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Scholz and Zelenskyy seek justice for 'war crimes'

April 11, 2022

British military intelligence said there was evidence of "disproportionate" attacks on civilians after Russia pulled out of parts of northern Ukraine.

A wheels his bicycle past destruction in the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv
Russia left behind a path of destruction in the northern city of Chernihiv after its forces pulled outImage: Zohra Bensemra/REUTERS
  • UK says Russian pullout in north reveals attacks on civilians

  • Further pro-Russia demonstrations in Germany

  • Ukraine urges strong global response to Kramatorsk train station strike

  • UN says Ukrainian refugee numbers reach 4.5 million

We have closed these live updates. Please head to our new article for all the latest developments.

EU could boost renewables as it cuts Russian energy imports

Brussels may set more ambitious renewable energy targets as it tries to wean itself off Russian fossil fuel imports, EU climate policy chief Frans Timmermans said.

EU member states have agreed to reduce their net greenhouse gas emissions by 55% from 1990 levels by 2030, a step towards "net zero" by 2050.

Under current plans, the EU is set to grow the share of renewable energy to 40% by 2030. But Timmermans said the bloc could now push for a "higher percentage of renewable energy" by the same deadline.

He thinks EU countries could boost imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the short term but then quickly move towards more renewables.

World Bank: Ukraine economy to plunge by nearly half

Ukraine's economic output will likely contract by a staggering 45.1% this year, the World Bank said in a new report.

It said Russia's invasion has shut down businesses, slashed exports and rendered economic activity impossible in many parts of the country.

In its "War in the Region" update, the bank estimated that over half of the country's firms are closed, while others are operating at well under normal capacity.

The closure of Black Sea shipping from Ukraine has cut off some 90% of the country's grain exports and half of its total exports.

The bank also forecast Russia's 2022 GDP output to fall 11.2% due to punishing financial sanctions imposed by the West.

Economists said GDP in the Eastern Europe region, comprising Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova, is forecast to contract by 30.7% this year, due to shocks from the war and disruption of trade.

Klitschko brothers: Russian troops will target Kyiv again

Russia's military will return to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko and his brother Wladimir have warned. And when they do, the pair said, Ukraine will need weapons to repel the advance.

In an interview with ABC News, Wladimir Klitschko pleaded for the world to isolate Russia economically, saying "every cent that Russia is getting, they're using for weapons to kill us."

Vitali Klitschko spoke of the shocking discovery of the bodies of hundreds of civilians after the Russians retreated from Kyiv. He called it genocide to kill women, children, old people and teenagers for no reason.

To defend Ukraine now, the mayor said, is to defend democracy and peace in Europe.

Ukraine: Death toll from Kramatorsk missile strike rises 

The death toll from a missile strike on the train station in Ukraine's Kramatorsk has risen to 57 people, Donetsk region governor Pavlo Kyrylenko has said.

Kyrylenko said 109 people were wounded in the attack, which Ukraine has blamed on Russia.

Moscow has denied responsibility, saying the missile was Ukrainian.

Ukrainian forces examine the Russian missile that struck the Kramatorsk train station
The Russian missile that struck the Kramatorsk train station had the words "For the children" written on its sideImage: Seth Sidney Berry/ZUMA Wire/IMAGO

Austria's Nehammer to hold talks with Putin in Moscow

Austria's Chancellor Karl Nehammer will on Monday become the first European leader to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin since Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

The Chancellery in Vienna confirmed the talks between the two leaders.

"He is going there, having informed Berlin, Brussels and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy" to encourage dialogue, said a spokesman for Nehammer, who was in Kyiv on Saturday.

Austria, which is not a member of NATO, has so far provided 10,000 helmets and 9,000 protective vests for Ukrainian civilian use, among other things.

Sullivan promises more US weapons to Ukraine

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told ABC News that Washington will provide Ukraine with "the weapons it needs" to defend itself against Russia.

Speaking later on NBC's "Meet the Press," Sullivan said the US was "working around the clock to deliver our own weapons . . . and organizing and coordinating the delivery of weapons from many other countries."

The US has sent $1.7 billion (€1.57 billion) in military assistance to Ukraine, the White House said last week, but is under pressure from Kyiv to deliver more.

White House: Biden-Modi set for fresh talks on Ukraine

US President Joe Biden and his Indian counterpart will discuss the Ukraine conflict during a virtual meeting on Monday, the White House has said.

