Ukraine: Kyiv police find bound men in Bucha as Russia continues eastern assault — as it happened | News | DW | 30.04.2022

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Ukraine: Kyiv police find bound men in Bucha as Russia continues eastern assault — as it happened

In the town of Bucha outside Kyiv, police found three bodies of civilians who had been bound and tortured. Meanwhile, Russia renewed its attacks in the eastern Donbas region. DW has the latest.

Relatives mourn during the funeral at Bucha Cemetery for two children and their mother exhumed from a mass grave

Relatives mourn during the funeral at Bucha Cemetery for victims who were exhumed from a mass grave

  • Police find three more bodies with their hands tied in Bucha
  • France's Macron vows to 'intensify' military aid to Kyiv
  • Russia and Ukraine make fresh prisoner swap
  • Zelenskyy says Russia wants to destroy Donbas

This live updates article has been closed. For the latest news on the war in Ukraine, please click here.

This article was last updated at 22:20 GMT/UTC

Scholz defends his Ukraine policies

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has rejected criticism of his cautious approach to the war in Ukraine.

"I make my decisions quickly — and in coordination with our allies. I am suspicious of hasty action and Germany going it alone," Scholz told Germany's Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

The German leader came under fire from Friedrich Merz, head of the main conservative party in the Bundestag the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), for his reluctance to discuss sending of weapons to Ukraine.

On Thursday, German lawmakers overwhelmingly voted in favor of sending heavy weapons after repeated calls from Ukraine.

Angelina Jolie makes surprise visit to Lviv

Hollywood actress and UN humanitarian Angelina Jolie visited to the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, the city's regional governor said on Telegram.

Maksym Kozytskyy, wrote that Jolie, who has been a UNHCR Special Envoy for Refugees since 2011, spoke with displaced people who have found refuge in Lviv, including injured children undergoing treatment.

He said Jolie also visited a boarding school, talked with students and took photos with them, adding that "she promised she would come again.''

Jolie also met with evacuees arriving at Lviv's central railway station, as well as with volunteers providing medical help and counseling, according to Kozytskyy.

"The visit was a surprise to us all," he wrote. "Plenty of people who saw Ms. Jolie in the Lviv region could not believe that it was really her. But since Feb. 24, Ukraine has shown the entire world that there are plenty of incredible things here."

Angelina Jolie with three kids in Lviv

Jolie, a UN special envoy, visited the western Ukrainian city of Lviv

Dozens of civilians evacuated from Mariupol steel plant

Twenty-five civilians have been evacuated from the besieged Azovstal steel plant in the southeastern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, according to Russian news agencies.

Six children were among those rescued, TASS and Ria Novosti reported.

Shortly afterward, the deputy commander of the Ukrainian Azov Regiment, Svyatoslav Palamar, said 20 women and children had left the premises.

Around 1,000 civilians sought refuge in the bunkers of the steelworks, according to Ukraine, and are now trapped alongside Ukrainian fighters and foreign mercenaries.

Kyiv has warned if Russian forces killed the last remaining troops in Mariupol, it would spell the end of any peace talks.

UK's Johnson promises more military aid to Kyiv

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that he was more committed than ever to reinforcing Ukraine, a spokesperson for Johnson's office said.

"He confirmed that the UK will continue to provide additional military aid to give the Ukrainians the equipment they needed to defend themselves," the spokesperson said following a call between the two leaders.

He added that Johnson also offered Britain's continued economic and humanitarian support.

Hours earlier, newly reelected French President Emmanuel Macron promised to step up military aid to Ukraine.

Stockholm: Russian plane violated Swedish airspace

A Russian military plane violated Swedish airspace, local media reported Saturday, citing the country's defense minister.

The incident, involving a Russian reconnaissance plane, took place on Friday evening south of the county of Blekinge, which sits next to the Baltic Sea.

The plane entered Swedish airspace for a short period before leaving, local media said.

Swedish fighter jets followed the incident and photographed the aircraft. 

Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist said the violation was "completely unacceptable" and vowed to raise the issue diplomatically with Moscow.

The incident took place as the Scandinavian country ponders a bid for NATO membership in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Four Russian fighter jets had already briefly violated the airspace over Sweden at the beginning of March.

Watch video 02:41

Kremlin seeks to capture Ukraine’s Donbas region

Kyiv denies Russia sanctions relief part of peace talks

Ukraine has denied that peace talks with Russia include plans to undo crippling sanctions imposed on Moscow by the West.

Senior Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak dismissed comments by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that the lifting of sanctions is part of negotiations.

