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Ukraine updates: Zelenskyy reports attack on Kupiansk museum

April 26, 2023

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said one person was killed and others were still trapped under rubble after a missile hit a museum in Kupiansk. DW has the latest.

Police officers scale ruble and ruins following the attack on Kupiansk
At least two people were missing following the attack on the museumImage: REUTERS

Russian forces struck a museum in the center of the eastern Ukrainian city of Kupiansk on Tuesday, killing one person, wounding 10 more and burying others under rubble, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. 

"So far we know of a dead museum worker and 10 injured. There are more people under the rubble. The recovery from the shelling continues. All necessary agencies are involved," Zelenskyy wrote on the Telegram online messenger. 

The regional governor in Kharkiv said the damage was caused as part of a barrage of S-300 missiles used to attack the city near the front lines. 

Zelenskyy posted a video from the site showing a ruined building and emergency workers examining the scene. 

"The terrorist country is doing everything to destroy us completely," Zelenskyy said. "Our history, our culture, our people."

Rescuers and police officers work at a site of a local museum heavily damaged by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in the town of Kupiansk, Kharkiv region, Ukraine April 25, 2023.
Zelenskyy shared a video showing emergency workers at the sceneImage: REUTERS

Kharkiv's governor Oleh Syniehubov said that three people were hospitalized, seven suffered only minor injuries and two others were missing and believed trapped under the rubble. 

Kupiansk, in northeastern Ukraine not far south from the Russian border, was captured by Russian forces early in the invasion but was reclaimed by Ukrainian troops as part of their surprise September counteroffensive. Fighting continues near the city, which lies just west of Ukrainian territory still under Russian control.

Ukraine asked vulnerable residents to leave the city as a precaution in March, anticipating a possible renewed Russian attack.

Here are some of the other headlines concerning Russia's war in Ukraine on Tuesday, April 25:

Putin signs decree taking over Russian assets of two foreign firms

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree establishing temporary control of the Russian assets of two foreign energy firms, making clear Moscow could take similar action against other companies if need be.

The decree, outlining possible retaliation if Russian assets abroad are seized, made clear Moscow had already taken action against Uniper SE's Russian division and the assets of Finland's Fortum Oyj.

The decree said Russia needed to take urgent measures to respond to unspecified actions from the United States and others it said were "unfriendly and contrary to international law."

The shares in the two entities have been placed in the temporary control of Rosimushchestvo, the federal government property agency, the decree said.

NASA sees Russians and Americans together on space station through 2030

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, but said in Ottawa that he expected Russians and Americans to work together on the International Space Station (ISS) until it is decommissioned.

Nelson, who was in Ottawa to help showcase the Artemis II space mission including a Canadian astronaut, underscored the history of US and Soviet collaboration in space during the Cold War, and said he expects it to continue amid the war in Ukraine.

"We are completely at odds with President Putin's aggression" that is "slaughtering people and invading an autonomous sovereign country," Nelson told Reuters in an interview in Ottawa.

But the collaboration aboard the ISS "continues in a very professional manner between astronauts and cosmonauts without a hitch. And I expect that to continue all the way through the end of the decade, when they we will then de-orbit the space station."

NASA has estimated it will begin de-orbiting the ISS in January 2031. Launched in 1998, the ISS has been continuously occupied since November 2000 under a US-Russian-led partnership that also includes Canada, Japan and 11 European countries.

Ukraine demands new sanctions and better controls against Russia

Ukraine is calling for new and tougher sanctions targeting the energy and precious metals sector of Russia. 

In a paper called Action Plan 2.0, Ukraine said the maximum price for the purchase of Russian Urals brand oil should be reduced from €56 ($60) to about €41 per barrel. 

The Ukrainian government also wants Western countries to impose import taxes on Russian oil and natural gas. The revenues would then be used to finance the Ukrainian reconstruction after the war. 

The demands also include an embargo on the import of Russian metals and diamonds and stronger controls of gold imports through other countries.

Denmark, Ukraine expand energy cooperation

Denmark has signed a 5-year agreement with Ukraine to help the war-torn country rebuild destroyed wind capacity and strengthen its independence from Russia on energy, the Danish Climate Ministry said.

"The new 5-year collaboration will contribute to Ukraine being able to further expand its electricity supply with wind energy," it said in a statement.

"Danish authorities will, among other things, help Ukrainian authorities develop a regulatory framework that can promote onshore and offshore wind," it said.

In the short term, the deal aims to help get existing capacity destroyed in the war back up and running, and to expand onshore wind further. Long-term, the collaboration will investigate the potential for offshore wind power, the ministry said.

