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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Latest Developments in Ukraine: April 29

By VOA News April 29, 2022

Recap of April 29:

FIGHTING
* A Russian strike on April 28 heavily damaged a residential building in Kyiv, killing Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty journalist Vira Hyrych.
* Ukraine acknowledged on Friday it was taking heavy losses in the east, but said Russia's losses were even worse.
* A former U.S. Marine was killed fighting alongside Ukrainian forces in the war with Russia, his relatives told news outlets, in what's the first known death of a U.S. citizen fighting in Ukraine.
* Russia used a diesel submarine in the Black Sea to strike Ukrainian military targets with Kalibr cruise missiles, the first time Moscow has announced the use of its submarine fleet to hit its former Soviet neighbor.

HUMANITARIAN
* Ukraine, backed by dozens of other countries, has written to the World Health Organization's regional chief calling for an urgent meeting on the impact of Russia's invasion on health and health care.
* Britain will send investigators to Ukraine to help gather evidence of war crimes, including sexual violence, its foreign minister said Friday.

DIPLOMACY
* Tens of thousands of troops from NATO and other north Atlantic nations will take part in a series of military exercises across Europe in the coming weeks as western countries seek to deter Russian aggression.

ECONOMY
* Russia made what appeared to be a late U-turn to avoid a default on Friday, as it made a number of already-overdue international debt payments in dollars despite previously vowing they would only be paid in rubles.
* The Kyiv Independent is reporting that Russia's Rosatom is trying to take over the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is has occupied since early March.

NUCLEAR
* A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency, visiting Ukraine this week on a mission to improve safety and security at nuclear power plants there, tweeted photos and news about their progress on Friday.

The latest developments in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. All times EDT:

8:55 p.m.: About 1 million people have been evacuated from Ukraine into Russia since February 24, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in remarks published early Saturday, Reuters reports.

That number includes 120,000 foreigners and people evacuated from Russian-backed breakaway regions of Ukraine, the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People's republics.

Lavrov's comments were to the Xinhua news agency and published on the Russian foreign ministry's website.

7:48 p.m.: The Russian State Atomic Energy Corp., or Rosatom, is trying to take over the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Energodar, The Kyiv Independent reports. Russian forces captured the plant in early March.

Ukraine informed the International Atomic Energy Agency on April 29 that Russia's state atomic corporation sent eight nuclear specialists to the power plant.

They have allegedly demanded reports on confidential issues regarding the functioning of the plant, its administration, management, and maintenance from the Zaporizhzhia power plant

7:05 p.m.: Russia confirmed Friday that it had carried out an airstrike on Kyiv Thursday as U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was visiting the city.

The Russian Defense Ministry said "high-precision long-range air-based weapons ... destroyed the production buildings of the Artyom missile and space enterprise in Kyiv."

"This says a lot about Russia's true attitude toward global institutions, about attempts of Russian authorities to humiliate the U.N. and everything that the organization represents," President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Friday in an overnight video address to the nation. "Therefore, it requires corresponding powerful reaction."

6:33 p.m.: ExxonMobil and Chevron reported soaring profits Friday despite lower oil and natural gas volumes in the wake of lofty crude prices and refining margins, Agence France-Presse reports.

The increased profits were propelled by crude prices that rose after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

ExxonMobil's first-quarter profits more than doubled to $5.5 billion, as a strong market for energy commodities more than offset $3.4 billion in one-time costs connected to its withdrawal from the vast Sakhalin offshore oil field following Russia's invasion.

At Chevron, profits came in at $6.3 billion, more than four times the year-ago level on a 70% rise in revenues to $54.4 billion.

5:22 p.m.: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov appears to dismiss the need for the United Nations to help secure humanitarian corridors out of Ukraine's besieged cities.

"There is no need. I know, I know," an irritated Lavrov said in an interview with Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV. "There is no need for anybody to provide help to open humanitarian corridors."

When asked about the risks of war spilling into neighboring Moldova after a series of explosions rattled a breakaway border region within the country, Lavrov said:

"Moldova should worry about their own future," he said. "Because they're being pulled into NATO."