In remarks cited by the office of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, he said that "the issue of global international sanctions against the Russian Federation is not being discussed at all."

Earlier, Lavrov told China's official Xinhua news agency that the two sides are "discussing on a daily basis via video-conferencing a draft of a possible treaty." 

He added that the agenda included "the issues of denazification, the recognition of new geopolitical realities, the lifting of sanctions, the status of the Russian language."

Kyiv warned on Friday that the talks on ending Russia's invasion, now in its third month, were in danger of collapse.

Watch video 02:58

Runway of Odesa airport has been destroyed: DW's Mathias Bölinger

Russia destroys Odesa airport runway

A Russian rocket attack has damaged the airport runway in Odesa, the Ukrainian army said, adding that the airstrip can no longer be used.

"Today, the enemy struck with a Bastion coastal defense missile launched from Crimea. Odesa airport runway has been destroyed. Thank God there were no victims," regional governor Maxim Marchenko said in a video posted to his Telegram account.

Ukrainian news agency UNIAN reported said "several" explosions were heard in the city and local authorities had told residents to shelter in place.

Odesa is Ukraine's third-most populous city and a key Black Sea port.

Kyiv: 14 Ukrainians including pregnant soldier freed in prisoner exchange

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk says a new prisoner exchange has taken place with Russian forces.

“Prisoners were exchanged today. Bringing home 14 of our people: 7 military and 7 civilians,” Vereshchuk wrote on Facebook. She added that the new exchange was “special to me” as one of the military women is in the fifth month of pregnancy.

Several exchanges between Moscow and Kyiv have taken place since Russia invaded on February 24.

On Friday, Vereshchuk told the BBC that Russian forces are evacuating large numbers of civilians into Russia, including almost 500 women, who are being held in prisons.

"Now we refuse to hold an exchange with no women on the list. That is how we try to somehow rescue our women and civilians," she said.

Russia: Risk of nuclear war should be kept to a 'minimum'

A Russian Foreign Ministry official said the risk of a nuclear conflict must be minimized and that war between nuclear powers should be prevented.

The TASS news agency cited Vladimir Yermakov, the foreign ministry's head of nuclear non-proliferation as saying that all nuclear powers must stick to the logic laid out in official documents aimed at preventing atomic war.

"The risks of nuclear war, which should never be unleashed, must be kept to a minimum, in particular through preventing any armed conflict between nuclear powers," Yermakov said. "Russia clearly follows this understanding."

He was referring to a joint statement made by Russia, China, Britain, the United States and France in January that agreed that the further spread of nuclear arms and a nuclear conflict should be avoided.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said this week the West should not underestimate the heightened risks of nuclear war over Ukraine.

Watch video 02:07

Ukraine war sends price of Eid festivities skyrocketing

Bodies found in Bucha with hands tied behind their backs

Kyiv regional police said they'd uncovered the bodies of three civilians in Bucha whose hands had been tied behind their backs and who showed signs of torture.

The bodies were found in a pit in Bucha, located close to the capital Kyiv.

"The victims' hands were tied, cloths were covering their eyes and some were gagged. There are traces of torture on the corpses," authorities said in a statement on Saturday.

The victims had multiple gunshot wounds in their ears and other extremities, indicating that they'd been tortured before being killed, Kyiv regional police chief Andriy Nebytov said.

Over 1,000 bodies have been discovered in and around Bucha, where Ukrainian authorities allege widespread abuse by Russian troops who occupied the area during their bid to seize Kyiv. Russia rejects the accusations.

Watch video 02:41

Ukraine: Can Russia be held accountable for war crimes?

Over 390,000 refugees from Ukraine in Germany

The number of refugees arriving in Germany from Ukraine continues to rise, the German Interior Ministry said.

Currently, at least 392,600 refugees from Ukraine are in Germany, according to the latest figures published on Saturday. The actual number, however, could be much higher.

An exact number is hard to determine, as there are no stationary controls at the European Union's internal borders, and people fleeing Ukraine can enter Germany without a visa and stay for 90 days.

The war refugees from Ukraine are mainly "women, children and older people," Germany's Interior Ministry said.

The United Nations estimates over 5.4 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion at the end of February.

Watch video 02:28

Keeping Ukrainian refugee baby Davyd alive

France's Macron vows to step up military aid to Ukraine

French President Emmanuel Macron said his country would "intensify" deliveries of military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

The newly reelected French leader promised the aid boost during a phone call on Saturday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The French aid to Ukraine amounts to "more than 615 tons of equipment, including medical equipment, generators for hospitals, food aid, shelter aid and emergency vehicles," a statement from the French presidency said.