Lula condemns Russia's invasion of Ukraine

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine and pressed for peace talks as he tries to make amends with Western countries over previous comments he made.

Lula angered many in Ukraine and the West for suggesting both Ukraine and Russia were to blame for the conflict that began when Moscow invaded its neighbor in February 2022. He also said that the United States and European allies should stop supplying arms to Ukraine because they were prolonging the war.

"Brazil understands the apprehension caused by the return of  war to Europe and we condemn the violation of Ukraine's territorial integrity," Lula said in a speech to the Portuguese parliament.

He added it was time for countries to "talk about peace," calling for dialogue and diplomacy as "the war cannot go on indefinitely."

Ukraine plans for 'complete transformation' of six war-hit towns

Ukraine will seek the "complete transformation" of six towns that have been badly damaged in Russia's full-scale invasion under a reconstruction program announced by Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.

Shmyhal said the towns of Borodianka and Moshchun near the capital Kyiv, Yahidine in the north, Trostianets and Tsyrkuny in the east, and Posad-Pokrovske in the south would be rebuilt "comprehensively and according to new principles" under an experimental program.

Shmyhal said the project was part of a broader plan to fast-track reconstruction even though the war is not over. "For us it is important for Ukrainians to see this year already that reconstruction is a reality," he added.

Sweden asks Russian diplomats to leave on suspicion of spying

Sweden says it is expelling five employees with the Russian Embassy in Stockholm, saying they are suspected of espionage.

Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said the diplomats' activities were "incompatible" with their diplomatic status. He said Russia's ambassador to Sweden, Viktor Tatarintsev, had been informed of the decision. 

The Russian Embassy has so far declined to comment on the move.

A year ago, Sweden expelled three Russian Embassy staff in a similar move to several other countries.

Sweden's SAPO domestic security agency has said that "every third Russian diplomat in Sweden is an intelligence officer." 

Ukraine says it's frequently raiding across Dnieper river in Kherson

In another battleground city far to the south of Kupiansk, Ukrainian officials say they are frequently raiding the Russian-held eastern bank of the Dnieper river near Kherson, trying to dislodge Russian troops and hamper their combat-readiness ahead of a much-touted counteroffensive. 

Yuriy Sobolevskiy, deputy head of the Kherson regional administration, said on Ukrainian television that the military was trying to lay similar groundwork to when it liberated the western bank of the Dnieper in the Kherson area in November. 

"Our military visits the left [eastern] bank very often, conducting raids. The Ukrainian armed forces are working, and working very effectively," Sobolevskiy said. "The results will come as they did on the right bank of the Kherson region when, thanks to a complex and long operation, they were able to liberate our territories with minimal losses for our military." 

Russia seized Kherson soon after its invasion but lost control of it late last year

The US research group the Institute for the Study of War, which regularly tries to map the front lines of the conflict, also reported last week that it had noted adequate evidence to suggest Ukrainian forces had established a foothold on the eastern bank of the Dnieper in the region.

Russia deploys new T-14 Armata tanks in Ukraine: RIA

Russia has begun using its new T-14 Armata battle tanks to fire on Ukrainian positions "but they have not yet participated in direct assault operations," state news agency RIA reported on Tuesday, citing a source close to the matter. 

A Russian T-14 Armata tank pictured during a 2022 Moscow military parade.
The new battle tank was on show at last year's Moscow military parade commemorating World War IIImage: Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP Photo/picture alliance/dpa

RIA said the tanks had been fitted with extra flank protection and that crews had undergone "combat coordination" at training grounds in Ukraine. 

The T-14's turret is unmanned, with crew able to control the armaments remotely from within. 

The next-generation tank was designed in 2014 but integration into the military has been slow. Reports suggest problems with mass-production, combat readiness, and field maintenance. 

British military intelligence said last year that there were problems with the vehicle's engine and thermal imaging systems and that the vehicle would not yet be considered to be combat-ready by normal standards.

"Production is probably only in the low tens, while commanders are unlikely to trust the vehicle in combat," the British military said. "Eleven years in development, the program has been dogged with delays, reduction in planned fleet size, and reports of manufacturing problems."

Russian officials also played down the need to deploy T-14's in the field earlier in the war, saying the older T-72's and T-90's remained effective. But in recent months, amid rumors the project might be scrapped and significant armor losses for Russia in Ukraine, the T-14 has regularly featured on state television and been spoken of in more positive terms.

dh, msh/dj, jcg (AFP, AP, Reuters)