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Russia - Ukraine war live updates today: Ukraine accuses Putin of "massacre" in Bucha

As ceasefire negotiations continue and Ukrainian forces gain ground, international leaders demand action over alleged war crimes.

Russia-Ukraine conflict: latest news


- President Biden calls Putin a "war criminal" in response to atrocities in Bucha

- Russian Defence Ministry denies war crimes committed in Bucha, describing images as "staged performance by Kyiv regime"

- Germany, France and UK join calls for tougher sanctions on Russia

- EU lining up more Ukraine support and more Russia sanctions

- Russia reports destruction oil refinery in Odesa.

- The US has sent Ukraine more than $1.4 billion in military support since Russian invasion began on 24 February.

- Ukrainian photojournalist Maks Levin was found dead in Kyiv after being reported missing.

- The Red Cross of Ukraine continue attempts to enter Mariupol after being denied access by Russian forces.

- Russia threatens to call off negotiations after Ukraine is accused of an attack on a fuel depot on Russian territory.

Background: Russia-Ukraine conflict

- State of the fighting: which armies control what areas?

- Hacking collective Anonymous continues to attack Russian companies.

- Western leaders are "weary" of Russian de-escalation messages

Related news:

Von Der Leyen set to meet Zelenskyy in Kyiv

European Union Commission President, Ursula Von Der Leyen, and EU Foreign Policy Chief, Josep Borrell will travel to Ukraine this week to meet President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the EU Deputy chief spokeswoman and Director for Political Communication Dana Spinant confirmed on Tuesday.


Ukraine-Russia talks the only option to end war - Zelenskyy

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Tuesday Ukraine had no option but to negotiate with Russia to end fighting but that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin might not personally hold talks.

Zelenskyy was speaking after accusing Russian troops of carrying out extra-judicial killings in the town of Bucha west of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said the reports of civilian killings in Bucha were "fakes" aimed at discrediting Russia. Moscow said it would present "empirical evidence" to a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday proving its forces were not involved..

"All of us, including myself, will perceive even the possibility of negotiations as a challenge," Zelenskyy said in an interview with Ukrainian journalists broadcast on national television. "The challenge is internal, first of all, one's own, human challenge. Then, when you pull yourself together, and you have to do it, I think that we have no other choice."

He said the events in Bucha were unforgivable but Ukraine and Russia should take the difficult option of pursuing talks, and signalled that Moscow should recognise what its troops were alleged to have done. The Russian news agency Interfax cited a deputy Russian foreign minister as saying talks were continuing via video link. Asked whether he and Putin would hold direct talks, Zelenskyy said it was possible this would not happen but gave no details.


West staged Bucha to discredit Russia - parliament speaker

Russia's top lawmaker said on Tuesday that civilian killings in the Ukrainian town of Bucha were part of a deceitful attempt by the West to discredit Russia. "The situation in Bucha is a provocation aimed at discrediting Russia," Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of Russia's lower house of parliament, the Duma, said. "Washington and Brussels are the screenwriters and directors and Kyiv are the actors," Volodin added. "There are no facts - just lies."

Since Russian troops withdrew from towns and villages around the Ukrainian capital Kyiv last week, Ukrainian troops have been showing journalists corpses of what they say are civilians killed by Russian forces, destroyed houses and burnt-out cars. Russia denies all the claims.

Ukraine forces have retaken the north

Ukrainian forces have retaken key northern terrain, forcing Russian forces to retreat from areas around the city of Chernihiv and north of the capital Kyiv, British military intelligence said on Tuesday. Low-level fighting is likely to continue in some of the recaptured areas, but reduce this week as the remainder of the Russian forces withdraw, the defence ministry said in a regular bulletin on Twitter.

Many of the withdrawing Russian units are likely to require significant re-equipping and refurbishment before they redeploy for operations in the country's east, the ministry added.

What has Biden said about Russian war crimes?

President Joe Biden has called for evidence to be gathered to put Russian leader Vladimir Putin on trial for war crimes for Russia's conduct in Ukraine.

“He is a war criminal,” Biden after reports of mass killings of civilians by Russian-controlled troops came to light as towns were liberated..

“This guy is brutal, and what’s happening in Bucha is outrageous and everyone’s seen it,” Biden told reporters, a day after video and still images revealed the town’s streets littered with dead bodies.

“I think it is a war crime. ... He should be held accountable.”


Ukraine-Russia war: what are the differences between refugee, asylee and an internally displaced person?

