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Ukraine-Russia war latest: Kyiv unleashes drones on Russian city as Putin mocks peace conference

Two people were injured in a Ukrainian drone attack on a Russian city as Vladimir Putin mocked potential peace talks to end the war.

Six drones struck Russia’s Belgorod oblast near Ukraine’s border on Friday morning, according to the region’s governor Vyacheslav Gladkov.

Russian air defence shot down four of the drones, he said. One caused a grass fire on the outskirts of Belgorod city while the other struck the administrative building.

Switzerland said it would host a peace conference in June to help chart a path toward peace in Ukraine after more than two years of fighting.

But Mr Putin claimed Moscow hadn’t been invited to join the talks while noting the Swiss recognition that a peace process can’t happen without Russia.

“They aren’t inviting us there. Moreover, they think there is nothing for us to do there, but at the same time they say that’s it’s impossible to decide anything without us. It would have been funny if it weren’t so sad,” he said.

Key Points

  • Two people injured in Ukrainian drone attack on Russian city

  • Putin mocks peace conference

  • Aborted peace deal could be basis for Ukraine talks, says Kremlin

  • Zelensky ‘rules out’ 2022 talks as basis for peace negotiations

  • Russia brands two BBC journalist as ‘foreign agents’

ICYMI: Russia’s glide bombs are devastating Ukraine’s border towns

07:08 , Namita Singh

Askold Krushelnycky travels between the cities of Sumy and Kharkiv, dodging craters left by Moscow’s onslaught. He speaks to residents who say the Kremlin will never drive them out, despite trying to bomb the area into an uninhabitable ‘grey zone’.

Read the ground report here:

Kyiv’s troops dig in as hundreds of Putin’s bombs hit northeastern border with Russia

China boosting Russia’s war machine in Ukraine, says US

07:01 , Jane Dalton

China is backing Russia’s war effort in Ukraine by helping Moscow in its biggest military build-up since the Soviet era, providing drone and missile technology, satellite imagery and machine tools, senior US officials say.

The officials said US president Joe Biden raised the issue with Chinese president Xi Jinping in their recent phone call and that it is a topic of discussion with allies in Europe and around the world.

One official said Chinese materials were filling critical gaps in Russia’s defence production cycle and helping Moscow undertake its “most ambitious defence expansion since the Soviet era and on a faster timeline than we believed possible early on in this conflict”.

“Our view is that one of the most game-changing moves available to us at this time to support Ukraine is to persuade the PRC (China) to stop helping Russia reconstitute its military industrial base,” the official said.

US intelligence finding shows China surging equipment sales to Russia to help war effort in Ukraine

China increasing equipment sales to Russia to help war effort in Ukraine, US intelligence claims

06:48 , Namita Singh

China has increased sales to Russia of machine tools, microelectronics and other technology that Moscow is using to produce missiles, tanks, aircraft and other weaponry to wage its war in Ukraine, according to a US intelligence assessment.

Two senior Biden administration officials, who discussed the sensitive findings yesterday on the condition of anonymity, said that in 2023 about 90 per cent of Russia’s microelectronics came from China, which Russia has used to make missiles, tanks and aircraft. Nearly 70 per cent of Russia’s approximately $900m in machine tool imports in the last quarter of 2023 came from China.

Report:

US intelligence finding shows China surging equipment sales to Russia to help war effort in Ukraine

Editorial: Trump’s plan for peace in Ukraine means no peace at all

06:01 , Jane Dalton

In case you missed it:

Editorial: Donald Trump’s plan for peace in Ukraine means no peace at all

Russia brands two BBC journalists as ‘foreign agent’

05:30 , Namita Singh

Russia’s justice ministry has labelled two BBC journalists – Ilya Barabanov and Asya Kazantseva - as “foreign agents”.

Barabanov is Russian correspondent for the British broadcaster and Kazantseva is a science reporter who signed an open letter from Russian scientists and science journalists demanding the withdrawal of the country’s troops from Ukraine.

The reporters are now living abroad.

Condemning the decision against Barabanov, BBC said it “strongly rejects the decision”.

“The BBC has a global reputation as trusted and independent source of news,” the broadcaster added. “BBC News Russian has been a vital source of accurate and impartial news to Russian-speakers for 80 years. We are incredibly proud of all our journalists and our priority right now is to support Ilya and all his colleagues to ensure that all are able to continue their jobs reporting on Russia at such an important time.”

US, UK ban import of Russian aluminum, copper and nickel

05:08 , Namita Singh

Washington and London yesterday prohibited metal-trading exchanges from accepting new aluminium, copper and nickel produced by Russia and barred the import of the metals into the US and Britain.

The action is aimed at disrupting Russian export revenue amid Moscow’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which has killed or wounded tens of thousands of people and reduced cities to rubble. Russia is a major producer of aluminium, copper and nickel.

An employee hangs flags prior the launching ceremony implementation of preparatory activities before the construction of power units 5, 6 using the American Westinghouse technology at the Khmelnytsky Nuclear Power Plant (KhNPP) near Ukrainian city of Khmelnytsky on 11 April 2024 (AFP via Getty Images)
An employee hangs flags prior the launching ceremony implementation of preparatory activities before the construction of power units 5, 6 using the American Westinghouse technology at the Khmelnytsky Nuclear Power Plant (KhNPP) near Ukrainian city of Khmelnytsky on 11 April 2024 (AFP via Getty Images)

The US Treasury Department said the action would prohibit the London Metal Exchange and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange from accepting new Russian production of aluminium, copper and nickel.

“Our new prohibitions on key metals, in coordination with our partners in the United Kingdom, will continue to target the revenue Russia can earn to continue its brutal war against Ukraine,” US treasury secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement.

“By taking this action in a targeted and responsible manner, we will reduce Russia’s earnings while protecting our partners and allies from unwanted spillover effects.”

