Russia-Ukraine war latest: Putin appoints new war commander; Johnson Kyiv visit ‘very important’ – live | Ukraine


15:34

Vladimir Putin appoints new war commander

Vladimir Putin has appointed a new general to direct the war in Ukraine as his military shifts plans after a failure to take Kyiv, according to a US official and a European official.

Army Gen. Alexander Dvornikov, commander of Russia’s southern military district, has been named theatre commander of Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine, according to senior sources.

The White House national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said: “No appointment of any general can erase the fact that Russia has already faced a strategic failure in Ukraine.” Sullivan described the general as having a record of brutality against civilians in Syria and said “we can expect more of the same”.

Speaking to CNN’s State of the Union, he said:

This general will just be another author of crimes and brutality against Ukrainian civilians. And the United States, as I said before, is determined to do all that we can to support Ukrainians as they resist him and they resist the forces that he commands.

Dvornikov gained prominence while leading the Russian group of forces in Syria, where Moscow has waged a military campaign since 2015 to shore up President Bashar Assad’s regime during a devastating civil war.

Dvornikov, started his career as a platoon commander in 1982. He fought during the second war in Chechnya and took several top positions before being placed in charge of the Russian troops in Syria in 2015.

In 2016, Putin awarded Dvornikov the Hero of Russia medal, one of the country’s highest awards. Dvornikov has served as the commander of the Southern Military District since 2016, reported the Association Press.

A European official told CNN that the appointment “speaks to a Russian acknowledgement that it is going extremely badly and they need to do something differently” .

“They do things in the same old way,” the official added.

CNN reports:

Dvornikov, 60, was the first commander of Russia’s military operations in Syria, after Putin sent troops there in September 2015 to back the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. During Dvornikov’s command in Syria from September 2015 to June 2016, Russian aircraft backed the Assad regime and its allies as they laid siege to rebel-held eastern Aleppo, bombarding densely populated neighborhoods and causing major civilian casualties. The city fell to Syrian government forces in December 2016.

Russian forces have used a similarly heavy-handed approach in parts of Ukraine, striking residential buildings in major cities and demolishing much of the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol.

16:26

A health worker has described the harrowing aftermath of the maternity hospital attack in Mariupol on 9 March – and the moment her own medical facility was taken over by Russian soldiers.

Alina Buzunar was forced to tell the husband of a woman who came looking for her following the bombardment that she had died, and took the man to the morgue to identify the body.

“He was absolutely calm until he found her,” she said. “Because he told us that until the last, he hoped it was not her. Then he cried a lot, it was a very sad situation.”

Marianna Vishegirskaya stands outside a maternity hospital that was damaged by shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine,on 9 March 2022.
Marianna Vishegirskaya stands outside a maternity hospital that was damaged by shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine,on 9 March 2022. Photograph: Mstyslav Chernov/AP

Staff had been sheltering in the basement when, on 11 or 12 March, they heard gunshots.

“Russian soldiers said: ‘Lie down on the floor or we will start throwing grenades at you,’ and that’s when they came into the hospital,” she said.

“They talked to the management, who asked them not to interfere with the work of the hospital. The main thing they asked of us was not to leave. They said that anyone who did would be shot.”

Read the full story here:

16:16

In a televised appearance, Ukrainian presidential advisor Mykhaylo Podolyak told the nation that “Ukraine is ready for big battles” against Russia.

He said the country must push back enemy forces in the eastern Donbas region in order to bolster negotiating power for President Volodmyr Zelenskiy before peace talks can take place with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Interfax news agency quoted Podolyak as saying: “Ukraine is ready for big battles. Ukraine must win them, including in the Donbas. And once that happens, Ukraine will have a more powerful negotiating position,” he said, as quoted by the Interfax news agency.

“After that the presidents will meet. It could take two weeks, three.”

Ukrainian artillerymen stand on the front line near Lugansk, in the Donbas region.
Ukrainian artillerymen stand on the front line near Lugansk, in the Donbas region. Photograph: Anatolii Stepanov/AFP/Getty Images
15:49

US lawmaker Liz Cheney has said that European countries need to “understand that they’re funding that genocidal campaign” by continuing to buy oil and gas from Russia.

Cheney told CNN’s “State of the Union” programme that missile strike on the Kramatorsk Ukrainian train station this week “clearly is genocide”.

At least 52 people died on Friday, including children, and dozens were injured, after Russian forces carried out a missile strike on the railway station as civilians were trying to flee the fighting.

Cheney said:

I understand the economic consequences to countries in Western Europe if they were to impose a kind of oil and gas embargo that the US has imposed against Russian oil and gas – but they need to do it.

Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, added “they need to understand that every single time, every single day that they are continuing to import Russian oil and gas, they’re funding Putin’s genocide in Ukraine.”

It’s Jenn Selby here, taking over from my colleague Alexandra Topping for the next two hours.

