Ukraine war: Russian attacks on Kyiv and Chernihiv continue despite de-escalation pledge

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Ukraine war: Russian attacks on Kyiv and Chernihiv continue despite de-escalation pledge

A man stands in the ruins of a house, destroyed during fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces in the village of Yasnohorodka, on the outskirts of Kyiv, March 30, 2022.   —  

With Russia’s war in Ukraine into its second month, Putin’s forces have continued to pound towns and cities from afar as Moscow’s military offensive stalls in the face of strong Ukrainian resistance.

Millions have fled their homes, creating Europe’s worst refugee crisis since World War II. Thousands of civilians and military personnel have been killed, and the Russian bombardments have left widespread devastation.

The Russian invasion has caused political and shockwaves around the world, deepening the rupture between Moscow and the West.

Follow the latest updates in our live blog below, and watch our TV coverage in the video player above.


Wednesday: Key points to know

    Officials in Ukraine say Russian forces have continued to strike around Kyiv and other cities, including residential areas of Chernihiv — both areas where Moscow pledged on Tuesday to «drastically» reduce combat operations. Ukrainian authorities have accused Russia of bombing a Red Cross centre in Mariupol, the besieged port in southeastern Ukraine destroyed by Putin’s forces.The Kremlin says there was ‘no breakthrough’ in talks between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators in Istanbul on Tuesday — and there’s been no second day of talks on Wednesday either.Ukrainian President Zelensky expressed his scepticism about Russia’s pledge to scale back military operations around Kyiv and Chernihiv, saying «Ukrainians are not naïve people».The UN says four million people have now fled Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion, seeking refuge in neighbouring countries.Poland says it’s planning to cut imports of Russian oil and gas, while Germans are urged to save power.The World Food Programme says it has already helped a million people in Ukraine, that some are going «for days without finding food.»  

06:12Do you share Ukraine’s scepticism about Russia’s pledge to scale back military operations in Kyiv and Chernihiv?21:16

Mayor of Irpin says 200-300 were killed in weeks of fighting

Some 200-300 residents of Irpin have been killed since the start of the Russian invasion, says the mayor of the town in Kyiv’s northwestern suburbs which has been the scene of fierce fighting.

“At the height of the hostilities, when there was shelling all day, people were simply buried in the gardens or even in the parks. I think around 200 or 300 people died unfortunately,” Oleksandr Markushin said.

The Ukrainians claimed Monday to have regained control of the town, which had been in the hands of the Russians since the end of February. But the situation «remains dangerous», the mayor says, as it is still bombarded by the Russians from surrounding towns.

«Half the city is destroyed»,the mayor said, adding that he thought «many people are still under the rubble».

He estimated at «about 3,500» the number of people still present in the area. Before the war it had 60,000 inhabitants. «At least 50 soldiers were killed and about 100 injured,» he said.

Markushin urged people from the town not to return at least for the next month.

Irpin was shelled by the Russian army in the very first days of the war started by Moscow on February 24, and is a key final post before arriving in Kyiv from the west.

In mid-March, an American journalist was shot and wounded there. The city has since been closed to the press.



Putin tells Scholz Europe ‘can pay for gas in euros’

The German government said Russian President Vladimir Putin assured Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Wednesday that Europe could continue to pay for Russian gas in euros and not in rubles as recently ordered by Moscow.

German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said Putin had assured Scholz that payments from Europe next month «will continue to be in euros and transferred as usual to Gazprom Bank, which does not is not subject to sanctions,» and that it would take care of the conversion into rubles.



Russian shelling continues despite pledge to ‘drastically’ reduce operations

After Russia pledged to ‘drastically reduce combat operations’ around Kyiv and Chernihiv… Russian shelling continues.

A senior Ukrainian official says that the Russian military has continued shelling areas around the Ukrainian capital.

Oleksandr Pavliuk, the head of the Kyiv region military administration, said Wednesday that there were 30 Russian shellings of the residential areas and civilian infrastructure in the Bucha, Brovary and Vyshhorod regions around the capital over the previous 24 hours.

The barrage came despite a Russian pledge to reduce military activities around Kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv after Tuesday’s talks between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators in Istanbul.

Olexander Lomako, the secretary of Chernihiv city council, said in a voice message to The Associated Press that military action increased in intensity overnight and “the city was bombed, shelled by artillery and heavy weapons,” with a library and a shopping mall among places that were hit.

(with AP)


Biden and Zelenskyy speak on the phone

The White House has released its account of the latest call between the US and Ukrainian presidents, which took place on Wednesday.

«The leaders discussed how the United States is working around the clock to fulfill the main security assistance requests by Ukraine,» its statement says.

Biden told Zelenskyy the US would provide $500 million (€448 million) in direct budgetary aid.


Boris Johnson: Don’t lift sanctions until all Russian troops have left Ukraine

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says Western nations shouldn’t lift sanctions on Russia until all Moscow’s troops have left Ukraine.

Johnson said a ceasefire would not be enough, and the G7 should “intensify sanctions with a rolling programme until every single one of (President Vladimir Putin’s) troops is out of Ukraine.”

Speaking to a committee of British lawmakers on Wednesday, Johnson also said Britain was discussing “going up a gear” in support to help Ukraine defend itself. He said sending armoured personnel carriers was something the UK was “looking at.”

The UK has sent anti-tank weapons and other military equipment to Ukraine but wants to avoid anything that could be seen as escalating the conflict.



UN appoints Norwegian judge to head Ukraine human rights probe

The U.N.’s top human rights body has chosen a Norwegian former judge at the European Court of Human Rights to head a three-member panel to investigate possible abuses and violations in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion.

Erik Møse, formerly president of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, will be joined by Jasminka Dzumhur, the human rights ombudsperson in Bosnia, and Pablo de Greiff of Colombia, a political theorist who has specialized in justice issues, on the Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine.

The U.N.-backed Human Rights Council created the commission earlier this month.

The three panel members will lead a team that has a one-year mandate to “to establish the facts, circumstances and root causes” of any human rights violations and abuses in Ukraine that could eventually contribute to international justice over the war.



Slovakia to expel 35 Russian diplomats

Slovakia has decided to expel 35 Russian diplomats, the foreign ministry announced on Wednesday, citing information provided by intelligence services.

The Russian Federation’s ambassador was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was given a note announcing the expulsions from among the Russian embassy staff in Bratislava, spokesman Juraj Tomaga told AFP.


Ukraine has ‘zero trust’ in Russia over its troops pullback pledge

“We have zero reasons for trusting whatever the Russians are saying,» Ukraine MP Inna Sovsun told Euronews on Tuesday.

It came after Moscow’s delegates at the Istanbul talks pledged to «drastically» reduce combat operations around Kyiv and Chernihiv.

Meanwhile some of Putin’s allies are urging him to continue the war.

Watch the interview and read our report here:

Ukraine war: Russian attacks on Kyiv and Chernihiv continue despite de-escalation pledge

Ukraine has ‘zero trust’ in Russia over its troops pullback pledge


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