US politician defends Putin, playing down effect of war

05:01 , Jane Dalton

US far-right representative Marjorie Taylor Greene laid into Speaker of the House Mike Johnson on Friday, criticising his support for a legislative package that includes funding for Ukraine:

Marjorie Taylor Greene defends Putin as she lays into Johnson ahead of Trump meeting

US, UK ban import of Russian aluminum, copper and nickel

04:53 , Namita Singh

Washington and London yesterday prohibited metal-trading exchanges from accepting new aluminum, copper and nickel produced by Russia and barred the import of the metals into the US and Britain.

The action is aimed at disrupting Russian export revenue amid Moscow’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which has killed or wounded tens of thousands of people and reduced cities to rubble. Russia is a major producer of aluminum, copper and nickel.

The US Treasury Department said the action would prohibit the London Metal Exchange and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange from accepting new Russian production of aluminum, copper and nickel.

“Our new prohibitions on key metals, in coordination with our partners in the United Kingdom, will continue to target the revenue Russia can earn to continue its brutal war against Ukraine,” US treasury secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement.

“By taking this action in a targeted and responsible manner, we will reduce Russia’s earnings while protecting our partners and allies from unwanted spillover effects.”

Ukraine and Russia were close to peace agreement in 2022. What went wrong?

04:35 , Namita Singh

A senior Ukrainian official has acknowledged that the two sides were close to an agreement in Turkey in 2022 but said Kyiv took the proposal no further because it did not trust the Russian side to carry out any agreement.

Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesperson, said a lot had changed since 2022, including what he said was the addition to Russian territory of four new regions, a reference to the parts of Ukraine which Moscow has claimed as its own.

A woman looks through the rubble of a building destroyed by bombing in the town of Kostyantynivka, Donetsk region, on 11 April 2024, amid the Russian invassion in Ukraine (AFP via Getty Images)
A woman looks through the rubble of a building destroyed by bombing in the town of Kostyantynivka, Donetsk region, on 11 April 2024, amid the Russian invassion in Ukraine (AFP via Getty Images)

But Mr Peskov said the aborted Istanbul deal could still be the basis for new talks and that Russia was ready for that. When asked if Moscow sensed any readiness from the Ukrainian side for talks, however, Mr Peskov said: “No, we don’t sense that.”

Ukraine says it wants all of its territory back, including Crimea, which Moscow annexed in 2014, and for every Russian soldier to leave its territory. It is trying to drive international talks on its stance which exclude Russia.

Zelensky ‘rules out’ 2022 talks as basis for peace negotiations

04:31 , Namita Singh

President Vladimir Zelensky, meeting with students in western Ukraine yesterday, appeared to rule out using the 2022 talks as a basis for further discussions, saying the meetings at the time were not talks in a true sense.

The Ukrainian president said “no” when asked whether the 2022 talks in Belarus and Turkey had the potential to stop the war.

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky arrives for talks with Lithuania’s President at the Presidential Palace in Vilnius, Lithuania, on 11 April 2024 (AFP via Getty Images)
Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky arrives for talks with Lithuania’s President at the Presidential Palace in Vilnius, Lithuania, on 11 April 2024 (AFP via Getty Images)

“Negotiations are when two sides want to come to an agreement. There are different aspects, but when there are two sides,” he said in a video posted on his website.

“But when one side in any case, regardless of the country or the city, gives you an ultimatum, that is not negotiations.”

Why is Putin opposed to Switzerland peace talks?

04:11 , Namita Singh

Vladimir Putin brought up the subject of potential peace talks and said he was open to what he called realistic negotiations.

But he is opposed to the two-day conference to be hosted by Switzerland in June at Ukraine’s request that seeks to achieve peace, saying it is pointless if Russia does not take part.

In this pool photograph distributed by the Russian state agency Sputnik, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on flood response efforts in various regions of Russia via a videoconference in Moscow on 11 April 2024 (AFP via Getty)
In this pool photograph distributed by the Russian state agency Sputnik, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on flood response efforts in various regions of Russia via a videoconference in Moscow on 11 April 2024 (AFP via Getty)

In his view, the meeting does not take new realities into account, including Moscow’s annexation of territory in eastern Ukraine.

Aborted peace deal could be basis for Ukraine talks, says Kremlin

04:08 , Namita Singh

An aborted 2022 peace deal between Russia and Ukraine could be the basis for new negotiations but there is no sign that Kyiv is ready for talks, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said yesterday.

President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly said that Russia and Ukraine were on the verge of agreeing a deal to end hostilities during negotiations in Istanbul in April 2022, but that Ukraine backed away from it once Russian troops fell back from near Kyiv.

The deal reportedly demanded that Ukraine adopt neutrality and not join Nato, limit the size of its armed forces and grant special status to Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine - all things which Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has made clear he opposes.

Russia meddling in European elections, says EU chief

04:01 , Jane Dalton

The Belgian Prime Minister has announced an investigation into suspected Russian interference in June’s Europe-wide elections, saying his country’s intelligence service has confirmed the existence of a network trying to undermine support for Ukraine.

“Belgian intelligence services have confirmed the existence of pro-Russian interference networks with activities in several European countries and also here in Belgium,” said Alexander De Croo, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union.

Mr De Croo said Belgian agencies were working closely with the Czech authorities after a pro-Russian influence operation was uncovered there.

He said that probe showed that members of the European Parliament were approached and offered money to promote Russian propaganda.

“According to our intelligence service, the objectives of Moscow are very clear. The objective is to help elect more pro-Russian candidates to the European Parliament and to reinforce a certain pro-Russian narrative in that institution,” he told reporters.

Europe-wide polls are being held on 6-9 June to elect a new EU parliament.

Mr De Croo said: “The goal is very clear: A weakened European support for Ukraine serves Russia on the battlefield and that is the real aim of what has been uncovered in the last weeks.”

Belgium's Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (AP)
Belgium's Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (AP)

Puppies saved from under burning building

03:01 , Jane Dalton

Rescue workers in Ukraine have pulled five puppies from under the rubble of a destroyed building.

Officials said the animals were rescued from a non-residential building on fire in the northeastern city of Sumy, close to the border with Russia.

A video showed the puppies squealing as the firefighters cuddled them and rinsed them off with water.

