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Russia-Ukraine war: ‘over 600 injured with no medication’ in Azovstal steelworks; Moscow threatens more countries with gas cut – live | Ukraine

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Ukrainian authorities have dismantled a large Soviet-era monument in the centre of Kyiv meant to symbolise friendship between Russia and Ukraine in response to Moscow’s invasion, according to the city’s mayor.

The eight-metre (27-ft) bronze statue, erected in 1982 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Soviet Union, depicted a Ukrainian and Russian worker on a plinth, holding aloft a Soviet order of friendship.

Kyiv dismantles Ukraine-Russia friendship statue – video

The United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, has arrived in Ukraine after meeting with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, in Moscow yesterday.

Guterres tweeted that “the sooner this war ends, the better – for the sake of Ukraine, Russia, and the world”.

I have arrived in Ukraine after visiting Moscow.

We will continue our work to expand humanitarian support & secure the evacuation of civilians from conflict zones.

The sooner this war ends, the better – for the sake of Ukraine, Russia, and the world.

— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) April 27, 2022

Dan Sabbagh

A former head of the Polish army has accused Boris Johnson of “tempting evil” by revealing that Ukrainian soldiers were being trained in Poland in how to use British anti-aircraft missiles before returning with them to Ukraine.

Gen Waldemar Skrzypczak, also a former junior defence minister, complained that a loose-lipped prime minister had revealed too much to the Russians and that his remarks risked the safety of the soldiers involved.

Speaking to Polish tabloid Fakt, Skrzypczak said that Johnson had revealed “a military secret” and that “bad words are on the lips” when he gave details of the Ukrainian training plan on a trip to India last week.

“Military training is a matter of the army, in such a situation secret. Let a man restrain himself and think before he says such things,” said the former general to the newspaper, which described his tone as irritated in an article from Friday.

“The prime minister may not be aware of it, but with such statements he puts the success of the entire military operation at risk, as well as the safety of the soldiers,” Skrzypczak said. “Such statements are tempting evil.”

On the visit, Johnson had revealed that Ukrainians were being taught how to use Nato-standard weapons in both Poland and the UK. “I can say that we are currently training Ukrainians in Poland in the use of anti-aircraft defence, and actually in the UK in the use of armoured vehicles,” he said.

British forces in Poland are training the Ukrainian military in using the Starstreak air defence missile systems. It is likely to be a few weeks before they can be deployed on the frontline to target Russian helicopters and aircraft.

Two American volunteers fighting in Ukraine were wounded by artillery fire near the city of Orikhiv in the Zaporizhzhia region, according to reports.

US army veterans Manus McCaffrey and Paul Gray were working together as a team targeting Russian tanks with Javelin anti-tank systems when they were injured, journalist Nolan Peterson reports.

At 1435 today, two American volunteers in Ukraine’s armed forces were wounded by artillery fire near Orikhiv. Manus McCaffrey & Paul Gray. Both are US Army veterans. 1/ pic.twitter.com/BOB1TSwkSY

— Nolan Peterson (@nolanwpeterson) April 27, 2022

McCaffrey reportedly suffered shrapnel wounds to his face, head and torso. Gray wounded his foot when a concrete wall collapsed on him. Both men are in hospital, Peterson said.

Gray told me: “We were ready for a tank to come down the road when the artillery hit us. A concrete wall protected me but then fell on me. Manus took the hardest blow and shrapnel.” 3/ pic.twitter.com/i8JbkvS9qt

— Nolan Peterson (@nolanwpeterson) April 27, 2022

Anatolii Matukha, 70, outside his house which he said was destroyed by shelling in Yahidne, Chernihiv region, Ukraine.
Anatolii Matukha, 70, outside his house which he said was destroyed by shelling in Yahidne, Chernihiv region, Ukraine. Photograph: Zohra Bensemra/Reuters
A school damaged by Russian air raids in Kharkiv
A school damaged by Russian air raids in Kharkiv. Photograph: Daniel Ceng Shou-Yi/ZUMA Press Wire/REX/Shutterstock

Summary

If you’ve just joined us, here’s a round-up of the key events from today so far:

  • A woman was killed in the Russian shelling of a hospital in the east Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk today, the regional governor, Serhiy Gaidai, said. The hospital was one of only two still operational in the area, he said, alongside video footage showing caved-in brick walls, broken hospital beds, medical appliances, and glass and rubble inside a building.
  • A former US marine held in a Russian jail has been released in exchange for a Russian citizen held in US detention. US President Joe Biden said negotiations for the release of Trevor Reed, 30, “required difficult decisions that I do not take lightly”.

