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    Russia-Ukraine war highlights: Mariupol shelling will end only once city surrenders, says Putin; Red Cross building bombed

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    Russia-Ukraine war highlights: Mariupol shelling will end only once city surrenders, says Putin; Red Cross building bombed

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    Russia-Ukraine News highlights: Ukrainian officials reported shelling around the capital Kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv on Wednesday, despite a promise by Moscow to scale down military operations there. Kyiv's deputy mayor, Mykola Povoroznyk, told national television the capital itself had not been shelled overnight. Track all the latest development in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis here

    Russia-Ukraine war highlights: Mariupol shelling will end only once city surrenders, says Putin; Red Cross building bombed
    • And with that, we wrap up today's coverage of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Thank you for joining us today, and do not forget to return tomorrow when CNBC-TV18 resumes live coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war. Good night. 

    • US to give Ukraine $500m in budget aid, Biden tells Zelenskyy

      The United States will provide $500m in budgetary assistance to Ukraine, President Joe Biden told Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskiy on a call today.

      The two leaders spoke over the phone for nearly an hour about the ongoing efforts by the US and its allies to provide military, economic and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, according to a White House readout.

      A White House statement read: "...President Biden informed President Zelenskyy that the United States intends to provide the Ukrainian government with $500 million in direct budgetary aid. He also reviewed the additional sanctions and humanitarian assistance announced last week. President Zelenskyy updated President Biden on the status of Ukraine’s negotiations with Russia. "

    • Zelenskyy speaks to BIden

      Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Twitter that he and US President Biden spoke for an hour about “the situation on the battlefield and at the negotiating table.” Zelenskyy, who has been in regular contact with Western leaders, said they also “talked about specific defensive support, a new package of enhanced sanctions, macro-financial and humanitarian aid.”

    • Here's a recap of the day's developments

      • Russia has been accused of intensifying its bombardment of the besieged Ukrainian city of Chernihiv despite claims the Kremlin would drawback out of respect for ongoing peace talks. Vladyslav Atroshenko, Chernihiv’s mayor, said the Russians had lied and that they were continuing to heavily hit his city. “They’re saying reducing intensity, they actually have increased the intensity of strikes,” he told CNN.
      • There was also continued barraging of Kyiv’s suburbs, Ukrainian officials said, said although a defence ministry spokesperson said there were some signs of troop movements away from the two cities. Russia’s defence ministry said its forces were regrouping near Kyiv and Chernihiv in order to focus on other key areas and complete the “liberation” of the breakaway Donbas region, Russian news agencies reported.
      • The Ukrainian military said Russian troops were also intensifying their attacks around the eastern city of Izyum and the eastern Donetsk region, after redeploying some units from other areas. The regional Donetsk governor, Pavlo Kyrylenko, said Russian forces are shelling nearly all cities along the frontline separating Ukrainian government-controlled territory from the self-proclaimed republic of Donetsk in the east.
      • Russian forces struck a Red Cross facility in the besieged southern Ukraine port city of Mariupol, the Ukrainian ombudswoman, Lyudmyla Denisova, said. An International Red Cross (ICRC) spokesperson confirmed an image being circulated showed an ICRC warehouse in Mariupol, but that they could not provide any other information.
      • Vladimir Putin told his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, that Russian shelling of Mariupol will end only when Ukrainian troops surrender, the Kremlin said. French officials said Putin had agreed to consider plans to evacuate citizens out of the southern Ukrainian city, but the Russian government said Putin had insisted to Macron that Ukrainian “nationalist militants” must surrender.
      • An estimated 200-300 civilians were killed in the Ukrainian town of Irpin near Kyiv before the town was taken back from Russian forces this week, the local mayor, Oleksandr Markushyn, said. About 50 Ukrainian servicemen had been killed in Irpin, and some bodies were still trapped under rubble, he said, adding that there had been Russian shelling in the area all night.
      • The Kremlin played down hopes of an early breakthrough a day after peace talks in Turkey between Russia and Ukraine. “We cannot state that there was anything too promising or any breakthroughs,” the Kremlin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, said. He said it was “positive” that Kyiv had outlined its demands but there was “a lot of work to be done”.
      • More than 4 million people have fled Russia’s “utterly senseless” war on Ukraine since the start of Russia’s invasion on 24 February, the UN refugee agency said. The figure surpasses the UN’s initial estimate that the war would create up to 4 million refugees. More than 90% are women and children.
      • Vladimir Putin’s advisers are “too afraid to tell him the truth” about how poorly the war in Ukraine is going and how damaging Westerns sanctions have been to Russia’s economy, according to a US official. Reuters quoted the official as saying the US believes Putin “is being misinformed” by his advisers.
      • Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, hailed China as part of a new “just, democratic world order” ahead of a meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi. In his first visit to China since Russia invaded Ukraine last month, Lavrov said the world was “living through a very serious stage in the history of international relations”. Wang said Beijing and Moscow are “more determined” to develop bilateral ties and boost cooperation and reaffirmed China’s support for continued peace talks between Russia and Ukraine.
      • Putin’s approval ratings surged in March to levels not seen in five years as the war in Ukraine enters its second month, according to an independent survey. According to the Levada Center, Putin’s job approval grew to 83% in March from 71% in February. The last time Putin reached similar approval ratings was in 2017.
      • The UK has granted only 2,700 visas under its much-advertised Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme more than two weeks after its launch, according to Home Office figures. Meanwhile, Ukrainian refugees in Poland told the Guardian that they were baffled by the UK government’s asylum rules, which they say appear designed more to keep people out than offer shelter to those fleeing war.
    • More than 1,000 civilians deaths recorded in Ukraine: UN human rights chief

