Russia-Ukraine war live updates: Russians leave Chernobyl as Zelensky says ‘difficult battles ahead’ in south and Donbas



‘We’ll fight for every meter of our land, for every citizen’: President Zelensky

Russian troops handed control of Chernobyl nuclear power plant back to the Ukrainians and began leaving the radiated site more than a month after taking it over, authorities said on Thursday.

Ukraine’s state power company, Energoatom, claimed Russian soldiers were leaving after they received “significant doses” of radiation from digging trenches in the forest in the exclusion zone around the closed plant.

The withdrawal took place as Nato’s secretary general warned the Kremlin was using talk of de-escalation as cover to regroup its forces and redeploy them for a stepped-up offensive in the eastern part of the country.

Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukrainian forces had pushed back the Russians from Kyiv and Chernihiv – two cities Moscow had announced they would no longer be the focus of attacks as they seek to secure the separatist Donbas and Luhansk regions in the southeast.

“There will be battles ahead. We still need to go down a very difficult path to get everything we want,” he said.

“The situation in the south and in the Donbas remains extremely difficult.”

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Russia state TV calls Gabbard ‘our friend Tulsi’ as Tucker Carlson interview aired

Russian state TV has continued to air Fox News clips that align with Vladimir Putin’s spin on the invasion of Ukraine, most recently showing a Tucker Carlson interview with former Democratic US Representative Tulsi Gabbard, whom the Russian host introduced as “our friend”.

“Let me put on the Americans, let’s show what Tulsi, our friend, is saying,” presenter Vladimir Soloviev, a pro-Putin journalist often labeled a propagandist, says in Russian before airing a portion of the Fox interview, according to a translation by The Independent staff.

In the conversation, from Monday’s broadcast of tucker carlson tonightthe former congresswoman from Hawai’i echoed the Russian president and says that the Biden administration is seeking regime change in Russia through “economic warfare.”

“They are doing so by waging this modern-day siege against Russia, isolating, containing, destroying their economy, starving the Russian people in the hope that the Russian people or the military will rise up and revolt and overthrow their government and get rid of Putin,” Ms Gabbard says in the clip.

Liam James1 April 2022 03:00

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US weapons reach Ukraine, says Pentagon

The Pentagon says an initial half-dozen shipments of weapons and other security assistance have reached Ukraine as part of the $800m package of aid that Joe Biden approved on 16 March.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the shipments included Javelin anti-tank weapons, Stinger anti-aircraft missile systems, body armor, medical supplies and other material.

He said the 100 Switchblade armed drones that Biden approved as part of the package have not yet been delivered. Kirby said the $800m in assistance is likely to be fully delivered within about two weeks.

It also includes Mi-17 helicopters, small arms, ammunition, vehicles, secure communications systems, and satellite imagery and analysis capability.

Separately, Kirby said US troops are not training Ukrainian troops in Poland but are acting as liaisons with Ukrainian personnel who cross the border into Poland to take possession of US security assistance.

He noted that the standard US military training mission that had existed in Ukraine for years was suspended shortly before Russia invaded.

Liam James1 April 2022 02:00

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White House blasts Trump’s call for favor from Putin in the midst of Ukraine war

The White House has blasted Donald Trump’s request for Russian President Vladimir Putin to release potentially damaging information on President Joe Biden’s son in the middle of the war in Ukraine (Oliver O’Connell writes).

During Wednesday’s White House press briefing, communications director Kate Bedingfield was asked by reporters about the former president’s comments on a recent edition of the show just thenews.

Mr Trump raised unsubstantiated questions about Hunter Biden’s former business dealings in Russia, saying: “I think Putin would know the answer to that. I think he should release it.”

Given that the entire Western world has united in its condemnation of Mr Putin’s five-week war against Ukraine, the largest conflict in Europe since World War Two, the request from Mr Trump was met with incredulity.

Justin Vallejo1 April 2022 01:00

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Russia redeploying thousands of troops from Georgia

Russian troops have handed control of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant back to Ukrainians and left the heavily contaminated site more than a month after seizing control of it.

The Ukrainian state nuclear company said on Thursday that all of the Russian forces occupying the power station had withdrawn from the territory surrounding the defunct facility.

“According to the staff of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, there are now no outsiders on site,” Energoatom said in an online post. The state-owned firm had earlier said most troops had gone, leaving only a small number behind.

Lamiat Sabin has the story.

