A rocket attack on a train station in Ukraine's Kramatorsk city on Friday killed at least 50 people, including five children, said the local governor of Donetsk. Ukraine has blamed Russia for the attack, but Moscow has denied the accusation. This comes on a day European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen was in the country, where she visited the mass grave site in Bucha.
Meanwhile, Russia said it was shutting down the local offices of a number of international organisations, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, due to "violations of the current legislation of the Russian Federation,"
Russia was yesterday suspended from the UN Human Rights Council as punishment for the invasion of Ukraine. Of the 193 members of the UN General Assembly, 93 voted in favour of suspension while 24 voted against and 58 abstained.
Ukraine has warned residents in the east that they have a "last chance" to flee before a major Russian offensive expected in the Donbas region. However, trains evacuating residents were halted by Russian strikes on the only line still under Kyiv's control.
Here are the Highlights on Russia-Ukraine War:
Ukraine called for more weapons and harsher sanctions after it blamed Russia for a missile attack that killed at least 52 people at a train station packed with women, children and the elderly fleeing the threat of a Russian offensive in the east.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called the strike in Kramatorsk in the eastern region of Donetsk a deliberate attack on civilians. The city's mayor estimated about 4,000 people were gathered there at the time.
After a historic collapse in the wake of Russia's military offensive in Ukraine, the ruble has staged a spectacular bounceback, supported by strict capital controls and energy exports.
But analysts say that success is in many ways artificial and does not bode well for the health of the Russian economy.
The February 24 military operation triggered unprecedented Western sanctions on Moscow, sending the ruble into free-fall and accelerating already high inflation.
The EU blacklisted Russian President Vladimir Putin's two adult daughters and more than 200 other people as part of its latest sanctions package over Moscow's war in Ukraine, according to an official list published late Friday.
Those on the list, which additionally included 18 companies, face asset seizures and travel bans in the 27-nation European Union.
Russia said on Friday it was shutting down the local offices of more than a dozen international organisations including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Fifteen organisations have been taken off Russia's registry of international organisations and foreign NGOs due to "violations of the current legislation of the Russian Federation," the justice ministry said in a statement without providing further details.
After a historic collapse in the wake of Russia's military offensive in Ukraine, the ruble has staged a spectacular bounceback, supported by strict capital controls and energy exports. But analysts say that success is in many ways artificial and does not bode well for the health of the Russian economy. The February 24 military operation triggered unprecedented Western sanctions on Moscow, sending the ruble into free-fall and accelerating already high inflation. (AFP)
A strike blamed by Ukraine on Russia against a railway station in the east of the country that left at least 50 people dead can be classified as a crime against humanity, France said on Friday. "They hit a station where there are refugees, civilians and so this can be seen as a crime against humanity," Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told France 5 television, calling for experts to head to the scene in Kramatorsk to gather evidence so the perpetrators can be held to account. (AFP)
The flow of people escaping Russia's war in Ukraine has slowed but those now fleeing have often spent weeks in dire conditions, the United Nations said on Friday. UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, said 4,382,316 Ukrainians had fled the country since the war began on February 24. The total is up 62,822 on Wednesday's figures, including 22,957 who have headed to Russia since March 29, following updated numbers from Moscow. (AFP)
The Czech Republic has delivered tanks, multiple rocket launchers, howitzers and infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine among military shipments that have reached hundreds of millions of dollars and will continue, two Czech defence sources said. Ukraine has repeatedly called on the West to urgently supply more weapons, especially heavy equipment, as Russian forces regroup in the country's east for new offensive after withdrawing from around the capital Kyiv and other regions. (Reuters)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said today that Belarus should provide security guarantees for Ukraine in the future, once Kiev affirms its neutral status. "At the request of the Ukrainian side, its neutral, non-bloc, non-nuclear status should be accompanied by security guarantees," Lavrov said. "We proposed that the Republic of Belarus should, of course, be among such guarantor countries." (Reuters)
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen pledged today to offer Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a speedier start to Ukraine's bid to become a member of the European Union. Handing Zelensky a questionnaire which will form a starting point for the EU to decide on membership for Kyiv, she said: "It will not as usual be a matter of years to form this opinion but I think a matter of weeks." Zelensky said he would come back with answers in a week. (Reuters)
