Russia on course for worse recession than 1998 financial crisis, Western officials say
Western officials have said Russia is on course for a "deep recession" in 2022. "The GDP growth forecast range is between -7% to -12%, worse than the 1998 financial crisis and 2008 for them," they said. They added that the G7 is looking at how to further sanction Russia. "Most areas that are viable for sanctions have already been taken," they said. "But there's always more to be done to ratchet up in those particular areas. "More can be done around scaling up what has already been done - more banks and institutions to be added, we're also looking at Belarus and individuals. (SkyNews)
Red Cross says its team travelling to Mariupol was stopped, now being held
A team from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was stopped during an attempt to reach Mariupol, Ukraine to evacuate civilians and is now being held in the nearby town Manhush, a spokesperson told Reuters on Monday. "A team from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is being held in the town of Manhush, 20 kilometers west of Mariupol," ICRC spokesperson Jason Straziuso told Reuters. He said the team was being held by police, without giving further details. "It's not a hostage situation," he added.
Russia has signed up 130,000 new conscripts 'to send to Ukraine', Western official warns
Russia has signed up more than 130,000 new conscripts into its army, a Western official said. They said the timing aligns with previous "spring drafts" but these are "unusually high numbers". "We do think there is a realistic possibility these conscripts will be sent to Ukraine, even though the Russian MoD have said only professional soldiers will go to Ukraine," they warned. The official also reiterated the UK MoD's warning a few days ago that Russia is redeploying some of its forces from Georgia, who have been there since 2008, to reinforce the invasion in Ukraine. (SkyNews)
Oil jumps 4% as deaths near Kyiv prompt talk of new sanctions
Oil jumped about 4% to over $108 a barrel on Monday, as mounting civilian deaths in Ukraine increased pressure on European countries to impose sanctions on Russia's energy sector, prompting new concerns from market participants around tighter supply. Global benchmark Brent crude was up $3.85, or 3.7%, to $108.24 a barrel by 11:21 a.m. EDT (1521 GMT). U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude rose $4.11, or 4.1%, to $103.38 a barrel. Both contracts were down more than $1 earlier in the session. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Russian President Vladimir Putin and his supporters would "feel the consequences" of events in Bucha, outside the capital Kyiv, where a mass grave and tied bodies shot at close range were found.
Russian troops no longer in Zhytomyr, Ukrainian governor says
Russian forces have left Ukraine's northern region of Zhytomyr, the city's governor Vitaliy Bunechko has said. Bunechko said the area, which lies west of Kyiv on the border with Belarus, was no longer being occupied by Kremlin troops, who had left parts of ammunition in the region. "They left, leaving part of their vehicles, leaving part of their munitions," Mr Bunechko said in an online post. (SkyNews)
UK pledges tougher sanctions on Russia over Ukraine conflict
Britain is working on "stepping up" sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin's regime on Monday, as reports emerged of alleged civilian killings on the streets of some Ukrainian regions. UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has flown down to Poland to meet with her Ukrainian counterpart, Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba, and Polish foreign minister Zbigniew Rau. It comes ahead of talks involving the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and G7 countries later this week. "Russia's despicable attacks against innocent civilians in Irpin and Bucha are yet more evidence that Putin and his army are committing war crimes in Ukraine, said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Russia claims 'not a single resident' in Bucha was hurt while region under Kremlin control
"Deny, deny, deny" is Russia's principal info-war gambit. Add denials of responsibility over what look like targeted assassinations of civilians in Bucha to a list which started with the maternity hospital in Mariupol. And there will be more to come. As far as Russia is concerned, their "special military operation" has so far targeted only military infrastructure. Any accusations of civilian deaths laid at their door they attribute to Ukrainian provocateurs. Russia's Defence Ministry has issued a statement saying "not a single resident" was hurt during the time Bucha was under Russian control. The ministry says their troops left the town on 30 March as part of the troop withdrawal from Kyiv and surroundings agreed in Istanbul. (SkyNews)
Lithuania expels Russian ambassador over civilian deaths near Kyiv
Lithuania is expelling the Russian ambassador to the Baltic country after Ukraine accused Russian forces of killing civilians in the town of Bucha, the Lithuanian foreign ministry said on Monday. Global outrage spread on Monday at civilian killings in north Ukraine where a mass grave and tied bodies shot at close range were found in Bucha, a town taken back from Russian troops. The Kremlin categorically denied any accusations related to the murder of civilians, including in the town, where it said the graves and corpses had been staged by Ukraine to tarnish Russia. Russia's ambassador to Lithuania "will have to leave the country", the Lithuanian foreign ministry said in a statement.
