‘Bring my mother back home’, says daughter of captured Ukrainian paramedic
Russia has launched an expected offensive aimed at taking control of eastern Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky said.
“The Russian troops have begun the battle for the Donbas, for which they have been preparing for a long time. A significant part of the entire Russian army is now concentrated on this offensive,” the Ukrainian president said in a video address on Monday night.
Ukrainian officials said earlier on Monday that Russia’s eastern offensive had begun with attacks on Kharkiv and targets in the Donbas further east.
Photographs coming out of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, and the Donetsk and Luhansk regions on Monday showed damage from shelling.
Meanwhile, a Ukrainian minister said up to 30 per cent of his country’s physical infrastructure had been damaged or destroyed since the Russian invasion.
Oleksander Kubrakov, the infrastructure minister, told Reuters more than 300 bridges, more than 5,000 miles of roads and dozens of railway bridges had been affected.
The damage comes at a cost of $100bn (£77bn) but repairs could be paid for using frozen Russian assets, he said.
Putin critic’s relative killed in Bucha
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny’s distant relative Ilya Navalny was among hundreds of people found dead in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.
The destruction and death left behind by Russian troops in Bucha have received heavy condemnation across the globe, prompting US president Joe Biden to call Vladimir Putin a “war criminal”.
Satellite images from 19 March showed bodies lying on the streets for nearly two weeks before the Russians left the town, BBC reported.
Alisha Rahaman Sarkar19 April 2022 04:34
US seeks to seize suspected Oligarch’s superyacht
The United States is seeking to seize a superyacht, which is suspected to be owned by Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, who has been sanctioned by the US and the European Union.
The luxury vessel “Amadea” is docked in the Pacific island nation of Fiji, a restraining order filed on Tuesday by Fiji’s director of public prosecutions showed.
The yacht arrived in Fiji a week ago after leaving Mexico 18 days earlier and crossing the Pacific.
Christopher Pryde, Fiji’s director of public prosecutions, has filed an application to the high court seeking to prevent the Amadea from the island.
Alisha Rahaman Sarkar19 April 2022 04:15
That’s all for The Independent ‘s live coverage of the war in Ukraine for tonight.
Make sure to check back in the morning for updates.
Liam James19 April 2022 00:01
Inside Irpin: A town devastated
Photographs taken in Irpin, a town on the northeast outskirts of Kyiv, show the aftermath of one of Russia’s most brutal assaults of the war so far.
Russian forces have left Irpin, as they have the whole Kyiv region, after failing to take the Ukrainian capital.
Police on Monday said inspectors had already found 269 dead bodies in the town since Russian troops pulled back at the end of March.
Forensic work is ongoing to determine the cause of death of many of the dead, while mass graves are dug around the town.
Russia was accused of war crimes after hundreds of civilians were found dead in nearby Bucha early in April.
Liam James18 April 2022 23:59
Four killed in Donetsk shelling – Ukrainian officials
Shelling in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region killed four people today, regional governor Pavlo Kirilenko said on his Telegram channel.
Attacks killed two in Torsky, one in Shandryholove and one in Rozdolne, the governor said.
Russia has launched an anticipated offensive to take control of eastern Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky said earlier.
Shelling was also reported in Kharkiv and the Luhansk region.
Liam James18 April 2022 23:35
#ICYMI Picture shows Russia’s Moskva warship burning at sea before sinking, says expert
A picture of the Russian Navy’s Moscow warship burning before it sank in the Black Sea is genuine, an expert has said (Rory Sullivan writes).
The first verified images of the damaged cruiser, which show her listing to port with smoke billowing from her midships section, appeared days after Ukraine said it had sunk the ship in a missile attack.
Although the Kremlin has acknowledged the loss of the vessel, it continues to claim the ship was destroyed by an on-board explosion rather than by enemy weapons.
Sidharth Kaushal, a sea power research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), confirmed the latest pictures do show the Moskva gutted by fire.
“I have examined the images and they are of the Moscow,” he told The Independent.
Liam James18 April 2022 23:03
Ukraine could be candidate for EU membership in weeks, says Zelensky
Volodymyr Zelensky formally submitted a completed European Union membership questionnaire to an envoy today and said he believed this step would lead to his country gaining candidate status within weeks.
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen handed the questionnaire to the Ukrainian president during a visit to Kyiv on 8 April, pledging a speedier start to Ukraine’s bid to become a member of the EU following Russia’s invasion of the country.
In a meeting with the EU envoy to Ukraine, Mr Zelensky said: “We strongly believe that this procedure [granting of candidate status] will take place in the coming weeks and that it will be positive for the history of our people, given the price they paid on the path to independence and democracy.”
The deputy head of Mr Zelensky’s office said earlier today that he expected Ukraine would be granted candidate status in June during a scheduled meeting of the European Council, which comprises leaders of EU member states.
Mr Zelensky can be seen handing over the formal application at the end of this video shared on his official Facebook account:
Liam James18 April 2022 22:41
Russia confirms it fired on Lviv
Russia’s defense ministry said it hit a target in Lviv this morning, after Ukraine reported that seven people were killed in missile strikes.
The target of the strike was a Ukrainian army logistics center, the Russian ministry said. A Ukrainian ammunition depot in the Kyiv region was also hit, the ministry claimed.
Andriy Sadovyi, the mayor of Lviv, said seven people had been killed and 12 injured in a number of missile strikes overnight.
A hotel sheltering Ukrainians who had fled fighting further east was among the buildings badly damaged in the attack, the mayor said.
Maksym Kozystkiy, the regional governor, said three missiles hit military facilities and another a tire shop. A child was among those injured in the strikes, he said.
Liam James18 April 2022 22:06
Zelensky says Russia has started eastern offensive
Volodymyr Zelensky has said Russia has begun its anticipated offensive to take control of eastern Ukraine.
“The Russian troops have begun the battle for the Donbas, for which they have been preparing for a long time. A significant part of the entire Russian army is now concentrated on this offensive,” the Ukrainian president said in a video address this evening.
“No matter how many Russian troops are driven there, we will fight. We will defend ourselves. We will do it every day,” he said.
Other Ukrainian officials had said earlier today that Russia’s eastern offensive had begun. Photographs from Kharkiv and farther east in the Donbas region today showed damage from shelling.
In the US, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said the Russians were “continuing to set the conditions for what they believe will be eventual success on the ground by putting in more forces, putting in more enablers, putting in more command and control capability for operations.” yet to eat.”
Liam James18 April 2022 21:34
Two British fighters captured by Russia ask to be exchanged for Putin ally ‘Prince of Darkness’
Two British fighters captured in Ukraine by Russian forces appeared on Russian state TV today and asked to be exchanged for an ally of Vladimir Putin known as the “Prince of Darkness” (Joe Middleton writes).
Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin both spoke separately after being prompted by an unidentified man in footage broadcast on the Rossiya 24 state TV channel. It was unclear how freely the two men were able to talk.
Mr Pinner, 48, a former Royal Anglian soldier, was captured in Mariupol while fighting with the Ukrainian marines, and Mr Aslin, 28, originally from Nottinghamshire, had been defending the besieged city before having to surrender after running out of food and ammunition.
The two men asked British prime minister Boris Johnson to help bring them home in exchange for Ukraine releasing pro-Russian politician and oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk, whose close friend Mr Putin is godfather to his youngest daughter Daryna.
Mr Medvedchuk was shown in a video released around the same time on Monday by Ukraine’s SBU intelligence service asking to be swapped too.
Liam James18 April 2022 21:15