15:43

Jasper Jolly

Jasper Jolly

The British government is facing fresh calls to reveal the identities of eight Russian oligarchs now under sanctions who were allowed to buy “golden visas” to live in the UK.

Stephen Kinnock, the shadow minister for immigration, is demanding that the home secretary, Priti Patel, name the eight Russians on the sanctions list and publish a long-withheld report on the now scrapped visa purchase programme.

The government closed the “tier 1 investor visa” scheme in February as diplomatic relations with Russia came under severe strain. A week later, Russia invaded Ukraine, prompting the US, EU and UK to impose sanctions on many of Russia’s richest people to try to put pressure on Putin’s regime.

Read the full story here:

15:34

Vladimir Putin appoints new war commander

Vladimir Putin has appointed a new general to direct the war in Ukraine as his military shifts plans after a failure to take Kyiv, according to a US official and a European official.

Army Gen. Alexander Dvornikov, commander of Russia’s southern military district, has been named theatre commander of Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine, according to senior sources.

The White House national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said: “No appointment of any general can erase the fact that Russia has already faced a strategic failure in Ukraine.” Sullivan described the general as having a record of brutality against civilians in Syria and said “we can expect more of the same”.

Speaking to CNN’s State of the Union, he said:

This general will just be another author of crimes and brutality against Ukrainian civilians. And the United States, as I said before, is determined to do all that we can to support Ukrainians as they resist him and they resist the forces that he commands.

Dvornikov gained prominence while leading the Russian group of forces in Syria, where Moscow has waged a military campaign since 2015 to shore up President Bashar Assad’s regime during a devastating civil war.

Dvornikov, started his career as a platoon commander in 1982. He fought during the second war in Chechnya and took several top positions before being placed in charge of the Russian troops in Syria in 2015.

In 2016, Putin awarded Dvornikov the Hero of Russia medal, one of the country’s highest awards. Dvornikov has served as the commander of the Southern Military District since 2016, reported the Association Press.

A European official told CNN that the appointment “speaks to a Russian acknowledgement that it is going extremely badly and they need to do something differently” .

“They do things in the same old way,” the official added.

CNN reports:

Dvornikov, 60, was the first commander of Russia’s military operations in Syria, after Putin sent troops there in September 2015 to back the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. During Dvornikov’s command in Syria from September 2015 to June 2016, Russian aircraft backed the Assad regime and its allies as they laid siege to rebel-held eastern Aleppo, bombarding densely populated neighborhoods and causing major civilian casualties. The city fell to Syrian government forces in December 2016.

Russian forces have used a similarly heavy-handed approach in parts of Ukraine, striking residential buildings in major cities and demolishing much of the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol.

15:11

Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, has said the decision by Germany and France not to allow Ukraine to join Nato in 2008 was a “strategic mistake”.

In a Sunday morning interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, Kuleba said:

The strategic mistake that was made in 2008 by Germany and France who rejected the efforts of the United States and other allies to bring Ukraine in, is something that we are paying for. It’s not Germany or France that are paying the cost for this mistake, it’s Ukraine. If we were a member of Nato, this war wouldn’t take place.

He added:

Ukraine won the battle for Kyiv. Now another battle is coming.

14:59

The airport in the east-central Ukrainian city of Dnipro was destroyed in a Russian strike, the head of the Dnipropetrovsk regional military administration, Valentyn Reznichenko said on Sunday.

And one more attack on the airport in Dnipro. There is nothing left of it already. The airport and the infrastructure nearby have been destroyed. But rockets keep flying.

Reznichenko said information about casualties was being clarified.

The airport has been hit by Russian forces before – Reznichenko said on March 15 that a Russian missile strike had taken out the runway and damaged a terminal building.

Lesia Vasylenko, a Ukrainian MP, said on Twitter:

Russia artillery attack on Dnipro airport leaves no infrastructure and destroys everything around the airport. Such a shame, as the airport was completely renovated just last year. All the investments and all the efforts completely wrecked

14:50

Zelenskiy says Europe, not just Ukraine, is Putin’s target – video

In a late-night address after meeting the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, the Ukrainian president said Russia’s aggression was not, and has never been, limited to Ukraine.

The whole of Europe was the target, said Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Saturday, as he again urged the west to impose a total embargo on Russian energy products and to supply Ukraine with more weapons:

Zelenskiy says Europe, not just Ukraine, is Putin’s target – video

14:49

Yurii Sobolevskyi, deputy head of the Kherson regional council, said locals held a “peaceful rally” Sunday in the Russian-occupied city of Kherson that was dispersed by Russian forces.

Posting on Facebook he said:

Today in Kherson a peaceful rally took place in front of the Yubileiny concert hall to commemorate the victims of Russian aggression,” he said on Facebook. “As expected, the occupiers dispersed it.

He said locals were participating in rallies at “great risk,” facing down intimidation and the threat of disappearance.

The Guardian was not immediately able to verify the rally or its turnout.

