In this satellite photo from Planet Labs PBC, a Ukrainian naval vessel and a nearby building burn in the besieged city of Mariupol, Ukraine, Wednesday, April 6, 2022 —
The war is now in its seventh week, with Russian forces now concentrating their offensive on eastern Ukraine, after retreating from the capital Kyiv.
Follow Monday’s events as they unfold in our blog below, or watch television coverage in the video player, above.
Monday’s key points:
The content of the article:
- 0.1 Monday’s key points:
- 0.2 Croatian foreign ministry expels 24 employees of Russian embassy
- 0.3 Slovakia denies air defence is destroyed
- 0.4 Ukrainian army says they expect Russian offensive in the east to begin ‘very soon’
- 1 Ireland backs Russian oil sanctions
- 2 ‘Tens of thousands of citizens must have been killed in Mariupol’
- 3 ‘Magnitude of the humanitarian crisis staggering’
- 4 ‘We must seize every chance to end the humanitarian hell in Ukraine’
- Ukraine’s president Zelenskyy says «tens of thousands of civilians» must have been killed in Mariupol.Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer will visit Moscow on Monday for talks with Vladimir Putin, the first EU leader to visit since the start of the war. In a video address, Zelenskyy says Ukrainians still want peace, despite the atrocities of war they have witnessed. Ukraine’s economy will shrink by 45.1% this year because of Russia’s invasion, says World BankRussia has appointed a new Ukraine war commander, General Alexander Dvornikov, a veteran of the Russian campaign in Syria. Britain’s Ministry of Defence says Russia needs to boost troop numbers with extra recruitment, due to mounting losses in the war. European Union foreign ministers meeting to weigh the effectiveness of the bloc’s response to Russia’s invasion.
Croatian foreign ministry expels 24 employees of Russian embassy
The Croatian foreign ministry said that 24 staff at the Russian embassy in Zagreb would be expelled from the country.
The staff include 18 diplomats and 6 members of the administrative and technical staff of the Russian embassy.
Croatia’s foreign ministry said they had expressed «the strongest condemnation of the brutal aggression against Ukraine and numerous crimes committed» to the Russian ambassador who was summoned to the ministry.
Many EU countries have expelled Russian diplomats since the war in Ukraine began in late February, stating that they posed a threat to the countries’ national security.
Slovakia denies air defence is destroyed
Slovakia has denied its S-300 air defence missile system it transported to Ukraine has been destroyed by the Russian armed forces.
“Our S-300 system has not been destroyed,” Lubica Janikova, spokeswoman for Slovakia’s Prime Minister Eduard Heger said in a statement sent to The Associated Press.
She said any other claim is not true.
Earlier on Monday, the Russian military said it destroyed a shipment of air defence missile system provided by the West on the southern outskirts of the city of Dnipro.
The Russian side said Ukraine had received the air defence system from a European country that he didn’t name. Last week, Slovakia said it has handed over its Soviet-designed S-300 air defence systems to Ukraine, which has pleaded with the West to give it more weapons, including long-range air defence systems.
Ukrainian army says they expect Russian offensive in the east to begin ‘very soon’
The Ukrainian army said on Monday that they expect a Russian offensive «very soon» in the east.
Many officials think eastern Ukraine has become the Kremlin’s main target, after Russian troops retreated in the northern region of the country and around Kyiv.
“According to our information, the enemy has almost completed its preparation for an assault on the east. The attack will take place very soon,” said defence ministry spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk.
Ireland backs Russian oil sanctions
Ireland’s foreign minister says the European Union should consider imposing sanctions on Russia’s oil industry but cautions that it’s most important for the 27-nation bloc to remain unified.
Several EU countries are dependent on Russian oil and gas imports. After much debate, the bloc agreed last week to a phase-in of restrictions on imports of coal over Moscow’s war on Ukraine.
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney says that “we need to take a maximalist approach to sanctions to offer the strongest possible deterrents to the continuation of this war and brutality.”
Speaking as EU foreign ministers gathered Monday in Luxembourg, Coveney said “that should include, in our view, oil. We know that that’s very difficult for some member states and we have to keep a united position across the EU.”
The EU’s executive arm, the European Commission, is assessing what more can be done with a fresh package of sanctions.
Coveney says “the European Union is spending hundreds of millions of euros on importing oil from Russia. That is certainly contributing to financing this war. And in our view, we need to cut off that financing of war.”
‘Tens of thousands of citizens must have been killed in Mariupol’
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Monday he believed the Russian military had killed «tens of thousands» of people in the besieged city of Mariupol and asked South Korea for military assistance.
Addressing South Korea’s National Assembly via video conference, Zelensky said Russia had «completely destroyed» the port in southeastern Ukraine.
«It was a city of half a million people. The occupiers besieged it and did not even allow water and food to be brought there. The Russians completely destroyed Mariupol and reduced it to ashes. At least tens of thousands of citizens of Mariupol must have been killed,» he said.
The Ukrainian president accused Russia of wanting to make Mariupol «an example», calling on South Korea to help his country fight the Russian invasion by providing it with military equipment, «from planes to tanks».
‘Magnitude of the humanitarian crisis staggering’
The World Bank says Ukraine’s economy will shrink by 45.1% this year because of Russia’s invasion, which has shut down half of the country’s businesses, choked off imports and exports, and damaged a vast amount of critical infrastructure.
Unprecedented sanctions imposed by Western allies in response to the war, meanwhile, are plunging Russia into a deep recession, lopping off more than a tenth of its economic growth, the World Bank said in a report.
The war is set to inflict twice the amount of economic damage across Europe and Central Asia that the COVID-19 pandemic did, the Washington-based lender said in its “War in the Region” economic report.
“The magnitude of the humanitarian crisis unleashed by the war is staggering,» said Anna Bjerde, the World Bank’s vice president for the Europe and Central Asia region. «The Russian invasion is delivering a massive blow to Ukraine’s economy and it has inflicted enormous damage to infrastructure.”
The report said economic activity is impossible in «large swathes of areas» in Ukraine because productive infrastructure like roads, bridges, ports and train tracks have been destroyed.
The World Bank said the humanitarian catastrophe will be the biggest shockwave from the war and likely its most enduring legacy, as the wave of refugees fleeing Ukraine is «anticipated to dwarf previous crises.»
More than 4 million people have fled Ukraine, with more than half going to Poland and others heading to countries like Moldova, Romania and Hungary. An additional 6.5 million have been displaced internally. Those numbers are expected to swell as the war drags on, the World Bank said.
‘We must seize every chance to end the humanitarian hell in Ukraine’
Austria’s foreign minister says Chancellor Karl Nehammer is taking “very clear messages of a humanitarian and political kind” to a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said Monday that Nehammer decided to make the trip after meeting in Kyiv on Saturday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and following contacts with the leaders of Turkey, Germany and the European Union.
Schallenberg said ahead of a meeting with his EU counterparts in Luxembourg that “we don’t want to leave any opportunity unused and must seize every chance to end the humanitarian hell in Ukraine.”
He added that “every voice that makes clear to President Putin what reality looks like outside the walls of Kremlin is not a wasted voice.”
Schallenberg said that Nehammer and Putin will meet one-on-one without media opportunities. He insisted that Austria has done everything to ensure that the visit isn’t abused, “and I think he (Putin) himself should have an interest in someone telling him the truth and really finding out what’s going on outside.»
A woman walks past an apartment building damaged by shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Sunday, April 10, 2022