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Ukraine war: Free to read

Ukraine from April 12 to April 28: Putin warns West of 'lightning-fast' retaliation

Japan Tobacco eyes sell-off of Russia business; Biden to visit South Korea, Japan in May

Russian President Vladimir Putin told lawmakers in St. Petersburg on April 27, "If someone intends to intervene in the ongoing events from the outside ... our retaliatory strikes will be lightning-fast." (Sputnik/Alexei Danichev/Kremlin via Reuters)

This blog file is now closed. For the latest developments, head over here.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine is in its third month, with casualties mounting on both sides.

Ukraine's forces continue to resist, while its President Volodymyr Zelenskyy regularly calls on the world to do more to help. Governments around the globe have imposed heavy sanctions against Moscow but have stopped short of direct intervention for fear of sparking a wider conflict.

Meanwhile, rising geopolitical risk and volatile energy and financial markets are rocking Asia.

For all our coverage, visit our Ukraine war page.

Read our in-depth coverage:

-- How Russia spread its fabricated pretexts for invading Ukraine

-- Moskva flagship sinking exposes Russian Navy frailty, experts say

-- India says Ukraine crisis 'wake-up call' for Europe to look at Asia

-- China and South Korea tech deals slump amid Ukraine war woes

-- Analysis: Xi's confidence in aircraft carriers shaken after Russian flagship sinking

Entries include material from wire services and other sources.

Note: Nikkei Asia on March 5 decided to temporarily suspend its reporting from Russia until further information becomes available regarding the scope of the revised criminal code.

Here are the latest developments:

Thursday, April 28 (Tokyo time)

4:19 p.m. Japan Tobacco says it is considering selling off its Russian operations, JT International Russia, in response to the country's invasion of Ukraine. The company controls nearly 40% of the Russian cigarette market, but stated that it is "continuing to evaluate various options for its Russia business, including a potential transfer of ownership."

12:52 p.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin warns of "lightning-fast" retaliation if countries intervene in Ukraine. Russia has told the United States to stop sending arms to Ukraine, saying large Western deliveries of weapons are inflaming the conflict. Addressing lawmakers in St. Petersburg on Wednesday, Putin said, "If someone intends to intervene in the ongoing events from the outside, and create strategic threats for Russia that are unacceptable to us, they should know that our retaliatory strikes will be lightning-fast," according to video of his address supplied by Russian media. "We have all the tools for this, things no one else can boast of having now. And we will not boast -- we will use them if necessary. And I want everyone to know that."

12:36 p.m. In the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, which has been occupied by Russian forces since early in the war, a series of explosions boomed near the television tower late Wednesday and at least temporarily knocked Russian channels off the air, Ukrainian and Russian news organizations report. The Russian state news agency RIA Novosti said missiles and rockets were fired at the city from the direction of the Ukrainian forces to the northwest. Russian channels began broadcasting from Kherson last week.

U.S. President Joe Biden will visit South Korea and Japan from May 20 to 24 to strengthen ties with Washington's two main Asian allies.   © Reuters

11:20 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden will visit South Korea and Japan from May 20 to 24 to advance a "free and open Indo-Pacific" and strengthen ties with the two Asian allies, the White House says. It will be his first trip to the region since taking office last year. Through a series of meetings, including the Quad summit of the United States, Japan, Australia and India, Biden is likely to affirm with Indo-Pacific nations their responses to Russia's war in Ukraine, China's assertiveness in the region and North Korea's nuclear and missile ambitions.

10:00 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden will deliver remarks on Thursday morning "on support for Ukrainians defending their country and their freedom against Russia's brutal war," the White House says.

6:29 a.m. Canadian lawmakers vote unanimously to call Russia's attacks in Ukraine "genocide," with members of parliament agreeing that there is "ample evidence of systemic and massive war crimes against humanity" being committed by Moscow.

4:38 a.m. The European Commission proposes a one-year suspension of import duties on all Ukrainian goods not covered by an existing free trade deal to help the country's economy during the war with Russia. The measures apply in particular to fruit and vegetables, subject to minimum price requirements, agricultural products facing quotas and certain industrial goods.

The European Union also would exempt Ukraine from safeguard measures that limit steel imports, and lift anti-dumping tariffs the EU currently imposes on Ukrainian steel tubes, hot-rolled flat steel products and ironing boards. The proposal needs to be agreed on by the European Parliament and EU governments to come into force.

12:12 a.m. Exxon Mobil's Russian unit Exxon Neftegas declares force majeure for its Sakhalin-1 operations, Reuters reports. The Sakhalin-1 project produces oil off the coast of Russia's Far East, exporting crude mostly to South Korea but also to Japan and other countries.

Project stakeholders including Exxon and India's Oil and Natural Gas are having difficulty chartering tankers to ship oil out of a region that generally needs ice vessels to navigate the journey, as shippers fear reputation risk, Reuters reports.

Wednesday, April 27

Group of 20 finance ministers and central bank governors met at the Jakarta Convention Center in February.   © Reuters

11:21 p.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweets that Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has invited him to attend the summit of Group of 20 major economies in the Southeast Asian country in November.

Zelenskyy did not confirm whether he would accept the invitation. Russia has said President Vladimir Putin plans to attend. Officials from Indonesia, the current G-20 chair, did not immediately respond to requests for confirmation.

10:20 p.m. The U.S. and Russia announce a prisoner swap that has freed a former U.S. Marine in an unexpected diplomatic breakthrough. Trevor Reed was released in exchange for Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot sentenced to a lengthy term in the U.S. on cocaine-trafficking charges.

"Trevor, a former U.S. Marine, is free from Russian detention," President Joe Biden said in a statement. "I heard in the voices of Trevor's parents how much they've worried about his health and missed his presence. And I was delighted to be able to share with them the good news about Trevor's freedom."

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis says Greece will offer help to Bulgaria, which has been cut off from Russian gas supplies. (Dimitris Papamitsos/Greek Prime Minister's Office/Handout via REUTERS)

6:31 p.m. Greece will offer help to Bulgaria, which had its gas supplies cut off by Russia, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told his Bulgarian counterpart. The leaders discussed the matter by phone. "The prime minister said that Greece will help Bulgaria to deal with the new situation caused by the Russian decisions on energy," Mitsotakis' office said in a statement, without elaborating.

6:07 p.m. Russia expects its economy to contract by 8.8% in 2022 in its base case scenario, or by 12.4% under a more conservative scenario, an economy ministry document shows, giving apparent evidence that international sanctions are taking a toll. The conservative forecast is in line with that of former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, who said earlier this month the economy was on track to contract by more than 10%, which would be its biggest decline since 1994.

5:09 p.m. Russia's defense ministry says Kalibr missiles struck an arms depot in Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia region housing weapons from the United States and European countries. The ministry said its air force destroyed 59 Ukrainian military targets overnight. It added that "hangars with a large batch of foreign weapons and ammunition supplied to Ukrainian troops by the United States and European countries" were destroyed. Russia's report could not be independently confirmed.

4:25 p.m. Russian energy giant Gazprom halted gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland for failing to pay for gas in rubles, the Kremlin's toughest response yet to the crippling sanctions imposed by the West for the invasion of Ukraine. Poland and Bulgaria are the first countries to have their gas cut off by Europe's main supplier since the Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine that has killed thousands of people, displaced millions more and raised fears of a broader conflict.

9:28 a.m. Drone giant DJI Technology will temporarily suspend business in Russia and Ukraine, it says, making it the first major Chinese company to halt sales to Russia since the country invaded Ukraine in February.

Although Western firms have pulled out of Russia in protest, many Chinese companies have stayed there, taking a cue from Beijing's stance of refraining from criticism of Moscow over the invasion.

