Live: Over a million Ukrainians deported to Russia, says Ukraine human rights official

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Ukrainian ombudswoman for human rights Lyudmila Denisova speaks with journalists in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 17, 2019.

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Vladimir Putin blamed the West for “forcing” Russia to take military action in Ukraine, at Moscow’s annual Victory Day parade commemorating the World War II victory over Nazi Germany. 

But the Russian leader made no major announcement in his speech. President Zelenskyy, meanwhile, said Ukraine would not let Russia “own the victory over Nazism” in 1945, highlighting his own country’s role in it.

Follow the latest developments in our live blog below, and watch Euronews TV coverage in the video player above.

06:49

    Russia celebrated the defeat of Nazi Germany with a large-scale military parade in Moscow’s Red Square earlier today. 

    President Vladimir Putin cast Moscow’s military action in Ukraine as a forced response to Western policies in a speech at the parade. However, despite some fears, he didn’t announce a scaling up of Russian military operations or a general mobilisation. 

    Ukraine will not let Russia “own the victory over Nazism” in 1945, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy said, highlighting Ukraine’s own role in the victory. “We won then, we will win now,” he added.

    The Ukrainian Parliament’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Lyudmila Denisova, has said over a million Ukrainian citizens have been deported to Russia.

    Russian forces stormed the Azovstal steel plant in Ukraine’s strategic port of Mariupol on Monday and stepped up missile strikes elsewhere, Ukrainian officials said.

    Meanwhile, European Council President Charles Michel was forced to seek shelter during a surprise visit to Odesa, as missiles hit the nearby area.

    Talks aiming at agreeing an EU-wide ban on Russian oil imports have gone into a sixth day. Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria are resisting approval, demanding special dispensations.

    Anti-war protesters hit Russia’s ambassador to Poland with red paint as he went to lay flowers at a cemetery in Warsaw where Red Army soldiers killed during WWII are buried.

    The UN Human Rights Council will hold a special meeting later this week on the situation in Ukraine, including “mass casualties” in Mariupol, as dozens of countries backed a Ukrainian move for the session.

    Russia has been criticised for the bombing of a school used as shelter in eastern Ukraine, which has left more than 60 feared dead.

21:04

Greece reopens its embassy in Kyiv

Greece reopened its embassy in Kyiv on Monday, “in a highly symbolic gesture” to support “Ukrainians and the Greek community” living in the country, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias announced.

The minister underlined that Athens “does everything to contribute to the resolution of the crisis in Ukraine and the humanitarian crisis”, and “commits to actively participate in the reconstruction of the country”.

(AFP)

20:50

UN chief in Moldova amid Transnistria tension

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said during an official visit to non-NATO member Moldova on Monday that the consequences of Russia’s war against Ukraine escalating are “too frightening to contemplate.”

Guterres, who arrived in Moldova’s capital Chisinau on Monday, said in a joint press conference with Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita, that the impact of Russia’s war in neighbouring Ukraine “is profound and far-reaching.”

The UN chief’s visit to Moldova, one of Europe’s poorest countries, which has a population of about 2.6 million people, follows a series of unsettling incidents that have rocked Moldova’s pro-Russia breakaway region of Transnistria, which has put officials in Chisinau on high alert.

In late April, three men launched grenades at the region’s state security office, and two large broadcast antennas were downed a day later. On Friday, Police in Transnistria said explosive devices were dropped from a drone leaving 1-metre-deep craters near a village.

“I am deeply concerned about the continuation and possible spread of the war Russia is waging in Ukraine,” Guterres said, adding that Moldova’s sovereignty and territorial integrity “must not be threatened or undermined.”

Transnistria, a small strip of land with a population of about 470,000, has been under the control of separatist authorities since a 1992 war with Moldova. Russia bases about 1,500 troops in the breakaway region, ostensibly as peacekeepers. No casualties were reported in the incidents.

