Russia-Ukraine news summary | 1 April 2022
Russia-Ukraine war: live updates
- Russian forces have abandoned Chernobyl nuclear power plant, some with radiation poisoning
- Russia is claiming that Ukrainian forces have hit an oil depot in Russian territory, Ukraine has declined to comment calling the incident a Russian "fake"
- Ukrainian forces liberate a number of settlements around Kyiv
- President Putin threatens to stop sending oil and gas to Europe if they do not make payments in rubles.
- Evacuation convoy moves towards Mauripol, where more than 100,000 civilians are trapped
- NATO Secretary-General: "Russian units are not withdrawing but repositioning"
- UN to investigate Russian war crimes in Ukraine
Russia-Ukraine conflict: Background
- How does the Russian government control media access for citizens?
- Which nations near Russia have a US military base?
- Russia has a clear advantage when it comes to their air force. How many fighter jets do they have?
- Ukraine softens its stance on joining NATO. How many countries are already members?
- Russian oligarch, Roman Abramovich, was allegedly poisoned in early March when he attended diplomatic negotiations in Turkey
More Russian missiles strike several Ukrainian cities
Russian missiles hit two cities in central Ukraine early on Saturday, damaging infrastructure and residential buildings, the head of the Poltava region said. 'Poltava. A missile struck one of the infrastructure facilities overnight,' Dmitry Lunin wrote in an online post. 'Kremenchuk. Many attacks on the city in the morning.'
Lunin later said at least four missiles hit two infrastructure objects in Poltava while, according to preliminary information, three enemy planes attacked the industrial facilities of Kremenchuk. Poltava city is the capital of the Poltava region, east of Kyiv, and Kremenchuk one of the area's major cities. There was no immediate information about possible casualties, Lunin said.
Russia denies targeting civilians in the war that Russian President Vladimir Putin launched on Feb. 24, calling the biggest attack on a European state since World War Two 'special military operation'.
In the Dnipro region in southwestern Ukraine, missiles hit an infrastructure facility, wounding two people and causing significant damage, Valentyn Reznichenko, head of the region, said in an online post. In the city of Kryvyi Rih a petrol station has been shelled, causing fire, he added.
Camp of Ukrainians at the U.S.-Mexico border swells
Hundreds of Ukrainians are camping in the Mexican border city of Tijuana hoping to seek U.S. asylum, a surge in arrivals just days after the Biden administration said the United States would accept up to 100,000 Ukrainians fleeing from war.
Many of the Ukrainians escaping the Russian invasion of their home country have flown to the U.S.-Mexico border hoping officials will allow them in so they can reunite with U.S. relatives or friends. People are spread out on blankets and lawn chairs alongside overstuffed suitcases on a patch of grass near the international port of entry. Some are sleeping in tents and under tarps. U.S. volunteers in neon vests - some Ukrainian-Americans who traveled to Tijuana after hearing about the arriving refugees - are collecting names on a handwritten waitlist to keep track of arrivals.
While some 600 Ukrainians are camping near the border entry around 500 more are staying in hotels in the city, said Enrique Lucero, Tijuana's migration affairs director, citing the list kept by volunteers. About 40% of the people are children, he added.
Red Cross heads again for Mariupol
A Red Cross convoy travelling to the Ukrainian city of Mariupol will try again to evacuate civilians from the besieged port on Saturday as Russian forces looked to be regrouping for new attacks in the southeast. Mariupol, encircled since the early days of Russia's five-week-old invasion, has been Moscow's main target in Ukraine's southeastern region of Donbas.
Tens of thousands there are trapped with scant access to food and water. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) sent a team on Friday to lead a convoy of about 54 Ukrainian buses and other private vehicles out of the city, but they turned back, saying conditions made it impossible to proceed. 'They will try again on Saturday to facilitate the safe passage of civilians,' the ICRC said in a statement.
A previous Red Cross evacuation attempt in early March failed because the route was found to be unsafe. Russia and Ukraine have agreed to humanitarian corridors during the war that have facilitated the evacuation of thousands of civilians. The ICRC says its Mariupol operation has been approved by both sides, but major details were still being worked out, such as the exact timing and destination of the convoy, which would be an undetermined location in Ukraine.
The situation on the ground in Ukraine is becoming increasingly compelx as Ukrainian forces have been able to reclaim territory that had been captured by Russia in the past few weeks. The slow pace of advance has forced Russian forces to withdraw from Kyiv and reports suggest that a considerable proportion have moved to neighbouring Belarus to reorganise and resupply.
We take a look at the territory controlled by Russia and where Ukraine has managed to push back.
Futher accusations of Russian war crimes
This shocking report from the BBC outlines the latest on Russia's military incursion in Ukraine, highlighting some gruesome scenes on the ground. British reporters in Kyiv recount seeing Russian troops firing on civilians attempting to flee the conflict. This comes after US officials announced a similar conclusion last month, claiming that Russia was committing war crimes in Ukraine.
"We certainly see clear evidence that Russian forces are committing war crimes and we are helping with the collecting of evidence of that," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters on March 21. "But there's investigative processes that are going to go on, and we're going to let that happen. We're going to contribute to that investigative process."