“Fortunately, everything is fine with the little one(s), they were not injured. The furries were returned by their mothers,” officials said in a post on the emergency services’ Telegram channel.

“This rescue story reminds us of the importance of human compassion and the willingness to help everyone, regardless of the circumstances,” they added.

Kremlin says 2022 document could form peace talks basis

02:01 , Jane Dalton

A draft peace agreement that Russia and Ukraine negotiated in the early days of the war could serve as a starting point for talks to end the fighting, the Kremlin said Friday, reviving a proposal that Ukraine has rejected:

Kremlin says 2022 draft document could serve as starting point for future Ukraine peace talks

China sends surge of weapons parts to Russia to help war, US says

01:01 , Jane Dalton

China has sent a wave of machine tools, microelectronics and other technology that Russia to produce missiles, tanks, aircraft and other weaponry for use in its war on Ukraine, according to a US assessment:

US intelligence finding shows China surging equipment sales to Russia to help war effort in Ukraine

Pictured: Workers repair damaged power plant

Saturday 13 April 2024 00:01 , Alexander Butler

 (AP)
(AP)
 (AP)
(AP)

The Russian glide bombs changing the face of the war in Ukraine

Friday 12 April 2024 23:00 , Alexander Butler

The Russian glide bombs changing the face of the war in Ukraine

‘I live in constant fear that he will die’: Mother of jailed Putin critic says time running out to save him

Friday 12 April 2024 22:00 , Alexander Butler

Mother of jailed Putin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza says time running out to save him

Barrage of Russian missiles on Ukrainian cities leaves 200,000 people without power

Friday 12 April 2024 21:00 , Alexander Butler

Barrage of Russian missiles on Ukrainian cities leaves 200,000 without power

Trump’s plan for peace? America under Putin’s thumb

Friday 12 April 2024 20:00 , Alexander Butler

Letters: Trump’s plan for peace? America under Putin’s thumb

Ukraine desperately needs more soldiers. War amputees are returning to the frontline

Friday 12 April 2024 19:00 , Alexander Butler

Ukraine desperately needs more soldiers. War amputees are returning to the frontline

‘World-leading’ laser beam that travels at speed of light to be fitted on Royal Navy ships by 2027

Friday 12 April 2024 18:00 , Alexander Butler

Laser beam that travels at speed of light to be fitted on Royal Navy ships by 2027

Russia’s glide bombs are devastating Ukraine’s border towns – but residents are digging in

Friday 12 April 2024 17:00 , Alexander Butler

Kyiv’s troops dig in as hundreds of Putin’s bombs hit northeastern border with Russia

British military laser could appear on front line in Ukraine to take down Russian drones

Friday 12 April 2024 16:00 , Alexander Butler

Military laser could appear on front line in Ukraine to take down Russian drones

Two people injured in Ukrainian drone attack on Russian city

Friday 12 April 2024 15:40 , Alexander Butler

Two people were injured and buildings damaged in a Ukrainian drone attack on a Russian city as Putin mocked peace talks between the two countries.

Six drones struck Russia’s Belgorod oblast, which is located on Ukraine’s border, on Friday morning, according to the region’s governor.

Russian air defence shot down four of the drones, said governor Vyacheslav Gladkov. One caused a grass fire on the outskirts of Belgorod city, while the other struck the administrative building.

US-China competition to field military drone swarms could fuel global arms race

Friday 12 April 2024 15:01 , Alexander Butler

US-China competition to field military drone swarms could fuel global arms race

Pro-Russian US national missing in eastern Ukraine, say police

Friday 12 April 2024 13:35 , Alexander Butler

A pro-Kremlin US national described as a “war correspondent” by Russian media is missing in eastern Ukraine.

Russell Bentley, born in 1960 and a supporter of Russian forces in Ukraine, went missing on 8 April in Donetsk, Ukraine.

The authorities did not provide details on his last known whereabouts or the circumstances surrounding his disappearance.

Thousands of Russian soldiers are fleeing Putin’s war in Ukraine – they have nowhere to go

Friday 12 April 2024 13:00 , Alexander Butler

Thousands of Russian soldiers are fleeing Putin’s war but with nowhere to go next

Trypilska: Russian attack destroys one of Ukraine’s largest power plants

Friday 12 April 2024 12:07 , Alexander Butler

Trypilska: Russian attack destroys one of Ukraine’s largest power plants

US House speaker in talks with White House on advancing Ukraine aid

Friday 12 April 2024 11:30 , Alexander Butler

House Speaker Mike Johnson is negotiating with the White House as he prepares for the treacherous task of advancing wartime funding for Ukraine and Israel through the House, a top House Republican said.House Republican Leader Steve Scalise told reporters that Johnson had been talking with White House officials about a package that would deviate from the Senate’s $95 billion foreign security package and include several Republican demands.

It comes after Johnson has delayed for months on advancing aid that would provide desperately needed ammunition and weaponry for Kyiv, trying to find the right time to advance a package that will be a painful political lift.“There’s been no agreement reached,” Scalise said. “Obviously there would have to an agreement reached not just with the White House, but with our own members.”

Russia’s glide bombs are devastating Ukraine’s border towns – but residents are digging in

Friday 12 April 2024 11:00 , Alexander Butler

Kyiv’s troops dig in as hundreds of Putin’s bombs hit northeastern border with Russia

Support from ‘indispensable’ US is vital for Ukraine’s survival, Japan PM says

Friday 12 April 2024 10:40 , Alexander Butler

Ukraine risks collapsing under Russia’s onslaught without American support and Washington should overcome its “self-doubt”, Japan’s prime minister told US lawmakers.

Fumio Kishida urged Americans not to doubt the country’s “indispensable” role in world affairs, and said Tokyo was undertaking historic military upgrades to support its ally.

Mr Kishida also warned a Russian victory in Ukraine could embolden China and spark a new crisis in East Asia.