4:55 p.m.: A pro-Russia cybercrime group attacked Romanian government websites over the country's support for Ukraine, Romania's cybersecurity agency said on Friday, Agence France-Presse reports.

A series of attacks hit "public institutions and private entities," Romania's National Cybersecurity Agency said in a statement.

The so-called Ddos attacks, where multiple requests are sent to a website to overload its servers, knocked several websites offline for a few minutes, including the defense ministry, border police and railways.

4:15 p.m.: The leader of Belarus' opposition said Friday that the United States is looking at stepping up technological assistance in the struggle against President Alexander Lukashenko, Agence France-Presse reports.

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who along with Western observers says she won a 2020 election against Lukashenko, spoke with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other senior U.S. officials and lawmakers on a trip to Washington.

She said they discussed ways to circumvent regime disinformation, including broadcasts of forced confessions.

3:46 p.m.: Families flee areas near Kharkiv, Ukraine's second city, traumatized and heartbroken. Ukrainian forces may be pushing forward in some areas, but in other parts of the country, Russian attacks have become more frequent and continue to be deadly. VOA's Heather Murdock and Yan Boechat report from Kharkiv, Ukraine.

3:00 p.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday said there was a big risk that peace talks with Moscow would end and blamed public anger over what he said were atrocities by Russian troops, Reuters reports, citing the independent Russian news agency Interfax. "People (Ukrainians) want to kill them. When that kind of attitude exists, it's hard to talk about things," Interfax quoted Zelenskyy as telling Polish journalists.

2:45 p.m.: The Pentagon Friday blasted the conduct of Russian troops in Ukraine: "It's very clear that Russian forces have committed war crimes," Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told reporters at a daily briefing.

Citing the bombing of hospitals and "pregnant women being killed," he said, "I think we can all speak to [Russian President Vladimir Putin's] depravity."

Kirby also slammed Putin's stated rationale for the invasion: "Let's just call it what it is, his B.S., that this is about Nazism and about protecting Russians in Ukraine...when none of them, none of them were threatened by Ukraine," Kirby said.

2:40 p.m.: Commenting on the death on Monday of former U.S. Marine Willy Joseph Cancel, who was killed fighting alongside Ukrainian forces Monday, U.S. State Department Deputy spokesperson Jalina Porter told VOA the State Department stands ready to provide his family all possible consular assistance but out of respect to the victim's family will avoid any further comment.

"We also do want to reiterate that U.S. citizens should not travel to Ukraine during this active armed conflict," she added, calling it a "very dangerous situation." She urged any US citizens in Ukraine to depart immediately, "if it is safe to do so, using commercial or any available ground transportation options."

She also expressed sadness over the death of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty journalist Vira Hyrych. "We express our most heartfelt condolences to her family, as well as her colleagues. The Kremlin's war continues to wreak havoc on Ukraine and its people, with dire consequences for those who continue to stand for justice and tell the truth about its brutality."

2:25 p.m.: Hundreds of people have been evacuated to Kharkiv from the nearby village of Ruska Lozava, which had been under Russian occupation for more than a month, AP reports. Almost half the village has escaped on buses, in shrapnel-ridden cars or on foot after fierce battles saw Russian troops pushed back and Ukrainian forces take full control of the village, according to the Kharkiv regional governor.

2:20 p.m.: The Pentagon said Friday the US does not believe there is a threat of Russia using nuclear weapons despite rhetoric from Moscow. "We do not assess that there is a threat of the use of nuclear weapons and no threat to NATO territory," Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told reporters. His remark followed several thinly veiled warnings from Vladimir Putin and Kremlin officials implying Moscow could consider nuclear strikes. Many observers have suggested such comments are intended to deter the West from its continued support for Ukraine.

1:55 p.m.: Russia suffered fewer casualties in Ukraine after its invasion narrowed in scale but the numbers are still quite high and it is having a significant impact on the will to fight of Russian forces, western officials said on Friday. Having failed in an assault on Kyiv in the north of Ukraine last month, Russia is now trying to fully capture two eastern provinces known as the Donbas, Reuters reported.