US to seek Russia's suspension from Human Rights Council
The United States plans to seek a suspension of Russia from its seat on the UNs top human rights body amid increasing signs that Russian forces may have committed war crimes in Ukraine, US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Monday. Thomas-Greenfield made the call for Russia to be stripped of its seat in the Human Rights Council in the wake of reports over the weekend about violence against civilians in the town of Bucha, near the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, after Russian forces pulled out.
Biden: Putin should face war crimes trial for Bucha
President Joe Biden on Monday called for war crimes trial against Russia President Vladimir Putin and said hed seek more sanctions after reported atrocities in Ukraine. You saw what happened in Bucha, Biden said. He added that Putin is a war criminal Bidens comments to reporters came after Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited Bucha, one of the towns surrounding Kyiv where Ukrainian officials say the bodies of civilians have been found. Zelenskyy called the Russian actions genocide and called for the West to apply tougher sanctions against Russia. The bodies of 410 civilians have been removed from Kyiv-area towns that were recently retaken from Russian forces, Ukraines prosecutor-general, Iryna Venediktova, said.
'This guy is brutal' - Biden says again that Putin is war criminal after Bucha images
Joe Biden, the US president, conducted a brief interview with journalists a short time ago in which he was asked about the horrific images that are coming out of Bucha, northwest of Kyiv. This is what he said: "You may remember I got criticised for calling Putin a war criminal. Well, the truth of the matter, you saw what happened in Bucha, this warrants him... He is a war criminal. "We have to gather the information... we have to continue to provide Ukraine with the weapons they need to continue the fight, and we have to get all the detail so this can have a war crimes trial. "This guy is brutal. (SkyNews)
Tortured, executed bodies of five men found in basement of children's camp
Five bodies were found in the basement of a children's holiday camp building in the town of Bucha, just outside Kyiv. Ukrainian officials said Russian soldiers had tortured and executed the men. Their identities are still unknown but one of them had documents on him that meant his family should be able to be easily traced. Sky News was among a group of journalists that watched as the corpses where brought up a short flight of stairs into the open on Monday. They had been found two days earlier. (SkyNews)
Ukrainian president says Russian actions in Ukraine make negotiations harder
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Monday it had become harder for Ukraine to negotiate with Russia since Kyiv became aware of the scale of alleged atrocities carried out by Russian troops in Ukraine. Zelenskiy spoke on national television from the town of Bucha in the Kyiv region, where tied bodies shot at close range, a mass grave and other signs of executions have been found in territory retaken from Russian troops. The Kremlin has denied any accusations related to the killing of civilians in Bucha. "These are war crimes and will be recognised by the world as genocide," Zelenskiy said, wearing body armour and surrounded by military personnel.
EU must end all economic ties to Russia as fast as possible - Lindner
The European Union must work toward cutting all economic ties with Russia over its "criminal" war in Ukraine, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner said on Monday, but cast doubt over an immediate embargo on Russian gas imports. "We are dealing with a criminal war," Lindner in Brussels before talks with his EU colleagues. "It is clear we must end as quickly as possible all economic ties to Russia. Gas cannot be substituted in the short term." He said that all options were on the table and that an encompassing ban on all Russian energy imports would inflict more economic damage on EU member states than on Russia.