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War in Ukraine: Latest developments

Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine: – Zelensky to address UN –Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is set to address the United Nations Security Council following the grisly discovery of bodies scattered on the street, in basements and in shallow graves in areas near Kyiv from which Russian forces have withdrawn.

He is expected to appeal for more sanctions and military aid. During a visit on Monday to Bucha, where AFP counted 20 bodies on a single street, he accused Russia of “war crimes” and attempted “genocide” and asked Europe to apply the “most severe pressure”.

– US squeezes Russia payments –The United States bars Moscow from making debt payments using funds held at American banks — a move that takes Russia a step closer to default.

“Russia must choose between draining remaining valuable dollar reserves or new revenue coming in, or default,” a Treasury spokesperson tells AFP.

– EU to target Russian coal –The EU proposes a ban on Russian coal imports and on Russian ships entering European ports. “Russia is waging a cruel, ruthless war, also against Ukraine’s civilian population. We need to sustain utmost pressure at this critical point,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says.

– Putin warning on food –Russian President Vladimir Putin retaliates by saying Moscow will “carefully monitor” food exports to “hostile” nations. He cites “global food shortages” for the need in caution in exporting “to countries that are clearly hostile towards us.”

– Satellite images contradict Russia  –Moscow denies killing civilians, saying the pictures of bodies are fakes or that the deaths occurred after Russian forces pulled out of the area. But satellite photographs of Bucha from mid-March already show bodies in the street. Russia at the time still controlled the town.

– French probe –French prosecutors open three probes into suspected war crimes committed against French citizens in Ukraine, relating to events in the southern city of Mariupol, in Hostomel outside Kyiv and in Chernihiv in northern Ukraine. French prosectors can open cases into war crimes committed outside France if the victims are French.

– Donbas onslaught awaited –NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg says that, after withdrawing most of its troops from northern Ukraine, Moscow aims to capture the “entire” Donbas region in the east, with the aim of creating a land corridor from Russia to annexed Crimea. The governor of the Lugansk region, which is part of the Donbas, says Russian forces are preparing for a large-scale attack. “We see that equipment is coming from different directions, they are bringing manpower, they are bringing fuel,” he says.

– Diplomats kicked out –Italy, Spain and Denmark join EU allies in expelling a total of around 150 Russian diplomats to signal their outrage over the killings of civilians in Bucha and other Ukrainian towns. The Kremlin laments a “short-sighted move” that will “further complicate our communication” with Europe.

– Don’t return yet: Kyiv mayor –Kyiv’s mayor Vitali Klitschko warns residents who fled the capital not to return for “at least another week”, cautioning that explosives laid around the area are still a threat.Some residents have begun returning to the region since the withdrawal of Russian forces.

– Red Cross team released – The Red Cross says a team that was detained on its way to help evacuate civilians from the besieged port city of Mariupol on Monday has been released. The workers were detained in the town of Mangush, which is under Russian control.

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