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Ukraine says Moscow is forcibly taking civilians to Russia

Ukraine accused Moscow on Thursday of forcibly taking hundreds of thousands of civilians from shattered Ukrainian cities to Russia, where some may be used as “hostages” to pressure Kyiv to give up.Lyudmyla Denisova, Ukraine’s ombudsperson, said 402,000 people, including 84,000 children, had been taken to Russia.Here’s the latest on the Ukraine-Russia conflict as of 12:30 a.m. (Eastern):Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked EU leaders for working together to support Ukraine and impose sanctions on Russia, including Germany’s decision to block Russia from delivering natural gas to Europe through the new Nord Stream 2 pipeline. But he lamented that these steps weren’t taken earlier, saying there was a chance Russia would have thought twice about invading. During a press conference Thursday in Brussels following a series of urgent NATO meetings on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, President Joe Biden said he wants Russia out of the G-20 and has raised the issue with other world leaders. The G-20, or Group of Twenty, is an intergovernmental forum of 19 countries and the European Union that works on major global issues.The UN General Assembly has approved a resolution blaming Russia for the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and urged immediate cease-fire.A U.S. official says the United States will welcome up to 100,000 refugees from Ukraine as 3.5 million flee Russia’s invasion.Ukraine’s navy on Thursday reported destroying Russia’s large landing ship, Orsk, near the port city of Berdyansk.The U.S. government has determined that Russian troops have committed war crimes in Ukraine, and it will work to prosecute the offenders.The Kremlin gave nearly identical numbers for those who have been relocated, but said they wanted to go to Russia. Ukraine’s rebel-controlled eastern regions are predominantly Russian-speaking, and many people there have supported close ties to Moscow.A month into the invasion, the two sides traded heavy blows in what has become a devastating war of attrition. Ukraine’s navy said it sank a large Russian landing ship near the port city of Berdyansk that had been used to bring in armored vehicles. Russia claimed to have taken the eastern town of Izyum after fierce fighting.At an emergency NATO summit in Brussels, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pleaded with the Western allies via video for planes, tanks, rockets, air defense systems and other weapons, saying his country is “defending our common values.”U.S President Joe Biden, in Europe for the summit and other high-level meetings, gave assurances more aid is on its way, though it appeared unlikely the West would give Zelenskyy everything he wanted, for fear of triggering a much wider war.Around the capital, Kyiv, and other areas, Ukrainian defenders have fought Moscow’s ground troops to a near-stalemate, raising fears that a frustrated Russian President Vladimir Putin will resort to chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.Kyiv and Moscow gave conflicting accounts, meanwhile, about the people being relocated to Russia and whether they were going willingly — as Russia claimed — or were being coerced or lied to.Russian Col. Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev said the roughly 400,000 people evacuated to Russia since the start of the military action were from the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Moscow separatists have been fighting for control for nearly eight years.Russian authorities said they are providing accommodations and dispensing payments to the evacuees.But Donetsk Region Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko said that “people are being forcibly moved into the territory of the aggressor state.” Denisova said those removed by Russian troops included a 92-year-old woman in Mariupol who was forced to go to Taganrog in southern Russia.Ukrainian officials said that the Russians are taking people’s passports and moving them to “filtration camps” in Ukraine’s separatist-controlled east before sending them to various distant, economically depressed areas in Russia.Video: Kyiv firefighters respond to emergency callsAmong those taken, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry charged, were 6,000 residents of Mariupol, the devastated port city in the country’s east. Moscow’s troops are confiscating identity documents from an additional 15,000 people in a section of Mariupol under Russian control, the ministry said.Some could be sent as far as the Pacific island of Sakhalin, Ukrainian intelligence said, and are being offered jobs on condition they don’t leave for two years. The ministry said the Russians intend to “use them as hostages and put more political pressure on Ukraine.”Kyrylenko said that Mariupol’s residents have been long deprived of information and that the Russians feed them false claims about Ukraine’s defeats to persuade them to move to Russia.”Russian lies may influence those who have been under the siege,” he said.As for the naval attack in Berdyansk, Ukraine claimed two more ships were damaged and a 3,000-ton fuel tank was destroyed when the Russian ship Orsk was sunk, causing a fire that spread to ammunition supplies.Zelenskyy rallied the country to keep up its military defense in hopes it would lead to peace.”With every day of our defense, we are getting closer to the peace that we need so much. We are getting closer to victory. … We can’t stop even for a minute, for every minute determines our fate, our future, whether we will live,” he said late Thursday in his nightly video address to the nation.Zelenskyy said thousands of people, including 128 children, have died in the first month of the war. Across the country, 230 schools and 155 kindergartens have been destroyed. Cities and villages “lie in ashes,” he said.Sending a signal that Western sanctions have not brought it to its knees, Russia reopened its stock market but allowed only limited trading to prevent mass sell-offs. Foreigners were barred from selling, and traders were prohibited from short selling, or betting prices would fall.Millions of people in Ukraine have made their way out of the country, some pushed to the limit after trying to stay and cope.At the central station in the western city of Lviv, a teenage girl stood in the doorway of a waiting train, a white pet rabbit shivering in her arms. She was on her way to join her mother and then go on to Poland or Germany. She had been traveling alone, leaving other family members behind in Dnipro.”At the beginning I didn’t want to leave,” she said. “Now I’m scared for my life.”

