The strategic port of Mariupol, which Moscow claims to have “liberated”, is still resisting Russian forces, says kyiv according to which thousands of Ukrainian fighters continue to fight fiercely to defend the immense Azovstal metallurgical complex.
An adviser to the Ukrainian presidency on Friday accused the French defense equipment group Thales of circumventing sanctions and selling equipment used in Ukraine to kill civilians to Russia in 2015, a claim Thales denies.
“A family was trying to escape, they were killed by Russian assassins. Killed, as is now proven, with French weapons sold in circumvention of sanctions in 2015”, said on Twitter Mikhaïlo Podolyak, adviser to the president. Ukrainian Volodymyr Zelensky.
Questioned by AFP, Thales denied having circumvented the sanctions against Russia.
Moldova summoned the Russian ambassador on Friday to protest against statements by a Russian general that Moscow wanted to take control of southern Ukraine to gain access to a breakaway Moldovan region.
Moldova expressed its “deep concern” to the ambassador about these remarks by Russian General Rustam Minnekayev, the Moldovan Foreign Ministry said in a statement and “considers these statements to be unfounded and contradictory with the support of the Russia to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country,” the ministry continued.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres will travel next week to Russia where he will be received by Vladimir Putin, their first meeting since the start of Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine, the Kremlin announced on Friday.
“On Tuesday, April 26, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres will arrive in Moscow for talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. He will also be received by President Vladimir Putin,” the Kremlin spokesman said. , Dmitry Peskov, quoted by Russian news agencies.
The UN General Assembly will proceed “in the coming weeks” to an election to choose a successor to Russia, ousted in early April from the Human Rights Council, said Friday the president of this body, the Argentinian Federico Villegas.
During a press conference, Federico Villegas specified that the country which would be chosen would come from Eastern Europe without being able to say whether candidates had already declared themselves.
Due to the invasion of Ukraine, Russia was suspended on April 7 from the Human Rights Council, which sits in Geneva, by the UN General Assembly.
Negotiations between Moscow and kyiv aimed at finding a solution to the conflict are “skating”, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday, as the talks did not lead to any apparent progress.
“They are slipping, because a proposal that we handed over to the Ukrainian negotiators five days ago, and which was formulated taking into account their comments, remains unanswered,” Lavrov said. The head of the Russian delegation, Vladimir Medinsky, also indicated that a new session of discussions took place on Friday.
Spain reopened its embassy in kyiv on Friday, which it had closed following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Spanish government announced.
“The consular delegation, led by the Spanish ambassador to Ukraine, Silvia Cortés, proceeded to the reopening of the Spanish embassy in kyiv” with the support of members of the special police forces, announced the Spanish Ministry of the Interior, in a message to the press.
The number of Ukrainian refugees who fled the invasion of their territory by the Russian army at the end of February continues to increase, but at a much lower daily rate than at the start of the war, according to figures from the United Nations High Commission for refugees released on Friday.
European Council President Charles Michel, who represents EU member states, asked Russian President Vladimir Putin in a telephone interview on Friday to guarantee humanitarian corridors in Mariupol on the occasion of the Orthodox Easter.
The United Kingdom plans to deliver tanks to Poland to replace Soviet-designed tanks that the latter could supply to Ukraine in the face of the Russian invasion.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday described as “realistic” the possibility that the war in Ukraine will last until the end of 2023.
Asked at a press conference in New Delhi about such a timetable mentioned by Western sources, he replied: “It’s a realistic possibility, yes, of course, Putin has a huge army, (…) he made a catastrophic mistake and the only option he has now is to keep trying to use his appalling, artillery-based approach to try and crush the Ukrainians.”
The future of the war in Ukraine “depends on the fate of Mariupol”, a besieged port in the south-east of the country, almost entirely under Russian control, regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko told AFP.
The UK will reopen its embassy in kyiv “next week”, announces Boris Johnson
The UN accuses the Russian army of actions “that may amount to war crimes”.
The UN has documented the “murder, including some by summary execution” of 50 civilians in the town of Boutcha on the outskirts of kyiv, a spokeswoman for the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva said on Friday.
“During a mission to Boutcha on April 9, UN human rights investigators documented the killing, including summary execution, of some 50 civilians there,” Ravina Shamdasani said during a regular briefing by the UN. UN in Geneva.
Russia is aiming for total control of southern Ukraine and the Donbass region to have a land bridge to Crimea annexed by Moscow, a general and senior Russian army official said on Friday.
“Since the beginning of the second phase of the special operation, which began two days ago, one of the objectives of the Russian army has been to establish full control over Donbass and southern Ukraine. This will ensure a land corridor to Crimea, as well as strain vital infrastructure of the Ukrainian economy,” said General Rustam Minnekayev, deputy commander of the forces of the Central Russian Military District, quoted by Russian news agencies
No evacuation corridor for civilians can be organized Friday in Ukraine, said a Ukrainian government official, judging the situation too “dangerous” on the roads.
“Due to the danger threatening our routes, there will be no humanitarian corridors today,” Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Telegram.
“I speak to all those waiting to be evacuated: be patient, please hold on!” she urged in her message.
Thursday, three buses carrying people evacuated from the besieged port of Mariupol had arrived in Zaporijjia, a large city in the south-east, AFP noted.