Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, right, and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres attend a news conference in Moscow, Russia, 26 April 2022 —
Tensions are rising after the visit of two top US officials to Kyiv late on Sunday, with Russia unleashing a string of attacks Monday against rail and fuel installations deep inside Ukraine, and far from the front lines.
Meanwhile, Russia’s top diplomat warned against provoking World War III, with the West offering more military assistance to Ukraine, and said the threat of a nuclear conflict “should not be underestimated.”
Follow our blog below to see how events unfolded on Tuesday 26 April:
Tuesday’s key points:
The content of the article:
- 1 Tuesday’s key points:
- 2 Kremlin official: Ukraine could split into several parts
- 3 Russia threatens key ‘decision-making centres’ in Kyiv
- 4 Russia strikes bridge to Romania
- 5 Zelenskyy adviser warns about Russian intentions in Transnistria
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres used a visit to Moscow to call for an independent investigation into possible war crimes. Speaking at a press conference with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Guterres said «I am concerned about the repeated reports of violations of international humanitarian and human rights law and possible war crimes.»
Russia has threatened the UK with a «proportional response,» following comments by the British defence secretary that it would be acceptable for Ukrainian forces to attack military targets on Russian soil.
Sweden says Russia is adding to its international isolation by expelling three Swedish diplomats from Moscot and St. Petersburg. Foreign Minister Ann Linde called the Russian action «unjustified and disproportionate.
Representatives from more than 40 countries are meeting in Germany to discuss Ukraine-related defence issues. US defence secretary Lloyd Austin pledged that Ukraine’s allies will “keep moving heaven and earth” to help Kyiv.
Germany set to authorise the delivery of «Cheetah» type tanks to Ukraine , a major turning point in the cautious approach Berlin has taken to sending military supplies to Ukraine.
Threat of a nuclear conflict «should not be underestimated,» says Russia’s top diplomat.
Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, pushed back on Twitter: «Russia loses last hope to scare the world off supporting Ukraine.»
Russia unleashed a string of attacks against rail and fuel installations deep inside Ukraine on Monday.
The US is pushing to get more weaponry into Ukraine, having approved a $165 million sale of ammunition and more than $300 million in financing.
Ukraine ‘resolutely supports’ Moldova, says Ukrainian FM
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has said that it “resolutely supports Moldova’s territorial integrity,» following a series of explosions in the country’s Moscow-backed separatist region of Trans-Dniester.
In a statement released on Tuesday, it said: Ukraine “resolutely supports Moldova’s territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders and condemns attempts to draw the Trans-Dniester region of Moldova into the full-fledged war unleashed by Russia against Ukraine.
«[Ukraine] call[s] for deescalating tensions,” it added.
The ministry described Tuesday and Monday’s attacks on an administrative building in Tiraspol, the centre of the separatist Trans-Dniester province of Moldova, along with explosions that hit broadcast antennas and other facilities in the region, as concerning.
Their statement follows a Russian officer’s comments about Moscow’s intention to fully take control of Ukraine’s south and build a land corridor to Trans-Dniester.
Russia allegedly turns off gas tap to Poland
Russia has reportedly halted gas supplies to Poland, as tensions between Moscow and Europe escalate, according to the Polish news website Onet.pl.
While the report cited Polish government sources and the country’s national gas company PGNiG, officials are yet to confirm the news.
In a tweet, Poland’s minister of climate and environment, Anna Moskwa, said the country has enough gas in storage, although she stopped short of confirming the report.
European gas prices surged as much as 17% after the report, according to Bloomberg.
Putin ‘ordered’ Bucha war crimes and ‘honoured’ soldiers — prosecutor
Ukraine’s Prosecutor General tells Euronews that it’s «time to punish» those at the top of Moscow’s regime and investigators want «a verdict in a Ukrainian court».
Russia warns UK with ‘proportional response’ for ‘provoking’ Ukraine to attack
Russia’s defence ministry has warned of an immediate «proportional response,» if London continues its «direct provocation» of Ukraine to strike targets in Russia.