Hello, I’m Léonie Chao-Fong and I will continue to bring you all the latest news from the war in Ukraine. Feel free to drop me a message if you have anything to flag, you can reach me on Twitter or via email.

The European Commission has proposed suspending import duties on all Ukrainian products to help the country’s economy during the war with Russia.

The proposed one-year suspension comes a day after Britain announced it was dropping all tariffs on Ukrainian goods.

It will need to be approved by the European Parliament and its 27 member states to come into force.

The commission, which oversees trade policy in the European Union, said the “unprecedented” measures were designed to alleviate difficulties for Ukrainian producers and exporters in the face of Russia’s invasion.

In a statement, it said this “far-reaching step is designed to help boost Ukraine’s exports to the EU”, adding:

It will help alleviate the difficult situation of Ukrainian producers and exporters in the face of Russia’s military invasion.

The bloc’s economy commissioner, Valdis Dombrovskis, said the move was “vital to win the war and recover post-war”.

🔴 UNPRECEDENTED: EU grants #Ukraine zero-tariff, zero-quota trade.

These measures will boost trade & keep its economy going. This is vital to win the war and recover post-war.

This shows 🇪🇺’s unwavering commitment to helping 🇺🇦 in its hour of need.
👉 https://t.co/bStnWPnmoc pic.twitter.com/8yTqitp1ZZ

— Valdis Dombrovskis (@VDombrovskis) April 27, 2022

Mariupol commander says more than 600 injured with no medication in Azovstal steel works

A Ukrainian commander in the besieged city of Mariupol has made an urgent plea in a video on his Facebook page, saying that there are more than 600 injured civilians and fighters in the Azovstal steel works.

Serhiy Volyna, acting commander of the 36th marine brigade, said there was no medication and no conditions for treatment for the wounded, adding that hundreds of civilians including children were living in unsanitary conditions and running out of food and water.

He issued an urgent appeal for a Dunkirk-style evacuation of troops and civilians from Mariupol.

From Politico’s Christopher Miller:

Situation in Mariupol Azovstal growing more dire. Marine commander Serhiy Volyna says ~600 wounded troops in serious condition, w/o meds, in unsanitary conditions; 100s of civilians including many kids, people with disabilities underground. They’re running out of food and water. pic.twitter.com/MaHdsByoBH

— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) April 27, 2022

Ukrainian authorities have dismantled a large Soviet-era monument in the centre of Kyiv meant to symbolise friendship between Russia and Ukraine in response to Moscow’s invasion, according to the city’s mayor.

The eight-metre (27-ft) bronze statue, erected in 1982 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Soviet Union, depicted a Ukrainian and Russian worker on a plinth, holding aloft a Soviet order of friendship.

Kyiv dismantles Ukraine-Russia friendship statue – video

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, warned that any countries attempting to interfere in Ukraine would be faced with a swift response from Russia and said all decisions on how Moscow would react in that situation had already been taken.

Addressing lawmakers in St Petersburg, Putin said the west wanted to cut Russia up into different pieces and accused it of pushing Ukraine into conflict with Russia.

Reuters reports Putin said Russia’s rouble, banking system, transport sector and economy as a whole had withstood sanctions imposed against Moscow and he promised a response to attempts to isolate Russia.

A woman was killed in Russian shelling of a hospital in the east Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk today, the regional governor said.

The hospital was one of only two still working in the area more than two months since Russia invaded Ukraine, Serhiy Gaidai said. The other was in nearby Lysychansk.

“The Russians knew that the hospital was not empty, there were patients in different conditions with doctors – and that did not stop them,” Gaidai wrote on Telegram.

Reuters reports Gaidai also posted video footage showing caved-in brick walls, broken hospital beds, medical appliances, and glass and rubble inside a building. A nurse was seen removing mats and blankets from what appeared to be a destroyed ward.

