Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

the Bucha killings to incite further punishment; EU to debate Russian gas import ban

In what appears to mark a major policy shift, Germany has called for talks with the EU on whether to impose an import ban on Russian gas supplies.

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European leaders have called for a wave of tougher economic sanctions against Russia in light of the devastation in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.

German Defense Minister Christian Lindner said the European Union should discuss banning imports of Russian gas.

It appears to mark a major policy shift for Europe’s biggest economy, and comes as pressure mounts on policymakers to further isolate the Kremlin on the world stage.

Berlin has so far resisted calls to impose an embargo on Russian energy exports, citing the region’s dependence on Russian gas. Russia provides about 40% of Europe’s gas supplies.

Separately, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio told the country’s Rai 3 channel that the events in Bucha would trigger a new wave of sanctions, Reuters reported, adding that there could soon be a debate on whether to impose an import ban on Russian fossil fuels.

—Sam Meredith

‘Crime against humanity’: Georgia strongly condemns killings in Bucha, Ukraine

Supporters wave the flags of Ukraine and Georgia during a match between Georgia and Spain at the European International Rugby Championship on March 20 in Tbilisi, Georgia. Russia fought a war with Georgia in 2008, after which it recognized the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent.

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The Georgian Foreign Ministry has strongly condemned the killings at Bucha in Ukraine, saying it is “devastated by the scenes of brutal atrocities”.

“All those involved in these war crimes must take responsibility,” the ministry said on Twitter.

Meanwhile, President Salome Zurabishvili said the Bucha “massacre” was a “crime against humanity”.

Russia recognized the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent after fighting a war with Georgia in 2008.

The country, which borders Russia and sits at the intersection of Europe and Asia, has repeatedly expressed support for the Ukrainian people but has refused to join economic sanctions aimed at isolating the Kremlin.

—Sam Meredith

Russia calls for UN Security Council meeting on ‘provocation of Ukrainian radicals in Bucha’

“In light of the provocation of the Ukrainian radicals in Bucha, Russia has requested a meeting of the United Nations Security Council in the second half of the day on Monday April 4,” said Dmitry Polyanskiy (above) via Telegram , according to state information. Tass agency.

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Russia’s deputy representative to the United Nations Security Council called for an emergency meeting on Monday, citing “the provocation of Ukrainian radicals in Bucha.”

This follows the devastation reported in Bucha, a town on the outskirts of kyiv which was liberated by Ukrainian forces.

Ukraine has blamed Russia for a massacre of civilians in Bucha, with international leaders condemning the graphic footage and images of corpses and calling for an independent investigation.

Russia has denied allegations that its troops killed civilians in Bucha.

“In light of the provocation of the Ukrainian radicals in Bucha, Russia has requested a meeting of the United Nations Security Council in the second half of the day on Monday, April 4,” Dmitry Polyanskiy said via Telegram, according to the agency. Tass State Press. “We will unmask Ukrainian provocateurs and their Western patrons.”

Polyanskiy did not elaborate on how provocative the Ukrainians were in Bucha, a town that Russian troops overran as part of their failure towards kyiv.

—Sam Meredith

Ukrainian Deputy PM says humanitarian corridors have been set up in Mangush, Mariupol and Luhansk

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said humanitarian corridors had been set up in Mangush, Mariupol and Luhansk.

Vereshchuk said a corridor was in place on Monday to take people from the besieged city of Mariupol to Zaporizhia.

Meanwhile, the Red Cross plans to continue its movement from Mangush to Mariupol, with seven buses en route, Vereshchuk said, as evacuations continue in the Luhansk region.

—Sam Meredith

‘Beyond Wrong’ and ‘punch in the gut’: World reacts to footage of Bucha devastation

Ukrainian soldiers inspect the wreckage of a destroyed Russian armored column on the road to Bucha, a suburb north of kyiv.

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Ukraine has accused Russian forces of carrying out a “massacre” in the town of Bucha, while Western leaders reacted to images of dead bodies in the outskirts of kyiv and called for an independent investigation.

Russia has denied the allegations, describing the graphic video footage and body photographs as “another provocation” by the Ukrainian government.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called the Bucha killings “horrifying and terrible”, while the country’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called the footage “unbearable”.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “deeply shocked” by the images of dead civilians in Bucha and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said they amounted to “a blow punch in the stomach”.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the reported atrocities “more than reprehensible” and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters he strongly condemned the attacks.

—Sam Meredith

Russian forces refocus offensive on Donbass, UK says

A woman reacts before the train leaves the eastern city of Kramatorsk in the Donbass region on April 3, 2022.

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Russian forces continue to refocus their offensive on the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine, according to the British Ministry of Defence.

“Russian troops, including mercenaries from the Russian state-linked private military company Wagner, are being moved to the area,” the ministry said via Twitter.

—Sam Meredith

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