France will also send its ultra-modern Caesar cannons to Kyiv.

The French presidency said Zelenskyy thanked France for "large-scale military shipments that contribute to the Ukrainian resistance."

Earlier this week, Germany announced it would send Gepard anti-aircraft tanks to Ukraine — shifting its previously cautious policy towards weapons deliveries.

France, the Czech Republic and the United States, however, have been providing hundreds of long-range artillery components to Ukraine's military.

Berlin planning to speed up LNG terminal construction: report

As part of its bid to reduce Germany's dependence on Russian fossil fuel imports, the government is planning a new law to enable faster approval and construction of import terminals for liquefied natural gas (LNG), the dpa news agency has reported.

The agency cited sources from the Ministry of Economics and Technology as saying the law on accelerating LNG projects in northern Germany had been submitted for departmental approval.

It said a paper it had seen stated that the "LNG Acceleration Act" aimed to "go through all approval and licensing procedures as well as the awarding of public contracts and concessions considerably faster than is possible under the current legal situation, and so to achieve speedy approvals and integration of LNG into the German market."

Among other things, licensing authorities would be allowed to temporarily suspend certain requirements such as environmental impact assessments under some circumstances.

Germany imported some 55% of its gas, 50% of its coal and 35% of its crude oil from Russia in March.

The goal of lessening German dependence on Russia for its energy needs gained further urgency last week after Moscow halted gas supplies to fellow EU states Poland and Bulgaria.

Berlin has come under considerable pressure from allies to embargo fossil fuel imports from Russia, which are thought to provide Moscow with much of its revenue for continuing its assault on Ukraine. So far, Germany has cited fears of severe economic damage as a reason for not stopping its imports from Russia.

The Mallnow natural gas compressor station in Germany

Germany's post-war economy has depended largely on imports of cheap Russian fossil fuels

Russia forces focusing on east but without success: Ukrainian General Staff

Fighting is ongoing in eastern Ukraine but Ukrainian forces are repelling Russian attempts to advance further inland, the Ukrainian General Staff has said in an update.

Some 14 attacks were repelled in the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, which are partly controlled by pro-Russian separatists. Ukrainian forces destroyed 11 tanks, nine drones and seven artillery systems, according to the update.

Russia was continuing to mass troops near the city of Izyum in the Kharkiv region at the eastern Ukrainian border, the Ukrainian General staff added. Russian units also fired at targets with rockets and artillery in the Dnipropetrovsk region, southwest of the city of Kharkiv, the update said.

This comes as the English-language newspaper Kyiv Independent published information from Ukraine's armed forces saying that 23,200 Russian troops have been killed so far during Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24.

That figure and the information from the Ukrainian General Staff cannot yet be independently verified. Russia has so far given a far lower official death toll for Russian troops in Ukraine.

 

Map showing the parts of Ukraine under control by Russian troops

Shelling in Russia's Bryansk region hits oil terminal: governor

Shells hit parts of an oil terminal and adjacent sites in the Bryansk region after Russian air defenses prevented a Ukrainian aircraft from entering the area on Saturday morning, the region's governor told Russian news agencies.

Alexander Bogomaz was cited by RIA news agency as saying that there were no casualties and that a logistics building at the terminal had been damaged.

The Bryansk region lies about 100 kilometers (62 miles) north of Ukraine's northern border with Russia.

Watch video 02:17

Ukraine's new frontline: Russian attacks on Kharkiv won't end anytime soon

Russian forces 'stealing grain': Ukrainian minister

Ukraine's deputy agriculture minister has said Russian soldiers have stolen hundreds of thousands of tons of grain from areas they are occupying.

Taras Vysotskiy told Ukrainian national television that he was worried that Russian forces might also steal 1.5 million metric tons (1.6 million US tons) of grain he said was stored in occupied territory.

The same stealing accusation was leveled at Russian troops by Ukraine's Foreign Ministry on Thursday. It said such theft increased the threat to global food security.

Ukraine is one of the world's major wheat producers and had a 10% share of the export market in 2021, according to UN figures.

Combine harvesters n the fields of Novovodolazhsky district of Kharkiv region, Ukraine, in 2017

Ukraine has sometimes been called the 'breadbasket of Europe'

Russia's invasion still facing 'considerable challenges': UK military intelligence

Russian forces are still being hampered in their operations in Ukraine by deficits in tactical coordination, the UK Ministry of Defense has said in an intelligence update.

"A lack of unit-level skills and inconsistent air support have left Russia unable to fully leverage its combat mass, despite localized improvements," it said.

It said many of the units previously involved in the failed attempts to take territory in Ukraine's northeast were depleted and likely to be suffering from "weakened morale."

