Russia-Ukraine crisis updates | April 25, 2022

Here are the latest developments from the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict

Updated - April 26, 2022 08:49 am IST

Published - April 25, 2022 08:49 am IST

A car with two suspected dead bodies burn inside, after a Russian bombardment in Kharkiv, Ukraine, April 21, 2022.

A car with two suspected dead bodies burn inside, after a Russian bombardment in Kharkiv, Ukraine, April 21, 2022. | Photo Credit: AP

After meeting Ukrainian officials, the visiting U.S delegation headed by the country’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Mr. Blinken said Russia failing in its war aims and “Ukraine is succeeding.” 

The United States’ top diplomat and defence chief were in Ukraine’s capital Sunday, Kyiv said, making the first high-level visit by US officials since Russia invaded two months ago as hundreds remain trapped in the besieged city of Mariupol.

The trip by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin comes as the war enters its third month, with thousands dead and millions displaced.

Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky met the U.S. officials Sunday, as Mariupol’s defences were “already on the brink of collapse” and Ukraine was in dire need of offensive weapons.

On Sunday, the United Nations’ Ukraine crisis coordinator Amin Awad called for an “immediate stop” to fighting in Mariupol to allow trapped civilians to leave. The call came a day after the latest attempt to evacuate civilians from Mariupol failed.


Blasts hit Ministry in Transnistria, next to Ukraine

Police in the Moldovan separatist region of Transnistria say several explosions believed to be caused by rocket-propelled grenades hit the Ministry of State Security on Monday.

No injuries were immediately reported. The Interior Ministry said in a Facebook post that some of the building’s windows were broken and that smoke was coming from the structure. Transnistria, a strip of land with about 470,000 people between Moldova and Ukraine, has been under the control of separatist authorities since a 1992 war with Moldova.

Russia bases about 1,500 troops there nominally as peacekeepers, but concerns are high that the forces could be used to invade Ukraine. A senior Russian military official, Rustam Minnekayev, said last week that Russian forces aim to take full control of southern Ukraine, saying such a move would open the way to Transnistria. - AP


Ukraine says Russia is targeting railways to cut arms supply routes

Ukraine’s military command said on Monday that Russia was trying to bomb Ukraine’s rail infrastructure in order to disrupt arms supplies from foreign countries.

“They are trying to destroy the supply routes of military-technical assistance from partner states. To do this, they focus strikes on railway junctions,” the armed forces command wrote in a post on Facebook. - Reuters


Around 40 German diplomats will be expelled by Russia.

Russia has said that the “symmetric” decision was taken after Berlin expelled the same number of Russian diplomats. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov met U.S. Ambassador John Sullivan in Moscow on Monday.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin visited Kyiv, Ukraine, two months after Russia invaded the country. They met Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky and pledged more than $700 million in additional military financing for Ukraine and its allies. Mr. Austin also said that Washington’s goal was to see Russia weakened. — Bloomberg

New Delhi

European Commission chief says response to Russia’s war to decide future global system, economy

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the response to Russia’s war in Ukraine will decide the future of global system and economy.


Ukraine says no deal on humanitarian corridor from Mariupol steel plant

Ukraine said that Moscow had not agreed to its request for a humanitarian corridor to let wounded soldiers and civilians leave the Azovstal steel plant in the besieged port city of Mariupol.

"Unfortunately, there are no agreements on humanitarian corridors from Azovstal today," Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vershchuk said on Telegram. - AFP


Russia to discuss Mariupol during U.N.  Secretary-General’s visit- RIA news agency

Russian news agency RIA cited the country’s Foreign Ministry officials as saying that Moscow intended to discuss issues related to the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol and its Azovstal plant in talks with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, whose visit is scheduled for this week.

Mr. Guterres would be meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin before heading to Ukraine for talks with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the U.N. said on Saturday. - Reuters


International Skating Union strips Russia of hosting figure skating Grand Prix event

Russia has been stripped of hosting an event on figure skating’s Grand Prix circuit next season over its incursion of Ukraine. The International Skating Union said today it was looking for a replacement host for the Nov. 25-27 event after its ruling council took the Russian telecom company’s Rostelecom Cup off the schedule because of Russia’s military invasion.

