Russia 'will reposition troops instead of withdraw' says Nuland
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Illia Ponomarenko, defence reporter for the Kyiv Independent, has reported that volunteers, thought to be former Russian troops are being taught by Ukrainians to use NLAWS – weapons used for blowing up tanks. According to Ukraine’s minister for internal affairs Denys Monastyrsky, hundreds of Russian troops have defected with tanks and military equipment to the Ukrainian side after realising they were being used as “cannon fodder”. This comes following the news that Russian troops have been forced to retreat to Belarus after suffering heavy losses.
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Putin humiliation as Russian troops are ‘switching sides’ to join Ukraine’s forces
Russian soldiers are reportedly surrendering and switching sides to fight against Vladimir Putin, a report has claimed.
Captured Russian troops have even formed their own battalions and have been photographed training alongside their new Ukrainian allies.
A video posted on the Telegram app featured a man, who claimed to be a former Russian soldier, now part of the new Freedom of Russia legion.
The Ukrainian Defence Ministry said on Telegram on Wednesday that commanders of the legion are visiting detained Russian troops in order to select new recruits.
They added that the “first volunteers” have “already begun” their training, including weapons exercises.
They said: “Today the legion’s personnel, under the guidance of Ukrainian Armed Forces instructors, studied an NLAW grenade launcher.”
They added that the detained Russians “expressed a common desire on behalf of all the volunteers to conduct the first battle against the guard dogs of the Putin regime – the Kadyrovites”.
This refers to fighters from Chechnya – loyal to both Putin and the republic’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov.
Russian army abandons Chernobyl as Putin ‘repositions troops’ in major tactical move
Russian troops are leaving the Chernobyl nuclear power station and are now moving towards Belarus, a US military official has said.
Pentagon sources have said the invading forces are “walking away from the Chernobyl facility” and are headed to Belarus, having captured the site on February 24 when they first entered Ukraine.
The US believe that Putin is not withdrawing his forces but is instead redistributing them as his invasion fails to make significant progress after they were faced with fierce resistance from Ukraine.
There were initial fears heavy fighting around the plant could spark another nuclear catastrophe, reported The Sun, as it still holds dangerous radioactive material.
Russian conscripts unleash fury over ‘80-year-old’ rifles – ‘They don’t f***ing fire!’
YOUNG RUSSIAN CONSCRIPTS are reportedly turning on their superiors after a video was shared on social media of a group of troops slamming their leaders after being “thrown into the s**t”.
The video has been shared on Twitter and Telegram by pro-Ukraine outlets of angry young Russian conscripts slamming their leaders for giving them weapons from the 1940s.
The troops of the “119th Division, 4th Battalion, 1st and 2nd Companies” can be heard repeatedly asking “what are we doing here?” as they state they are “ordinary workers”.
One of the soldiers adds: “The Russian Ministry of Defence has no idea about us or what we are doing here.
“They’re throwing us directly into the s**t.”
Another furiously declared: “They illegally took us out of Russian territory without weapons, without documents, without f***ing anything.
“They’re sending us with rifles against GRADS, artillery, mortar shells.”
He added: “Our rifles are from the 1940s. They don’t f***ing fire!”
Putin humiliated as Russian soldiers accidentally shoot down own plane, says UK spy chief
Vladimir Putin has “massively misjudged” his invasion of Ukraine as his “demoralised” troops have shot down their own planes, sabotaged their kits and refused to obey orders, a UK spy chief will say in a speech on Thursday.
Head of GCHQ Sir Jeremy Fleming will give a speech in Australia on Thursday, where he is expected to outline Russia’s use of Wagner mercenaries and cyber attacks to try and gain the upper hand in the war in Ukraine. He will also list the mistakes that have been made by the Putin regime, such as underestimating the Western response and overestimating his own military capabilities.
Security and defence editor for Sky News Deborah Haynes broke news of the speech on Twitter.
Sir Jeremy will say that the soldiers are “short of weapons and morale” and have been seen “refusing to carry out orders, sabotaging their own equipment, and even accidentally shooting down their own aircraft”.