‘I live in constant fear that he will die’: Mother of jailed Putin critic says time running out to save him

Friday 12 April 2024 10:30 , Alexander Butler

Mother of jailed Putin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza says time running out to save him

Pictured: Fire crews rush to extinguish power plant fire

Friday 12 April 2024 10:03 , Alexander Butler

Workers extinguish a fire after a Russian attack on the Trypilska thermal power plant in Ukraine (AP)
Workers extinguish a fire after a Russian attack on the Trypilska thermal power plant in Ukraine (AP)
A worker stands on top of a fire engine as crews rushed to extinguish a fire at Trypilska thermal power plant (AP)
A worker stands on top of a fire engine as crews rushed to extinguish a fire at Trypilska thermal power plant (AP)

Donald Trump’s plan for peace in Ukraine means no peace at all

Friday 12 April 2024 09:30 , Alexander Butler

Editorial: Donald Trump’s plan for peace in Ukraine means no peace at all

Putin mocks peace conference

Friday 12 April 2024 09:28 , Alexander Butler

Vladimir Putin has mocked planned Ukraine peace talks and claimed Russia would never accept “any schemes that have nothing to do with reality”.

Switzerland said it would host a peace conference in June to help chart a path toward peace in Ukraine after more than two years of fighting.

But Putin claimed Moscow hadn’t been invited to join the talks, while pointing at Swiss recognition that a peace process can’t happen without Russia.

“They aren’t inviting us there. Moreover, they think there is nothing for us to do there, but at the same time they say that’s it’s impossible to decide anything without us. It would have been funny if it weren’t so sad,” Putin said.

Putin said Russia would never accept “any schemes that have nothing to do with reality” (AP)
Putin said Russia would never accept “any schemes that have nothing to do with reality” (AP)

Barrage of Russian missiles on Ukrainian cities leaves 200,000 people without power

Friday 12 April 2024 08:30 , Alexander Butler

Barrage of Russian missiles on Ukrainian cities leaves 200,000 without power

Major power plant near Kyiv completely destroyed

Friday 12 April 2024 07:51 , Alexander Butler

A major power plant near Kyiv has been completely destroyed by Russian strikes in a “terrifying” attack, an energy company said.

Centrenergo chairman Andriy Hota said Trypillya power plant was hit by multiple drones - as part of an attack which saw 80 missiles and drones hit various sites across Ukraine.

Mr Hota said Thursday morning’s strikes destroyed “the transformer, the turbines, the generators. They destroyed 100 per cent”.

British military laser could appear on front line in Ukraine to take down Russian drones

Friday 12 April 2024 07:18 , Arpan Rai

The production of laser energy and radio waves – viewed once as weapons of the future – are being fast-tracked in Britain for the battlefields of Ukraine and Red Sea passages coming under Houthi attacks.

The DragonFire system, which uses a beam to hit and destroy targets at the speed of light, and radio frequency hits taking out an adversary’s power supplies, will be tested by the Royal Navy and the Army next month in preparation for operational deployment.

The system, which the Ministry of Defence holds is world-leading, is due to be operational in three years time. But defence secretary Grant Shapps holds that one could not wait to get a system absolutely perfect in such dangerous times, and getting them ready for combat in the fastest time possible is the priority.

Kim Sengupta reports:

Military laser could appear on front line in Ukraine to take down Russian drones

US cyber agency says Russian hackers used Microsoft access to steal government emails

Friday 12 April 2024 07:00 , Barney Davis

The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said Russian government-backed hackers have used their access to Microsoft’s email system to steal correspondence between officials and the tech giant, an emergency directive by the U.S. watchdog released on Thursday showed.

In the directive dated April 2, the agency warned that hackers were exploiting authentication details shared by email to try to break into Microsoft’s customer systems, including those of an unspecified number of government agencies.

The warning that government agencies are being targeted using stolen Microsoft emails follows the company’s announcement in March that it was still wrestling with the intruders, which it nicknames “Midnight Blizzard.”

That disclosure, which set alarm bells ringing across the cybersecurity industry, was followed just last week by a report from the U.S. Cyber Safety Review Board which said that a separate hack - blamed on China - had been preventable, faulting the company for cybersecurity lapses and a deliberate lack of transparency.

CISA declined to name agencies that might have been affected.

FBI worried about terror attack after Russian concert massacre

Friday 12 April 2024 06:01 , Barney Davis

The FBI is concerned about the possibility of an organised attack in the United States similar to the one that killed scores of people at a Russian concert hall last month, the bureau’s director plans to tell a House of Representatives panel on Thursday.

“Looking back over my career in law enforcement, I’d be hard-pressed to think of a time where so many threats to our public safety and national security were so elevated all at once,” Christopher Wray is set to tell lawmakers at budget hearing on Thursday.

“But that is the case as I sit here today.”

The March 22 attack on a concert hall in a Moscow suburb killed at least 144 people, the deadliest in Russia in 20 years. A branch of the Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility, but Russian President Vladimir Putin, without citing evidence, has sought to blame Ukraine.

Crocus Hall massacre (AP)
Crocus Hall massacre (AP)

Russia’s glide bombs are devastating Ukraine’s border towns – but residents are digging in

Friday 12 April 2024 05:26 , Arpan Rai

Driving from the northwestern Ukrainian city of Sumy to Kharkiv, around 177km south (110 miles), along a road that roughly parallels the border with Russia, the damage from Moscow’s relentless bombardment is stark.

The road is scarred by potholes and craters from shells, rockets and bombs – with mud everywhere, churned up by heavy military vehicles.

This is agricultural country. In some fields Ukrainian soldiers are building bunkers and defences of razor wire and concrete “dragon’s teeth” – to ensnare tanks. In others, tractors drive on freshly-ploughed soil for planting with wheat, sunflowers, rape seed and other crops.

Near the community of Krasnopillya, about 40km (25 miles) from Sumy, a soldier said a glide bomb dropped by a Russian plane had killed a civilian a few days earlier. He advised: “Don’t listen to music in your car. Pay attention to any sounds because there’s everything flying around in the air here – Russian drones, planes, artillery. Yesterday a [glide] bomb landed close by and left a crater two metres deep.”

