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Ukraine updates: US sanctions Russia, China firms over war

Published May 1, 2024last updated May 2, 2024

The US imposed sanctions on hundreds of firms and individuals linked to Russia's weapons program. Meanwhile, Russia exhibited Western weapons captured from Ukrainian forces. Follow DW for more.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu inspects military equipment as he visits the Joint Group of Forces headquarters
The sanctions are aimed at those helping Russia acquire weapons for its war in UkraineImage: Russian Defense Ministry/AP Photo/picture alliance
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

The United States imposed sanctions on hundreds of firms and people it said helped Moscow acquire weapons for its war in Ukraine.

The latest wave of sanctions included nearly 300 targets in Russia, China and other countries.

The measures also targeted individuals tied to the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry put more than 30 pieces of Western-made heavy military equipment captured from Ukrainian forces on show in Moscow. 

It includes a US-made M1 Abrams battle tank and a Marder armored infantry vehicle from Germany.

Here's a look at the latest on Russia's war in Ukraine on Wednesday, May 1. 

Skip next section US State Department says Russia violated chemical weapons ban
May 2, 2024

US State Department says Russia violated chemical weapons ban

The US State Department, commenting further on new sanctions first announced on Wednesday by the Treasury against almost 300 individuals or entities, has accused Russia of using a chemical weapon in Ukraine and violating the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act (CBW) of 1991. 

"The Department of State has made a determination under the CBW Act that Russia has used the chemical weapon chloropicrin against Ukrainain forces in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention," it said in a statement. 

"We make this determination in addition to our assessment that Russia has used riot control agents as a method of warfare in Ukraine, also in violation of the CWC." 

Chloropicrin is most commonly used as a plant killing agent but has been used as poison gas in warfare.

According to the State Department, "the use of such chemicals is not an isolated incident, and is probably driven by Russian forces' desire to dislodge Ukrainian forces from fortified positions and achieve tactical gains on the battlefield."

It said this disregard for chemical weapons conventions came "from the same playbook" as its operations to poison opposition leader Alexei Navalny and Yulia Skripal, the daughter of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, with Novichok nerve agents. 

Ukrainian border region battered after Russian attacks


Skip next section US imposes sanctions on Chinese, Russian entities over Ukraine war
May 1, 2024

US imposes sanctions on Chinese, Russian entities over Ukraine war

The United States has imposed nearly 300 new sanctions on firms for their support of Russia's war in Ukraine.

The sanctions target more than a dozen companies in Hong Kong and China, which the US says have helped Russia circumvent Western measures.

The measures, announced by the US Treasury and coordinated with the State Department, also include sanctions on entities in Azerbaijan, Belgium, Russia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Slovakia.

"Treasury has consistently warned that companies will face significant consequences for providing material support for Russia's war, and the US is imposing them today on almost 300 targets," Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said.

The sanctions also target individuals connected to the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who died in a Siberian prison in February.

The sanctions block access to the US financial system and prevent Americans from doing business with the targeted people and companies.

Skip next section Ukraine hopes to boost winter gas storage for Europe — Naftogaz
May 1, 2024

Ukraine hopes to boost winter gas storage for Europe — Naftogaz

Despite Russian airstrikes on the country's energy infrastructure, Ukraine hopes to store about 4 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas for foreign companies and traders this winter, a 60% increase from last year, the head of Ukraine's state energy company told Reuters in an interview.

Oleksiy Chernyshov, chief executive of Naftogaz, said Russia had attacked the company's infrastructure five times since March. He said underground storage facilities had not been damaged, but Naftogaz was working to strengthen its defenses because above-ground gas pumping facilities are more vulnerable.

The underground facilities, mostly in western Ukraine, have a capacity of 31 billion cubic meters. This is enough to meet Ukraine's annual needs and allow storage of surplus volumes from Europe to be released during peak demand in the northern hemisphere winter.

Traditionally, Ukraine's storage has been used by neighbors such as Poland, but Naftogaz said it has been talking to companies as far away as France to increase the number of customers.

"We are in a period of European shippers' meetings where we agree on the volumes of (gas) injection. They (the Russians) aim to discredit us as an energy hub with storage capacities," Chernyshov said.

Russia continues to ship gas to Europe through Ukraine under a transit deal that expires in December. Ukraine has said it has no plans to renew it. 

