Situation in Mariupol ‘horrible and deteriorating’, says Red Cross

Staff load a truck with relief supplies at the German Red Cross logistics center.

Annette Riedl | Image Alliance | Getty Images

The International Committee of the Red Cross said on Friday it had teams traveling to Mariupol to help with civilian evacuations – but the organization noted the effort “remains extremely complex”.

“We are running out of adjectives to describe the horrors suffered by the people of Mariupol,” Ewan Watson, ICRC media officer, said in a statement.

“The situation is appalling and deteriorating, and it is now a humanitarian imperative that people be allowed to leave and aid supplies be allowed in. Residents of Mariupol have endured weeks of heavy fighting, with a decrease in water, food and medical supplies.”

However, the Red Cross was unable to deliver humanitarian aid supplies to the town today as it did not receive agreement from Russia and Ukraine to do so, Watson said in his statement.

“If and when [the evacuation] happens, the role of the ICRC as a neutral intermediary will be to direct [Ukrainian] convoy from Mariupol to another city in Ukraine,” Watson said.

But he added that the Red Cross was unable to confirm which town the civilians would be evacuated to, as it was something Russia and Ukraine had not yet agreed.

“Our presence puts a humanitarian marker on this movement of people, giving the convoy additional protection and reminding all parties of the civilian, non-military and humanitarian nature of the operation,” Watson said.

—Chloe Taylor

Ukraine says 153 children have been killed in conflict so far

A total of 153 children have been killed in the war in Ukraine so far, Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office said on Friday.

Another 245 children were injured in the conflict, officials said.

Chloe Taylor

Russia hits back at US intelligence claims that Putin was ‘deceived’ about war in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the Security Council at the Kremlin in Moscow on April 5, 2019.

Alexei Druzhinin | AFP | Getty Images

The Russian Kremlin has refuted US claims that President Vladimir Putin felt “misled” by his military commanders about Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

“To our great regret and even to our concern, neither the State Department nor the Pentagon have authentic information about what is happening in the Kremlin,” Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday during a briefing. a press briefing.

“They just don’t understand what’s going on in the Kremlin, they don’t understand Russian President Vladimir Putin, they don’t understand the decision-making mechanism, and they don’t understand the style of our work,” Peskov added, depending on the state. TASS news agency.

“It’s not just unfortunate. It causes our concern, because such a misunderstanding leads to bad decisions, careless decisions that have very bad consequences.”

The comments came after a declassified US intelligence assessment released on Wednesday suggested Putin had not been given the full truth about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Read the whole story here.

Holly Ellyatt

Russian gas continues to flow to Europe, Gazprom says

Russian energy giant Gazprom said on Friday it was continuing to supply Europe with natural gas, Reuters reported.

Andrei Rudakov | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Russia’s state-owned energy conglomerate Gazprom said on Friday its natural gas continued to flow to Europe via Ukraine, Reuters reported.

It comes as European countries face a deadline to start paying for gas in rubles on Friday, or have halted existing contracts with Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday signed a decree stipulating that foreign buyers should pay in rubles for Russian gas from April 1, Reuters reported.

However, European countries seem relatively indifferent to Putin’s rhetoric and seem to have found a workaround.

A German government reading of a call with Putin on Wednesday said the Russian president advised that deliveries of Scholz gas should be settled in rubles from April 1. [Putin] underlined in the conversation that nothing would change for European contractual partners,” the statement read.

—Chloe Taylor and Sam Meredith

Russian-Ukrainian talks continue

Ukrainian and Russian flags are seen on a table ahead of talks between officials of the two countries in Belarus on March 3, 2022.

Maxim Guchek | Reuters

Talks between Russian and Ukrainian officials are expected to resume today, according to a member of the Ukrainian delegation.

David Arakhamia, a Ukrainian official who took part in the talks, told Ukrainian television earlier this week that Russia and Ukraine would resume talks on April 1.

A series of face-to-face talks between the two sides took place in Istanbul, Turkey earlier this week. It’s unclear whether the talks set to begin on Friday are in-person or virtual.

—Chloe Taylor

Ukraine regains control of some villages near Chernihiv, says Britain

Maxar satellite multispectral image showing burning houses in a residential area of ​​Chernihiv on March 16, 2022.

Satellite image (c) 2022 Maxar Technologies | Getty Images

Ukrainian forces recaptured two villages along one of the main supply routes between kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv, according to the British Ministry of Defense.

The villages are Sloboda and Lukashivka, which are south of Chernihiv, the ministry said in its daily update.

“Ukraine also continued to carry out successful but limited counterattacks east and northeast of Kyiv,” the defense ministry said.

“Chernihiv and Kyiv have been subjected to continuous air and missile strikes despite Russian claims of reduced activity in these areas,” he added.

Military developments are difficult to confirm as the situation on the ground in Ukraine is constantly changing.

—Abigail Ng

Anonymous targets Western companies still doing business in Russia

The online ‘hacktivist’ collective, Anonymous, is now targeting Western companies still doing business in Russia.

Nurphoto | Nurphoto | Getty Images

Anonymous, the “hacktivist” collective, has a new target in its “cyber war” against Russia. This time, Western companies are still doing business there.

A publication on March 21 from a Twitter account named @YourAnonTV said: “We call on all companies that continue to operate in Russia by paying taxes to the budget of the criminal Kremlin regime: get out of Russia!

The tweet gave companies 48 hours to comply. The threat also included a photo with the logos of around 40 companies, including household names such as Burger King, Subway and General Mills. A second batch of target companies was released on March 24, which included airline Emirates, French gardening retailer Leroy Merlin and essential oil company Young Living.

However, some companies mentioned have refuted Anonymous’ claims.

For example, the tire company Bridgestone and Dunkin’ said before they were targeted by Anonymous, they had already publicly announced that they were pulling business out of Russia. Three targeted oil service companies – Halliburton, Baker Hughes and Schlumberger – had also posted announcements before. Others soon announced they were cutting ties with Russia, including Canadian oil services firm Calfrac Well Services and sanitary ware maker Geberit Group.

Even so, a quick exit can be complicated for franchises. This is the position that targeted companies like Burger King, Subway and The owner of Reebok, Authentic Brands Groupsaid they were in.

– Goh Chiew Tong, Monica Buchanan Pitrelli

Reuters reports that Japan’s decision to continue using Russian gas was made weeks ago

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida decided weeks ago that he would not abandon a Russian gas project, Reuters reported, citing three sources.

The report said Kishida told senior officials in early March that he would not jeopardize Japan’s energy security and would stay in the Sakhalin-2 liquefied natural gas project.

On Thursday, the Prime Minister told parliament that “it is not our policy to withdraw” from this Russian LNG project.

Japan has targeted Russian banks and oligarchs with sanctions, but doesn’t have much leeway to cut Russia’s gas. The Asian country became more dependent on Russian energy after shutting down nuclear reactors following the Fukushima disaster in 2011.

—Abigail Ng

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