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More EU, US sanctions in works for Russia after Bucha — as it happened

The EU has proposed new sanctions against Russia, as US officials plan to announce theirs on Wednesday along with G7 and other partners. Several more European states have expelled Russian diplomats.

Pro-Russian separatists drive along a road in the Luhansk region

Russia is increasingly focusing its efforts on the Donbas region and other eastern areas after it pulled back from Kyiv

  • Zelenskyy addresses UN Security Council
  • EU's von der Leyen and Borrell to meet Zelenskyy in Kyiv
  • Ukrainians warn of major attacks on Kharkiv, Luhansk
  • US to announce more sanctions on Russia this week

This live updates article is now closed, for the latest on the war in Ukraine, please click here  

US to ban 'all new investments' in Russia

The US government will ban "all new investments" in Russia, the White House announced.

Existing sanctions against Russian banks and state-owned firms will also be tightened, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. Additional details are expected to be announced on Wednesday.

"These measures will degrade key instruments of Russian state power and pose acute and immediate economic harm on Russia, and hold accountable the Russian kleptocracy that funds and supports Putin's war," Psaki said.

According to the White House, the sanctions will be introduced in coordination with the US' European allies and the G7 states.

Watch video 12:04

DW Business – America

UK freezes Russian 'war chest'

The British Foreign Ministry said that the UK had frozen some $350 billion (€321 billion) in assets of what she called Russian President Vladimir Putin's "war chest."

"So far, our sanctions have had a crippling impact on those who feed and fund Putin's war machine. This week we will announce that we've frozen over $350 billion of Putin's war chest," British Foreign Minister Liz Truss said.

This made up over 60% of Moscow's $604 billion (€554 billion) foreign currency reserves, Truss said.

Britain's foreign minister said that "coordinated sanctions are pushing the Russian economy back to the Soviet era."

Truss also called for a ban on Russian ships docking in Western ports and urged for curbs on the gold trade and on other industries that are "filling Putin's war chest."

International criminal lawyer: Genocidal intent 'is a high threshold to prove under international law' 

"There's strong evidence to believe that war crimes have been perpetrated in Bucha and allegedly in other areas," lawyer Kateryna Busol told DW Tuesday. "There's also a possibility to claim the perpetration of crimes against humanity, which is a widespread or systematic attack against the civilian population. And indeed, there have been discussions about possible genocidal intent, which is a high threshold to prove under international law," she said.

Specialized in international criminal law, Busol, a Ukrainian who is currently an associate at the London-based think tank Chatham House, said: "Given certain statements by Russia's top leadership, one could derive, or at least one could start thinking about, such intention. And of course, in law, the presumption of innocence in criminal law is paramount. But certain images are deeply disturbing in terms of, you know, the civilians seen with burned bodies and tied hands and shot from behind." 

'No safe place' for children in Ukraine

Amanda Brydon, global head of child protection policy and advocacy at Save the Children, told DW that there is "no safe place for children in Ukraine."

"For those in cities like Kyiv, Kharkiv and Mariupol, explosive weapons have devastated vital infrastructure," Brydon said.

"Children and their families are struggling to get food, heat their homes, find safety."

She went on to say that the "intensity" is lower in Western Ukraine, but that "hotels are booked out" and "air raid alarms are going off daily."

Watch video 03:47

Several explosions in Lviv: DW's Fanny Facsar reports

"Children who are separated and unaccompanied are at a significantly increased risk of violence, trafficking and abuse," Brydon said, referring to children displaced by the conflict.

"The risks also increase at border crossing and transit points," Brydon said.

"It's been very difficult to track how many children there are," she added.

Asked on what mechanisms are in place to protect children, Brydon said that "efforts are now being made to be coordinating between UN agencies and NGOs like Save the Children, as well as the authorities at border crossing points to set up a registration mechanism."

"We're lucky that some of these neighboring countries have very strong child protection services," Brydon said.

"The key for this mechanism is to be identifying those children and then making sure that they're linked up so that they get the support that they need."

Watch video 12:36

World Stories - The Week in Reports

European countries expel nearly 200 Russian diplomats  

Italy, Spain and Slovenia were the latest countries in Europe to expel Russian diplomats from their soil, in response to the atrocities in the city of Bucha, Ukraine.  

They follow the likes of Germany, Italy, Denmark and France, bringing the total number of expelled Russian embassy and consulate staff to almost 200.  