9:07 a.m. Russian energy giant Gazprom will halt gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria from Wednesday, a major escalation of Russia's broader dispute with the West over its invasion of Ukraine, the company says. Poland and Bulgaria would be the first countries to have their gas cut off by Europe's main supplier since Moscow started what it calls a military operation in Ukraine on Feb. 24. The move to cut off supplies also followed sanctions imposed by Warsaw against Russian individuals and companies.

8:42 a.m. Ukrainian authorities on Tuesday dismantled a huge Soviet-era monument in the center of Kyiv meant to symbolize friendship between Russia and Ukraine, according to the city's mayor. The 8-meter bronze statue depicted a Ukrainian and a Russian worker on a plinth, together holding aloft a Soviet order of friendship. The statue stood underneath the giant titanium People's Friendship Arch, erected in 1982 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Soviet Union.

"We now see what this "friendship" is: destruction of Ukrainian cities ... killing tens of thousands of peaceful people. I am convinced such a monument has an entirely different meaning now," Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said.

5:35 a.m. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says Japan will attend the NATO summit to be held in late June.

"One of the things we have been advancing is increasing NATO focus on working with partners that are not part of NATO, including what we call the "Asia-Pacific four," and that of course includes Japan," he says at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, adding that the four Asia-Pacific nations will attend the NATO summit in Madrid.

"Japan has stood up in remarkable ways on the Ukraine crisis," he says.

3:00 a.m. International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi has visited the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, back under Ukrainian control after being occupied by Russian forces.

Radiation levels at the site of the 1986 nuclear disaster are "normal," AFP quotes Grossi as saying after an inspection with a team of experts.

The situation during the Russia occupation of the plant was "very, very dangerous," with radiational levels rising for a while, Grossi is quoted as telling reporters.

Tuesday marked the 36th anniversary of the disaster.

1:05 a.m. In the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the share of Taiwan residents who do not believe the U.S. would send troops in response to a Chinese attack has doubled, a new poll shows. Read more.

Tuesday, April 26

11:15 p.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweets about his phone call with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. Kishida said Japan would send additional supplies of food and medicine.

Earlier, the Japanese government put forward a redrawn plan that skips India in transporting humanitarian aid supplies to Ukrainian refugees. The revision became necessary after India refused to let Japanese Self-Defense Forces aircraft land there.

10:30 p.m. In a sign of the war's far-reaching impact on business, BMW Group and Audi suspend shipments of cars by rail from Germany to China, the biggest market for both carmakers.

"Due to the current geopolitical situation, our train transport on the Silk Road and Trans-Siberian Railway have temporarily been switched to alternative routes or transportation modes to ensure planning and supply security," says a BMW spokeswoman. "Vehicles for China and Mongolia are now transported by ship from Bremerhaven." Read more.

6:25 p.m. Germany's defense minister says her country will facilitate the delivery of self-propelled armored anti-aircraft guns to Ukraine. Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht made the announcement at a U.S.-hosted meeting on arming Ukraine at the United States' Ramstein Air Base in Germany, according to the text of her remarks on Tuesday provided by her ministry.

5:36 p.m. Russia and Belarus will hold joint drills of their air forces and air defense forces in Belarus, Minsk's defense ministry says in a statement. The drills will take place from April 26 to 29, the ministry says.

With Russia's invasion of Ukraine still ongoing, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin delivers opening remarks at the Ukraine Defense Consultative Group meeting at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on April 26.   © Reuters

5:34 p.m. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin kicked off talks with more than 40 countries on Tuesday by expressing confidence that Ukraine can prevail against Russia in the 2-month-old conflict. "As we see this morning, nations from around the world stand united in our resolve to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia's imperial aggression," Austin said at a U.S.-hosted meeting in Germany. "Ukraine clearly believes that it can win, and so does everyone here."

People walk along a street near a building damaged in the Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, on April 25.   © Reuters

12:30 p.m. Several buildings are damaged in the village of Golovchino, in Russia's Belgorod Province, which came under fire from Ukraine on Tuesday morning, Vyacheslav Gladkov, the regional governor, said on the Telegram messaging app, without citing evidence. Hours earlier, Gladkov said at least two people had been hurt in an attack on another village, Zhuravlyovka. He did not specify whether the two attacks were artillery or mortar shelling, or missile strikes.

Under a revised plan, the Japanese government says SDF C2 transport planes will deliver blankets and other humanitarian aid, via the United Arab Emirates, to Ukrainian refugees.

11:30 a.m. The Japanese government has given up an initial plan to load aid supplies for displaced Ukrainians in India after Tokyo said India refused to allow a Self-Defense Forces plane to land in the country. Under the revised plan, the government says SDF C2 transport planes will take blankets and other humanitarian aid supplies via the United Arab Emirates and deliver them to neighboring Poland and Romania, which host Ukrainian refugees. The start of the aid program, which was to begin in late April, will be delayed to early May. It will fly about one flight per week until the end of June.

10:21 a.m. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned the West on Monday not to underestimate the elevated risk of nuclear conflict over Ukraine, and said he viewed NATO as being "in essence" engaged in a proxy war with Russia by supplying Kyiv with weaponry. "The risks now are considerable," Lavrov said of the possibility of a nuclear war. "I would not want to elevate those risks artificially ... The danger is serious, real. And we must not underestimate it."

7:00 a.m. The U.S. State Department used an emergency declaration for the first time during the Biden administration to approve the potential sale of $165 million worth of ammunition to Ukraine to help the country defend itself against Russia's ongoing invasion, the Pentagon says. The package could include ammunition for howitzers, tanks and grenade launchers, such as 152 mm rounds for 2A36 Giatsint; 152 mm rounds for D-20 cannons.

2:30 a.m. Russia says it has destroyed infrastructure for rail lines that Moscow claims were used to supply foreign weapons to Ukrainian forces.

High-precision Russian missiles destroyed six Ukrainian facilities, Reuters reports, citing a statement by the Russian Ministry of Defense.

2:20 a.m. Describing Russia's invasion of Ukraine as a "direct threat" to Europe's security, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says the war also holds implications for the Indo-Pacific region.

"For the Indo-Pacific region, it is as important as for Europe that borders are respected and that spheres of influence are rejected," the European Union leader says in her keynote address to open the seventh Raisina Dialogue, India's annual flagship conference on geopolitics and geoeconomics.

"Countries battered by two years of COVID pandemic must deal now with rising prices for grain, energy and fertilizers as a direct result of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's war of choice," she also says. Read more.

Monday, April 25

9:50 p.m. President Joe Biden intends to nominate veteran U.S. diplomat Bridget Brink to serve as American ambassador to Ukraine, the White House says.

Brink, who has a 25-year career in diplomacy, now serves as U.S. ambassador to Slovakia.

A destroyed Russian T-72 tank in Ukraine. Russia has made small advances since it focused its assault on the Donbas region, the U.K. says.   © Reuters

5:50 p.m. Russia has warned the U.S. against sending more arms to Ukraine, Moscow's ambassador to Washington tells Russian state television. "We stressed the unacceptability of this situation when the United States of America pours weapons into Ukraine, and we demanded an end to this practice," Anatoly Antonov says in an interview with the Rossiya 24 TV channel.

Antonov says an official diplomatic note has been sent to Washington expressing Russia's concerns. Washington's top diplomat and its defense secretary met Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Sunday, pledging new assistance worth $713 million for Ukraine and other countries in the region.

5:31 p.m. Russia has fired rockets at two towns in Ukraine's central Vinnytsia region on Monday, causing an unspecified number of deaths and injuries, regional Governor Serhiy Borzov reports. "Today, Vinnytsia region is once again under rocket fire (in) the towns of Zhmerynka and Kozyatyn. The enemy is attempting to hit critical infrastructure," Borzov says in a video released on the Telegram messaging app.