Good evening, I’m Emma Crabtree, i’ll be bringing you all the latest developments from Ukraine for the next few hours. Please feel free to get in touch with me as i work. Your thoughts are always welcome.
Email: [email protected]
Moscow announces Mariupol ceasefire Thursday to evacuate civilians
Moscow has announced a ceasefire in Mariupol tomorrow to evacuate civilians.
Civilians will likely operate with caution as in 2019, the Syrian government with the support of Russia created a humanitarian corridor to evacuate civilians but those corridors ended up being an excuse to massively shell cities.
One Syrian resident told Al Jazeera in 2016: “The ones who want to open humanitarian corridors must first have to care about humanity. Those who commit massacres, hit hospitals, kill civilians, do not care about humanity.” Many think that those who believe Putin will respect humanitarian corridors are the ones who said he would not invade Ukraine in the first place.
Russian troops ‘very close’ to Mariupol city centre
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby has said Russian forces are “very, very close” to the city centre of Mariupol.
In a briefing Mr Kirby accused Russia of targeting civilian infrastructure, residential buildings, and hospitals.
He said: “The town is just being shellacked with airstrikes in [the] bombardment.
“The place is just being decimated from a structural perspective by the onslaught of Russian airstrikes.
“[The US will] take a look at what we have learned by watching and seeing how Russia has underperformed and how, quite frankly, amazingly that Ukrainians have performed.
“We all want to learn from things as we see them and we’re going to learn from our own behaviors here, our efforts to help Ukraine defend itself.”
Putin blow as tens of thousands of workers flee homeland to ‘save careers’
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as many as 70,000 IT personnel are said to have left – with another 100,000 expected to depart in April.
French news channel CNews said: “IT professionals are in a hurry to leave the country as soon as possible, not wanting to put up with a sharply deteriorating economic situation and not paying attention to the numerous measures to support the IT industry from the state.”
Similarly, the Russian Association for Electronic Communications (RAEC) reported around 50,000 to 70,000 people working in IT had left the country so far, which they described as only the “first wave”.
The group said the only thing holding more back from leaving is expensive flight tickets, housing prices and the difficulties of conducting transactions after the backlash of Western sanctions.
Sergey Plugotarenko, head of RAEC, said: “There will definitely be a second wave, according to our forecast, from 70,000 to 100,000 people will leave in April. These are just IT people.”
Russia ‘has started to reposition forces around Kyiv’
Russia has started to reposition around 20 percent of the forces around Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, according to the Pentagon.
However, a spokesman has warned that Russia was expected to refit and resupply those troops for redeployment, rather than bring them home.
Missile strike in Dnipro
The Kyiv Independent have reported that Dnipro suffered from a missile strike.
Authorities have not yet revealed what was targeted.
The city of one million people has seen only a couple of missile strikes before, including one that severely damaged its airport.
Borys Filatov, Mayor of Dnipro, wrote on Facebook: “Looks like a missile strike. There is already an understanding of where and where. I don’t post photos. We do not reload the phones of government authorities with meaningless messages. We are waiting for an official message from the Military Administration. No more comments.”
Xi Jinping’s faces ‘difficult’ moment with Putin over Ukraine
With the bloodshed in Ukraine continuing, Xi now faces a “difficult” moment in his relationship with Putin, according to political expert Peter Frankopan, the professor of global history at the University of Oxford.
Asked about the bond between the two leaders, the academic explained that Xi would find it tricky to turn a blind eye to Putin’s barbaric assault on Ukraine, where more than 1,000 civilians have been killed.
He told Express.co.uk: “It is very difficult to try and sit on the fence. You are taking the side of a guy who has blown up maternity hospitals.
“The Chinese to start with were all very supportive of Russia and thought it was all the West’s fault.
“Now, I think that that is starting to change a little bit. Russia is imploding.”
Prof Frankopan referred to the bombing of a children’s and maternity hospital in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol, one of the most shocking incidents in the conflict so far.
