Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged the UN Security Council to expel Russia “so it cannot block decisions about its own war” during a video address to a meeting of the council on Tuesday. Zelensky also said that Russian forces have committed “the most terrible war crimes” since World War II in Ukraine, two days after footage emerged of dead bodies in the streets of Bucha near Kyiv. Read our live blog for all the latest developments. All times are Paris time [GMT+2].
3:25 am: US to provide additional $100 million in security assistance to Ukraine, says Blinken
The United States will provide an additional $100 million in security assistance to Ukraine, including anti-armor systems, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday.
2:50 am: Twitter moves to limit reach of Russian govt accounts
Twitter announced Tuesday it was introducing new measures against Russian government accounts to reduce the impact of official propaganda on the social network.
The official accounts will no longer be “recommended” to Twitter users across all categories of the app, including in searches, the platform said in a statement.
The California company, like its rival Meta, parent company of Facebook and Instagram, had already blocked the accounts of the Russian state-run media RT and Sputnik in the European Union.
Moscow responded by restricting access to Twitter in the country, and blocking Facebook and Instagram.
“We will not amplify or recommend government accounts belonging to states that limit access to free information and are engaged in armed interstate conflict – whether Twitter is blocked in that country or not,” Twitter said in a statement.
11:00 pm: Explosions heard in west Ukraine, no casualties reported, say officials
No casualties were reported following explosions Tuesday in the Lviv region in western Ukraine, local officials said.
“Explosions near Radekhiv,” regional governor Maksim Kositsky said on Telegram, referring to a town about 70 kilometres (40 miles) northeast of Lviv. “Everybody must remain in shelters.”
A short while later he said in another post: “As of this hour, there is no information on victims.”
After Russian troops withdrew from the Kyiv region in recent days, Ukrainian officials say they are bracing themselves for a Russian assault in Donbas, eastern Ukraine.
9:30 pm: Russian forces’ blockade still restricting evacuation of Mariupol, Ukraine says
People in the besieged city of Mariupol are still only able to flee on foot or by private car as efforts to organise mass evacuations by bus to safer parts of Ukraine have failed, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in an online post.
A total of 3,846 people were evacuated from Ukrainian cities through humanitarian corridors on Tuesday, slightly more than the 3,376 who escaped on Monday, the deputy prime minister said.
Vereshchuk said seven buses trying to get to Mariupol had not managed to make their way through a Russian blockade to reach the first part of the evacuation route out of the city.
Efforts to evacuate civilians in Mariupol – some with the help of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) – have repeatedly broken down, with both sides in the war blaming each other.
9:20 pm: Bucha war crimes claim aims to derail Ukraine talks, says Russia’s Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday said the discovery of bodies in the Ukrainian town of Bucha was a “provocation” aimed at scuppering talks between Moscow and Kyiv.
“A question arises: What purpose does this blatantly untruthful provocation serve? We are led to believe it is to find a pretext to torpedo the ongoing negotiations,” Lavrov said in a video message broadcast on Russian television.
8:30 pm: Doctors Without Borders says team witnessed Russian strikes during visit to Mykolaiv
Medical charity Doctors Without Borders (Medecins sans frontières or MSF) said in a statement on Tuesday that its team witnessed Russian strikes during a hospital visit on Monday in Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine and managed to take cover and escape unharmed.
“Several explosions took place in close proximity to our staff over the course of about 10 minutes,” said MSF head of mission in Ukraine Michel-Olivier Lacharite. “As they were leaving the area, the MSF team saw injured people and at least one dead body.”
The Geneva-based MSF did not give details on how it knew the strikes were Russian and did not provide evidence beyond the statement.
6:50 pm: Britain says sanctions have frozen $350 billion in Russian ‘war chest’
Britain has frozen some $350 billion in assets from the “war chest” of Russian President Vladimir Putin, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said during a visit to Warsaw on Tuesday.
“So far, our sanctions have had a crippling impact on those who feed and fund Putin’s war machine. This week we will announce that we’ve frozen over $350 billion of Putin’s war chest,” Truss said.
6:14 pm: Zelensky invokes Nazi bombing of Guernica in address to Spanish parliament
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday compared Russia’s devastating assault on his country to the Nazis’ 1937 bombing of the town of Guernica in an address to Spain‘s parliament.
