US says Russian troops have completed withdrawal from Kyiv area

  • The United States has announced a new round of sanctions focusing on Russia’s financial institutions, as well as Russian officials and their family members.
  • Ukraine’s deputy prime minister says authorities would try to evacuate civilians trapped in Mariupol through 11 humanitarian corridors.
  • The Red Cross reports it led more than 1,000 people to Zaporizhzhia in a convoy from the besieged Ukrainian city.
  • The mayor of Mariupol claims more than 5,000 civilians have been killed to date.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy calls on Western nations to agree to an embargo on Russian oil.
(Al Jazeera)

Here are all the latest updates:

US sanctions will hurt ordinary people says Russian ambassador

US sanctions in relation to Sberbank and Alfa Bank are a “direct blow to ordinary Russians”, Russia’s Ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, has said.

The ambassador called sanctions “non-stop attacks” and said the US was trying to tarnish Russia’s reputation by making it difficult for it to make debt payments.

Russian teacher faces prison after telling students of bombings in Mariupol

A teacher in the Russian town of Penza is facing a fine of three to five million roubles, or five to ten years in prison, after telling her students about Russian forces bombing Mariupol.

News organisation Radio Liberty reported the teacher, Irina Gen, was interviewed by an agent of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) after her students posted her lesson online. She has been charged with spreading “fake news” about the Russian army.

“He insisted that I confess to spreading fakes on purpose. But I was one hundred percent sure that all this was true,” Gen told told Radio Liberty.

The Russian parliament toughened its “fake news” laws in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine. Under the legislation, those who “knowingly” spread so-called false information about Russian state bodies operating abroad face fines and a prison sentence of up to 15 years.

Gen told Radio Liberty she was “in for a painful trial”.


UN to vote on suspending Russia from its human rights body

The United Nations General Assembly will vote on Thursday on whether to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council.

US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, brought the move for Russia to be stripped of its seat on the 47-member council, in the wake of videos and photos of corpses strewn along the streets of Bucha, near Kyiv.

General Assembly spokeswoman Paulina Kubiak said the assembly will meet to vote on the resolution to suspend Russia at 10am on Thursday. The resolution’s approval requires a two-thirds majority of assembly members that vote “yes” or “no.”

Ukrainian serviceman amid destroyed Russian tanks in Bucha
Ukrainian serviceman amid destroyed Russian tanks in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (Felipe Dana/AP)

US House passes bill to collect evidence of war crimes in Ukraine

The US House of Representatives has passed legislation calling on the federal government to detail its efforts to collect evidence of war crimes committed in the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Lawmakers backed the measure by a vote of 418-7 after gruesome reports of atrocities in towns around Kyiv, particularly Bucha. US President Joe Biden previously said a “war crimes trial”could be held over the civilian deaths in Bucha.

Russian forces ‘dismiss’ Zaporizhzhia mayor: Kyiv Independent

The Kyiv Independent says Russian forces have dismissed the mayor of the city of Enerhodar in the Zaporozhzhia Region, Dmytro Orlov, and installed a regime-friendly head.

Enerhodar is the location of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant where a fire broke out in March after shelling. The town has been partially occupied by Russian forces.

According to Energoatom, the operator of nuclear power stations in Ukraine, Andriy Shevchyk, a deputy of the Energodar city council, was chosen as head of the city administration “by an illegal order”, the Kyiv Independent said on Twitter.

Al Jazeera could not verify this information.

Key moment for citizens of Russia: Zelenskyy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has spoken directly to Russian citizens saying now is the time for them to decide whether they are for war or peace.

“Everyone in Russia who will not demand an end to this shameful war and the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine has no future,” he said in his nightly national address.

“It is better now, demanding peace, to lose something, to somehow face the Russian repressive machine than to be equated with the Nazis for the rest of your life,” he added.

‘Very small’ number of Ukrainian troops get drone training in US

Ukrainian soldiers are being trained in the US to operate the Switchblade drones that Washington is supplying to Kyiv, a Pentagon official has said.

Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby said a “very small” number of Ukrainian troops – less than a dozen – who were already present in the US before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began, are being trained.

“We took the opportunity, having them still in the country, to give them a couple of days’ worth of training on the Switchblades, so they can go back … to train others in the Ukrainian military,” Kirby said, adding that 100 drones have been sent to Ukraine.

Delay on Russia oil embargo decision is costing lives: Zelenskyy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has blasted Western leaders for being too slow to agree to impose an embargo on Russian oil – at the cost of Ukrainian lives.

“Some politicians are still unable to decide how to limit the flow of petrodollars and oil euros to Russia so as not to put their own economies at risk,” Zelenskyy said in a video.

“The only question is how many more Ukrainian men, how many more Ukrainian women, the Russian military will have time to kill in order for you, certain politicians – and we know who you are – to find some determination.”

Zelenskyy added that Moscow was making so much money from oil exports that it did not need to take peace talks seriously and called on the “democratic world” to shun Russian crude.

Russia has completed withdrawal from around Kyiv: US official

The US has assessed that Russia has completed its withdrawal from around Kyiv and is refitting and resupplying its troops for an expected redeployment into Ukraine, a senior US defence official said.

“We are assessing that all the Russians have left,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, adding that the US assessment was completed in the past 24 hours.

But the official said Kyiv remained under threat, even if Russian ground troops had left the area. “The threat of [a] ground invasion [of Kyiv] is clearly gone for the moment … but it’s not clear what their longer-range goals are,” the official said.

