Kyiv mayor Klitschko calls Russian invasion a ‘war against civilians’
Rescue work is ongoing at the site of a Russian air strike on a Ukrainian barracks where soldiers were sleeping.
Witnesses reported seeing dozens of bodies pulled from the rubble as one serviceman told AFP at least 200 soldiers were sleeping in the facility in the southern city of Mykolaiv when it was hit.
Authorities are yet to release an official death toll.
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson said Vladimir Putin has been “panicking” over the prospect that Russian people could overthrow his authoritarian government.
This fear was a factor in the Russian president’s decision to launch the invasion, the prime minister said, adding that Mr Putin feared civilians would demand the free press and free elections that Ukraine has.
Mr Putin worries that a Russian revolution would follow those seen in Georgia and Ukraine in the early 2000s, Mr Johnson told the Conservative Party spring conference.
Rescue work continues at Mykolaiv barracks
Rescue work is ongoing at the site of a Russian air strike on a facility where Ukrainian soldiers had been sleeping, the governor of Ukraine’s southern region of Mykolaiv said today.
Speaking on national television, Governor Vitaliy Kim said the attack took place on Friday but gave no further detail about the location or the number of possible casualties.
Local media reported the strike hit a barracks in the regional capital.
Witnesses reported seeing dozens of bodies pulled from the rubble and one serviceman told AFP at least 200 soldiers were sleeping in the facility in the southern city of Mykolaiv when it was hit.
Liam James19 March 2022 20:00
Private jet grounded in UK over suspected Russia links
A private jet trying to take off from London has been grounded while suspected links to Russia are investigated.
The Cessna aircraft was blocked from taking off from London Biggin Hill Airport while it is investigated to see whether it falls foul of sanctions banning all Russian-linked aircraft.
The notice to airmen (Notam) grounding the flight was issued this morning and relates to a Cessna Citation Latitude 680A owned by Brooker Holdings Ltd.
It is a criminal offence for planes owned, operated or chartered by Russians, including private jets, to fly or land in the UK under a law change in response to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Liam James19 March 2022 19:41
What is a Kinzhal missile? The hypersonic weapon Russia says it used for the first time in Ukraine
Russia’s military has claimed to have fired a hypersonic ballistic missile to destroy a large weapons depot in Ukraine (Zaina Alibhai writes).
Hypersonic missiles are thought to be the next generation of arms as they can travel at exceptionally high speeds, more than five times the speed of sound.
Until recently, hypersonic missiles have remained a closely guarded secret however President Vladimir Putin has made no secret of Russia’s investment in the weapons which he insists were only created in response to the US deployment of a strategic missile defence system.
The Kinzhal missiles are part of an array of “invincible” weapons unveiled by Russia four years ago, alongside Zirkon and Avangrad, which has both higher speed and range.
Carried by MiG-31K fighter jets, it can fly at 10 times the speed of sound – 7,672 mph – and can hit a target some 1,250 miles away.
For comparison, the US Tomahawk cruise missile – a subsonic long range missile system – can travel at around 550 mph.
Liam James19 March 2022 19:16
Russians blocked at US border, Ukrainians admitted
About three dozen would-be asylum seekers from Russia found themselves blocked from entering the US on Friday while a group of Ukrainians flashed passports and were escorted across the border.
The Russians – 34 as of Friday – had been camped several days at the busiest US border crossing with Mexico, two days after city of Tijuana officials gently urged them to leave.
Days earlier, some Russians were being admitted to the US at the San Ysidro crossing, while some Ukrainians were blocked. But by Friday, Russians were denied while Ukrainians were admitted after short waits.
Erika Pinheiro, litigation and policy director for advocacy group Al Otro Lado, said the US began admitting all Ukrainians on humanitarian parole for one year on around Tuesday, while at the same time blocking all Russians. There was no official announcement.
A Homeland Security Department memo dated 11 March but not publicly released until Thursday told border officials that Ukrainians may be exempt from sweeping asylum limits designed to prevent spread of Covid-19. It says decisions are to be made case-by-case for Ukrainians but makes no mention of Russians.
“The Department of Homeland Security recognises that the unjustified Russian war of aggression in Ukraine has created a humanitarian crisis,” the memo states.
Liam James19 March 2022 18:47
US javelins to reach Ukraine in days, says Kyiv security chief
Ukraine will receive a new shipment of US weapons within days, including Javelin and Stinger missiles, Oleksiy Danilov, Ukraine’s national security council secretary, said today.
“The [weapons] will be on the territory of our country in the nearest future. We are talking about days,” Mr Danilov said.
Ukraine’s allies have delivered planeloads of weapons shipments to bolster its military against the Russian invasion. Russia has criticised such deliveries from Nato member states.
The UK also plans to send Javelin missiles to Ukraine. Defence secretary Ben Wallace this week announced Britain would supply a “small consignment” of the anti-tank missiles along with Starstreak anti-aircraft weapons – similar to the US Stinger missiles.
