Russia-Ukraine war latest: captain of sunken warship killed in explosion, says Ukraine; Kyiv official says 900 civilian bodies found – live | Ukraine


18.23

Kyiv officials claim to have found bodies of hundreds of murdered civilians

More than 900 civilian bodies have been discovered in the region surrounding Kyiv following the withdrawal of Russian forces — almost all of them shot dead, the Associated Press quotes local police as saying.

The number is double that announced by Ukrainian authorities almost two weeks ago and the presence of the gunshot wounds indicates many were “simply executed”, officers said.

Andriy Nebytov, the head of Kyiv’s regional police force, said the bodies were abandoned in the streets or given temporary burials. He cited police data indicating that 95% died from gunshot wounds, AP reports.

Consequently, we understand that under the [Russian] occupation, people were simply executed in the streets.

More bodies are being found every day, under rubble and in mass graves, he added.

The largest number of victims were found in Bucha; where there were more than 350.

According to Nebytov, utilities workers in Bucha gathered and buried bodies in the Kyiv suburb while it remained under Russian control. Russian troops, he added, were “tracking down” people who expressed strong pro-Ukraine views.

21.19

While Russia has not provided many details on what exactly happened to the Moskva, A crowd in Crimea gathered to mourn the ship’s demise.

From Reuters:

Dozens of people gathered in the Crimean city of Sevastopol on Friday to mourn the sinking of the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, a symbol, the crowd heard, of hope, revival and power until its demise.

Some embraced and others laid flowers in memory of the Moskva missile cruiser at a monument to the 1696 foundation of the Russian navy in the centre of Sevastopol, headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet.

Moscow, which annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, said the ship sank while being towed in stormy seas after a fire caused by an ammunition explosion.

Ukraine said one of its missiles had caused it to sink.

“Even for those who have not been on it, the Moskva was a symbol for everyone, a symbol of our power, of our hope, of the revival of the fleet in the 1990s” following the collapse of the Soviet Union, said Reserve Captain Sergei Gorbachev, who spoke to the crowd in his naval uniform.

“There will be victories, there will be tragedies, but the memory remains,” Gorbachev said.

The crowd, which included a number of people who served on the ship, stood in respectful silence. Some wore the ribbon of St. George, a symbol of the Russian military.

“The loss of every ship, especially a flagship, is a tragedy for all those tens of thousands of people who served there for over 20 years,” said priest Georgiy Ployakov.

Russia sent tens of thousands of soldiers into Ukraine on Feb. 24 on what it calls a “special operation”.

20.57

Air strike sirens are reportedly sounding off in Kyiv, according to online reports.

From the Guardian’s Luke Harding:

20.43

Ambassadors from several countries are coming back to Kyiv after evacuating amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Italy’s ambassador to Ukraine will return to Ukraine’s capital city Kyiv, with plans to resume working on 18 April.

France also announced today that their embassy will reopen shortly, with plans to move the embassy back to Kyiv, after the embassy was temporarily relocated to Lviv.

From the Kyiv Independent:

⚡️ Italian ambassador comes back to Kyiv after evacuation, aims to resume work on April 18.

The French ambassador also announced on April 15 that his embassy would reopen in Kyiv shortly, after being relocated for a month to Lviv.

— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) April 15, 2022

20.31

Russia blocked the websites of Radio France Internationale and the Russian-language service of The Moscow Times in an ongoing crackdown against independent media, reported Reuters.

⚠️Confirmed: Russia’s crackdown on news websites continues, with metrics showing the restriction of RFI (Radio France Internationale) and the Moscow Times Russian edition upon requests from the Prosecutor General’s Office to Roskomnadzor.

📰 Background: https://t.co/PzFZ662LyN pic.twitter.com/2Pl0TEy6PD

— NetBlocks (@netblocks) April 15, 2022

The English-language website for the Moscow Times has not been affected, confirmed Moscow Times in a statement. The news organization said the move to block its website by Russian officials was because of a story it published on the conflict in Ukraine.

Radio France Internationale said it had not been provided with an explanation on why the website was blocked in Russia.

20.16

A stamp featuring the Russian warship Moskva that sank is now a collector’s item, reports AFP.

A stamp depicting a Ukrainian soldier making an obscene hand gesture at the Russian Black Sea flagship Moskva has become a collector’s item for Ukrainians who see it as a sign of “victory”.

At the central post office in the capital Kyiv, hundreds of Ukrainians of every age could be seen queueing for hours on Friday to get their hands on one of the one million copies printed so far.

“That ship was the biggest one they had…. They gambled a lot on it and we destroyed it!” said Yury Kolesan, 22, who waited for two-and-a-half hours to get a set of 30 stamps.

“It’s a new phase of the war, one of victory!”

