Inside the Mariupol theatre where hundreds were killed by Russian shelling
Russia has said there will be “no more talk of a nuclear-free Baltic” if Sweden and Finland join Nato.
Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, also warned Moscow would bolster its defences if the countries join the military alliance.
He said: “There can be no more talk of any nuclear-free status for the Baltic – the balance must be restored.
“Until today, Russia has not taken such measures and was not going to.”
It comes as Sweden and Finland review their security arrangements following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the Russian Defence Ministry confirmed the entire crew of a key warship has been evacuated, following reports the Moskva missile cruiser had been struck and badly damaged by Ukrainian forces.
Russia’s state media confirmed the Moskva, the flagship of its Black Sea fleet, had been seriously damaged “as a result of detonation of ammunition that occurred as a result of a fire”. A Ukrainian official earlier said the Moskva had been hit by two missiles.
Russia says fire on the Moskva missile cruiser is contained
Russia’s defence ministry has said sailors have contained a fire on board the Moskva missile cruiser, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, and that measures are being taken to tow it back to port.
The ministry, which said the blaze broke out after ammunition blew up on board, said the cruiser’s main weaponry had not been damaged and that its crew had been evacuated onto other ships in the Black Sea.
“The source of the blaze on the Moskva cruiser has been contained,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that the vessel remained afloat. “The explosions of ammunition have stopped.”
It said it was still trying to establish the cause of the incident.
The defence ministry earlier said the Soviet-era ship had been badly damaged by the fire, the latest setback for Russia which has suffered a series of blows since it sent troops into Ukraine.
Maksym Marchenko, the Ukrainian governor of the region around the Black Sea port of Odesa, said the Moskva had been hit by two Ukrainian-made Neptune anti-ship cruise missiles.
Chiara Giordano14 April 2022 11:32
Images show charred remains of Russian convoy after Ukrainian special forces blow up bridge
Images have emerged showing the charred remains of a Russian convoy after Ukrainian special forces blew up a bridge.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has released pictures of several burnt out Russian military vehicles after the troops were caught up the ambush as they headed from Kharkiv to Izyum earlier this week.
The Ukrainian special forces had learned the destination of the Russian column and planted an explosive beneath the bridge before lying in wait.
Chiara Giordano14 April 2022 11:10
German authorities seize superyacht belonging to sister of Russian oligarch
German authorities say they have seized a massive superyacht in Hamburg after determining that it belongs to the sister of Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov.
The Federal Criminal Police Office said that, after “extensive investigations” and despite “offshore concealment”, it had been able to determine that the owner is Gulbakhor Ismailova, Mr Usmanov’s sister.
Superyacht Dilbar is flagged in the Cayman Islands and registered to a holding company in Malta, two banking havens where the global ultra-rich often park their wealth.
It was launched in 2016 at a reported cost of more than 648 million dollars (£493 million).
German police office said German authorities worked in Brussels to ensure European Union sanctions applied to the owner.
It says the yacht can no longer be sold, rented or loaded.
The United States and the EU last month announced economic sanctions against Mr Usmanov, a metals magnate, over his ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin and in retaliation for the invasion of Ukraine.
Chiara Giordano14 April 2022 10:44
Four civilians killed and 10 injured in Kharkiv shelling
The governor of Ukraine’s Kharkiv region has said four civilians were killed and 10 wounded during shelling on Wednesday.
Writing on Facebook, Oleg Synegubov said “intense artillery strikes” were focused on the Pivnichna Saltivka, 602nd district, KTZ, Zhukovsky village.
Chiara Giordano14 April 2022 10:23
More than 16,000 people arrive in UK under Ukraine visa schemes
Around 16,400 people had arrived in the UK under Ukraine visa schemes as of Monday, according to government figures.
About 13,200 had arrived under the Ukraine family scheme and 3,200 under the Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme, provisional data shows.
About 94,700 applications have been received for both schemes and 56,500 visas had been granted as of today.
There were 55,600 applications for the sponsorship scheme and 25,100 visas issued.
Out of 39,100 applications for family visas, 31,400 have been granted.
Chiara Giordano14 April 2022 10:05
Moscow opens criminal cases into Ukrainian servicemen’s alleged torture of Russian counterparts.
Russia’s Investigative Committee has said it is opening criminal cases into Ukrainian servicemen’s alleged torture of their Russian counterparts.
The committee claimed some Russian soldiers had been captured by Ukrainian forces in the Zaporizhzhia and Mykolaiv regions and held illegally by Ukraine‘s security service.
“Russians were subjected to physical violence and torture in order to force them to give false explanations about the actual conditions of their illegal detention on the premises of the Security Service of Ukraine, as well as on (Russia’s) special military operation,” it alleged in a statement.
The claims could not be independently verified, and come amid accusations of war crimes by Russian forces in the country.
Tom Batchelor14 April 2022 09:26
UK names Ukrainian towns at risk from fresh Russian attacks
The UK Ministry of Defence has provided an intelligence update on Ukraine.
“President Putin’s speech on Tuesday highlighted his continued interest in the Donbas where Russia is striking Ukrainian forces in preparation for a renewed offensive,” the update said.
“Urban centres have faced repeated indiscriminate attacks from Russia throughout the conflict. The towns of Kramatorsk and Kostiantynivka are likely to be Russian targets for similar levels of violence.
“The combination of widespread missile and artillery strikes and efforts to concentrate forces for an offensive represents a reversion to traditional Russian military doctrine.
“However, this will require significant force levels. Ukraine‘s continued defence of Mariupol is currently tying down significant numbers of Russian troops and equipment.”
Tom Batchelor14 April 2022 08:59
Russia threatens end of ‘nuclear-free status Baltic’ if Sweden and Finland join Nato
Moscow has warned Nato that if Sweden and Finland joined the military alliance then Russia would have to bolster its defences and that there could be no more talk of a “nuclear free” Baltic.
“There can be no more talk of any nuclear-free status for the Baltic – the balance must be restored,” said Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council.
“Until today, Russia has not taken such measures and was not going to,” Mr Medvedev claimed.
Tom Batchelor14 April 2022 08:42
‘Reasonable grounds’ to believe war crimes committed in Ukraine – ICC
International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan, who visited Bucha, said in a tweet on Wednesday that Ukraine “is a crime scene” and the court must “pierce the fog of war” to determine what has occurred.
He said there were “reasonable grounds” to believe that crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC are being committed.
Tom Batchelor14 April 2022 08:21
St Petersburg shopworker ‘faces 10 years in prison for switching price tags for updates on war’
Sasha Skochilenko, a Russian artist and former shop worker, is reportedly facing up to 10 years in prison after she was accused of switching price labels in a St Petersburg supermarket for messages about the Ukraine invasion.
Ms Skochilenko allegedly sought to raise awareness of the bombing of a theatre in Mariupol, and killing of civilians in the besieged southern port city, by swapping the tags for notes about the war.
She was arrested after a customer contacted police, and is accused of spreading “knowingly false information” – a new criminal offence brought in last month in a crackdown on dissent linked to the Ukraine invasion.
Tom Batchelor14 April 2022 08:08