A key feature of every conflict, be it in Africa, Europe or anywhere else, is that civilians take the brunt of the fighting. Despite rules about who is a fair target or not in war, there are no guarantees that civilians can be kept safe.

There is confusion around the differences between displaced persons. We’re here to clear that up.

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Zelenskyy criticises the west for '14 years of concessions' to Putin

Speaking six weeks into the Russian invasion of Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy took aim at western leaders who he believes did not do enough to curb the growing influence of President Putin in the past 14 years. Zelenskyy has appeared increasingly frustrated with the lack of concrete military support in recent weeks, and his speech could be seen as an attempt to shock other nations into action. 

Where is Bucha?

Earlier today Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy travelled to Bucha, a small city to the northwest of the Kyiv Oblast, to see the destruction wrought by Russian forces. Bucha has a population of approximately 36,971 and is just 20 miles fom the centre of Kyiv. 

Reports in recent days had warned that Russia had begun targeting the civilian population in areas they controlled, but the full extent of that has only been revealed after Russian troops were forced to withdraw. 

President Biden speaks on Russia's Ukraine atrocities

Speaking to reporters at Fort McNair army post in Washington, President Biden calls Russian leader Vladimir Putin a war criminal as further details of the tactics employed by the Kremlin in Ukraine become apparent. Biden says that the United States is gathering evidence to build a formal case against Putin. 


What is the evidence of Russian war crimes in Ukraine?

Evidence is emerging of atrocities committed against the civilian population in Ukraine as towns that have been occupied since the first week of the war are for the first time having light shone upon them. Mass graves and dead civilians have been found in abundance. Journalists from AFP and the BBC have been able to access the towns and verify the discoveries of war crimes. 

“Well, the truth of the matter – we saw it happen in Bucha – [Putin] is a war criminal.” President Biden told reporters at Fort McNair army post in Washington. "This guy is brutal and what’s happening in Bucha is outrageous.”

Read more

Bucha massacre draws global attention

Bucha, a city of around 30,000 people in Ukraine's Kyiv Oblast, has reportedly been the site of a horrific massacre of of unarmed civilians which has prompted renewed calls for tougher sanctions against Russia and for President Putin to be tried for war crimes. 

Ukrianian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukraine’s refusal to submit to Russia was the reason “we are being destroyed and exterminated”, describing the war as “the torture of the whole nation”


Germany declares 'significant number' of Russian diplomats as undesirable

Germany decided on Monday to declare undesirable a "significant number" of officials at the Russian embassy, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said, adding that Berlin would also boost its support to Ukraine's armed forces.

"The images from Bucha testify to an unbelievable brutality on the part of the Russian leadership and those who follow its propaganda," Baerbock said in a statement, referring to civilian killings in north Ukraine.

"The Federal Government has therefore decided today to declare undesirable a significant number of members of the Russian Embassy who have worked here in Germany every day against our freedom, against the cohesion of our society."

Germany's Foreign Ministry lists 104 accredited Russian diplomats in Germany.

"We are launching further responses with our partners," she added. "We will further tighten the existing sanctions against Russia, we will decisively increase our support to the Ukrainian armed forces and we will also strengthen NATO's eastern flank."


Biden says Putin a war criminal, calls for war crimes trial

U.S. President Joe Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin a war criminal on Monday and urged holding a war crimes trial, as a global outcry mounted over civilian killings in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.

"You saw what happened in Bucha," Biden told reporters at the White House. "This warrants him - he is a war criminal."

The discovery of a mass grave and tied bodies shot at close range in Bucha, outside Kyiv, a town taken back from Russian troops, looked set to galvanize the United States and Europe into additional sanctions against Moscow.

Biden said, "We have to gather the information. We have to continue to provide Ukraine with the weapons they need to continue the fight. And we have to get all the detail so this can be an actual, have a war crimes trial."

Putin "is brutal. And what's happening in Bucha is outrageous, and everyone's seen it," Biden said. The Kremlin categorically denied any accusations related to the murder of civilians, including in Bucha, where it said the graves and corpses had been staged by Ukraine to tarnish Russia.

Red Cross says its team travelling to Mariupol was stopped, now being held

A team from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was stopped during an attempt to reach Mariupol, Ukraine to evacuate civilians and is now being held in the nearby town Manhush, a spokesperson told Reuters on Monday.

