Live updates | Ukraine’s leader asks help in Grammys video
LAS VEGAS — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has appeared in a video at the Grammy Awards asking for support in telling the story of Ukraine’s invasion by Russia.
In an English-language message, Zelenskyy described the attack as a deadly silence that threatens to endanger the dreams and lives, including the children, of the Ukrainian people.
He said, “Our musicians don’t wear tuxedos but wear body armor.” They sing to the injured in hospitals, even if they can’t hear them. But the music will still break through .”
The Recording Academy and Global Citizen highlighted, prior to the ceremony, a social media campaign called Stand Up For Ukraine to raise money for humanitarian aid.
Zelenskyy said to the audience: “Fill it with your music. Fill it today to tell your story. Tell the truth on social media, on TV. Support us in every way possible, but don’t silence. Then peace will be restored to all our cities. John Legend performed “Free” along with Ukrainian musicians Siuzanna and Mika Newton, and Lyuba Yakimchuk. Afterwards, images from the war were displayed on screens.
KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:
— Ukraine accuses Russia of massacre, city strewn with bodies
— US, UK secret intelligence has unusually public role in Ukraine war
— Lithuania weans itself completely off Russian gas, 1st EU nation to do so
— Drug shortages persist in Russia after start of Ukraine war
— Pope still working on meeting Russian Orthodox patriarch
— Go to https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine for more coverage
KYIV, Ukraine — The Ukrainian military says that its forces have retaken some towns in the Chernihiv region and that humanitarian aid is being delivered. The news agency RBK Ukraina reports that the road linking Chernihiv with Kyiv will reopen later in the week.
Chernihiv is a city 80 miles north of Kyiv and it had been cut off from shipments of food and other supplies for weeks. The mayor said Sunday that relentless Russian shelling had destroyed 70% of the city. Dmitry Zhivitsky, a local administrator, said that
Russian troops also withdrew their forces from Sumy, Ukraine’s northeast. This was according to a video broadcast by Ukrainian news agencies on Sunday. The troops had been in the area for almost a month.
In other areas retaken by Russian troops, Ukrainian officials claim that they have rescued hundreds of civilians killed in the past few days. Ukraine’s prosecutor-general says the bodies of 410 civilians have been recovered from Kyiv-area towns.
KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s prosecutor-general says the bodies of 410 civilians have been removed from Kyiv-area towns that were recently retaken from Russian troops.
Iryna Vediktova posted on Facebook that the bodies had been recovered Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. She says 140 of them have undergone examination by prosecutors and other specialists.
Ukrainian Iryna Vereshchuk, Deputy Prime Minister, says that the mayor of Motyzhyn, in the Kyiv Region was killed while being held by Russian troops. Vereshchuk adds that there are 11 mayors and community heads in Russian captivity across Ukraine. In a video address on Sunday, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the President of Ukraine, condemned the alleged targeted killings of civilians by Russian forces in towns they occupied. He warned that more atrocities could be revealed if Russian forces were forced from other occupied areas.
International leaders have condemned the reported attacks in the Kyiv-area towns after harrowing accounts from civilians and graphic images of bodies with hands tied behind their backs. The Defense Ministry of Russia has denied claims of atrocities against civilians within Bucha and other areas of Kyiv.
BALAKLIYA, Ukraine — The governor of the Kharkiv region says Russian troops fired on a convoy of buses that was trying to evacuate patients from a hospital that had been heavily damaged in shelling a day earlier.
The governor, Oleh Synyehubov, said Sunday that about 70 patients needed to be taken away from the damaged hospital in the town of Balakliya but that the buses were not able to enter the town. He said that preliminary information indicated that one of the bus drivers had been killed.
Balakliya is about 75 kilometers (45 miles) southeast of the city of Kharkiv, which has been heavily hit by Russian attacks.
BERLIN — Germany’s defense minister says European officials should talk about halting gas supplies from Russia in light of the alleged attacks on civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.
Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht stated Sunday night on German public broadcaster ARD, “There must be a response.” Such crimes must not go unanswered.”
