Ukraine live: evidence of widespread use of cluster munitions in Kharkiv, says Amnesty International

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A Donetsk People's Republic militia's multiple rocket launcher fires from its position not far from Panteleimonivka, eastern Ukraine, May 28, 2022.

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Hundreds of civilians have been killed in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv by indiscriminate Russian shelling using widely banned cluster munitions and inherently inaccurate rockets, according to a new report by Amnesty International. 

The international aid agency found evidence that Russian forces have repeatedly used 9N210/9N235 cluster munitions as well as scatterable mines, both of which are subject to international treaty bans because of their indiscriminate effects. 

Follow the latest developments from Russia’s war in Ukraine in our live blog below.

09:23

Monday’s key points:

    Evidence of widespread use of cluster munitions in Kharkiv, says Amnesty International.Wikipedia fights Russian order to remove Ukraine war information.France to adjust to ‘war economy’ and reevaluate its military spending, Macron says.Global nuclear arsenal to grow for first time since Cold War, according to Swedish think tank.Russian forces push Ukrainian army from centre of Sievierodonetsk, after they were believed to be holding a large part of the key Luhansk region city.Bringing all 27 EU member states on the same page on Ukraine’s candidate status may be the biggest challenge yet for Ursula von der Leyen, writes the Financial Times.Russia is solidifying its rule in occupied territories in southern Ukraine, with Russia Day celebrations and the issuing of Russian passports.The British Ministry of Defence says that over the coming months river crossing operations are likely to be amongst the most important determining factors in the course of the war.Russia has destroyed a bridge over the Siverskyi Donets River linking Sievierodonetsk with its twin city of Lysychansk. This leaves just one of three bridges still standing.

17:24

EU leaders talk with Israel about energy imports

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi arrived in Israel on Monday to discuss energy cooperation, as Israel seeks to export some of its gas to Europe amid the war in Ukraine.

Ms von der Leyen is due to meet Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and then on Tuesday with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, the European Commission said, adding that the discussions would focus on “energy cooperation”.

Announcements about EU cooperation with Israeli and “other partners in the region” are expected within the next few days. 

Von der Leyen will also meet Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday. The Palestinian Authority is waiting for millions of euros from the European Union to help curb its budget deficit.

In his first official visit to the Middle East since becoming head of the Italian government in 2021, Mario Draghi will meet Mr Lapid on Monday evening and Prime Ministers Bennett and Shtayyeh on Tuesday.

Mr Draghi’s visit should also focus on the war in Ukraine and energy cooperation, according to the Italian press.

Israel is working hard to export some of its offshore gas resources to Europe, which has been seeking to replace Russian fossil fuel purchases since the invasion of Ukraine and sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime.

(AFP)

16:37

Bodies found in pit near Bucha 

Kyiv police say that seven bodies were discovered on Monday in a pit near Bucha – the Ukrainian town where scores of bodies were found after the Russian army withdrew in late March.

“Seven civilians were tortured by the Russians and then cowardly executed with a bullet to the head,” Kiev police chief Andrey Nebytov said on Facebook, adding that “several victims had their hands tied and their knees bound.”

“The pit was discovered today where Russian servicemen were stationed, near the village of Myrotske,” he said.

The head of the Kyiv regional police said he was “currently working on identifying the victims”.

After the departure of Russian soldiers from the Kyiv area and the discovery of hundreds of bodies of Ukrainian civilians, Bucha has become a symbol of war crimes that Ukraine blames on Russia. 

Moscow has repeatedly rejected these accusations, denouncing “falsifications” orchestrated by Kyiv with Western support.

At the end of April, the bodies of three men visibly tortured and shot dead were found blindfolded in a pit in Myrotské, according to the Kiev police.

(AFP)

15:54

Japanese foundation launches Ukraine fundraising drive

A Japanese foundation launched a fundraising drive on Monday to provide support for language studies, and other needs, of the 1200+ Ukrainian evacuees currently living in Japan. 

The Nippon Foundation said it aims to raise 1 billion yen  through cooperation with the US and Ukrainian ambassadors.

The foundation has already pledged 5 billion yen (€35 million) for the transportation and living costs of Ukrainian evacuees. Japan has so far accepted more than 1,200 war-displaced Ukrainians since Russia invaded in late February.

Sasakawa said he was approached by US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel, who asked him to enable ordinary Japanese to help support Ukrainian evacuees.

Japan quickly joined the United States and other major industrialized economies in imposing sanctions on Russia and supporting Ukraine because it fears a similar development in East Asia, where Beijing has become increasingly assertive and has threatened to take military actions against Taiwan if it refuses to unite with China.

Acceptance of the Ukrainian evacuees is unusual for Japan, which has extremely strict refugee and immigration policies despite its own shrinking labor force. Advocates have expressed hope that its support for the Ukrainians will lead to a more lenient immigration policy.

