The situation in Mariupol “terrible and worsening,” says the Red Cross
Employees load a truck with relief supplies in the logistics center of the German Red Cross.
Annette Riedl Picture Alliance | Getty Images
The International Committee of the Red Cross said Friday it has teams traveling to Mariupol to assist with civilian evacuations – but the organization noted the effort “remains extremely complex”.
“We are running out of adjectives to describe the horrors suffered by residents of Mariupol,” ICRC media chief Ewan Watson said in a statement.
“The situation is appalling and worsening and it is now a humanitarian imperative that people are allowed to leave and relief supplies allowed in.
However, the Red Cross was unable to bring humanitarian supplies to the city today because it had not received consent to do so from either Russia or Ukraine, Watson said in his statement.
“If and when [the evacuation] happens, the ICRC’s role as a neutral facilitator will be to guide this [Ukrainian] convoy from Mariupol to another city in Ukraine,” Watson said.
But he added that the Red Cross could not confirm which city civilians would be evacuated to because Russia and Ukraine have not yet agreed on it.
“Our presence sends a humanitarian signal to this movement of people, provides additional protection for the convoy and reminds all sides of the civilian, non-military and humanitarian nature of the operation,” Watson said.
– Chloe Taylor
Ukraine says 153 children have been killed in conflicts so far
A total of 153 children have been killed in the war in Ukraine so far, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office said on Friday.
Another 245 children were injured in the conflict, officials said.
— Chloe Taylor
Russia hits back at US intelligence claims that Putin was “misled” over the Ukraine war
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the Security Council at the Kremlin in Moscow April 5, 2019.
Alexei Druzhinin | AFP | Getty Images
Russia’s Kremlin has dismissed US claims that President Vladimir Putin felt “misled” by his military commanders about Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
“To our regret and even to our concern, neither the State Department nor the Pentagon have any authentic information about what is going on in the Kremlin,” Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters at a briefing on Thursday.
“They just don’t understand what’s happening in the Kremlin, they don’t understand Russian President Vladimir Putin, they don’t understand the mechanism of decision-making and they don’t understand the style of our work,” Peskov added, according to the state TASS news agency.
“It’s not just unfortunate. It worries us because such complete misunderstandings lead to wrong decisions, reckless decisions that have very bad consequences.”
The comments came after a declassified US intelligence assessment released on Wednesday suggested Putin had not been told the whole truth about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
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— Holly Ellyatt
Russian gas is still flowing into Europe, says Russia’s Gazprom
Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom said on Friday it would continue to supply natural gas to Europe, Reuters reported.
Andrei Rudakov | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Russian state-owned energy company Gazprom said on Friday that its natural gas continues to flow to Europe via Ukraine, Reuters reported.
It comes as European countries have a deadline to start paying for gas in rubles on Friday or existing contracts with Russia are halted. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Thursday requiring foreign buyers to pay for Russian gas in rubles from April 1, Reuters reported.
However, European countries seem relatively unfazed by Putin’s rhetoric and appear to have found a workaround.
According to a statement from the federal government about a conversation with Putin on Wednesday, the Russian President announced that gas deliveries from Scholz would have to be billed in rubles from April 1st. [Putin] emphasized in the conversation that nothing would change for the European contractual partners,” the reading said.
– Chloe Taylor and Sam Meredith
Talks between Russia and Ukraine continue
Ukrainian and Russian flags are seen on a table before talks between officials of the two countries in Belarus March 3, 2022.
Maxim Guchek | Reuters
According to a member of the Ukrainian delegation, talks between Russian and Ukrainian officials are set to resume today.
David Arakhamia, a Ukrainian official who took part in the negotiations, said on Ukrainian television earlier this week that Russia and Ukraine would resume talks on April 1.
A round of face-to-face talks between the two sides took place earlier this week in Istanbul, Turkey. It’s not clear if the talks, which are set to begin on Friday, will be in-person or virtual.
– Chloe Taylor
Ukraine regains control of some villages near Chernihiv, Britain says
Maxar multispectral satellite image shows burning houses in a residential area of Chernihiv on March 16, 2022.
Satellite Image (c) 2022 Maxar Technologies | Getty Images
Ukrainian forces have recaptured two villages along one of the main supply routes between Kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv. according to the British Ministry of Defence.
The villages are Sloboda and Lukashivka, which are south of Chernihiv, the ministry said in its daily update.
“Ukraine has also continued to conduct successful but limited counterattacks east and north-east of Kyiv,” the Defense Ministry said.
“Both Chernihiv and Kyiv have faced sustained air and missile attacks, despite Russian claims that it is reducing activity in those areas,” she added.
Military developments are difficult to confirm as the situation on the ground in Ukraine is constantly changing.
– Abigail Ng
Anonymous targets Western companies still doing business in Russia
Online “hacktivist” collective Anonymous is now targeting Western companies still doing business in Russia.
Nurphoto | Nurphoto | Getty Images
Anonymous, the “hacktivist” collective, has a new target in its “cyberwar” against Russia. This time it’s still western companies doing business there.
A post from 21 from a Twitter account called @YourAnonTV stated: “We call on all companies that continue to operate in Russia by paying taxes to the budget of the criminal Kremlin regime: get out of Russia!”
The tweet gave companies 48 hours to comply. The threat also included a photo with logos from around 40 companies, including well-known names such as Burger King, Subway and General Mills. A second stack The target companies were released on March 24, including airline Emirates, French gardening retailer Leroy Merlin and essential oil company Young Living.
However, some companies mentioned refuted Anonymous’ claims.
For example, the tire company Bridgestone and immersion said before they were targeted by Anonymous, they had already publicly announced that they would be withdrawing business from Russia. Three targeted oilfield service companies — Halliburton, Baker Hughes and Schlumberger — had also previously issued announcements. Others soon announced they would sever ties with Russia, including Canadian oilfield services company Calfrac Well Services and sanitary products maker Geberit Group
Still, a quick exit can be complicated for franchises. That’s the position that companies like Burger King, Subway and Reebok’s owner Authentic Brands Groupsaid they are in.
— Goh Chiew Tong, Monica Buchanan Pitrelli
Reuters reports that Japan’s decision to continue using Russian gas was made weeks ago
Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida decided weeks ago that he would not abandon a Russian gas project, Reuters reported, citing three sources.
According to the report, Kishida told senior officials in early March that he would not risk Japan’s energy security and would stay with the Sakhalin-2 liquefied natural gas project.
On Thursday, the prime minister told parliament that “it is not our policy to withdraw from this Russian LNG project”.
Japan has targeted Russian banks and oligarchs with sanctions, but doesn’t have much leeway to cut gas from Russia. The Asian country became more dependent on Russian energy after shutting down nuclear reactors after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
– Abigail Ng