Russia-Ukraine crisis updates | April 26, 2022

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

April 26, 2022 08:46 am | Updated May 02, 2022 08:29 am IST

Local residents use a ladder near a block of flats heavily damaged during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine on April 25, 2022.

Local residents use a ladder near a block of flats heavily damaged during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine on April 25, 2022. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

The United States hosted a gathering of more than 40 countries at its Ramstein airbase in Germany, to discuss ways to provide military support to Ukraine.

Read | Forty countries meet in Germany on bolstering Ukraine defence

Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Tuesday. Mr. Guterres said that he was looking to find ways to stop the fighting in Ukraine as quickly as possible.

Read | The fall of Mariupol

Russia continues its fierce onslaught on Eastern Ukraine, as tension builds over potential escalation. U.K. Armed Forces Minister James Heappey however, dismissed such concerns, when asked about the possibility of Russia deploying a nuclear weapon, saying that there was a “vanishingly small” possibility of such escalation.

The conflict began escalating on February 21, 2022, after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised separatist regions in eastern Ukraine and deployed troops in a peacekeeping role.

Here are the latest updates:


Russia removed as host of 2023 Ice Hockey World Championship

Russia has been removed as host of the men’s 2023 Ice Hockey World Championship, the International Ice Hockey Federation Council announced on Tuesday.

The tournament, originally slated for May 5-21, 2023, in St. Petersburg, will be relocated due to concern for the safety and well-being of players and fans in light of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. An alternative site will be confirmed during next month’s world championships in Finland.

The IIHF Council made a similar decision earlier to withdraw the 2023 World Junior Championship that was to be held in Omsk and Novosibirsk in Russia beginning in late December.—Reuters


Ukraine demolishes monument symbolising ties between ex-Soviet Ukraine and Russia.

“We are removing the bronze sculpture of two workers installed in the centre of the capital in 1982 ‘to commemorate the reunification of Ukraine with Russia’,” Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said in a statement.

Mr. Klitschko also informed that a second component of the sculpture would be removed later and the arch above the workers would be renamed and illuminated in the colours of the Ukrainian flag. - AFP


Russian forces hit key bridge linking Odesa to Romania, say Ukrainian officials.

According to Oleksandr Kamyshin, the head of the Ukrainian Railways, the bridge across the Dniester Estuary where the Dniester River flows into the Black Sea was damaged in Tuesday’s missile attack by Russian forces. The strike has cut off railway connectivity for parts of Odesa west of the estuary, and Romania.

No injuries were reported in the incident. - Reuters


Nuclear radition levels in Chernobyl abnormal since Russian takeover, says UN atomic watchdog IAEA.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director Rafael Grossi visited the site of the nuclear plant on Tuesday on the anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

Radiation levels went up when the Russian forces were moving heavy equipment in the area, Mr. Grossi said.

Russian forces had taken over the Chernobyl nuclear power plant site on February 24, the first day of Putin’s “special military operation” in Ukraine. The siege lasted till the end of March and raised concerns of a nuclear leak.

Warsaw, Poland

Russian rapper Noize MC gets teary-eyed during “anti-war concert” for Ukrainian refugees in Warsaw, Poland.

“I will be making this sign (the peace sign) until my hands are tied behind my back,” Noize MC said to the audience during a concert in Warsaw.

With their “Voices of Peace” concert series, Noize MC and his touring partner Monetochka have so far raised $214,000 for a Polish charity that helps refugees. — AFP


Ukraine’s biggest nuclear power plant reports Russian missiles flying overhead

Ukraine’s state-run atomic energy company Energoatom said that Russian missiles flew at low altitude over Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia in southern Ukraine on Tuesday. It warned that the Russian invasion could lead to “nuclear catastrophe”.

“Missiles lying at a low altitude directly over the site of the ZNPP (Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant), where there are 7 nuclear facilities with a huge amount of nuclear material, poses huge risks,” said Energoatom’s acting chief Petro Kotin.

“After all, missiles could hit one or more nuclear facility, and this threatens a nuclear and radiation catastrophe around the world,” he was quoted as saying in a company statement.

It issued these warnings on the 36th anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear disaster at the nuclear plant in Chernobyl, in what was then Soviet Ukraine.

Russian troops reportedly occupied the decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear power station soon after invading Ukraine but have since left the site.


Momentum in Istanbul talks needs to be maintained: Erdogan tells Putin

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told Russian counterpart President Vladimir Putin via phone call that maintaining the “positive momentum” achieved in the Istanbul talks between Ukraine and Russia earlier this month would be beneficial, his office said on Tuesday.