US President Joe Biden todau thanked Slovakia for giving Ukraine a Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft air defense system, adding the US would reposition a Patriot missile system to replace it. "I want to thank the Slovakian government for providing an S-300 air defense system to Ukraine, something President Zelensky has personally raised with me in our conversations," Biden said in a statement. (AFP)
Russia's inflation rate reached 16.7 per cent year-on-year in March, the state statistics agency said today, a level not seen since 2015, while food prices have risen even more steeply. Prices in March --- the first full month since Moscow began its military campaign in Ukraine in late February -- were up 7.5 per cent on the previous month, according to Rosstat statistics agency. The Russian central bank sets a target for inflation of 4 per cent, but as the economy has been hit by unprecedented Western sanctions, the latest year-on-year figure is more than four times higher. (AFP)
US President Joe Biden today accused Russia of carrying out a "horrific atrocity," after a rocket attack on a train station packed with conflict evacuees in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk left at least 50 dead. "The attack on a Ukrainian train station is yet another horrific atrocity committed by Russia, striking civilians who were trying to evacuate and reach safety," Biden said on Twitter. (AFP)
Ukraine's southern city of Odessa imposed a weekend-long curfew today over a "missile strike threat" from Russia, after the shelling of a train station that killed dozens in the eastern city of Kramatorsk. "A curfew will be introduced in Odessa and Odessa region from 9 pm on April 9 to 6 pm April 11," Odessa's regional military administration said on Facebook. The decision was taken "given events in Kramatorsk" and "threat of a missile strike on Odessa", it said. (AFP)
Britain is sending Ukraine more Starstreak anti-aircraft missiles and 800 anti-tank missiles after an "unconscionable" attack on a train station, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said today. The supplies of the "high-grade military equipment" are worth 100 million pounds ($130 million, 120 million euros), PM Johnson said. The attack at Kramatorsk "shows the depths to which (Vladimir) Putin's once-vaunted army has sunk", he told reporters alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who said the Russian strike was "atrocious". (AFP)
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel today voiced her "frustration" at the slow process of rehousing Ukrainian refugees fleeing the Russian conflict. The Indian-origin minister was speaking with reference to the latest UK Home Office figures, which show the government has granted 41,000 visas to Ukrainians fleeing the war zone but of those only around a quarter at 12,500 have reached the UK. "I'll be very candid, it has taken time. Any new scheme takes time, any new visa system takes time," Patel told the BBC. (PTI)
Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky today asked the West to impose "Molotov cocktail" sanctions on Moscow, including a ban on Russian gas, and appealed for more weapons as he addressed Finnish MPs. Scolding "those who are making us wait, wait for the things that we need badly, wait for the means of protecting our lives," Zelensky called on Western leaders to impose a "sanctions cocktail" against Russia that "would be remembered just like Molotov cocktails". Molotov cocktails are improvised incendiary devices popularised by the Finns in their war against the Soviet Union during World War 2. (AFP)
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Friday visited a mass grave in Bucha, a town outside Kyiv where Russian forces are accused by Ukraine's allies of carrying out atrocities against civilians. An AFP journalist reported that von der Leyen was in the town north of the capital as part of a trip to shore up support for Ukraine alongside the bloc's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. (AFP)
At least 50 people, including five children, were killed in strikes on a train station in the east Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk, the local governor said today. "Fifty dead, five of them children. This is the death toll at this hour after the strike by Russian occupational forces on the train station in Kramatorsk," Pavlo Kyrylenko, the governor of the Donetsk region, said on Telegram. (AFP)
French President Emmanuel Macron today denounced an "abominable" airstrike on a train station in eastern Ukraine, saying that France would "support the investigations so that justice is done." "Ukrainian civilians fleeing to escape the worst. Their weapons? Prams, toy dolls, baggage. This morning at the station in Kramatorsk, families who were leaving experienced horror. Deaths by the dozens, hundreds injured. Abominable," Macron said in a tweet. (AFP)
The Tamil Nadu government said it is committed to support all the 1,890 medical students, who returned from the war-torn Ukraine, to pursue their studies either in the country or places where the syllabus is similar to the one followed in the eastern European nation, Medical and Family Welfare Minister Ma Subramanian told the Assembly on Friday. "Chief Minister M K Stalin had conveyed this to the Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar who informed Parliament that India was in touch with Hungary, Romania, Kazakhstan and Poland and other countries to enable the students continue their studies," he said. (PTI)
