US to provide $670m in global food assistance amid crisis

  • UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says he has arrived in Ukraine following talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
  • A number of rockets have hit the centre of the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, producing a series of explosions, the RIA news agency said.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praises people who took part in a pro-Ukraine protest in Kherson.
  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announces Washington will begin the process of reopening its embassy in Kyiv “as quickly but also as safely as possible”.
(Al Jazeera)

Here are all the latest updates:

UK’s Truss says Russia less rational than Soviet Union on world stage

Britain’s top diplomat has said that although the Soviet Union inflicted “many evils” and regularly used their veto in the Security Council, “even they behaved with some kind of rationality on the world stage”.

“They were able to stick to deals when they saw risks to strategic stability, as they did with the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty,” Britain’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said during an annual foreign policy speech at Mansion House, the residence of the Lord Mayor of London.

She said that the economic structures developed after the second world war and the Cold War have “enabled rather than contained aggression”, adding that Russia had violated multiple measures on arms control.

“We are dealing with a desperate rogue operator with no interest in international norms”, she said while calling for heavy weapons, tanks and aeroplanes to be sent to Ukraine.

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss delivers a speech at Mansion House in London, Britain
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss delivers a speech at Mansion House in London, Britain, April 27, 2022 [Hannah McKay/REUTERS]

Germany biggest buyer of Russia’s energy in first two months of war: Study

Germany was the biggest buyer of Russian energy during the first two months since the start of the war in Ukraine, an independent research group has found.

A study published by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air calculated that Russia earned 63 billion euros ($66.5 billion) from fossil fuel exports since February 24, the date Russia began its invasion of Ukraine.

Using data on ship movements, real-time tracking of gas flows through pipelines and estimates based on historical monthly trade, the researchers said Germany alone paid Russia about 9.1 billion euros for fossil fuel deliveries in the first two months of the war.

The German government said it couldn’t comment on estimates and declined to provide any figures of its own, saying these would need to come from companies that procure the coal, oil and gas, the Associated Press has reported.

Ukraine needs 600,000 apartments for those displaced: Official

The deputy head of the office of Ukraine’s president has said the country needs almost 600,000 apartments to provide housing for displaced people.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko said this in a meeting of Ukraine’s local and regional authorities, where participants discussed plans for Ukraine’s reconstruction, which one official said would now cost $90 billion, according to a statement from Zelenskyy’s office.

Participants made the decision to build some of the necessary apartments from scratch, as well as purchase some ready-made from developers. Zelenskyy also told participants that all new housing in Ukraine must be built with comfortable bomb shelters, and old housing stock should be equipped in accordance with the needs of public safety, the statement said.

A boy stands next to wrecked vehicle in front of an apartment building damaged during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol.
A boy stands next to wrecked vehicle in front of an apartment building damaged during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine April 24, 2022 [Alexander Ermochenko/REUTERS/File Photo]

More than 50 Ukrainians completed howitzer training: Pentagon

More than 50 Ukrainian forces have completed US howitzer artillery training, a Pentagon spokesperson has said.

John Kirby told reporters that another group of more than 50 Ukrainians would also “go through training in the same location outside Ukraine”.

The howitzers were included as part of two recent US military assistance packages for Ukraine, each totalling $800m.

Zelenskyy praises Kherson protesters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has praised protesters who took part in a pro-Ukraine rally in the occupied city of Kherson. Russian forces had used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse them.

“I am grateful to everyone who has not given up, who is protesting, who is ignoring the occupiers and showing the marginal people who have become collaborators that there is no future for them,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly address.

US to begin process of reopening embassy in Kyiv: Blinken

The US will begin the process of reopening its embassy in Kyiv “as quickly but also as safely as possible”, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said.

“We have diplomats going back to Ukraine this week as we speak to begin the process of looking to reopen the embassy in Kyiv,” Blinken told US legislators, according to a video shared online by the State Department.

He said the US will begin operating out of the Western Ukrainian city of Lviv before operating out of Kyiv.

Amal Clooney pushes for Ukraine war crimes justice at UN

Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has urged countries at the United Nations to focus on international justice for war crimes in Ukraine so evidence does not sit in storage – as it has done for victims of ISIL (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria.

“Ukraine is, today, a slaughterhouse. Right in the heart of Europe,” Clooney told an informal UN Security Council meeting on accountability in Ukraine organised by France and Albania.