European nations have said the expulsions had to do with alleged spying or "national security reasons."  

Russia has rejected accusations that its forces were responsible for what happened in Bucha, saying the images are fake or the deaths occurred after they left the area.  

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the mass expulsions of its diplomats was "a short-sighted move."   "Narrowing down opportunities for diplomatic communication in such an unprecedentedly difficult crisis environment is a short-sighted move that will further complicate our communication, which is necessary to find a solution," Peskov said.

Watch video 02:11

DW team finds Russian Bucha claims to be false

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) witnessed bombings

The medical charity group Doctors Without Borders, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), said in a statement that its team had witnessed bombings in Mykolaiv, Ukraine.

The incident ocurred during a hospital visit on April 4, where the staff managed to take cover and escape unharmed. MSF's team was there to help support people displaced by the war, working in concert with a local organization.

"Several explosions took place in close proximity to our staff over the course of about 10 minutes," said Michel-Olivier Lacharité, MSF head of mission in Ukraine.

"As they were leaving the area, the MSF team saw injured people and at least one dead body," he added.

MSF reported that the regional paediatric hospital was also hit.

"Bombing such a large area within a residential neighborhood in the middle of the afternoon cannot but cause civilian casualties and hit public buildings," Lacharité said.

Watch video 02:21

Ukraine accuses Russia of bombing children's hospital

Court of Arbitration for Sport to hear Russian appeals

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Tuesday said it would hear multiple challenges brought on by Russian federations and athletes to fight their bans from international sports due to their country's invasion of Ukraine.

Russian officials have filed appeals against governing bodies in seven sports: football, figure skating and speed skating, gymnastics, rowing, rugby and biathlon.

One such case will be that against FIFA, which banned Russian teams from global competitions, removing it from World Cup qualifying for this year's tournament in Qatar.

Judges are currently being selected for the Russian football appeal, CAS said, but "no procedural calendar has been established yet.''

Watch video 02:05

Fleeing Ukrainian athletes welcomed in Balkans

US envoy in Berlin praises Germany's policy turnaround

Amy Gutmann, the new US ambassador to Germany, said she understood why Berlin was hesitant to approve an immediate Russian energy embargo.

"I see Germany as doing everything it can, short of harming itself more than it harms Mr Putin," the ambassador said at one of her first official appearances, during a panel discussion at the Free University in Berlin. 

Gutmann, a former professor of politics with German roots, has been ambassador to Berlin for just under two months. 

She praised Germany's recent effort to become less dependent on Russian energy, which she said was happening "more rapidly than anyone thought was possible previously."

Her remarks come as Germany has been under pressure to increase sanctions on the Kremlin and its politicians have been under fire for being too close to Russia in the past years.

Zelenskyy addresses UN Security Council

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke via video link to a special meeting of the UN Security Council, urging for tougher measures against Moscow over alleged killings of civilians, as his country expects continued Russian bombardments in the east and south.

It was Zelenskyy's first speech to the UN Security Council since Russia's invasion and it comes after he traveled to Bucha to assess the severity of the situation.

"Yesterday I returned from Bucha," the Ukrainian president said during his address. "There is not a single crime they would not commit there."

"They killed entire families, adults and children, and they tried to burn the bodies," Zelenskyy added.

"The massacre in our city of Bucha is only one, unfortunately only one example of what the occupiers have been doing on our territory for the past 41 days," he added.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned during the Security Council meeting that Russia's invasion of Ukraine represented one of the greatest challenges ever to the international order "because of its nature, intensity, and consequences."

Watch video 01:08

Zelenskyy addresses UN Security Council

Estonia and Latvia close Russian consulates, expel diplomats

Estonia has decided to close the consulate general of the Russian Federation in Narva and the consular office of the Russian Embassy in Tartu. The Baltic country also said it would expel and declare as persona non grata 14 Russian staff, including seven employees with diplomatic status. They must leave Estonia by April 30, said Undersecretary for European Affairs at the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Märt Volmer.

Latvia has also decided to close two Russian consulates and to expel their staff.

"Taking into account atrocities committed by Russian armed forces in Ukraine, Latvia has decided to close Russian Consulates General in Daugavpils and Liepaja and to expel 13 Russian diplomats and employees," wrote Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs on Twitter.