Also on Sunday the general staff of the armed forces of Ukraine on Sunday said Russians in the town of Nova Kakhovka in Kherson region had used local printing houses to prepare brochures, booklets and posters in preparation for an apparent referendum on the establishment of a so-called “Kherson People’s Republic”.

CNN reported:

Separatists in eastern Ukraine held referendums in 2014 on the formation of “people’s republics,” in voting that was dismissed by Ukraine and Western countries as a sham.

Serhii Khlan, a member of the Kherson regional council, said Russian sympathizers holding Russian tricolor flags had tried to organize a rally in the city of Nova Kakhovka, posting a photo on Facebook that he said showed a very small turnout compared with a pro-Ukrainian rally.

“This is all you need to know about the probability of a Kherson People’s Republic in the Kherson region,” he said. “This will not happen, because this is Ukraine!”

14:39

Volodymyr Zelenskiy has tweeted that he has discussed possible new sanctions on Russia, as well as defence and financial support for Ukraine, in a phone conversation with the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz.

He said:

Had a phone conversation with @OlafScholz. We emphasized that all perpetrators of war crimes must be identified and punished,” Zelenskiy said on his official Twitter account.

We also discussed anti-Russian sanctions, defence and financial support for Ukraine.

14:36

Pope Francis calls for an Easter ceasefire

Pope Francis has called for an Easter ceasefire to allow for a push for peace in Ukraine at a service for tens of thousands of people at Saint Peter’s Square in the Vatican today.

The pope called the war a “folly” that was leading to “heinous massacres” and “atrocious cruelty” against defenceless people.

Without naming Russia directly, he asked:

What victory is there in planting a flag on a pile of rubble?

14:24

British military intelligence: Russians forced to deploy long retired army personnel

Russian armed forces was seeking to strengthen troop numbers with personnel discharged from military service a decade ago, as losses mount from its invasion of Ukraine, British military intelligence said on Sunday.

Russian forces are also trying to recruit from the unrecognised Transnistria region of Moldova, said the Ministry of Defence in a regular bulletin on Twitter.

13:42

Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, who led the prosecution of the former Serbian president Slobodan Milošević at the international criminal tribunal, has called for Russia to be kicked off the UN security council – or be stripped of veto powers.

Speaking on Times Radio, he said:

A very important step that should be taken is to kick Russia off the security council, or withdraw its veto, or in some other way stop it from having the power to stop itself being tried. That power, just think about this, is the equivalent of Hitler being given the veto power in 1944 to say who would be tried at Nuremberg in 1946.”

He added: “Saying that the present system is a bit broken or incomplete doesn’t mean to say we should not put all our effort into ensuring that it is improved …

“Another way is to ensure that after this conflict ends that identified Russian potential defendants are handed over by Russia.”

The international community may be more willing to take the step now, he said, because the Russian invasion of Ukraine has shaken the world by bringing it to the brink of nuclear disaster and forcing it to look at the shortcomings of the current system.

13:33

Ukraine is accusing Russian forces who occupied the former Chernobyl nuclear power plant of stealing deadly radioactive substances from research laboratories.

In an update posted on Facebook, the State Agency for Managing the Exclusion Zone claimed that Russian soldiers had entered the storage area of the Ecocentre research base and taken 133 toxic materials.

General view of the new safe confinement structure over the old sarcophagus covering the damaged fourth reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.
General view of the new safe confinement structure over the old sarcophagus covering the damaged fourth reactor at Chernobyl. Photograph: Gleb Garanich/Reuters

“Even a small part of this activity is deadly if handled unprofessionally,” the agency said.

It added that the location of the stolen substances is “currently unknown”.

“The degree of preservation and safety of calibration sources and sample radioactive solutions is impossible to be established, and the condition of the damaged will be determined after the appropriate inventory and measurements are carried out.”

The statement has not been independently verified.

It follows comments made by German Gulashchenko, Ukraine’s energy minister, on Friday after he visited the exclusion zone. He said that Russian troops had exposed themselves to “shocking” levels of nuclear radiation.

“They dug bare soil contaminated with radiation, collected radioactive sand in bags for fortification, breathed this dust,” Gulashchenko said via Facebook.

He predicted that some of the soldiers may only have a year to live due to the exposure.

It’s Jenn Selby here, taking over from by colleague Alexandra Topping for an hour.

13:05

Summary

12:52

A new grave with dozens of civilian Ukrainians was found on Saturday in Buzova, a liberated village near the capital Kyiv that was occupied by Russian forces for weeks, according to a local official.

Taras Didych, head of the Dmytrivka community that includes Buzova and several other nearby villages, told Ukrainian television that the bodies were found in a ditch near a petrol station. The number of dead is yet to be confirmed.

He said:

Now, we are returning to life, but during the occupation we had our ‘hotspots’, many civilians died.

The Guardian could not immediately confirm the report.





Source link

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.