Biden will use the talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to continue "close consultations" on the consequences of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, along with the impact on global food security, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

New Delhi has so far refused to condemn Moscow through the United Nations, although it has said it was deeply disturbed by the alleged killings of civilians by Russian troops in the town of Bucha.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who met with Modi in New Delhi in early April, has praised India for its approach to the conflict.

Prominent Russian rights activist arrested 

Oleg Orlov, a leader of the now-banned human rights organization Memorial, Russia's oldest rights group, was arrested after staging a one-man protest of his country's invasion of Ukraine in Moscow's Red Square.

Members of Memorial shared a video of Orlov with a sign that read, "Our willingness to know the truth and our silence, makes us conspirators in this crime," before he was taken away by police. It is Orlov's fourth such arrest.

The protest monitoring group OVD-Info also said one other arrest occurred of a man wearing the blue and yellow of the Ukrainian flag in front of Moscow city hall.

Oleg Orlov, pictured outside a Moscow court, in December
Rights activist Oleg Orlov, pictured outside a Moscow court, in DecemberImage: Mikhail Voskresenskiy/imago images/SNA

US: Russia appoints new war commander

US national security advisor Jake Sullivan told CNN that Russia has appointed a new war commander, General Alexander Dvornikov.

The 60-year-old general is among Russia's most experienced military officials, US officials say. They added he has a record of brutality in Syria and elsewhere.

Sullivan said, "This general will just be another author of crimes and brutality against Ukrainian civilians."

He added, "No appointment of any general can erase the fact that Russia has already faced a strategic failure in Ukraine."

Dvornikov previously served in the second Chechen war and had several senior roles before he was placed in charge of Russian forces in Syria in 2015.

The US national security advisor added Russia's decision to target civilians "lies at the feet of the Kremlin."

Over 1,200 bodies found in the region around Kyiv

Iryna Venediktova, Ukraine's prosecutor general, said that 1,222 bodies have been recovered in the region around Kyiv to date.

Venediktova said, "We have actually now, only for this morning, 1,222 dead people only in Kyiv region."

Russian forces recently retreated from the region. In the towns of Bucha and Borodyanka, civilians were found dead on the streets and in shallow graves following Russia's weeks-long occupation.

Russian forces destroy Dnipro airport

Russia fired rockets that destroyed the Dnipro airport, Ukrainian officials said.

On Telegram, the governor of Dnipropetrovsk, Valentyn Reznichenko, said, "The airport itself was destroyed, as well as nearby infrastructure.

The attacks continue, Reznichenko added.

Dnipro is a city of one million along the river of the same name.

Smoke rises from Dnipro airport after the Russian attack
Smoke rises from Dnipro airport after the Russian rocket attackImage: RONALD SCHEMIDT/AFP

Ukraine has identified 5,600 war crimes, 500 suspects

Iryna Venediktova, Ukraine's prosecutor general, said the country had identified 5,600 cases of alleged war crimes and had identified 500 suspects. Among those crimes is Friday's missile attack on the train station in Kramatorsk in the Donetsk region.

Pascal Hundt, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Ukraine, said, "The scale of the suffering we are seeing is simply immense, and I cannot remember seeing this in recent history."

Russia's VTB no longer in control of European subsidiary

Germany's banking regulator said it stripped Russian bank VTB of control over its Germany-based subsidiary VTB Bank SE. In a statement, the financial authority said VTB "no longer has control" over the Europe-based firm.

VTB will no longer be able to access its subsidiary's financial assets as the subsidiary has been "completely isolated" from Russian VTB.

The European entity can continue to function, but its board is not permitted to take directives from Russian VTB following EU sanctions Friday on the bank. VTB's German subsidiary's operations were "unchanged" and clients could continue to access deposits, German regulators said.

VTB was already hit by US sanctions and has been cut from the international SWIFT banking system. The German-registered subsidiary has been banned from transferring funds to "VTB group entities" already for "several weeks," Germany's financial regulator said.

Russian forces stole radioactive substances from Chernobyl

Ukraine's state agency for managing the Chernobyl exclusion zone said Russian forces that occupied the Chernobyl nuclear plant for five weeks stole radioactive substances from research laboratories. Ukraine said some of those substances were lethal.

From February 24 until March 31 Russian forces occupied the plant, site of the devastating 1986 nuclear accident, the world's worst such incident.

On Facebook, Ukraine said two research facilities in the area were pillaged. They said Russian forces stole 133 highly radioactive substances.

