Russia-Ukraine crisis updates | April 6, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow on April 6, 2022.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow on April 6, 2022. | Photo Credit: AP

Ahead of the ‘2+2’ dialogue, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Tuesday spoke to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and discussed the latest developments in Ukraine.

India condemned the killing of civilians in Bucha, Ukraine, at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Monday, calling for an independent U.N. inquiry.

The United States announced Tuesday it will send $100 million in additional anti-armor weapons to Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said French President Emmanuel Macron has agreed to provide technical and expert support for an investigation into crimes committed by Russian troops in Bucha and elsewhere.

Mr. Zelenskyy told the UN Security Council on Tuesday that the atrocities committed by Russian troops are no different from terrorists like the Islamic State extremists as he demanded immediate action to bring the Kremlin’s forces to justice for “war crimes”.

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


U.S. slaps sanctions on Putin’s daughters, indicts oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev

The White House has announced sanctions on two daughters of Vladimir Putin over Moscow’s war on Ukraine, saying family members were known to hide the Russian president’s wealth.

It also declared “full blocking” sanctions on Russia’s largest public and private financial institutions, Sberbank and Alfa Bank, and said all new US investment in Russia was now prohibited.

The United States has also announced that it has indicted Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev for sanctions violations. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Russian billionaire had been previously identified as a source of financing for Russians promoting separatism in Crimea and as providing support for the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine. “After being sanctioned by the United States, Malofeyev attempted to evade the sanctions by using co-conspirators to surreptitiously acquire and run media outlets across Europe,” Mr. Garland told reporters.

The indictment was the first of a Russian oligarch in the United States since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said.

Mr. Garland also announced the “disruption” of a global botnet controlled by the Russian military intelligence agency, the GRU. “The Russian government has recently used similar infrastructure to attack Ukrainian targets,” he said. “Fortunately, we were able to disrupt this botnet before it could be used.

“Thanks to our close work with international partners, we were able to detect the infection of thousands of network hardware devices,” the attorney general said. “We were then able to disable the GRU’s control over those devices before the botnet could be weaponised.” — AFP

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Kyiv, Ukraine

Kyiv tells residents of east Ukraine to evacuate ‘now’

Ukraine on Wednesday told residents of the country’s eastern regions to evacuate “now” or “risk death” due to a feared Russian attack.

“The governors of the Kharkiv, Lugansk and Donetsk regions are calling on the population to leave these territories and are doing everything to ensure that the evacuations take place in an organised manner,” deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk wrote on Telegram. - AFP


U.N. to vote Thursday on U.S. push to suspend Russia from rights council

The 193-member U.N. General Assembly will vote on Thursday on a U.S. push to suspend Russia from the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council, diplomats said.

A two-thirds majority of voting General Assembly members in New York can suspend a country for committing gross and systematic violations of human rights. Russia is in its second year of a three-year term on the 47-member Human Rights Council. - Reuters


UK’s PM says Bucha killings in Ukraine not ‘far short of genocide’

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Wednesday the alleged massacre of Ukrainian civilians by Russian troops in the town of Bucha “doesn’t look far short of genocide to me”.

The UK government has consistently refused to use the word “genocide” with regard to Ukraine and other conflicts, arguing that designating the worst of war crimes is up a competent court. But Mr. Johnson told reporters: “I’m afraid when you look at what’s happening in Bucha, the revelations that we are seeing from what (Vladimir) Putin has done in Ukraine doesn’t look far short of genocide to me.

“It is no wonder people are responding in the way that they are,” the prime minister added.

“I have no doubt that the international community, Britain very much in the front rank, will be moving again in lockstep to impose more sanctions and more penalties on Vladimir Putin’s regime.” - AFP


Turkey calls for probe into civilian deaths in Bucha

Turkey on Wednesday joined the global condemnation of the murder of civilians in the town of Bucha and other cities in Ukraine and called for an independent investigation.

“The images of the massacre, which have been published in the press from various regions including Bucha and Irpin near Kyiv, are appalling and sad for humanity,” the foreign ministry said in a statement. -AFP


U.S. to announce new sanctions on Russia over Ukraine killings

The United States was expected to announce tough new sanctions on Russia Wednesday, including a ban on new investments, a day after Ukraine’s president showed the UN Security Council harrowing images of violence and accused Moscow of widespread atrocities.

The sanctions come after an outcry over the discovery of dozens of bodies in civilian clothing in areas from which Russian troops have withdrawn around Ukraine’s capital, including the town of Bucha. -AFP


U.S. to ban ‘all new investment’ in Russia on Wednesday: source

The United States, in coordination with the G7 and European Union, will ban “all” new investments in Russia on Wednesday in its latest round of sanctions, a source said.

The joint measures, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and alleged carrying out of atrocities, “will include a ban on all new investment in Russia, increased sanctions on financial institutions and state-owned enterprises in Russia, and sanctions on Russian government officials and their family members,” the source familiar with the sanctions told AFP Tuesday. -AFP


Twitter moves to limit reach of Russian govt accounts

Twitter announced Tuesday it was introducing new measures against Russian government accounts to reduce the impact of official propaganda on the social network.

The official accounts will no longer be “recommended” to Twitter users across all categories of the app, including in searches, the platform said in a statement. -AFP


Finland boosts defence spending by 2 bn euros over Ukraine

Finland announced Tuesday it would increase its military spending by more than two billion euros over the next four years, saying the decision was spurred on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The decision to increase the defence budget follows unusually short budget negotiations in the Nordic country that shares Europe’s longest land border with Russia.

“The war in Europe has fundamentally changed our security environment,” Defence Minister Antti Kaikkonen said in a statement. -AFP

New Zealand

New Zealand introduces new sanctions, tariffs on Russian imports

The New Zealand government said on Wednesday it was introducing a 35% tariff on all imports from Russia and would extend existing export prohibitions to industrial products closely connected to strategic Russian industries.

“The images and reports emerging of atrocities committed against civilians in Bucha and other regions of Ukraine is abhorrent and reprehensible, and New Zealand continues to respond to Putin’s mindless acts of aggression,” Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta said in a statement. -Reuters


Intel suspends business operations in Russia

Intel Corp is suspending all business operations in Russia, effective immediately, the U.S. chipmaker said on Tuesday, adding that it has implemented business continuity measures to minimize disruption to its global operations.

“Intel continues to join the global community in condemning Russia’s war against Ukraine and calling for a swift return to peace,” it added. -Reuters


EU allies expel over 200 Russian diplomats, staff

EU nations expelled dozens more Russian diplomats Tuesday amid increasing outrage over the Ukraine conflict, in coordinated moves that have seen more than 200 envoys and staff sent home in 48 hours.

After Germany and France announced around 75 expulsions between them Monday, countries including Italy, Spain and Slovenia followed suit Tuesday -- while the European Union itself declared “persona non grata” a group of Russian officials working with its institutions. -AFP


Russia’s Lavrov says Bucha war crime claims aim to ‘torpedo’ Ukraine talks

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday said the discovery of bodies in the Ukrainian town of Bucha was a “provocation” aimed at scuppering talks between Moscow and Kyiv.

“A question arises: What purpose does this blatantly untruthful provocation serve? We are led to believe it is to find a pretext to torpedo the ongoing negotiations,” Lavrov said in a video message broadcast on Russian television. -AFP

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