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Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine


Fighting will intensify over next 2 to 3 weeks, UK ministry predicts

Ukrainian soldiers take aim from their frontline position in eastern Ukraine, on April 11, 2022. British Defence authorities predict fighting will worsen there over the next two to three weeks.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Fighting will get worse in eastern Ukraine over the coming two to three weeks as Moscow redirects its attacks to that part of the country, the U.K. Ministry of Defence said Tuesday.

Russia is already focusing attacks on Ukrainian defenders near Donetsk and Luhansk in the east, the ministry said, with a renewed push toward the town of Kramatorsk.

Further fighting is now taking place around Kherson and Mykolaiv, which both lie near the Black Sea to the east of Odesa. Russian troops have been trying to break out of the Crimean Peninsula for weeks in that area, British mapping of the region shows. Those attempted advances threaten Ukraine’s entire southern coastline and its outlet to the sea.

The British ministry said in a daily intelligence update that Russian forces which had retreated into Belarus following the failed attempt to take Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv are now rotating toward the east.

Several military analysts have observed that Russian units defeated around Kyiv have taken heavy losses and are suffering from low morale.

— Ted Kemp

Russia’s war in Ukraine means there’ll be no return to normality for Europe’s economy

Japan has never felt any pressure from the U.S. to withdraw from Sakhalin projects, says minister

Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan, Koichi Hagiuda, speaks at a conference on 16 September, 2020. Hagiuda said on Tuesday Japan has never felt any pressure from the U.S. to withdraw from the Sakhalin oil and gas projects, according to Reuters.

Charly Triballeau | Afp | Getty Images

Japan’s industry minister said the country has never felt any pressure from the U.S. to withdraw from the Sakhalin oil and gas projects, according to Reuters.

“We intend to continue to hold the concessions in Sakhalin 1 and 2 projects as they are stable sources of long-term and inexpensive energy and are important to the lives of the Japanese citizens and business activities,” Koichi Hagiuda, Japan’s industry minister, told a news conference on Tuesday.

Russia and Japan both own stakes in the Sakhalin 1 and Sakhalin 2 integrated oil and gas development projects. Japan’s involvement has fallen under scrutiny since Russia invaded Ukraine and Western oil companies exited Russia.

“While ensuring a stable energy supply, Japan will work to reduce our dependence on Russian energy by diversifying energy sources, including renewable and nuclear power, and diversifying supply sources,” Hagiuda said, Reuters reported.

He also said the ministry was not aware of any Japanese companies being asked by Russian state-owned companies to pay in rubles for natural gas transactions.

— Chelsea Ong

U.S. and Britain working to verify unconfirmed reports of Russian chemical weapons attack in Mariupol

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss in Warsaw, Poland, on April 5, 2022

Mateusz Wlodarczyk | Nurphoto | Getty Images

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss says that her government is working “urgently” to verify details of an alleged chemical weapons attack Monday on residents of the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

“Reports that Russian forces may have used chemical agents in an attack on the people of Mariupol. We are working urgently with partners to verify details,” Truss tweeted.
 
“Any use of such weapons would be a callous escalation in this conflict and we will hold Putin and his regime to account,” she added.

The original report was a Telegram message posted by the Azov Regiment, an ultra-nationalist part of the Ukrainian National Guard. The Azov message said Russian forces used “a poisonous substance of unknown origin.” 

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said the United States was also aware of the alleged attack.

“We cannot confirm at this time and will continue to monitor the situation closely,” he told reporters.

“These reports, if true, are deeply concerning and reflective of concerns that we have had about Russia’s potential to use a variety of riot control agents, including tear gas mixed with chemical agents, in Ukraine,” said Kirby.

U.S. officials have been warning for several days that the Russian army will continue to commit what they call “atrocities” as it doubles down on attacks in the eastern regions of Ukraine.

—- Christina Wilkie

Ukrainian troops gather on the front lines in Donbas

Ukrainian soldiers are seen at a front line in the Donbas region of Ukraine.

Ukrainian soldiers talk to each other at a Ukrainian frontline in Donbass, Ukraine on April 11, 2022.

Diego Herrera Carcedo | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Military personnel are seen at a Ukrainian frontline in Donbass, Ukraine on April 11, 2022. 

Diego Herrera Carcedo | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

A rocket in the ground is seen in Lysychansk, Donbass, Ukraine on April 11, 2022.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukrainian soldiers are seen at a Ukrainian frontline in Donbass, Ukraine on April 11, 2022. 

Diego Herrera Carcedo | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukrainian soldiers talk to each other at a Ukrainian frontline in Donbass, Ukraine on April 11, 2022. 

Diego Herrera Carcedo | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

A Ukrainian soldier is seen at a Ukrainian frontline in Donbass, Ukraine on April 11, 2022. 

Diego Herrera Carcedo | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

A dummy with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s face on a Ukrainian frontline in Donbass, Ukraine on April 11, 2022.

Diego Herrera Carcedo | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

— Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

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