"The nature of the operations have been reduced in terms of geographic spread so the overall numbers are reducing," one of the officials said on Russian casualties.

1:45 p.m.: Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said the U.S. has started training a group of Ukrainian troops on artillery, radar and armored systems in Germany. The training is being conducted by members of the Florida National Guard, who have been in Ukraine since before the Russian invasion. VOA's National Security Correspondent Jeff Seldin shared more details on Twitter.

Less than 20 #Ukrainian troops getting less than a week's worth of training on the radar systems, per @PentagonPresSec "We don't want to belabor them with long, complicated training..."

— Jeff Seldin (@jseldin) April 29, 2022


1:35 p.m.: Police in Kharkiv's Oblast's Izyum District on Friday said Russian troops tortured and killed a 27-year old medic there, the Kyiv Independent reported.

1:20 p.m.: A senior U.S. defense official said Friday the predominance of the bombs being dropped in Mariupol dropped is dumb ordinance, not precision guided missiles (PGM). "We think that that speaks to the challenges that the Russians are having with PGM replenishment," he told reporters.

It's less clear exactly what Russia is doing in Odesa, the official said, suggesting the strikes there could be part of an effort to pin down Ukrainian forces in the area between Odesa and Mykolaiv and prevent them from moving east to assist their colleagues in the Donbas area. VOA's National Security Correspondent Jeff Seldin shared more details on Twitter.

"The strikes around #Odesa are a little bit more difficult to discern exactly what they're [#Russia] doing there" per a sr US defense official

— Jeff Seldin (@jseldin) April 29, 2022

1:10 p.m.: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty correspondent Maryan Kushnir met with Ukrainian soldiers fighting Russian forces in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine. One of the soldiers called the Russian troops "cannon fodder," describing their tactics as "desperate" and without any coherent strategy. The Russian military is conducting an offensive aimed at capturing eastern and southern regions of Ukraine.

12:56 p.m.: Russia made what appeared to be a late u-turn to avoid a default on Friday, as it made a number of already-overdue international debt payments in dollars despite previously vowing they would only be paid in rubles, Reuters reported. Whether the money would make it to the United States and other Western countries that sanctioned Russia was still not clear, but it represented another major twist in the game of financial chicken that has developed about a possible default.

12:38 p.m.: U.S. President Joe Biden recently announced the Uniting for Ukraine program, which aims to streamline the process for Ukrainians who have fled their country and are seeking safety in the United States. The new program, which took effect Monday, will complement existing legal pathways available to those fleeing Russian aggression due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis, Biden administration officials said. VOA's Immigration Correspondent Aline Barros has this report.

12:13 p.m.: Just under 500 seafarers remain stuck onboard 109 ships at Ukrainian ports, shipping officials said on Friday, according to Reuters. Two seafarers have been killed and six merchant vessels have been hit by projectiles - which sank two of them - around Ukraine's coast since the start of Russia's invasion on February 24. Ships and crews also face multiple perils such as floating mines. Around 1,500 merchant sailors have been safely evacuated from stranded vessels via humanitarian corridors on land and at sea over the past six weeks.

12:02 p.m.:

When Russians tried to take the town on Feb. 28, an old man, his daughter and her eight-year-old girl tried to evacuate. Russians opened fire at them. Only the girl survived, under the corpses of her family. https://t.co/dDdrgMhjyo

— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) April 29, 2022

11:53 a.m.: Ukraine, backed by dozens of other countries, has written to the World Health Organization's regional chief calling for an urgent meeting on the impact of Russia's invasion on health and healthcare, a letter obtained by Reuters on Friday showed. The letter, sent this week by Ukraine's diplomatic mission in Geneva, Switzerland, where the WHO is headquartered, is signed by some 38 other members of the agency's European region, including France, Germany and Britain. Addressed to Europe regional director Hans Kluge, it urged him to convene a meeting "no later than 9 May" and referred to attacks on health facilities, disrupted vaccination campaigns and concerns about the risk of radiological and chemical events.