US to give Ukraine $500m in aid
The United States is set to give $500m (£380m) in assistance to Ukraine, Joe Biden confirmed today in a call to Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky.
A statement from Washington said the leaders discussed how the US is fulfilling the security assistance requests by Ukraine and their continued efforts with allies and partners to identify additional capabilities to help the Ukrainian military defend its country.
Mr Biden also reviewed the additional sanctions and humanitarian assistance announced last week.
Liz Truss announces new legal powers to target Russian oligarchs
Fresh legal powers to target Russian oligarchs’ jets and ships have been introduced in the UK today, Liz Truss announces.
The British Foreign Secretary has has laid a Statutory Instrument in Parliament prohibiting maintenance on aircrafts and ships belonging to specific sanctioned Russian individuals and their firms.
The aim is to “prevent Russian oligarch access to UK aviation and maritime technical services”.
The department said the new powers had been used immediately to sanction Russian businessmen Eugene Shvidler and Oleg Tinkov.
UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: “There is no doubt that [Vladimir] Putin and his elite have been surprised by the strength of our sanctions.
“We will continue to ramp up the pressure so long as Russian troops are in Ukraine, targeting not only the businesses of oligarchs but also their assets and international lifestyles.”
Ukraine says death toll from Mykolaiv attack has risen to 15
Russian forces struck on a government building in the Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv, tearing a hole through the nine-storey building shortly before 09:00 local (06:00 GMT) yesterday morning.
Ukraine’s State Emergency Service says that the death toll from the attack has risen to 15 people.
It added that 33 others had been wounded in the strike, but the figures are yet to be verified.
Russia continually calls its actions in Ukraine a “special military operation” to demilitarise its neighbour and denies all claims of hitting civilians.
Mariupol Red Cross hit by Russian military strikes
New satellite images from Maxar Technologies confirm that a Red Cross warehouse in central Mariupol was hit by at least two military strikes.
On Wednesday, the Azov Battalion claimed on the social media channel Telegram that the warehouse had been hit by Russian military strikes.
Maxar said the northern end of the warehouse was hit sometime between March 19-22. A second military strike, on the southern end of the building, occurred sometime between March 23-26.
Sensory satellite data from NASA’s Fire Information for Resource Management System also confirmed that a number of explosions were detected in the vicinity on March 20 and every day between March 22-25.
International Committee of the Red Cross spokesperson Jason Straziuso told CNN: “We do not have a team on the ground, so we have no other information, including on potential casualties or the extent of the damage. We can say that we had already distributed all aid supplies in the warehouse.”
Russian forces in Ukraine are regrouping and preparing for renewed offensive operations
Ukraine’s defence ministry said Russian forces in Ukraine are reportedly regrouping and preparing for renewed offensive operations, Reuters reports.
Its efforts are focused on Ukrainian forces in eastern Ukraine, defence ministry spokesperson, Oleksandr Motuzyanyk has said.
Russian forces are still attempting to take the besieged southern city of Mariupol and the towns of Popasna and Rubizhne in Luhansk.
UN says there are ‘credible allegations’ of cluster munition use
Michelle Bachelet, the UN’s human rights chief, has said there are “credible allegations” that Russia has used cluster bombs in Ukraine at least 24 times.
The allegations are being investigated and she also said that 77 instances of medical facilities being damaged in Ukraine had been verified by the commission.
Putin is being misinformed by his advisers about how badly the Russian military is performing
The US believes that Russian President Putin is being “misinformed” by his advisers.
They said his advisers are lying “about how badly the Russian military is performing and how the Russian economy is being crippled by sanctions, because his senior advisers are too afraid to tell him the truth.”
The official said the assessment is based on declassified US intelligence findings.
The US also has information indicating that Putin has become aware of the misinformation and there is now a rift between Putin and his top defense officials.
They said: “We have information that Putin felt misled by the Russian military. There is now persistent tension between Putin and the (Ministry of Defence), stemming from Putin’s mistrust in MOD leadership.”
The official said Putin did not know his military was “using and losing conscripts in Ukraine, showing a clear breakdown in the flow of accurate information to the Russian president.”
