Kyiv (Ukraine) (AFP), Apr 8 – Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:
– Kyiv readies for battles in east –
Ukraine is preparing for “big battles” against Moscow’s forces in the east of the country, officials in Kyiv say, as thousands of civilians flee in fear of an imminent Russian offensive.
Evacuations resumed from Kramatorsk, in eastern Ukraine, where a missile strike killed 52 people at a railway station Friday, as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson became the latest Western leader to visit Kyiv.
– Third prisoner swap underway –
Kyiv says 26 Ukrainians are returning home following a prisoner exchange with Russia.
“On the order of President (Volodymyr) Zelensky, the third prisoner exchange took place today. Twelve of our servicemen are returning home, including one female officer,” deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk says on Telegram.
Fourteen civilians including nine women were also on their way home, she adds.
– Johnson offers more arms –
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson pays an unannounced visit to Kyiv and pledges armoured vehicles and anti-ship missiles to Ukraine.
“It is because of President Zelensky’s resolute leadership and the invincible heroism and courage of the Ukrainian people that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s monstrous aims are being thwarted,” Johnson says after meeting Zelensky, according to a Downing Street statement.
Zelensky in turn calls on the West to “follow the UK” in providing military aid to Ukraine and imposing sanctions on Russia.
– Ukraine ‘must win’ in east before talks –
Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhaylo Podolyak says Ukraine must score a victory in the Donbas region before any potential meeting between Zelensky and Putin.
“Ukraine is ready for big battles. Ukraine must win them, including in the Donbas. And once that happens, Ukraine will have a more powerful negotiating position, which will allow it to dictate certain conditions,” he said on national television, as quoted by Interfax-Ukraine.
“After that the presidents will meet. It could take two weeks, three,” he added.
– Five killed in Russian shelling –
Russian shelling killed five civilians and wounded five others in two eastern Ukrainian cities Saturday, the Donetsk governor said.
Four of them died in the city of Vugledar, and one in the town of Novomikhaylovka, Pavlo Kyrylenko said in a Telegram post.
– Global event raises 10.1 bn euros –
A global pledging event for Ukrainian refugees called “Stand Up for Ukraine” has raised 10.1 billion euros ($11 billion), European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen says in Warsaw.
“The ‘Stand Up For Ukraine’ campaign has raised 9.1 billion euros for people fleeing bombs, inside and outside Ukraine, with an additional billion pledged by EBRD (the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development),” she says.
– Ukraine ‘still ready’ for talks –
Ukraine is “still ready” to continue negotiations with Moscow, which have stalled since the discovery of atrocities in Bucha and other areas near Kyiv, President Zelensky says.
“We are ready to fight and to look in parallel to end this war through diplomacy,” he says at a news conference.
– 4.4 million flee Ukraine war –
More than 4.4 million Ukrainian refugees have fled their country since Putin ordered an invasion on February 24, the UN refugee agency says.
Ninety percent of those who have fled are women and children, as the Ukrainian authorities do not allow men of military age to leave.
– EU in talks with ICC prosecutor –
The European Union is to discuss its support for war crimes probes in Ukraine in meetings over the next two days with the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor, the European Commission says.
Karim Khan, of The Hague-based court, is to meet EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Sunday in Luxembourg, then take part in a meeting of EU foreign ministers in the city on Monday.
– Germany reaches ‘limit’ in arms to Ukraine –
Germany has almost exhausted its ability to supply Ukraine with weapons from its army reserves, but is working on direct deliveries from the arms industry, German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht says.
“For deliveries coming from the Bundeswehr’s stocks, I have to say honestly that we have reached a limit,” she tells German daily Augsburger Allgemeine.
– Berlusconi ‘disappointed’ in friend Putin –
Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi tells a public meeting of his right-wing Forza Italia party he is “deeply disappointed and saddened” by the behaviour of his old friend Putin over the Ukraine invasion.