A satellite image shows armored vehicles at the northern end of a military convoy moving south through the Ukrainian town of Velykyi Burluk, Ukraine on April 8.   © Reuters

2:36 p.m. Russia has made minor advances in some areas since shifting its focus to fully occupying the Donbas, the U.K.'s Ministry of Defense tweets. "Without sufficient logistical and combat support enablers in place, Russia has yet to achieve a significant breakthrough," it said. Ukraine's defense of Mariupol has also exhausted many Russian units and reduced their combat effectiveness, British military intelligence said.

2:31 p.m. The Ukraine government has apologized over a video on Twitter that juxtaposed a picture of the late Japanese Emperor Hirohito to those of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini in describing Nazism and fascism. "We had no intention to offend the friendly people of Japan," the Ukraine account said in a tweet on Sunday. The original video shared on April 1 criticized Russia's invasion of Ukraine as "contemporary ruscism" and used pictures of the three with a description that said, "Fascism and Nazism were defeated in 1945." Amid sharp reaction from Japanese Twitter users, Ukraine Ambassador to Japan Sergiy Korsunsky apologized Monday in a tweet, saying the creator of the video lacked an understanding of history.

1:19 p.m. The U.S. announces new military assistance for Ukraine and a renewed diplomatic push in the war-ravaged nation as President Joe Biden's secretary of state and Pentagon chief complete a secrecy-shrouded trip to Kyiv. Top envoy Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told Ukraine President Volodomyr Zelenskyy and his advisers that the U.S. would provide more than $300 million in military financing and have approved a $165 million sale of ammunition.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken boards a plane on April 23 at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland. The Biden administration has unveiled new U.S. military assistance for Ukraine.    © AP

11:25 a.m. A large fire was reported early Monday at an oil storage facility in the Russian city of Bryansk, Russian news agencies report, citing the emergency services ministry. No details were provided. Bryansk is about 380 km southwest of Moscow. The city is the administrative center of the Bryansk region, which borders Ukraine. Russian officials on Thursday said Ukrainian helicopters hit residential buildings and injured seven people in the region.

7:14 a.m. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy congratulates Emmanuel Macron on his reelection. "Congratulations to the President and a true friend @EmmanuelMacron on the election victory," Zelenskyy tweeted early Monday morning.

5:17 a.m. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin have arrived in Kyiv and are talking with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych says late Sunday local time.

2:45 a.m. Russian forces have tried to storm the Ukrainian-held Azovstal steel plant in the besieged southeastern city of Mariupol, Ukrainian officials say, despite Russian President Vladimir Putin's comments last week that the complex did not need to be taken. Konstantin Ivaschenko, who has been designated mayor of Mariupol by Russia but is not recognized as such by Ukraine, denies any fighting in the city. Reuters cannot independently verify the Ukrainian or Russian accounts. Read more.

Sunday, April 24

9:00 p.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he has talked with Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the eve of the latter's talks with Russia's President Vladimir Putin.

According to Reuters, Zelenskyy said he and Erdogan discussed the need for the immediate evacuation of civilians from the mostly Russian-occupied port city of Mariupol, including the surrounded but Ukrainian-held Azovstal factory, and the exchange of Ukrainian troops holed up at the plant.

5:41 p.m. Russia's defense ministry says its high-precision missiles struck nine Ukrainian military targets overnight, including four arms depots in the Kharkiv region where artillery weapons were stored. The ministry also said its missile and artillery forces destroyed a further four such arms depots in the same region and hit a facility in the Dnipropetrovsk region producing explosives for the Ukrainian army, Reuters reports.

11:00 a.m. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will visit Ankara before heading to Moscow next week to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and then to Ukraine for talks with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a U.N. statement says.

Guterres will visit the Turkish capital on Monday, where he will be received by President Tayyip Erdogan. The U.N. aid chief, Martin Griffiths, said on April 18 that Turkey was a valuable host for humanitarian talks between Ukraine and Russia.

Eri Kaneko, Guterres' associate spokesperson, told a news briefing on Friday that Guterres would head to Moscow on Tuesday and meet Putin.

4:17 a.m. The Organization for Security and Cooperation is working to secure the release of Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) members who had been detained in eastern Ukraine.

"The OSCE is extremely concerned that a number of SMM national mission members have been deprived of their liberty in Donetsk and Luhansk. The OSCE is using all available channels to facilitate the release of its staff," its media office tells Reuters.

On Friday, Britain's deputy ambassador to the Vienna-based OSCE had criticized Russia for refusing to extend the SMM's mission in Ukraine beyond March. "And now we have received alarming reports that Russia's proxies in Donbas are threatening Mission staff, equipment and premises and that Russian forces have taken SMM staff members captive," Deirdre Brown had said in her address.

2:27 a.m. Zelenskyy says he will meet Sunday in Kyiv with the U.S. secretary of state and secretary of defense during a news conference. The Ukrainian president says he will discuss with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin the kinds of weapons that Ukraine needs to battle Russia's invasion, Reuters reports.

In an emotional news conference, Zelenskyy says he thinks Russia could use a nuclear weapon, but he does not want to believe that Moscow would. He says it is absolutely vital for Ukraine to obtain more weapons. "As soon as we have (more weapons), as soon as there are enough of them, believe me, we will immediately retake this or that territory, which is temporarily occupied," he says.

12:12 a.m. Turkey closes its air space to military and civilian planes carrying troops from Russia to Syria after consultation with Moscow. "We closed airspace to Russia's military planes and even to civilian planes going to Syria and carrying soldiers," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tells reporters on a plane en route to Uruguay. He said permission had been given for three-month periods until April, and then the flights stopped.

Saturday, April 23

10:45 p.m. Ukraine's state energy firm Naftogaz says a third of gas exports from Russia to the European Union via Ukraine could be lost if Russian forces continue disrupting operations in newly occupied areas. Russia is the 27-nation EU's top gas supplier and the invasion has raised concerns about possible disruptions, which sent prices to record highs in March.

7:07 p.m. Berlin's Pilecki Institute, which is dedicated to researching 20th century history including Nazi crimes in World War II, is tapping that experience to collect testimonies from refugees about possible war crimes in Ukraine. The institute, named after a Polish cavalry officer who risked his life to document the situation in the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II, says it had started its own initiative to document war crimes through interviews with refugees.

"We are collecting all witness reports about war crimes in Ukraine relying on the experience we have as an institution that normally deals with...the voices of victims of the Second World War," Mateusz Falkowski, deputy head of the institute, tells Reuters.

A firefighter works at the site of a hospital that was bombed in the Donetsk region of Ukraine as Russia's attack continues. (Photo by State Donetsk Region Police via Reuters)

2:10 p.m. Russian forces have made no major gains in the last 24 hours despite increased activity, as Ukrainian counterattacks continue to hinder their efforts, British military intelligence says. Despite Russia's claimed conquest of the port city of Mariupol, heavy fighting continues to frustrate Moscow's attempts to capture the city, impeding their progress in the Donbas region, the Ministry of Defence tweeted in a regular bulletin.

8:30 a.m. The Moldovan foreign ministry says it had summoned Moscow's ambassador on Friday to express "deep concern" about comments by a top military commander, who suggested the country's Russian-speaking population was being oppressed. "These statements are unfounded," the foreign ministry said on its website. "Moldova ... is a neutral state and this principle must be respected by all international actors, including the Russian Federation."