Last season, the Rostelecom Cup was held in Sochi and the women's event was won by 15-year-old Kamila Valieva, whose doping case later dominated the sport at the Beijing Olympics.

The ISU said it “reaffirmed” solidarity with those affected by the Ukraine invasion and reiterated its condemnation of Russia in “the strongest possible terms”.

Russian athletes, teams, officials and event hosts have been isolated from world sports since the invasion started on February 24, with the International Olympic Committee urging governing bodies to act. -AP


Russia to halt hostilities at Mariupol steel plant to let civilians leave

Ukrainian soldiers are holding out and civilians are sheltering at the Azovstal steel plant, amid Russia’s siege of Mariupol. They gathered to mark Orthodox Easter yesterday.

Ukrainian soldiers are holding out and civilians are sheltering at the Azovstal steel plant, amid Russia’s siege of Mariupol. They gathered to mark Orthodox Easter yesterday.

The Russian Defence Ministry says its troops will halt hostilities from 1400 Moscow time (4:30 p.m. IST) on Monday at the besieged steel plant Azovstal, in Ukraine’s port city of Mariupol, to allow civilians to leave.

The ministry says any civilians trapped at the facility can leave in whichever direction they choose. Reuters

Ukrainian civilians are currently taking shelter and the country’s soldiers are holding out at the Azovstal steel plant in besieged Mariupol.

Defence spending

SIPRI says defence spending spiked in Europe and Russia in the run up to invasion

The think tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released data today showing that military spending in Europe and Russia surged ahead of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, despite the economic subduing owed to the pandemic.

Russia’s Ukraine incursion has forced a rapid rethink in Europe over defence strategies, and led a string of countries to promise large increases in military budgets, SIPRI said.

It added that while the effects of increased military spending would manifest in the coming few years, spending was already on the rise in 2021 amid heightened tensions in the run-up to Russia’s invasion.

Global military spending topped 2 trillion dollars for the first time ever last year, reaching $2,113 billion, up 0.7% from 2020, as expenditure rose for the seventh straight year, the defence think tank said.

Russia raised its military spending by 2.9% in 2021 to $65.9 billion as it built up its forces along the Ukrainian border, SIPRI said. Ukraine, meanwhile, spent $5.9 billion on its military in 2021, which was less than one-tenth of Russia's budget. Total military spending in Europe in the last year was estimated to be $418 billion, and had been rising sharply since Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014. - Reuters


Russian rockets hit two towns in Vinnytsia, says regional Governor

Regional Governor Serhiy Borzov posted on messaging app Telegram that Russian rockets were fired at two towns in Ukraine's central Vinnytsia region on Monday, causing an unspecified number of deaths and injuries, regional Governor Serhiy Borzov reported.

“Today, Vinnytsia region is once again under rocket fire (in) the towns of Zhmerynka and Kozyatyn. The enemy is attempting to hit critical infrastructure,” Mr. Borzov said in a video update.

Russia did not immediately comment on his remarks. - Reuters


Russia says it warned the U.S. against sending more weapons to Ukraine

Moscow's ambassador to Washington told Russian state television today that Russia has warned the United States against sending more ammunition to Ukraine.

"We stressed the unacceptability of this situation when the United States of America pours weapons into Ukraine, and we demanded an end to this practice," Anatoly Antonov said in TV interview with the Rossiya 24 channel.

Mr. Antonov added that official diplomatic note calling for the same had been sent to Washington.

This came in the backdrop of Washington's top diplomat and its defence secretary meeting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv late on Sunday, pledging new assistance worth $713 million for Ukraine and its allies. - Reuters

Central Ukraine

Russia says it struck Kremenchuk oil refinery and military installations near Dnipro river

Russian Defence Ministry says its military forces struck Ukraine’s Kremenchuk oil refinery with long-range missiles and hit military installations in the area near the Dnipro river.

“The armed forces of the Russian Federation continue the special military operation in Ukraine,” the ministry said.

“High-precision long-range weapons destroyed fuel production facilities at an oil refinery on the northern outskirts of the city of Kremenchuk, as well as petroleum products storage facilities which fuelled military equipment for Ukrainian troops,” the ministry added.- Reuters


Russia made minor advances after shifting focus on Donbas, says U.K. Defence Ministry

Britain’s Ministry of Defence said in an intelligence update said that “without sufficient logistical and combat support enablers”, Russia was yet to achieve a breakthrough, after shifting the focus of its incursion to the Donbas region, and had only made minor advances.