Kyiv’s troops dig in as hundreds of Putin’s bombs hit northeastern border with Russia

‘A battle for democracy’: Ukraine bishop urges UK and US to keep supporting fight against Russia

Friday 12 April 2024 05:00 , Barney Davis

The bishop for Ukraine in London has urged the UK and the US to “honour their pledges” and not forget that Ukraine is fighting Russia to save the “rule of law and democracy”.

In a major intervention, Bishop Kenneth Nowakowski said Ukraine was not asking for soldiers on the ground but for funding to continue fighting Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Two years ago, Russia launched a devastating full-scale invasion of Ukraine, capturing nearly a quarter of the country and displacing more than 10 million people. There are now at least six million Ukrainian refugees in Europe, including around 250,000 in the UK.

“This is not just a battle for Ukraine,” the Catholic bishop told The Independent. “It is the battle for rule of law, democracy and freedoms that we have all taken advantage of. That we stand to lose.

Bel Trew reports:

Ukraine bishop urges UK and US to keep supporting fight against Russia

Ukraine passes controversial mobilisation bill to boost troop numbers

Friday 12 April 2024 04:33 , Arpan Rai

Ukraine’s parliament has passed a controversial mobilisation bill as it seeks more troops to fight against Vladimir Putin’s invading forces – after a general said that Russian soldiers outnumbered Kyiv’s by up to ten times on the battlefield in the east.

The legislation, which must be signed by president Volodymyr Zelensky before it becomes law, is seen as crucial for Ukraine to address what military analysts say are major manpower problems.

Tom Watling reports:

Ukraine passes controversial mobilisation bill to boost troop numbers

IAEA chief says Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant attacks risk dangerous shift in war

Friday 12 April 2024 04:22 , Arpan Rai

Drone attacks on the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine must stop as they could pose “a new and gravely dangerous” stage in the war, the chief of the UN nuclear watchdog said.

Drones attacked Zaporizhzhia, Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant, on Sunday, in the worst such incident since November 2022. Nuclear safety was not compromised, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said.

“The most recent attacks... have shifted us into an acutely consequential juncture in this war,” IAEA director general Rafael Grossi told his agency’s 35-nation board of governors.

He called on the board to “unanimously to support the role of the IAEA in monitoring” principles aimed at preventing an accident at the plant, including that it not be attacked.

Since no draft resolutions have been submitted to the Board meeting, it is likely to boil down to an exchange of statements by the countries convening behind closed doors in Vienna.

“We are meeting today, and I will meet with the UN Security Council next week, because it is of paramount importance to ensure these reckless attacks do not mark the beginning of a new and gravely dangerous front of the war,” Mr Grossi said, adding: “Strikes must cease.”

Moscow and Kyiv have repeatedly accused one another of targeting the plant since Russia seized it weeks after it invaded Ukraine. Both countries requested an emergency meeting of the IAEA’s Board soon after Sunday’s attack.

Putin mocks planned Ukraine conference

Friday 12 April 2024 04:13 , Arpan Rai

Vladimir Putin mocked a scheduled round of Ukraine peace talks in Switzerland, warning that Moscow will not accept any enforced plans that ignore its interests.Switzerland’s government is hosting a high-level international conference in June to help chart a path toward peace in Ukraine after more than two years of fighting, and expressed hope that Russia might join in the peace process someday.Mr Putin charged that Russia hadn’t been invited to join June’s talks, while pointing at Swiss recognition that a peace process can’t happen without Russia.“They aren’t inviting us there,” Mr Putin said. “Moreover, they think there is nothing for us to do there, but at the same time they say that’s it’s impossible to decide anything without us. It would have been funny if it weren’t so sad.”Russia has dismissed Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky’s peace formula requiring Moscow to pull back its troops, pay compensation to Ukraine and face an international tribunal for its action.Speaking during Thursday’s meeting with Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko in Moscow, Mr Putin said that Russia is open for negotiations, but will never accept “any schemes that have nothing to do with reality.”

Kremlin says any talks on Ukraine without Russia are meaningless

Friday 12 April 2024 04:00 , Barney Davis

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday that any negotiations on Ukraine without Russia were meaningless.

“We have repeatedly said that negotiations without Russia were meaningless... President Putin has repeatedly emphasized that we remain open to the negotiation process,” Peskov said.

The Swiss government will host a two-day high-level conference in June aimed at achieving peace in Ukraine, it said on Wednesday, although Russia has made clear it will not take part in the initiative.

 (via REUTERS)
(via REUTERS)

Ukraine's parliament passes a controversial law to boost much-needed conscripts as war drags on

Friday 12 April 2024 03:00 , Barney Davis

Ukraine’s parliament on Thursday passed a controversial law on how the country will call up new soldiers at a time when it needs to replenish depleted forces that are increasingly struggling to fend off Russia’s advance.The law was passed against a backdrop of an escalating Russian campaign that has devastated Ukraine’s energy infrastructure in recent weeks. Authorities said overnight missile and drone attacks completely destroyed the Trypilska thermal power plant, the largest power-generating facility in the region of the country’s capital.Two years after Russia’s full-scale invasion captured nearly a quarter of Ukraine, the stakes could not be higher for Kyiv. After a string of victories in the first year of the war, fortunes have turned for the Ukrainian military, which is dug in, outgunned and outnumbered.The country desperately needs more troops — and more ammunition — at a time when doubts about the supply of Western aid are increasing.The mobilization law was first envisioned after Ukraine’s summer counteroffensive failed to gain significant ground last year — and authorities realized the country was in for a longer fight.In December, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukraine’s military wanted to mobilize up to 500,000 more troops. Army chief Oleksandr Syrskyi has since revised that figure down because soldiers can be rotated from the rear. But officials have not said how many are needed.The law — which was watered down from its original draft — will make it easier to identify every draft-eligible man in the country, where many have dodged conscription by avoiding contact with authorities.

Mango, who said he had to plead with his commander to convince authorities that he still had a role to play in the army, can no longer drive a tank but is one of many amputees who decide to return to the battlefield (REUTERS)
Mango, who said he had to plead with his commander to convince authorities that he still had a role to play in the army, can no longer drive a tank but is one of many amputees who decide to return to the battlefield (REUTERS)

Four injured in strike on Kharviv village

Friday 12 April 2024 02:00 , Barney Davis

The Kharkiv Regional Prosecutor’s Office has said four civilians were injured as a result of an airstrike on the village of Velyki Prokhody.