      Michelle Bachelet said her office had verified 1,189 civilian deaths in Ukraine, including 98 children, since the invasion began on 24 February. However, the true toll is likely to be far higher, she warned, explaining that it was difficult to confirm casualties in the areas most affected by the war, such as Mariupol. Bachelet said: "Civilians are enduring immeasurable suffering, and the humanitarian crisis is critical." There has been a "significant increase" in the mortality rate among civilians in besieged cities, she said. This could be attributed to disrupted medical care coupled with conflict-related deprivation and stress, she added.

    • Russian troops gang-raped woman in Mariupol, says Ukraine's MoD

      In an explosive tweet, Ukraine's ministry of defence accused Russia's troops of gang-raping a woman in front of her six-year-old son. The tweet claimed that the woman died of injuries. 

    • UK not looking to oust Putin: Boris Johnson

      The UK’s goal is not to remove the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, from power, Boris Johnson told the Commons Liaison Committee this afternoon, reports the Guardian.

      Johnson said he understood why the US president, Joe Biden, had said Putin “cannot remain in power” in a speech at the weekend, but that was “not the objective of the UK government”.

      Johnson told MPs: "It’s not the objective of the UK government and it’s very, very important everybody gets this, we are simply setting out to help to protect the people of Ukraine and to protect them against absolutely barbaric and unreasonable violence."

      Asked whether the French president, Emmanuel Macron, had been speaking to Putin for “too long”, the PM replied that “Putin is plainly not to be trusted”.

    • Russia "regrouping" forces around Kyiv

      The Russian Defence Ministry says it is “regrouping” its forces around Kyiv. In a statement, the ministry claimed those forces’ aim had been to tie up and weaken Ukrainian troops in that region, preventing them from joining the fighting in eastern Ukraine. “All these goals were achieved,” the ministry said, adding it would now focus on “the final stage of the operation to liberate” the Donbas area of eastern Ukraine, The New York Times reported.

