Day 44 of Russia-Ukraine crisis: As it happened

Britain will also provide more helmets, night-vision equipment and body armour, Johnson added at the news conference

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By Team KT

Published: Fri 8 Apr 2022, 6:47 AM

Last updated: Sat 9 Apr 2022, 12:00 AM

The European Union approves an embargo on Russian coal — the first time the bloc has targeted the energy sector, on which they are heavily dependent — and the closing of its ports to Russian vessels.

The US Congress also votes to end normal trade relations with Moscow and codify the ban on Russian oil.

The UN General Assembly votes to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council as punishment for the invasion of Ukraine.

A Ukrainian official warns residents in the east that they have a “last chance” to flee before a major Russian offensive expected in the Donbas region. However, trains evacuating residents are halted by Russian strikes on the only line still under Kyiv’s control.

The “new mayor” of Mariupol, put in place by pro-Russian forces, announces that around 5,000 civilians have died in the besieged southeastern Ukrainian city.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says it has confirmed over 100 attacks on health services in Ukraine as it calls for humanitarian access to Mariupol.

Here are the latest updates:

12.05am: Missile kills at least 50 at crowded Ukrainian train station

A missile hit a train station where thousands of Ukrainians had gathered Friday, killing at least 50 and wounding dozens more in an attack on a crowd of mostly women and children trying to flee a new, looming Russian offensive in the country’s east, Ukrainian authorities said.

The attack that some denounced as yet another war crime in the 6-week-old conflict came as workers unearthed bodies from a mass grave in Bucha, a town near Ukraine’s capital where dozens of killings have already been documented following a Russian pullout.

Photos from the station in Kramatorsk showed the dead covered with tarps on the ground and the remnants of a rocket with the words “For the children” painted on it in Russian. About 4,000 civilians were in and around the station at the time of the strike, heeding calls to leave the area before fighting intensifies in the Donbas region, the office of Ukraine’s prosecutor-general said.

11.55pm: Ukraine says 6,665 people evacuated from cities on Friday

A total of 6,665 people were evacuated from Ukrainian cities through humanitarian corridors on Friday, more than the 4,676 who escaped on Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in an online post.

10.55pm: US to support investigation of Ukraine train station attack

The White House said on Friday that the Biden administration will support investigations of the attack on a railway station in Ukraine that authorities said was packed with women, children and elderly refugees.

9.45pm: Ukraine war pushes world food prices to record high

World food prices hit an all-time high in March following Russia's invasion of agricultural powerhouse Ukraine, a UN agency said on Friday, adding to concerns about the risk of hunger around the world.

The disruption in export flows resulting from the February 24 invasion and international sanctions against Russia has spurred fears of a global hunger crisis, especially across the Middle East and Africa, where the knock-on effects are already playing out.

7.15pm: UK promises further $130 mln of military equipment for Ukraine

Britain will send Ukraine a further 100 million pounds ($130 million) of military support to Ukraine, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday after a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

“The UK will send a further 100 million pounds’ worth of high-grade military equipment to Ukraine’s armed forces, including more Starstreak anti-aircraft missiles ... another 800 anti-tank missiles and precision munitions capable of lingering in the sky until directed to their target,” Johnson said.

Britain will also provide more helmets, night-vision equipment and body armour, Johnson added at the news conference.

6.50pm: EU leaders to discuss energy, Ukraine at extraordinary meeting on May 30-31

European Union leaders will meet on May 30-31 in an extraordinary summit to discuss the Ukraine war and the bloc’s energy situation.

“As discussed in Versailles and during the last European Council, a special European Council will take place on 30 and 31 May. On the agenda notably defence, energy and Ukraine,” EU Council president Charles Michel wrote on Twitter.

5.25pm: Finland to expel two Russian diplomats due to war in Ukraine

Finland will expel two Russian diplomats and discontinue the visa of one due to Russia’s attack on Ukraine, Finland’s government said on Friday.

Earlier on Friday, Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto called for “maximum” support by Western countries for Ukraine in Kyiv’s battle against what Russia calls “a special operation”.

4.25pm: Russia’s Lavrov says Belarus should become security guarantor for Ukraine

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that Belarus should provide security guarantees for Ukraine in the future, once Kiev affirms its neutral status.

“At the request of the Ukrainian side, its neutral, non-bloc, non-nuclear status should be accompanied by security guarantees,” Lavrov said.

“We proposed that the Republic of Belarus should, of course, be among such guarantor countries.”

