Here are the latest developments in Ukraine:
– “Shocking” use of cluster bombs: Amnesty –
Amnesty International accuses Russia of the repeated use of cluster bombs in attacks on residential neighbourhoods of Ukraine’s second city, Kharkiv. The London-based NGO says it has uncovered proof of the use of 9N210 and 9N235 cluster bombs and scatterable land mines, all of which are banned under international conventions.
“The repeated use of widely banned cluster munitions is shocking, and a further indication of utter disregard for civilian lives,” Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser, says.
– WTO walkout –
The war is spilling over into a meeting of the World Trade Organization in Geneva, where dozens of delegates walked out during a speech by Russia’s Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov. Ukraine’s envoy, by contrast, receives a standing ovation. The food crisis sparked by the war in Ukraine, one of the world’s biggest grain producers, is top of the agenda of the four-day session.
– Ukraine forces driven from central Severodonetsk –
The governor of Luhansk, Serhiy Haidai, says Ukraine’s armed forces have been driven from the centre of the key eastern city of Severodonetsk, after a Russian offensive waged for the industrial hub that has lasted weeks.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says his forces are fighting for “literally every meter” of one of the last cities in Luhansk that had yet to fall to Russian forces. Haidai says that the Russians have destroyed a second bridge into the city on the Donets River and that the Azot chemical plant, where hundreds of civilians are taking shelter, is being “heavily shelled”.
Britain’s defence intelligence says that “river crossing operations are likely to be amongst the most important determining factors in the course of the war” in the coming months. Ukraine has regularly blown up bridges to halt the advance of Russian forces.
– Baltic States could be next, says Putin’s ex-PM Kasyanov –
One of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s former prime ministers warns that the war could last up to two years and says it is imperative that Ukraine wins.
“If Ukraine falls, the Baltic States will be next,” says Mikhail Kasyanov, who was Putin’s first prime minister before being sacked in 2004 and is now one of the Kremlin’s chief critics.
In an interview with AFP, Kasyanov, who has left Russia, disagrees with French President Emmanuel Macron’s suggestion that Putin should not be humiliated and also rejects calls for Ukraine to cede territory to end the war.
“I believe this is wrong and hope that the West won’t go down that path,” he says.
– Russian oil revenues soar –
A report shows Russia’s revenues from exports of oil and gas reaching record highs during the first 100 days of the war against Ukraine, with Moscow taking in EUR 93 billion ($98 billion), most of it from European Union customers.
The report from the independent, Finland-based Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) shows the top clients for Russian oil, gas and coal being China with EUR 12.6 billion, followed by Germany (EUR 12.1 billion) and Italy (EUR 7.8 billion).
Last month the EU agreed to halt most Russian oil imports but an embargo on Russian gas is not on the cards at present.
Russia’s exports have plummeted but high global fossil fuel prices have helped offset the declines, the report showed.