11:45 a.m.: A senior U.S. defense official on Friday said there are indications that Russia is trying to target Ukraine's ability to maintain and resupply Ukrainian forces across the country. "We are seeing at least attempted attacks on electrical power facilities," he said. Russia appears to be preparing a "sustained, larger and longer offensive" in eastern Ukraine, but Russian troops "are behind schedule in what they were trying to accomplish in the Donbas," he added, noting that "Ukrainian forces are "putting up a stiff resistance." VOA's National Security Correspondent Jeff Seldin monitored the briefing and shared more details on Twitter.

Day 64 - #Russia invasion of #Ukraine Now +1,950 missile strikes since start of conflict - preponderance of strikes now concentrated vs #Mariupol, #Donbas w/"dumb" bombs, per a senior US defense official

— Jeff Seldin (@jseldin) April 29, 2022

11:37 a.m.: The Ukrainian men's national soccer team will return to the field for the first time since the Russian invasion when it plays a friendly against German club Borussia Moenchengladbach on May 11 ahead of a crucial World Cup qualifier, The Associated Press reported. The Ukrainian soccer association said Friday it will assemble the team for a training camp in Slovenia starting Monday. Bundesliga club Gladbach said the proceeds from the game would go to charity efforts focused on Ukraine and Ukrainians abroad and that citizens of the country would get free entry. Ukraine's national team hasn't played since November and had to postpone its World Cup qualifying playoff game against Scotland because of the war. The winner will face Wales on June 5 for a place at this year's World Cup in Qatar.

11:31 a.m.: A Russian strike on April 28 heavily damaged a residential building in Kyiv, killing Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty journalist Vira Hyrych. Ten others were reportedly injured in the blast, which struck Kyiv following a meeting between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. RFE/RL has this video from the scene.

11:21 a.m.:

⚡️ Deputy PM: Fuel shortage to be solved within a week, prices will rise.According to Deputy Prime Minister Yulia Svyrydenko, there's a significant shortage of fuel at gas stations in some Ukrainian regions caused by Russian "devastating blows to Ukraine's fuel infrastructure."

— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) April 29, 2022

11:16 a.m.: Ukraine's first lady, Olena Zelenska, says the war with Russia has not changed her husband but only revealed to the world his determination to prevail and the fact that he is a man you can rely on, The Associated Press reported. Zelenska, in an interview published Friday in the Polish newspaper Rzeczespolita, also said she has not seen her husband, 44-year-old Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, since Russia invaded Ukraine. "Since Februrary 24, I have been seeing my husband just like you - on TV and on the video recordings of his speeches," she said. Zelenska said the couple's two children were with her but she did not disclose their location.

11:12 a.m.: A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency, visiting Ukraine this week on a mission to improve safety and security at nuclear power plants there, tweeted photos and news about their progress on Friday.

This week, we were at #Chornobyl NPP to conduct radiological and other assessments and to deliver equipment to help #Ukraine ensure the safety and security of its nuclear facilities. As we wrap up this week's assistance mission in 🇺🇦, here are some photos from the ground. pic.twitter.com/IwvbUx2WB4

— IAEA - International Atomic Energy Agency (@iaeaorg) April 29, 2022

11:08 a.m.: Russia's defence ministry on Friday released a video showing an injured British man captured in Ukraine being questioned by unidentified Russian forces, Reuters reported. The man, who said his name was Andrew Hill and spoke with a British accent, was shown with a bandaged left arm, some sort of makeshift bandage around his head and blood on his right arm. The Russian defence ministry said he had surrendered to Russian troops in the Mykolaiv region of southwestern Ukraine. He was carrying a weapon, he said. Britain's foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

10:55 a.m.: A variety of Moscow residents explained to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty why they think the West is sending weapons to Ukraine. From "I think the West is doing the right thing" to "They hate Russia," people expressed a range of views.