Turkey, a NATO member with good ties with both countries and a neighbour to both in the Black Sea, has been working as a mediator. It hosted two talks between Ukraine and Russia separately, and has been pushing to host a leaders’ meeting.

“President Erdogan, who stated the importance of achieving a ceasefire, of working humanitarian corridors effectively, and of carrying out evacuations in a safe way, noted that Turkey would continue doing its utmost to halt this course of events damaging everyone and ensure lasting peace,” the Turkish presidency said in a statement.

He also repeated an offer to host the Russian and Ukrainian leaders for peace talks, it said. On Sunday, Erdogan also spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky..- Reuters


UN chief in Moscow, says wants Ukraine ceasefire

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said during a visit to Moscow Tuesday that he was looking to find ways to stop the fighting in Ukraine as quickly as possible.

“We are extremely interested in finding ways in order to create the conditions for effective dialogue, create the conditions for a ceasefire as soon as possible, create the conditions for a peaceful solution,” Guterres said at the start of talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. He reportedly said that although they had different interpretations, that did not prevent them from engaging in dialogue.

Lavrov reportedly told Guterres that he wanted to talk about the need for multilateralism and UN work. -AFP


UN projects eight million Ukrainian refugees

The United Nations said Tuesday it is now projecting that 8.3 million people will eventually flee Ukraine as refugees, adding to the 5.2 million who have already left Ukraine. The UN refugee agency had initially forecasted that four million people would flee.

It said it would need $1.85 billion to support refugees hosted in neighbouring countries. -AFP


Rocket strike on Zaporizhzhia kills at least one: local authorities

At least one person was killed and another wounded in a rocket strike on a commercial premises in the southern Ukrainian region of Zaporizhzhia, local authorities said.

The regional administration said two rockets hit the premises and a third rocket exploded before reaching its target. -Reuters

United Kingdom

Russia making unsound decisions to win war by May 9: Heappey

British armed forces Minister James Heappey said Russia is making “unsound” military decisions because of President Vladimir Putin wishes for a victory in Ukraine by May 9, when Russia marks its victory in World War II.

Heappey said Tuesday that Russian forces were “giving away whatever advantage they may have won” by launching an offensive in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region before enough troops were assembled.

He told Sky News that Putin’s “desire to stand there on the steps of the Kremlin on May 9 and be a hero, means that thousands of Russian lives are going to be lost and the Russians are going to hand over the numerical advantage that they should have.” - AP


Ukraine can win war with Russia: US defence secretary

U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin kicked off defense talks with more than 40 countries at the Ramstein airbase on Tuesday by expressing confidence that Ukraine can win against Russia in the ongoing conflict.

“Your resistance has brought inspiration to the free world,” Austin said, as he denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as “indefensible.”

“Ukraine clearly believes that it can win, and so does everyone here,” he added.

The US is already the biggest supplier of international military aid to Ukraine, and Austin said Washington is “going to keep moving heaven and earth so that we can meet” Kyiv’s needs.-Reuters


Norway to allocate $44 million for Ukraine weapons procurement

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said on Tuesday that Norway would allocate 400 million crowns ($43.7 million) to a British-led initiative for buying weapons for Ukraine. At the current exchange rate, 9.1619 Norwegian crowns equal $1.

Norway may also make additional direct shipments of weapons to Ukraine on top of those already made, Stoere said. -Reuters


Germany to supply Gepard anti-aircraft systems to Ukraine

Johannes Vogel of the liberal Free Democrats, one of the ruling coalition parties, confirmed that Germany’s Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht will officially offer Gepard anti-aircraft systems to Ukraine during Tuesday’s meeting of forty countries at the Ramstein airbase in Germany.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who has been criticised for his lack of action on this front, has said that Germany will deliver “defensive weapons” such as anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons.

United Kingdom

No imminent threat of escalation in Ukraine: UK Armed Forces minister Heappey

British armed forces minister James Heappey dismissed remarks by Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov on the possible use of nuclear weapons in the Ukraine-Russia conflict, calling it show of “bravado”.

“Lavrov’s trademark over the course of 15 years or so that he has been the Russian foreign secretary has been that sort of bravado. I don’t think that right now there is an imminent threat of escalation,” he said to BBC Television.

“What the West is doing to support its allies in Ukraine is very well calibrated,” he added.

He also called the possibility of Russia using a nuclear weapon unlikley, saying that there was a “vanishingly small” possibility of that sort of escalation. -Reuters


Russia killed at least 560 fighters: defence ministry

Russia killed at least 560 Ukrainian fighters overnight, according to the defence ministry. They attacked Ukraine with missiles, aircraft, and artillery overnight, also destroying armoured vehicles, rocket systems, and other military equipment, the ministry said.