Human rights groups have criticized Japan for neglecting displaced people from other countries such as Afghanistan and Myanmar, who have not received such a warm welcome or a nationally-organized support system.

(Euronews / AFP)

15:00

Moroccan sentenced to death in Donetsk has Ukrainian nationality, says father

The father of a Moroccan man sentenced to death by a court in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) on mercenary charges said his son should be treated as a prisoner of war as he is a Ukrainian national who handed himself in voluntarily.

Morocco-born Brahim Saadoun and Britons Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner were found guilty of “mercenary activities and committing actions aimed at seizing power and overthrowing the constitutional order” of the DPR, Russian media said last week.

The three men were captured while fighting for Ukraine against Russia and Russian-backed forces.

The Moroccan fighter received Ukrainian nationality in 2020 after undergoing a year of military training as a requirement to access aerospace technology studies at a university in Kiev, his father Tahar Saadoun said in an email to Reuters.

He handed himself in “voluntarily” and should be treated as a “prisoner of war”, the father said, adding: “We as a family suffer from the absence of contact with the lawyer to exchange legal information and this adds to our ordeal.”

The sentence will be appealed.

(Reuters)

14:37

Evidence of widespread use of cluster munitions in Kharkiv, says Amnesty International

Hundreds of civilians have been killed in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv by indiscriminate Russian shelling using widely banned cluster munitions and inherently inaccurate rockets, according to Amnesty International. 

In a new report the international aid agency documents how Russian forces have caused widespread death and destruction “by relentlessly bombarding residential neighbourhoods of Kharkiv since their invasion began in late February”. 

It found evidence that Russian forces have repeatedly used 9N210/9N235 cluster munitions as well as scatterable mines, both of which are subject to international treaty bans because of their indiscriminate effects. 

“The people of Kharkiv have faced a relentless barrage of indiscriminate attacks in recent months, which killed and injured hundreds of civilians,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser. 

“The repeated use of widely banned cluster munitions is shocking, and a further indication of utter disregard for civilian lives,” she added. “The Russian forces responsible for these horrific attacks must be held accountable for their actions, and victims and their families must receive full reparations.” 

The director of the Medical Department at the Kharkiv Regional Military Administration told Amnesty International that 606 civilians had been killed and 1,248 injured in the Kharkiv region since the conflict began. 

Most of the strikes investigated by Amnesty International inflicted multiple casualties over widespread areas. 

14:27

Russia claims to have destroyed US weapons in eastern Ukraine

Russia’s Defence Ministry said on Monday its missiles had destroyed a large quantity of weapons and military equipment in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, including some that had been sent by the United States and European nations.

The ministry said high-precision air-based missiles had struck near the Udachne railway station, hitting equipment that had been delivered to Ukrainian forces.

(Reuters)

14:25

Wikipedia fights Russian order to remove Ukraine war information

The Wikimedia Foundation, which owns Wikipedia, has filed an appeal against a Moscow court decision demanding that it remove information related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, arguing that people have a right to know the facts of the war.

A Moscow court fined the Wikimedia Foundation 5 million roubles (€84,000) for refusing to remove what it termed disinformation from Russian-language Wikipedia articles on the war including “The Russian Invasion of Ukraine”, “War Crimes during the Russian Invasion of Ukraine” and “Massacre in Bucha”.

“This decision implies that well-sourced, verified knowledge on Wikipedia that is inconsistent with Russian government accounts constitutes disinformation,” Stephen LaPorte, Associate General Counsel at the Wikimedia Foundation, said in a statement.

Wikipedia, which says it offers “the second draft of history”, is one of the few remaining major fact-checked Russian-language sources of information for Russians after a crackdown on media in Moscow.

“The government is targeting information that is vital to people’s lives in a time of crisis,” LaPorte said. “We urge the court to reconsider in favour of everyone’s rights to knowledge access and free expression.”

(Reuters)

13:52

France to adjust to ‘war economy’ and reevaluate its military spending, Macron says

France will reevaluate its military spending, entering a “war economy” in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, President Emmanuel Macron said Monday, renewing his call to build a “much stronger” European defence industry.

Macron spoke at the opening of Eurosatory, the largest international land defence and security show in Villepinte, northeast of Paris.

The French president said that the war in Ukraine has forced France into “an entry into a war economy in which I believe we will have to organize ourselves permanently” and where “we can no longer live according to the rules [which existed] one year ago.”

Macron said that he now wanted a “reassessment” of the existing military planning which runs until 2005 to “adjust the means to the threats.”

“I have asked the minister [of the Armed Forces] and the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces to conduct a re-evaluation of this Military Programming Law in the coming weeks in the light of the geopolitical context,” he said.

12:03

Zelenskyy advisor publishes list of weapons Ukraine needs to ‘end the war’

Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, has issued a call to arms to the West, putting a list on Twitter of heavy weaponry Ukraine needs to “end the war”.

This list includes 1,000 155mm calibre howitzers, 300 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, and 500 tanks.

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