"A team from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is being held in the town of Manhush, 20 kilometers west of Mariupol," ICRC spokesperson Jason Straziuso told Reuters.

He said the team was being held by police, without giving further details. "It's not a hostage situation," he added.

Governor of Ukraine's Zhytomyr says no Russian troops remain in region

The governor of Ukraine's northern region of Zhytomyr said there were no longer any Russian troops in the region, which lies west of Kyiv on the border with Belarus.

"They left, leaving part of their vehicles, leaving part of their munitions," Governor Vitaliy Bunechko said in an online post.

Russian ambassador to Lithuania "asked to leave"

Lithuania has asked Russian ambassador Alexei Isakovto leave the country, the Lithuanian foreign minister said on Monday. "Russian ambassador was asked to leave Lithuania," Gabrielius Landsbergis tweeted, adding. "Lithuanian ambassador in Ukraine is coming back to Kyiv. That is Lithuania's decision made today". Isakov was appointed Russian ambassador to Lithuania in October 2020.

Red Square

Russia imposes visa restrictions on citizens of 'unfriendly countries'

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Monday to introduce visa restrictions for citizens of countries that Moscow deems 'unfriendly' in response to sanctions over the Ukraine invasion. The decree, which comes into force on Monday, suspends Russia's simplified visa issuance regime with some European Union countries as well as Norway, Switzerland, Denmark and Iceland.

Russian froces have withdrawn from Sumy

The governor of Ukraine's northern region of Sumy said on Monday Russian troops no longer occupied any towns or villages in the region and had mostly withdrawn, while Ukrainian troops were working to push out the remaining units. Speaking on national television, Governor Dmytro Zhyvytskyy said Russian troops had abandoned a lot of equipment in the region, which lies on Ukraine's border with Belarus.

Zelenskyy invites Merkel and Sarkozy to visit Bucha mass graves

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy invited former German and French heads of state to visit Bucha and see for themselves mass graves filled with hundreds of massacred civilians. Zelenskyy believes that the atrocity is linked directly to the decision taken by former German Chancellor Angela Merkel and ex-French President Nicolas Sarkozy in April 2008 to block Ukraine from joining NATO.

Merkel and Sarkozy opposed efforts by Poland and the Baltic states to set a specific timetable for eventual Ukrainian membership in the alliance.

In his address to the outside world on Sunday, Zelenskyy said, "Under optimistic diplomatic statements that Ukraine could become a member of NATO, then, in 2008, a refusal to accept Ukraine into the alliance was hidden. The absurd fear of some politicians towards Russia was hidden. They thought that by refusing Ukraine, they would be able to appease Russia, to convince it to respect Ukraine and live normally next to us. I invite Mrs. Merkel and Mr. Sarkozy to visit Bucha and see what the policy of concessions to Russia has led to in 14 years. To see with their own eyes the tortured Ukrainian men and women". 

US pushing to suspend Russia from Human Rights Council

The United States will ask the UN General Assembly to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council, US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said on Monday, after Ukraine accused Russian troops of killing dozens of civilians in the town of Bucha.

Russia is in its second year of a three-year term on the Geneva-based council. A two-third majority vote by the 193-member assembly in New York can suspend a state from the council for persistently committing gross and systematic violations of human rights during its membership.

Kremlin "categorically denies" Bucha allegations

The Kremlin said on Monday it categorically denied any accusations related to the murder of civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha and said Ukrainian allegations on the matter should be treated with doubt.

Ukrainian authorities said on Sunday they were investigating possible war crimes by Russian forces after finding hundreds of bodies strewn around towns outside the capital Kyiv after the Russian withdrawal from the area.

"This information must be seriously questioned," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call. "From what we have seen, our experts have identified signs of video falsification and other fakes."

Peskov said that the facts and chronology of the events in Bucha did not support Ukraine's version of events and urged international leaders not to rush to judgment.

"We categorically deny any accusations," said Peskov. "The situation is undoubtedly serious and we would ask that many international leaders not rush with their statements, not rush with their baseless accusations, request information from different sources, and at least listen to our explanations."

Peskov said that Russia's diplomats would press on with their efforts to convene a UN Security Council meeting to discuss what Moscow has called "Ukrainian provocations" in Bucha despite their first effort to arrange such a meeting being blocked.

"The initiative itself of raising this topic to the platform of the UN Security Council suggests that Russia wants and demands that this topic be raised at the international level," Peskov said.

