The UN chief in Ukraine supports the investigation of war crimes

The UN chief in Ukraine supports the investigation of war crimes

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday that in war, “the highest price paid by civilians”, when he visited places outside the Ukrainian capital ahead of talks with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The areas that Guterres toured included Borodianka and Irpin, as well as Bucha, where the bodies of civilians were found after Russian forces withdrew from the area a month ago. These findings prompted calls for investigations into possible war crimes, and Guterres on Thursday encouraged Russia to cooperate in investigations by the International Criminal Court.

“I fully support the ICC and I appeal to the Russian Federation to accept, to cooperate with the ICC,” Guterres said. “But when we talk about war crimes, we can not forget that the worst of the crimes is the war itself.”

After arriving in Ukraine, the UN chief said he wanted to “expand humanitarian aid and secure the evacuation of civilians from conflict areas”, topics included in his talks earlier this week with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

“The sooner the war ends, the better – for the sake of Ukraine, Russia and the world,” Guterres tweeted.

The smoke rises after a military attack on a facility near the railway station, in the middle of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in the frontline city of Lyman, Donetsk region, on April 28, 2022. The smoke rises after a military attack on a facility near the railway station, in the middle of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in the frontline city of Lyman, Donetsk region, on April 28, 2022.

Latest developments in Ukraine: 28 April

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On Thursday, US President Joe Biden will talk about further support for Ukraine, as he sends a proposed package of security, financial and humanitarian aid to Congress.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Wednesday that the package would be similar in focus to previous rounds of aid to “help meet a range of Ukrainian needs.” She did not specify the size of the proposed aid.

Biden is also sending to Congress a request for a separate set of measures to tighten sanctions, to streamline the process of seizing assets from sanctioned oligarchs and to enable seizure and confiscated proceeds to be seized and sent to Ukraine to ” repair damage “by Russian aggression.”

The proposal would also include closer cooperation with international partners to “restore assets linked to foreign corruption” and to extend the time to prosecute money laundering from five years to ten years.

A White House statement said the measures would “strengthen the US government’s authority to hold the Russian government and Russian oligarchs accountable for President Putin’s war against Ukraine.”

Separately, Congress can also send “loan-leasing” legislation, which further frees up the flow of arms, to Biden’s desk for a signature as early as the end of this week.

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Pentagon spokesman John Kirby on Wednesday quoted the ongoing flow of weapons and aid in the success that Ukraine has maintained in the fight against Putin’s unprovoked invasion.

Putin warned of Western intervention in Ukraine when he spoke to lawmakers in St. Petersburg. Petersburg on Wednesday.

“If anyone intends to intervene in the current external events and create strategic threats against Russia that are unacceptable to us, they should know that our retaliatory attacks will be lightning fast,” Putin said. ‘We all have the tools for this, things that no one else can boast of having now. And we will not brag, we will use them if necessary. And I want everyone to know that. ‘

NATO expansion

Military aid to Ukraine, either promised or already provided by NATO allies, has reached $ 8 billion, said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has forced Finland and Sweden to consider applying to join NATO’s military alliance, and Stoltenberg said that if they choose to take that step, the process could be completed quickly.

– It is of course up to Finland and Sweden to decide whether they want to apply for NATO membership or not. But if they decide to apply, Finland and Sweden would be welcomed with open arms to NATO, Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels.

Russia has expressed opposition to a future NATO membership for Finland and Sweden and says that if they join, Russia will deploy nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles to Kaliningrad.

“This is basically about the right of every nation in Europe to decide its own future,” Stoltenberg said. “So when Russia tries to threaten, to scare Finland and Sweden from not applying, it just shows how Russia does not respect each nation’s fundamental right to choose its own path.”

Russian energy

Ukrainian Presidential Adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said on Thursday “it is a matter of time” before imposing an embargo on Russia’s key energy industry.

While European nations have taken steps to reduce or eliminate their dependence on Russian oil and gas, the replacement of these supplies and potential economic hits at home have prompted some leaders to express caution about how fast they should proceed on the path demanded by Ukrainian officials. an embargo.

Podolyak tweeted that avoiding Russia’s energy supply is both a moral issue and an issue of Russia ceasing to “be a reliable and predictable partner in the eyes of the world.”

“Switching to alternative delivery channels quickly will be expensive, but not as expensive as not doing so,” Podolyak tweeted. “In the medium term, Moscow will face total economic and political isolation. As a result, poverty, the extent of which Russia has not yet seen.”

His comments came a day after Russia’s Gazprom stopped supplying natural gas to Poland and Bulgaria.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki speaks at a press conference near the gas installation at a Gaz-Systems gas compressor station in Rembelszczyzna, outside Warsaw, Poland, on April 27, 2022. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki speaks at a press conference near the gas installation at a Gaz-Systems gas compressor station in Rembelszczyzna, outside Warsaw, Poland, on April 27, 2022.

Russia stops gas supplies to Poland, Bulgaria

Gazprom said on Wednesday that Poland and Bulgaria had not met Russia’s demand to pay for natural gas in rubles. The company said that four unnamed natural gas buyers have paid Russia in rubles, and 10 European companies have created ruble accounts to make payments in Russian currency, Bloomberg News reported.

Polish President Andrzej Duda said Russia’s gas shutdown violated “basic legal principles”, while Bulgaria’s Energy Minister Alexander Nikolov said gas was being used as a “political and economic weapon.”

National Security Correspondent Jeff Seldin contributed to this report. Some information came from the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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