The warship sank on Thursday after an explosion and fire that Ukraine claimed was caused by a missile strike – while Russia said the damage was caused by an explosion of munitions on board.

The missile cruiser gained notoriety in the early stages of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine when its crew called on a unit of Ukrainian border guards to surrender, only for them to defiantly refuse.

The incident quickly became a symbol of Ukraine’s resistance against Russia’s assault.

Ukraine’s postal service last month launched a competition to illustrate the episode.

Out of more than 500 submissions, Lviv designer Boris Groh’s winning entry shows a Ukrainian soldier from behind swearing at the warship.

It has proved a hit, selling out in many post offices and quickly appearing for resale online.

“We wanted to print more but the bombing last night in Kyiv affected the work of the factory and we did not manage to print the necessary quantity,” Ukrainian postal service Igor Smelyansky told AFP.

20.01

Russian officials have provided few details about the Moskva ship that was sunk by Ukraine missiles, but created a memorial for the ship’s sinking.

From the Guardian’s Andrew Roth:

Still no official report of how many died aboard the Moskva cruiser. No photographs of the ship or the 510 member crew, more than 24 hours after they were supposedly rescued. Just a wreath at a memorial in Sevastopol to the “ship and sailors.” https://t.co/X2OZLHMLHR

— Andrew Roth (@Andrew__Roth) April 15, 2022

19.48

Russia designated journalist and Youtuber Yury Dud and political analyst Ekaterina Schulmann as “foreign agents” today, a continuation of Russia’s crackdown on those critical of the Russian government within the country.

Dud and Schulmann have both been publicly critical of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

19.36

Here is on possible retaliation Ukraine might face after the Moskva ship sinking from the Guardian’s Luke Harding and Andrew Roth:

Ukraine has said it is bracing itself for revenge attacks from Russia after the “significant and symbolic” sinking of Russia’s flagship cruiser, the Moskva.

The government in Kyiv said it had destroyed the giant missile cruiser during a combat operation against Russian vessels in the Black Sea on Wednesday. The boat’s ammunition deck exploded after it was hit by two Neptune anti-ship missiles, it added.

According to Lithuania’s foreign minister, Arvydas Anušauskas, the cruiser sent out a distress call. By 1.14am local time (2314 BST) on Thursday the Moskva was lying on its side and about half an hour later “all the electricity went out,” he posted on Facebook.

From 2am a Turkish ship managed to rescue 54 sailors. An hour later Turkey and Romania confirmed the ship had “completely sunk”. Ukrainian officials said stormy weather stopped Russian boats from carrying out an evacuation, adding: “Nature was on our side.”

The Kremlin has not given any details on possible casualties among the 510 crew of the Moskva, and has not released any photographs of the stricken ship.

Read the full article here.

19.24

Seven people were killed today after Russian shelling hit a residential area, reports Reuters.

The regional governor of Kharkiv said today that seven people, including a small child, were killed and 34 wounded following Russian air strikes.

From Nexta:

Head of #Kharkiv military administration: as a result of shelling of Kharkiv residential area 7 people were killed, including a seven-month-old baby.

Another 34 people were wounded, including three children. pic.twitter.com/uiKfGBJnVI

— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) April 15, 2022

Russia describes its invasion of Ukraine as a “special operation” and has denied targeting civilian areas.

19.16

Russian missile strikes have hit a military factory near Kyiv that makes the missiles Ukraine claims it used to sink the Moskva naval flagship, reported AFP.

A workshop and an administrative building at the Vizar plant, which is near Kyiv’s international Zhuliany airport, were seriously damaged because of Russia’s strikes, an AFP journalist saw.

Earlier, Russia had announced it used Kalibr sea-based long-range missiles to hit the factory, which Ukraine’s state weapons manufacturer Ukroboronprom says produced Neptune missiles.

“There were five hits. My employee was in the office and got thrown off his feet by the blast,” said Andrei Sizov, a 47-year-old owner of a nearby wood workshop

“They are making us pay for destroying the Moskva,” he said. It was the first major Russian strike around the Ukrainian capital in over two weeks.

The Kyiv regional governor said there were at least two other Russian strikes today, but did not provide details on the damage sustained or any casualties.