This follows a statement by the UK’s armed forces minister, James Heappey, that Britain backs Ukrainian troops carrying out strikes in Russian territory.
«We would like to underline that London’s direct provocation of the Kyiv regime into such actions, if such actions are carried out, will immediately lead to our proportional response,» said Russia’s defence ministry.
«As we have warned, the Russian Armed Forces are in round-the-clock readiness to launch retaliatory strikes with high-precision long-range weapons at decision-making centres in Kyiv.»
The ministry added that if a Russian strike was made, it would not necessarily be a problem if representatives of a certain Western country were located at those “decision-making centres” in Kyiv.
Kremlin official: Ukraine could split into several parts
A senior Kremlin official says that Ukraine may split into several parts.
Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of the Russian Security Council, said in remarks published Tuesday that “the policies of the West and the Kyiv regime controlled by it would only be the breakup of Ukraine into several states.”
The statement comes as Russia says it has focused on expanding control over Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland called Donbas. Moscow-backed separatists have been battling Ukrainian troops there since 2014 when conflict erupted following Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian Crimean Peninsula.
Moscow launched military action in Ukraine on 24 February, days after recognizing the separatist regions’ independence.
Last week, a senior Russian military officer said that along with taking control over Donbas, Russia also wants to overtake southern Ukraine, saying such a move would also open a land corridor between Russia and the separatist Trans-Dniester region of Moldova.
Russia threatens key ‘decision-making centres’ in Kyiv
The Russian military has warned it could strike Ukrainian “decision-making centers” in the Ukrainian capital and said wouldn’t be stopped by the possible presence of Western advisers there.
The Russian Defense Ministry on Tuesday accused the UK of making statements encouraging Ukraine to use Western weapons to carry out strikes on the Russian territory, warning that if it happens the Russian military could retaliate by hitting government structures in Kyiv.
It directly pointed at UK Minister for the Armed Forces James Heappey, who told Times Radio that it was “not necessarily a problem” if Ukraine British-donated weapons were used to hit sites on Russian soil.
The ministry said in a statement that “the Russian armed forces are ready to deal retaliatory strikes with long-range precision guided weapons on Kyiv centers that would make such decisions.” It noted that “the presence of citizens of one of Western countries in the Ukrainian decision-making centers won’t necessarily pose a problem for Russia in making a decision to launch retaliatory action.”
The Russian military so far has avoided striking presidential, government and military headquarters in Kyiv during its campaign in Ukraine that has entered a third month.
Russia strikes bridge to Romania
Ukrainian officials say the Russian military has hit a strategic bridge linking the southern Odesa region with neighboring Romania.
Oleksandr Kamyshin, the head of the state-run Ukrainian Railways, said the bridge across the Dniester Estuary where the Dniester River flows into the Black Sea was damaged in Tuesday’s missile attack by Russian forces. He said there were no injuries.
The strike has cut off the railway connection to areas of the Odesa region west of the estuary and Romania.
The Russian attack follows a series of strikes on key railway facilities in Ukraine unleashed by the Russian military on Monday.
It comes after last week’s claim by a senior Russian military officer that Russia aims to take control of the entire south of Ukraine and build a land corridor to the separatist Trans-Dniester region of Moldova, where tensions have escalated in recent days.
Zelenskyy adviser warns about Russian intentions in Transnistria
A key adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned about Russia’s intentions in Transnistria, saying that they’re trying to «destabilize» the breakaway region.
Transnistria is a pro-Russian enclave in eastern Moldova, sandwiched between Moldova and Ukraine. Russian troops have been stationed there since the early 1990’s ostensibly as peacekeepers.
Security incidents on Monday and Tuesday this week have prompted the region’s president to impose «red level» anti-terrorist security measures; while the US has warned amid the war in Ukraine that Russia could launch “false-flag” attacks in nearby nations as a pretext for sending in troops.