UK foreign minister warns China to play by ‘the rules’

United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has warned China that failure to play by global “rules” would cut short its rise as a superpower.

China, which has taken a neutral public position on the war in Ukraine, has faced calls from European nations and the US to pressure Russia to end its invasion.

“They will not continue to rise if they do not play by the rules. China needs trade with the G7. We [the Group of Seven] represent around half of the global economy. And we have choices,” Truss said in a speech in London. “We have shown with Russia the kind of choices that we’re prepared to make when international rules are violated.”

US House of Representatives passes bill to help rebuild Ukraine

The US House of Representatives has passed a bipartisan bill that would encourage the use of sanctioned Russian assets to help rebuild Ukraine.

The bill was introduced by representative Tom Malinowski from New Jersey and Joe Wilson from South Carolina.

“It’s hard to imagine giving Russia’s wealth back to Putin while Ukrainians are burying their dead,” Malinowski said in a tweet. “We must be prepared to use Russia’s frozen assets to rebuild the country they are destroying.”

Russia coordinating cyberattacks with military strikes: Microsoft

A handful of hacker groups aligned with the Russian government have carried out hundreds of cyberattacks against Ukraine since Moscow invaded, US tech giant Microsoft said in a report.

“Starting just before the invasion, we have seen at least six separate Russia-aligned nation-state actors launch more than 237 operations against Ukraine,” Microsoft said. The company is working with Ukrainian cybersecurity experts and private sector partners to counter such attacks.

It said the cyber warfare included “destructive attacks that are ongoing and threaten civilian welfare”.

Canada legislators vote in favour of calling Russia’s acts ‘genocide’

Canadian politicians have voted unanimously to call Russia’s attacks in Ukraine a “genocide”, with members of parliament saying there was “ample evidence of systemic and massive war crimes against humanity” being committed by Moscow.

The Canadian Parliament’s motion said war crimes by Russia include mass atrocities, systematic instances of willful killing of Ukrainian civilians, the desecration of corpses, forcible transfer of Ukrainian children, torture, physical harm, mental harm, and rape.

Ukraine fires three rockets at Kherson, a city held by Russia: RIA

Ukraine has fired three rockets at the centre of the southern city of Kherson but Russian occupying forces shot down two of them, the state-owned RIA news agency cited a security source as saying.

An RIA correspondent on the ground had earlier reported a series of powerful explosions near the television centre.

Pentagon says Russian nuclear threats are ‘irresponsible’

Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby has dismissed recent comments by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who earlier this week warned of a “serious, real” risk of nuclear war.

“The rhetoric that we keep hearing from Russian leaders – and just recently was Minister Lavrov, raising the spectre of nuclear confrontation – is irresponsible,” Kirby told reporters during a briefing.

“It’s certainly not what you would expect from a modern nuclear power, nor should anybody expect from a modern nuclear power,” he said.

US allocating $670m to international emergency food operations

The US Department of Agriculture and the US Agency for International Development will together contribute nearly $700m to international food aid efforts in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the agencies have said.

The money will go to emergency food operations in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Yemen. Of the announced sum, $282m will come from the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust, which is co-managed by the agencies, while USDA said it would additionally provide $388m for transportation, shipping, and other costs.

The Ukraine war is leading to a “staggering global food crisis”, said USAID Administrator Samantha Power.

Ukraine plans to rename streets linked to Russia

A number of Ukrainian cities plan to rename streets and squares associated with Russia under a process of “de-Russification” following Moscow’s invasion.

Ihor Terekhov, mayor of the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, said that as soon as the war with Russia ends he would table a bill to his city council to rename places with Russian-affiliated names.

“Even without these names, there will be too many scars that will remind us for a long time about what kind of neighbour is beyond our eastern and northern borders,” he wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

White House says supplemental Ukraine aid request could come Thursday

The White House has said that a supplemental budget request that includes aid for Ukraine could be sent to Congress as soon as Thursday.

The plan will cover military, humanitarian and economic assistance for Ukraine, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.

White House promises to press for release of Paul Whelan

The White House has promised to keep pressing for the unconditional release of former US Marine Paul Whelan, who is imprisoned in Russia and accused of spying.

A US-Russia prisoner swap that obtained the release of Trevor Reed, also a former US Marine, brought a spotlight on Whelan, who holds US, British, Canadian and Irish passports.

Whelan was sentenced to 16 years on espionage charges in June 2020.

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

Read all the updates from Wednesday, April 27 here.

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