Update: 04/03/2022 13:43 PM

Kiev Mayor Klitschko accuses Russian troops of war crimes. The Red Cross is making a new attempt to evacuate Mariupol, according to Ukraine. Liveblog of developments.

12:48 p.m.

Truss: Investigate attacks on civilians as war crimes

Suspected attacks on civilians in Ukraine must be investigated as war crimes, according to British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss. Britain would support such a move by the International Criminal Court. “With the forced withdrawal of Russian troops, there is growing evidence of horrific acts by the invaders in places like Irpin and Butcha,” Truss informed. “Arbitrary attacks on innocent civilians during Russia’s unlawful and unjustified invasion of Ukraine must be investigated as war crimes.” Russia denies attacking civilians. It calls the invasion of Ukraine a special military operation.

12:46 p.m.

Dozens of civilians killed near Kiev

Horrific reports are coming from Butcha near Kiev. Russian soldiers have killed civilians indiscriminately, local residents report.

11:47 a.m.

Michel ‘shocked’ by atrocities

EU wants to support investigation of “atrocities” by Russian army in suburbs of Kiev, according to Council President Charles Michel. Michel expressed his “shock” at images from the Ukrainian town of Butscha on the online service Twitter and spoke of a “massacre.” The EU will help “gather the necessary evidence for prosecution in international courts,” he announced.

11:36 a.m.

Odessa: “Flames several meters high”

In the Ukrainian port city of Odessa, according to ARD correspondent, strategically important targets were attacked by Russian forces. Residential areas were not hit, according to the report. Despite the attacks, there is a certain normality in the city, he said.

“Strategically important, infrastructural facilities were attacked,” Oliver Mayer-Rüth, ARD Istanbul, currently Odessa/Ukraine.

tagesschau24 10:00, 4/3/2022

11:22 a.m.

Klitschko accuses Russia of war crimes

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko accuses Russian troops of war crimes in Butsha, which was recaptured by Ukrainian soldiers. “What happened in Butscha and other suburbs of Kiev can only be described as genocide,” he told the Bild newspaper. He added that these were cruel war crimes for which Russian President Vladimir Putin was responsible. Civilians had been shot with joined hands, he said.

11:14 a.m.

Russia: NGO: More than 200 arrested during protests

More than 200 people were arrested Saturday during nationwide protests against Russia’s military deployment in Ukraine, according to human rights activists. There were at least 211 arrests in 17 cities, the non-governmental organization OVD-Info reported. In Moscow, a journalist with the AFP news agency watched as more than 20 people were taken away in a park near the Kremlin. Police detained people who were sitting on park benches or simply standing around without explaining the reasons for the arrests. </p>

Several people were also arrested in St. Petersburg – although it was unclear how many of them actually wanted to protest. Activists had called for “sit-ins” in some 30 Russian cities on Saturday against Russia’s military deployment in Ukraine. Organizers said the protests were directed against the “collapse of the Russian economy” and against Russian President Vladimir Putin. They also called for the release of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. “Russia deserves peace, democracy and prosperity,” they declared.

According to OVD-Info, a total of more than 15,000 people have been detained in Russia since the start of protests against the military operation in the neighboring country.

10:43 a.m.

Greek foreign minister to accompany aid shipment

Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias plans to accompany a shipment of aid to Odessa today, according to his ministry in Athens. Greece also plans to reopen its consulate in the port city, he said.


Russia: Have destroyed fuel depot near Odessa

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Russian forces have destroyed a fuel depot near the port city of Odessa. The fuel was used to supply Ukrainian troops in the area of the city of Mykolaiv, it said. According to the Odessa city administration, an important part of the “infrastructure” was hit. “We hope there will be no casualties,” says city spokesman Sergei Brachuk.

09:40 A.M.

New attempt at evacuations from Mariupol

The Red Cross is making a new attempt to evacuate residents from Mariupol, according to Ukrainian Deputy Head of Government Iryna Vereshchuk. “Seven buses are trying to get closer to Mariupol,” she said in a video message. The buses would be accompanied by the International Committee of the Red Cross. 17 buses would be prepared for evacuations from Mariupol and Berdyansk.


Russia wants to criminalize implementation of sanctions

The majority party in the Russian parliament, United Russia, wants to criminalize implementation of Western sanctions. Its deputy, Andrei Klischas, announced via short message service Telegram that a bill to that effect would be introduced in the Duma on Monday. He leaves open who would be considered an accused and what penalties would be imposed.


Baltic States Stop Gas Imports from Russia

The Baltic states have stopped importing natural gas from Russia. “Since April 1, no Russian natural gas has been flowing to Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania,” Uldis Bariss, head of Latvian natural gas storage operator Conexus Baltic Grid, told Latvian Radio. Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda called on the rest of the EU countries to follow suit on Twitter, saying, “If we can do it, so can the rest of Europe!” His country made decisions years ago “that today allow us to end energy relations with the aggressor without pain,” Nauseda added.

According to Bariss, the Baltic market is currently supplied by gas reserves stored underground in Latvia. Russian President Vladimir Putin had said Thursday against the backdrop of the Uk.

raine war and Western sanctions announced that ruble accounts with Russia’s Gazprom Bank were now required for gas deliveries to EU countries. While the U.S. has already halted Russian oil and gas imports, EU countries have so far maintained them. In 2021, the EU drew about 40 percent of its gas supplies from Russia.

09:27 a.m.