“The destruction of the building is significant. Several floors were damaged at once,” Gaidai wrote.

Gaidai’s comments and the video footage could not immediately be independently verified. Russia has repeatedly denied targeting civilians in what it has described as a “special military operation” in Ukraine which began on 24 February.

There are a couple of quick diplomatic news snaps going through the newswire at the moment. Reuters is reporting that Canada is imposing sanctions on 203 individuals which it says are involved in the attempted annexation of certain areas of the Donbas in Ukraine.

At the same time, Russia is announcing that it is to expel eight Japanese diplomats.

Philip Oltermann

Philip Oltermann

Berlin’s outdoor swimming pools will be two degrees chillier this summer than in previous years, in what the state operator says is its contribution towards reducing German reliance on Russian gas.

Water at the German capital’s 16 gas-heated Sommerbäder or lidos, which start to open this week, will be kept below the weather-dependent standard temperature throughout the summer season.

“We have made this decision because we wanted to make a contribution to the reduction of gas imports”, said a spokesperson for Berliner Bäder-Betriebe, Europe’s largest communal pool operator.

The spokesperson said the lowered temperatures were not a cost-cutting measure driven by increased gas prices but a “political statement” coordinated with the Berlin senate.

In a related political gesture, Berlin’s public baths have been free to use for holders of Ukrainian passports since March.

Read more of Philip Oltermann’s report from Berlin here: Berlin cools pools in ‘political statement’ against Russian gas

Belarus has moved to make attempted acts of terrorism punishable by the death penalty after activists tried to sabotage parts of the railway network to make it harder for Russia to deploy forces into Ukraine for its invasion.

The Belarusian lower house of parliament approved the change to the criminal code in two readings, the Belta news agency reported. The change now needs backing from the upper house and Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko before entering force.

Reuters quotes house speaker Vladimir Andreychenko, alluding to acts sabotage on the railway, saying “Destructive forces are continuing terrorist extremist activity by trying to rock the situation in Belarus, provoking domestic instability and conflicts.”

“Actions are being taken to disable railway equipment and tracks, objects of strategic importance,” He said. “There can be no justification for the actions of terrorists.”

Russia used close ally Belarus as a staging ground to launch its unsuccessful attempt to encircle Kyiv in the first phase of the invasion. Minsk denies direct involvement in the conflict.

Germany’s foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, said it is unclear who is behind the attacks that have taken place in the Moldovan breakaway region of Transnistria.

In an address to the German parliament, Baerbock described the situation in Moldova as “extremely critical”.

Ukraine’s lead negotiator, Mykhailo Podolyak, said no agreement had been reached for President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to discuss the war in Ukraine, despite efforts by Turkey to arrange such talks.

“The time of a meeting of the two countries’ presidents and the context of the meeting have not yet been determined”, Podolyak said, Reuters reports.

Podolyak drew attention to increased hostilities in eastern Ukraine and Russian attempts to “completely destroy” the southern port city of Mariupol.

Dan Sabbagh

Dan Sabbagh

Western officials said “we are trying to inflict cost on Russia” by supplying more arms and ammunition to “reduce its offensive capabilities and its ability to project threat against its neighbours and the West” in a late morning briefing on Wednesday.

The remarks demonstrate how western policy towards the war has evolved and hardened as the fighting enters its third month – although officials insisted they were not supporting a proxy war and helping Ukraine defend itself.

This week US defence secretary, Lloyd Austin, said Russia should be “weakened to the point where it can’t do things like invade Ukraine” while UK junior defence minister, James Heappey, said it was legitimate for Ukraine to use western weapons to strike targets in Russia itself.

One official said:

There is a Russian narrative that this is a proxy war between Russia and NATO. It isn’t. We are supporting Ukraine in their self defence.

“We are entitled to provide military support to any state exercising its right to self defence, and that is lawful,” they added, and Russian threats to strike back against Nato targets were “unlawful”.

Representatives of 40 western nations led by the US met this week in Ramstein, Germany to discuss further arms transfers to Ukraine, with Berlin announcing that it would send 50 Gepard armoured anti-aircraft vehicles to help the defenders in their fight with Russia.