Peskov declined to comment on whether the furore over Bucha would affect peace talks between Moscow and Kyiv, which had been set to resume via video conference on Monday.

Zelenskyy: Bucha is "concentrated evil"

Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelenskyy has issued a video address after further evidence of alleged war crimes committed by Russian occupying troops in the town of Bucha emerged.

Macron calls for tougher sanctions on Russia

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday that a new round of sanctions targetting Russia were needed and that there were clear indications Russian forces were responsible for the killings of civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.

"There are very clear clues pointing to war crimes. It is more or less established that the Russian army is responsible (for the Bucha killings)," Macron told France Inter radio.

"What happened in Bucha demands a new round of sanctions and very clear measures," Macron added.

Those new sanctions should target coal and oil, said Macron who faces a re-election battle this month.

Russia asks UN security council to discuss Bucha 'criminal provocations'

Russia on Monday will reiterate its request for the UN Security Council to convene a meeting over what it called the "criminal provocations by Ukrainian servicemen and radicals" in the town of Bucha, a foreign ministry official said.

The UN Security Council will hold a previously scheduled discussion on Ukraine on Tuesday and will not meet on Monday as requested by Russia, said Britain's mission to the United Nations, which holds the presidency of the 15-member council for April.

Separately, Russia's chief investigator on Monday ordered an official examination of what he called a Ukrainian "provocation."

Alexander Bastrykin, head of the Russian Investigative Committee, ordered that a probe be opened on the basis that Ukraine had spread "deliberately false information" about Russian armed forces in Bucha, the committee said in a statement.

Russian forces refocus their offensive into the Donbas region

Russian forces continue to consolidate and reorganise as they refocus their offensive into the Donbas region in the east of Ukraine, British military intelligence said on Monday. Russian troops, including mercenaries from the Russian state-linked Wagner private military company, are being moved into the area, the Ministry of Defence tweeted in a regular daily bulletin.


Russia claims Bucha footage was "ordered" to blame Russia

Russia's foreign ministry said that footage of dead civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha had been "ordered" by the United States as part of a plot to blame Russia.

"Who are the masters of provocation? Of course the United States and NATO," ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in an interview on state television late on Sunday. Zakharova said the immediate Western outcry over the images of dead civilians indicated the story had been part of a plan to sully Russia's reputation.

"In this case, it seems to me that the fact that these statements (about Russia) were made in the first minutes after these materials appeared leaves no doubt as to who 'ordered' this story."

Zelenskyy makes appeal for support in Grammy video appearance

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appeared in a video broadcast on Sunday's Grammy Awards in the United States and appealed to viewers to support Ukrainians however they can.

"What is more opposite to music? The silence of ruined cities and killed people," said Zelenskyy in the video that aired ahead of a performance by American singer John Legend and Ukranian poet Lyuba Yakimchuck. "Fill the silence with your music. Fill it today, to tell our story. Support us in any way you can. Any, but not silence," said a hoarse Zelenskyy, in English.

US embassy in Kyiv calls images coming out of Bucha 'horrific,' vows action

The images coming out of the Ukrainian town of Bucha and other areas vacated by Russian President Valdimir Putin's forces are "horrific," the US embassy in Kyiv said on Twitter, vowing action.

"The US government is committed to pursuing accountability using every tool available. We can not stand quiet, the world needs to know what happened, and we all must act," it said.

Ukraine on Sunday accused Russian forces of carrying out a "massacre" in the town of Bucha. Russia's defence ministry denied the Ukrainian allegations.

Zelenskyy: "This is genocide"

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of carrying out a genocide in his country, in an interview on Sunday with CBS's "Face the Nation" news program.

"Indeed, this is genocide. The elimination of the whole nation and the people," Zelenskiy said, speaking through a translator.

"We are the citizens of Ukraine and we don't want to be subdued to the policy of Russian Federation. This is the reason we are being destroyed and exterminated."


What is the evidence of Russian war crimes in Ukraine?

As Russia has moved its troops eastwards and away from Kyiv, evidence has emerged of multiple atrocities committed on the civilian population in Ukraine. Towns that have been occupied since the first week of the war are for the first time having light shone upon them, and it is not a pleasant sight. Mass graves and dead civilians have been found in abundance. Journalists from AFP and the BBC have been able to access the towns and verify the discoveries.

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Russia denies killing civilians in Bucha

Russia on Sunday denied Ukrainian allegations that it had killed civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, describing footage and photographs of dead bodies as a "provocation" and a "staged performance" by Kyiv.