10:37 a.m.: Tens of thousands of troops from NATO and other north Atlantic nations will take part in a series of military exercises across Europe in the coming weeks as western countries seek to deter Russian aggression, The Associated Press reported Friday. The exercises, backed by aircraft, tanks, artillery and armored assault vehicles, will take place in Finland, Poland, North Macedonia and along the Estonian-Latvian border."The scale of the deployment, coupled with the professionalism, training and agility of the British Army, will deter aggression at a scale not seen in Europe this century," Lt. Gen. Ralph Wooddisse, commander of the U.K.'s field army, said in a statement.

10:20 a.m.: U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres tweeted Friday that he was "moved by the resilience and bravery of the people of Ukraine" following a visit to the region this week.

I was moved by the resilience and bravery of the people of Ukraine. My message to them is simple: We will not give up.The @UN will redouble its efforts to save lives and reduce human suffering. In this war, as in all wars, the civilians always pay the highest price. pic.twitter.com/dd1OsyzAOb

— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) April 29, 2022

10:17 a.m.: At the start of a U.N. Security Council meeting Friday, the British Ambassador, Barbara Woodward, who is president of the U.N. Security Council this month, said in her national capacity that the missile strikes on Kyiv yesterday during U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' visit are "clearly a matter of grave concern," VOA's U.N. Correspondent Margaret Besheer reported. "We understand that the secretary-general and his team are unharmed. Tragically there are reported civilian casualties from the strikes," Woodward said. "The secretary-general has a mandate to pursue peace and it is our duty as council members to support that. We will have the chance to address this very serious issue and the secretary-general's visit during our discussions on Ukraine next week," she added.

10:04 a.m.: Russian billionaire Oleg Tinkov, who has called Moscow's war against Ukraine "crazy," has sold his stake in the company he founded to a firm controlled by Vladimir Potanin, a tycoon close to President Vladimir Putin. Potanin's Interros Capital said on April 28 that it was acquiring Tinkov's 35 percent stake in TCS Group Holding, the group that owns Russia's second-largest bank, Tinkoff Bank. Interros added that Russia's central bank had approved deal. Price details were not revealed but the RBK news agency estimated the deal at about $2.4 billion. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has this story.

9:56 a.m.:

⚡️ Kyiv residents asked not to drive private transport due to fuel shortages. Kyiv City Council urged citizens to use public transport instead, as scarce fuel is required by the military.

— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) April 29, 2022

9:49 a.m.: Ukraine acknowledged on Friday it was taking heavy losses in the east, but said Russia's losses were even worse, Reuters reported. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's office said Russia was pounding the entire front line in the eastern Donetsk region with rockets, artillery, mortar bombs and aircraft. The Ukrainian general staff said Russia was shelling positions along the line of contact to prevent the Ukrainians from regrouping. Ukraine has acknowledged losing control of some towns and villages there since the assault began last week, but says Moscow's gains have come at a massive cost to a Russian force already worn down from its earlier defeat near the capital. "We have serious losses but the Russians' losses are much much bigger...They have colossal losses," presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said.

9:43 a.m.: A former U.S. Marine was killed fighting alongside Ukrainian forces in the war with Russia, his relatives told news outlets, in what's the first known death of a U.S. citizen fighting in Ukraine, The Associated Press reported. Rebecca Cabrera told CNN her son, Willy Joseph Cancel, 22, was killed Monday while working for a military contracting company that sent him to Ukraine. Cabrera said her son's body has not been found. The U.S. has not confirmed the reports. On Friday, the State Department said it was aware of the reports and is "closely monitoring the situation. Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment." Cancel's widow, Brittany Cancel, told Fox News he leaves behind a young son and that she sees her husband as a hero.

9:37 a.m.: Residents of Mariupol recounted the horrors of the battle for their now devastated city this week as they sifted through the rubble for belongings, cooked meals by the roadside or just stared at the charred shells of buildings all around them. "It was terrible... like films that show the last days of the planet - the same thing happened here," said Viktoria Nikolayeva, 54, who like many residents stayed with her family in a basement as Russian and Ukrainian forces battled overhead, Reuters reported.

