Live: UN Secretary General set for talks with Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Mariupol evacuation

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Live: UN Secretary General set for talks with Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Mariupol evacuation

An injured man waits for emergency workers following a Russian bombardment in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, April 27, 2022.   —  

The UN Secretary General is in Kyiv for talks with President Zelenskyy on Thursday as UN humanitarian teams plan an evacuation of civilians from Mariupol in coordination with the Red Cross.

Meanwhile President Putin warned on Wednesday that any outside interference in the conflict in Ukraine would be met with «swift and devastating response» — even as the UK foreign secretary urged Western allies to send more heavy weapons to Ukraine, including planes.

Follow our blog for the latest developments as they happen, or watch live video on the link above:

06:42

Thursday’s key points: 

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Russia is using gas as a weapon against Europe, after state-owned Gazprom cut supplies to Poland and Bulgaria. Both countries though could be okay without Russian gas supplies for a few months — at least until winter.United Nations Secretary General António Guterres is in Ukraine, and set to hold talks with President Zelenskyy.The UN says its humanitarian office is mobilising an experienced team to coordinate the complex evacuation of civilians from Mariupol.Vladimir Putin warned against any outside intervention in the conflict in Ukraine, promising it would be met with a «swift and devastating» response.Finland and Sweden must prepare for increased Russian spy operations, cyber-attacks and attempts to influence politicians as they consider joining NATO, the Nordic nations’ intelligence chiefs have warned.British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss says Western allies should send tanks, planes and other heavy weapons to Ukraine. “Inaction would be the greatest provocation” she said — although a government spokesperson says there are «no plans» for Britain to send military jets to Ukraine.

08:53

Germany the biggest buyer of Russian energy since war began

An independent research group says Germany was the biggest buyer of Russian energy during the first two months since the start of the war in Ukraine.

A study published by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air calculates that Russia earned $66.5 billion from fossil fuel exports since Russian troops attacked Ukraine on 24 February. 

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

The German government says it can’t comment on estimates and declines to provide any figures of its own.

(AP)

08:22

Survey: Majority of Americans concerned about Russian misinformation on Ukraine

A majority of US adults say misinformation around Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a major problem, and they largely fault the Russian government for spreading those falsehoods.

A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows 61% of Americans say the spread of misinformation about the war is a major problem, with only 7% saying it’s not a problem. Older adults were more likely to identify the wartime misinformation as an issue, with 44% of those under 30 calling it a problem, compared with 65% of those 30 and older.

About three-quarters of the American public fault the Russian government for advancing misinformation around the war, while many also blame social media users, tech companies and the news media. Far fewer place a great deal of blame on the Ukrainian or US governments.

“Russia’s reach is broad,” said Darren Linvill, a Clemson University professor who studies disinformation. “They have a lot of different outlets that they use — everything from state media, in Russian, English and especially Spanish.”

The poll shows a majority of Americans — about 57% — say they think Putin has directed Russian troops to commit war crimes, while 6% say they think he has not done so. An additional 36% say they don’t know enough to say.

(AP)

07:30

UK Ministry of Defence: Despite losses, Russian navy still a threat

Britain’s Ministry of Defence is warning that despite losses, Russia’s navy is still a threat to Ukraine in the Black Sea. 

In its latest intelligence update published Thursday morning, the MoD says there are around 20 Russian Navy vessels operating in the Black Sea, including submarines. 

«Despite the embarrassing losses of the landing ship Saratov and cruiser Moskva, Russia’s Black Sea Fleet retains the ability to strike Ukrainian and coastal targets.»

Read more at the MoD’s Twitter thread here: 

07:26

Poll: Increased support for NATO membership in Finland

A new public opinion poll published by the main daily newspaper Helsingin Sanomat on Thursday shows an increase in support for NATO membership. 

The poll finds 65% in favour of joining NATO; 13% against joining; and 22% still undecided.

A previous survey by the newspaper earlier in April found 59% in favour of joining the military alliance. Until the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, only around 25% of Finns actively supported NATO membership, a number that had changed very little in polling over the past two decades.  

Just over a thousand people took part in the new poll, which was carried out over the last seven days. It found that 59% of women and more than 70% of men are in favour of Finland’s NATO membership.

Support is highest among older people, and lower among young people — but more than half of those aged 30 are already in favour of joining NATO.

When it comes to support across political lines, a clear majority of Social Democrat, Centre Party and Greens — the three main red-green government coalition parties — are in favour of joining. There’s also a clear majority of support among the two biggest opposition parties: the centre-right National Coalition Party and the far-right Finns Party. 

(Euronews)

07:05

Explosions knock Kherson television channels off air

In the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, a series of explosions boomed near the television tower late Wednesday and at least temporarily knocked Russian channels off the air, Ukrainian and Russian news organizations reported.

The Russian state news agency RIA Novosti said missiles and rockets were fired at the city from the direction of the Ukrainian forces to the northwest.

Kherson has been occupied by Russian forces since early in the war.

Ukrayinska Pravda, an online newspaper, said the strikes set off a fire and knocked Russian television channels off the air.

RIA Novosti said the broadcast later resumed. It said Russian channels began broadcasting from Kherson last week.

Russia has been determined to strengthen its control over the city, but residents have continued to come out onto the streets to protest the occupation.

(AP)

07:00

Zelenskyy: Russia uses energy exports as «weapons» 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Wednesday that Russia had launched a «new round» of «blackmail» against Europe after cutting off gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria.

In his daily address, Zelenskyy said Moscow sees energy exports and trade as «weapons» with which to pursue its military and political aims.

«The sooner everyone in Europe acknowledges that its trade can’t depend on Russia, the sooner it will be possible to guarantee the stability of European markets,» Zelenskyy said.

The cutoff by Russia’s state-controlled energy company came after President Vladimir Putin said “unfriendly” countries would need to start paying for gas in rubles, Russia’s currency, which Bulgaria and Poland refused to do.

Zelenskyy also praised the European Commission’s proposal to remove all tariffs and quotas on Ukrainian exports to the EU for a year.

(AP)

06:59

Canada’s parliament condemns «genocide» by Russia against Ukraine

Canadian MPs on Wednesday passed a motion condemning Russia’s «acts of genocide against the Ukrainian people» and acknowledging that there is «clear and abundant evidence of systematic and massive war crimes and crimes against humanity.»

“The House of Commons has passed a motion regarding acts of genocide against the Ukrainian people,” the lower house of parliament announced on Twitter.

The text was adopted unanimously.

The motion states that there «is clear and abundant evidence of systematic and massive war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against the people of Ukraine by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin.» .  

These «crimes» include in particular torture, «mass atrocities in Ukrainian territories», the «forcible transfer of Ukrainian children to Russian territory», or even «large-scale cases of physical, mental violence and rape «.

By validating this text, the House of Commons «recognizes that the Russian Federation is committing acts of genocide against the Ukrainian people», according to the document.

The adoption of this text comes about ten days after the Ukrainian Parliament passed a similar resolution.

In mid-April, Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau had for the first time mentioned a «genocide» in Ukraine, after US President Joe Biden, a term deemed «unacceptable» by the Kremlin.

(AFP)

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