5:23 a.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday said allies were finally delivering the weapons that Kyiv had asked for, adding the arms would help save the lives of thousands of people. In a late night video address, Zelenskyy also said comments earlier in the day by a Russian commander about the need to link up with Moldova showed Moscow wanted to invade other countries. He warned that Russia's invasion of his country was just the beginning and that Moscow has designs on capturing other countries.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on April 26.   © Reuters

1:40 a.m. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will visit Moscow to meet on Tuesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, associate spokesperson Eri Kaneko says.

The U.N. says Guterres will have a "working meeting and lunch" with Lavrov and "will be received" by Putin.

Guterres "wants to discuss with the leadership, what steps can be taken right now in order to silence the guns in order to help the people and in order to allow the people who need to get out to get out and have safe passage," Kaneko says.

"We are in contact with the government of Ukraine on preparations for a potential visit" there, she also says.

12:06 a.m. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson concedes that the war could continue until the end of 2023 and that a victory by Russia is "a realistic possibility." He cites its "huge army" and notes that President Vladimir Putin is in a "very difficult political position because he's made a catastrophic blunder." Read more.

Friday, April 22

6:50 p.m. With war raging in Ukraine and tensions rising in East Asia, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warns that Japan will become a "laughing stock" if it doesn't lift its defense budget in line with NATO countries.

"Every NATO country, without exception, has agreed to raise its defense budget to 2% of GDP," the hawkish ex-leader says at the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies in Tokyo. "If Japan says it won't raise its budget much, everyone will be surprised." Read more.

5:19 p.m. Russia plans to take full control of Donbas and southern Ukraine as part of the second phase of the military operation, the deputy commander of Russia's central military district said, the Interfax news agency reports. He was also quoted as saying that Russia planned to forge a land corridor between Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, and Donbas.

Russia plans to take control of Ukraine's Donbas region and the country's south, creating a corridor to Russian-controlled Crimea, the deputy commander of Russia's central military district said on April 22.   © Reuters

3:55 p.m. Anheuser-Busch InBev says it will sell its stake in the Russian joint-venture AB InBev Efes, which will result in a $1.1 billion impairment charge in its first quarter results, according to Reuters. The announcement comes after similar moves by rival brewers Carlsberg and Heineken.

2:51 p.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to blockade the Azovstal steel plant in Ukraine likely indicates a desire to contain resistance in Mariupol, a British military update says. "A full ground assault by Russia on the plant would likely incur significant Russian casualties, further decreasing their overall combat effectiveness," the update adds. Heavy shelling continued in the eastern Donbas region as Russia seeks to advance further toward settlements, including Krasnyy Lyman, Buhayikva, Barvinkove, Lyman and Popasna, the U.K. Ministry of Defense tweeted in a regular bulletin.

A satellite image taken April 3, shows an aerial view of a cemetery and what appear to be freshly dug graves in Manhush, near Mariupol, Ukraine.    © Reuters

12:20 p.m. Satellite images show what appear to be mass graves near Mariupol, and local officials accuse Russia of burying up to 9,000 Ukrainian civilians there in an effort to conceal the slaughter taking place in the siege of the port city. The images emerged on Thursday, hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed victory in the battle for the Mariupol, despite the presence of an estimated 2,000 Ukrainian fighters who were still holed up at a giant steel mill. Satellite image provider Maxar Technologies released the photos, which it said showed more than 200 mass graves in a town where Ukrainian officials say the Russians have been burying Mariupol residents killed in the fighting.

11:40 a.m. Japan gave notice Friday of the planned sale of crude oil from state reserves as part of a coordinated effort by the International Energy Agency to stabilize the market amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine. An auction will be held May 10 for about 4.8 million barrels of crude oil from three reserve bases, part of the 9 million barrels Tokyo is set to release from national stockpiles, according to the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry.

4:45 a.m. Physical damage to Ukraine's buildings and infrastructure from Russia's invasion has reached roughly $60 billion so far, according to World Bank President David Malpass.

This does not include the growing economic costs of the war to Ukraine, Malpass tells a World Bank conference on financial assistance to the country.

"Of course the war is still ongoing, so those costs are rising," he says.

Thursday, April 21

U.S. military aid for Ukraine is unloaded at Boryspil International Airport outside Kyiv in February.   © Reuters

11:04 p.m. President Joe Biden addresses Americans from the White House, as he announces an additional $800 million security assistance package for Ukraine. The new arms package will be roughly the same size as an $800 million one announced last week.

Ukraine also will receive direct aid of $500 million to help its government continue critical operations, on top of $500 million announced by Biden in March, the U.S. Treasury Department says.

9:42 p.m. India differs from Japanese lawmaker Sanae Takaichi in her statement that New Delhi refused the landing of a Japan Self-Defense Forces plane meant to deliver humanitarian aid to displaced Ukrainians. Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson for India's External Affairs Ministry, says New Delhi received a request from Japan for permission to land in Mumbai to pick up humanitarian supplies from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees depot there for Ukraine and neighboring countries.

"We have conveyed our approval for picking up such supplies from India using commercial aircraft," Bagchi says, adding that India also approved a request for overflight clearance for Japanese SDF aircraft carrying humanitarian cargo for Ukraine.

When told that a Japanese official said permission was denied for the landing of an SDF aircraft, Bagchi responded, "I'm hesitant to comment on somebody else's comments that I might not have fully seen."

5:30 p.m. President Vladimir Putin orders the Russian military to cancel plans to storm the Azovstal plant in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol and says he wants it to continue to be hermetically blockaded instead. Putin gave the order to Sergei Shoigu, his defense minister, who had previously told Putin that more than 2,000 Ukrainian fighters were still holed up in the vast plant, which has a large underground component to it. "There is no need to climb into these catacombs and crawl underground through these industrial facilities," Putin said. "Block off this industrial area so that a fly cannot pass through." Putin also congratulated Shoigu for what he called the successful military operation to "liberate Mariupol" and asked him to pass on his thanks to Russian troops.

India has refused to allow a Japan Self-Defense Force plane meant to deliver humanitarian aid to displaced Ukrainians to land in the country, a top Liberal Democratic Party official said April 21.

2:20 p.m. Russian forces are advancing from staging areas in Donbas towards Kramatorsk, which continues to be hit by rocket attacks, a British military update says. High levels of Russian air activity continue as it seeks to provide close air support for its offensive in eastern Ukraine, and to suppress and destroy Ukrainian air defense capabilities, the UK Ministry of Defense tweeted in a regular bulletin. "Russia likely desires to demonstrate significant successes ahead of their annual 9th May Victory Day celebrations."

11:50 a.m. India has refused to allow a Japan Self-Defense Force plane meant to deliver humanitarian aid to displaced Ukrainians to land in the country, Sanae Takaichi, policy chief of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party says. The Japanese government had planned to have an SDF plane load supplies such as blankets at a stopover in India and transport them to Ukraine's neighbors, including Poland and Romania. The aid was requested by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Takaichi criticized Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's government over the matter, saying, "Clearly, the government has not done enough groundwork."

Ramzan Kadyrov, head of Russia's Chechen Republic and a top ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, says the last stronghold of resistance in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol will be taken by April 21.   © Reuters

8:40 a.m. A top ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin says Russian forces will seize the last main stronghold of resistance in the besieged city of Mariupol on Thursday, after Ukraine proposed talks on evacuating troops and civilians there. Mariupol would be the biggest city to be seized by Russia since invading Ukraine eight weeks ago. "Before lunchtime, or after lunch, Azovstal will be completely under the control of the forces of the Russian Federation," Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of Russia's republic of Chechnya, whose forces have been fighting in Ukraine.

A resident walks along a street past burnt out buses in Mariupol on April 19.    © Reuters

7:30 a.m. Russia's war in Ukraine overshadows the Group of 20 gatherings in Washington this week as officials from multiple Western countries quit a closed-door meeting in protest when the Russian delegation began to speak.