    • Russians plan melancholy version of Instagram after ban
      An image of the app's planned user interface showed a woman in a fur coat standing in front of St Basil's Cathedral on Moscow's Red Square. The search bar tells users to search for sad compatriots.…
      Russia-Ukraine war highlights: Mariupol shelling will end only once city surrenders, says Putin; Red Cross building bombed
    • Ukraine says Russia planting mines in Black Sea as shipping perils grow

      Ukraine accused Russia on Wednesday of planting mines in the Black Sea and said some of those munitions had to be defused off Turkey and Romania as risks to vital merchant shipping in the region grow.

      The Black Sea is a major shipping route for grain, oil and oil products. Its waters are shared by Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia and Turkey as well as Ukraine and Russia.

      Russia's military took control of waterways when it invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, in what Moscow calls a "special operation".

      In recent days Turkish and Romanian military diving teams have been involved in defusing stray mines around their waters.

      Ukraine's foreign ministry said Russia was using naval mines as "uncontrolled drifting ammunition".

      "It was these drifting mines that were found March 26-28, 2022 off the coasts of Turkey and Romania," it said in a statement.

      The ministry said "the deliberate use by Russia of drifting sea mines turns them into a de facto weapon of indiscriminate action, which threatens, first of all, civil navigation and human life at sea in the whole waters not only of the Black and Azov Seas, but also of the Kerch and Black Sea Straits".

      Russian officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

    • Mariupol a strategic prize for Russia, symbol of resistance for Ukraine
      As many as 290,000 people had fled by March 27 but at least 160,000 were still trapped without power and with little food or other supplies in Mariupol
      Russia-Ukraine war highlights: Mariupol shelling will end only once city surrenders, says Putin; Red Cross building bombed
    • Ukraine says Russia is preparing renewed offensive operations

      (Russian forces in Ukraine are regrouping and preparing for renewed offensive operations, Ukrainian Defence Ministry spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk said on Wednesday. "(Russia's) main efforts are concentrated on surrounding Ukrainian forces in eastern Ukraine," Motuzyanyk said, adding that Russia was still trying to take the southern port city of Mariupol and the towns of Popasna and Rubizhne.

      "It (Russia) is preparing to resume offensive operations," he said, adding that Ukraine's armed forces command had observed some movements of Russian forces away from the Kyiv and Chernihiv regions but did not consider this to be a mass withdrawal.

    • Russia backs peace talks

      Russia’s chief negotiator with Ukraine reaffirmed Russia’s interest in a peace deal along the lines of the one proposed at Tuesday’s talks in Istanbul. “Yesterday the Kyiv authorities, for the first time in all these past years, declared their readiness to reach an agreement with Russia,” the negotiator, Vladimir Medinsky, said in a televised statement. The Kremlin has sent mixed messages, with a spokesman saying earlier Wednesday that the Istanbul talks did not produce anything “very promising.”

    • US astronaut, 2 Russian cosmonauts return home from ISS

      A US astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts landed in Kazakhstan on Wednesday after leaving the International Space Station aboard the same capsule despite heightened antagonism between Moscow and Washington over the conflict in Ukraine.

      The flight -- carrying NASA's Mark Vande Hei and Russians Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov back to Earth -- was being closely watched to determine whether escalating strife had spilled over into longtime cooperation in space between the two former Cold War adversaries.

      Russia-Ukraine war highlights: Mariupol shelling will end only once city surrenders, says Putin; Red Cross building bombed
    • Europe must shut ports to Russian ships, Ukraine president tells Norwegian parliament

      Norway and the rest of Europe should close their sea ports to Russian ships, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the Norwegian parliament on Wednesday. "The European Union, and I do hope so Norway, need to introduce the ban on Russian vessels to use European ports for the time being while they are blocking our ports," Zelenskyy said via video link from Ukraine.

    • Russian strikes hit Red Cross building in Mariupol

      Russian forces struck a Red Cross facility in the besieged southern Ukraine port city of Mariupol, according to Ukrainian ombudswoman Lyudmyla Denisova.

