Putin spokesperson claims Bucha atrocities were staged
A new 33-hour curfew is to be imposed in Odesa, with Ukrainian authorities in the Black Sea port city warning of the potential for missile strikes following the deadly Russian attack on a train station in Kramatorsk.
With the death toll from Friday’s attack currently placed at 52, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky warned that “everyone involved will be held accountable”, adding: “We expect a firm, global response to this war crime.”
Following a visit to Bucha, where investigators exhumed bodies from a mass grave on Friday, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said that, while lawyers have to investigate carefully, “my instinct says: if this is not a war crime, what is a war crime.”
In Makariv, a town situated 30km from Bucha, the mayor alleged that 132 bodies had also been discovered in mass graves and in the streets in the wake of the Russian retreat.
Meanwhile, a western official claimed Vladimir Putin has reorganised his military leadership, with General Alexander Dvornikov – said to have prior experience from Syria – placed in charge of the invasion.
Bucha residents describe atrocities ‘worse than anyone could image’
Kim Sengputa spoke to residents from Bucha, a city just outside of Kyiv, earlier this week – and they described witnessing atrocities worse than “anyone could even imagine”.
“They were left to rot after they died, as if they were bags of rubbish,” one man said about civilians who had been killed.
Zoe Tidman9 April 2022 12:34
Bucha perpetrators committed war crimes – German chancellor
The perpetrators of civilian killings in the Ukrainian town of Bucha were guilty of war crimes and must be held accountable, the German chancellor has said.
“This is something we cannot forget,” Olaf Scholz said.
Zoe Tidman9 April 2022 12:18
Zelensky calls for ‘full energy embargo’ after Kramatorsk attack
Following Russia’s brutal missile attack on a train station packed with civilians on Friday, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has reiterated his calls for a “full energy embargo” on Russian oil and gas.
“It is energy exports that provide the lion’s share of Russia’s profits and allow the Russian leadership to believe in its impunity,” Mr Zelensky said.
“This allows Russia to hope that the world will ignore the war crimes of its army,” the president continued. “We will not allow this. Everyone in the world who has the courage, like Ukrainians, to resist tyranny will not allow this.”
My colleague Maroosha Muzaffar has the full report here:
Andy Gregory9 April 2022 12:08
‘If this is not a war crime, what is?’: EU chief stresses need for proper documentation of alleged atrocities
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has said today that Russian forces appeared to have committed war crimes by targeting civilians in Ukraine – but stressed that lawyers must investigate further.
Leaving Ukraine after a visit in which she met president Volodymyr Zelensky, she said she had seen with her own eyes on Friday the destruction in Bucha, where investigators began exhuming a mass grave on Friday.
“My instinct says: If this is not a war crime, what is a war crime, but I am a medical doctor by training and lawyers have to investigate carefully,” Ms von der Leyen told reporters on board a train leaving Ukraine on Saturday.
“I saw the photos, [Ukrainian prime minister] Denys Shmyhal showed me: killing people as they are walking by. We could also see with our own eyes, that the destruction in the city is targeted into the civilian lives. Residential buildings are no military target,” she said.
Ms Von der Leyen said the EU is working with Ukraine in a joint investigation team to gather evidence of possible war crimes for use in future court cases, adding: “It is extremely important that it is well documented, to prevent defeats in court because the evidence is not good enough.”
Ursula von der Leyen meets Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv
Andy Gregory9 April 2022 11:33
Purported FSB whistleblower ‘warns of false flag attacks in Russia’
The latest in a series of letters purporting to be from a whistleblower within Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) is reported to warn Russian citizens to prepare for the possibility of false flag attacks on Russian civilian infrastructure.
The whistleblower, codenamed “Winds of Change”, supposedly claims that authorities wish to “fix the agenda” and could seek to elevate official efforts to tackle the vandalism to the level of “countering terrorism” with “terrorist attacks and hundreds of civilian casualties”, potentially in Belgorod or Crimea.
Andy Gregory9 April 2022 11:19
Bodies of at least 132 people found in Makariv after Russian retreat, Ukrainian officials claim
The bodies of 132 “tortured, murdered” Ukrainians have been found in the town of Makariv, near Kyiv, Ukrainian officials have claimed, in the wake of the Russians’ retreat from the area.
The mayor of the town, reported to have had a pre-war population of around 15,000 people, is reported to have said that the majority of the bodies were discovered in mass graves, but some were found in the streets.
Mr Tokar was quoted as saying in a televised address that around 40 per cent of Makariv – which sits 30 miles west of Kyiv – had been damaged, adding: “The occupiers destroyed almost all infrastructure, bombed [homes] and apartment buildings, completely destroyed hospitals and kindergartens.”
Andy Gregory9 April 2022 10:53
Weekend curfew imposed in Odesa
A curfew has been imposed in Odesa from 9pm tonight until 6am on Monday, regional authorities have announced, warning of a threat of missile strikes following the deadly attack on a railway station in Kramatorsk.
“I appeal to Odesa residents and residents of the region to understand the restrictions imposed and not to violate them,” said regional military chief Maxim Marchenko.
“Such measures are necessary, first of all, for your safety, which will save your life, because the consequences can be fatal.”
Andy Gregory9 April 2022 10:43
Huge majority of Russians ‘believe Putin propaganda and cannot be reached’
My colleague Adam Forrest has this exclusive report:
Vladimir Putin is keeping the support of a large majority of Russians thanks to increasingly powerful state propaganda, said the head of an independent TV channel shut down by the regime.
Natalia Sindeeva, founder of the Dozhd TV station, told The Independent that a draconian censorship law introduced last month had destroyed any chance of reaching a large Russian audience with the truth about the Ukraine invasion.
Sindeeva said around 20 per cent of Russia’s population already opposed to Putin still had ways of finding out what is happening in Ukraine – but the rest are now fully absorbed in messaging from state-controlled media.
“These people watch propaganda. They have completely opposite footage, they think it is Ukrainians who bomb Mariupol, they believe that Ukrainians killed people in Bucha,” she said.
“The problem is the audience of the state propaganda. We cannot reach them, and, to be honest, they do not have any demand for independent information. It is a majority of the people – they support the war, they support Putin, they make it easier for him.”
Andy Gregory9 April 2022 10:22
British Red Cross chief urges UK to waive visa requirements for Ukrainian refugees
The head of the British Red Cross has criticised the “long, complex” application process for Ukrainian refugees seeking sanctuary in the UK and has called for the removal of visa requirements.
Mike Adamson, the charity’s chief executive, said only a “small trickle” of refugees are reaching the UK and that it should be made “much easier to come here”.
“It will remain a slow process with the current visa arrangements in place and it’s only if we remove those that we’ll actually start to see a steady flow,” he told BBC Breakfast.
“The whole of Europe and many other countries have waived their visa requirements. Most Ukrainians have biometric passports so we can do checks on them when they get here, we can find out who they are.
“And if we set up really good welcome centres and hubs, as the government has actually promised, then we can look after them there, go through the matching processes, check out all the safety and security requirements.”
Andy Gregory9 April 2022 10:07
Russian troop losses ‘exceed 19,000′
Russia has lost approximately 19,100 troops during its invasion of Ukraine, the Kyiv Independent has claimed, citing Kyiv’s armed forces.
The estimate – which compares with one of between 7,000 and 15,000 by Nato officials on 23 March – comes after Russia made the rare admission that it had suffered “significant losses of troops” in Ukraine.
Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Sky News on Thursday that the casualties were “a huge tragedy for us”.
Andy Gregory9 April 2022 09:46