3.40pm: Missile kills 30 evacuees at busy Ukrainian train station

A missile hit a crowded train station in eastern Ukraine that was an evacuation point for civilians, killing dozens of people, Ukrainian authorities said Friday after warning they expected even worse evidence of war crimes in parts of the country previously held by Russian troops.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that thousands of people were at the train station when the missile struck. The Russian Defense Ministry denied targeting the station in Kramatorsk, a city in the eastern Donetsk region, but Zelensky blamed Russia for the bodies lying in what looked like an outdoor waiting area.

2.20pm: Czech Republic will spend 2 bln euros on looking after Ukraine refugees in 2022

The Czech Republic’s costs for handling the influx of refugees from Ukraine this year are estimated at 2 billion euros ($2.17 billion), Finance Minister Zbynek Stanjura said on Friday.

The country has issued 272,000 special visas to Ukrainian refugees as of April 7, the interior ministry said.

2.15pm: Separatist commander says missile strike on railway station is Ukrainian “provocation”

A commander from the self-proclaimed Donestsk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine said a missile strike on Friday on a railway station in Kramatorsk where about 30 people were killed was a Ukrainian “provocation”, the TASS news agency reported.

Ukraine’s state railway company said two Russian missiles had struck a station in the city of Kramatorsk being used by civilians trying to evacuate from areas under bombardment by Russian forces.

1.53pm: Russian missile kills 30 civilians at train station

Ukrainian leaders predicted more gruesome discoveries would be made in reclaimed cities and towns as Russian soldiers retreat to focus on eastern Ukraine, where officials said a Russian rocket attack on a packed train station used to evacuate civilians killed over 30 people Friday.

Hours after warning that Ukraine’s forces already had found worse scenes of brutality in a settlement north of Kyiv, President Volodymyr Zelensky said that “thousands” of people were at the station in Kramatorsk, a city in the eastern Donetsk region, when it was hit by a missile.

12.51pm: EU imposes sanctions on 2 Putin daughters

The European Union imposed has sanctions on two adult daughters of Russian President Vladimir Putin as part of a new package of measures targeting Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, according to two EU officials.

The EU included Maria Vorontsova and Katerina Tikhonova in its updated list of individuals facing assets freeze and travel bans. The two EU officials from different EU member countries spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because the updated list of sanctions has not been published yet.

The move from the European bloc follows a similar move two days earlier by the United States.

11.42am: Microsoft says it thwarted Russian attempts to hack into Ukrainian media

US tech giant Microsoft on Friday said that it has disrupted Russian hackers who attempted to infiltrate Ukrainian media organizations.

The spies were attempting to break into Ukrainian, EU and US targets, according to the company. Microsoft attributes the attacks to a group it calls "Strontium", reported DW News.

More details here

11.00am: Ukrainian defences holding in Luhansk region, says regional governor

The governor of Ukraine’s eastern region of Luhansk said on Friday Russia was accumulating forces in eastern Ukraine but had not broken through Ukrainian defences.

9.13am: Ukraine’s Zelensky says Borodianka razing ‘more dreadful’ than Bucha

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday the situation in the town of Borodianka was “significantly more dreadful” than in nearby Bucha, where Russian forces’ suspected killing of civilians has been broadly condemned.

More details here

8.52am: UK says Russian forces have fully withdrawn from northern Ukraine

Russian forces have now fully withdrawn from northern Ukraine to Belarus and Russia, British military intelligence said on Friday.

At least some of these Russian forces will be transferred to East Ukraine to fight in the Donbas, the Ministry of Defence said on Twitter. The forces will require replenishment before being deployed further east, with any mass redeployment from the north likely to take at least a week, the ministry added.

The ministry said Russian shelling of cities in the east and south continues and Russian forces have advanced further south from the city of Izium, which remains under their control.

7.30am: Russia blacklists 228 Australian citizens, including PM, Defence Minister

Moscow blacklisted 228 Australian citizens, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Defence Minister Peter Dutton, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

The department noted that Canberra, imposed sanctions that affected the top leaders of the Russian Federation and almost all lawmakers.

6.42am: US sanctions Russian military shipbuilders, diamond mines

The Biden administration on Thursday announced it is levying sanctions against Russia’s largest military shipbuilding and diamond mining companies.

The move blocks their access to the US financial system as the United States looks to exact more economic pain on President Vladimir Putin for the invasion of Ukraine.

Alrosa is the world’s largest diamond mining company and accounts for about 90% of Russia’s diamond mining capacity, according to the US Treasury Department.

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