Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine
Russia says Israel backs ‘neo-Nazi’ regime in Ukraine
The Russian Foreign Ministry claimed that Israel supported what it called the “neo-Nazi regime” in kyiv, in comments that are expected to aggravate already heightened tensions between the two countries.
Tensions rose over the weekend after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Adolf Hitler was part-Jewish, sparking outrage in Israel.
Lavrov made the comments on Sunday when asked on an Italian TV show how Russia can claim it is fighting to “denazify” Ukraine when President Volodymyr Zelensky is himself Jewish.
Lavrov reportedly replied, “I could be wrong, but Hitler also had Jewish blood. [That Zelensky is Jewish] means absolutely nothing.”
The comments prompted a furious response from Israel, with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid calling Lavrov’s comments “unforgivable and outrageous and a horrific historical mistake”.
“Jews didn’t kill themselves in the Holocaust,” Lapid said. “The lowest level of racism against Jews is blaming Jews themselves for anti-Semitism.” Israel also summoned the Russian ambassador following the comments.
On Tuesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry responded to Lapid’s comments, saying what it called Lapid’s “anti-historical statements” “largely explain the current Israeli government’s decision to back the neo-Nazi regime in kyiv.” “.
Russia has repeatedly claimed it wants to “denazify” Ukraine, making false claims against the government, despite Zelenskyy’s Jewish background.
Six million Jews were murdered by Nazi Germany during the Holocaust during World War II.
— Holly Ellyatt
Russia claims to have hit a center used to deliver Western weapons
The Russian Defense Ministry says its forces hit a logistics center used to deliver weapons donated to Ukraine from the West near the port city of Odessa.
CNBC was unable to verify the claims.
“High-precision Onyx missiles (…) hit a logistics center at a military airfield through which foreign weapons were being delivered,” the ministry said in a statement on Telegram on Tuesday.
“Hangars containing Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles [drones]as well as missiles and ammunition from the United States and European countries, were destroyed.”
Hopes Mariupol steel plant evacuees will be safe
A Ukrainian official said there was hope that civilians evacuated from the stalled Azovstal steel complex in the Russian-occupied city of Mariupol will reach the Ukrainian-held city of Zaporizhzhia later on Tuesday.
Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko reportedly said that more than 200 civilians were still at the steel plant in Azovstal, the last stronghold of Ukrainian fighters in Mariupol, and that there were around 100,000 civilians in the city.
“The column (of evacuees) is moving towards Zaporizhzhia. The evacuation is continuing,” Boichenko told state television, Reuters reported. “We limit information and hope that the evacuees from Azovstal will reach Ukraine.”
— Holly Ellyatt
The Russian army is now ‘significantly weaker’ due to its invasion of Ukraine
A member of Ukraine’s Territorial Defense Forces stands on top of a damaged Russian tank on the outskirts of the village of Nova Bashan in Ukraine April 1, 2022. Russia’s February 24 invasion coincided with what is locally known as the “muddy road season” or “Rasputitsa” in Russian.
Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
The Russian military is now “considerably weaker”, both materially and conceptually, following its invasion of Ukraine, according to the latest intelligence update from the UK Ministry of Defence.
“Russia’s defense budget roughly doubled between 2005 and 2018, with investments in several high-end air, land and sea capabilities,” the ministry said on Twitter on Tuesday.
However, “the modernization of its physical equipment has not allowed Russia to dominate Ukraine,” the ministry continued, noting that failures in both strategic planning and operational execution “have prevented it to translate its numerical strength into a decisive advantage”.
The weakened Russian military will struggle to recover due to international sanctions, which will have a lasting impact on Russia’s ability to deploy conventional military force, the UK said.
— Holly Ellyatt
It’s Ukraine’s ‘finest hour’, UK’s Boris Johnson tells lawmakers
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to announce a new £300 million ($375 million) defensive military aid package for Ukraine on Tuesday, including electronic warfare equipment, a counter-battery radar system, GPS jamming equipment and thousands of night vision devices.
Britain also sends more more than a dozen new specialized Toyota Landcruisers to help protect civilian officials in eastern Ukraine and evacuate civilians from frontline areas, following a request from the Ukrainian government.