Earlier in the week, Ukraine's energy minister German Gulashchenko said Russian forces that had occupied the site were exposed to "shocking" amounts of radiation, adding some may have less than one year to live as a result.

However, experts told DW that the radiological dangers had been vastly overstated.

Pro-war demonstrators gather in Frankfurt and Hannover

Several hundred pro-war demonstrators gathered in support of Russia in its invasion of Ukraine front of the opera house in Frankfurt. 

There they waved Russian flags and a row of police officers stood between them and counter-demonstrators, some of whom waved Ukrainian flags. 

In Hannover, Sven Kindler, a member of the Bundestag with the Greens, tweeted about counter-demonstrations there. He wrote it was "very crowded," adding "much more than expected." 

Zelenskyy and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz hold call

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted that he spoke with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

The two leaders spoke about how "all perpetrators of war crimes must be identified and punished," as well as "anti-Russian sanctions, defense and financial support for Ukraine," Zelenskyy tweeted. 

The German government spokesperson said, "The chancellor condemned the heinous war crimes committed by the Russian military in Bucha and in other places in Ukraine."

The spokesperson added, "The Federal Chancellor and the Ukrainian president also exchanged views on ways of further
possibilities of further support for Ukraine and agreed to remain in close contact."

Pope Francis calls for Easter truce

Pope Francis called for an Easter truce in Ukraine following his Palm Sunday Service for tens of thousands gathered in St. Peter's Square.

Pope Francis said, " Let an Easter truce start, but not to rearm and resume combat but a truce to reach peace through real negotiations."

UN: 4.5 million Ukrainian refugees

The UN refugee agency said that there are now 4.5 million Ukrainian refugees following Russia's invasion.

Roughly 2.6 million refugees fled to Poland initially and over 686,000 into Romania. The UNHCR notes that due to the Schengen visa-free rules of the EU, "a large number of people" have likely moved on from the first country they fled to.

Two killed, several injured in shelling in Kharkiv region

The regional governor of Kharkiv Oleh Synyehubov said in a Facebook post that two people were killed and several were wounded from Russian shelling in the town of Derhachy.

The governor added Russian forces had carried out 66 artillery attacks in several parts of the region.

Synyehubov wrote, "As you can see, the Russian army continues to 'fight' with the civilian population, because it has no victories at the front."

German arms manufacturer offers Ukraine howitzers

The German government has confirmed a report in Welt am Sonntag that arms manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann offered Ukraine 100 howitzers, an artillery weapon.

Welt am Sonntag reported that Krauss-Maffei Wegmann did not currently have the weaponry. In stock and had suggested Germany's army, known as the Bundeswehr, provide 100 howitzers from its arsenal to Kyiv and the company would deliver new weapons to the army, likely in late 2024.

Berlusconi criticizes Putin 

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi criticized Russian leader Vladimir Putin for the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

In a speech in Rome to members of the Forza Italia party, Berlusconi said, "I will not hide the fact that I am deeply disappointed and saddened by the behavior of Vladimir Putin, who has assumed before the whole world a very serious responsibility."

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi at Fiumicino airport in Rome
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi at Fiumicino airport in Rome in July 2019Image: Alexey Druzhinin/AFP/Getty Images

He added, "War crimes have been committed and Russia cannot deny its responsibility for this."

Previously Berlusconi had avoided using Putin's name directly when criticizing the Russian leader.

Ukraine agreed to nine humanitarian corridors out of Luhansk

Iryna Vereshchuk, Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister, said Sunday Kyiv had agreed to nine humanitarian corridors to permit people to escape the heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine.

On her Telegram channel, Vereshchuk wrote, "All the routes for the humanitarian corridors in the Luhansk region will work as long as there is a ceasefire by the occupying Russian troops."

DW Correspondent Rebecca Ritters reports from Luhansk

Russia confirms prisoner exchange 

Tatiana Moskalova, the human rights commissioner in Russia, said that Russia and Ukraine had carried out a prisoner exchange on Saturday.

Among the prisoners exchanged were four employees of Rosatom, the state atomic energy corporation.

In a post online, Moskalova wrote, "Early this morning they landed on Russian soil."

Dozens of Ukrainians found in grave near Kyiv: official

A grave with dozens of Ukrainian civilians is reported to have been found in the village of Buzova, close to Ukraine's capital, Kyiv. 

Taras Didych, head of the Dmytrivka community that includes Buzova, told Ukrainian television that the bodies of the civilians were found in a ditch near a petrol station. 

The death toll was yet to be confirmed.

