On the 49th day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russia threatened to strike command centers in Kyiv, accusing Ukraine of attacks on its territory. Shortly before, Russia announced the surrender of more than a thousand Ukrainian soldiers in Mariupol, which its forces have been besieging and bombarding for more than 40 days. Europe 1 takes stock of the situation.
Russia on Wednesday threatened to strike command centers in kyiv, accusing Ukraine of attacks on its territory, while the United States announced the supply of heavy military equipment to the Ukrainians. At the same time, the UN considered that a “general ceasefire” for humanitarian purposes did not seem “not possible at present”, the United Nations still awaiting responses from Moscow to concrete proposals for the evacuating civilians and ensuring the delivery of basic necessities to war zones.
On the same day, Russia announced the surrender of more than a thousand Ukrainian soldiers in Mariupol, a very strategic port city that its forces have been besieging and bombarding for more than 40 days and encircling for more than a month.
Four civilians killed in Russian strikes in Kharkiv
Four civilians were killed and at least ten wounded in Russian strikes on Wednesday on Kharkiv, in northeastern Ukraine, announced the governor of the region. “During the day, the occupiers continued to bombard residential areas of Kharkiv (…) Four civilians died in one day and ten others injured”, announced on Telegram Oleg Synegoubov.
Ukraine, “a crime scene”
The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the British Karim Khan, described Wednesday Ukraine as a “crime scene”, during a visit to Boutcha, near kyiv.
“Ukraine is a crime scene. We are here because we have good reason to believe that crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court are being committed. We must pierce the fog of war to get to the truth,” he told the press during a visit to this city, where hundreds of civilians, according to the Ukrainian authorities, were found dead after the Russian occupation. Karim Khan clarified that an ICC forensic team was preparing to work “so that we can really separate truth from fiction”.
Genocide charges “unacceptable” for Moscow
The Kremlin on Wednesday ruled “unacceptable” that US President Joe Biden accuses his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin of “genocide” in Ukraine. “Our disagreement is categorical and we consider such attempts to distort reality to be unacceptable, especially since they come from the President of the United States, a country whose actions in recent history are well known”, commented Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesman.
Moscow threatens to strike command centers in Kyiv
The Russian army on Wednesday threatened to strike command centers in the Ukrainian capital kyiv, which Moscow has given up for the time being, accusing Ukraine of shooting and sabotage on Russian territory.
“We see attempts of sabotage and strikes by Ukrainian forces on targets on the territory of the Russian Federation. If such events continue, strikes will be carried out by the Russian military on decision-making centers, including including in kyiv, which the Russian army has refrained from doing so far,” said Igor Konashenkov, the spokesman for the Russian Ministry of Defense.
Over a thousand Ukrainian soldiers surrender to Russian forces in Mariupol
More than a thousand Ukrainian soldiers have surrendered to Russian forces in the city of Mariupol, a strategic port in the Sea of Azov besieged for weeks, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Wednesday. “In the city of Mariupol, in the area of the Ilich metallurgical plant (…) 1,026 Ukrainian soldiers from the 36th Marine Brigade voluntarily laid down their arms and surrendered”, according to the ministry.
On Tuesday, regional authorities in southeastern Ukraine assessed the number of victims in Mariupol at at least 20,000 dead, where the fighting is now concentrated in the gigantic industrial zone of the city.
Ukraine will not open any humanitarian corridors this Wednesday
Ukraine will not open any humanitarian corridors on Wednesday, a government official said, accusing the Russians of “violating the norms of international law” which makes the situation “dangerous”. “Unfortunately, we will not be opening humanitarian corridors today. In the Zaporizhia region (south) the occupiers have blocked buses and in the Luhansk region (east) they are violating the ceasefire,” he said. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk.
“Not only do the occupiers fail to respect the standards of international humanitarian law, but they also cannot properly control their men on the ground. All of this creates such a level of danger on the roads that we are forced to abstain today’ today to open humanitarian corridors,” she continued.
1,500 Russian soldiers in Dnipro morgues
The bodies of more than 1,500 Russian soldiers lie in morgues in Dnipro, a major industrial city in eastern Ukraine, the city’s deputy mayor, Mikhailo Lyssenko, said on Wednesday. “Today we have more than 1,500 dead Russian soldiers in the Dnipro morgues, which no one wants to recover,” he said in an interview with Russian-language media Nastoïachtchee Vremia (Current Time), financed by Washington.
Zelensky proposes a prisoner exchange
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky offered Tuesday night in Moscow to “exchange” Ukrainian MP and businessman Viktor Medvedchuk, close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and recently arrested, for Ukrainians in captivity in Russia.
Ukrainian authorities had earlier in the day announced the arrest of this 67-year-old Ukrainian who had been on the run since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Viktor Medvedchuk, 12th fortune in Ukraine in 2021 with 620 million dollars according to Forbes magazine, is known for his links with Russian President Vladimir Putin who is, according to the person concerned, the godfather of one of his daughters.
Washington accuses Moscow of considering the use of “chemical agents” in Mariupol
The United States reported on Tuesday, through the voice of the head of diplomacy Antony Blinken, “credible information” on the possibility that Russia will use “chemical agents” in its offensive to take Mariupol.
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on Tuesday expressed concern over allegations of chemical weapons use in Mariupol.
German president persona non grata in Kyiv
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, criticized for his relations maintained in recent years with Russia, said on Tuesday that he had considered visiting Ukraine with other heads of state but had been rejected by from Kyiv.
More than 4.6 million refugees
More than 4.6 million Ukrainian refugees have fled their country since the invasion ordered by Vladimir Putin on February 24, according to UNHCR figures on Tuesday. According to the Ukrainian Border Guard Service, more than 870,000 Ukrainians have returned home since the start of the war, including women and children.