UK’s commitment to tackling sexual violence in Ukraine
Labour’s Sarah Champion, Chair of the International Development Select Committee, says the Russians have been using sexual violence and rape as a weapon of war.
She asks the Prime Minister what the UK doing to tackle this. “Is there a PSVI (preventing sexual violence in conflict iniative) team on the ground?”
Mr Johnson says the UK has a team in the region. He says the UK pioneered work on this when William Hague was foreign secretary.
Boris Johnson says that the UK is looking at ‘going up a gear’
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing the Liaison Committee of senior MPs and as we speak he is being questioned on the war in Ukraine.
Tom Tugendhat, Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee, starts by asking if Mr Johnson agrees with US President Joe Biden that Putin must go.
Johnson says he understands why Biden said that and a desire for a change of government is not ignoble. He then says some of the MPs in the room would like a change of government in the UK, but getting rid of Putin is not the UK’s objective, he says.
While “Putin is plainly not to be trusted”… “the most important thing is that whatever happens would be what the Ukrainians want – and that is for them to decide”.
Russia claims to have recruited 16,000 Middle East fighters
Russia says they have recruited around 16,000 soldiers from the Middle East, with social media in Syria reportedly flooded with requests for people to join Russian troops.
One recruiter told BBC News Arabic’s Emir Nader: “The recruitment to Ukraine is exactly like how we recruited to Libya; there are representatives in the regions.
“You have the right to change your decision after you apply. No one will force you to go.”
Russia hugely supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and Russian state news claim that Syrian soldiers want to return the favour.
Good afternoon I’m Rachel Hagan, I’ll be bringing you all the latest developments on the war in Ukraine for the next few hours. Please feel free to get in touch with me as I work if you have a story or tips to share! Your thoughts are always welcome.
Email: [email protected]
Putin humiliated as defected troops learn how to blow up RUSSIAN tanks
Vladimir Putin has suffered more humiliation as defected troops are learning how to blow up Russian tanks.
Illia Ponomarenko, defence reporter for the Kyiv Independent, has reported that volunteers, thought to be former Russian troops are being taught by Ukrainians to use NLAWS – weapons used for blowing up tanks.
According to Ukraine’s minister for internal affairs Denys Monastyrsky, hundreds of Russian troops have defected with tanks and military equipment to the Ukrainian side after realising they were being used as “cannon fodder”.
This comes following the news that Russian troops have been forced to retreat to Belarus after suffering heavy losses.
Empty military housing should be used to house refugees says SNP MSP
Empty military housing should be used for Ukrainian refugees, an SNP MSP has said.
Gordon McDonald wrote to defence secretary Ben Wallace to ask him to bring 11,000 homes owned by the Ministry of Defence but not occupied, back into use.
The letter read: “Other countries are already making good use of empty military housing, including the USA where eight military bases are currently being used to house Afghan refugees until permanent housing is made available.
“I am sure you would agree that if the choice is a family home or a hotel bedroom for months on end, then most people would choose a family home and I believe it would be a failure of the Ministry of Defence not to utilise these properties to provide a safe, warm home for displaced Ukrainian people.
“I would urge the MoD to take this forward as a priority, working with the Scottish Government and the local authorities.”
Four million Ukrainians have now fled their country
A total of four million Ukrainians have fled their country since war broke out on February 24.
More than two million of those have fled to the bordering country of Poland.
Library, shopping centre and market in Chernihiv destroyed by shelling
Last night, shelling destroyed a library, market and shopping centre in Chernihiv.
Earlier on Tuesday, Russian forces has promised a reduction in military action in Chernihiv and Kyiv.
Yvette Cooper accuses government of ‘shamefully’ slow progress on Ukrainian refugees
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has accused the government of being “shamefully slow” at granting Ukrainian refugees visas.
The latest figures show that just 2,700 visas have been granted to people wanting to come to the UK under the Homes For Ukraine scheme, despite applications reaching 28,300
Moscow welcomes Ukrainian demands
Moscow has welcomed the fact that Ukraine has set out its demands for an end to the war in written form, however, it said there was no sign of a breakthrough yet.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that there was a long period of work ahead.