The Ministry Ukrainian troops at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol were tying down Russian forces and keeping them from being deployed to the offensive elsewhere in the Donbas.

“Many Russian units remain fixed in the city and cannot be redeployed...Ukraine’s defence of Mariupol has also exhausted many Russian units and reduced their combat effectiveness,” it wrote in a Twitter update.

Western and Central Ukraine

Five railway stations come under fire, says state railway company

State-run Ukrainian Railways said on television that five railway stations came under fire in western and central Ukraine on Monday, causing casualties; the number was not specified.

Oleksander Kamyshin, the railway company's chief, said the attacks took place within the timespan of an hour, adding that details were being checked.


U.S. Secretary of State Blinken says Russia is failing in war aims, promises more arms

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken pose for a picture during their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken pose for a picture during their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

After the highest-level American delegation’s visit to Kyiv, headed by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Mr. Blinken said Russia failing in its war aims and “Ukraine is succeeding.”

“When it comes to Russia’s war aims, Russia is failing. Ukraine is succeeding. Russia has sought as its principal aim to totally subjugate Ukraine, to take away its sovereignty, to take away its independence. That has failed.”

The delegation told Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and his advisers that the U.S. would offer more than $300 million in foreign military financing and had approved a $165 million sale of ammunition.

In total, Mr. Austin and Mr. Blinken announced $713 million in foreign military financing for Ukraine and 15 allies and partner countries. Out of this, some $322 million, they said, was earmarked for Kyiv. The remainder would be split among NATO members and other nations that provided Ukraine with critical military supplies since the the Russian incursion began in February.

“We had an opportunity to demonstrate directly our strong ongoing support for the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian people. This was, in our judgment, an important moment to be there to have face-to-face conversations in detail," Blinken told reporters near the Polish-Ukrainian border.

U.S. Defence Sec Austin said Zelenskyy's response to the aid was deep appreciation for what was being given but “he has the mindset that they want to win and we have the mindset that we want to help them win.”

Blinken, in footage released by the Ukrainian Presidency, praised the “extraordinary courage and leadership and success that you’ve had in pushing back this horrific Russian aggression.”

Mr. Blinken also said U.S. diplomats coming back to Ukraine would likely be restaffing the consulate in Lviv in western Ukraine before returning to the capital, Kyiv. The U.S. previously said its diplomats would start returning this week. The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv will remain closed for the moment. -AP


Russia shoots down two Ukrainian drones, says no casualties

 A regional Governor in Russia said Monday that the Russian forces had shot down two Ukrainian drones near the border overnight.

Roman Starovoyt, Kursk region Governor, said on Telegram: "Today at 4:15 am Russian air defence crews shot down two Ukrainian drones". The drowns were downed in the Rylsky district on the border with Ukraine.

“There are no casualties, injuries or damage. The situation is completely under control,” the Governor wrote.- AP


Large fire at oil depot in Russia’s Bryansk, near Ukraine

A large fire broke out early on Monday at an oil storage facility in the Russian city of Bryansk, the emergencies ministry said, adding that no one was injured.

“A fire has been reported at the Transneft Bryansk-Druzhba fuel depot in Bryansk,” around 150 kilometres (93 miles) from the Ukraine border, which serves as a logistics base for Moscow’s military operation in its pro-Western neighbour, the agency quoted the ministry as saying.


Zelenskyy meets top-level US delegation

The U.S. secretaries of state and defense met Sunday night with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the highest-level visit to the war-torn country’s capital by an American delegation since the start of Russia’s invasion.

The meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was confirmed by presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych in an interview on Ukrainian TV.


Zelenskyy congratulates Macron on winning a second term as president of France — and beating a far-right rival seen as close to Russia

Ukraine’s leader has congratulated Emmanuel Macron on winning a second term as president of France — and beating a far-right rival seen as close to Russia.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called Macron “a true friend of Ukraine” on Sunday and expressed appreciation for his support.

Tweeting in French, Zelenskyy said: “I’m convinced that we will advance together toward new joint victories. Toward a strong and united Europe!”.

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