9:32 a.m.:

⚡️Mariupol Mayor: Over 600 wounded remain in field hospital at Azovstal plant.Mayor Vadym Boychenko said Russians continue using heavy weapons. "Before shelling the hospital, the number of wounded was 170, now — over 600. Russian forces killed more than 20,000 people," he said.

— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) April 29, 2022

9:28 a.m.: Mountainous and remote, the Greek-Bulgaria border once formed the southern corner of the Iron Curtain. Today, it's where the European Union is redrawing the region's energy map to ease its heavy reliance on Russian natural gas, The Associated Press reported. A new pipeline — built during the COVID-19 pandemic, tested and due to start commercial operation in June — would ensure that large volumes of gas flow between the two countries in both directions to generate electricity, fuel industry and heat homes.

9:13 a.m.:

⚡️ Odesa imposes extended curfew after recent attacks. Extended curfew in Odesa will hold from 10 p.m. on May 1 to 5 a.m. on May 3. Within a week, the city was attacked multiple times by Russian rockets.

— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) April 29, 2022

9:10 a.m.: An activist in Russia's second-largest city has been handed a prison term for allegedly attacking a police officer during a rally against Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported Friday. The press service of St. Petersburg's courts said on April 28 that 24-year-old Zakhar Tatuiko was sentenced to 16 months in prison after the Kuibyshev district court found him guilty of grabbing a police officer during the rally in early March and spraying pepper spray on his face.

9:06 a.m.: Germany "condemns the Russian missile attack on Kyiv, while Secretary-General (Antonio) Guterres was there simultaneously for talks, in the sharpest possible manner," government spokesman Wolfgang Buechner told reporters in Berlin on Friday, The Associated Press reported. The attack "reveals before the eyes of the world community once more that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and his regime have no respect whatsoever for international law," he added. The U.S.-funded broadcaster Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty says one of its journalists, Vira Hyrych, was killed by the Russian missile strike. Ten people were wounded, including at least one who lost a leg, according to Ukraine's emergency services.

9:02 a.m.: Ukrainian rescue workers on Friday recovered the body of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) producer Vira Hyrych from under the rubble of a building in Kyiv that was hit by a missile, Reuters reported. U.S.-funded RFE/RL, which has covered the former Soviet Union since the Cold War, is one of the main remaining Russian-language sources for news outside Kremlin control, since Moscow effectively shut all independent media following its invasion. "Kyiv is still a dangerous place and Kyiv is still the target of Russians, of course. The capital of Ukraine is the goal and they want to occupy it," Mayor Vitali Klitschko said, supervising the clean-up in the rubble-strewn street before the body was found.

8:59 a.m.: The spokesman for Ukraine's Foreign Ministry, Oleg Nikolenko, on Friday Tweeted about the death of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty journalist Vira Hyrych, who was killed in a Russian missile strike on her apartment late Thursday, calling the attack "murder" and saying Russia's "barbarism is incomprehensible."

Russia killed Vira Hyrych, a @RFERL journalist. She was going to bed when a Russian ballistic missile hit her apartment in central Kyiv. Russia's barbarism is incomprehensible. We call on media organizations to condemn the murder of Vira and all other innocent Ukrainians. pic.twitter.com/07aTErBRtX

— Oleg Nikolenko (@OlegNikolenko_) April 29, 2022

8:53 a.m.: Britain will send investigators to Ukraine to help gather evidence of war crimes, including sexual violence, its foreign minister said on Friday. Both Ukrainian prosecutors and the International Criminal Court (ICC) are investigating potential war crimes in Ukraine, Reuters reported. Speaking after meeting with ICC officials, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said a British team would head to Ukraine in May with a special emphasis on investigating rape as a possible war crime. "It's done to subjugate women and destroy communities and we want to see it stopped," she said.

