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Biden pledges $100M in Javelins for Ukraine amid outrage over atrocities in Bucha

The words “No Money for Murderers, Stop the Oil and Gas Trade” are projected by activists onto the Russian consulate in Frankfurt, Germany, on Monday.

The words “No Money for Murderers, Stop the Oil and Gas Trade” are projected by activists onto the Russian consulate in Frankfurt, Germany, on April 4, 2022. Michael Probst / AP

Russia accused of blocking Egypt-bound ship carrying Ukrainian wheat

The Ukrainian embassy in Cairo has accused Russia of blocking a ship loaded with Ukrainian wheat from moving after the goods were purchased by Egypt.

The ship, EMMAKRIS III, remains docked in the Ukrainian port of Chernomorsk in the Black Sea, according to ship tracking information verified by NBC News on Tuesday.

The Russian embassy in the Egyptian capital refuted the claims, instead accusing Ukrainian authorities of preventing ships from leaving the port.

Egypt is one of the three countries that about a third of Ukraine’s total wheat exports go to, along with Indonesia and Bangladesh, according to the International Grains Council

Sweden to expel three Russian diplomats for spying, foreign minister says

Sweden will expel three Russian diplomats for spying, Foreign Minister Ann Linde said on Tuesday, joining a number of European countries which have expelled Russian diplomats in recent days.

“It is because they are not following the Vienna Convention and they are undertaking illegal intelligence-gathering operations,” Linde told reporters.

France, Belgium and the Netherlands have recently expelled Russian diplomats over alleged spying activity.

The moves coincide with outrage across the continent over reports of the discovery of mass graves and of civilian killings in the Ukrainian town of Bucha following the retreat of Russian soldiers, conducting what Moscow calls its “special operation” in Ukraine.

“It is obvious that war crimes have been committed,” Linde said.

The Kremlin denies any accusations related to the murder of civilians, including in Bucha.

April 5, 202201:48

Japan’s top envoy brings back 20 Ukrainians from Poland

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi returned from Poland on Tuesday with 20 Ukrainians displaced by Russia’s ongoing war on their country as Tokyo seeks to play a greater role in international support for Ukraine.

During three days in Poland, Hayashi visited facilities for Ukrainian refugees in Warsaw and held talks with Polish officials, international humanitarian organizations and civil groups to assess how Japan can provide support. He said the visit “renewed my resolve” that Japan should “cooperate with international society and provide the utmost assistance.”

Japan has an extremely strict refugee policy and has been reluctant to fully accept migrant workers, making its offer to accept Ukrainians unusual. However, the government has carefully called them evacuees and it is still unclear if the Ukrainian situation will change its immigration policy.

Tokyo expects the 20 evacuees will stay in Japan for at least six months, and will provide further support if needed, said Deputy Justice Minister Jun Tsushima, who was traveling with Hayashi. Tokyo has previously accepted about 300 other Ukrainians, all relatives of about 2,000 Ukrainian residents in Japan who arrived on their own since the Russian invasion began.

Russia vows ‘appropriate response’ to Italy’s expulsion of diplomats, TASS reports

Russia has vowed to give an “appropriate response” to Italy’s expulsion of 30 of its diplomats on Tuesday, according Russian state-owned news agency TASS.

“Russia will give an appropriate response to the expulsion of [diplomats] from Italy,” the agency quoted official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova as saying.

Italy moved to expel the Russian diplomats because of security concerns, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

April 5, 202202:42

European Commission chief to visit Kyiv, meet with Zelenskyy this week

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen is set to visit Kyiv this week to meet with Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy, her spokesperson Eric Mamer tweeted on Tuesday.

Von der Leyen will visit the Ukrainian capital with the commission’s Vice-President Josep Borrell.

The meeting will take place ahead of a “#StandUpforUkraine” campaign in Warsaw, Poland, planned for Saturday. An online rally will also take place concurrent to the event.

The international campaign, organized by Von der Leyen, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and NGO Global Citizen, will go towards humanitarian relief for refugees and those who have been internally displaced in Ukraine due to the ongoing conflict.

Viktoria Mukhina, 33, plants tulips with her daughter Miroslava near an apartment building damaged by Russian shelling in the southern port city of Mariupol on Monday.

Image: A local resident plants tulips near a damaged apartment building in Mariupol
Alexander Ermochenko / Reuters

Zelenskyy says negotiations with Russia still necessary despite events in Bucha

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Tuesday that the country still needed to negotiate an end to the war, even after the reports of atrocities and attacks on civilians in Bucha and other cities around the capital.

“I think I have no other choice,” he told journalists in a press conference aired on Ukrainian television. “We cannot fight constantly,” he added. “It does not suit us, and we need security guarantees.”

Still, he said, “I think this is a great tragedy in general, because all of us, as I consider myself a part of society, will see even the possibility of negotiations as a challenge.”

He also said “Russia may return,” and the country must prepare for that. Any agreement must include security guarantees from other countries, as well as clear sanctions policies in the event of further aggression after this war ends, he said, echoing comments he’s made in previous weeks.

Zelenskyy on Monday visited Bucha, where he claimed that at least 300 civilians had been killed.

Red Cross says team that was detained trying to reach Mariupol has been released

The International Committee of the Red Cross said a team that was stopped and held by police in Manhush during a bid to reach Mariupol has been released.