Moscow is expelling 45 Polish diplomats, Russia's foreign ministry said Friday, in a tit-for-tat move after Warsaw last month expelled the same number of Russian diplomats for espionage. The ministry said it was declaring "persona non grata" 45 employees of the Polish embassy in Russia and of Polish consulates in the cities of Irkutsk, Kaliningrad and Saint Petersburg "as a response to Poland's unfriendly actions". (AFP)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky described Russia as an "evil with no limits" after a rocket attack on an east Ukraine train station killed at least 39 people. "They are cynically destroying the civilian population. This is an evil that has no limits. And if it is not punished, it will never stop," Zelensky said in a statement on social media after the strikes on a hub that has been used by many civilians in recent days to flee an anticipated Russian advance. (AFP)
Russia and Ukraine are willing to move forward with talks. despite images of bodies found in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, but there are "issues pending", a Turkish official said today. "Both Russia and Ukraine are willing to hold the talks in Turkey but they are far away from agreeing on a common text," the official said. There are "some issues pending" including the status of the Donbas and Crimea regions as well as security guarantees, according to the official, who added there was no date fixed for the next round of negotiations. (AFP)
Russia today accused Kyiv of carrying out a deadly attack on a railway station in the city of Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine that claimed at least 39 lives. "The purpose of the Kyiv regime's attack on the railway station in Kramatorsk was to disrupt the mass exodus of residents from the city in order to use them as a 'human shield' to defend the positions of Ukraine's Armed Fores," the defence ministry said in a statement. (AFP)
The governor of Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region has accused Russian forces of firing cluster munitions at a rail station in Kramatorsk city in an attack that killed at least 39 people. Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko published a photograph online showing several bodies on the ground beside piles of suitcases and other luggage, but did not share what evidence he had of the type of weapon used for the attack. Reuters was not immediately able to verify his allegation. "If at the beginning they exclusively... targeted railway tracks, then now it's not only tracks, but also firing a missile containing cluster munitions which are meant for people. This is absolute confirmation that this (strike) was intended against civilians," Kyrylenko said in an online briefing. (Reuters)
Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger on Friday said the EU member had given Ukraine an S-300 air defence system, adding that it did not mean Slovakia had joined the conflict with Russia. "I can confirm that the Slovak Republic has donated the S-300 air defence system to Ukraine, following Ukraine's request for assistance," Heger posted on Facebook. "The donation of the system does not mean that the Slovak Republic has become a part of the armed conflict in Ukraine," he added. (AFP)
The EU has so far frozen nearly 30 billion euros in assets from blacklisted Russian and Belarusian individuals and companies under sanctions imposed for Moscow's war in Ukraine, it said Friday. A total of 29.5 billion euros ($32 billion) "including assets such as boats, helicopters, real estate and artwork" have been seized and another 196 billion euros of transactions have been blocked, the European Commission said in a statement. (AFP)
The European Union today formally adopted its fifth package of sanctions against Russia, including bans on the import of coal, wood, chemicals and other products. The measures also prevent many Russian vessels and trucks from accessing the EU, further crippling trade, and will ban all transactions with four Russian banks, including VTB. The ban on coal imports will be fully effective from the second week of August. No new contracts can be signed from Friday, when sanctions are to be published in the EU's official journal. (Reuters)
It is important to collect evidence of war crimes in Ukraine from fleeing refugees so acts will not go unpunished, European Union Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said on Friday. "It is so important that these war crimes will not go unpunished," she said at a news conference in Prague alongside the interior minister of the Czech Republic, a country that has taken in more than 300,000 refugees. (Reuters)
Denmark plans to house Ukrainian refugees in temporary "Ukrainian villages" set up in former schools and hospitals, a cabinet minister said Friday as the country prepares to receive up to 100,000 people fleeing the war. The approach breaks with normal practice in the Scandinavian kingdom, which has for decades followed very restrictive migration policies, and where asylum seekers and refugees are placed among the country's population of 5.8 million. (AFP)
The UN humanitarian office (OCHA) plans aid convoys to the Ukrainian rebel regions of Luhansk and Donetsk next week as it seeks to shift aid as fighting moves east, a spokesperson told a press briefing on Friday. "We have in our planning convoys to go there I understand already next week. Whether that happens or not depends on the security situation," Jens Laerke said. (Reuters)