The leavers included U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, British Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, and Canadian Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland.

"The world's democracies will not stand idly by in the face of continued Russian aggression and war crimes," Freeland tweets with a group photo. "Today Canada and a number of our democratic partners walked out of the G20 plenary when Russia sought to intervene." Read more.

5:05 a.m. Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak says his side is ready for a "special round of negotiations" in the besieged city of Mariupol with "without any conditions."

4:30 a.m. European Council President Charles Michel pledges European solidarity with Ukraine in a surprise visit to Kyiv and says justice must be done for alleged Russian war crimes.

"There are no words ... to explain what I feel. These are atrocities, these are war crimes. It must be punished. It will be punished," Michel told a joint news conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv.

Michel, the head of the European Council, which represents the European Union's 27 member states, visited the town of Borodianka northwest of Kyiv before holding talks with Zelenskyy in the capital.

12:08 a.m. Tennis players from Russia and Belarus will not be allowed to compete at this year's Wimbledon due to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, the Grand Slam organizer All England Lawn Tennis Club says.

A ban on Russian players prevents world men's No. 2 Daniil Medvedev and 15th-ranked woman Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova from competing. Women's world No. 4 Aryna Sabalenka and two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka of Belarus also will be affected.

Local resident Tamara, 71, cries in front of an apartment building destroyed during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol.   © Reuters

Wednesday, April 20

10:29 p.m. A Russian ultimatum to Ukrainian troops in Mariupol to surrender or die expires with no mass capitulation, but the commander of a unit believed to be holding out in the besieged city says his forces could survive just days or hours. In the ruins of Mariupol, Russia was hitting the last main Ukrainian stronghold, the Azovstal steel plant, with bunker-buster bombs, Kyiv says.

"This is our appeal to the world. It may be our last. We may have only a few days or hours left," Maj. Serhiy Volyna says in a video uploaded to Facebook. "The enemy units are dozens of times larger than ours, they have dominance in the air, in artillery, in ground troops, in equipment and in tanks."

10:08 p.m. The number of people fleeing Ukraine to escape Russia's invasion has passed 5 million, in Europe's worst refugee crisis since the end of World War II, the U.N. refugee agency says. Most refugees have crossed to the European Union through border points in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania where volunteers and governments have scrambled to help those arriving, mostly women and children, find jobs and accommodation.

9:10 p.m. Russia's Defense Ministry proposes that relatives of soldiers killed in Ukraine should have to apply to military rather than civilian authorities for compensation payments, saying it looks to "limit the circle of people" with information around the country's war losses. Russia already classifies military deaths as state secrets even in times of peace and has not updated its official casualty figures in Ukraine for nearly four weeks.

7:47 p.m. Russia is not planning to stop foreign journalists from entering the country but it is tightening visa rules for those from "unfriendly countries," a deputy foreign minister says. Yevgeny Ivanov told parliament this was in response to moves by the European Union and other countries to make it harder for the Russian business community to obtain visas. "We have responded by making it harder for journalists from unfriendly countries to obtain visas. They will now get a single-entry visa and pay a higher visa fee," he said.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says Russian metals companies are facing "hostile attitudes" from those Moscow refers to as "unfriendly countries." (Sputnik/Sergey Guneev/Kremlin via REUTERS)

7:07 p.m. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says Russian metals companies are facing "hostile attitudes" from those Moscow calls "unfriendly countries," and that Russia will formulate a plan to combat this. "We are among world leaders in this industry, and our metallurgists have begun to face hostile attitudes... our companies are experiencing some difficulties," Peskov says during a conference call with reporters.

Russia is a major producer of metals including aluminum, nickel, palladium, copper, steel and gold. Western countries have imposed sanctions against some wealthy Russians with large shareholdings in metals companies.

3:47 p.m. Ukraine hopes to evacuate 6,000 women, children and elderly people from the besieged city of Mariupol on Wednesday if a preliminary agreement with Russia holds, the city's mayor said. Mayor Vadym Boichenko, who has left Mariupol, said 90 buses were waiting to head to the devastated southern port city. He cautioned that the agreement was still only a preliminary arrangement and that about 100,000 civilians remained there.

If the deal holds, it will be the first agreement on creating a safe corridor for civilians to flee from Mariupol to other Ukrainian cities since March 5. That agreement quickly collapsed, however, and many residents have been trapped there for weeks without power, running water and other supplies.

2:22 p.m. Japan's parliament gives the green light to strip Russia of most-favored-nation trading status, a move taken in unison with other countries to punish Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine. Russia will lose benefits such as low tariffs and few trade barriers. Other changes enacted include amending the foreign exchange and trade law to prevent cryptocurrencies from being used as a loophole to sidestep economic sanctions on Russia.

Following the legislative move, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's government will set ordinances stipulating that all imports from Russia will be subject to higher duties until the end of March 2023, including a 5% tariff on salmon, from the current 3.5%, and a 6% duty imposed on crabs, from 4%.

President Joe Biden spoke with leaders of Japan, France and other allies on April 19 about providing security guarantees for Ukraine.   © Reuters

3:11 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron and leaders of other allies on Tuesday discussed how to provide security guarantees to Ukraine during and after the war with Russia, a French official says. "It would be military supplies so that it can deal with a new attack or, possibly, guarantees that would see us get involved if Ukraine is attacked in a way where we could assess how to assist it," the official said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. will send more artillery to Ukraine, Biden tells reporters after the call with allied leaders. Japan's Foreign Ministry says Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told his counterparts during the call that Tokyo plans to extend $300 million in loans to Ukraine, up from an original offer of $100 million.

Tuesday, April 19

11:45 p.m. Russia's economy will shrink 8.5% this year in the wake of economic sanctions imposed by many of its trade partners, the latest International Monetary Fund forecasts show, while Ukraine's is projected to contract as much as 35%.

"Economic damage from the conflict will contribute to a significant slowdown in global growth in 2022," the IMF says.

The conflict has overshadowed Asia, with rising commodity prices and weaker European demand for exports dragging on economies fighting to get back on track after coronavirus-induced slumps.

8:12 p.m. Russia's siege of the city of Mariupol has further complicated negotiations with Ukraine and it is hard to say when direct talks might resume, Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak says. In written responses to questions from Reuters, Podolyak said he believed Russia was banking on strengthening its position through a new offensive in eastern Ukraine.

7:00 p.m. Russian forces have taken control of the city of Kreminna in eastern Ukraine, and Ukrainian troops have withdrawn from the city, the regional governor says. "Kreminna is under the control of the 'Orcs' (Russians). They have entered the city," Serhiy Gaidai, the governor of the Luhansk region, said in a briefing.

6:00 p.m. Russia calls on Ukrainian forces and foreign fighters holed up in the Azovstal metallurgical plant in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol to lay down their arms by noon Moscow time if they want to live. Mariupol, which has been encircled by Russian troops for weeks, has seen the fiercest fighting and most comprehensive destruction since Russia sent troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24. Ukrainian authorities said on Monday that no fewer than 1,000 civilians were hiding in underground shelters beneath the vast Azovstal plant, adding that Russia was dropping heavy bombs on the Ukrainian-held factory in the besieged city.

3:00 p.m. The Ukrainian military's general staff says Russian forces are focusing their efforts on taking full control over the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the east. It noted that a "new phase of war" began Monday when "the occupiers made an attempt to break through our defenses along nearly the entire frontline in the Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv regions." It said in a statement issued early Tuesday that "the Russian military has continued to blockade and shell Mariupol and to deal missile strikes on other cities."