Skip next section Moscow opens exhibition of Western equipment captured in Ukraine
May 1, 2024

Moscow opens exhibition of Western equipment captured in Ukraine

An exhibition of Western military equipment captured from Ukrainian forces during the fighting in Ukraine has opened in the Russian capital, Moscow. 

The exhibition, organized by the Russian Defense Ministry, features more than 30 pieces of Western heavy equipment, including a US M1 Abrams battle tank and a Bradley infantry fighting vehicle, a Leopard 2 tank and a Marder infantry fighting vehicle from Germany, and a French AMX-10RC armored vehicle. 

The exhibition, which will remain open for a month at a World War II memorial site in western Moscow, also includes firearms, military papers and other documents. 

Russian authorities have criticized the delivery of Western weapons and military equipment to Ukraine, saying it is evidence of NATO's direct involvement in the conflict.

Kyiv has held similar public shows of Russian equipment Ukrainian forces captured on the battlefield.   

Visitors are seen by an M1 Abrams main battle tank on display at an exhibition of military hardware on Moscow's Poklonnaya Hill
The exhibit features a damaged M1 Abrams battle tankImage: Sergei Bulkin/picture alliance/dpa/TASS
Skip next section Russia says it hit headquarters of southern group of Ukrainian army
May 1, 2024

Russia says it hit headquarters of southern group of Ukrainian army

The Russian military has attacked the command headquarters of the southern grouping of the Ukrainian army, the Russian Defense Ministry said Wednesday.

According to the ministry, the attack was carried out by the Russian air force, missiles and artillery.

The southern command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces is in the port city of Odesa. Earlier Wednesday, local authorities reported a Russian missile strike that killed at least three people.

The Ukrainian military has not yet reported the attack.

Skip next section Russian guided bombs kill two in Ukraine's Kharkiv region
May 1, 2024

Russian guided bombs kill two in Ukraine's Kharkiv region

At least two people were killed and two others wounded when Russia attacked the Kharkiv region in northeastern Ukraine with guided bombs, the regional governor said.

Governor Oleh Syniehubov said on the Telegram messaging app that the two people were killed when a car was hit in the village of Zolochiv, where a private house was also hit.

Ten private homes were also damaged in a Russian attack on the city of Kharkiv, but no casualties were reported, Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov said.

The Kharkiv region has come under intense fire this spring as Russian forces attacked civilian and energy infrastructure. Ukraine says its air defenses are increasingly stretched more than two years after Russia's full-scale invasion.

Russia airstrikes: Can Ukraine hold its eastern front?

Skip next section Ukraine launches drone attacks on several Russian regions
May 1, 2024

Ukraine launches drone attacks on several Russian regions

Ukraine launched drone strikes against several Russian regions in the hours leading up to Wednesday morning, according to Russian officials, with Russian media reporting a fire at the Ryazan oil refinery as a result of the attack.

Pavel Malkov, governor of the Ryazan region, which borders Moscow Oblast in the northwest, said there were no injuries following drone strikes there.

The attack sparked a fire at the Ryazan oil refinery, according to Baza, a Russian cable channel close to the security services.

The refinery refines about 5.8% of Russia's total refined crude and is owned and operated by Rosneft. It has been a frequent target of Ukrainian airstrikes.

The governors of the Kursk and Voronezh regions in southwestern Russia, which border Ukraine, also reported drone strikes on their territories, saying there was no damage or injuries.

Ukrainian officials say targeting Russia's military, energy and transportation infrastructure undermines Moscow's war effort.

Ukraine steps up drone attacks on Russian territory

Skip next section Russia strikes Odesa for 2nd time this week
May 1, 2024

Russia strikes Odesa for 2nd time this week

At least three people were killed and three more injured in a Russian missile strike on the Ukrainian city of Odesa in the early hours of Wednesday morning, local authorities said.

"The enemy attacked Odesa with ballistic missiles. As a consequence of the attack, three people were killed and three more wounded," wrote Gennadiy Trukhanov, the mayor of the port city, on Telegram.

Regional Governor Oleh Kiper added that the attack had also damaged civilian infrastructure.

The attack comes just two days after Russian missiles struck an educational institution in the city, killing five people.

dh,mf/sms (AP, APF, dpa, Reuters)