Lithuania had already expelled its Russian ambassador on April 4 over what it called the "horrific massacre" in Bucha and atrocities in other Ukrainian cities. The Baltic country has also recalled its envoy in Moscow and closed Russian consulate in Klaipeda. Germany, France, Spain, Italy and others further west in Europe have taken similar steps.

Blinken: Bucha war crimes 'deliberate campaign'

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the killings in Bucha had not been a random act of a rogue unit but instead, it was a part of a deliberate Russian campaign to commit atrocities.

Blinken made the remarks prior to departing for the NATO foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels.

"What we've seen in Bucha is not the random act of a rogue unit," he said. "It's a deliberate campaign to kill, to torture, to rape, to commit atrocities. The reports are more than credible, the evidence is there for the world to see," the US top diplomat explained.

European Commission proposes new sanctions, including coal embargo

The European Commission has announced that it is planning a new raft of sanctions against Russia, in light of mounting evidence of atrocities committed against civilians by the Russian army.

One of the measures would include a total phaseout of Russian coal imports.

"We all saw the gruesome pictures from Bucha and other areas from which Russian troops have recently left. These atrocities cannot and will not be left unanswered," Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a speech.

German leaders have signaled that they will back the coal ban, which is likely to increase already skyrocketing energy prices in Europe.

You can read the full story here. 

Spain to expel Russian embassy officials 

Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said "at least 25" people working at the Russian embassy in Madrid would be affected, as Spain becomes the latest country to react to allegations of Russian human rights atrocities in Bucha, Ukraine. Germany, France and Italy have also expelled Russians working at the embassies in their respective capitals. 

Albares said the affected people included diplomats and other personnel and that the decision was a direct response to the "horrible incidents in Ukraine." He also said the individuals in question represented "a threat to the security interests" of Spain. 

NATO's Stoltenberg responds to Bucha deaths

NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg addressed the current events in Ukraine during a press conference, saying that the pictures from Bucha were of an "unbearable brutality that Europe has not witnessed in many decades." 

The remarks come a day before NATO foreign ministers are to gather in Brussels to discuss more financial, military and humanitarian support for Ukraine

Stoltenberg warned that the findings in Bucha would likely not be the last, implying that such atrocities could be happenings in other areas that are still under Russian occupation.

"But when and if they withdraw their troops and Ukrainian troops take over, I'm afraid they will see more mass graves, more atrocities and more examples of of war crimes,'' he added.

The NATO chief rejected Russian claims that the evidence of the atrocities had been staged.

"These atrocities have taken place during a period in which Russia controlled these areas. So they are responsible. Second, we have information from many different sources,'' he said.

Stoltenberg also answered questions about the alliance's defense capability and even regarding the possibility of Finland and Sweden joining the group. Stoltenberg said it was those counties' decision, but that if they were to choose to do so, he expected members to welcome them. 

France opens inquiries over possible war crimes

France's national anti-terrorism prosecutor's office had opened an investigation into possible war crimes in Ukraine.

The prosecutor's office said the investigation would focus on acts committed against French nationals in Mariupol, Gostomel and Chernihiv.

There was no mention of the killings of civilians and mass graves found in Bucha.

French President Emmanuel Macron said there were clear indications that Russian forces were responsible for the killings in Bucha.

"There are very clear clues pointing to war crimes. It is more or less established that the Russian army is responsible (for the Bucha killings)," Macron told France Inter radio.

Germany to help Moldova as it embraces Ukraine war refugees

Moldova needs major international support to cope with the influx of people fleeing neighboring Ukraine, the country's Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita told a donor conference in Berlin.

"Coping with this influx is one of the biggest challenges any Moldovan government has faced over the last three decades,'' she said.
Gavrilita told DW hosting refugees was only possible thanks to "an unprecedented mobilization."

"We have thousands of volunteers, we have volunteer families who are taking refugees in. We have private sector organizations who are making donations, non-governmental organizations. So it's really a society wide effort," she said.

Watch video 04:57

Moldovan PM: 'We are very determined to stay part of the free world'

Germany said it would loan Moldova €50 million ($55 million) on top of a support package of €40 million to help it cope with the influx of refugees.

Germany and partners, including the EU, France, and Romania, also want to help reduce Moldova's exposure to Russia, on which Europe's poorest country relies for energy supplies.

