Day 49 of Russia-Ukraine crisis: As it happened

Peskov that the United States is a “country that has committed well-known deeds in modern and recent history”



Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov
Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov

By Reuters

Published: Wed 13 Apr 2022, 6:53 AM

Last updated: Wed 13 Apr 2022, 11:50 PM

Zelensky told Russia to release prisoners of war if it wants the Kremlin's most high-profile political ally in the country freed.

Ukraine said that Viktor Medvedchuk, the leader of the Opposition Platform - For Life party, had been apprehended. In February, the authorities said he had escaped house arrest after a treason case was opened.

Viktor Medvedchuk is seen in handcuffs while being detained by security forces in unknown location in Ukraine. (Reuters)
Viktor Medvedchuk is seen in handcuffs while being detained by security forces in unknown location in Ukraine. (Reuters)

The politician who says Putin is godfather to his daughter has denied wrongdoing. A spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

Russia says it now aims to capture more territory on behalf of separatists in two eastern provinces, known as the Donbas. It includes Mariupol port, which has been reduced to a wasteland under Russian siege.

The United States is expected to announce $750 million more in military assistance, two officials told Reuters.

Here are the latest developments on April 13:


11.45pm: Macron, Scholz steer clear of Biden’s Ukraine ‘genocide’ claim

The French and German leaders declined Wednesday to repeat US President Joe Biden’s accusation that Russia was carrying out “genocide” against Ukrainians, warning that verbal escalations would not help end the war.

Biden accused Vladimir Putin’s forces on Tuesday of committing genocide in Ukraine, saying it has “become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out the idea of even being able to be a Ukrainian”.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday agreed it was “right” to describe Russia’s attacks in Ukraine as “genocide”.


8.20pm: Ukraine is 'crime scene' says int'l criminal court as thousands flee

War crimes prosecutors visiting the site of civilian killings called Ukraine a "crime scene" Wednesday, as tens of thousands of Ukrainians fled their country in advance of a fresh assault to the east.

The visit by the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor to Bucha -- the Kyiv suburb now synonymous with scores of atrocities against civilians discovered in areas abandoned by Russian forces -- came as the new front of the war shifts eastward, with new allegations of crimes inflicted on locals


6.20pm: Ukrainian climber on Everest to call for global support

A Ukrainian climber said Wednesday she will summit Mount Everest carrying her national flag to rally global support for her country and boost morale among those fighting the Russian invasion.

Antonina Samoilova will be the only climber from Ukraine attempting to summit a Himalayan peak this season, and the 33-year-old said her endeavour was the only way she knew how to draw attention to the suffering of her compatriots.


5.05pm: Biden ‘genocide’ claims against Russia ‘unacceptable’: Kremlin

“We categorically disagree and consider unacceptable any attempt to distort the situation in this way."


4.45pm: Nearly 100 Ukraine heritage sites damaged in invasion

Almost 100 cultural and religious sites in Ukraine have sustained damage since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24, the United Nation’s cultural agency UNESCO said on Wednesday.

The estimate represents a near doubling of the previous number UNESCO issued two weeks ago as concern grows over the consequences of the assault for Ukrainian cultural heritage.

“The mark of 100 damaged or totally destroyed sites will be reached on Thursday or Friday — this morning we are at 98 sites and monuments listed in eight regions of the country,” Lazare Eloundou Assomo, director of world heritage at UNESCO, told AFP in an interview.


4.39pm: Zelensky says Europe must act before Russia attacks other countries

“If Europe wastes time, Russia will use it to expand the war zone to other countries.”


4.12pm: ‘Ukraine is a crime scene’: ICC chief prosecutor

The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor visited the town of Bucha on Wednesday — the scene of hundreds of civilian killings which Ukraine has blamed on Russian forces who occupied it for several weeks.

“Ukraine is a crime scene. We’re here because we have reasonable grounds to believe that crimes within the jurisdiction of the court are being committed,” Karim Khan told reporters

“We have to pierce the fog of war to get to the truth. That requires independent, impartial investigation,” he said.

Khan said an ICC forensic team was set to work “so that we can really make sure we separate truth from fiction”.

“We have to keep an open mind and we have to follow the evidence,” he said.

“The law needs to be mobilised and sent into battle to protect civilians”.

Russia has denied responsibility for the deaths and President Vladimir Putin has dismissed reports of Russian soldiers shooting civilians as “fake”.


3.39pm: Polish, Baltic presidents visit Ukraine in show of support

The presidents of four countries on Russia’s doorstep visited Ukraine on Wednesday in a show of support for the embattled country, after Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to continue his bloody offensive until its “full completion.”

The presidents of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia — all NATO countries that worry they may face Russian attack in the future if Ukraine falls — were traveling by train to Kyiv to meet Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

In one of the most crucial battles of the war, Russia said more than 1,000 Ukrainian troops had surrendered in the besieged port of Mariupol, where Ukrainian forces have been holding out in pockets of the city. The information could not be verified.