Ukraine has accused the Russian military of massacring residents of Bucha, a town northwest of the capital Kyiv, an area Ukrainian troops said they recaptured on Saturday.

"All the photos and videos published by the Kyiv regime, allegedly testifying to the 'crimes' of Russian servicemen in the city of Bucha, Kyiv region, are another provocation," Russia's defence ministry said in a statement.

It called the footage "another staged performance by the Kyiv regime for the Western media."

Images of dead civilians strewn across the town prompted Western countries to call for those responsible for war crimes in Ukraine to be punished.

The Russian defence ministry said that all Russian military units had left Bucha on March 30, and that civilians had been free to move around the town or evacuate while it was under Russian control.

"During the time that Russian armed forces were in control of this settlement, not a single local resident suffered from any violent actions," it said.

Russia must pay for 'war crimes' in Bucha, Germany says

Germany's Foreign Minister said on Sunday Russia must pay for its "war crimes" in the Ukrainian town of Bucha just outside the capital in the form of more severe sanctions, denouncing Russian President Vladimir Putin's "uninhibited violence".

The mayor of Bucha said on Saturday that 300 residents had been killed during a month-long occupation by the Russian army. Victims were seen by Reuters in a mass grave and still lying on the streets.

"The images from Bucha are unbearable, Putin's uninhibited violence is extinguishing innocent families and knows no boundaries," Baerbock wrote on Twitter.

"Those responsible for these war crimes must be made accountable. We will tighten the sanctions against Russia and will assist Ukraine even more in defending itself."

Russia has denied targeting civilians and rejected allegations of war crimes in what it calls a "special military operation" in Ukraine.

In a statement on Sunday German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called for international organisations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to be allowed access to the affected areas to independently document what he described as atrocities.

Scholz also called on Russia to finally agree to a ceasefire and put a stop to this "terrible, meaningless and unjustifiable war".

Ukraine demands "devastating" sanctions over alleged massacre

Ukraine's foreign minister called on the G7 on Sunday to impose "devastating" new sanctions on Moscow and accused Russia of carrying out a deliberate "massacre" in the town of Bucha outside Kyiv.

Ukraine said on Saturday its forces had retaken all areas around Kyiv and the mayor in Bucha, a liberated town 37 km (23 miles) northwest of the capital, said that 300 residents had been killed by the Russian army.

"We are still gathering and looking for bodies, but the number has already gone into the hundreds," Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said, according to his ministry.

"Dead bodies lie on the streets. They killed civilians while staying there and when they were leaving these villages and towns," Kuleba said.

Moscow has denied Ukrainian allegations that it has targeted civilians or carried out possible war crimes.

Kuleba called on the International Criminal Court to visit Bucha and other towns around Kyiv as soon as possible to gather evidence.

"I urge the International Criminal Court and international organisations to send their missions to Bucha and other liberated towns and villages of the Kyiv region, in cooperation with Ukrainian law enforcement agencies, to thoroughly collect all evidence of Russian war crimes," the ministry quoted him as saying.

"If I used to say that I will make every effort to bring the perpetrators to justice, now I am convinced that this is a matter of my life, which I will do until my last breath, until they are all held accountable," he said.

Russia-Ukraine conflict: live blog

Hello and welcome to out daily live blog on Monday 4 April 2022. We'll bring you all the latest on the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

With his military chiefs reportedly afraid of revealing their failings, rumours that President Putin has been misinformed are circling just as the Russian leader signs an order to conscript over 100,000 soldiers. These troops will need to be trained meaning that there will be delays before they can be sent to the battlefield.

Russian forces returned Chernobyl to Ukrainian hands after various soldiers experienced radiation poisoning after digging trenches in the area.

Negotiators from Russia and Ukraine have been meeting in Istanbul for peace talks which have yet to yield an end to the conflict. The diplomatic discussions have been questioned by Russia after an attack on a fuel depot that the Kremlin is blaming on Ukrainian forces.

Meanwhile, President Zelenskyy has called the Russian invasion a "genocide" after reports of the alleged massacre of some 300 civilians in the town of Bucha as Russian forces retreated. The international community has called for an investigation and for any war crimes to be punished. Moscow on Sunday denied committing war crimes in Bucha, the Kremlin stating that "not one civilian" was harmed by occupying forces and calling the reports "another staged performance by the Kyiv regime for the Western media."


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