Russian aircraft hit 87 different military installations while rockets and artillery rained down on Ukrainian positions, destroying S-300 missile systems, a Tochka U short-range ballistic missile system, BUK-M1 and Osa-AKM missile systems.

“About 500 enemy personnel, 59 armored vehicles, artillery guns and cars were destroyed, as well as more than 60 militants of the nationalist ‘Donbas’ group in the Donetsk People’s Republic,” the defence ministry said.-Reuters


Forty countries meet in Germany to bolster Ukraine defence

Forty countries will meet on Tuesday at the US Ramstein airbase in southwestern Germany to discuss how to bolster the defence of Ukraine. The meeting, which was called by the US, will be “focused on doing things to generate additional capability and capacity for the Ukrainian forces”, said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

“We believe that they can win if they have the right equipment, the right support,” he added. -AFP


Germany to authorise tank delivery to Ukraine: Govt source

In a reversal of its cautious policy towards Ukraine, Germany is expected to authorise tank delivery to Ukraine, per a government source. According to the source, this confirmation will reportedly be announced at an international meeting of defence ministers to be held at the US airbase in Ramstein later Tuesday.- AFP


Civilians shelled in Donetsk, Luhansk

Four people died and nine were wounded on Monday after Russian bombing of the Donetsk region, the region’s governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said. The victims included two children as well.

Serhiy Haidai, Governor of the Luhansk region, said Russians had shelled civilians 17 times over the past 24 hours. The cities of Popasna, Lysychansk and Girske were suffering the most, he said.

“Popasna withstood four powerful artillery attacks, and Lysychansk withstood two. There is damage to two houses in Lysychansk, two in Popasna, at least one in Girske. We are checking the information about the victims,” Haidai said.

Rocket strikes were also reported in the Zaporizhzhia region Tuesday morning. -AP

United Kingdom

NATO isn’t supplying arms to Ukraine: UK Armed Forces Minister Heappey

It is the wider international community, and not NATO, that is supplying arms to Ukraine, British armed forces minister James Heappey said on Tuesday.

He was responding to Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov’s comment about NATO engaging in a proxy war with Russia.

“The donor community is not NATO,” he said to Sky News., “The donor effort is something that has been brought together by countries that are yes, many of them are from NATO, but others are from beyond ... it is not NATO that is doing the military aid.”- Reuters.


Japan PM Kishida- Zelensky to hold a call Tuesday

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is planning to speak with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy over the phone on Tuesday evening, according to Japanese broadcaster NTV.

Per NTV, they are expected to discuss Japanese aid to Ukraine as the war continues.- Reuters.


UK: Ukraine city Kreminna falls to Russia

The British Defense Ministry says Russian forces have taken the Ukrainian city of Kreminna.

Street-to-street fighting had been going on for days in the city in Ukraine’s Luhansk region, with civilian evacuations there made impossible by the war.

In a tweet early Tuesday, the British military said: “The city of Kreminna has reportedly fallen and heavy fighting is reported south of Izium as Russian forces attempt to advance towards the cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk from the north and east.”

There was no immediate response from the Ukrainian government. Russia claimed days earlier to have taken the city.

Kreminna is some 575 kilometers (355 miles) southeast of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.-AP

United Kingdom

Britain says Russia is trying to encircle Ukraine positions in east

 Russia is probably attempting to encircle heavily fortified Ukrainian positions in the country’s east, the British military said in an update on Tuesday.

Reports say the city of Kreminna has fallen, with heavy fighting in the south of the city of Izium, as Russian forces try to advance towards the cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, Britain’s defence ministry said on Twitter.

“Ukrainian forces have been preparing defences in Zaporizhzhia in preparation for a potential Russian attack from the south,” it added in the regular bulletin.-Reuters

United Kingdom

UK cuts all tariffs on Ukraine, bans more exports to Russia

Britain said it has dropped tariffs on all goods from Ukraine while slapping a ban on some technology exports to Moscow to help Kyiv in its fight against the Russian invasion.

Responding to a direct request from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the UK’s international trade department said Monday it had reduced “all tariffs on goods imported from Ukraine”, including key exports such as barley, honey and poultry.

“The UK will continue to do everything in its power to support Ukraine’s fight against Putin’s brutal and unprovoked invasion,” international trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said in a statement.

At the same time, Britain announced it would prevent the export of “products and technology that Russia could use to repress the heroic people of Ukraine”, including possibly surveillance and interception equipment.-AFP


Russian Foreign Minister warns that Ukraine risks provoking World War III, says threat of a nuclear conflict “should not be underestimated.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Monday that Ukraine risks provoking World War III and said the threat of a nuclear conflict “should not be underestimated.”