“According to the investigation, on April 11, at about 4pm the Russian Armed Forces conducted an airstrike on the village of Velyki Prokhody, Kharkiv district. A 75-year-old man received shrapnel wounds and was hospitalized.

“Two women suffered acute stress reactions. Another resident sustained minor injuries, medics treated her on the spot,” the statement said on Telegram.

Earlier three people were killed in the shelling of Lyptsi in the Kharkiv district.

 (Telegram)
(Telegram)

Zelensky thanks President of Poland for consistent support

Friday 12 April 2024 01:01 , Barney Davis

President Zelensky is said to have asked for more Patriot air defences in a meeting with EU leaders.

Kyiv relies heavily on Western Patriot systems as it does not have sophisticated air defences of its own. It needs 26 units of the system in total to cover the country - and at least seven urgently. Ukraine has already warned of dwindling air defence missiles.

He said on Facebook: “During our meeting, I briefed President of Poland Andrzej Duda on Russia’s latest missile attacks on Ukrainian energy facilities and the dire situation in Kharkiv.

“Ukraine urgently requires increased support from partners. First and foremost, in air defence.

“We also discussed preparations for the Global Peace Summit in Switzerland, cooperation on Ukraine’s EU and NATO accession, and the drafting of a bilateral security agreement.

“I thank Poland for its consistent support for Ukraine and continued defence assistance.”

President Andrzej Duda said that Poland had no Patriots to offer Ukraine but that they had discussed supplying Soviet-era missiles.“We talked with Zelenskiy about a certain stock of Soviet-era missiles which we have in our warehouses and we have talked about handing them over,” Duda said.

 (Facebook)
(Facebook)

Ukraine’s Zelensky urges allies to act on military aid promises

Friday 12 April 2024 00:01 , Barney Davis

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky urged his country’s allies to make good on their promises of military aid on Thursday, particularly in the form of desperately needed air defence systems as Russia scales up its air strikes.

Moscow has recently renewed its campaign of targeting Ukraine’s now crippled energy infrastructure, resulting in major damage to its power grid.

“Every day Russian terrorists cut off power to Kharkiv and other cities, and every day we hear that new aid is coming soon. The reality must finally match the words, and Russian terror’s real losses must be ensured,” Zelensky told a news conference in Vilnius after a summit of Central European leaders.

Russians strike combined heat and power plant in Sumy with guided aerial bombs

Thursday 11 April 2024 23:00 , Barney Davis

The Sumy Regional Military Administration urged Ukrainians to adhere to air warning signals after a Russian strike on a power plant at 4pm local time.

They said on Telegram: “All necessary services are available on site.

“Previously, people were not injured. The consequences of the impact are being clarified.

“The Esman community of the Shostky district was also shelled.”

They added: “Two people received injuries of varying degrees of severity as a result of the shelling. The injured were taken to the Hlukhiv hospital. Be attentive and careful, do not ignore the air warning signals.”

 (Telegram)
(Telegram)

Major Russian air strikes destroy Kyiv power plant, damage other stations

Thursday 11 April 2024 22:00 , Barney Davis

Russian missiles and drones destroyed a large electricity plant near Kyiv and hit power facilities in several regions of Ukraine on Thursday, officials said, ramping up pressure on the embattled energy system as Kyiv runs low on air defences.

The major attack more than two years since Russia’s full-scale invasion completely destroyed the Trypilska coal-powered thermal power plant near the capital, a senior official at the company that runs the facility told Reuters.

Footage shared on social media showed a fire raging at the large Soviet-era facility and black smoke belching from it. Reuters was able to confirm the location of the video as the Trypilska station.

“We need air defence and other defence support, not eye-closing and long discussions,” President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Telegram, condemning the attacks as “terror”.

A firefighter works at a compound of power infrastructure facilities, which was hit by Russian missile and drone strikes, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, at an undisclosed location in Ukraine April 11, 2024. Press service of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS (Press service of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS)

Drone strike knocks out Russian tanks and trench

Thursday 11 April 2024 21:00 , Barney Davis

Ukraine’s Special Operations Command has claimed it destroyed two enemy tanks, two cars, and a Russian dugout in the Donetsk region using drones.

“Operators of FPV drones of the 8th Separate Special Forces Brigade inflicted significant losses on the enemy in the Donetsk direction. The group destroyed a T-90 tank, a T-72 tank, and two vehicles over the last day,” the statement said.

Posting a video the force added an enemy dugout was destroyed, five Russian servicemen were killed and three more were injured.

Ukinform press agency claims the total combat losses of the Russian army in Ukraine since February 24, 2022 amounted to about 450,890 people.

 (Facebook)
(Facebook)

Russia’s glide bombs are devastating Ukraine’s border towns – but residents are digging in

Thursday 11 April 2024 20:01 , Barney Davis

Driving from the northwestern Ukrainian city of Sumy to Kharkiv, around 177km south (110 miles), along a road that roughly parallels the border with Russia, the damage from Moscow’s relentless bombardment is stark.

The road is scarred by potholes and craters from shells, rockets and bombs – with mud everywhere, churned up by heavy military vehicles.

Askold Krushelnycky is travelling between the cities of Sumy and Kharkiv and sends us this report:

Kyiv’s troops dig in as hundreds of Putin’s bombs hit northeastern border with Russia

Ukraine passes controversial mobilisation bill to boost troop numbers to fight Putin’s invasion

Thursday 11 April 2024 19:01 , Barney Davis

Ukraine’s parliament has passed a controversial long-awaited mobilisation bill as it seeks more troops to fight against Vladimir Putin’s invading forces – after a general said that Russian soldiers outnumbered Kyiv’s by up to ten times on the battlefield in the east.

The legislation, which must be signed by President Volodymyr Zelensky before it becomes law, is seen as crucial for Ukraine to address what military analysts say are major manpower problems as it fights Russia.