So far, Germany and several other European governments have shied away from an immediate boycott of Russian natural gas over fears of the impact it would have on their economies.
Europe gets 40% of its gas and 25% of its oil from Russia, and since the war, has scrambled to set out proposals to reduce its dependency. Russia is equally dependent on Europe. Russia’s dominant sector, oil and gas, pays for government operations.
While the economic impact of a gas embargo or boycott on Europe is not known, most estimates indicate a significant loss in economic output.
JERUSALEM —- Israel’s foreign minister is condemning the reported atrocities in Ukraine, saying deliberate harm to civilians is a war crime.
Foreign minister Yair Lapid said on Twitter that one cannot remain indifferent after seeing images from Bucha, near the capital of Ukraine.
Israel has had to walk a tightrope after Russia invaded Ukraine. It has simultaneously condemned the invasion and remained calm out of concern about angering Moscow, which has security coordination in Syria. Israel has maintained good relations with both countries, and has been a mediator between them since February’s invasion. 24.
Lapid strongly condemns the war crime of intentionally hurting civilian populations.
MOTYZHYN, Ukraine — A resident says the mayor of the Ukrainian town of Motyzhyn was killed in an execution-style slaying along with her husband and son.
Another resident of the town 50 kilometers (31 miles) west of Kyiv told the The Associated Press on Sunday that Russian troops targeted local officials in a bid to win them over and killed them if they did not collaborate. Oleg declined to reveal his full name for security reasons.
The mayor, Olga Sukhenko and her family were gunned down and thrown into a pit behind a plot land with three houses where Russian troops had slept. Unidentified was a fourth body.
The mayor and her family had been reported by others as kidnapped by Russians on March 23 and taken in an unknown direction.
LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says Russia’s attack on Ukranian civilians in towns on the outskirts of Kyiv “are yet more evidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his army are committing war crimes in Ukraine.”
Johnson called the attacks in the towns of Irpin and Bucha “despicable” and says he “will do everything in my power to starve Putin’s war machine.” Johnson added that the U.K. will step up its sanctions and military support for Ukraine, but did not provide details.
Other European leaders condemned the attacks on Ukranian civilians after seeing images of bodies in the streets, and some of the dead holding their hands behind their backs.
Leaders from France, Germany, Italy and Greece expressed outrage at these images. Petr Fiala, the Czech Prime Minister, called the images “horrifying” saying that Russia has been committing war crime. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz believes international organizations should have access to the area to document the atrocities.
French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian says his country will work with Ukrainian authorities and the International Criminal Court “to ensure these acts don’t go unpunished.”
BRUSSELS — NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the graphic images coming out of Bucha, Ukraine, after Russian troops withdrew show “a brutality against civilians we haven’t seen in Europe for decades.”
He tells CNN’s “State of the Union” that “it’s absolutely unacceptable that civilians are targeted and killed” and that it’s Russian President Vladimir Putin’s responsibility to stop the war.
Stoltenberg states that it is “extremely important that the International Criminal Court opens an investigation into possible war crimes in Ukraine and that those who are responsible are held accountable.
His comments echo those of other European leaders who condemned the alleged war crimes, civilian deaths, and other actions by Russian forces in Ukrainian cities, including Bucha, near Kyiv.
BUCHA, Ukraine — Residents of the Ukrainian town of Bucha near the capital of Kyiv have given harrowing accounts of how Russian troops shot and killed civilians without any apparent reason.
Hundreds of bodies of civilians were found scattered across the northern town, which was under Russian control for approximately a month.
Residents claim that the logistics compound was used by Russian forces to base their troops. They found 8 bodies on the ground, with some of them tied behind their backs.
Residents claim that Russian troops would move from one building to the next, search their phones for evidence against Russia, and then take or shoot the victims.
Russia’s Defense Ministry has rejected the claims of atrocities against civilians in Bucha and other suburbs of Kyiv as a “provocation.”