“We are trying to inflict cost on Russia is to reduce its offensive capabilities and its ability to project threat against its neighbours and the West,” an official said, which applied both to the supply of weapons but also through economic sanctions meaning that Moscow would “not be able to support the same level of threat that it does at this time”.

Russia’s offensive in the Donbas was continuing slowly, making gains in “small villages and towns south of Izyum” but the officials said the invader was still struggling “to fully employ capability overmatch” – not helped by the current weather.

One official added:

Russians don’t like to fight in the rain.

Ukrainian forces were showing some ability to stage counter attacks, although not yet able to push back Russian positions substantially.

Even when the Russians take the village or a town Ukrainians frequently counter attack immediately. So Russians have no time to bed in or control the situation and they’re immediately on the backfoot again.

The defenders’ special forces were also “operating behind Russian lines” and exploiting the vulnerability of long supply lines to prevent Russians from attacking effectively. “All of it buys time to allow the Ukrainians to continue to build up their capabilities,” the official added.

A former US marine held in a Russian jail has been released, his family have said.

Trevor Reed, 30, from Texas, was serving out his term after being convicted by a Moscow court of endangering the lives of two police officers while drunk on a visit to the Russian capital. His family and the US government said the charges were false and politically motivated.

In a statement, Reed’s family said he is on his way back to the United States, adding:

We’d respectfully ask for some privacy while we address the myriad of health issues brought on by the squalid conditions he was subjected to in his Russian gulag.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. ex-Marine Reed attends a court hearing in MoscowUS ex-Marine Trevor Reed, who was detained in 2019 and accused of assaulting police officers.
FILE PHOTO: U.S. ex-Marine Reed attends a court hearing in Moscow
US ex-Marine Trevor Reed, who was detained in 2019 and accused of assaulting police officers.
Photograph: Tatyana Makeyeva/Reuters

Russia’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, said Reed’s release came due to a prisoner swap for the Russian citizen, Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was serving a 20-year sentence in the US.

The prisoner swap took place on Wednesday “as a result of a lengthy negotiation process”, Zakharova said on her Telegram channel.

US president Joe Biden also confirmed Reed’s release, adding that the negotiations to get him home “required difficult decisions that I do not take lightly”.

Biden’s statement went on to call for the release of detained security director, Paul Whelan, who was first arrested in 2018.

Russian troops used tear gas to disperse Ukrainian protesters in the Russian-occupied city of Kherson, according to reports.

Three people were injured with burns and one suffered a broken leg, according to a local hospital.

From Belarusian journalist Hanna Liubakova:

Today, Kherson residents gathered for a peaceful rally to show that they are part of #Ukraine and are against Russian occupation. The Russian military dispersed the activists, using tear gas and stun grenades. At least two people are known to have been injured pic.twitter.com/3E9Z9Ukq9U

— Hanna Liubakova (@HannaLiubakova) April 27, 2022

On Tuesday, Russia’s defence ministry said its forces had “liberated” the entire Kherson region in the south of Ukraine.

Interfax news agency cited a senior official as saying elsewhere in the south of Ukraine, Russian troops had taken parts of the Zaporizhzhia and Mykolaiv regions, as well as part of the Kharkiv region to the east of Kyiv.

The UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, has told members of the House of Commons who have reportedly been sanctioned by Russia to regard it as “a badge of honour”.

Conservative MP, Ben Everitt, raised the issue at PMQs this afternoon, where he asked the PM:

Within the last hour or so it’s been reported that 287 members of this House have been sanctioned by the Russian state.

Now I’m sure nobody here is rushing to change their summer holiday plans, but perhaps the Prime Minister will assure us that he will continue his excellent relationship with President (Volodymyr) Zelensky and continue to provide the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian military with the support that they need?

In response, Johnson said:

It’s I think no disrespect to those who haven’t been sanctioned, when I say that all those 287 should regard it as a badge of honour.

And what we will do is keep up our robust and principled support for the Ukrainian people and their right to protect their lives, their families, and to defend themselves.

That’s what this country is doing, and that has the overwhelming support, I think, of the whole House.





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