Tom Watling reports:

Ukraine passes controversial mobilisation bill to boost troop numbers

Ukrainian amputees are returning to war. Soldiers know the army needs them

Thursday 11 April 2024 18:02 , Barney Davis

Ukrainian commander Odin’s lower leg was blown off in a mine explosion last year. He’s now back in the trenches.

“I had offers to go back to my local academy as a teacher or to work at a draft office in Odesa,” the 32-year-old from the 28th Separate Mechanised Brigade said from a cramped bunker on the front line in the eastern region of Donetsk.

“I said I’m not interested in these positions.”

Pryncyp, a leading human rights organisation representing military personnel, put the number of amputees from the war at between 20,000 and 50,000.

Battlefields are littered with mines, while artillery and drone attacks are a constant menace, meaning the grim number is rising steadily.

Ukrainian amputees are returning to war. Soldiers know the army needs them

Russia ranked top of global cybercrime index in new study

Thursday 11 April 2024 17:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Russia, Ukraine and China have been named as the world’s cybercrime hotspots in a new study ranking the most significant sources of cybercrime threats.

The World Cybercrime Index has been published in journal Plos One following three years of research by academics from the University of Oxford and the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Canberra.

The index said Russia housed the greatest cybercrime threat, followed by Ukraine, China, the US and Nigeria. The UK was eighth on the list.

Russia ranked top of global cybercrime index in new study

‘A battle for democracy’: Ukraine bishop urges UK and US to keep supporting fight against Russia

Thursday 11 April 2024 16:40 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The bishop for Ukraine in London has urged the UK and the US to “honour their pledges” and not forget that Ukraine is fighting Russia to save the “rule of law and democracy”.

In a major intervention, Bishop Kenneth Nowakowski said Ukraine was not asking for soldiers on the ground but for funding to continue fighting Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Two years ago, Russia launched a devastating full-scale invasion of Ukraine, capturing nearly a quarter of the country and displacing more than 10 million people. There are now at least six million Ukrainian refugees in Europe, including around 250,000 in the UK.

Ukraine bishop urges UK and US to keep supporting fight against Russia

IAEA's Grossi says Zaporizhzhia attacks risk shift in Ukraine war

Thursday 11 April 2024 16:20 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Drone attacks on the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine are “a consequential juncture” in the war in Ukraine and must stop, U.N. nuclear watchdog chief Rafael Grossi told his agency’s 35-nation Board of Governors on Thursday.

“The most recent attacks ... have shifted us into an acutely consequential juncture in this war,” Grossi said in a statement to an emergency Board meeting called by Russia and Ukraine, adding that he wanted “to ensure these reckless attacks do not mark the beginning of a new and gravely dangerous front”.

Barrage of Russian missiles on Ukrainian cities leaves 200,000 people without power

Thursday 11 April 2024 16:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Loud explosions rocked several Ukrainian cities early on Thursday as authorities reported a fresh wave of more than 40 Russian missile strikes and and equal number of drone attacks.

Ukrainian regions in the Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Lviv, and Kyiv came under attack as local officials confirmed the strikes on energy infrastructure, substations, and power facilities.

Emergency power cuts for at least 200,000 people have been reported in Kyiv, officials said.

Barrage of Russian missiles on Ukrainian cities leaves 200,000 without power

Russia's FSB says British special forces operating in Ukraine

Thursday 11 April 2024 15:40 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Russia‘s Federal Security Service (FSB) said on Thursday that Britain’s Special Boat Service had been operating in Ukraine and helping Ukrainian forces carry out attempted operations against Russian forces.

The Ukraine war has triggered the deepest crisis in Moscow’s relations with the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. President Vladimir Putin has said that NATO military personnel are present already in Ukraine. The U.S. and key European allies have said they have no plans to send ground troops to Ukraine.

The FSB, the main successor to the Soviet-era KGB, said it had foiled a plan by British special forces to land Ukrainian sabotage soldiers on the Tendrov Split, a sandbar in the Black Sea. It said it had captured a senior Ukrainian naval special forces soldier, and gave his name and date of birth.

The FSB said the Ukrainian special forces unit was “supervised by a unit of the Special Boat Service (SBS) which indicates the direct involvement of Britain in the conflict”.

A spokesperson for Britain’s Defence Ministry had no immediate response to a Reuters request for comment.

The SBS is a special forces regiment of the British navy that traces its history to the early days of World War Two.

The SBS has served in some of the biggest conflicts of the past 70 years including the Korean War, Northern Ireland, the Falklands War, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Russian glide bombs changing the face of the war in Ukraine

Thursday 11 April 2024 15:15 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Winged explosives weighing up to 1,500 kilograms – and nicknamed the ‘building destroyer’ – have had a devastating impact wherever they have been used, writes Tom Watling.

Kyiv is battling them as best it can but needs Western allies to step up and provide more weapons, air defences and ammunition.

Read more here:

The Russian glide bombs changing the face of the war in Ukraine

‘I live in constant fear that he will die’: Mother of jailed Putin critic says time running out to save him

Thursday 11 April 2024 14:49 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The mother of Russia’s most prominent opposition leader after Alexei Navalny says she lives in “constant fear” that her son, Vladimir Kara-Murza, will die in the Siberian prison in which he is currently jailed – while calling on the foreign secretary, David Cameron, to intervene and save his life.

Speaking on the eve of the second anniversary of Kara-Murza’s arrest on 11 April 2022, Elena Gordon says that her worries over her son have grown much more acute in the wake of the death of Vladimir Putin’s most prominent critic, Navalny, almost two months ago.

Navalny was also being held in a remote prison colony, in the Arctic, before he was declared dead by Russian authorities.

Tom Watling reports:

Mother of jailed Putin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza says time running out to save him

Ukraine will be outgunned by Russia 10 to 1 in weeks without US help, top Europe general says

Thursday 11 April 2024 14:15 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The top general for U.S. forces in Europe told Congress Wednesday that Ukraine will be outgunned 10 to one by Russia within a matter of weeks if Congress does not find a way to approve sending more ammunition and weapons to Kyiv soon.