The European Union today targeted crypto wallets, banks, currencies and trusts in its fifth package of sanctions on Russia in a bid to close potential loopholes which could allow Russians to move money abroad. Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24, EU-based crypto exchanges were required to apply sanctions that bar transactions from targeted individuals, but there were concerns that loopholes remained. The EU on Friday said it was extending the prohibition to deposits to crypto-wallets. (Reuters)
EU Council chief Charles Michel today accused Russia of a "horrifying" rocket attack on a train station in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk, saying Moscow was cutting off an escape route for civilians. "Horrifying to see Russia strike one of the main stations used by civilians evacuating the region where Russia is stepping up its attack," Michel said on Twitter. "I strongly condemn this morning's indiscriminate attack...by Russia," EU foreign policy Josep Borrell said in a separate tweet. (AFP)
The European Commission chief and the EU's top diplomat will meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv today to offer financial and moral support in a capital gradually reawakening after Russian forces withdrew from its outskirts. Travelling by train from Brussels to Kyiv, Josep Borrell, the European Union's chief diplomat, told reporters the visit was a signal that "Ukraine is in control of its territory" and the government was still in charge. (Reuters)
Russia's defence ministry said today it did not launch an attack on a train station in eastern Ukraine, which a local rescue worker said killed at least 35 people. "All statements by representatives of the Kyiv nationalist regime about the 'rocket attack' allegedly carried out by Russia on April 8 at the railway station in the city of Kramatorsk are a provocation and are absolutely untrue," the ministry said in a statement. (AFP)
At least 35 people were killed and over 100 were wounded in a Russian rocket strike in east Ukraine today as civilians tried to evacuate to safer parts of the country, the state railway company said.
Japan said Friday it will expel eight Russian diplomats and officials, calling Moscow's actions in Ukraine "categorically unacceptable" and a violation of international law.
The expulsions come after a wave of similar moves in Europe as Ukraine's allies pile pressure on Moscow following allegations of war crimes by its troops in areas around Kyiv.
"As a result of our country's comprehensive judgment, we have requested the expulsion of eight diplomats from the Russian Embassy in Japan and officials from the Office of the Trade Representative of the Russian Federation," foreign ministry spokeswoman Hikariko Ono said.
She said Russia's ambassador to Tokyo Mikhail Yurievich Galuzin had been informed of the decision in a meeting with Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Mori.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced Friday that she was en route to the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, along with the bloc's diplomatic chief Josep Borrell.
"Looking forward to Kyiv," Von der Leyen wrote on Twitter accompanied by a picture of her with Borrell and Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger. The EU foreign chief meanwhile wrote on the platform that he was, "going to Kyiv".
Ukraine said it aimed to establish up to 10 humanitarian corridors to evacuate trapped civilians on Friday, but civilians trying to flee besieged Mariupol will have to use private vehicles.
In the village of Obukhovychi, neighbours say Russian forces dug in around their houses, using them as a "shield" to discourage counter-attacks by Ukrainian armed forces.
Outside a shelter for the displaced in western Ukraine, 84-year-old retired schoolteacher Veronika recounts how she and her family had to travel more than 1,000 kilometres to safety.
They fled Russian fire on their city of Bakhmut in the eastern Donbas region by bus and by train this week, as she turned 84.
"For my birthday, I left," she said.
Just hours after arriving during the night in the city of Lviv, Veronika sat in the spring sun, clutching a plastic cup of warm tea.
She had spent part of the morning sheltering in a cold basement after an air raid siren went off, and was trying to warm up again. Read more
A Fox News correspondent who was wounded in Ukraine during an attack that killed two of his colleagues said on Thursday that he had sustained serious injuries but felt "pretty damn lucky" to have survived.
India has abstained again from voting in the United Nations General Assembly on a draft resolution to suspend Russia from Human Rights Council after the civilian killings in Ukraine's Bucha that triggered shock and horror across the world.
The United States is ramping up sanctions against Russia to deprive Moscow's "war machine" of money and components needed to sustain its invasion of Ukraine, but curbing a main source of funding, Russian energy exports, will take time, U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo told Reuters on Thursday.
The United States and its allies have "a lot more that we can and we will do" to punish Moscow if Russia fails to halt its invasion, Adeyemo told Reuters in an interview. Read more
Pink Floyd have written their first new song in almost 30 years to support Ukrainians, the band announced on Thursday.