1:00 p.m. Ukrainian forces have struck a village near Russia's border with Ukraine, wounding one resident, the governor of the Russian province of Belgorod says. It was not immediately clear whether the strike on the village of Golovchino that figured in posts by Gov. Vyacheslav Gladkov on messaging app Telegram was carried out by artillery, mortars, missiles or was an aerial attack. This month, Russia accused Ukraine, which it invaded in late February, of carrying out a helicopter strike on a fuel depot in Belgorod, as well as shelling villages there several times, and firing missiles at an ammunition depot.

10:00 a.m. The Biden administration says it is barring antisatellite missile testing by the U.S., a move that White House officials say is meant to underscore its hopes of establishing new norms for military action in space. Washington has sharply criticized Russia and China for conducting antisatellite missile tests, although it also used an interceptor missile fired from a U.S. Navy warship more than 14 years ago to destroy a malfunctioning spy satellite. The issue is one that's taken on greater urgency after Russia in November launched a missile to destroy a defunct Soviet-era satellite.

7:00 a.m. Russian forces have begun a "battle for Donbas," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says, after senior officials say Moscow had launched a new offensive push along most of Ukraine's eastern flank.

"A very large part of the entire Russian army is now focused on this offensive," Zelenskyy says.

"No matter how many Russian soldiers are driven there, we will fight," he says. "We will defend ourselves."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks on April 18.   © Reuters

3:12 a.m. At least 1,000 civilians -- mostly women, children and the elderly -- are hiding in underground shelters beneath the vast Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, the city council says, adding that Russia is dropping heavy bombs onto the Ukrainian-held factory in the besieged port city.

Street battles have occurred in Mariupol over the past week as Russian forces seek to take full control of the city from Ukraine.

Monday, April 18

10:29 p.m. Two British fighters captured in Ukraine by Russian forces appear on Russian state TV, asking to be exchanged for a Ukrainian ally of President Vladimir Putin who is being held by Ukrainian authorities.

It was unclear how freely the two men were able to talk. Both spoke separately after being prompted by an unidentified man. The Putin ally, pro-Russian politician Viktor Medvedchuk, was shown asking to be swapped in a video released around the same time by Ukraine's SBU intelligence service via social media.

5:44 p.m. Russia's Central Bank should be able to lower its key rate faster and create conditions for more affordable loans, Gov. Elvira Nabiullina says. The central bank more than doubled its key interest rate to 20% when Russia was hit by international sanctions after sending its forces into Ukraine in February, but then cut it this month to 17%, flagging a challenging economic environment and a slowdown in inflation.

5:30 p.m. Russia says it has launched mass strikes overnight on the Ukrainian military and associated military targets, using its air force, missile forces, artillery and air defense systems to hit hundreds of targets across its southern neighbor. The Russian defense ministry said in a statement that air-launched missiles had destroyed 16 Ukrainian military facilities overnight, including five command posts, a fuel depot and three ammunition warehouses, as well as Ukrainian armor and forces. It said those strikes took place in the Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Dnipropetrovsk regions and in the port of Mykolayiv, and that the Russian air force had launched strikes against 108 areas where it said Ukrainian forces and armor were concentrated.

4:44 p.m. Japan marine transport company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines says it will stop arranging a spot shipment of Russian coal. The company is also planning not to hire any more Russian sailors in the short term. Toshiaki Tanaka, executive officer of the company, told reporters that most Russian coal shipments are contracted on a short-term basis and spot shipment deals are decreasing among Japanese customers.

4:20 p.m. Six people were killed and eight wounded in a missile strike on the western Ukraine city of Lviv on Monday morning, regional governor Maksym Kozystkiy says. Three missiles hit military infrastructure while one struck a car tire replacement facility, he said.

3:20 p.m. The mayor of the western Ukraine city of Lviv, Andriy Sadovyi, says on Facebook that five missiles struck the city and that emergency services were responding to the attack. He said more details would follow. Witnesses said multiple explosions believed to be caused by missiles struck the city early Monday as the country braces for an all-out Russian assault in the east, The Associated Press reported. Lviv and the rest of western Ukraine have been less affected by the fighting than other parts of the country, and the city was considered to be a relatively safe haven.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, left, speaks with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Kyiv on April 8. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via Reuters)

8:57 a.m. Ukraine has completed a questionnaire which will mark a starting point for the European Union to decide on membership for Kyiv, says Ihor Zhovkva, deputy head of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen handed the questionnaire to Zelenskyy during her visit to Kyiv on April 8, pledging a speedier start to Ukraine's bid to become a member of the EU following Russia's invasion of the country. "Today, I can say that the document has been completed by the Ukrainian side," Zhovkva told the Ukrainian public broadcaster on Sunday evening. The EC will need to issue a recommendation on Ukraine's compliance with necessary membership criteria, he added.

4:24 a.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he discussed the country's financial stability and postwar reconstruction with Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

"We have clear plans for now, as well as a vision of prospects," Zelenskyy says in a tweet. "I'm sure cooperation between the IMF & Ukraine will continue to be fruitful."

Sunday, April 17

Residents walk past a damaged apartment building in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol on April 15.    © Reuters

11:30 p.m. Remaining Ukrainian forces in the southern port of Mariupol are still fighting and continue to defy a Russian demand that they surrender, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal says.

"The city still has not fallen," Shmyhal tells ABC's "This Week" program, adding that Ukrainian soldiers continue to control some parts of the city. Russia gave Ukrainian soldiers in the city an ultimatum on Sunday to lay down their arms, Reuters reports.

Saturday, April 16

11:29 p.m. Russian air raids and missile strikes hit Kyiv and other major Ukrainian cities as Moscow launches more long-range attacks following the sinking of its Black Sea Fleet's flagship. Moscow says its warplanes had struck a tank repair factory in Kyiv. An explosion was heard and smoke seen in the southeastern Darnytskyi district. The mayor said at least one person had died and medics were fighting to save others.

In the besieged port of Mariupol, scene of the war's heaviest fighting and worst humanitarian catastrophe, Russian troops press their advances, hoping to make up for their failure to capture Kyiv by seizing their first big prize of the war.

10:15 p.m. Russia bars entry for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace and 10 other British government members and politicians, Reuters reports. The move was taken "in view of the unprecedented hostile action by the British government, in particular the imposition of sanctions against senior Russian officials," the Russian Foreign Ministry says, adding that it will expand the list.

5:30 p.m. The dramatic sinking of Russia's guided missile cruiser Moskva -- the flagship of its Black Sea fleet -- on Thursday was followed by a U.S. defense official telling reporters that Moscow immediately moved its four to five remaining ships in those waters south, farther from Ukraine.

These rapid developments put the spotlight once again on Turkey, which sits across the Black Sea and controls the maritime passage between those waters and the Mediterranean Sea. Read more.

Members of the Ukrainian Territorial Defence Forces attend military drills, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv Region on April 15.    © Reuters

1:03 p.m. Explosions were heard in the early hours on Saturday in Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, and the Western city of Lviv, according to local media reports. Air raid sirens sounded across much of Ukraine early on Saturday. The mayor of Kyiv said rescuers and medics were working at the site of a blast on the outskirts of the city.

9:44 a.m. Zelenskyy on Friday told CNN that between 2,500 to 3,000 Ukrainian troops have died so far in the war with Russia and that another 10,000 have been wounded, but there was no count of civilian casualties. He told the U.S. TV network that 19,000 to 20,000 Russian soldiers had been killed in the war. Moscow said last month that 1,351 Russian soldiers had been killed and 3,825 wounded.

Ukrainian soldiers take part in a funeral in Lviv, Ukraine, on April 13. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says between 2,500 to 3,000 Ukrainian troops have died so far in the war with Russia.   © Reuters

3:00 a.m. Two Ukrainian Neptune missiles hit the Russian flagship Moskva in the Black Sea, U.S. media report, quoting a senior defense official, providing the first American confirmation that the sinking of the Russian cruiser was the result of a Ukrainian strike.