Russia was now trying to remedy these shortcomings “by geographically concentrating combat power, shortening supply lines and simplifying command and control," according to the update.

Moscow is now focusing its military efforts on taking territory in eastern Ukraine after its forces failed to make significant advances elsewhere in the country in the face of determined Ukrainian resistance.

Russia blames West for faltering talks with Ukraine

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview for Chinese news agency Xinhua published early on Saturday morning that the lack of progress in ongoing talks with Ukraine was down to Western intervention.

He said "the belligerent rhetoric and incitement of Kyiv’s Western benefactors" is what is obstructing further talks, Russian news agency TASS reported.

"If the US and NATO are really interested in resolving the Ukraine crisis, then first of all, they should wake up and stop supplying the Kyiv regime with arms and ammunition," Lavrov said.

Lavrov said negotiations have been continuing over daily video conferences. But he said Ukraine must stop acting in the interests of "remote advisers" who incite Kyiv to "fight until the last Ukrainian."

However, on Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in an interview with Polish media that talks between the two sides were at high risk of falling apart, Ukrainian newspaper Ukrayinska Pravda reported.

Lavrov also insisted that Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which he referred to using the official Kremlin terminology of a "special military operation," was going to plan.

He also said Russia could "retool" its economy to bolster it against potential "unlawful hostilities" and that the country would reduce imports and boost its technological independence in the face of Western sanctions.

Watch video 04:16

When Ukrainians meet Russians

Russia trying to 'destroy Donbas,' Zelenskyy says

In his nightly video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy claimed that Russia wants to "destroy any life" in the Donbas region, comparing it to the Russian offensive against the port city of Mariupol.

"Constant brutal bombings, constant Russian strikes at infrastructure and residential areas show that Russia wants to make this area uninhabited," he said.

He welcomed the return to Kyiv of the UK's Ambassador to Ukraine Melinda Simmons and added that "currently, 27 foreign diplomatic missions operate in the capital of our country."

Watch video 01:37

Russia intensifies shelling in Ukraine's Donbas region

Zelenskyy also gave his condolences to the relatives and friends of Vera Hyrych, the journalist killed in Thursday's airstrike against Kyiv.

"The dismantlement of debris in Kyiv, where Russian missiles hit yesterday during the visit of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, continues," he said. "Unfortunately, such a deliberate and brutal humiliation of the United Nations by Russia was left without a powerful response."

Russia makes overdue foreign payments in dollars

Russia's Finance Ministry said on Friday that it had made two interest payments on foreign bonds in dollars, just avoiding a last-minute default.

The payment of the debt in US dollars marks a U-turn by Moscow after it had pledged to pay only in rubles following the freezing of its foreign currency reserves.

While the deadline had already passed, Russia was able to make the payment before the end of the 30-day grace period, which investors and rating agencies had not expected.

The sanctioning of Russia's Central Bank has forced Moscow to use revenues from gas and oil sales to pay off debts or foreign currency reserves outside the country. The aim of the international sanctions is to deplete the country's financial resources and so halt its ability to fund its war in Ukraine.

Speculation over a possible default has loomed large since the sanctions were first imposed. Russia has not defaulted since the 1917 Revolution, which led to the collapse of the Russian Empire and the founding of the Soviet Union.

A US license that allows banks to process Russian debt payments is set to expire in less than four weeks.

Watch video 26:05

The Day with Phil Gayle: Missile Messaging

Summary of Friday's events in the war in Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Russian strikes on Kyiv on Thursday were meant to "humiliate" the UN during the visit by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

One of the strikes hit a residential building, killing Radio Free Europe journalist Vira Hyrych.

Russia confirmed the strikes but said it had destroyed the production facilities of a space-rocket plant in the Ukrainian capital.

Ukraine said it was planning an operation to evacuate the civilians who have been trapped inside the Azovstal steelworks in the besieged city of Mariupol. Guterres said the UN would redouble its efforts to reduce human suffering after his visit to Kyiv.

NATO Allied Air Command said that it had scrambled fighter planes "multiple times" in recent days to track and intercept Russian planes near alliance airspace, especially in areas over the Baltic and Black seas.

Polish officials said that more than 3 million Ukrainian refugees have crossed into the country since the beginning of the war, although many have since moved on and some have returned to Ukraine.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that his county does not consider itself to be at war with NATO and accused Western nations of threatening nuclear war. He also told Moldova it should "worry about its future" over ties with NATO.

The Pentagon said on Friday that the US was training Ukrainian troops at its military installations in Germany.

rs, tj, ab/sms (AP, Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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