In a statement on Tuesday, the ICRC said the team was released on Monday evening after being “held by police” in the nearby town, about 12 miles west of Mariupol. Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk had previously said the Red Cross team was being held by “the occupation authorities,” according to Reuters.

The ICRC said the team would return its focus to “continuing the humanitarian evacuation operation.”

The group has been trying to reach Mariupol since Friday to help the trapped residents of the besieged city. However, Vereshchuk said that despite Russia’s agreement to open humanitarian corridors, Russian forces have been blocking those trying to reach Mariupol to help facilitate evacuations and provide aid.

The ICRC said Monday’s incident showed just how “volatile and complex the operation to facilitate safe passage around Mariupol has been.”

U.N. General Assembly could vote on Russia suspension from Human Rights Council this week

The United Nations General Assembly could vote on whether to suspend Russia from its Human Rights Council as early as Thursday, according to the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.

The U.S.-led proposal is set to be introduced to the Security Council on Tuesday, and may reach the General Assembly “as soon as possible — this week, and possibly as early as Thursday,” Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said in an interview with NPR’s Michel Martin on Monday.

“It’s more than symbolic, and it does have force because it continues what we have started, and that is to isolate Russia and to call them out for what they’re doing,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

She added that the U.S. will continue to “look at every option we have on the table to call Russia out, to isolate Russia, to unify the world against Russia.”

Russia is one of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and wields the right to veto its resolutions.

The push for a vote to see the country suspended from the Human Rights Council comes after Ukrainian officials accused Russian forces of killing and torturing hundreds of civilians in the town of Bucha, near Kyiv.

Six killed in Kharkiv region by latest attacks, official says

At least six people died in the Kharkiv region after Russian forces were accused of firing a range of weapons at the city of Kharkiv and surrounding areas, the head of the regional state administration said.

“Over the past day, the occupiers [launched] 54 strikes from various types of long-range weapons,” Oleh Synegubov said Tuesday in a Telegram post. He said the attacks were deployed over a span of 24 hours.

NBC News was unable to independently verify the claim or the reported death toll.

Synegubov said a number of districts were affected, including Saltivka, Oleksiyivka, Kholodna Hora, Derhachi and Chuguiv.

A car displaying a white flag to suggest civilian occupants, is riddled with shrapnel holes on a street in Bucha on Monday.

Russian attacks on Ukraine
Diego Herrera Carcedo/ / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Chernihiv cut off from heat supply after heavy fighting, official says

Residents in Chernihiv have been left without access to heat due to “damage to critical infrastructure” during fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces, the head of the local regional state administration has said.

In a Telegram post Tuesday, Vyacheslav Chaus said electricity, water and gas supply were “partially working.” However, he said there was “no heat supply.” Temperatures in the region hovered just below 41 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius), with warmer but still cool weather expected this week.

It comes as Russian troops have reportedly pulled out of areas around Chernihiv and Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv. Britain’s defense ministry said Tuesday that Ukrainian forces had retaken key terrain in the north of Ukraine. However, it said low-level fighting was likely to continue in some parts of the newly recaptured region. 

Chaus said dozens of people have died in the Chernihiv region “as a result of fires provoked by Russian shelling.”

Seven humanitarian corridors to open Tuesday, Ukraine says

Seven humanitarian corridors to evacuate residents from cities in the south and east of Ukraine were set to open Tuesday, the country’s deputy prime minister, Iryna Vereshchuk, said in a message posted on Telegram.

The besieged southern port city of Mariupol was included in the list, with residents scheduled to go to Zaporizhzhia in their own vehicles rather than buses. However, safe routes out of the city have come under fire or been blocked in recent weeks making evacuations difficult or impossible, and Vereshchuk offered little reason for hope Tuesday.

“Despite the promises of its leadership, the occupying forces do not allow anyone to travel to Mariupol,” she wrote on the Telegram post.

Seven buses were planned to help evacuate residents of Manhush, just east of Mariupol. Russian forces blocked Red Cross representatives on Monday, according to Vereshchuk.

“After negotiations, they were released at night and sent to Zaporizhia,” Vereshchuk said.

Tanya Nedashkivs’ka, 57, mourns the death of her husband, killed in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on Monday.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

Ukrainian forces have retaken key terrain in the north, U.K. says

Ukrainian forces have retaken key terrain in the north of Ukraine, according to Britain’s defense ministry.

It comes after soldiers forced Russian forces to retreat from areas around the city of Chernihiv and around the capital, Kyiv, the ministry said Tuesday in its latest intelligence report.

The ministry said that low-level fighting is “likely to continue” in parts of the recaptured regions, but is expected to “diminish significantly over this week” as Russian forces continue to withdraw.

It added that many Russian army units withdrawing from northern Ukraine are “likely to require significant re-equipping and refurbishment before being available to redeploy for operations in eastern Ukraine.” 

Zelenskyy to address U.N. Security Council

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected to address the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday as Russia faces mounting pressure over alleged atrocities in the town of Bucha, near Kyiv.

Zelenskyy is set to address the council at at around 10 a.m. following a visit to Bucha, where he has said as many as 300 people were killed or tortured by Russian forces before they withdrew from the Kyiv suburb.

In a tweet Monday, the U.K. Mission to the United Nations said the U.K. Presidency of the Council would “ensure the truth is heard about Russia’s war crimes.”

“We will expose Putin’s war for what it really is,” it said.

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