Russia Ukraine War highlights: All options would be on table in response to any use of chemical weapons in Ukraine by Russia, British armed forces minister James Heappey said on Tuesday. British Foreign Minister Liz Truss on Monday said Britain was working with its partners to verify the details of reports Russian forces may have used chemical agents in an attack on Mariupol, where thousands are believed to have died under a near-seven week siege. "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, adding that British defence intelligence so far had been unable to verify the reports.Catch all the latest development around the Russia-Ukraine War here:
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.
Here's a round-up of the events so far today
Morgues are full in multiple cities in the Luhansk region, official says
Serhii Haidai, the head of the Luhansk regional military administration, said morgues in several cities are now full amid power blackouts and — in some places — the complete loss of electricity.
Haidai said on his Telegram account that bodies are also in basements in the region. In the lulls in shelling, they were being collected by volunteers and buried in "new designated places" as access to cemeteries was impossible.
The area around Severodonetsk, which has seen persistent shelling for weeks, is the worst-affected.
"In Severodonetsk, the regional military administration organized a new burial place in a relatively safe place. Pits are dug with a tractor and graves are systematized in the register. Every dead or deceased person is buried naturally in a separate grave, during the 48 days of the war — about 400 burials," he said.
Belarus president defends invasion of Ukraine
The Belarusian president, Alexander Lukashenko, has defended Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, claiming it was a pre-emptive strike against the West.
Lukashenko was speaking to reporters following talks with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, the Belarusian state-owned news agency Belta reports.
Lukashenko said: "If only Russia had delayed its military operation just a little bit, they would have launched, according to them, a crushing blow on Russia’s territory - on neighbouring regions. We are now clearly convinced that this was possible. So if someone doubts the rightness of the decision, imagine what we could have seen just half a month or a month later."
Obama slams 'newly reckless' Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin is acting in a newly reckless manner with the invasion of Ukraine, former US President Barack Obama said in an interview that aired Tuesday on NBC’s “Today” show.
“Putin has always been ruthless against his own people as well as others. He has always been somebody who's wrapped up in this twisted, distorted sense of grievance and ethnic nationalism,” Obama said. “That part of Putin, I think, has always been there. What we've seen with the invasion of Ukraine is him being reckless in a way that you might not have anticipated eight, 10 years ago, but the danger was always there.”
More than 20,000 civilians killed in Mariupol, mayor says
The mayor of Mariupol said the latest estimate was that around 21,000 civilian residents have been killed in the besieged Ukrainian port city since the start of the Russian invasion, Reuters reports. In televised comments, Mariupol Mayor, Vadym Boichenko, said it had been difficult to calculate the exact number of casualties since street fighting had started.
World Bank to send Ukraine $1.5 billion as food, energy prices spike
(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 on Tuesday. In remarks at the Warsaw School of Economics in Poland, Malpass said the bank was helping Ukraine provide critical services, including paying wages for hospital workers, pensions and social programmes. "The World Bank was created in 1944 to help Europe rebuild after World War Two. As we did then, we will be ready to help Ukraine with reconstruction when the time comes," Malpass said.
Europe is America's 'poodle': Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin described Western unity in support of Ukraine as nothing but evidence of Europe’s status as America’s “poodle.” European leaders pushing sanctions against Russia, he predicted, would suffer economic backlash at home while failing to influence what happens in Moscow. “They always miscalculate, not understanding that in difficult conditions, the Russian people always unite,” Putin said.
Kremlin critic jailed for 15 days
A prominent Russian opposition activist and outspoken critic of the invasion of Ukraine has been sentenced in Moscow to 15 days in jail on charges of disobeying police orders when leaving his home on Monday night, his lawyer said.
Vladimir Kara-Murza, 40, is a veteran Kremlin critic who says he was deliberately poisoned in Moscow in 2015 and 2017 as retaliation for his lobbying efforts to impose US and EU sanctions against Russian officials accused of human rights abuses. A close friend of the opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, who was shot and killed in 2015, Kara-Murza nearly died from kidney failure in the first incident.
Ukraine invasion was 'inevitable', says Putin
Vladimir Putin has described the invasion of Ukraine as “inevitable” during a visit to the Vostochny cosmodrome in Russia’s Amur Oblast region.
The Russian president also repeated his previous remarks about Nazism, which have dominated Russian state media as a justification for the military campaign, as well as saying his country would not be isolated from the rest of the world.
Putin: peace talks with Ukraine in a 'dead end', military operation going as planned
Russian President Vladimir Putin has been speaking again at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in the far east of Russia, where he is visiting with Belarusian leader Aleksandr Lukashenko. The key lines that have been reported by news agency Tass and Reuters so far include:
OPEC cuts 2022 world oil demand forecast due to Ukraine war
OPEC on Tuesday cut its forecast for growth in world oil demand in 2022 citing the impact of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, rising inflation as crude prices soar and the resurgence of the Omicron coronavirus variant in China. In a monthly report, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said world demand would rise by 3.67 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2022, down 480,000 bpd from its previous forecast.