"Together with our Moldovan partners, we want to assess how we can help reduce Moldova's dependency on Russia economically, financially, and with a view to energy needs, and to strengthen the country's resilience," Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said.

'Victory' for Ukraine would be Russian forces back behind separatist lines 

Speaking on Ukrainian television, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that he would consider it a victory if Russian troops returned behind the "line of contact" in the Donbas region, which has separated Moscow-backed militias from the rest of Ukraine since 2014.

Zelenskyy said that if Ukraine tried to retake the occupied territories in Luhansk and Donetsk by force today, it would cost Ukrainians hundreds of thousands of lives.

However, the president stressed that Ukraine maintains sovereignty over the territory occupied by Russia.

"There should be no talk of calling Crimea as something other than Ukrainian. Donbas is also Ukraine, and as for the temporarily occupied territories following February 24, it is not even discussed."

Von der Leyen and Borrell to visit Kyiv

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will travel to Ukraine this week for talks with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

She will be accompanied by the EU's top diplomat, Josep Borrell, her spokesperson wrote on Twitter.

The visit comes ahead of a solidarity event in Warsaw in Poland on Saturday.

Earlier, Zelenskyy wrote on Twitter that he had told von der Leyen about the "inhumane crimes" witnessed in the suburbs of Kyiv.

It is the second such trip from EU officials. European Parliament President Roberta Metsola went to Ukraine last week.

Denmark and Italy expel Russian diplomats

Denmark and Italy said they would expel several Russian diplomats because of security concerns.

Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said 15 Russian intelligence officials must leave the country within two weeks, and Italy has expelled 30 Russian diplomats, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said.

Their announcements followed similar moves by Germany and France, which announced the expulsion of dozens of Russians with diplomatic status on Monday.

According to the Russian news agency RIA, Moscow said it would retaliate and expel Danish diplomats from Russia.

Zelenskyy says talks with Russia after Bucha challenging but necessary 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said the possibility of holding more talks with Russia was very challenging, but there was no other option.

Speaking on Ukrainian television, Zelenskyy added that a face-to-face meeting between him and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin does not look likely.

The Ukrainian leader said the killings in Bucha showed the phrase "needing denazification," which Putin used as justification for the invasion, applies more to Russia than to Ukraine.

He repeated that his country would need security guarantees as part of any peace settlement.
Zelenskyy said the  Ukraine and Russia would not be able to agree on all points over Donbas at once but should work on it.

Detained Red Cross team released

A team from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been released after being held in Manhush, a town in the eastern Donetsk province, Ukrainian deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk has said.

"After negotiations, they were released during the night and sent to Zaporizhzhia," she said. 

It is still not clear who detained ICRC team. Vereshchuk blamed "occupation authorities," while ICRC spokesperson Jason Straziuso was only willing to say it was not "a hostage situation."

The team had been trying to reach the besieged city of Mariupol on Monday and evacuate some of the remaining residents. It was their fourth such attempt since Friday.

Zaporizhzhia is about 200 kilometers (120 miles) away from Mariupol.

Russia again denies Bucha atrocities against civilians

Russia's parliamentary speaker has said the West staged the civilian killings in Bucha to "discredit" Russia, despite having no evidence to back up his claims.

"The situation in Bucha is a provocation ... Washington and Brussels are the screenwriters and directors and Kyiv are the actors," said Vyacheslav Volodin," speaker of Russia's lower house of parliament, the Duma.

"There are no facts, just lies," he added. 

Over the weekend, Ukrainian troops, satellite imagery, journalists and civilians revealed evidence of the slaughter of innocent civilians after Russian troops withdrew from Bucha, a suburb of Kyiv. 

Images showed streets littered with the bodies of people. Other images showed victims who had been shot in the head with their hands bound. A mass grave was also discovered.

International condemnation followed the discovery of the bodies, with Western leaders calling for tougher action against Russia.

Watch video 04:25

'Moscow hasn't explained how these people died'

China and Ukrainian foreign ministers discuss war in phone call

China's foreign minister Wang Yi spoke to his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba calling for talks to end the conflict in Ukraine.

"Wars end eventually. The key is how to reflect on the pain, to maintain lasting security in Europe and establish a balanced, effective, and sustainable European security mechanism," Wang said, according to the ministry.

"China stands ready to play a constructive role in this regard in an objective position," he added.

