Russia-Ukraine war – live: Russian sabotage attack stopped as Putin using barges to protect Black Sea port

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Zelensky rejects Putin’s claims that Ukraine involved in Moscow attack

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Kyiv says it has stopped an attempt by a Russian sabotage and reconnaissance group to infiltrate Ukrainian territory, as shelling from Kharkiv to Lviv killed five people across the country.

Putin’s forces launched 23 missile attacks and 61 airstrikes, as well as 41 attacks from multiple-launch rocket systems, Ukraine’s General Staff of the Armed Forces said. It said a total of 49 combat encounters took place along the frontline.

The battlefield update comes amid reports of Russia using barges in a bid to enhance the defences of one of its ports in the Black Sea, Britain’s Ministry of Defence has said.

It follows a number of successful Ukrainian strikes on navy ships in the region. “Recent imagery analysis has identified four barges positioned at the entrance to the Black Sea fleet facility of Novorossiysk Sea Port,” the MoD said in its latest intelligence update.

“This is an effort to enhance the defence of the port against attacks from Ukrainian Uncrewed Surface Vessels (USVs).

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Ukraine says it downed two of three Russian drones overnight

Ukraine’s air force shot down two out of three Russia-launched Shahed drones overnight, Ukrainian military said on Monday. The General Staff did not provide additional details on the attack in its report on Facebook. It was unclear whether the drone that was not intercepted reached its target.

Monday night was relatively quiet for Ukraine following series of attacks on the country’s energy infrastructure that Russia stepped up over a week ago.

On March 22, Moscow’s troops carried out the largest strike on grid infrastructure in the two-year-old invasion, causing major damage and resulting in massive power outages. It continued targeting Ukraine’s thermal and hydro-power plants last week.

Tara Cobham1 April 2024 07:58

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ICYMI: Putin issues decree calling up 150,000 to military service

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree setting out the routine spring conscription campaign, calling up 150,000 citizens for statutory military service, a document posted on the Kremlin’s website showed on Sunday.

All men in Russia are required to do a year-long military service, or equivalent training during higher education, from the age of 18.

In July Russia’s lower house of parliament voted to raise the maximum age at which men can be conscripted to 30 from 27. The new legislation came into effect on 1 Jan, 2024.

Compulsory military service has long been a sensitive issue in Russia, where many men go to great lengths to avoid being handed conscription papers during the twice-yearly call-up periods.

Conscripts cannot legally be deployed to fight outside Russia and were exempted from a limited mobilisation in 2022 that gathered at least 300,000 men with previous military training to fight in Ukraine – although some conscripts were sent to the front in error.

In September Putin signed an order calling up 130,000 people for the autumn campaign and last spring Russia planned to conscript 147,000.

(AP)

Matt Mathers1 April 2024 07:00

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Ukrainian forces stop Russian sabotage attack

Ukraine’s General Staff of the Armed Forces said its troops stopped an attempt by a Russian sabotage and reconnaissance group to infiltrate the Ukrainian territory yesterday. It added that a total of 49 encounters took place in the combat zone.

Russian forces launched 23 missile attacks and 61 airstrikes, as well as 41 attacks from multiple-launch rocket systems on the positions of Ukrainian forces and populated areas, the top office of the Ukrainian armed forces said.

Arpan Rai1 April 2024 06:04

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France to deliver hundreds of armored vehicles to Ukraine, defense minister says

French defence minister Sabastien Lecornu said France is to deliver “hundreds” of armored vehicles by the beginning of next year to Ukraine as part of a new package of military aid for the country that just entered its third year since the Russian invasion.

In an interview with the French newspaper La Tribune’s Sunday edition, Lecornu said that “to hold such an extensive front line, the Ukrainian army needs, for example, our armored personnel carriers. It’s absolutely key for troop mobility.”

The French military is currently replacing its old VAB armored personnel carriers that started being used in 1979 by a new generation of armored vehicles. “This old equipment, still operational, is going directly to Ukraine in large quantities. We’re talking about hundreds (of vehicles) in 2024 and early 2025,” Lecornu said.

Lecornu also said France will provide Ukraine with more anti-aircraft missiles.

The move comes as France’s government is pushing its military industry to boost its production to meet Kyiv’s urgent needs for ammunition.

Lecornu on Tuesday said France will soon be able to deliver 78 Caesar howitzers to Ukraine and will increase its supply of shells.

Matt Mathers1 April 2024 06:00

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How a Polish-run convent in Ukraine is providing refuge to war victims

Acelebration of Easter at a Roman Catholic convent run by Polish nuns in western Ukraine, which has sheltered hundreds of Ukrainian refugees since the start of the war, has become a symbol of how the historically troubled relations between Poles and Ukrainians have been transformed.

On Easter Sunday, the church within the convent is crowded with parishioners – some of them refugees who are living here, and others from the surrounding area – for the Roman Catholic mass, said in Ukrainian by Polish and Ukrainian priests.

Among the parishioners are Roman Catholics, Ukrainian Catholics, and members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – most of them refugees from eastern Ukraine.