8:42 a.m.:

⚡️ Ombudsman: Russian troops step up 'filtration' in Mariupol.According to Lyudmyla Denisova, Russian forces are not allowing men to exit the city, while residents of Mariupol are forced to undergo a special procedure where Russian forces question and often torture civilians.

— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) April 29, 2022

8:37 a.m.: The former commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Europe has said Russia is "not in a good position" as the 2-month-old Ukraine war grinds on, but that its newer focus on the east of the country will make it "a different fight." Retired U.S. Army General Curtis Michael Scaparrotti also argued that Russian President Vladimir Putin's ability to return "as a respectable leader on the world stage is done" and Russians will have to come to terms with the harm that's been done to them as a "nation among nations," including through sanctions and other punitive measures. "Russia is vulnerable, I think, as a nation at this point," Scaparrotti told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in a recent interview.

8:14 a.m.: Norway will close its borders and ports to Russian trucks and ships, joining sanctions imposed by the European Union over the war in Ukraine, the Norwegian foreign ministry said on Friday. Russian fishing vessels, which often land their catch at ports in northern Norway, will receive exemptions from sanctions. Norway's Arctic Svalbard archipelago, which operates under a 1920s treaty allowing expanded foreign access, will also be exempted, the ministry said, according to Reuters.


8:05 a.m.:

⚡️ Ukraine reports 243 Russian crimes against journalists since Feb. 24. The State Committee for Television and Radio-Broadcasting said Russian troops committed 243 crimes against journalists and media in 16 Ukrainian regions.

— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) April 29, 2022


7:53 a.m.: The Netherlands will reopen its embassy in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on Friday, the Dutch foreign affairs ministry said. The country removed its diplomatic staff from Ukraine two days after Russian troops invaded on February 24. It reopened its embassy in Lviv, in western Ukraine, last week, Reuters reported. "A small embassy team there (in Kyiv) will work closely with the Ukrainian authorities and other returned partner countries," Dutch foreign affairs minister Wopke Hoekstra said on Twitter. "It is important that we provide support to Ukraine on the ground."

7:42 a.m.:

#Ukraine - Death on Yablunska: Four lives that ended in Bucha. #AFP 📸 @rschemidt📸 @YasuyoshiChiba📸 Sergei Supinsky pic.twitter.com/TNs4HfsGSj

— AFP Photo (@AFPphoto) April 29, 2022

7:35 a.m.: The United States has not seen many signs that Russia-Ukraine negotiations are "proving fruitful" as Moscow's war on the country enters its third month, said a senior State Department official. "The Russians don't seem to be willing to negotiate in a particularly meaningful way," State Department Counselor Derek Chollet told VOA in an interview Thursday. VOA's Nike Ching has this story.

7:31 a.m.: Indonesia's President Joko Widodo said on Friday he had turned down a request for arms from Ukraine's leader and urged him and his Russian counterpart to end the war in Ukraine, Reuters reported. Indonesia is currently chairing the Group of 20 (G-20) major economies and has invited both Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russian leader Vladimir Putin to the leaders summit in November, despite pressure from some Western countries to exclude the latter. "I expressed my hope that the war can soon be ended, and peaceful solutions can be forged through negotiations," Jokowi, as the Indonesian president is commonly known, said in an online statement, adding he had spoken with both leaders by phone this week.

7:18 a.m.:

After a month of living under Russian shelling in complete isolation, Liudmyla Usenka, 69, began to accept the terrifying glimpse of her future. "I didn't think that I would make it till the end of the war," she said, breaking into tears.https://t.co/o4wQFeaWsi

— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) April 29, 2022


7:09 a.m.: Two British volunteers working to provide humanitarian relief in Ukraine have been detained by the Russian military at a checkpoint south of Zaporizhzhia, according to an aid organization. There was no immediate comment from the British foreign ministry. "The foreign office is doing all it can to support and identify these two people," British trade minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan told Sky News. The non-profit Presidium Network said the two men, both civilians, were working independently as part of a project in Ukraine to provide food, medical supplies and evacuation support. Dominik Byrne, the organization's co-founder, said the men had gone missing after going into Russian-held territory where they were planning to help evacuate a woman, Reuters reported.

