Live Updates | Ukrainian mayor attends pope’s Easter vigil
WASHINGTON — Austria’s chancellor said after meeting with Vladimir Putin in Moscow this past week that the Russian president is “in his own war logic” when it comes to Ukraine.
Karl Nehammer said to NBC that he believes Putin is winning the war. Nehammer was the first European leader to meet Putin in Moscow since Russia launched its invasion on Feb. 24. He said “we have to look in his eyes and we have to confront him with that, what we see in Ukraine.”
Before arriving in Moscow last Monday, Nehammer had visited Bucha, Ukraine, the town outside of Kyiv where graphic evidence of killings and torture has emerged following the withdrawal of Russian forces.
Nehammer told “Meet the Press” that he confronted Putin with what he had seen in Bucha, and “it was not a friendly conversation.”
He said Putin said “he will cooperate with an international investigation, on one hand, and on the other hand, he told me that he doesn’t trust the Western world. So this will be the problem now in the future.”
KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:
— Mother, grandmother weep over a 15-year-old killed in shelling of Kharkiv
— Elderly mother feels “lost,” seeks son’s body in Ukrainian town of Bucha
— Russia renews strikes on Ukraine capital, other cities
— ‘We pray for you’: Ukrainian Jews mark Passover, if they can
— Ukraine’s port of Mariupol holds out against all odds
Follow all AP stories on Russia’s war on Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine.
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis invoked “gestures of peace in these days marked by the horror of war” in an Easter vigil homily Saturday in St. Peter’s Basilica, attended by the mayor of the occupied Ukrainian city of Melitopol and three Ukrainian parliamentarians.
The pontiff noted that while “many writers have evoked the beauty of starlit nights, the nights of war, however, are riven by streams of light that portend death.”
Francis did not refer directly to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but he has called for an Easter truce in order to reach a negotiated peace. The call was not heard Saturday as Russia continued its missile and rocket attacks against Kyiv, western Ukraine, and elsewhere, a reminder of the country’s ongoing threat.
Francis addressed Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov, and Ukrainian lawmakers Maria Mezentseva Olena Khomenko, Olena Khoenko, and Rusem Umerov at the end of his homily. They sat in front row.
” In this darkness of war and in the cruelty, all of us are praying for you, and with you, this night. We pray for all the suffering. We can only offer you our company, our prayers,” Francis said. Then, with emotion, he added that the “biggest thing you can receive is Christ is risen,” the last three Ukrainian words.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The Invictus Games for injured and ill service personnel and veterans has opened with a standing ovation and a tribute from Prince Harry for Ukrainian team members who left their war-torn nation to compete. With Harry and Meghan in the front row, competitors cheered for almost a minute as the Ukrainian team waved the blue-and-yellow flag of their country after Mark Rutte, the Dutch Prime Minister, welcomed them. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the event was delayed for two years.
Harry created the Invictus Games in order to help the rehabilitation of wounded or sick military service personnel and veterans. They offer them the opportunity to compete in sports events similar the Paralympics.
Welcoming all competitors, Harry singled out the 19-strong Ukrainian team and their supporters.
” His admiration for the bravery of coming and for being present tonight cannot be overstated,” Harry said, one day after meeting with the Ukrainians at a reception.
” We stand with you, you know. The entire world stands with you. You deserve more. Harry said that he hoped that these events, this event, would give us the chance to show more support for you as a global community.”
FORT IRWIN, Calif. —- U.S. Army trainers are using lessons learned from the Russian war against Ukraine as they prepare soldiers for future fights against a major adversary. The role-players at this month’s exercise in California’s Mojave desert speak Russian, and the enemy force uses a steady stream social media to make false allegations against the American brigade that is preparing for attack. In the coming weeks, the planned training scenario will focus on how to defeat an enemy who is willing to take down a city using rocket and missile fire to take it over.
RIYADH — Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman on Saturday, their second call since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Saudi Press Agency said the two discussed bilateral relations and “ways of enhancing them in all fields.”
