Russian authorities have accused Ukrainian forces of launching airstrikes on the Russian region of Bryansk, which borders Ukraine, most recently in a series of allegations of cross-border attacks by Kiev on Russian territory.
Russia’s investigative committee claimed that two Ukrainian military helicopters entered Russia’s airspace on Thursday, “moving at low altitude and acting deliberately, carrying out at least six airstrikes on residential buildings in the village of Klimovo,” about 11 kilometers away from the city. Russian border.
It said at least six houses in the village were damaged and that seven people, including a small child, were injured. The commission of inquiry has launched an investigation into the attack.
Earlier Thursday, Russia’s state security service, or FSB, also accused Ukrainian forces of firing mortars at a border post in the Bryansk region on Wednesday.
The reports could not be independently verified. Earlier this month, Ukraine’s top security officials denied that Kiev was behind an air strike on an oil depot in the Russian city of Belgorod, 55 miles from the border.
KEY DEVELOPMENT IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:
Ukrainian forces say they struck and severely damaged Russian flagship
– Pressure on the United States to give Ukraine more intelligence in Russia
– The UN says that Ukraine’s war threatens to destroy many poor nations
– Ukraine’s detention of the oligarch close to Putin makes Moscow angry
– Polish, Baltic presidents visit Ukraine to show support
– Go to https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine for more coverage
PARIS – French President Emmanuel Macron refused to use the term “genocide” to describe Russia’s war on Ukraine, arguing against an “escalation of words.”
Asked about the use of the term by US President Joe Biden, Macron said that “the word genocide should be spelled out by lawyers, not by politicians.”
In a speech on French radio France Bleu, Macron said he spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday and will speak to him again later that day. He said he would do “everything to end this war and stay by the side of the Ukrainians.”
Macron has previously condemned “war crimes” in Ukraine, and France sent judges and police officers to help the International Criminal Court, which opened an investigation.
GENEVA – The International Committee of the Red Cross says it is rolling out its largest cash aid program to date to help more than 2 million people in Ukraine, or who have fled abroad, cope with the fallout from Russia’s invasion.
Nicole Robicheau, spokeswoman for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said Thursday that the organization plans to distribute “well over 100 million” Swiss francs – about $ 106 million – to people affected by Russia’s seven-week-old war in Ukraine.
Humanitarian groups such as the IFRC have recently proclaimed the effectiveness of cash assistance programs for people in places affected by events such as natural disasters, droughts, famines and conflict, as a way to “allow people to decide what they need” and ” put money back into the local economy, ”Robicheau said by telephone.
The program aims to help about 360,000 people inside Ukraine and many more in refuge countries.
The IFRC says it and national Red Cross organizations have already helped over 1 million people with things like blankets, food, mats and kitchen utensils.
MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that Western countries’ attempts to phase out Russian gas imports will have a negative impact on their economies.
In a speech Thursday, Putin said European attempts to find alternatives to Russian gas shipments would be “rather painful for the initiators of such policies.”
He argued that “there is simply no reasonable replacement for it in Europe now.”
Putin noted that “supplies from other countries that could be shipped to Europe, primarily from the United States, would cost consumers many times more.” He added that it would “affect people’s standard of living and the competitiveness of the European economy.”
The European Union is dependent on Russia for 40% of its natural gas and 25% of its oil.
PARIS – The French government says it has frozen 33 properties on the French Riviera, Paris and elsewhere belonging to Russian oligarchs targeted for sanctions over the war in Ukraine.
The Ministry of Finance this week published an updated list of Russian-owned properties that have been frozen in France, including a luxury castle overlooking the Mediterranean on Cap d’Antibes, which allegedly belonged to the sanctioned Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.
Together, the 33 properties are estimated to be worth more than half a billion euros. Unlike property that has been seized or confiscated, frozen properties still belong to their owners and they can continue to live in them. But they can not be sold or rented out.
The total value of Russian assets frozen or seized in France is now approaching 24 billion euros, the majority of which is almost 23 billion euros in frozen financial assets of the Russian central bank. In addition to financial assets and real estate, the French authorities have also frozen or seized three yachts and four transport ships and frozen six helicopters and three works of art.
LVIV, Ukraine – Russia’s Defense Ministry says the fire on the Moscow cruiser, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, has been fought. It says the vessel will remain afloat and will be towed to port.
The ministry said in a statement on Thursday that there is no longer open fire on the ship and explosions of the ammunition have ceased. “The main missile weapons were not damaged,” the statement read.