Ukraine accused Moscow on Thursday of forcibly taking hundreds of thousands of civilians from shattered Ukrainian cities to Russia, where some may be used as “hostages” to pressure Kyiv to give up.

Lyudmyla Denisova, Ukraine’s ombudsperson, said 402,000 people, including 84,000 children, had been taken to Russia.

Here’s the latest on the Ukraine-Russia conflict as of 12:30 a.m. (Eastern):

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked EU leaders for working together to support Ukraine and impose sanctions on Russia, including Germany’s decision to block Russia from delivering natural gas to Europe through the new Nord Stream 2 pipeline. But he lamented that these steps weren’t taken earlier, saying there was a chance Russia would have thought twice about invading.
  • During a press conference Thursday in Brussels following a series of urgent NATO meetings on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, President Joe Biden said he wants Russia out of the G-20 and has raised the issue with other world leaders. The G-20, or Group of Twenty, is an intergovernmental forum of 19 countries and the European Union that works on major global issues.
  • The UN General Assembly has approved a resolution blaming Russia for the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and urged immediate cease-fire.
  • A U.S. official says the United States will welcome up to 100,000 refugees from Ukraine as 3.5 million flee Russia’s invasion.
  • Ukraine’s navy on Thursday reported destroying Russia’s large landing ship, Orsk, near the port city of Berdyansk.
  • The U.S. government has determined that Russian troops have committed war crimes in Ukraine, and it will work to prosecute the offenders.

The Kremlin gave nearly identical numbers for those who have been relocated, but said they wanted to go to Russia. Ukraine’s rebel-controlled eastern regions are predominantly Russian-speaking, and many people there have supported close ties to Moscow.

A month into the invasion, the two sides traded heavy blows in what has become a devastating war of attrition. Ukraine’s navy said it sank a large Russian landing ship near the port city of Berdyansk that had been used to bring in armored vehicles. Russia claimed to have taken the eastern town of Izyum after fierce fighting.

At an emergency NATO summit in Brussels, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pleaded with the Western allies via video for planes, tanks, rockets, air defense systems and other weapons, saying his country is “defending our common values.”

U.S President Joe Biden, in Europe for the summit and other high-level meetings, gave assurances more aid is on its way, though it appeared unlikely the West would give Zelenskyy everything he wanted, for fear of triggering a much wider war.

Around the capital, Kyiv, and other areas, Ukrainian defenders have fought Moscow’s ground troops to a near-stalemate, raising fears that a frustrated Russian President Vladimir Putin will resort to chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.

Kyiv and Moscow gave conflicting accounts, meanwhile, about the people being relocated to Russia and whether they were going willingly — as Russia claimed — or were being coerced or lied to.

Russian Col. Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev said the roughly 400,000 people evacuated to Russia since the start of the military action were from the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Moscow separatists have been fighting for control for nearly eight years.

Russian authorities said they are providing accommodations and dispensing payments to the evacuees.

But Donetsk Region Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko said that “people are being forcibly moved into the territory of the aggressor state.” Denisova said those removed by Russian troops included a 92-year-old woman in Mariupol who was forced to go to Taganrog in southern Russia.

Ukrainian officials said that the Russians are taking people’s passports and moving them to “filtration camps” in Ukraine’s separatist-controlled east before sending them to various distant, economically depressed areas in Russia.

Video: Kyiv firefighters respond to emergency calls

Among those taken, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry charged, were 6,000 residents of Mariupol, the devastated port city in the country’s east. Moscow’s troops are confiscating identity documents from an additional 15,000 people in a section of Mariupol under Russian control, the ministry said.

Some could be sent as far as the Pacific island of Sakhalin, Ukrainian intelligence said, and are being offered jobs on condition they don’t leave for two years. The ministry said the Russians intend to “use them as hostages and put more political pressure on Ukraine.”

Kyrylenko said that Mariupol’s residents have been long deprived of information and that the Russians feed them false claims about Ukraine’s defeats to persuade them to move to Russia.

“Russian lies may influence those who have been under the siege,” he said.

As for the naval attack in Berdyansk, Ukraine claimed two more ships were damaged and a 3,000-ton fuel tank was destroyed when the Russian ship Orsk was sunk, causing a fire that spread to ammunition supplies.

Zelenskyy rallied the country to keep up its military defense in hopes it would lead to peace.

“With every day of our defense, we are getting closer to the peace that we need so much. We are getting closer to victory. … We can’t stop even for a minute, for every minute determines our fate, our future, whether we will live,” he said late Thursday in his nightly video address to the nation.

Zelenskyy said thousands of people, including 128 children, have died in the first month of the war. Across the country, 230 schools and 155 kindergartens have been destroyed. Cities and villages “lie in ashes,” he said.

Sending a signal that Western sanctions have not brought it to its knees, Russia reopened its stock market but allowed only limited trading to prevent mass sell-offs. Foreigners were barred from selling, and traders were prohibited from short selling, or betting prices would fall.

Millions of people in Ukraine have made their way out of the country, some pushed to the limit after trying to stay and cope.

At the central station in the western city of Lviv, a teenage girl stood in the doorway of a waiting train, a white pet rabbit shivering in her arms. She was on her way to join her mother and then go on to Poland or Germany. She had been traveling alone, leaving other family members behind in Dnipro.

“At the beginning I didn’t want to leave,” she said. “Now I’m scared for my life.”

Ukraine says Moscow is forcibly taking civilians to Russia Source link Ukraine says Moscow is forcibly taking civilians to Russia

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