Ukrainian refugees continue to stream to US-Mexico border

Ukrainian refugees have continued to make their way to Tijuana, Mexico, as they wait to cross the border into the United States, and temporary shelters have sprung up in Mexico.

“This is very nice, really very nice. We have food. We have sleep,” Anastasiia Derezenko, a Ukrainian refugee, told the Associated Press news agency from a shelter run by a charity called Agape Ministries.

“For us, it’s difficult – a little cold at night … But you know it’s not dangerous. We stay without worry. Because we think about our people who stay now in Brovary, in Kyiv, in Bucha, in Irpin,” she said.

Coordinator Alex Fedorchuk said that 2,000 refugees have already made their way through the shelter to date.

IMF cuts Japan’s growth forecast amid Ukraine war fallout

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has cut Japan’s economic growth forecast and urged policymakers to consider preparing a contingency plan in case the Ukraine crisis derails a fragile recovery.

“Escalation of the Ukraine conflict poses significant downside risks to the Japanese economy,” the IMF said in a staff report.

The IMF said it now expects Japan’s economy to grow 2.4 percent this year, lower than a projection for 3.3 percent expansion made in January.

Ukraine war is descending towards ‘brutalisation’: expert

Jonathan Leader Maynard, an expert on genocide and war crimes at King’s College in London, has said that there is now evidence that the war in Ukraine is seeing an increasing “brutalisation”.

“To some extent all wars involve significant civilian suffering, but this kind of severe violations of the laws of war is not universal, it is specific to certain conflicts,” Maynard told Al Jazeera.

“The evidence so far would suggest that this has been much more widespread in areas of Russian occupation particularly against civilians but there have been a few isolated crimes that appears to show Ukrainian forces engaging in violations of the law of war as well,” Maynard said in reference to a recent video that emerged that appeared to show Ukrainian soldiers shooting a captured Russian soldier.

Putin’s daughters hiding president’s wealth: US officials

US officials have said that Putin’s two adult daughters, Katerina and Maria, are hiding his wealth.

“We have reason to believe that Putin, and many of his cronies, and the oligarchs, hide their wealth, hide their assets, with family members that place their assets and their wealth in the US financial system, and also many other parts of the world,” a senior US administration official said.

“We believe that many of Putin’s assets are hidden with family members, and that’s why we’re targeting them,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Read more here.

More than 1,000 people evacuated to Zaporizhzhia: Red Cross

An International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) team says it has led a convoy of buses and private cars carrying more than 1,000 people to Zaporizhzhia after the civilians fled Mariupol on their own.

“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.”

US treasury secretary says Biden wants Russia out of G20

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned that Russia’s aggression will have “enormous economic repercussions in Ukraine and beyond” and that President Joe Biden wants Moscow expelled from the Group of 20.

“President Biden’s made it clear, and I certainly agree with him, that it cannot be business as usual for Russia in any of the financial institutions,” Yellen said. “He’s asked that Russia be removed from the G20, and I’ve made clear to my colleagues in Indonesia that we will not be participating in a number of meetings if the Russians are there.”

Her comments at a US House Financial Services Committee hearing raised questions about the future of the G20, which has been the premier global economic and policy forum since the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

Read more here.

Janet Yellen
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says Biden wants Russia out of the G20 [Evan Vucci/AP]

US sanctioning relatives of Russian officials in push to seize assets: White House

The US is imposing sanctions on the relatives of Russian officials to prevent them from concealing their assets, the White House has said.

Washington has imposed sanctions on Putin’s two adult daughters as well as Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s wife and daughter.

“We’ve seen a pattern over time [that] President Putin and Russian oligarchs stash assets and resources in the bank accounts of their family members. And so, this was an effort to get at those assets, and that’s why these individuals were sanctioned,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.

FBI says it disrupted Russian hackers

US officials have said that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) disrupted thousands of routers and firewall appliances away from Russian military hackers.

“Fortunately, we were able to disrupt this botnet before it could be used,” US Attorney General Merrick Garland said.

An unsealed and redacted affidavit described the unusual operation as a preemptive move to stop Russian hackers from mobilising the compromised devices into a “botnet” – a network of hacked computers that can bombard other servers with rogue traffic.

Boston Marathon restricts Russian and Belarusian runners

The Boston Athletic Association (BAA) has said that Russian and Belarusian athletes who were accepted through open registration to the Boston Marathon and reside in their home countries will not be allowed to compete in this month’s event.

“We are horrified and outraged by what we have seen and learned from the reporting in Ukraine,” BAA President and CEO Tom Grilk said in a statement. “We believe that running is a global sport and, as such, we must do what we can to show our support to the people of Ukraine.”

Runners who are Russian and Belarusian citizens but reside outside either country will be permitted to compete but not under the Russian or Belarusian flag.

Russia faces ‘genocide’ charge, but experts urge caution

Images of corpses lining the streets and bodies stuffed into plastic bags in Bucha, near Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, have shaken the world, raising calls for credible investigations and accountability.

But the explosive “genocide” charge levied by Ukrainian and foreign government officials against Russia over the killings has proven contentious.

Legal experts say it is too early to determine whether genocide has occurred in Ukraine, stressing that while the term is politically damning, other human rights violations are also serious and should not be ignored.

Read more here.

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

Read all the updates from Wednesday, April 6 here.

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