British NLAW short-range anti-tank weapons have already arrived in Ukraine and are reported to have been used in combat.
Liam James19 March 2022 18:27
‘Sometimes yellow is just yellow’: Russia denies cosmonauts dressed to support Ukraine
Russia’s space agency has dismissed reports that their cosmonauts chose to wear yellow suits with a blue trim in support of Ukraine when they joined the International Space Station (ISS), saying: “Sometimes yellow is just yellow” (Holly Bancroft writes).
The three Russian cosmonauts arrived on the ISS in brand new yellow jumpsuits, a departure from their traditional dark blue colour.
Denis Matveyev, Oleg Artemyev and Sergey Korsakov were welcomed on board by their fellow American, Russian and German crew members.
In a press conference live-streamed by Nasa, the American space agency, and the Russian agency Roscosmos, Mr Artemyev joked: “We had accumulated a lot of yellow material so we needed to use it. That’s why we had to wear yellow.”
He said: “It became our turn to pick a colour”.
Liam James19 March 2022 18:07
Gordon Brown and Sir John Major want Putin to face Nuremberg-style trial
Gordon Brown and Sir John Major are among those calling for the creation of a new international tribunal to investigate Vladimir Putin and his underlings for their attacks in Ukraine.
The former prime ministers have joined a campaign aiming to put the Russian president on trial along with those who helped plan his invasion of 24 February.
Launched with a website and a target of two million petition signatures, the campaign – already backed by 740,000 people around the globe – seeks to gain public support for a special tribunal modelled on the Nuremberg trials.
The proposal already has more than 140 signatories, including both former prime ministers, Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Koleba, former prosecutor for the Nuremberg Military Tribunals Benjamin Ferencz, Helena Kennedy QC and former president of the European Court of Human Rights Sir Nicolas Bratza.
Russia already faces questions over war crimes as prosecutors for the International Criminal Court investigate the situation in Ukraine.
Liam James19 March 2022 17:48
Protesters condemn Nestle at anti-war protest
Swiss protesters calling for an end to the Russian invasion of Ukraine condemned Nestle for refusing to stop doing business in Russia.
Anti-war protesters marched on the parliament in Bern with banners denouncing the Swiss food giant which said it would continue to sell “essentials” in Russia.
Ukrainian prime minister Denys Shmyal said on Thursday he spoke to Nestle CEO Mark Schneider about the effect of the company’s approach.
Mr Shmyal said: “Unfortunately, he shows no understanding. Paying taxes to the budget of a terrorist country means killing defenseless children and mothers.
“Hope that Nestle will change its mind soon.”
Many other large companies have ended operations in Russia in opposition to the war. Those that have continued business have faced fierce criticism.
Liam James19 March 2022 17:25
Unexploded bombs will take years to clear, says Ukraine minister
It will take years to defuse the unexploded ordnance scattered across Ukraine after the Russian invasion ends, Ukrainian interior minister Denys Monastyrsky said.
“A huge number of shells and mines have been fired at Ukraine, and a large part haven’t exploded. They remain under the rubble and pose a real threat,” Mr Monastyrsky said in an interview with the Associated Press in Kyiv.
“It will take years, not months, to defuse them.”
As well as unexploded Russian ordnance, Ukrainian troops have planted land mines at bridges, airports and other key locations to block Russian access. “We won’t be able to remove the mines from all that territory, so I asked our international partners and colleagues from the European Union and the United States to prepare groups of experts to demine the areas of combat and facilities that came under shelling,” Mr Monastyrsky said. He noted that his ministry’s demining equipment was left in the isolated city of Mariupol. “We lost 200 pieces of equipment there,” he said.
Liam James19 March 2022 17:07
Putin could use women refugees from Ukraine to launch terror attack on UK, Priti Patel warns
Russia could smuggle female agents into the UK among Ukrainian refugees to carry out biological or chemical terror attacks, home secretary Priti Patel has claimed (Andrew Woodcock writes).
Defending the UK’s decision – alone among European nations – to demand visas from Ukrainians fleeing war, Ms Patel said that a handful of individuals infiltrated by Vladimir Putin into the flood of innocent refugees could “wreak utter havoc” in the UK.
And with the majority of refugees made up of women and children as men stay in Ukraine to fight, she warned it would be “naïve and misguided” to think that only men were capable of unleashing terror attacks on British soil.
In a speech to the Conservative spring conference in Blackpool, Ms Patel said the security checks conducted as part of the refugee visa application process would help avoid a repeat of the Novichok nerve agent attack in Salisbury, which killed British citizen Dawn Sturgess in 2018.
Ms Patel told activists that calls for the UK to follow the EU in offering visa-free access to Ukrainians seeking sanctuary had “grown louder in recent weeks”.
Liam James19 March 2022 16:41