The confirmation comes after Ukrainian forces said Thursday that they had attacked the cruiser Moskva. Russian officials claimed that the ship had experienced a fire. The Pentagon observed some Russian sailors evacuating the ship in lifeboats as the vessel burned.

Friday, April 15

11:00 p.m. Russia appears poised to capture the strategic port city of Mariupol and escalate attacks across Ukraine's southeast after bruising setbacks, including the sinking of the Moskva, the flagship of Moscow's Black Sea fleet.

The Russians are staging attack helicopters at the border with Ukraine and bringing in soldiers and artillery, the Pentagon says.

7:00 p.m. Russia has warned the U.S. of "unpredictable consequences" if Washington keeps arming Ukraine, The Washington Post reports. "We call on the United States and its allies to stop the irresponsible militarization of Ukraine, which implies unpredictable consequences for regional and international security," the Post quoted Russia saying in a diplomatic note to the U.S.

Ukrainian troops unload U.S. military aid at the Boryspil International Airport outside Kyiv. Russia is threatening Ukraine's arms suppliers, including the U.S.   © Reuters

5:30 p.m. Russia's defense ministry says it has struck a military target on the edge of Kyiv overnight with cruise missiles and promises more strikes against the Ukrainian capital in response to Ukrainian attacks on Russian targets. Russian forces have also taken full control of the Ilyich Steel Plant in the besieged port city of Mariupol, which has been encircled by Russian troops for weeks, the ministry says.

Western sanctions imposed on Russia after it sent its war machine into Ukraine appear to have forced Moscow to try to pay off bonds in rubles rather than dollars, as mandated in contracts.    © Reuters

3:30 p.m. Russia could end up in default after trying to service its dollar bonds in rubles due to Western sanctions, Moody's says. Russia made a payment due on April 4 on two sovereign bonds -- maturing in 2022 and 2042 -- in rubles rather than the dollars it was mandated to pay under the securities' terms. Russia "therefore may be considered a default under Moody's definition if not cured by 4 May, which is the end of the grace period," Moody's said in a statement. "The bond contracts have no provision for repayment in any other currency other than dollars."

2:30 p.m. After Russia lost its Black Sea fleet flagship Moskva, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in his nightly address paid homage to all "those who halted the progress of the endless convoys of Russian military equipment ... Those who showed that Russian ships can go ... down to the bottom."

Firefighters work on clearing debris in Pushcha-Vodytsya, Kyiv, Ukraine, in this still image taken from a handout video uploaded on April 14, 2022. (State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Handout)   © Reuters

9:30 a.m. Powerful explosions were heard in Kyiv early on Friday, and air raid sirens blared across Ukraine as residents braced for new Russian attacks after Moscow's lead warship in the Black Sea sank following a fire. The explosions appeared to be among the most significant in Ukraine's capital region since Russian troops pulled back from the area earlier this month in preparation for battles in the south and east. Ukraine claimed responsibility for sinking the Moskva, saying the Soviet-era flagship of Russia's Black Sea fleet was struck by one of its missiles. The vessel sank late on Thursday as it was being towed to port, Russia's defense ministry said.

8:00 a.m. A total of 2,557 people left Ukrainian cities through humanitarian corridors on Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk says. Of them, 289 were able to flee the besieged southern port of Mariupol by providing their own transportation, according to a Vereshchuk social media post.

5:00 a.m. The Russian missile cruiser Moskva has sunk in the Black Sea, Russian media RIA and RT report, citing the Defense Ministry. The warship sank in stormy seas after suffering damage from an ammunition fire onboard, the reports say. The Ukrainian side claims to have struck the flagship of the Russian Black Sea fleet off Odesa with Neptune anti-ship missiles.

3:33 a.m. France will move back its embassy in Ukraine to the capital Kyiv from the Western city of Lviv "very soon," Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian tells Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba in a phone call. The embassy was moved to Lviv in early March as conditions worsened on the ground.

2:15 a.m. Over 400 Russian diplomats have been expelled from at least 20 countries over the invasion of Ukraine, as nations in Europe and beyond respond to reports of hundreds of civilian bodies left near Kyiv following a retreat by Russian forces.

In total, 443 diplomats had been or were set to be expelled as of April 8, according to the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Forty-five were in neighboring Poland, more than in any other country. Slovakia has decided to kick out 38 Russian diplomats, while Slovenia moved to expel 33. Read more.

Thursday, April 14

11:50 p.m. President Vladimir Putin says Russian energy exports should be rerouted to Africa and Latin America amid a push to diversify supplies from the West.

New oil and gas pipelines could be constructed in the hydrocarbon fields in West and East Siberia, he added.

5:48 p.m. Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia's Security Council, says that if Sweden and Finland join NATO, Russia will have to bolster its defenses in the region, including by deploying nuclear weapons. "There can be no more talk of any nuclear-free status for the Baltic -- the balance must be restored," he says. Medvedev, one of President Vladimir Putin's closest allies, was the country's president from 2008-2012.

3:50 p.m. Ukraine Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk says nine humanitarian corridors have been agreed for Thursday to evacuate civilians, including by private car from the besieged city of Mariupol. Other evacuation routes are from Berdiansk, Tokmak and Enerhodar, and ones in the eastern Luhansk region will operate if occupying Russian forces stop their shelling, Vereshchuk added in a statement.

The Russian Navy's guided missile cruiser Moskva sails back to harbor last November. The country now says the flagship of its Black Sea fleet has been seriously damaged.   © Reuters

12:30 p.m. Russia says the flagship of its Black Sea fleet was seriously damaged and its crew evacuated following an explosion that a Ukrainian official said was the result of a missile strike. Russia's defense ministry said a fire on the Moskva missile cruiser caused ammunition to blow up, Interfax news agency reported. It did not say what caused the fire but Maksym Marchenko, the Ukrainian governor of the region around the Black Sea port of Odesa, said the Moskva had been hit by two Ukrainian-made Neptune anti-ship cruise missiles.

10:06 a.m. South Korea's central bank raises its policy rate to the highest since August 2019 in an unexpected move, choosing not to wait for the formal appointment of a new governor before proceeding with its fight against surging inflation. Inflation in the country is expected to hold at decade-highs as Russia's invasion of Ukraine sends commodity prices soaring.

7:44 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden announces an additional $800 million in military assistance to Ukraine on Wednesday, expanding the scope of the systems provided to include heavy artillery ahead of a wider Russian assault expected in eastern Ukraine. The package, which brings the total military aid since Russian forces invaded in February to more than $2.5 billion, includes artillery systems, artillery rounds, armored personnel carriers and unmanned coastal defense boats.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, center, attends a joint news briefing with the presidents of Poland and the Baltic states on April 13.

5:12 a.m. The presidents of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia met President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Wednesday, calling for increased military support for Ukraine and for Russia to be held accountable for the actions of its troops on the ground. Before meeting Zelenskyy, the four presidents visited areas in the Kyiv region where hundreds of slain civilians have been discovered after the Russian withdrawal. Moscow has denied responsibility and dismissed allegations its troops committed war crimes there as fake news. "This is not war, this is terrorism," said Polish President Andrzej Duda.

2:28 a.m. A "global cease-fire" in Ukraine does not seem possible at the moment, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres tells a news conference. But "lots of things" can be done to guarantee the evacuation of civilians from areas of fighting and to guarantee humanitarian access, Guterres adds.