      In a statement on social media, she said: "In Mariupol, the occupiers aimed at the building of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Enemy aircraft and artillery fired on a building marked with a red cross on a white background, indicating the presence of wounded, civilian or humanitarian cargo."

      Denisova did not specify when the strikes had taken place and said there was no confirmation yet about casualties.

    • Star-studded fundraising event in Warsaw on April 9

      Pop stars like Madona, Miley Cyrus and Elton John will support a global fund-raising event that the EU and Canada are organising for Ukraine on April 9 in Warsaw. The event’s goal will be to raise money for Ukrainian refugees and people displaced within Ukraine by the Russian invasion, The New York Times reports.

    • Shelling will only end when Mariupol surrenders - Putin

      Russian President Vladimir Putin has told his French counterpart the shelling of the besieged city will only end when Ukrainian troops surrender, the Kremlin said in a statement, BBC reported.

    • Germany moves toward gas rationing in a standoff over ruble payments

      Germany began preparing for eventual shortages of natural gas on Wednesday, as the country’s economy minister pointed to growing concerns that Russia could cut off deliveries unless payments on existing contracts are made in rubles, The New York Times reports.

      The government activated the first step of a national gas emergency plan that could, eventually, lead to rationing of natural gas. Wednesday’s action — the first step, or “early warning stage” — involves setting up a crisis team of representatives from the federal and state governments, regulators and private industry, said Robert Habeck, the economy minister and vice chancellor.

    • Attacks on Chernihiv continue

      Chernihiv governor Viancheslav Chaus said Russia has continued to attack the northern Ukrainian city this morning, despite Moscow’s promise to drastically scale back military activities in the area.

      Speaking to the BBC, Chaus said: "Right now, as we speak, I can hear which I think are mortar shells. Chernihiv and the town of Nizhyn were attacked during the night and civilian buildings were destroyed. We don’t believe (the Russians) because we’ve already seen that there isn’t a single time when their military forces keep their word."

      His words came as the city’s mayor, Vladyslav Atroshenko, said Russian attacks on Chernihiv had actually increased since Russia’s claim to reduce operations.

    • UN sets up war crimes probe panel

      The United Nations set up a commission of inquiry on Wednesday to investigate international crimes, including possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in the context of Russia’s “aggression against Ukraine.” The three-person panel, based in Vienna, will complement an investigation by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, reported The New York Times. 

    • Russia, Iran to take practical steps to circumvent Western sanctions, says Russian media

      Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday said Moscow would work with Iran to take practical steps in an effort to circumvent Western sanctions, the RIA news agency said. It was not immediately clear if he was referring to sanctions against Russia exclusively, or also those against Iran.

    • Russia hails China as part of new 'world order'

      Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov hailed China as part of a new “world order” ahead a meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, the Guardian reported.

      In his first visit to China since Russia invaded Ukraine last month, Lavrov said the world was “living through a very serious stage in the history of international relations”, AFP reports.

      In a video released by the Russian foreign ministry ahead of his meeting, Lavrov said: "We, together with you, and with our sympathisers will move towards a multipolar, just, democratic world order."

      Lavrov and Wang were later photographed in face masks bumping elbows in front of their national flags.

    • If you're just joining us, here's a recap of today's key events

      • While there are some signs of optimism from peace talks held in Istanbul, Ukrainian and US officials have warned that Russia still poses a military threat to Kyiv and other parts of Ukraine, reports BBC

      • Experts have expressed varying opinions about whether the talks can succeed, with some noting that they don't address the underlying causes of the conflict

      • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that while initial signs from the talks were "positive", they do not "drown out" the explosions of Russian shells

      • European and US officials have warned that only Russia's actions, not words, can be judged and advised against Ukraine dropping its guard

      • Even as the talks progressed, fighting continued to rage on in Ukraine. As negotiators gathered in Turkey, a Russian strike on a government office in Mykolaiv killed at least 12 people