Government speeds up procurement of jets

The German government is pushing the pace on the procurement of 35 F-35 stealth bombers from U.S. manufacturer Lockheed Martin. “The decision on the Tornado successor has been postponed for far too long,” German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht told Bild am Sonntag.

According to the newspaper, the German Defense Ministry sent the U.S. an official request for proposals two and a half weeks ago. In it, the German side sets clear conditions on the timetable: Training of Air Force pilots on the F-35 jets is to start in the U.S. in 2025, and the planes are to be in service in Germany from 2027. “Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine shows how important effective deterrence is.”


Poland: Kaczynski wants another 50,000 U.S. troops

Polish Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski is calling for a greater presence of U.S. soldiers on NATO’s eastern flank in Europe. “Poland would like to see the Americans increase their presence in Europe in the future from the current 100,000 soldiers to 150,000 soldiers because of Russia’s increasing aggressiveness,” Kaczynski told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper. Of these, 75,000 soldiers should be stationed permanently on the borders with Russia, 50,000 soldiers in the Baltic States and Poland alone.

The eastern flank must be much better protected in the future, he said. “Soldiers from the nuclear power America are the strongest deterrent to Russia attacking NATO countries, and they give us the most security.” Kaczynski also raised the issue of permanent storage of U.S. nuclear weapons in Eastern Europe against the backdrop of the Ukraine war. At the moment, however, this question does not arise, he said.


Blogger from Mariupol appeared in Russian video

Marianna Vischegirskaya was one of the pregnant women present at the air strike on the Mariupol maternity hospital. The pictures of her in dotted pajamas went around the world. In a new interview, she now says there was no airstrike. Where and how it came about is unclear.

The beauty blogger has emerged in a new video with misinformation about the attack on the bombed birth clinic in Mariupol. A Twitter account linked to the Russian government shared an interview with Marianna Vischegirskaya, who was accused by Russia in mid-March of being a crisis actress. Previously, Vishgirskaya had given an interview to reporters from the AP news agency at the clinic. In the new video, the new mother says the hospital was not hit by an airstrike and that she told AP journalists she did not want to be filmed. The AP’s reporting and footage of her interactions with the reporters contradict this claim.

The interview was conducted by Russian blogger Denis Seleznev. In it, Vishgirskaya was asked to describe the events at the hospital an March 9, the day of the bombing. Those huddled in the hospital basement after the attack had believed the explosions were caused by shelling and not an airstrike because no one heard sounds indicating a bomb had been dropped, she said in response.

However, eyewitness accounts and video footage from AP journalists in Mariupol pointed to an airstrike, including the sound of a plane before the explosion, a crater outside the hospital that was at least two stories deep, and interviews with a police officer and a soldier at the scene, both of whom described the attack as an “airstrike.”

It was not clear where Vishegirskaya was or under what conditions the new interview was conducted. Russia has repeatedly sought to cast doubt on the attack in Mariupol, a key military target of Moscow, since the images were seen around the world and shed light on Russia’s attacks on civilians in Ukraine.


Intelligence: landing of Russian forces unlikely

British intelligence reports an attack by Russian forces over sea is unlikely. Russian naval forces would expose themselves to high risk if they landed, as the Ukrainian army had had ample time to prepare. The intelligence agency warned of mines in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. These were likely of Russian origin, it said.


Negotiators: presidential meeting not possible at present

Russia has dampened hopes Ukraine will soon hold a top-level meeting between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Selneknskyj to end the war. There is still much to be done, Russian negotiator Vladimir Medinsky told the Interfax news agency. “I unfortunately do not share Arachamiyya’s optimism.”

Earlier, Ukraine’s chief negotiator David Arachamija spoke on Ukrainian television of a possible early meeting between the two leaders. The drafts of the relevant documents had already progressed to the point where “direct talks between the two heads of state” were possible, Arachimija said. Ukraine had also already hinted at concessions.

Russia’s chief negotiator, Medinsky, on the other hand, stressed that Russia’s position on Crimea and the Donbass was “unchanged.” Moscow is demanding that Ukraine renounce NATO membership and recognize the breakaway eastern Ukrainian separatist territories as separate states and the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, annexed in 2014, as part of Russia. The war has been going on for more than five weeks.

07:29 a.m.

German states suspend deportations

Because of the war, all German states are suspending deportations of criminals and others who are required to leave the country to Eastern European countries. As reported by “Welt am Sonntag,” this affects not only Russia and Ukraine, but also the neighboring states of Belarus and Moldova. Deportations are “no longer possible until further notice due to the closure of airspace or the suspension of direct scheduled air traffic for actual reasons,” the Bavarian Interior Ministry is quoted as saying. A repatriation stop also applies “due to the high load” for

the “heavily affected refugee target countries Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic and Slovakia”.

Due to the situation in Ukraine, Poland and Romania have announced that transfers will not be accepted until further notice in order to relieve the situation. Exceptions are not possible, according to the Ministry of the Interior in Baden-Württemberg. Transfers to EU countries, which provide particularly large numbers of Ukrainian refugees, have therefore been halted for the time being.

07:11 am

Series of explosions reported from Odessa

There have been

several explosions in the strategically important coastal city of Odessa. The detonations in the city on the Black Sea in the southwest of the country were heard in the early morning, reports ARD correspondent Oliver Mayer-Rüth

. In addition, at least three columns of black smoke and flames were presumably visible over an industrial area. The metropolis is Ukraine’s largest port…

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