It is the first reported high-level conversation between the countries since the beginning of March when Kuleba asked Beijing to use its ties with Moscow to stop Russia's invasion.

"We both share the conviction that ending the war against Ukraine serves common interests of peace, global food security, and international trade," Kuleba wrote on Twitter.

Russian troops need 'significant re-equipping and refurbishment'

British military intelligence said Russian forces would need "significant re-equipping and refurbishment" before they could be redeployed in Ukraine.

In its latest intelligence update, the British Ministry of Defense said Ukrainian forces were retaking key terrain in the north after forcing Russia to retreat.

Moscow's troops were pulling out of areas north of Kyiv and Chernihiv in the north of Ukraine.

It said low-level fighting might continue while forces are withdrawing.

Japan brings in 20 Ukrainian refugees on special flight from Poland

The Japanese government flew 20 Ukrainian refugees into Tokyo on Tuesday in a high-profile show of support for Ukraine. Japan has long been reluctant to take in foreigners and has a stringent refugee policy.

The 20 are not the first Ukrainian refugees to arrive in Japan since the Russian invasion, but they are the first to be flown in on a special government plane.

"The government of Japan is committed to provide the maximum support to these 20 Ukrainians to help them live with a sense of peace in Japan," Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi told reporters.

Hayashi was on a three-day trip to Poland, visiting refugees centers in Warsaw, and held talks with Polish officials, international humanitarian organizations, and civil groups to assess how Japan could provide support.

Tokyo expects the 20 evacuees to stay in Japan for at least six months and would provide further support if needed.

Satellite images show bodies in Bucha since mid March

Newly released satellite photographs by Maxar Technologies appeared to show that bodies have been on the streets of the Ukrainian town of Bucha since mid-March, when Russian forces controlled the town.

Ukraine has accused Russian forces of committing atrocities in Bucha, which lies on the outskirts of the capital Kyiv. Russia has denied these allegations and claims that the images of bodies on the streets of the town were faked by Ukrainian forces.

Ukrainian forces retook the town on March 31.

"High-resolution Maxar satellite imagery collected over Bucha, Ukraine (northwest of Kyiv) verifies and corroborates recent social media videos and photos that reveal bodies lying in the streets and left out in the open for weeks," a spokesman for Maxar Technologies said.

US stops Russian bond payments

The United States stopped the Russian government from paying holders of Russian bonds more than $600 million (€547 million) from its reserves held in US banks.

Previously, the US had allowed Russia to access its frozen foreign reserves on a case-by-case basis to make coupon payments.

The US government decided to cut off Moscow's access to frozen funds on Monday, as payments including a $552.4 million (€503.6 million) principal payment on a maturing bond came due.

"Russia must choose between draining remaining valuable dollar reserves or new revenue coming in, or default," a US Treasury spokesperson said.

Watch video 12:01

DW Business - America

US approves sale of F-16 jets to Bulgaria

The US Defense Department has approved the sale of eight F-16 combat aircraft to Bulgaria for $1.67 billion (€1.52 billion).

"The proposed sale will improve Bulgaria's capability to meet current and future threats by enabling the Bulgarian Air Force to deploy modern fighter aircraft routinely in the Black Sea region," the department's Defense Security Cooperation Agency said.

Meta briefly blocks hashtags related to Bucha

Facebook owner Meta briefly blocked hashtags related to the town of Bucha, where Ukraine alleges Russian forces committed atrocities against civilians.

Meta spokesman Andy Stone said the company uses automated systems that scan for violent imagery on Facebook and Instagram. Stone said that these systems blocked hashtags including #bucha and #buchamassacre.

"This happened automatically because of the graphic content people posted using these hashtags. When we were made aware of the issue yesterday, we acted quickly to unblock the hashtags," Stone tweeted.

British, Ukrainian foreign ministers condemn Bucha 'war crimes'

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said it was "very clear" that war crimes had been committed in Ukraine. 

Speaking at a press conference in Poland, she said, "We are all appalled by the scenes in Bucha, the butchery, the clear evidence of sexual crime, of the targeting of innocent civilians and it is very clear that war crimes have taken place."

Speaking on the same stage, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called for tougher sanctions on Russia.

"The horrors that we've seen in Bucha are just the tip of the iceberg of all the crimes (that) have been committed by the Russian Army," Kuleba said. 