The testimony from Army Gen. Christopher Cavoli, head of U.S. European Command, and Celeste Wallander, assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, comes as Congress enters pivotal weeks for voting for aid for Ukraine, but there’s no guarantee funding will be improved in time.

Ukraine has been rationing its munitions as Congress has delayed passing its $60 billion supplemental bill.

Ukraine will be outgunned by Russia 10 to 1 in weeks without US help, top Europe general says

What does the Ukrainian mobilisation bill entail? Part Three

Thursday 11 April 2024 13:55 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

PERKS FOR VOLUNTEER FIGHTERS

The bill proposes offering financial perks for people who volunteer to fight in the army and sign an army contract. In particular, those bonuses could include a certificate to buy a vehicle and financial assistance for first mortgage payments.

OTHER PROVISIONS

The bill would abolish mandatory conscription for Ukrainian men aged 18 or older, and replace it with basic military training for all men starting from September 2025.

One new provision in the bill would allow people who have been convicted and given a suspended sentence to serve in the army. Convicts are currently banned from any type of military service.

After being mobilised, all men must undergo compulsory training before being sent to a combat area.

In some cases, authorities would be able to seize vehicles from citizens and enterprises for the army’s needs.

What does the Ukrainian mobilisation bill entail? Part Two

Thursday 11 April 2024 13:45 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

WATERED-DOWN PUNISHMENTS

The bill would ban people from driving vehicles if they do not abide by the mobilisation rules. An earlier draft had proposed tough punishments such as asset freezes for such people, but that was cut after public outcry. A separate bill proposing fines for draft dodges has passed its first reading.

DEMOBILISATION

The bill does not set any time limit for wartime military service, meaning that soldiers who have been fighting since the beginning of the full-scale invasion still have no sense of when they will be demobilized. An earlier draft of the bill had proposed setting a time limit.

MILITARY REGISTRATION FOR UKRAINIANS ABROAD

Martial law prohibits men of military age from going abroad and there is no procedure for calling up Ukrainian men who are abroad. But the bill says that receiving consular services for things like renewing passports would require Ukrainian men to present their military registration documents.

What does the Ukrainian mobilisation bill entail? Part One

Thursday 11 April 2024 13:26 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Ukraine‘s parliament passed a bill on Thursday to overhaul its army mobilisation rules as Kyiv tries to generate fresh manpower to rotate its exhausted troops fighting Russian invaders.

The bill must be signed by President Volodymyr Zelensky before it becomes law. Here is an overview of what the changes entail.

MILITARY RECORDS:

The bill would oblige Ukrainian men between 18 and 60 years of age to update their personal data with the military authorities, allowing draft offices to see more easily who can be called up in any given region.

Military-age men would be legally required at all times to carry the registration document they are given by the draft office. Draft officers would be allowed to ask to see the document in the street.

Russian forces outnumber Ukrainian troops 7 to 10 times in the east, general says

Thursday 11 April 2024 13:07 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Russian forces outnumber Ukrainian troops seven to ten times in eastern regions, Ukraine‘s General Yuriy Sodol told parliament on Thursday.

“The enemy outnumbers us by 7-10 times, we lack manpower,” said Sodol, who is commanding the troops in Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine.

His comments come as Ukraine‘s parliament passed a controversial law today that will govern how the country recruits new soldiers to replenish depleted forces who are increasingly struggling to fend off Russian troops.

In pictures: Flames consume power station outside of Kyiv

Thursday 11 April 2024 12:42 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Russian overnight strikes completely destroyed Trypilska thermal power plant outside Kyiv, as part of a major attack across five regions in Ukraine.

 (@MamedovGyunduz/Twitter)
(@MamedovGyunduz/Twitter)
 (@MamedovGyunduz/Twitter)
(@MamedovGyunduz/Twitter)

Russian missile kills four in Ukraine's Mykolaiv

Thursday 11 April 2024 12:21 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

A Russian missile attack on Ukraine‘s southern city of Mykolaiv on Thursday killed at least four people and injured five more, officials said.

“The enemy continues ballistic strikes on the south of Ukraine. Insidiously struck Mykolaiv in the middle of the day,” southern military command said on Telegram.

Private houses, cars and industrial facilities were damaged, it added.

Mykolaiv region also was targeted during Russia‘s massive overnight attack all over the country that destroyed a power plant and disrupted electricity supply for thousands of people.

‘A battle for democracy’: Ukraine bishop urges UK and US to keep supporting fight against Russia

Thursday 11 April 2024 11:54 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The bishop for Ukraine in London has urged the UK and the US to “honour their pledges” and not forget that Ukraine is fighting Russia to save the “rule of law and democracy”.

In a major intervention, Bishop Kenneth Nowakowski said Ukraine was not asking for soldiers on the ground but for funding to continue fighting Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Two years ago, Russia launched a devastating full-scale invasion of Ukraine, capturing nearly a quarter of the country and displacing more than 10 million people. There are now at least six million Ukrainian refugees in Europe, including around 250,000 in the UK.

Bel Trew reports:

Ukraine bishop urges UK and US to keep supporting fight against Russia

Ukraine's parliament passes a controversial law to boost much-needed conscripts and fill army ranks

Thursday 11 April 2024 11:03 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Ukraine‘s parliament passed a law Thursday that will govern how the country recruits new conscripts, following months of delay and after thousands of amendments were submitted to water down the initial draft.

Lawmakers dragged their feet for months over the law, which is expected to be unpopular. The law was spurred by a request from Ukraine‘s military, which wanted to mobilise up to 500,000 more troops, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in December.

Exhausted soldiers, on the front lines since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, had no means to rotate out for rest, while many thousands of Ukrainian men evade the draft.

The law brings into effect a host of changes to the current system by expanding the powers of Ukrainian authorities to issue draft notices using an electronic system.

Army chief Oleksandr Syrskyi and Zelensky have since revised that figure after conducting an audit, saying the number needed was not as high because soldiers can be rotated from the rear.

Former army commander Valerii Zaluzhnyi’s dismissal from his post was reportedly over the mobilisation issue.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)