Ukrainian officials, however, claimed the ship had sunk, saying it was a “resounding slap in the face” to Moscow’s forces. The conflicting accounts could not be reconciled immediately.
Oleksiy Arestovych, adviser to the Ukrainian president’s office, said in a Facebook post that 510 crew members were on board the Moscow cruiser when it sank in the Black Sea, following serious injuries from a Ukrainian missile attack.
Military analyst Oleg Zhdanov said that the destruction of Moscow increases the morale of the Ukrainian forces significantly on the eve of a new wave of Russian offensive in the Donbas.
In the early hours of Thursday, the Russian Ministry of Defense said the ship suffered “serious damage” after its ammunition detonated “as a result of a fire.” The ministry did not attribute the missile to the fire.
LONDON – Ireland’s foreign minister is in Kiev, the latest in a series of high-ranking European politicians to step in to show support for Ukraine’s fight against Russian invasion.
The Irish government says Simon Coveney, who is also defense minister, will meet with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov.
Ireland has sent Ukraine 20 million euros ($ 22 million) in humanitarian aid and 33 million euros ($ 36 million) in non-lethal military aid.
It is also a strong supporter of Ukraine’s bid to join the European Union, and the government said Coveney would discuss how Ireland can “assist Ukraine in its application for EU candidate status.”
BERLIN – German authorities say they have seized a massive superyacht in Hamburg after stating that it belongs to the sister of Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov.
The Federal Criminal Police said on Wednesday that after “extensive investigations” and despite “offshore concealment”, it had been able to establish that the owner is Gulbakhor Ismailova, Usmanov’s sister.
The Superyacht Dilbar was launched in 2016 at a reported price of more than $ 648 million.
The German police office said the German authorities were working in Brussels to ensure that EU sanctions were applied to the owner. It says the yacht can no longer be sold, rented or loaded.
The United States and the European Union last month announced economic sanctions against Usmanov, a metal mogul, because of his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and in retaliation for the invasion of Ukraine.
PRAGUE – Three Czech lawmakers from the upper house of parliament, the Senate, are visiting Kiev with their Polish counterparts. Led by spokesman Milos Vystrcil, they were invited by Ruslan Stefanchuk, President of the Ukrainian Chamber of Deputies Verkhovna Rada.
UNITED NATIONS – A UN task force warns in a new report that Russia’s war on Ukraine threatens to destroy the economies of many developing countries, which are now facing even higher food and energy costs and increasingly difficult economic conditions.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres launched the report on Wednesday, stressing that the war “supercharges” a crisis in food, energy and finance in poorer countries, which were already struggling to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and lack of access to adequate funding for their economic recovery.
Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary-General of the United Nations Office for the Promotion of Trade and Development, who coordinated the task force, said that 107 countries have “serious exposure” to at least one dimension of the food, energy and financial crisis and that 69 countries are seriously exposed to all three and face “very difficult economic conditions without fiscal space and without external funding to mitigate the blow.”
The report urges countries to ensure a constant flow of food and energy through open markets, and it urges international financial institutions to do everything possible to ensure more liquidity immediately.
ODESA, Ukraine – In the Odesa region of Ukraine, Governor Maksym Marchenko says forces have hit the Russian guided missile cruiser Moscow with two missiles, causing “serious damage.”
Moscow is the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.
The Russian Ministry of Defense confirmed that the ship was damaged on Wednesday, but not that it was hit by Ukraine.
The ministry said ammunition on board detonated as a result of a fire whose causes “were being determined” and the entire Moscow crew was evacuated. The cruiser typically has about 500 on board.
Odesa is Ukraine’s largest port.
KYIV, Ukraine – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he was “sincerely grateful” to the United States for the new round of $ 800 million in military aid.
In his daily evening speech to the nation, Zelenskyy also said he was grateful for Wednesday’s visit by the presidents of Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.
He said these leaders “have helped us from day one, those who did not hesitate to give us weapons, those who were in no doubt as to whether or not to impose sanctions.”
In his telephone conversation with US President Joe Biden, Zelenskyy said they were discussing the new arms shipment, even tougher sanctions against Russia and efforts to prosecute the Russian soldiers who committed war crimes in Ukraine.
Zelenskyy also said work continued to clear tens of thousands of unexploded ordnance, mines and stumbling blocks left in northern Ukraine by the returning Russians.
He urged people returning to their homes in these cities to be vigilant against any unknown object and report it to the police.