1:10 a.m. Finland will decide whether to apply to join NATO in the next few weeks, not months, Prime Minister Sanna Marin says, underlining a shift in security perspectives since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Wednesday, April 13

9:51 p.m. Experts sent by member nations of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have found evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity by Russia in Ukraine, an initial report by the mission says, citing failures to take necessary precautions, act proportionately or spare sites like schools and hospitals.

Despite Russian denials, the report says a March 9 attack on Mariupol Maternity House and Children's Hospital was carried out by Russia and that those responsible committed a war crime. It also says the attack on Mariupol's Drama Theater on March 16 in which 300 people were killed was a war crime.

Russian troops load ammunition onto an armored vehicle during fighting in Mariupol on April 12.   © Reuters

7:08 p.m. Russia's defense ministry says 1,026 soldiers of Ukraine's 36th Marine Brigade, including 162 officers, have surrendered in the besieged Ukrainian port city of Mariupol. Encircled by Russian troops for weeks, Mariupol has seen the fiercest fighting and the most comprehensive destruction since Russia invaded the country on Feb. 24. The main port on the Sea of Azov is the biggest target in the eastern Donbas region that Moscow now calls the focus of its campaign. If captured, Mariupol will be the first major city to fall since the war began. Its capture will help secure a land passage between separatist-held eastern areas and Crimea which Russia annexed and seized in 2014.

1:27 p.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin said peace talks with Ukraine had hit a dead end. Addressing the war in public for the first time since Russian forces retreated from northern Ukraine after they were halted at the gates of Kyiv, Putin promised that Russia would achieve all of its "noble" aims in Ukraine. "We have again returned to a dead-end situation for us," Putin, Russia's paramount leader since 1999, told a news briefing.

11:24 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden said for the first time that Russia's invasion of Ukraine amounts to genocide, a significant escalation of the president's rhetoric. Biden used the term in a speech at an ethanol plant in Iowa and later stood by the description as he prepared to board Air Force One.

"Yes, I called it genocide because it has become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out the idea of being able to be Ukrainian, and the evidence is mounting," Biden told reporters.

4:55 a.m. The World Bank is preparing a $1.5 billion support package for war-torn Ukraine and plans to aid developing countries struggling to keep up with surging food and energy prices, World Bank President David Malpass said.

"The World Bank was created in 1944 to help Europe rebuild after World War II. As we did then, we will be ready to help Ukraine with reconstruction when the time comes," Malpass said. He added that the package was enabled by Monday's approval of $1 billion in International Development Association (IDA) aid by donor and recipient countries, along with a $100 million IDA payment to neighboring Moldova.

4:20 a.m. Ukraine says it has captured Viktor Medvedchuk -- a Ukrainian, pro-Russian oligarch with ties to Vladimir Putin -- in a special forces operation.


12:30 a.m. The mayor of Mariupol says about 21,000 civilian residents of the port city had been killed since the start of Russia's invasion according to latest estimates.

In televised comments, Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko said it had been difficult to calculate the exact number of casualties since street fighting had started.

Tuesday, April 12

6:30 p.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow's military operation in Ukraine will undoubtedly achieve what he said were its "noble" objectives. Speaking at an awards ceremony at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Russian Far East, Putin was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies that said Moscow had no other choice but to launch a military operation to protect Russia, and that a clash with Ukraine's anti-Russian forces had been inevitable. "Its goals are absolutely clear and noble," Putin said of Russia's military campaign.

4:30 p.m. The Russian defense ministry says that its missiles have destroyed ammunition depots in Ukraine's Khmelnytskyi and Kyiv regions. The ministry said Russian forces had struck an ammunition depot and hangar at the Starokostiantyniv air base in the Khmelnytskyi region, as well as an ammunition depot near Havrylivka north of the capital Kyiv.

An armored vehicle of pro-Russian forces in Ukraine's southern port city of Mariupol, April 11. There have been unverified reports of the use of chemical agents in an attack on the city.   © Reuters

4:00 p.m. All options would be on the table in response to any use of chemical weapons in Ukraine by Russia, British armed forces minister James Heappey said. British Foreign Minister Liz Truss on Monday said the country was working with its partners to verify the details of reports Russian forces may have used chemical agents in an attack on Mariupol. "There are some things that are beyond the pale, and the use of chemical weapons will get a response and all options are on the table for what that response could be," Heappey told Sky News on Tuesday.

2:20 p.m. Fighting in eastern Ukraine will intensify over the next two to three weeks as Russia continues to refocus its efforts there, the U.K.'s Ministry of Defense tweeted in a regular bulletin. Russian attacks remain focused on Ukrainian positions near Donetsk and Luhansk, with further fighting around Kherson and Mykolaiv and a renewed push toward Kramatorsk, British military intelligence said. The report also said Russian forces continue to withdraw from Belarus in order to redeploy in support of operations in eastern Ukraine.

Graves of civilians killed during the Russian invasion lie in the southern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol on April 10.   © Reuters

11:14 a.m. The mayor of the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol told The Associated Press that more than 10,000 civilians have died in the Russian siege of his city and that the death toll could surpass 20,000, with weeks of attacks and privation leaving bodies "carpeted through the streets." Mayor Vadym Boychenko also accused Russian forces of having blocked humanitarian convoys from entering the city for weeks in an attempt to conceal the carnage there from the outside world.

11:00 a.m. Japan's Cabinet has approved additional sanctions against Russia, freezing assets of 398 Russian individuals, including President Vladimir Putin's daughters and the wife of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

10:05 a.m. Japan's wholesale inflation remained near record-high levels in March as the Ukraine crisis and a weak yen pushed up the costs of fuel and raw materials, government data shows. The corporate goods price index, which measures the prices that companies charge each other for goods and services, rose 9.5% in March from a year earlier. That followed a revised 9.7% spike in February, which was the fastest pace on record. The March index, at 112.0, was the highest level since December 1982.

An Idemitsu Kosan oil refinery in Ichihara, east of Tokyo in Chiba Prefecture. The Ukraine crisis and a weak yen have pushed up the costs of fuel and raw materials in Japan. (Kyodo via Reuters)

6:24 a.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his daily video address late on Monday that Russia forces could use chemical weapons in Ukraine, but he did not say that chemical weapons have already been used. Unconfirmed reports earlier in the day had suggested that chemical weapons were used in the besieged southern port of Mariupol.

5:00 a.m. European Union officials discussing additional sanctions on Russia have failed to agree on a Russian oil embargo despite support from some countries.

Many of the ministers meeting in Luxembourg showed support for sanctions on Russian oil imports, top EU diplomat Josep Borrell says. But for others, such a ban would constitute an "asymmetric shock," he says. The bloc did agree to step up the delivery of weapons to Ukraine.

1:38 a.m. Axel Springer says it has hired the former Russian state TV worker who made international headlines last month by bursting onto her then-employer's live newscast to protest the war.

Marina Ovsyannikova will report for the German company's Welt brand as a freelance correspondent, including from Ukraine and Russia. She will write for the newspaper and regularly contribute to Welt news channel coverage, according to Axel Springer.

Ovsyannikova was fined 30,000 rubles ($373 at current rates) in mid-March over a prerecorded anti-war video message and could still face further prosecution in Russia over the on-air protest itself.

1:30 a.m. "This is not a friendly visit," Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer says in a statement issued by his office about talks just outside Moscow with Vladimir Putin.

This marked the first meeting with the Russian president by a European Union leader since the invasion of Ukraine started more than six weeks ago.

Nehammer has expressed solidarity with Ukraine and denounced apparent Russian war crimes. His government last week ordered the expulsion of a total of four Russian Embassy and Russian Consulate personnel over conduct that has "not been in accordance with their diplomatic status" -- generally a euphemism for spying.

For earlier updates, click here.

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