Russia-Ukraine crisis updates | April 1, 2022

A view shows a fuel depot on fire in the city of Belgorod, Russia April 1, 2022.

A view shows a fuel depot on fire in the city of Belgorod, Russia April 1, 2022. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Ukrainian helicopters bombed a fuel storage depot in western Russia sparking a huge fire, the regional governor said Friday, in the first reported air strike by Kyiv on Russian soil, as talks between the two nations resumed via video. But Moscow warned that the helicopter attack on the fuel depot in the town of Belgorod would hamper negotiations.

After over a month of a military campaign that has reduced parts of Ukraine to rubble, Moscow said in peace talks earlier this week it would scale back attacks on the capital Kyiv and the city of Chernigiv.

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues in its fifth week, Turkey said that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba could meet within two weeks for talks.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said it is not seeing a pull-back of Russian forces in Ukraine and expects “additional offensive actions”.

The Kremlin denied U.S. and British claims that President Vladimir Putin’s advisers are scared of giving him a true picture of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, a Red Cross warehouse in the besieged Ukrainian port city of Mariupol has been struck amid intense Russian shelling of the area.

Here are the latest updates:

Russia

Russia won’t turn off gas supplies to Europe from Friday, Kremlin says

Rouble payments that Russia is insisting on for its gas exports will affect settlements due in late April and May, and Russia will not turn off gas supplies to Europe on Friday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

President Vladimir Putin signed an order on Thursday stipulating the change of currency, which European governments have called an unacceptable breach of contract.

“Does this mean that if there is no confirmation in roubles, then gas supplies will be cut off from April 1? No, it doesn’t, and it doesn’t follow from the decree,” Mr. Peskov told reporters.

He said it would affect payments from the second half of April, and Gazprom would work with its customers to implement the new rules.

Mr. Peskov said that Russia could at some point abandon the rouble order if conditions changed, but “in the current conditions, roubles are the most preferable and reliable option for us”.

Asked about German media reports on the possibility of Germany nationalising some Gazprom subsidiaries, Mr. Peskov said it would be a serious violation of international law.

He said Russia was witnessing “gangster actions” in relation to the seizure of its property. - Reuters

MOSCOW

Ukraine air strike hits fuel depot in Russia

Ukrainian helicopters have bombed a fuel storage depot in western Russia sparking a huge fire, the regional governor said Friday, in the first reported air strike by Kyiv on Russian soil.

The announcement came on the 37th day of Russia's military campaign in Ukraine, with thousands killed and more than 10 million displaced in the worst refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.

Moscow warned that the helicopter attack in the town of Belgorod would hamper negotiations

The strike in the Russian town of Belgorod marked the first time Russia has reported a Ukrainian air strike on its territory since the conflict began. - AFP

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MOSCOW

Putin ally warns agriculture supplies could be limited to 'friends'

One of President Vladimir Putin's allies warned on Friday that Russia, a major global wheat exporter, could limit supplies of agriculture products to "friendly" countries only, amid Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis.

BEIJING

Ukraine top of agenda as China, EU prepare to meet at summit

The European Union will seek China's assurances that it won't assist Russia in circumventing economic sanctions leveled over the invasion of Ukraine at an annual summit Friday.

EU officials say they will also look for signs Beijing is willing to cooperate on bringing an end to the war at the virtual meeting. - AP

KYIV

Russians leave Chernobyl; Ukraine braces for renewed attacks

Russian troops left the heavily contaminated Chernobyl nuclear site early Friday after returning control to the Ukrainians, authorities said, as eastern parts of the country braced for renewed attacks and Russians blocked another aid mission to the besieged port city of Mariupol.

Ukraine’s state power company, Energoatom, said the pullout at Chernobyl came after soldiers received “significant doses” of radiation from digging trenches in the forest in the exclusion zone around the closed plant. But there was no independent confirmation of that.

The exchange of control happened amid growing indications the Kremlin is using talk of de-escalation in Ukraine as cover to regroup, resupply its forces and redeploy them for a stepped-up offensive in the eastern part of the country. - AP

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BELGOROD

Fuel storage unit on fire in Russian city near Ukrainian border

A fire broke out at a fuel storage facility in the Russian city of Belgorod located close to the Ukrainian border, regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said.

Two people were hurt in Friday's fire, Mr. Gladkov said on Telegram, and residents of three city streets were being evacuated. - Reuters

KYIV

Russians leaving Chernobyl after radiation exposure: Ukraine

Russian troops began leaving the Chernobyl nuclear plant after soldiers got “significant doses” of radiation from digging trenches at the highly contaminated site, Ukraine’s state power company said Thursday as fighting raged on the outskirts of Kyiv and other fronts.

Energoatom gave no details on the condition of the troops or how many were affected. But it said the Russians had dug in in the forest inside the exclusion zone around the now-closed plant, the site in 1986 of the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

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KYIV

Ukraine launches NFT collection of its ongoing war with Russia

Ukraine has launched a “Museum of War” non-fungible token (NFT) collection to raise crypto funds and preserve memory of its ongoing war with Russia.

“While Russia uses tanks to destroy Ukraine, we rely on revolutionary blockchain tech,” tweeted Mykhailo Fedorov, vice prime minister of Ukraine and the minister of digital transformation, as he announced the launch of the NFT collection.

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Printable version | Jul 16, 2022 11:49:44 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/russia-ukraine-crisis-live-updates-april-1-2022/article65280548.ece