“It’s April 2022 but it seems like April 1937 when the whole world heard about one of your cities, Guernica,” he told lawmakers of the atrocity when aircraft from Hitler’s “Condor Legion” carpet-bombed Guernica during Spain’s 1936-1939 civil war in support of General Francisco Franco’s nationalist forces.
Hundreds of people were killed, many of whom were at a weekly market in the town centre, in an atrocity that shocked the world and was immortalised in Picasso’s haunting anti-war painting.
Historians give an estimated death toll of between 150 and 300 people, while local authorities give a much higher figure of 1,654.
5:49 pm: UN views graphic video of Ukraine war victims
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky showed the UN Security Council a graphic video Tuesday of dead women, children and men, including burned bodies and victims in mass graves, in shocking images of atrocities committed during Russia’s invasion.
The 90-second clip – which showed partially uncovered dead in shallow graves, several bodies in a courtyard and dead people with hands tied behind their back slumped towards a wall – played minutes after Zelensky addressed the 15-member council by videolink.
5:43 pm: Zelensky speech sparks calls to expel Russia from UN’s Human Rights Council
In an impassioned speech to the Security Council on Tuesday, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky demanded accountability for “Russian crimes” in Ukraine, and said Russia should be removed from the UN Security Council.
The US and Albanian representatives said they supported removing Russia from the UN Human Rights Council, a different body. This process could be initiated in the coming days, says FRANCE 24’s Jessica le Masurier reporting from New York.
5:15 pm: ‘Dangerous’ for Russia to remain on UN Human Rights Council, says US envoy
The US envoy to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that given a “growing mountain of evidence”, Russia should not remain on the UN Human Rights Council.
“It is dangerous,” Thomas-Greenfield said during a UN Security Council meeting.
Her comments followed a call minutes earlier from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to remove Russia from the Security Council.
4:58 pm: Zelensky says Ukraine has suffered ‘most terrible war crimes’ since World War II
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said “the most terrible war crimes in the world” since World War II are being committed in while speaking to the UN Security Council via video.
Zelensky described scenes of rape, torture and killing of civilians in Ukraine. He said “hundreds of thousands” of Ukrainians had been deported to Russia.
He said the civilian deaths recently documented in Bucha were “only one example” of what Russian forces have been doing throughout Ukraine since the war began and said more evidence of war crimes will emerge.
He said, for Russia, “accountability must be inevitable”.
Zelensky called for the UN to “act immediately” and expel Russia from the UN Security Council. He also called for reform of the international body. “We must do everything in our power to pass on to the next generation an effective UN with the power to take preventative action to ensure peace,” he said.
4:43 pm: Claims Russia used cluster bombs in Ukraine are ‘credible’, UN says
A top UN official told the 15-member Security Council including Moscow’s envoy on Tuesday of “credible” claims Russia has used indiscriminate cluster munitions at least two dozen times in populated parts of Ukraine.
UN human rights body “OHCHR has received credible allegations that Russian forces have used cluster munitions in populated areas at least 24 times,” UN undersecretary-general for political and peacebuilding affairs, Rosemary DiCarlo, told the meeting on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
She said the global body was “gravely concerned by the persistent use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area”,saying such weapons are causing the most civilian casualties in the war.
4:31 pm: Russian invasion of Ukraine ‘one of the greatest challenges ever to the international order’ says UN chief
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned the Security Council on Tuesday that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is one of “the greatest challenges ever to the international order”, “because of its nature, intensity, and consequences”.
Guterres said the war was putting even more pressure on the developing world, with more than 1.2 billion people particularly vulnerable to spiking food, energy and fertilizer costs.
“We are already seeing some countries move from vulnerability into crisis, and signs of serious social unrest,” he added.
3:51 pm: Putin says Russia will monitor food exports to ‘hostile’ countries
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday Moscow would carefully “monitor” food exports to “hostile” nations as the West pummels the country with sanctions over its war in Ukraine.
“Against the backdrop of global food shortages, this year we will have to be prudent with supplies abroad and carefully monitor such exports to countries that are clearly hostile towards us,” Putin said at a meeting.