Justin Vallejo1 April 2022 00:48

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US weapons reach Ukraine

The Pentagon says an initial half-dozen shipments of weapons and other security assistance have reached Ukraine as part of the $800 million package of aid that President Joe Biden approved on March 16.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Thursday that the shipments included Javelin anti-tank weapons, Stinger anti-aircraft missile systems, body armor, medical supplies and other material. He said the 100 Switchblade armed drones that Biden approved as part of the package have not yet been delivered.

Kirby said the $800 million in assistance is likely to be fully delivered within about two weeks. It also includes Mi-17 helicopters, small arms, ammunition, vehicles, secure communications systems, and satellite imagery and analysis capability.

Separately, Kirby said US troops are not training Ukrainian troops in Poland but are acting as liaisons with Ukrainian personnel who cross the border into Poland to take possession of US security assistance. He noted that the standard US military training mission that had existed in Ukraine for years was suspended shortly before Russia invaded. – P.A.

Justin Vallejo1 April 2022 00:30

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All Russian troops have left Chernobyl, says Ukrainian operator

All Russian troops occupying the Chernobyl nuclear power station have withdrawn from the site, the Ukrainian state nuclear company said on Thursday.

There was no immediate comment from the Russian authorities.

The UN nuclear watchdog, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said it was preparing to send a mission to the radioactive waste facilities at Chernobyl in northern Ukraine.

Though Russian soldiers seized control of Chernobyl soon after the 24 February invasion, the plant’s Ukrainian staff continued to oversee the safe storage of spent nuclear fuel and supervise the concrete-encased remains of the reactor that exploded in 1986, causing the world’s worst nuclear accident.

“According to the staff of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, there are now no outsiders on site,” Energoatom said in an online post. State-owned Energoatom had earlier said most troops had gone, leaving only a small number behind.

Russian forces have also retreated from the nearby town of Slavutych, where workers at Chernobyl live, the company said.

Liam James31 March 2022 23:57

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Russia deploying forces from Georgia to Ukraine

Russia is redeploying elements of its forces from Georgia to reinforce its invasion of Ukraine, the Ministry of Defense said on Thursday.

Nato earlier warned that Russia was not withdrawing but regrouping as the Kremlin moves simply to deploy its troops elsewhere in the country rather than stage a promised partial withdrawal.

Liam James31 March 2022 23:52

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Zelensky: Donbas and southern Ukraine in extremely difficult situations

Volodymyr Zelensky said the situation in the south of Ukraine and the Donbas region remained extremely difficult and reiterated that Russia was building up forces near the besieged city of Mariupol.

“There will be battles ahead. We still need to go down a very difficult path to get everything we want,” he said in a late night video address.

Russia has captured large areas of land from Ukraine in the south, east and north of the country. Ukraine suggested after negotiations on Tuesday that it was willing to consider ceding lost territory, though the focus was on Crimea which was under Russian control for eight years before the current war.

This map shows the extent of Russian invasion of Ukraine

(PA)

Liam James31 March 2022 23:07

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White House says Russia artificially propping up the rouble

The White House is seeing an “artificial propping up of the rouble” by the Russian central bank and by the Russian government, communications director Kate Bedingfield said on Thursday.

“They are taking artificial measures to keep the rouble propped up,” she said.

The rouble by Wednesday had bounced back from the fall it took after the US and European allies moved to bury the Russian economy under thousands of new sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin has resorted to extreme financial measures to blunt the West’s penalties.

Russia’s Central Bank has hiked interest rates to 20 per cent and the Kremlin has imposed strict capital controls on those wishing to exchange their roubles for dollars or euros.

Earlier today, Vladimir Putin demanded foreign buyers pay for Russian gas in roubles from Friday or else have their supplies cut.

Liam James31 March 2022 22:15

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US to sanction 120 more Russian and Belarusian parties

The US Commerce Department will impose further sanctions in the coming days targeting Russia’s defense, aerospace and maritime sectors, adding 120 entities from Russia and Belarus to its entity list, the White House said.

This will bring the number of Russian and Belarusian parties added to the list of more than 200 since the invasion of Ukraine began, spokesperson Kate Bedingfield told a press conference.

Western leaders have embraced sanctions to try to compel Russia to halt its invasion of Ukraine, which is not a member of Nato and not protected under the alliance’s mutual defense policy.

Some of the allies now acknowledge their governments may need to redouble financial punishment against Russia as the war goes on.

Liam James31 March 2022 21:54


www.independent.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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