The Saudi readout of the call said the crown prince affirmed support for efforts that would lead to a political solution to the crisis in Ukraine. The kingdom recently announced $10 million in humanitarian aid for Ukrainian refugees. The Kremlin added that the two discussed the ongoing conflict at Yemen, where a Saudi-led alliance has been at war for many years, and their joint work on OPEC , an oil output agreement. The oil pact has maintained a tight control on oil production by major producers, which has supported oil prices.
Ukraine urged countries around the world not to rely on Russian oil imports, which it claims finance Russia’s military conflict with Ukraine.
KYIV, Ukraine — Russian forces shelled an oil refinery in the Ukrainian city of Lysychansk on Saturday, and a large fire erupted, a regional governor reported.
Luhansk Regional Governor Serhiy Haidai stated that it wasn’t the first attack on the refinery and accused the Russians trying to “exhaust” local emergency services. He stated that there was no fuel at this refinery at the time and that “the remains oil sludge” were still burning.
Ukraine’s presidential office reported Saturday that missile strikes and shelling over the past 24 hours occurred in eight regions: Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv in the east, Dnipropetrovsk, Poltava and Kirovohrad in the central Ukraine and Mykolaiv and Kherson in the south. The strikes highlighted that the entire country was still at risk despite Russia’s pivot to mounting a new offensive towards the east.
In Kharkiv, nine civilians were killed and more than 50 were wounded on Friday, while in the wider region two were reported dead and three wounded, according to the report.
The southern Mykolaiv was ravaged on Friday and Saturday. According to the presidential office, airstrikes Friday killed five and wounded 15. The head of regional legislature, Hanna Zamazeyeva, said Saturday that 39 people have been wounded in the past 24 hours.
Zamazeyeva said the targets included several residential blocks “where there are no military facilities.”
The besieged Ukrainian port city of Mariupol is still holding out, but the situation there is critical.
KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in televised remarks on Saturday that 700 Ukrainian troops and more than 1,000 civilians — more than half women — are currently being held captive by the Russians.
Vereshchuk said Kyiv intends to swap the captive soldiers, since Ukraine holds about the same number of Russian troops but demands to release the civilians “without any conditions.”
ROME — Italy is barring all Russian ships from its ports starting Sunday, as part of expanded EU sanctions announced earlier this month. According to a notice sent out to all port authorities in the country, ships already in Italian ports must immediately leave “after completing its commercial activity.”
BERLIN — Peace activists took part Germany’s traditional Easter marches on Saturday, calling for an end to the war in Ukraine but also in at least some cases opposing helping Ukraine defend itself with weaponry.
A Berlin event drew 400 people and one in Hannover 500, the dpa news agency reported, citing police. Marches were held in several cities, including Munich, Cologne and Leipzig, Stuttgart, Duisburg, and Leipzig. Banners included “End the war in Ukraine” and “He who sends weapons reaps war.”
The country’s vice chancellor, Greens politician Robert Habeck, warned demonstrators against sending the wrong message, saying “there will only be peace when Putin stops his war of aggression.” He said in an interview with the Funke media group that it was “clear who the aggressor is who and who are defending themselves in an emergency and whom we must support, also with weapons.”
Ukrainian officials say Germany has sent anti-tank and antiaircaft weapon as well as night vision equipment, body armor and machine guns. The locally organized peace marches go back to the Cold War days and focus on issues like disarmament, abolition and nuclear weapons.
KYIV, Ukraine — Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said that one person died and several more were wounded in the Saturday morning airstrikes on the Darnytski district of the capital, as Russian forces resumed scattered attacks on the capital in western Ukraine.
” Our air defense forces are doing all they can to defend us, but our enemy is insidiously and ruthless,” Klitschko stated on Telegram. The Russian Defense Ministry stated that an armored vehicle plant was targeted in Kiev’s capital. This was a stark reminder to Westerners and Ukrainians that their country is still under threat, despite Russian forces moving to the east, where they are feared to launch a new offensive.
Klitschko urged Ukrainians not to return to Kyiv just yet in televised remarks Saturday, warning that strikes on the capital are likely continue and its suburbs are rigged with explosives. Klitschko stated that “we’re not ruling out any further strikes on the capital.” “We cannot prohibit, but we can only recommend. If you have the chance to stay a bit longer in cities where it’s safer than others, do it The mayor of Kyiv stated that residents of Kyiv are prohibited from visiting parks or forests in northeastern regions that border with former Russian territories.