In an in-depth Russian TV interview, Lavrov blamed Ukraine for stalled talks between the two countries, and accused the United States and Britain of pressuring Kyiv not to reach agreement.

“Everyone is reciting incantations that in no case can we allow World War III,” Lavrov said, and accused Ukrainian leaders of provoking Russia by asking NATO to become involved in the conflict.

By providing weapons, NATO forces are “pouring oil on the fire,” he said, according to a Russian transcript on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website.

Lavrov apparently made the remarks after U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the United States wants “to see Russia weakened to the point where it can’t do things like invade Ukraine.”-AP

United Nations

UN to vote on measure pushing states to justify veto use

The 193 members of the United Nations General Assembly are to vote Tuesday on a resolution that would require the five permanent members of the Security Council to justify their use of the veto in future.

Discussions of veto reform are rare and controversial, but have been revived by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Directly targeting the United States, China, Russia, France and the United Kingdom — who are the only holders of the veto right — the measure would “make them pay a higher political price” when they opt to use their veto to strike down a Security Council resolution, said an ambassador from a country that does not have the veto, and who asked to remain anonymous.

But it is not yet clear if the reform would push the five permanent members to use the veto less, or if it would create even more vetoes as permanent members propose controversial texts they know their rivals will to veto only to force them to justify their stance publicly.-AFP


Russia hits rail and fuel targets far from the eastern front

 Russia unleashed a string of attacks Monday against rail and fuel installations deep inside Ukraine, far from the front lines of Moscow’s new eastern offensive, in a bid to thwart Ukrainian efforts to marshal supplies for the fight.

The U.S., meanwhile, moved to rush more weaponry to Ukraine and said the assistance from the Western allies is making a difference in the 2-month-old war.

“Russia is failing. Ukraine is succeeding,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared, a day after he and the U.S. secretary of defense made a bold visit to Kyiv to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said weapons supplied by Western countries “will be a legitimate target” for Russian forces. He also warned that the risk of a nuclear conflict “should not be underestimated.”-Reuters


Four die, nine wounded from Russia’s shelling of Kharkiv

Four people died and nine were wounded as a result of Russia’s shelling in the Kharkiv region on Monday, Oleh Synegubov, the region’s governor told Ukraine’s public broadcaster.-Reuters


U.S. to host Ukraine talks in Germany as war enters critical phase

The United States will host an expected gathering of more than 40 countries on Tuesday for Ukraine-related defense talks that will focus on arming Kyiv so it can defend against an unfolding and potentially decisive Russian onslaught in the east, U.S. officials said.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is holding the event at Ramstein Air Base in Germany following a trip to Kyiv where he pledged additional support to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s war effort.

U.S. Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said a key goal of the talks was to synchronize and coordinate mounting security assistance to Kyiv that includes heavy weaponry, like howitzer artillery, as well armed drones and ammunition.

“The next several weeks will be very, very critical,” Gen. Milley told reporters traveling with him. “They need continued support in order to be successful on the battlefield. And that’s really the purpose of this conference.”-Reuters


Kyiv wants U.N. to seek Mariupol evacuation

Ukraine's foreign minister is urging the U.N. chief to press Russia on Tuesday for an evacuation of the besieged port of Mariupol, calling it something the world body is capable of achieving.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told The Associated Press in an interview on April 25, 2022, he was concerned that by visiting Moscow before traveling to Kyiv, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres could be vulnerable to falling into a Kremlin “trap” in the war.

Women's Tennis Association

WTA chief promises ‘strong reactions’ on Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian, Belarusian players

Women's Tennis Association chief Steve Simon has warned Wimbledon organisers and Britain's tennis body of "strong reactions" to their decision to ban players from Russia and Belarus to compete in tournaments.

The All England Club (AELTC), which organises the grasscourt major, and the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) will not allow Russian and Belarusian players to compete in events in the United Kingdom due to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

European Union

No limits to Russia-China friendship, warns EU chief amid Ukraine crisis 

The friendship between Russia and China has “no limits”, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said here on Monday.

Addressing the inaugural session at the annual Raisina Dialogue, which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar, she condemned the Russian aggression in Ukraine but also supported the need to find a “diplomatic solution” to the crisis. Ms. von der Leyen highlighted the common links like democracy and the rule of law that bind European states and India.


Navy top brass to review security scenario amid Russia-Ukraine conflict

The first edition of the biannual Naval Commanders Conference began on Monday where the top brass will dwell upon dynamics of the “geostrategic situation in the backdrop of security scenario in the neighbourhood as well as changes emerging due to ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict”.

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