"Now we are returning to life but during the occupation we had our 'hotspots', many civilians died," Didych said on Saturday.

With Russian troops retreating from their attack on the capital and focusing their offensive on Ukraine's east, the grave in Buzova is the latest reported mass grave to be discovered. 

Nine trains ready for evacuations from Luhansk region, says governor

Luhansk regional Governor Serhiy Gaidai has said that trains will be available for evacuations from the beleaguered region in Ukraine’s east on Sunday.

Residents will have a total of nine trains to use for evacuation, Gaidai wrote on Telegram.

Earlier this week, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk had called for the evacuation of residents in Luhansk and also other eastern regions of Donetsk and Kharkiv amid reports of  Russian forces repositioning for an assault.

Ukraine bans all Russian imports

Ukraine announced it has banned all imported goods from Russia.

"Today we officially announced a complete termination of trade in goods with the aggressor state," Economy Minister Yulia Svrydenko said on her Facebook page. "From now on, no Russian Federation's products will be able to be imported into the territory of our state."

Trade between the two nations has largely been cut off since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. 

"The enemy's budget will not receive these funds, which will reduce its potential to finance the war," Svrydenko added.

Zelenskyy still seeks peace despite possible war crimes

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Saturday that he was still pushing for peace despite Russian attacks on civilians.

Zelenskyy was speaking in an interview with The Associated Press, a day after at least 52 people were killed in a rocket attack at the Kramatorsk train station.

"No one wants to negotiate with a person or people who tortured this nation. It's all understandable. And as a man, as a father, I understand this very well," the president said.

But "we don't want to lose opportunities, if we have them, for a diplomatic solution."

Zelenskyy's comments come as Russia appears poised to begin ramping up attacks in the east of Ukraine.

A German aid convoy heads for Ukraine

Zelenskyy urges ban on oil imports

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy again called for a ban on oil imports from Russia in his Saturday evening video address.

"When tyranny launches aggression against everything that keeps peace in Europe, action must be taken immediately," he said. 

"The democratic world can definitely give up Russian oil and make it toxic to all other states," Zelenskyy asserted.

Zelenskyy also thanked UK PM Boris Johnson and Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer for visiting Kyiv on Saturday.

German association advises against Russian gas boycott

The German chemical industry association (VCI) said a boycott of gas imports from Russia could have "catastrophic consequences for industry in Germany and the people in our country."

VCI Vice President Werner Baumann told the German Bild am Sonntag newspaper that Germany would see a "wave of unemployment" from such a move.

UK: Russia disproportionately attacked civilians in north

The UK Ministry of Defense (MOD) said following Russia's pullout from parts of northern Ukraine, there was evidence that Russian troops engaged in "disproportionate" attacks on civilians. 

"Russia's departure from northern Ukraine leaves evidence of the disproportionate targeting of non-combatants including the presence of mass graves, the fatal use of hostages as human shields, and mining of civilian infrastructure," the MOD said in its latest intelligence update. 

British military intelligence also claimed Russian forces continue to use improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Ukraine.

According to the statement, IEDs were being used to "inflict casualties, lower morale, and restrict Ukrainian freedom of movement."

“Russian forces also continue to attack infrastructure targets with a high risk of collateral harm to civilians, including a nitrate acid tank at Rubizhne,” the statement added.

Summary of events in Ukraine-Russia crisis on Saturday

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Saturday. 

During the visit, Johnson walked with Zelenskyy through the capital. The UK leader pledged "unwavering" support for Ukraine, as Zelenskyy urged tougher sanctions on Moscow. 

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer also visited Ukraine on Saturday and met with Zelenskyy. The Austrian leader visited the Kyiv suburb of Bucha, where mass killings of civilians took place.  

Meanwhile, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said a donor conference in Warsaw raised a total of €9.1 billion ($9.9 billion) for Ukrainian refugees. Von der Leyen attended the event in person, while Canadian PM Justin Trudeau took part via videolink.

Evacuations continue in Kramatorsk

Pro-Russian convoys were staged in cities across Germany, with participants denouncing "Russophobia."

During a rally in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of carrying out "war crimes." In addition, he vowed to continue supplying Ukraine with weapons. 

The comments contradicted German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht, who told the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper that German arms deliveries to Kyiv have reached a limit. 

Ukraine said a third prisoner swap with Russia is underway. 

The Pentagon said thousands of Russian soldiers are gathered near the northeastern city of Kharkiv. 

mm, wd/kb (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)