KYIV, Ukraine — The Austrian leader says he expects more European Union sanctions against Russia, but defends his country’s opposition so far to stopping Russian gas supplies.
Chancellor Karl Nehammer spoke on Saturday after becoming the latest of several European leaders to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv.
Nehammer told a press conference that “we will continue to tighten sanctions inside the European Union until the end of the war” and that a set of sanctions imposed this week “will not be the last”. He acknowledged that “as long as people are dying, every punishment is still insufficient”.
Austria, which gets most of its gas from Russia, is one of the countries resisting stopping deliveries. Asked about this Saturday, Nehammer said EU sanctions were becoming more and more “precise” but that “sanctions are effective when they hit those against whom they are directed, and do not weaken those who impose sanctions. sanctions against those who wage war”.
Austria is militarily neutral and is not a member of NATO.
KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIAN-UKRAINE WAR:
– Ukraine seeks firm response after missile kills 52 people at station
— EU imposes sanctions on Putin’s daughters
— Food prices soar to record highs following war disruptions in Ukraine
— Go to https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine for more coverage
LONDON — The British Ministry of Defense said Russian naval forces were launching cruise missiles into Ukraine to support military operations in the eastern Donbass region and around the cities of Mariupol and Mykolaiv.
In its Saturday morning briefing, the ministry said Russian air forces should increase their activities in southern and eastern Ukraine to further support these operations.
The ministry said the actions come as attempts to establish a land corridor between Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, and Russian-controlled parts of the Donbas region “continue to be thwarted by resistance.” Ukrainian”.
British officials also said Russia continued to attack non-combatants, such as those killed at Kramatorsk train station in a rocket strike on Friday.
KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s train operator said operations were halted at Kramatorsk station, which was damaged in a missile strike on Friday, but evacuations of civilians will continue via other stations in the city. eastern Ukraine.
The company said on Saturday evacuations would continue from Sloviansk and Pokrovsk train stations in the Donetsk region and Novozolotarivka in the Lugansk region.
The statement on messaging app Telegram said “the railways are not stopping the task of getting everyone to safety”.
KYIV, Ukraine – Ten humanitarian corridors for civilian evacuations are due to open in eastern Ukraine on Saturday, according to Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk. The corridors will allow residents to leave a number of cities in Donetsk, Lugansk and Zaporizhzhia regions.
Those from Mariupol, Enerhodar, Tokmak, Berdiansk and Melitopol will be able to evacuate to the city of Zaporizhzhia, while those from Severodonetsk, Lysychansk, Popasna, Girske and Rubizhne will be able to evacuate to the city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region.
WASHINGTON — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his country’s security services intercepted communications from Russian troops that provide evidence of war crimes.
“There are soldiers talking with their parents about what they stole and who they kidnapped. There are tapes of POWs who admitted to killing people,” Zelenskyy said in an excerpt from an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” that aired Friday.
“There are pilots in prison who had maps with civilian targets to bomb. Investigations are also being conducted based on the remains of the dead,” he said in a translation provided by CBS.
Zelenskyy said “whoever made a decision, who gave an order, who carried out an order” is guilty of a war crime. When asked if he held Russian President Vladimir Putin responsible, he replied: “I believe he is one of them”.
LVIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has denounced the missile strike on an eastern train station as another Russian war crime and said Ukraine expects a tough global response.
“Like the Bucha massacres, like many other Russian war crimes, the missile attack on Kramatorsk should be one of the charges in court that must be upheld,” he said during his video address. night at the nation on Friday.
The president told Ukrainians that great efforts would be made “to establish at every minute who did what”, so that those behind the attack are held accountable.
Zelenskyy said he spoke with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Friday and urged the EU to impose a full embargo on Russian oil and gas.
“It is energy exports that provide the lion’s share of Russia’s revenue and allow Russian leaders to believe in their impunity,” Zelenskyy said.
WASHINGTON — A senior U.S. defense official says the Pentagon has determined that some of the Russian combat units that have withdrawn from the kyiv area in recent days are so badly damaged and depleted that their combat utility is in question. .
The official described these units as “for all intents and purposes eradicated”, with only a small number of troops and functional weapons remaining. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal U.S. military assessments, did not say how many units suffered such extensive damage.
The official said some combat units that have withdrawn from the Kyiv region are beginning to move to the Russian cities of Belgorod and Valuyki to refit and resupply before likely deploying to Ukraine’s Donbass region. The official also said the United States had seen thousands of additional Russian troops added to the combat force Moscow was using in and around the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.
The official said the United States believed Russia had lost 15-20 percent of the combat power it mustered along Ukraine’s borders before launching its invasion on February 24.
—Reporting by Robert Burns.
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s chief spokesman on Friday called the Russian missile attack on a train station in eastern Ukraine “another horrific atrocity” by Russian forces on Friday, but refrained. qualify the action as a war crime.
“Where we are now, we will support efforts to investigate the attack while documenting Russia’s actions, holding them accountable,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.
Biden has previously accused Russian forces of committing war crimes outside Kyiv, including in the town of Bucha.
PSAKI added that “targeting civilians would certainly be a war crime” and that the United States would support “efforts to investigate exactly what happened.”
At least 52 people were killed in the attack and around 4,000 civilians were in and around the station at the time of the attack, according to Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office. Most were women and children responding to calls to leave the region before Russia launched a full-scale offensive in the east of the country.
BUCHA, Ukraine – Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office said around 67 bodies were buried in a mass grave near a church in Bucha, a northern Kyiv suburb where journalists and returning Ukrainians discovered dozens bodies in the streets and elsewhere after the withdrawal of Russian troops.
Attorney General Iryna Venediktova said Friday that 18 bodies had been recovered so far, 16 with gunshot wounds and two with gunshot wounds and shrapnel. Two were women and the others were men, she said.
“It means they killed civilians, shot them,” Venediktova said, speaking as workers pulled out dead bodies in the pouring rain. Black body bags lay in rows in the mud.
The attorney general’s office is investigating deaths and other mass casualties involving civilians as possible war crimes. Venediktova said the European Union was involved in the investigation and “we are coordinating our actions”.