      • The Pentagon has said that US soldiers are "liaising" with Ukrainian troops in Poland, but not training them

      • US and Ukrainian officials say that Russia is continuing to reposition forces away from Kyiv, probably as part of an effort to refocus on the eastern breakaway regions

      • Despite this, heavy shelling has been reported on the outskirts of the city

      (With BBC inputs) 

    • Moscow welcomes written Ukrainian demands but says no sign of breakthrough

      The Kremlin on Wednesday welcomed the fact that Kyiv has set out its demands for an end to the conflict in Ukraine in written form, but said there was no sign of a breakthrough yet. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Russia had not noticed anything really promising or that looked like a breakthrough, and said there was a long period of work ahead. Ukraine presented its demands when negotiators from the two sides met in Turkey on Tuesday before adjourning to consult with their capitals.

    • Ukraine war will make China more cautious on Taiwan, advisers say

      Russia's poor performance in its Ukraine war will make China more cautious about attacking Taiwan as Beijing is watching the conflict to learn military lessons, Taiwan's government on Wednesday cited a meeting of senior advisers as saying. Taiwan, claimed by China as its own territory, has raised its alert level since the Russian invasion, wary of Beijing possibly making a similar move on the island, though it has reported no signs this is about to happen. Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council said in a statement following a meeting of its China policy advisers that Beijing was watching Russia's combat experience, Ukraine's resistance and international sanctions "to deduce the possible situation of a conflict in the Taiwan Strait".

    • Ukraine: death toll in Mykolaiv strike at 14

      Ukraine's state agency for emergencies says that the death toll in a Russian strike on the regional administration building in the southern city of Mykolaiv has risen to 14. Ukrainian authorities say Russian forces blasted a gaping hole in a nine-story government building in a strike on Tuesday morning. The regional governor has charged that they waited for people to go to work before striking it. The emergencies agency said Wednesday that rescuers removed one more body from the rubble and another person died of wounds at a hospital, bringing the death toll to 14. ___ Kyiv: An adviser to Ukraine's president says that the Russian military has redeployed some of its forces to the east of the country.

    • UK issues 25,500 visas to Ukrainian refugees as millions flee from war

      The British government said on Wednesday it had issued 25,500 visas to Ukrainians under schemes set up to bring in refugees after Russia invaded Ukraine last month. Data from the Home Office showed that 22,800 visas had been given under the Ukraine family scheme that allows applicants to join family members in the UK, while 2,700 were offered under the sponsorship scheme which permits refugees with a named sponsor to enter. The data on Wednesday also showed that 28,300 had applied for the sponsorship scheme, while the overall applications stood at 59,500.

    • Russia shelling all towns on Donetsk front line - regional governor

      Donetsk is one of two areas where fighting between separatists and Ukrainian forces has been taking place since 2014. Russian forces are shelling nearly all towns and cities along the front line that separates Ukrainian government-controlled territory from areas held by Russian-backed separatists, the regional governor says. (BBC)

    • UK says Russia relying on mercenaries

      Britain says Russia's increasing reliance on mercenaries to fight in Ukraine is a sign of the war's heavy toll on Moscow's forces. Western officials say up to 1,000 combatants from the private Wagner Group have been sent to eastern Ukraine. Moscow is also trying to recruit Syrians to fight in the country. British Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said it is a worrying sign but it also probably shows you how dependent they have become on other fighters because of the weakness and fragility of the professional forces. He told Sky News that the Russian war machine, which had a pretty fearsome reputation, has been found to stutter and stumble, in at least the early stages of this campaign.

    Russia-Ukraine News highlights:
    Ukrainian officials reported shelling around the capital Kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv on Wednesday, despite a promise by Moscow to scale down military operations there. Kyiv's deputy mayor, Mykola Povoroznyk, told national television the capital itself had not been shelled overnight.

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