Sister Julia, the most senior of the three nuns – two Polish, one Ukrainian – who run the convent, was born in Poland and has been in Yazlovets, the village that is home to the convent, since shortly after Ukraine became independent in 1991.

Arpan Rai1 April 2024 05:36

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‘Building destroyers’: The Russian glide bombs changing the face of the war on Ukraine’s eastern front

In a Ukrainian stronghold near the front line, less than 20 miles from the eastern city of Donetsk, a winged bomb is seen hurtling towards a multistorey building.

The 1,500-kilogram explosive hits the structure in the town of Krasnohorivka, erupting into a fireball before engulfing the whole building in a plume of grey and black smoke.

The camera, filming from several hundred metres away, shakes as the ground beneath it rocks from the aftereffects of the explosion.

When the smoke subsides, the building has been completely destroyed.

Tom Watling reports:

Arpan Rai1 April 2024 05:32

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France will deliver hundreds of armoured vehicles to Ukraine, defence minister says

French defence minister Sébastien Lecornu said France is set to deliver “hundreds” of armoured vehicles by the beginning of next year to Ukraine as part of a new package of military aid for the war-hit nation.

Mr Lecornu said that “to hold such an extensive front line, the Ukrainian army needs, for example, our armoured personnel carriers”.

“It’s absolutely key for troop mobility,” he said in an interview with the French newspaper La Tribune’s Sunday edition.

He also said that France will provide Ukraine with more anti-aircraft missiles. The move comes as France’s government is pushing its military industry to boost its production to meet Kyiv’s urgent needs for ammunition.

Last week, Mr Lecornu said France will soon be able to deliver 78 Caesar howitzers to Ukraine and will increase its supply of shells.

The French military is currently replacing its old VAB armoured personnel carriers that started being used in 1979 by a new generation of armoured vehicles.

“This old equipment, still operational, is going directly to Ukraine in large quantities. We’re talking about hundreds (of vehicles) in 2024 and early 2025,” the French defence minister said.

Arpan Rai1 April 2024 05:22

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Ukraine’s opposition leader says we ‘must use Putin’s money against him’

“We need to figure out how to get the support that we need without getting into people’s pockets,” Ms Rudik tells The Independent during a sit-down in the lobby of a west London hotel. “And we have a solution.”

The politician is championing a plan to seize roughly $300bn (£238bn) in Russian assets frozen in Europe, the US and Japan, and redirecting them to Ukraine to be used in its war effort. It is hers – and her country’s – bid to make Ukraine at least partially self-reliant at a time when they do not know when, or from where, the next tranche of Western support will come.

Read Tom Watling’s exclusive report here:

Arpan Rai1 April 2024 05:12

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Russia using barges to bolster defence of port in Black Sea

Russia is using barges in a bid to enhance the defence of one of its ports in the Black Sea, Britain’s Ministry of Defence has said.

It comes following a number of successful Ukrainian strikes on navy ships in the region.

“Recent imagery analysis has identified four barges positioned at the entrance to the Black Sea fleet facility of Novorossiysk Sea Port,” the MoD said in its latest intelligence update.

“This is an effort to enhance the defence of the port against attacks from Ukrainian Uncrewed Surface Vessels (USVs).

Read the statement in full here:

Matt Mathers1 April 2024 05:00

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Russia wants Ukraine security service chief arrested and extradited to Moscow

Russia is asking Kyiv to hand over the head of Ukraine’s SBU Security Service among a list of people it claims are connected with terrorist acts committed in Russia, its foreign ministry said. It has threatened to arrest the top Ukrainian official.

Officials in Ukraine called the demand “cynical” and “pointless”, suggesting the Kremlin appeared to have forgotten about the arrest warrant against Russian president Vladimir Putin issued by the International Criminal Court in connection with the transfer of Ukrainian children to Russia and said “the tribunal in The Hague is waiting for him.”

Ukraine’s SBU head Vasyl Maliuk has previously acknowledged his service was behind attacks on the bridge linking Crimea to the Russian mainland since the Kremlin’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine. Russia illegally seized control of Crimea in 2014; the bridge was built after the region was annexed.

The foreign ministry in Moscow listed violent incidents that have occurred in Russia since the Kremlin’s forces invaded Ukraine in February 2022, including bombings that killed the daughter of a prominent nationalist and a war blogger, and an incident in which a writer was seriously hurt.

At the same time Russia has not acknowledged the hundreds of deadly missile strikes it has conducted against civilian targets in Ukraine, such as hospitals, schools, shelter homes, railway stations and museums, which have killed thousands of people in the course of its invasion.

“The Russian side demands that the Kyiv regime immediately cease all support for terrorist activity, extradite guilty parties and compensate the victims for damages,” the ministry statement said.

“Ukraine’s violation of its obligations under anti-terrorist conventions will result in it being held to account in international legal terms.”

The Russia foreign ministry said investigation of these incidents showed that “the traces of these crimes lead to Ukraine.”

“Russia has turned over to Ukrainian authorities its demands… for the immediate arrest and extradition of all those connected to the terrorist acts in question,” the statement said.

Arpan Rai1 April 2024 04:57

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