The ministry says that “not a single civilian has faced any violent action by the Russian military” in Bucha.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated that Russian attacks on Ukraine amount to genocide in a Sunday interview with the U.S. Television.
ROME — The head of Italy’s Democratic Party called for a full oil and gas embargo in reaction to images emerging of atrocities against civilians by Russian soldiers retreating from the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.
” How many #Buca will it take before we implement a full Russia oil and gas embargo?” Enrico Letta posted on Sunday that Enrico Letta had asked. “Time is over.”
Italy gets 40% of its natural gas from Russia and officials have said it would take three years to make the transition to other sources. Premier Mario Draghi acknowledged last Wednesday that Russia was using energy payments to fuel its invasion. Officials have said it would take three years to transition to other sources.
WASHINGTON — White House chief of staff Ron Klain says the U.S. remains fully committed to providing a full range of economic and military support to Ukraine in its war against Russia, which he describes as “far from over.”
Klain credits Ukrainians for fighting off Russian troops in the northern part of Ukraine and says the U.S. and its allies are sending weapons into the country “almost every single day.”
But he also tells ABC’s “This Week” that there are signs that Russian President Vladimir Putin is redeploying Russian troops to the eastern part of Ukraine.
Klain says while it will be up to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to decide if the political endgame is to allow Russia to occupy the eastern part of Ukraine, from the U.S. standpoint, the “military future of this attack has to be push back.”
He says regarding a potential Russian occupation of eastern Ukraine: “I will tell you, as President Zelenskyy has said, that’s not acceptable to him, and we are going to support him with military aid, with economic aid, with humanitarian aid.”
KYIV, Ukraine — The Ukrainian military says Russian troops have completed their pullback from the country’s north. The General Staff of the Ukrainian military stated in Sunday’s statement, that Russian units had withdrawn from the country’s northern regions to neighboring Belarus. This area was used as a staging ground by the Russian invasion. The Ukrainian military stated that its airborne forces had taken complete control of Pripyat, just outside the decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear plant and the section bordering Belarus. It posted a picture of the Ukrainian soldier putting up the country’s flag with a shelter containing the Chernobyl reactor that exploded in 1986 seen in the background.
VILNIUS, Lithuania — Lithuania says it has cut itself off entirely of gas imports from Russia and that it’s the first of the European Union’s 27 nations using Russian gas to break its energy dependence upon Moscow. Seeking energy independence from Russian gaz, in response to Russia’s energy blackmail in Europe, and the war in Ukraine,” said the energy ministry of Lithuania late Saturday. The statement added that the measure was in effect since the beginning April.
Lithuania cut imports of Russian gaz to zero on Saturday. This is a significant step towards energy independence in the former Soviet republic with 2.8 million people, the ministry stated.
“We have become independent from Russian gas supplies as the first EU country to do so, according to Minister of Energy Dainius Kreivys.
Lithuania’s president posted a positive tweet on his account, and asked other European countries to do the same.
KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s top diplomat has called for tougher sanctions on Russia over growing evidence of what he called a massacre of civilians in the suburbs of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.
Ukrainian officials stated earlier Sunday that scores were found dead civilians in the Kyiv suburbs of Bucha and Irpin following the withdrawal of Russian troops. According to them, some victims were shot in their heads and had their hands tied.
The Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Sunday that the killings had been “deliberate” and that Russia aimed to eliminate as many Ukrainians and their goods as possible .”
. He urged the West not to lift the oil, gas, and coal embargos and to close all ports that are open to Russian vessels and goods.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German President, stated in Berlin that “the war crimes committed by Russia are visible before the eyes of the world.”
In Germany President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in Berlin that “the war crimes committed by Russia are visible before the eyes of the world.”
German news agency dpa reported that Steinmeier said “the images from Bucha shake me, they shake us deeply.”
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock pledged to tighten sanctions against Russia but did not give details.
BERLIN — Poland’s most powerful politician says he is open to the permanent stationing of U.S. nuclear weapons in Eastern Europe.
Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of Poland’s ruling conservative party, Law and Justice, said Sunday in an interview with German weekly Welt am Sonntag that “in principle, it makes sense to extend nuclear participation to the eastern flank.”
Kaczynski added that “if the Americans asked us to store U.S. nuclear weapons in Poland, we would be open to it. It would significantly strengthen deterrence against Moscow.”
Kaczynski acknowledged that “at the moment, this question does not arise, but that may change soon.”
The Polish leader also called for a much stronger presence of U.S. soldiers in Europe in the future, especially on NATO’s eastern flank.
He said that “Poland would welcome an increase in the American presence in Europe in the future from the current 100,000 soldiers to 150,000 soldiers because of Russia’s increasing aggressiveness.”
MOSCOW — The Kremlin says that by imposing sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin the West has demonstrated it has abandoned its sense of reason.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in televised remarks Sunday that the sanctions against Putin were going “beyond the edge of reason,” adding that they showed that the West is “capable of any stupidities.”
Peskov added that Putin’s meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is “hypothetically possible” once negotiators from the two countries prepared a draft agreement to be discussed.
KYIV, Ukraine — A Ukrainian presidential adviser says authorities have found evidence of serious war crimes by Russian troops on the outskirts of Kyiv.
Oleksiy Westovych, an advisor to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zeleskyy, stated that hundreds of civilians were found dead in the streets of Kyiv’s suburbs of Irpin and Bucha following the withdrawal of Russian troops. He compared the scene to “a horror movie.”
Arestovych said some victims were shot in the head and had their hands bound, and some of the bodies had signs of torture. He claimed that Russian troops had raped women and tried to burn their bodies.
Arestovych stated that Ukrainian authorities would investigate the alleged war crimes, and track down the perpetrators.
The reports were condemned by the international community. British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss stated that there was increasing evidence of “indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilians” and called for an investigation as war crimes.
“We won’t allow Russia to cover their involvement in these atrocities using cynical misinformation and will ensure the truth of Russia’s actions is brought to light,” she stated.
MOSCOW — Russia’s top negotiator in talks with Ukraine says it’s too early to talk about a meeting between the two countries’ president.
Vladimir Medinsky led the Russian delegation at Tuesday’s talks in Istanbul. He said that there was still much work to be done before a draft agreement could be finalized before President Vladimir Putin and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy meet.
Sunday’s remarks were carried by Interfax news agency. Medinsky reiterated that the parties had reached a tentative agreement regarding Ukraine’s need to adopt neutral status and cease holding foreign military bases in return for international security guarantees.
When Medinsky was asked about Davyd Arakhamia, the Ukrainian negotiator, claiming that Moscow had informally accepted most of the proposals made by Ukraine during the talks held in Istanbul this week and that the two presidents could discuss a draft deal, Medinsky stated that he didn’t share Arakhamia’s optimism. He stated that the talks will continue online on Monday.
Medinsky stressed that Russia’s position on Crimea and the rebel regions in Ukraine’s east was unchanged. The Kremlin demands that Ukraine acknowledge Russia’s sovereignty over Crimea, which Moscow annexed in 2014, and recognize the independence of Russia-backed separatist regions in Donbas, Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland.
BERLIN — The mayor of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, has expressed shock at what he called “cruel war crimes” committed by Russian soldiers in the town of Bucha northwest of the capital.
Referring to reports of executed civilians, Klitschko told German daily Bild on Sunday that “what happened in Bucha and other suburbs of Kyiv can only be described as genocide.”
An AP crew on Sunday saw the bodies of at least nine people who appear to have been executed. At least two of them had both their hands tied behind their backs. They were all wearing civilian clothes, with at least three of them naked from the waist upward. One was shot in the chest at close range.
Klitschko claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin was responsible. He also stated that civilians were “shot with tied hands .”
He urged the entire world, and Germany, to immediately stop importing gas from Russia. He stated that, “especially for Germany” there could only be one consequence: No penny should go to Russia anymore. That’s bloody money that is used to kill people. The gas and oil embargo must come immediately.”
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