Russian hackers tried to sabotage Ukrainian power grid: Officials
Russian hackers attempted to launch a destructive cyberattack on Ukraine's electricity grid last week, Ukrainian officials and cybersecurity researchers said on Tuesday. The group, dubbed "Sandworm" by security researchers and previously tied to destructive cyberattacks attributed to Russia, deployed destructive and data-wiping malware on computers controlling high voltage substations in Ukraine, the Computer Emergency Response Team of Ukraine (CERT-UA) said in a statement on its website. "The victim organisation suffered two waves of attacks. The initial compromise took place no later than February 2022. The disconnection of electrical substations and the decommissioning of the company's infrastructure was scheduled for Friday evening, April 8, 2022," the CERT-UA statement said.
Colombian in Moscow held for 'false propaganda'
A Colombian citizen in Moscow has been arrested on charges of “spreading false information” about Russia’s armed forces on social media, in one of the first known cases of a foreign national facing possible prosecution under Russia’s new “fake news” law.
Giraldo Saray Alberto Enrique, 40, is accused of “publicly spreading knowingly false information about the Russian armed forces”. If found guilty, he faces a fine of up to five million rubles (£46,000) and up to 10 years in jail, the Russian state-owned news agency Tass reported.
He is accused of disseminating false information with the help of accomplices who are also being identified, Tass said, citing law enforcement sources, but offered no details of what was written.
Zelenskyy urges more sanctions on Russian banks and oil
Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, urged European leaders to impose sanctions on all Russian banks and oil, warning them: “We cannot wait.”
In a video address to the Lithuanian parliament today, Zelenskiy said: "We need powerful decisions, and the EU must take them now. They must sanction oil and all Russian banks... Each EU state must set terms for when they will refuse or limit (Russian) energy sources such as gas. Only then will the Russian government understand they need to seek peace, that the war is turning into a catastrophe for them."
Six people found shot dead in basement outside Kyiv, Ukraine says
Ukrainian prosecutors said six people had been found shot dead in the basement of a building in Brovary, outside the capital Kyiv, AFP reports.
In a statement, Ukraine’s prosecutor general said: "The bodies of six civilians with gunshot wounds were found in a basement during an inspection of a private residence."
The killings were carried out by Russian forces who seized control of the area at the beginning of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, the prosecutor general said.
Poland arrests Russian man suspected of spying
Poland has arrested a Russian citizen and charged him with espionage, a spokesperson for the Polish Minister Coordinator of Special Services said on Tuesday. Relations between Russia and countries once in the Soviet sphere of influence have long been fraught, but the invasion of Ukraine has increased suspicion about Moscow's intentions. The man had been living in Poland for 18 years and carrying out business activity. He was detained on April 6 and will be held in custody for three months, the spokesperson said in a statement. "The evidence gathered by the Military Counterintelligence Service indicates that the man, instructed by the Russian special services, collected information concerning the military readiness of the Polish Armed Forces and of NATO troops," he added.
Ukrainian officials report more shelling in east but hope rains will impede Russian advance
Ukrainian officials have reported further shelling by Russian forces and civilian casualties in parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which have become the focus of Russian attacks.
Serhii Haidai, head of Luhansk regional military administration, said the cities of Severodonetsk, Lysychansk, Kreminna, Novodruzhesk and Rubizhne had been targeted again, with 12 residential buildings struck in the last day.
"Unfortunately, there were casualties in Lysychansk -- one man died, three more people were injured," Haida said. "The number of missile and air attacks on the Luhansk region has increased significantly.
In case you're just joining us, here's a recap of the day's events so far
Putin warns the West: Russia cannot be isolated or held back
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the West on Tuesday that attempts to isolate Moscow would fail, citing the success of the Soviet space programme as evidence that Russia could achieve spectacular leaps forward in tough conditions. Russia says it will never again depend on the West after the United States and its allies imposed crippling sanctions on it to punish Putin for his February 24 order for what he called a "special military operation" in Ukraine.
Sixty-one years to the day since the Soviet Union's Yuri Gagarin blasted off into the history books by becoming the first man in space, Putin travelled to the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia's Far East, 3,450 miles (5550 km) east of Moscow.
"The sanctions were total, the isolation was complete but the Soviet Union was still first in space," Putin said, according to Russian state television.
"We don't intend to be isolated," Putin said. "It is impossible to severely isolate anyone in the modern world - especially such a vast country as Russia."