The Russian president also condemned European “pressure” on the Russian gas provider Gazprom, and warned of possible reprisals.
3:23 pm: NATO chief fears ‘more atrocities’ will be discovered in Ukraine
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday he feared there were “more atrocities” to be discovered in areas of Ukraine that were occupied by Russian troops.
“When and if they withdraw the troops and Ukrainian troops take over, I’m afraid they will see more mass graves, more atrocities and more examples of war crimes,” he told a media conference.
3:04 pm: EU proposes fifth set of sanctions on Russia including coal ban
The European Union’s executive branch has proposed a ban on coal imports from Russia in what would be the first sanctions targeting the country’s lucrative energy industry over its war in Ukraine.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Tuesday that the EU needed to increase the pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin after what she described as the “heinous crimes” carried out around Kyiv.
Von der Leyen said the ban on coal imports is worth €4 billion per year. She added that the EU has already started working on additional sanctions, including on oil imports.
Von der Leyen didn’t mention natural gas. A consensus among the 27 EU member countries on targeting gas that’s used to generate electricity, heat homes and power industry would be more difficult to secure.
>> Baltic states end Russian gas imports – but can the rest of Europe follow suit?
2:42 pm: NATO and allies to discuss delivery of advanced weapons to Ukraine
Foreign affairs minister’s from all 30 NATO countries are set to meet on April 6 and 7 to discuss possible security guarantees and increased military support for Ukraine.
The countries will discuss the delivery of advanced weapons including anti tank-weapons to Ukraine, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a press conference on April 5.
Unusually, non-members, Ukraine, Finland, Sweden, Georgia, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the European Union are also expected to join the talks. FRANCE 24’s Dave Keating reports from Brussels.
2:00 pm: More than 7.1 million Ukrainians internally displaced since war, IOM says
According to the UN’s International Organisation for Migration (IOM), more than 7.1 million people have been internally displaced in Ukraine due to the Russian invasion. This represents a 10 percent increase compared to the initial estimates in the first round of surveys on March 16.
Additional evaluations provided by the UN refugee agency UNHCR suggest that 4.2 million more Ukrainians have been forced to flee their country due to the war.
12:50 pm: France opens investigation into allegations of war crimes in Ukraine
The French anti-terrorism prosecutor announced Tuesday that it was investigating possible Russian war crimes involving French citizens in three Ukrainian cities – Mariupol, Gostomel and Chernhiv – committed between Feb 24 and March 16.
11:51 am: France summons Russian ambassador after expelling diplomats
France summoned the Russian ambassador, Alexey Meshkov, on Tuesday, the French foreign ministry said, a day after expelling 35 Russian diplomats amid allegations of war crimes in Bucha, Ukraine.
11:12 am: Italy, Spain expel dozens of Russian diplomats
Italy and Spain on Tuesday became the latest EU allies to announce they would expel dozens of Russian diplomats amid outrage over what appear to be summary killings in Bucha. Earlier in the day, Denmark and Sweden said they would throw out a number of Russian diplomatic staff.
The announcements follow similar moves by EU members, including France which on Monday expelled 35 Russian diplomats, and Germany, where officials said 40 diplomats had been sent home.
Russia has promised to retaliate against the expulsions.
10:55 am: EU’s von der Leyen and Borrell to meet Zelensky in Kyiv
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell will travel to Kyiv this week for a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, an EU spokesman said on Tuesday.
The meeting will take place “prior to the pledging event #StandUpForUkraine on Saturday in Warsaw”, EU spokesman Eric Mamer wrote on Twitter.
10:43 am: Zelensky criticises Hungary’s Orban for Russia support
During a televised interview to local media, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban would have to choose between Moscow and the “other world”. This comes after the Hungarian leader won a fourth consecutive term in Hungary’s elections Sunday.
10:38 am: Russia threatens to fine Wikipedia over ‘false information’
Russian communications regulator authority, Roskomnadzor, has demanded that Wikipedia removes “material with inaccurate information of public interest” concerning the war in Ukraine. The government agency has accused the website of hosting false information regarding what the Kremlin calls a “special military operation” in the country. The site faces up to 4 million Roubles ($48,000) in fines.