(AP)
 

20:45

Lithuania FM calls for regime change in Russia

Lithuania’s foreign minister said on Monday that removing Russian President Vladimir Putin from power would be the only way to protect the West and its allies from future threats from Moscow.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said Putin’s Victory Day speech was “underwhelming” and that the “gloomy faces” of generals and others were signs of failing in the Ukraine war in an interview with the AP.

He said a wounded Putin may be even more dangerous and that the only way to remove the threat is to remove him.

“From our standpoint, up until the point the current regime is not in power, the countries surrounding it will be, to some extent, in danger,” Landsbergis said.

“Not just Putin but the whole regime because, you know, one might change Putin and might change his inner circle but another Putin might rise into his place.”

(AP)

20:23

Ship loaded with Russian coal docks in Spanish port of Gijon

A Maltese-flagged ship carrying Russian coal and petroleum coke has docked in the northern Spanish port of Gijon, port authorities said on Monday.

Another Maltese-flagged ship, loaded with Russian crude, docked in Cartagena, southern Spain, on Friday, authorities confirmed.

The European Union approved sanctions against imports of coal, wood, chemicals and other products such as vodka from Russia on April 8 in a bid to cut trade after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, although the sanctions are not yet fully enforced.

Russian ships are banned from calling in Spanish ports, a transport ministry spokesperson said on Monday, but the EU ban on vessels from other countries loaded with Russian goods is not in force yet, she added.

(Reuters)

20:04

Macron says Ukraine’s process of joining EU could take ‘decades’

French President Emmanuel Macron said that the process of joining the European Union is likely to take several years, if not several decades.

“Even if we grant Ukraine candidate status tomorrow…and I hope that we will quickly, for membership in our European Union, we all know perfectly well that the process allowing them to join will take several years, in truth probably several decades,” Macron said.

He suggested the creation of a European community for greater cooperation on a host of topics that would include Ukraine.
 

20:00

Macron warns Russia’s ‘humiliation’ won’t bring peace

French President Emmanuel Macron says that Russia and Ukraine would have to come to a negotiated truce and that peace efforts would not be served by Russia’s “humiliation”. 

“Tomorrow we’ll have a peace to build, let’s never forget that,” he told reporters. “We will have to do this with Ukraine and Russia around the table. 

(AFP)

19:00

From Euronews’ correspondent in Odessa…

17:52

Over a million Ukrainians deported to Russia — Ukraine rights commissioner

The Ukrainian Parliament’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Lyudmila Denisova, on Monday said that over a million Ukrainian citizens have been deported to Russia.

Denisova said among the 1,185,000 Ukrainians who have been forcibly removed from the country across the border are some 200,000 children.

“Violations of our citizens’ fundamental rights and freedoms continue in the occupied territories. First of all, this is the right to life,” she said.

She added that over 20,000 Ukrainians have been sent from Mariupol to “filtration camps” in the separatist-controlled east.

“Our citizens are taken there for the filtration procedure so that some of the citizens who do not pass the so-called filtration can be taken away. The fate of these people is unknown to us. Those people who pass the filtration will be transported to the Russian Federation. They will be forcibly deported.

Denisova claimed at the end of March that 400,000 Ukrainians had by that stage been forcibly moved to Russia.

(AP, Euronews)

17:37

EU’s von der Leyen to visit Hungary to try to break oil ban dispute

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will visit Hungary on Monday to discuss “the security of Europe’s energy supply” with Viktor Orban, her spokesperson said, as Budapest blocks a proposed embargo on Russian oil.

The meeting will take place during a working dinner at the Carmelite monastery in Budapest where Orban has his offices, said Bertalan Havasi, head of the prime minister’s press office.

A landlocked country dependent on oil purchases from Russia, Hungary is asking its EU partners for guarantees on its supplies to agree to a sixth package of sanctions against Russia, including a halt to oil purchases from the country.

“There is still no proposal we could accept, and Hungary’s stance has remained unchanged,” Hungarian State Secretary Zoltán Kovács said earlier in a short statement to Euronews.

Click here for the full story on the oil ban dispute.

(AFP/ Euronews)

Additional sources • Reuters

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