More than 40 countries will meet today in Germany for Ukraine-related defence talks

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A Ukrainian serviceman walks amid the rubble of a building heavily damaged by multiple Russian bombardments near a frontline in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Monday, April 25, 2022.

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Tensions are rising after the visit of two top US officials to Kyiv late on Sunday, with Russia unleashing a string of attacks Monday against rail and fuel installations deep inside Ukraine, and far from the front lines.

Meanwhile, Russia’s top diplomat warned against provoking World War III, with the West offering more military assistance to Ukraine, and said the threat of a nuclear conflict “should not be underestimated.”

Follow our blog below to see how events unfolded on Tuesday 26 April:

06:09

Tuesday’s key points:

    UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is set to arrive in Moscow today to meet with Vladimir Putin to push for a Ukraine ceasefire.

    Representatives from more than 40 countries will meet today in Germany for Ukraine-related defence talks, according to US officials.

    Threat of a nuclear conflict “should not be underestimated,” says Russia’s top diplomat.

    Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, pushed back on Twitter: “Russia loses last hope to scare the world off supporting Ukraine.”

    Russia unleashed a string of attacks against rail and fuel installations deep inside Ukraine on Monday.

    The US is pushing to get more weaponry into Ukraine, having approved a $165 million sale of ammunition and more than $300 million in financing.

10:09

Russia claims to have hit 87 military facilities overnight, killing ‘about 500 enemy personnel’

According to the Russian Defence Ministry, overnight four Ukrainian military facilities, including two ammunition depots, were hit by high-precision air-based missiles.

The Russian military also hit 87 military facilities, the ministry claimed in its latest operational briefing posted on Telegram, resulting in about 500 casualties and the destruction of 59 armoured vehicles, artillery mounts and vehicles.

Two Buk-M1 and Osa AKM anti-aircraft missile system launchers were also destroyed near Veseloe and Prishib, and 13 unmanned drones shot down.

The claims have not been independently verified.

09:50

Zelenskyy stresses the importance of the war in Ukraine on global security

In his latest statement, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says that the world now agrees that it’s in Ukraine that “the fate of Europe, the fate of global security and the fate of the democratic system is decided.”

09:41

Four die in Russian shelling, including two children

Four people died and nine more were wounded on Monday in the Russian shelling of the Donetsk region, the region’s governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said Tuesday.

Two of the victims were children: a 9-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy, Kyrylenko said in the messaging app Telegram.

Governor of the Luhansk region, Serhiy Haidai, said the Russians have shelled civilians 17 times over the past 24 hours, with the cities of Popasna, Lysychansk and Girske suffering the most.

“Popasna withstood four powerful artillery attacks, and Lysychansk withstood two. There is damage to two houses in Lysychansk, two in Popasna, at least one in Girske. We are checking the information about the victims,” Haidai said Tuesday on Telegram.

Rocket strikes were also reported in the Zaporizhzhia region Tuesday morning by local officials.

(AP)

08:40

Ukraine repelled six attacks in the last 24 hours, says Ukraine military

Ukrainian forces have repelled six attacks in the past 24 hours in the two regions that comprise the Donbas, Ukraine’s industrial heartland, the General Staff said in its Tuesday morning update.

The Ukrainian army has destroyed four Russian tanks, five artillery systems, 13 units of armoured vehicles, 15 units of motor vehicles, two tankers and one anti-aircraft gun, the update said.

Ukraine’s General Staff says Russian forces continue offensive operations in the country’s east in an effort to take full control of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and establish a land corridor to Crimea.

Fighting continues around the cities of Rubizhne and Popasna in the Luhansk region, the update said. The Russian forces also continue to shell Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, and to block Ukrainian units in the area of Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol — the last remaining stronghold of the Ukrainian forces in the besieged port city.

In the area of Velyka Oleksandrivka, a village in the Kherson region largely controlled by the Russians, Ukrainian forces destroyed an ammunition depot and “eliminated” more than 70 Russian troops, the General Staff said.

(AP)

08:22

Britain removes tariffs for Ukrainian goods

Meanwhile, all tariffs on goods coming to Britain from Ukraine under an existing free trade deal will be axed to help the Ukrainian economy, the British government announced on Monday.

London said tariffs would be reduced to zero and all quotas removed following a direct request from Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, reports Reuters. The average tariff on Ukrainian imports is currently about 22%.

“We stand unwaveringly with Ukraine in this ongoing fight and will work to ensure Ukraine survives and thrives as a free and sovereign nation,” said British International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan.

At the same time, reports Reuters, the British government said it would also impose further export bans on products to Russia, including cash, maritime goods and technology, and energy-related goods. Last week, it ramped up sanctions on luxury goods including caviar, silver and diamonds.

07:45

Russia takes city of Kreminna, according to UK defence ministry

The British Defence Ministry says Russian forces have taken the Ukrainian city of Kreminna.

Street-to-street fighting had been going on for days in the city in Ukraine’s Luhansk region, with civilian evacuations there made impossible by the war.

In a tweet early Tuesday, the British military said: “The city of Kreminna has reportedly fallen and heavy fighting is reported south of Izium as Russian forces attempt to advance towards the cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk from the north and east.”

There was no immediate response from the Ukrainian government. Russia claimed days earlier to have taken the city.

Kreminna is 575 kilometres southeast of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.

(AP)

07:35

Russia loses last hope to scare the world off supporting Ukraine, says Ukraine’s top diplomat

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba pushed back on Twitter on Monday night to comments made by his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in which the Russian accused NATO of engaging in a proxy war in Ukraine, while also raising the spectre of a nuclear confrontation.

Kuleba wrote: “Russia loses last hope to scare the world off supporting Ukraine. Thus the talk of a ‘real’ danger of WWIII. This only means Moscow senses defeat in Ukraine. Therefore, the world must double down on supporting Ukraine so that we prevail and safeguard European and global security.” 

07:18

Representatives from more than 40 countries to meet in Germany today for Ukraine-related defence talks, US officials

On Tuesday, Ramstein Air Base in Germany will play host to a gathering of more than 40 countries, led by the United States, writes Reuters.

US Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said a key goal of the talks was to synchronise and coordinate mounting security assistance to Kyiv that includes heavy weaponry, like howitzer artillery, as well armed drones and ammunition.

This follows a trip to Kyiv on Sunday by US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in which they pledged additional support to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s war effort, including $300 million in foreign military financing and a $165 million sale of ammunition.

Speaking to reporters after his trip to Ukraine, Austin said: “They can win if they have the right equipment, the right support.”

06:58

Russia struck five railway stations in central and western Ukraine on Monday 

Russia struck five railway stations with precision missiles in central and western Ukraine on Monday, in the space of just one hour, in a move likely aimed at disrupting reinforcements heading to eastern Ukraine and Western aid shipments, according to the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War.

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