10:02 am: Denmark expels 15 Russian diplomats over Bucha killings
The Danish government has decided to expel 15 Russian diplomats following reports of mass graves being found and of civilian killings in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, according to Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod. The 15 expelled diplomats are accused of spying, he explained.
“We have established that the 15 expelled intelligence officers have conducted spying on Danish soil,” Kofod told reporters after a meeting in parliament, adding that they wished to send a “clear signal” that spying in Denmark was “unacceptable”.
Russia responded by saying it would retaliate the move.
09:44 am: Kyiv mayor estimates ‘almost 20,000’ Russian troops have died in Ukraine
Kyiv’s Mayor Vitali Klitschko on Tuesday estimated Russian troop losses at “almost 20,000” since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24, without citing evidence of his claim.
Russia, meanwhile, has only confirmed 498 casualties so far – a number that was made public in the beginning of March but which has not been updated since then.
Death tolls in the conflict have been extremely difficult for independent observers to verify due to the lack of trustworthy information and the challenges of accessing the most violence-fraught areas.
Last week, however, NATO estimated that between 7,000 and 15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in the conflict.
08:40 am: Red Cross team held on way to Mariupol ‘released’
A team from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been released after being stopped during an attempt to reach the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol and held in nearby Manhush, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said Tuesday.
“After negotiations, they were released during the night and sent to Zaporizhzhia,” she said referring to a nearby city.
The team had been aiming to reach the besieged city of Mariupol on Monday and evacuate some of the remaining residents who are lacking basic supplies. It was their fourth such attempt since Friday.
08:38 am: EU ‘probably’ to adopt new Russia sanctions Wednesday, French minister says
The European Union will most likely adopt a new round of sanctions against Russia on Wednesday after reports of killings of civilians in northern Ukraine by Russian forces, said France’s European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune.
“The new sanctions will probably be adopted tomorrow,” Beaune told RFI radio on Tuesday, adding the EU should also quickly act on gas and coal imports from Russia.
Russia denied any accusations related to the murder of civilians, including in Bucha. Its envoy to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzya, said Russia will present “empirical evidence” to the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday showing its forces were not involved in atrocities.
07:57 am: ‘Extraordinary defeat of Russian forces’ in Bucha
Despite the massive destruction and dead civilians they allegedly left behind them, Russian forces do not seem to have retreated from the town of Bucha, near Kyiv, voluntarily, but rather because they faced an “extraordinary defeat” by Ukrainian troops. “It was clearly not an orderly withdrawal from these areas. There are destroyed Russian military vehicles absolutely everywhere,” FRANCE 24’s Ukraine correspondent Gulliver Cragg reports.
6:30 am: Ukraine’s Zelensky to address UN Security Council
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will address the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday after saying it is in Kyiv’s interest to have the most open investigation into the killing of civilians in Ukraine.
He said that in Bucha, where mass graves and bodies were found after Ukraine took the town back from Russian forces, at least 300 civilians have been killed, and he expects that in Borodyanka and other towns the number of casualties may be even higher.
The speech will be Zelensky’s first to the UN body since Russia’s invasion. It comes after he made an emotional trip to Bucha outside the capital, where dozens of bodies were discovered after the withdrawal of Russian troops.
Horrific images of corpses lying in the streets, some with their hands bound behind them, have drawn international condemnation.
4:04 am: Moscow warns of ‘symmetrical’ response to Western countries’ expulsion of Russian diplomats
Russia will respond proportionately to the expulsion of its diplomats from a number of Western countries, Russian ex-president and deputy head of security council Dmitry Medvedev said late on Monday.
“Everyone knows the answer: it will be symmetrical and destructive for bilateral relations,” Medvedev said in a posting on his Telegram channel.
“Who have they punished? First of all, themselves.”
On Monday, France said it would expel 35 Russian diplomats over Moscow’s actions in Ukraine and Germany declared “significant number” of Russian diplomats as undesirable.
“If this continues, it will be fitting, as I wrote back on 26th February – to slam shut the door on Western embassies,” Medvedev said. “It will be cheaper for everyone. And then we will end up just looking at each other in no other way than through gunsights.”
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)
Originally published on France24