Biden looks to addres Russian invasion oil price increase
The situation in Eastern Europe is continuing to push the price of oil higher around the world and having a considerable impact on American consumers. President Biden has banned the importation of Russian fuels, one of the tougher sanctions posed by the United States against Putin's regime, and the price has risen.
Russia has lost more than 17,000 troops in Ukraine
It is no secret that the pace of the Russian invasion of Ukraine has been far more tortured than initially hoped, with many experts predicting that Russia's numerical advantage would secure a swift victory. However that has not been the case and stoic opposition from the Ukrainian defenders has seen Russia forced to withdraw troops from Kyiv in recent days.
Furthermore, a report published by the Kyiv Independent estimates that more than 17,000 Russian soldiers have already been killed in the fighting and a substantial amount of weapons and vehicles have been captured or destroyed.
Ukraine accused of launching counter-strike into Russian territory
For the first time since the RUssian invasion began in late February, the Ukrianian military has been accused of firing an airstrike into Russia after CCTV footage appears to show helicopters attacking a oil depot in Russia, close to the border. Ukrainian authorities have denied the claims in the strongest terms.
European Parliament President visits Kyiv
Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament, has today visited Kyiv to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Ukrainian lawmakers. Given the extremely dangerous situation that exists throughout Ukraine, very few overseas leaders and politicians have been willing to travel to the Ukrainian capital.
After addressing the Ukrainian oarliament earlier today, Metsola wrote on Twitter that Ukraine had "shown the world how to stand up for freedom & democracy, for our shared humanity & for our common values."
Study suggests Belarusian people do not support involvement in Ukraine
Earlier this week Russian authorities claimed that they were withdrawing troops from the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv having supposedly completed their military objectives in the region. However NATO intelligence suggests that the Russian troops are instead being temporarily removed to reorganised and restock ahead of another offensive.
Much of this is being done in Belarus, where the pro-Russia government has repeatedly cosied up to President Putin. However the feelings of normal Belarusians is thought to be very different to that of the country's president, Aleksander Lukashenko. Figures reported by Minsk-based journalist Hanna Liubakov suggest that the majority of people in Belarus oppose the war.
Europe prepares for possible gas disruption
Germany has increased its alerts as a precautionary step after Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened to cut gas supply if they payments for the resource were not paid in rubles. The German government has encouraged residents and companies to cut electricity and gas use to keep supply up.
A large percent of German's gas comes from Russia and while supply at this point remains stable, steps are being taken to prepare for a possible cutoff.
The German Chancellor Scholz spoke with Putin and so far it seems that the Russian leader will be willing to have the country continue to pay for Russian gas in Euros.
President Biden encourages oil companies to use drilling permits and increase production
Look, I’m a capitalist. I have no problem with corporations turning a good profit. But companies have an obligation that goes beyond just their shareholders: to their customers, their communities, and their country.
No American company should take advantage of a pandemic or Vladimir Putin’s actions to enrich themselves at the expense of American families.
Investing those provits [sic] — profits in production and innovation — that’s what they should do. Invest in your customers.
And it isn’t just like — it’s not the patriotic thing to do; it’s good for your business as well.
Right now, the oil and gas industry is sitting on nearly 9,000 unused but approved permits for production on federal lands. There are more than a  million unused acres they have a right to — to pump on.
Families can’t afford that companies sit on these — their hands.
Ukrainians liberating towns around Kyiv, heavy fighting to north and east
The Ukrainian Armed Forces have been recapturing territory outside the capital city as Russian forces retreat. Reuters reports that Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko issued a warning to residents who had fled the capital that it still isn't safe to return.
"The risk of dying (in Kyiv) is pretty high," he said "My advice to anyone who wants to come back is: Please, take a little bit more time." Klitschko said that there were still "huge" battles taking place to the north and east of the capital.
Although Russian forces have been pulling out of some areas, they are digging in others. According to the regional governor of Kyiv the occupying forces are strengthening their positions in Bucha. That Kyiv suburb lies between Hostomel and Irpin which are free of Russian forces.
Russians troops abandon Chernobyl nuclear power plant
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry announced on Friday that all Russian troops have left the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. They cite radiation and troop losses for the occupying forces abandoning the site on one of the worst nuclear accidents.
The troops looted small appliances and lab equipment before they left according to the Ukrainians. The IAEA is looking into reports that the soldiers received high doses of radiation while occupying the decommissioned nuclear power plant.
It has been said that the Russian troops drove through the notorius Red Forest, the most radioactive part of the Exclusion Zone, kicking up dust while not wearing any protection. Similarly Russian soldiers dug trenches and built fortifications in the area, again without protective gear.
Attack on Russian fuel depot could change mood of peace negotiations
Russia has accused the Ukraine of sending helicopters over the border into Russia to attack a fuel depot. At this time the Ukrainians are neither confirming or denying the allegations merely saying that it can't be held "responsible for every catastrophe on Russia's territory" as it defends its territory from the Russian invasion.
A spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin said the this kind of event could impact the mood of the peace talks that are taking place with a new round of talks set for Friday.
Death toll from Kyolaiv missile rises to 28
The death toll from a Russian missile strike on an administrative building in the southern city of Mykolaiv has risen to 28, its governor Vitaliy Kim says.
A rocket struck the nine-storey building, which included Kim's offices, shortly before 09:00 local time on Tuesday morning. The rubble is still being cleared on Friday.
What has the Ukrainian reaction been to the helicopter attack?
Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says he cannot confirm or deny reports of Ukraine's involvement in the strike on the fuel depot in Belgorod.
"I am a civilian," he told reporters in Warsaw, according to AFP.
Ukraine's defence ministry has also declined to comment, with Reuters quoting spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk saying: "Ukraine is currently conducting a defensive operation against Russian aggression on the territory of Ukraine, and this does not mean that Ukraine is responsible for every catastrophe on Russia's territory...
"I will not confirm or deny these allegations."
Attack on Russian supply depot not yet claimed by Ukraine
There has been a helicopter attack in the Russian city of Belgorod as the mayor accuses Ukrainian units from attacking oil supplies.
The footage and attack have been verified by the BBC, but Ukraine has yet to claim the attack.
President Vladimir Putin's spokesman blamed Ukraine for the fire and said the incident "cannot be perceived as creating comfortable conditions for continuing the talks" with Kyiv. So far those peace talks have made little progress.
More on the Red Cross convoy approaching Mariupol
Reuters) - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is sending staff to the besieged Ukrainian port city of Mariupol and is hopeful that evacuations of thousands of civilians can begin on Friday, a spokesperson said at a press briefing.
"We have permission to move today and we are en route to Mariupol," ICRC spokesperson Ewan Watson said. "We are hopeful it (the safe passage operation) will commence today."
However, the body did not receive permission to take humanitarian aid with the convoy, and it departed without the pre-positioned medical and other supplies, he added, without giving details.
Russian and Ukrainian negotiators held their first peace talks in two weeks on Tuesday after which Russia said that it would reduce its attacks on Kyiv and a strategic city north of the Ukrainian capital, Chernihiv. Moscow said that it wants to "boost mutual trust" in peace talks.
Although it would be a welcome de-escalation in that theatre of the Russian invasion, Western nations and Ukraine remain wary of Moscow’s intentions. So far, no major withdraw of troops from either area has been seen and the governor of Chernihiv told the BBC that attacks continue.
Will Red Cross evacuation of Mariupol take place today?
The highly anticipated evacuation of Mariupol that was due to begin today but there are still doubts over what is feasible and what the organisation can do.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has said the plan has been approved by "top-level authorities" from Ukraine and Russia, Reuters news agency reports.
The organisation is hopeful the evacuation can take place on Friday and it plans to lead 54 Ukrainian buses and private cars in a convoy out of the beleaguered city.
Ukraine's battle fronts are shifting - interior ministry adviser
The southern city of Mariupol and a "corridor" between two eastern towns, Izyum and Volnovakha, are becoming the key battlefronts in Ukraine, an interior ministry adviser said on Thursday.
"(Russia) is withdrawing forces in the Kyiv region, but it's too early to say that the same is happening in the Chernihiv region," adviser Vadym Denysenko said.
Russia said on Tuesday it would scale down operations in the Kyiv and Chernihiv regions. NATO's chief said on Thursday this was a regrouping rather than a withdrawal.
March 29 saw the 'city of the world's desire', Istanbul, play host to the most important peace negotiations so far in the Ukrainian war. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is acting as media as high-level talks between the two parties hope to thrash out an agreement.
Some progress has been made so far, but sticking points remain on a number of key issues. One of the latest developments has been the Russian demand for the besieged city of Mariupol to surrender. Under assault for a month, the key city in the Donetsk region is a major Russian target, especially after the supposed abandonment of objective Kyiv.
Pentagon warns that Putin may be unaware of situation on the ground
Speaking to MSNBC, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby says that the invasion of Ukraine could continue for even longer as there are concerns that President Putin is not being informed of the reality on the ground by his advisors. Putin's grip on the Russian government is such that he is surrounded entirely by people of his choosing and they are often reluctant to give him any bad news, for fear of his wrath. Just earlier today President Biden said he had received reports that Putin had placed some military officials under house arrest for perceived failures in Ukraine.
Russia is "regrouping, not withdrawing"
According to our intelligence, Russian units are not withdrawing but repositioning. Russia is trying to regroup, resupply and reinforce its offensive in the Donbas region.
At the same time, Russia maintains pressure on Kyiv and other cities. So we can expect additional offensive actions, bringing even more suffering.
Good morning and welcome to AS USA
Good morning! We'll bring you all the latest on the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.
In recent days the Kremlin has claimed that it is reducing military activities in the area surrounding the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and Chernihiv, but overnight there were reports of "colossal" bombing of Chernihiv. The Kremlin has once again called on Ukrainians to lay down their arms in the beseiged city of Mariupol.
Negotiators from Russia and Ukraine are meeting in Istanbul for peace talks which have yet to yield an end to the conflict.