Johnson will address Ukraine’s parliament via video link and is expected to reminisce about the words of Winston Churchill, the British leader during World War II, telling Ukrainian lawmakers that this is their country’s ‘finest hour’ and that the UK is proud to “be among their buddies.”
A 1945 photo of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill getting into his car in Downing Street.
keystone | Hulton Archives | Getty Images
“When my country was threatened with invasion in the Second World War, our parliament – like yours – continued to meet throughout the conflict, and the British people showed such unity and such determination that we remember our time of greatest peril as our finest hour,” he said, according to pre-released government remarks.
“This is Ukraine’s finest hour, an epic chapter in your national history that will be remembered and retold for generations to come.”
“Your children and grandchildren will say that Ukrainians taught the world that the brute force of an aggressor counts for nothing against the moral force of a people determined to be free,” Johnson should add.
The address also marks the reopening of the UK Embassy in Kyiv.
— Holly Ellyatt
Ukrainian troops repel Russian forces from Kharkiv, Pentagon says
Ukrainian troops defending Kharkiv have pushed the Russians out of the city in the past 24 to 48 hours, the US Department of Defense said on Monday.
A senior US defense official told a briefing that Ukrainian forces had “succeeded in pushing the Russians back about 40 kilometers”. [25 miles] east of Kharkiv.” The city is still under aerial bombardment.
Kharkiv has been under sustained attack since late February and most of its civilian residents have fled the city.
The strategically important city is in northeastern Ukraine, just 32 kilometers (20 miles) from the Russian border.
Russian troops in eastern Ukraine are making “anemic” progress and continue to be beset by low morale, poor command and control and weak logistics, the official told reporters.
Regarding arms deliveries, the Pentagon official said that more than 70 of the 90 M-777 howitzers the United States is sending to Ukraine have arrived there. So, about 140,000 rounds for these guns, which is about half of the planned delivery quantity.
—Ted Kemp and Christina Wilkie
Russian troops are moving into parts of eastern Ukraine, declaring victory, then moving on, a US defense official says
Tanks of pro-Russian troops drive along a road during the Ukraine-Russia conflict in Ukraine on April 17, 2022.
Alexander Ermoshenko | Reuters
Russian troops in eastern Ukraine are making “anemic” progress and continue to be beset by low morale, poor command and control and weak logistics, a senior US Department of Security official told reporters. defense.
The Kremlin has made minor gains in the far eastern region of Luhansk and outside the city of Izyum, but overall gains in the region are fleeting, said the official, who spoke on the guise of ‘anonymity.
Instead of holding territory, Russian troops recently moved into an area, declaring victory, then leaving the area for Ukrainian troops to regain control, US intelligence says.
This creates a fiction for Russian domestic audiences that the military has made significant gains in Ukraine, but does not actually demand that Russian troops suppress civilian populations.
Kremlin efforts to control civilian populations elsewhere in Ukraine have resulted in thousands of deaths and dozens of probable war crimes committed against the Ukrainian population.
Russia plans to hold mock referendums in mid-May to annex Donetsk and Lugansk, US intelligence says
An activist from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic is seen on a platform, as evacuees board a train before leaving the separatist-controlled city of Donetsk, Ukraine, February 22, 2022.
Alexander Ermoshenko | Reuters
US intelligence indicates that Russia plans to hold mock referendums in mid-May in a bid annex Donetsk and Luhansk, the two eastern Ukrainian regions currently under Russian occupation, Michael Carpenter said , Washington’s Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
“Russia intends to hold referendums on its membership in mid-May,” he said during a State Department briefing. He added that Moscow is “considering a similar plan for Kherson,” a region in southern Ukraine anchored by a city of the same name.
This would mean dismantling local governments, schools and institutions, then declaring the occupied Kherson region an “independent people’s republic”, before later annexing it.
Russia recently announced its intention to force the residents of Kherson to adopt the ruble as their currency. It also cut off internet and cell phone access across the region, which is home to more than a million people.
“Sham referendums and fabricated votes will not be considered legitimate, nor will any attempt to annex additional Ukrainian territory,” Carpenter said. But he acknowledged that the OSCE does not have the power to disrupt Russia’s plans.