Thick plumes of smoke seen in aftermath of Odesa missile strikes
As Ukraine claimed to have seized back control of all areas around Kyiv, the Russian retreat is alleged to have revealed evidence of atrocities committed against civilians.
In Bucha, one of 30 towns and villages claimed to have been retaken by Ukraine, the mayor said 280 victims were in mass graves, and alleged that at least 20 men reportedly in civilian clothes whose bodies were said to have been found lying in a single street “we were shot, killed, in the back of the head”.
Greater Kyiv Vitali Klitschko alleged that “what happened in Bucha and other suburbs of Kyiv can only be described as genocide”, with civilians having been “shot with tied hands”.
With Russia regrouping for attacks further east, missile strikes were heard in the key southern port city of Odesa on Sunday morning, with a regional official saying “critical infrastructure facilities” were hit.
Russia’s defense ministry claimed its missiles destroyed an oil refinery and three fuel storage facilities used to supply Ukrainian troops near Mykolaiv.
UK minister rules out rationing energy in response to Putin’s war in Ukraine
The UK will not ration energy in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a minister has said.
Asked on the BBC’s sunday morning program if it was a “good idea” for the UK to look into energy rationing, Grant Shapps said: “No, I don’t.”
Pressed on whether he can “completely” rule out such a move in the UK, the transport secretary added: “Yes, I can. It’s not the route that we want to go down.”
His comment came after Labour’s shadow energy secretary said the government should consider rationing oil and gas – but later changed his position.
andy gregory3 April 2022 13:33
Russian rockets hit Mykolaiv, Ukrainian official says
Several Russian rockets have hit the Black Sea port of Mykolaiv, an aid to Ukraine’s interior ministry has said.
The attack was reported by local authorities in the city, Anton Gerashchenko said.
andy gregory3 April 2022 13:22
EU chiefs accuse Russian troops of committing atrocities in Kyiv region
The European Union has accused Russian troops of committing atrocities in the Kyiv region.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said he was “shocked by news of atrocities committed by Russian forces” and said the EU “assists Ukraine in documenting war crimes”, adding that all cases needed to be pursued by the International Court of Justice.
The president of the EU Council, Charles Michel, also said he was “shocked by haunting images of atrocities committed by the Russian army in Kyiv liberated region”, adding: “Further EU sanctions and support are on their way”.
andy gregory3 April 2022 13:10
Here are more images from Odessa, where Russia said its missiles hit an oil refinery and three fuel storage facilities it said were used to supply Ukrainian troops near Mykolaiv.
The city council said missiles hit the city in the early hours of Sunday, with a regional spokesperson told Ukraine’s public broadcaster that one of the city’s “critical infrastructure facilities” was hit.
“We hope there will be no casualties,” Sergey Bratchuk said.
A resident in the city told Reuters: “We woke up to powerful explosions near our home. There was smoke, the children were in a panic, the windows were blown in… it was terrifying.”
andy gregory3 April 2022 12:55
Russian demand for rouble payments will extend beyond gas, Kremlin indicates
Russia will eventually ask for rouble payments for other exports, the Kremlin has indicated, claiming that the West’s sanctions have accelerated the erosion of confidence in the US dollar and the euro.
“I have no doubt that it will in the future be extended to new groups of goods,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said of Russia’s demand for rouble payments for gas, the RIA news agency reported.
andy gregory3 April 2022 12:39
It is a ‘fact’ Russia will face accountability for any war crimes, Ukraine foreign minister says
It is a “statement of fact” that Russia will face accountability for any war crimes it has committed regardless of whether the countries reach a peace agreement, Ukraine’s foreign minister has said.
Dmytro Kuleba called his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, an “architect” of Russian aggression and said that he will bear responsibility for possible war crimes committed in the region.
asked on TimesRadio whether he feels it is possible for the two nations to reach a peace deal, Mr Kuleba said: “I’m very calm and focused on bringing Russia to account and everyone involved in committing these crimes, from the soldier who rapes a Ukrainian woman and killed her to his commanders in chief and the political leadership of Russia who ordered all this to happen.
He added: “I’m saying this in a very cold, focused and unbiased way, this is just a statement of fact. If you commit a crime, you will bear responsibility for that, and my job and the job of everyone who cares for the rule of law and human rights will be to ensure that it happens.”
andy gregory3 April 2022 12:25
Ukraine foreign minister calls Russia ‘worse than Isis’
Ukraine’s foreign minister has alleged that Russian troops executed civilians while withdrawing from regions “out of anger and just because they wanted to kill”.
Dmytro Kuleba branded Russia “worse than Isis”, and said it is possible its military actions could amount to genocide.
“We understand they were killing civilians while leaving, while withdrawing, while staying there in this town of Bucha and also in other towns and villages in key regions, but also while withdrawing from them out of anger and just because they wanted to kill,” I have told TimesRadio.
“There was no good reason for them. These were not guerrillas, they were not people opposing them. Russia is worse than Isis, full stop.”
He added: “It remains to be seen based on the evidence collected whether these crimes will qualify for the crime of genocide, but I would like to make it clear that, since the very beginning of the aggression, we hear from Russia and from Russian President Vladimir Putin that he denies the rights of Ukrainians to have their own identity and have our own state.
“So in the end of the collection of all evidence, I do not exclude the possibility of genocide.”
andy gregory3 April 2022 12:10
Blasts reported in Russian city of Belgorod
Two blasts were heard in the Russian city of Belgorod near the Ukraine border, Reuters reports two witnesses as saying.
The cause of the blasts on Sunday was not immediately clear.
andy gregory3 April 2022 11:53
Hungary votes on Viktor Orban’s rule in polls overshadowed by Ukraine war
Hungarians are heading to the polls today, with the future rule of nationalist prime minister Viktor Orban hanging in the balance.
The war in neighboring Ukraine dominating the campaign, the six-party opposition alliance is within striking distance from Mr Orban’s Fidesz party in the polls, making the outcome of the ballot uncertain for the first time since he swept to power in 2010.
Casting his vote in Budapest alongside his wife, Mr Orban said he expected a “great victory” and portrayed the ballot as a choice between “peace or war”, accusing his opponents again of trying to drag Hungary into the Ukraine conflict, a charge they deny.
Asked repeatedly about his close ties with Moscow and Russia’s president, Mr Orban said: “Vladimir Putin is not running in the Hungarian elections therefore I do not have to deal with this question today, luckily.
“I am standing on the basis of the Hungarian national interests, I am pro-Hungarian.”
Kristina Than has the full report:
andy gregory3 April 2022 11:46
UK minister says he found refugee family he is offering to host ‘on Facebook’
A UK minister has said he found the Ukrainian refugee family he is offering a home to on Facebook.
Grant Shapps, the transport secretary told TimesRadio: “I found them on Facebook. There were lots of people talking about it and I was asked, as lots of other people were, and we’d already been discussing it since the beginning of the outbreak of war that if we could help then we’d really like to.”
On the length of time taken to bring refugees to the UK, he said “it can be frustrating”, but added: “On the other hand, I would say… that if we ended up in a situation where… it wouldn’t be beyond Putin to put Russian saboteurs into groups of people fleeing the country, and I think it is reasonable the UK would want to carry out some checks.”
andy gregory3 April 2022 11:32