MOSCOW — Russia has barred the UK prime minister and a dozen other top British officials from entering the country in response to British sanctions imposed on Russia over its military operation in Ukraine.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry announced the move that targets Boris Johnson, a number of British ministers and former prime minister Theresa May, on Saturday. The statement by the ministry cited “unprecedented hostile acts of the British government”, notably in the imposition sanctions against top Russian officials.
” The British authorities’ Russophobic actions, whose main goal it to incite a negative attitude towards Russia, have curtailed bilateral ties in almost every area. This is detrimental to the well-being of British residents. The statement stated that any sanctions attack on their initiators will invariably backfire and receive a decisive repudiation.
On Friday evening, the ministry announced the expulsion of 18 European Union diplomats from Moscow, in retaliation for the bloc’s declaring 19 diplomats from the Russian mission to the EU and to the European Atomic Energy Community persona non-grata. The European Union claimed that the expulsions were unfounded and that the diplomats being targeted were working within the framework of the Vienna convention for diplomatic relations.
KYIV, Ukraine — Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said in an online posting that Kyiv was struck early Saturday in the Darnytskyi district in the eastern part of the capital, saying there were “explosions.”
He said rescuers and paramedics were on the scene and that victims’ details would be released later.
Klitschko urged residents to heed air raid sirens and warned those who have fled the capital not to return for now for their safety.
The thick smoke rising from the site in the eastern part of Kyiv could also be seen from downtown, near the Dnipro River.
WASHINGTON — Ukraine is sending top officials to Washington for next week’s spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, where discussion will focus on the Russian invasion and its impact on the global economy. According to a World Bank official, Denys Shmyhal, the Ukrainian Prime Minister, and Serhiy Marchenko, the Finance Minister, and Kyrylo Shevchenko the central bank governor, will be attending the gathering. The visit was not officially announced.
KYIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Friday that existing sanctions on Russia are “painful” but not yet enough to stop the Russian military.
Zelenskyy called for “the democratic world” to ban Russian oil. Although the U.S. Congress and President Joe Biden have passed such a ban in America, Europe still relies on Russian energy supplies more than ever. The U.S. has also been trying to stop India from increasing its use of Russian oil. Zelenskyy stated that the democratic world must accept the fact that Russia’s money to purchase energy resources and the complete blockade of its banking sector are necessary steps towards peace.
He also said: “The sooner the democratic world recognizes that the oil embargo against Russia and the complete blockade of its banking sector are necessary steps towards peace, the sooner the war will end.”
TIJUANA, Mexico — A Russian man and Ukrainian woman were married in the Mexican border city of Tijuana after they were unable to travel together to the U.S.
Daria Sakhniuk was allowed to enter the U.S. as a Ukrainian refugee but her partner, Semen Bobrovski, was unable to travel there following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. They fled Ukraine during the conflict.
Bobrovski told El Sol de Tijuana that he believed the marriage Thursday would bolster his chances of entering the U.S. with his new wife. Only Russian nationals can enter the U.S. with their family members living in the U.S.
“Without it, we won’t be able to cross because, still to the official American government, we are strangers to each other,” he said.
KYIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he discussed the fate of the besieged port city of Mariupol in a meeting Friday with the country’s military leaders and the heads of its intelligence agencies.
” While the details are not available now, we are doing all we can to save our citizens,” Zelenskyy stated in his nightly video address.
Elsewhere in southern Ukraine, he said Russian troops who occupy areas around Kherson and Zaporizhzhia were terrorizing civilians and looking for anyone who had served in the army or the government.
” The occupiers believe this will make it easier to control this territory. They are wrong. They are fooling themselves,” Zelenskyy stated.
He said that the problem with the occupiers is not their inability to be accepted by veterans, journalists, or activists. Russia’s problem is not being accepted by the entire Ukrainian population. Russia has lost Ukraine forever.”
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