine are going to be involved in this for quite some time”.


EU’s von der Leyen to visit Kyiv soon: Zelenskyy

Ukraine’s president says he is expecting a visit soon from EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borell.

The officials are expected to visit Kyiv “in the near future”, Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address.

“Kyiv now is the capital of global democracy, the capital of the fight for the freedom for all of us in Europe,” he said.


‘Crucial moment’: Zelenskyy urges more Russia sanctions over civilian killings

Ukraine’s president is calling on Western countries to impose additional sanctions on Russia as more evidence emerged of civilian killings in areas previously occupied by Russian troops.

“Now it’s a crucial moment, first of all for Western leaders,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address. “After the things the world saw in Bucha, sanctions against Russia must be commensurate with the gravity of war crimes.”

He stressed that even if the war ends, Russia must not be allowed to go back to trading as normal and that European leaders who attempt it would pay a political penalty.


Russian rejects Ukraine’s demands for troop pullout, referendum

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has rejected Ukraine’s demands for an immediate pullout of Russian troops and a referendum on any prospective agreements reached at peace talks.

“We are concerned that the Ukrainian side has decided to demand that in case of signing the agreement … all combat actions must be stopped in several days and Russian armed forces must leave Ukraine,” he said in televised remarks.

“After this, there would be an alleged referendum, ratification in the parliament. There is a strong possibility that when the ratification and referendum give a negative result, we’ll need to start negotiation process anew. We don’t want to play such cat and mouse.”


US delegation to meet with Ukraine’s Kuleba

United States Ambassador to NATO Julie Smith says the US will hold a separate meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Brussels.

Smith will be joined by Blinken, who is on a two-day trip to Brussels. The US secretary of state also is expected to attend a meeting of foreign ministers to discuss the developments in Bucha.


New York Jets to donate $1m to assist Ukraine

American football team the New York Jets has announced it will donate $1m to the people of Ukraine. The donation will be split between several organisations over the next year, with each receiving $100,000.

“I wanted to do my part in helping and to bring awareness because this is a problem that’s not going to go away,” said Suzanne Johnson, the wife of team owner Woody Johnson. Her mother was born to Ukrainian immigrants and her father immigrated to the US from Ternopil, near Kyiv.


Hundreds of civilians leave Mariupol by private vehicle

Ukraine’s deputy prime minister says Russian troops have allowed 1,496 civilians to evacuate the besieged city of Mariupol by private vehicle.

Iryna Vereshchuk said the Russian forces stopped buses accompanied by workers of the ICRC from travelling to Mariupol, but that civilians who were able to leave in their personal vehicles travelled to Zaporizhzhia.


ICC war crimes probe may take a long time: Ex-US official

A former Obama administration official has said any International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation into alleged crimes committed in Ukraine will take a long time unless Western powers put in more effort.

“The ICC has only 71 investigators and 16 analysts for 15 countries,” Stephen Rapp, who served as the US ambassador-at-large on war crimes under ex-President Barack Obama, told Al Jazeera from Miami, Florida.

“There needs to be hundreds of individuals provided by Western law enforcement agencies to come in and work with [the ICC],” he said. “And then support civil society organisations that are also employed in order to really have the evidence that’s needed.”

Ukrainian soldiers recover the remains of four killed civilians from inside a charred vehicle in Bucha, outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, April 5, 2022.
Ukrainian soldiers recover the remains of four civilians from inside a charred vehicle in Bucha, April 5 [Felipe Dana/ AP]

US to tap Asia for more natural gas to help Europe break from Russia

The US will continue to explore ways to help Europe wean itself off Russian energy supplies, the White House says, including asking Asian countries to supply more liquified natural gas (LNG) to the region.

“One of the steps we’ve taken successfully, which we will continue to build on, is to tap into countries in Asia who have LNG, excess LNG capacity, to provide that to Europe,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.

Russia is the world’s largest supplier of LNG, accounting for about 45 percent of the EU’s imports in 2021.


Lviv honours the dead with a candlelit vigil

Hundreds of yellow and blue candles have been lit in a central square in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv to honour civilians killed in the Russian invasion.

“We want just to pray for their soul and at the same time we want to pray for Ukraine,” Svitlana Shkulova, 54, from Kyiv told The Associated Press news agency. “We hope that our nation will win this war.”

The vigil in Lviv was preceded by a religious service performed by leaders of various Christian denominations.

A girl stands in front of lit candles forming the shape of Ukraine's map, in memory of lost lives, in front of the Taras Shevchenko monument, in Lviv, western Ukrain
A girl stands in front of lit candles forming Ukraine’s map, in memory of lost lives, in front of the Taras Shevchenko monument, Lviv, April 5 [Nariman El-Mofty/ AP]
People light candles forming the shape of Ukraine's map, in memory of lost lives, in front of the Taras Shevchenko monument, in Lviv, western Ukraine,
People light candles in the shape of Ukraine’s map, in memory of lost lives, in front of the Taras Shevchenko monument, Lviv, April 5 [Nariman El-Mofty/ AP]

Blinken arrives in Brussels before NATO meeting

Blinken has landed in Belgium’s capital ahead of a NATO meeting of foreign ministers.

Earlier on Tuesday, Blinken said the killings in the Ukrainian town of Bucha were part of a deliberate Russian campaign to commit atrocities.

“What we’ve seen in Bucha is not the random act of a rogue unit,” he said. “It’s a deliberate campaign to kill, to torture, to rape, to commit atrocities.”

Blinken
Blinken says killings in Bucha part of ‘deliberate campaign’ [File: Saul Loeb/Pool via AP Photo]

No casualties reported after explosions in Lviv

No casualties have been reported following explosions in the Lviv region of western Ukraine, local officials said.

“Explosions near Radekhiv,” Regional Governor Maksim Kositsky said on Telegram, referring to a town about 70km (43 miles) northeast of Lviv. “Everybody must remain in shelters.”

A short while later he said in another post: “As of this hour, there is no information on victims.”


US to announce new sanctions on Russia

Jen Psaki has said the US will announce new sanctions on Russia on Wednesday, including a ban on all new investment in Russia.

“They will target Russian government officials, their family members, Russian owned financial institutions, also state-owned enterprises,” Psaki said during a news conference, about the upcoming measures.


US providing Ukraine with protective chemical weapons gear

A Biden administration official says the US is providing Ukraine with life-saving protective equipment that could be deployed if Russia were to use chemical and biological weapons.

The equipment and supplies requested by Kyiv are being delivered on a rolling basis and some have already been delivered, the unidentified official told the Reuters news agency.


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

Read all the updates from Tuesday, April 5 here.

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