"Half measures are not enough any more. I demand most severe sanctions this week, this is the plea of the victims of the rapes and killings. If you have doubts about sanctions go to Bucha first," he added.

Ukrainian mayor's family and two others reportedly found dead with hands tied

Ukrainian authorities found the bodies of the mayor and four others in the village of Motyzhyn, west of Kyiv. The dead included mayor Olga Sukhenko, her husband, son, and two others who were not part of her family.

Police said the dead had their hands tied behind their back. 

Four bodies, including that of the mayor, were found half buried in a grave in a pine forest near her house, reported French news agency AFP. A fifth body was discovered in a little well in the home's garden. 

Police said 50-year-old Sukhenko, her husband, and son were abducted on March 24 when they refused to collaborate with invading Russian forces. 

Australia bans luxury exports to Russia

Australia's Foreign Ministry announced that it would ban the export of luxury goods to Russia.

The ban includes wine, high value cosmetics and parts for luxury vehicles.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said in a statement that the sanctions target "Putin and his wealthy enablers" rather than Russian consumers.

Payne said that the sanctions were being undertaken in coordination with the European Union, United Kingdom, United States and Japan, who have enacted or will enact similar bans.

Ukraine's Zelenskyy to address UN Security Council regarding atrocities

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that he would address the UN Security Council on Tuesday.

The security council session is to consider Ukrainian allegations of a massacre committed in the town of Bucha by Russian forces.

Moscow has denied the accusations, calling them "criminal provocations." It said it would present evidence that Russian forces were not involved in the killings.

Watch video 01:56

Ukraine atrocities draw int'l condemnation

Zelenskyy said in a Monday address to Romania's parliament that the number of civilian casualties in towns such as Borodyanka may be even higher than in Bucha, adding that it is in Ukraine's interest to have an "open" investigation into atrocities occurring in the country.

Zelenskyy alleged that Russian forces will try to destroy traces of the atrocities, and that is important that international journalists go to Bucha and other towns to document the killings.

Watch video 05:53

Ukraine atrocities: Aisling Reidy (Human Rights Watch) speaks to DW

Russia preparing new offensive in eastern Ukraine

Ukraine's Defense Ministry said that Russia is preparing to launch new attacks in eastern Ukraine and take the northeastern city of Kharkiv.

Russia was attacking the towns of Rubizhne and Popasna in the Luhansk region, Defense Ministry spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk said, adding that they were aiming to push through to Severodonetsk.

Severodonetsk has served as the Luhansk region's administrative center since the city of Luhansk was taken over by pro-Russian separatists in 2014.

Watch video 01:42

Ukraine: Russia shifting strategy to 'liberate' Donbas

Meanwhile, Luhansk governor Sergiy Gaiday said that Russia was preparing to attack the region and urged a mass evacuation.

"We understand that they are preparing for a full-scale big breakthrough," Gaiday said.

"Please don't wait for your homes to be bombed," he said, urging residents to evacuate.

A senior US official said that Russian forces were "repositioning" in a bid to conquer parts of eastern and southern Ukraine.

"Russia is repositioning its forces to concentrate its offensive operations in eastern and parts of southern Ukraine," US national security advisor Jake Sullivan said.

"Russia has tried to subjugate the whole of Ukraine and it has failed. Now it will attempt to bring parts of the country under its rule," the US official added.

Sullivan said that this repositioning may mark a new phase in the war in Ukraine that could "be measured in months or longer."

Summary of events in Ukraine-Russia crisis on Monday

Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended the decision not to admit Ukraine into NATO in 2008.

Germany's federal government warned Russian speakers in the country not to fall for "disinformation" from Russian state media.

Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitscho urged residents who fled the city not to return for "at least another week."

The US Department of Defense said that Russian forces are responsible for atrocities committed in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.

Germany said it would expel 40 Russian diplomats, with France also announcing a similar move, as outrage over the Bucha massacre grows.  

Deputy chairman of Russia's security council and former President Dmitry Medvedev said that Moscow would respond harshly to the expulsion of diplomats from Western countries.

Germany announced that it would put local Gazprom subsidiary Gazprom Germania under state trusteeship.

The governor of the northern Ukrainian region of Sumy said that there were no longer any Russian troops in towns or villages in the region.

An intelligence update from the UK's Ministry of Defence stated that Russia was consolidating its position in the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine.

lo,sdi/wd (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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