19.04

Catch up

Kevin Rawlinson

Here’s a summary of the day’s events so far:

  • The captain of the Russian warship Moskva was killed during the attack that sank it, Ukraine claimed. Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Kyiv’s ministry of internal affairs, said Anton Kuprin died during an explosion and fire onboard the ship.
  • More than 900 civilian bodies have been discovered in the region surrounding Kyiv after the withdrawal of Russian forces, local police said. Almost all of them were shot dead, indicating execution during the Russian occupation, it was claimed. Their number was far greater than previously thought.
  • Sweden and Finland said they were deliberating Nato membership. Tytti Tuppurainen, Finland’s minister for European affairs, said: “The people of Finland seem to have already made up their mind”. She added the decision was “highly likely” but “not made yet” pending discussions in parliament.
  • Outgunned, outnumbered and surrounded by Russian forces, one of Europe’s biggest metallurgical plants has become Mariupol’s redoubt. The factory is “an enormous space” in which the Russians “simply can’t find” Ukrainian forces, Oleh Zhdanov – a military analyst based in Kyiv – told Reuters.
  • Russia threatened to intensify its attacks on Kyiv if Ukrainian forces carry out any operations on Russian territory. A spokesperson for Moscow’s defence ministry said: “The number and scale of missile strikes against targets in Kyiv will increase in response to the Kyiv nationalist regime committing any attacks of a terrorist nature or sabotage on Russian territory.”

I’m now handing over to my colleague Gloria Oladipo.

18.58

France will make housing and family benefits available to Ukrainian refugees, reports Reuters.

France will make housing and family benefits available for Ukrainian refugees once the emergency lodging phase is over, the country’s interior ministry said on Friday.

France will give displaced Ukrainians the right to access aid for personal housing with family supplements, as well as benefits for family maintenance, it said in a statement.

According to the ministry, more than 57,000 Ukrainians have entered France since Russia invaded their country on 24 February, largely women and children, and more than 41,000 have been granted “temporary protection”.

It said that over 11,000 Ukrainian children have so far enrolled in French schools, and that families could place younger children in day-care centres free of charge.

Over 4.7 million people have fled Ukraine overall since the start of the war, according to the United Nations refugee agency, with more than half crossing into Poland.

18.39

Five people have been killed by shelling in the Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv, with cluster munitions used, the local governor Vitaliy Kim has said.

The Reuters news agency has said it could not independently verify the statement. Despite many civilians deaths in Ukraine, Russia has denied deliberately targeting non-combatants.

18.38

The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, recently made a direct appeal to his US counterpart, Joe Biden, for Washington to designate Russia a “state sponsor of terrorism”, it is reported.

Citing people familiar with the two leaders’ conversation, the Washington Post says Biden did not commit to specific actions during the call.

The label can be applied to any country that has “repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism,” the newspaper says, citing a US Department of State factsheet. The list currently includes four countries: North Korea, Cuba, Iran and Syria.

18.23

Kyiv officials claim to have found bodies of hundreds of murdered civilians

More than 900 civilian bodies have been discovered in the region surrounding Kyiv following the withdrawal of Russian forces — almost all of them shot dead, the Associated Press quotes local police as saying.

The number is double that announced by Ukrainian authorities almost two weeks ago and the presence of the gunshot wounds indicates many were “simply executed”, officers said.

Andriy Nebytov, the head of Kyiv’s regional police force, said the bodies were abandoned in the streets or given temporary burials. He cited police data indicating that 95% died from gunshot wounds, AP reports.

Consequently, we understand that under the [Russian] occupation, people were simply executed in the streets.

More bodies are being found every day, under rubble and in mass graves, he added.

The largest number of victims were found in Bucha; where there were more than 350.

According to Nebytov, utilities workers in Bucha gathered and buried bodies in the Kyiv suburb while it remained under Russian control. Russian troops, he added, were “tracking down” people who expressed strong pro-Ukraine views.

18.09

France will make housing and family benefits available for Ukrainian refugees once the emergency lodging phase is over, Reuters quotes the country’s interior ministry as saying.

Paris will give displaced Ukrainians the right to access aid for personal housing with family supplements, as well as benefits for family maintenance.

According to the ministry, more than 57,000 Ukrainians have entered France since Russia invaded their country on 24 February, largely women and children, and more than 41,000 have been granted “temporary protection”.

It said that more than 11,000 Ukrainian children have so far enrolled in French schools, and that families could place younger children in daycare centres free of charge.

More than 4.7 million people have fled Ukraine overall since the start of the war, according to the United Nations refugee agency, with more than half crossing into Poland.

17.46

The United States believes the sunken Russian missile cruiser Moskva was hit by two Ukrainian missiles, Reuters reports, citing a senior US official.

The official, who Reuters says spoke on condition of anonymity, said these were Neptune anti-ship missiles. The US believes there were Russian casualties, though numbers are unclear, the official told the news agency.

Citing Moscow’s defence ministry, Russian news outlets have said the missile cruiser sank in stormy seas after a fire and explosions involving ammunition stowed onboard. Ukraine has said it launched a missile strike on the Moskva from the coast, which ripped open the Soviet-era ship.

Reuters says it has been unable to verify either side’s assertions.





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