Ukraine presented its demands during peace talks in Istanbul on Tuesday.
It proposed that Ukraine adopt neutral status in exchange for security guarantees, meaning that it would not join military alliances or host military bases for other countries.
Attorney General speaks to NZ counterpart about importance of working together to help Ukraine
The Attorney General, Suella Braverman has today spoken with her New Zealand counterpart David Parker about the importance of working together to support Ukraine in its journey to seek justice.
28,300 visa applications received under Homes for Ukraine scheme
28,300 visa applications have been received under the Homes for Ukraine scheme as of March 29, according to official figures.
There have also been 31,200 Visa applications received under the Ukraine Family Scheme.
According to the Home Office, 25,500 visas have been issued – 2,700 under the sponsorship scheme and 22,800 under the family scheme.
Russia has lost more than 17,000 troops, estimates Ukraine
These are the estimates of Russian losses as of March 30, by the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Kremlin has tranferred 2,000 troops from Georgia, say Ukrainian officials
Ukrainian officials have said that the Kremlin is transferring 2,000 troops from occupied Georgia to Ukraine to help cover its casualties.
This is as well as the 1,000 Wagner mercenaries Western officials believe are being deployed to eastern Ukraine.
Pet therapy for Ukrainians suffering war trauma
A day of pet therapy has been organised at Zelenyi Gai farm in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast for adults and children who are housed in refugee centres and are suffering from trauma from the war.
Governor of Chernihiv region sees no let-up in Russian attacks
The governor of the Ukrainian region Chernihiv has said he has seen no let-up in attacks, despite Russia’s promises to scale back.
Writing on the Telegram messaging app Governor Viacheslav Chaus said: “Do we believe in it (the promise)? Of course not.
“The ‘decreased activity’ in the Chernihiv region was demonstrated by the enemy carrying out strikes on (the city of) Nizhyn, including air strikes, and all night long they hit (the city of) Chernihiv.”
Raab says Russia’s announcement on scaling back should be treated with caution
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab has said that Russia’s announcement that it is scaling back military operations near Kyiv should be treated with caution.
Speaking on Sky News, Mr Raab said: “We judge the Russian military machine by its actions, not its words. There is obviously scepticism that it will regroup to attack again.
“The door to diplomacy will always be left ajar but I don’t think you can trust what is coming out of the mouth of Putin’s war machine.”
Mr Raab added that reports that Russia is planning to deploy mercenaries from the Wagner Group and from Syria could be a sign of Russian weakness.
“It is a worrying sign but it also probably shows you how dependent they have become on other fighters because of the weakness and fragility of the professional forces – and they are reliant on conscripts – which we are starting to see play out a bit in Ukraine,” he said.
“Certainly the Russian war machine, which had a pretty fearsome reputation, has been found to stutter and stumble, in at least the early stages of this campaign.”
Uptick in shelling in some regions
Last night, following Russia’s announcement that it will cut back military operations near Kyiv, there was an uptick in shelling in some other regions.
The regional administration in Kyiv reported an uptick in shelling in Lysychansk in the Donbass Hostomel, Dmytriv, Bucha and Makariv.
Putin humiliated as rocked Russian troops forced to retreat to Belarus
Putin has suffered another blow as troops have been forced to retreat to Belarus after suffering heavy losses.
The Ministry of Defence’s latest intelligence update suggests this move underlines issues Russia is having reorganising units within Ukraine.
On Friday, Russia announced it is shifting strategy and that the “main goal” of its “special operation” is now “liberating” the Donbas region.
The Ministry of Defence states that this change of tactic “is likely a tacit admission that it is struggling to sustain more than one significant axis of advance”.
Good morning, I’m Olivia Stringer and I’ll be bringing you all the latest developments on the conflict in Ukraine, for the next eight hours. Please feel free to get in touch with me as I work if you have a story or tips to share! Your thoughts are always welcome.
Email: [email protected]
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