3.15pm: Dnipro official says 1,500 killed Russian soldiers in city morgues

In official in the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro, which has largely escaped fighting with invading forces, said Wednesday that the remains of more than 1,500 Russian soldiers were being kept in its morgues.

“Now there are more than 1,500 dead Russian soldiers in the morgues of Dnipro that no one wants to retrieve,” Dnipro deputy mayor Mikhail Lysenko told reporters, adding he hoped “Russian mothers will be able to come and pick up their sons”.


2.23pm: Putin says Russia can redirect energy exports away from the West

Russia can easily redirect exports of its vast energy resources away from the West to countries that really need them while increasing domestic consumption of oil, gas and coal, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

Putin also said that "unfriendly countries" had destroyed supply chains in Russia's Arctic regions and some nations were not fulfilling their contractual obligations.

Speaking at a meeting with officials to discuss development in the Russian Arctic, Putin said this had created problems for Russia.


1.29pm: Russia says 1,000 Ukrainian troops surrender

Russia says more than 1,000 Ukrainian troops have surrendered in the besieged southeastern port of Mariupol.

Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Maj.-Gen. Igor Konashenkov said 1,026 troops from the Ukrainian 36th Marine Brigade surrendered at a metals plant in the city.

Russian forces moved on Mariupol in late February and units in the city have been running low on supplies.

Konashenkov said that the 1,026 Ukrainian marines included 162 officers and 47 female personnel, and that 151 wounded received medical treatment.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych did not comment on the alleged mass surrender, but said in a post on Twitter that elements of the 36th Marine Brigade had managed to link up with other Ukrainian forces in the city as a result of a “risky maneuver.”


11.00am: Russia says US spreading lies on possible chemical attack

Russia said on Wednesday that claims by the United States and Ukraine that Russia could use chemical weapons in Ukraine were disinformation because Moscow destroyed its last chemical stockpiles in 2017.

Ukraine's defence ministry said on Tuesday that it was checking claims that Russia may have used chemical weapons in the southern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol.

US Department of State Spokesman Ned Price told reporters on Tuesday that the United States was concerned Russia may seek to resort to chemical weapons in Ukraine.

Russia's embassy in Washington said Ukrainian radicals were preparing to stage provocations with the use of chemical weapons and that the State Department's Price was spreading disinformation.


10.20am: Ukraine deputy PM says not possible to open humanitarian corridors today

Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said it was not possible to open any humanitarian corridors on Wednesday, and she accused occupying Russian forces of violating a ceasefire and blocking buses evacuating civilians.

Vereshchuk added in a statement on the Telegram messaging app that authorities would work to reopen the humanitarian corridors as soon as possible.


9.45am: UK says Russia attempting to centralise command by appointing army general

Russia's appointment of Army General Alexander Dvornikov as commander of the Ukraine war represents the country's attempt to centralise command and control, British military intelligence said on Wednesday.

Russia's inability to cohere and coordinate military activity has hampered its invasion of Ukraine to date, UK's Ministry of Defence tweeted in a regular bulletin.

Russian President Vladimir Putin with Alexander Dvornikov in 2016. (Reuters file)
Russian President Vladimir Putin with Alexander Dvornikov in 2016. (Reuters file)

Army General Dvornikov's appointment shows how Ukrainian resistance and Russia's ineffective pre-war planning is forcing it to reassess its operations, according to the intelligence update.

UK also said Russian messaging has recently emphasised progressing offensives in the Donbas as Russia's forces refocus eastwards.

Reuters could not immediately verify the report.

9.35am: Presidents of Poland, Baltic states to visit Kyiv on Wednesday

Polish President Andrzej Duda and the presidents of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are on their way to Kyiv to meet Ukraine's President Volodimir Zelensky, an adviser to the Polish leader said on Wednesday.

"Our countries are showing support to Ukraine and President Zelenskiy in this way," Jakub Kumoch, the adviser, posted on Twitter.


6.30am: Kerry calls for renewables push, says Putin cannot control wind, sun

The conflict in Ukraine shows now is the time to shift to clean and independent energy, US climate envoy John Kerry said at a conference on the pacific island of Palau as he urged nations to boost the use of offshore renewable power sources.

Russia typically provides Europe with around 40 per cent of its gas, complicating western efforts to impose economic sanctions on Putin's government for Russian military actions in Ukraine.

Agencies file
Agencies file

"Now is the time to accelerate the transition to an independent and a clean energy future. President Putin cannot control the power of the wind or the sun," Kerry said in the opening speech to the Our Oceans conference.

The conference opened on Wednesday in Palau, which has a population of just 18,000, to highlight the plight of nations on the frontline of climate change as they grapple with rising sea levels.


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