Concern over possible use of chemical weapons as battle rages in besieged Ukrainian port
Civilians were fleeing from areas of eastern Ukraine on Tuesday ahead of an anticipated Russian offensive, while Kyiv said it was checking reports that Russian forces had used chemical weapons in the besieged port city of Mariupol. The battle for Mariupol was reaching a decisive phase, with Ukrainian marines holed up in the Azovstal industrial district. Should the Russians seize Azovstal, they would be in full control of Mariupol, the lynchpin between Russian-held areas to the west and east. The city has already been laid waste by weeks of Russian bombardments that have killed possibly thousands of civilians.
Indian Oil removes Russian Urals from latest tender, sources say
Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has excluded several high-sulphur crude grades, including Russian Urals, from its latest tender, trade sources said on Tuesday. India's top refiner informed market participants that Das, Eugene Island, Thunder Horse and Urals crude were no longer on the list of grades under its latest tender, which closes on Tuesday, the sources said. IOC imports crude for itself and on behalf of its Chennai Petroleum subsidiary. U.S. President Joe Biden had told Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi late on Monday that buying more oil from Russia was not in India's interest and could hamper the U.S. response to the war in Ukraine. IOC did not respond immediately to a request for comment. The refiner is running two tenders this week, seeking sweet and sour crude separately for May-June loading. In previous tenders, IOC bought 6 million barrels of Russian Urals for May loading.
All options on table if Russia uses chemical weapons in Ukraine - UK minister
All options would be on table in response to any use of chemical weapons in Ukraine by Russia, British armed forces minister James Heappey said on Tuesday. British Foreign Minister Liz Truss on Monday said Britain was working with its partners to verify the details of reports Russian forces may have used chemical agents in an attack on Mariupol, where thousands are believed to have died under a near-seven week siege. "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, adding that British defence intelligence so far had been unable to verify the reports.
Nokia to stop doing business in Russia
Telecoms equipment maker Nokia is pulling out of the Russian market, its CEO told Reuters, going a step further than rival Ericsson, which said on Monday it was indefinitely suspending its business in the country. Hundreds of foreign companies are cutting ties with Russia following its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine and after Western sanctions against Moscow. While several sectors, including telecoms, have been exempted from some sanctions on humanitarian or related grounds, Nokia said it had decided that quitting Russia was the only option. "We just simply do not see any possibilities to continue in the country under the current circumstances," CEO Pekka Lundmark said in an interview.
Ukraine braces for new Russian offensive as Moscow dismisses rape allegations
Ukraine pleaded for more weapons from the West to help it end the siege of Mariupol and fend off an expected Russian offensive in the east, as more reports emerged of rape and brutality against Ukrainian civilians by Russian forces. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a televised address late on Monday that Russia could resort to chemical weapons as it amassed troops in the eastern Donbas region for a new assault on the port of Mariupol, where thousands are believed to have died under a near-seven week siege. “When it comes on the necessary weapons, we still depend on supplies, on our partners. Unfortunately we are not getting as much as we need to end this war faster ... In particular, to lift the blockade of Mariupol," he said.
India's HDFC Bank and some foreign banks have stopped offering trade credit for oil imports to Nayara Energy, a Russian-backed refiner, and some suppliers are seeking payment upfront to avoid potential problems resulting from western sanctions against Moscow, four banking and industry sources said. Nayara has not been sanctioned as part of the international response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but Russian energy giant Rosneft, which owns 49 percent of the Indian refiner, has been. To avoid the need for credit to fund overseas trade, the Mumbai-headquartered company is selling more of its refined fuels in India, two of the sources said. All of the sources declined to be named because they are not authorised to speak to the media.
India's ties with Russia developed when US was unable to be its partner: Blinken
India's relationship with Russia was developed over decades at a time when the US was not able to be a partner of the South Asian country, Secretary of State Tony Blinken said as top officials of the Biden administration on Monday showed an understanding of New Delhi's position on Ukraine war. "India's relationship with Russia was developed over decades at a time when the United States was not able to be a partner to India. Times have changed," Blinken told reporters at a joint press conference with Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and their Indian counterparts External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defense Minister Rajnath Singh.
Nokia to stop doing business in Russia
Telecoms equipment maker Nokia is pulling out of the Russian market, its CEO told Reuters, going a step further than rival Ericsson, which said on Monday it was indefinitely suspending its business in the country. Hundreds of foreign companies are cutting ties with Russia following its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine and after Western sanctions against Moscow.
While several sectors, including telecoms, have been exempted from some sanctions on humanitarian or related grounds, Nokia said it had decided that quitting Russia was the only option. "We just simply do not see any possibilities to continue in the country under the current circumstances," CEO Pekka Lundmark said in an interview.