7:01 a.m.: Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Iryna Venediktova has released the names of 10 Russian soldiers suspected of torturing civilians in the town of Bucha, near Kyiv, during weeks of occupation. Venediktova said on April 28 that the soldiers of the 64th Guards Motor Rifle Brigade of the Russian armed forces are suspected of "cruelty toward civilians and other war crimes."

6:53 a.m.: Russia used a diesel submarine in the Black Sea to strike Ukrainian military targets with Kalibr cruise missiles, the first time Moscow has announced the use of its submarine fleet to hit its former Soviet neighbor, Reuters reported. The Russian defense ministry released a video showing a volley of Kalibr missiles emerging from the sea and soaring off into the horizon - to what the ministry said were Ukrainian military targets.

6:48 a.m.:

⚡️Russia's war kills U.S. Embassy security guard.The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv said that their bodyguard Volodymyr took a leave from his job to rejoin the army to defend Ukraine."We will never forget his kind spirit, dedication, and bravery," the embassy wrote on April 28.

— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) April 29, 2022


6:41 a.m.: Ukraine hopes on Friday to evacuate civilians who are holed up in a vast steel works with the last fighters defending the southern city of Mariupol. "An operation is planned today to get civilians out of the plant," President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's office said without giving details. Russia did not immediately comment on the Ukrainian presidency's remarks. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said after meeting Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Thursday that intense discussions were under way to enable the evacuation of the Azovstal steel plant, which has been pounded by Russian forces occupying Mariupol. "We are depending on the goodwill of all parties and we are in this together," United Nations Crisis Coordinator Amin Awad told Reuters on Friday morning.

6:37 a.m.:

⚡️Interior Minister: Ukraine needs more specialists, equipment to demine its territories.Denys Monastyrsky said Ukraine has asked international organizations to help demine its liberated territories by sending their pyrotechnicians and supplying equipment.

— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) April 29, 2022

6:34 a.m.: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty journalist Vira Hyrych has died in Kyiv after a Russian air strike hit the residential building where she lived in the Ukrainian capital. Hyrych's body was found early in the morning Friday amid the wreckage of the building, which was hit by a Russian missile the night before, RFE/RL's Ukrainian news service said.

5:47 a.m.: The New York Times reports that some 8,000 British troops will be part of a larger allied deployment in Europe.

5:23 a.m.: Al Jazeera quoted local police officials as saying that the bodies of 1,187 civilians have been found so far in the Kyiv region. Most were found in the Bucha district.

5:12 a.m.: Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted that Russian bombs hit a field hospital in Mariupol, The New York Times reports. The killing or further injury of wounded soldiers violates the Geneva Convention, the ministry said.

4:06 a.m.: The International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) says that Ukrainian officials say they have video showing a missile flying over the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant on April 16.

"The IAEA is looking into this matter, which, if confirmed, would be extremely serious," Director-General Rafael Grossi said. "Had such a missile gone astray, it could have had a severe impact on the physical integrity of the NPP potentially leading to a nuclear accident."

3:07 a.m.: Ukraine plans to evacuate civilians from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol on Friday, the BBC reports.

2:06 a.m.: The U.K.'s latest intelligence update from its defense ministry says Donbas remains Russia's main strategic focus and that fighting has been particularly heavy around Lysychansk and Severodonetsk. "Due to strong Ukrainian resistance, Russian territorial gains have been limited and achieved at significant cost to Russian forces," the update notes.

1:03 a.m.: Al Jazeera, citing the Institute for the Study of War, a U.S. think tank, says that Russia made "minor advances" in Ukraine on Thursday.

12:02 a.m.: The New York Times reports that Russian intelligence was behind an attack on Nobel Prize-winning Russian newspaper editor Dmitri A. Muratov.

Muratov, editor in chief of Novaya Gazeta, an independent newspaper that's been critical of the war in Ukraine, was injured April 7 when someone threw a substance in his face that left him with chemical burns to his eyes.

Some information came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.



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