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Live blog: G7 financial support is crucial for ‘longer’ war — Ukraine

Saturday, April 15, 2023

A new international economic support package of $115 billion gives Ukraine more confidence that it can prevail in battling Russia’s offensive, amid growing recognition that the war could continue for longer than expected, Ukrainian Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko said.

Marchenko said Group of Seven (G7) finance ministers assured him during this week’s International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings in Washington that they will support Ukraine for as long as needed, a shift from last year when there was more pressure for Ukraine to agree to end the war.

He said the fresh pledge of economic support – unlocked by a new four-year, $15.6 billion IMF loan – was “tremendously” important for Ukraine, now in the second year of the war.

“We should be ready that this war will last longer than we expected,” he said, noting that G7 partners were no longer pushing Ukraine to accept an end to war – as they had last year – but were now signalling their support for a long conflict.

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1613 GMT — Zelenskyy imposes sanctions on 692 individuals, legal entities from Russia, Belarus

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy implemented the decision of the country’s National Security Council to impose sanctions on 692 individuals and legal entities from Russia and Belarus.

According to a decree published on the presidential website, the restrictive measures are introduced against 438 individuals and 254 enterprises from the two countries.

In particular, the sanctions were introduced against the daughter of Russian Defense Minister Ksenia Shoygu, Belarusian Minister of Sports and Tourism Sergey Kovalchuk, and two-time Olympic champion Svetlana Khorkina.

The sanctions are imposed for a period of 50 years.

1457 GMT — Mother, daughter killed in Kherson shelling- officials

A mother and her daughter were killed in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson by a Russian artillery strike, the regional administration said.

“This Russian shelling ended the lives of a 48-year-old woman and her 28-year-old daughter,” the administration wrote on the Telegram app.

It said the artillery barrage struck territory near an educational institution.

Russia has previously denied targeting civilians, although Kiev and its allies accuse Moscow of a long list of war crimes in Ukraine.

1425 GMT — Zelenskyy discussed Macron’s China visit with him – Kiev

Zelenskyy held a call with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in which the leaders discussed Macron’s visit to China, Zelenskyy said.

Macron visited China last week, where he urged Chinese leader Xi Jinping to “reason” with Russia to stop the war in Ukraine.

“I told him about the situation at the front and further intentions to liberate all our territories,” Zelenskyy wrote on the Telegram app. 

“I praised France’s intention to further strengthen important support for Ukraine on the battlefield.”

1410 GMT — Ukraine expects US missile system delivery after Easter

The death toll from Russian missile strikes on eastern Ukraine’s city of Sloviansk rose to 11 as rescue crews tried to reach people trapped in the rubble of an apartment building, Ukrainian authorities said. 

Ukraine’s air force said the country would soon have weapons with which to try to prevent attacks like the one on Friday. 

The delivery of the Patriot air defence system promised by the US was expected in Ukraine sometime after Easter, Ukrainian air force spokesperson Yuriy Ihnat said.

Speaking Saturday on Ukrainian state TV, Ihnat declined to give a precise timeline for the arrival of the defensive missile system but said the public would know “as soon as the first Russian aircraft is shot down.”

The primarily Orthodox Christian country is preparing to observe Easter on Sunday. 

1236 GMT — Russia claims gains north and south of Ukraine’s Bakhmut

Russia claimed advances on the northern and southern outskirts of Ukraine’s embattled city of Bakhmut, the scene of the longest and bloodiest battle of Moscow’s military campaign.

“Wagner assault units have successfully advanced, capturing two districts on the northern and southern outskirts of the city,” Russia’s defence ministry said in a briefing.

According to the ministry, Ukrainian troops “while retreating, are deliberately destroying city infrastructure and residential buildings in order to slow the advance” of Moscow’s forces. 

Kiev has said the battle for the town is key to holding back Russian forces along the entire eastern front.

1105 GMT — Russia’s military draft campaign running as planned: official

Russia’s regular spring military draft campaign is proceeding as scheduled and there are no plans to send out mass electronic notices under a new system just signed into law by President Vladimir Putin, a top official said.

The announcement by Colonel Andrei Biryukov, an official in an armed forces department responsible for the draft, appeared aimed at quelling speculation that Russia may quickly use the new system to launch another mass call-up for the war in Ukraine.

Biryukov said the first conscripts would be dispatched to “permanent deployment points on the territory of the Russian Federation” from April 20.

He emphasised that some people were still entitled to defer their military service, and said there would be no mass mailings of new electronic summonses to people of conscript age.

0806 GMT — Russian-installed official says Ukrainian shelling kills four civilians north of Donetsk

At least four people have been killed and 10 wounded by Ukrainian shelling of a residential area in a Russian-controlled town in eastern Ukraine, the top Russian-installed official in the region said.

The official, Denis Pushilin, said a seven-year-old girl was among those wounded in the town of Yasynuvata, just north of Donetsk.

Yasynuvata is about 80 kilometres south of Sloviansk, where Russian missiles hit residential buildings on Friday and killed at least nine people, including a two-year-old child.

Russia also said it was pushing further into the hotspot of Bakhmut, 45 kilometres southeast of Sloviansk, which is one of the cities that will be at risk if Kiev loses the longest and bloodiest battle of the war.

0417 GMT —  Brazil’s Lula in China tells US to stop supporting Ukraine war

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has said that the United States should stop “encouraging war” in Ukraine “and start talking about peace”.

“The United States needs to stop encouraging war and start talking about peace, the European Union needs to start talking about peace,” Lula told reporters in Beijing at the end of a visit to China where he met with President Xi Jinping.

Lula has used his visit to push the message that “Brazil is back” as a key player on the global stage — and to warn others that the South American country’s deepening relations with China are non-negotiable.

He lashed out at the power of the US dollar and the IMF and met representatives from Chinese tech giant Huawei in Shanghai, before meeting his counterpart Xi.

2000 GMT — Ukraine’s place is in NATO: Zelenskyy 

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said he discussed UK’s undivided support to Kiev as well as the acceleration of delivery of weapons and the next steps with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

“With Prime Minister [Rishi] Sunak we discussed the weapons for our soldiers — what we agreed with Britain, what will help our active steps, completely just steps. We discussed the acceleration of delivery,” Zelenskyy said.

In his address, Zelenskyy said he held another meeting on Euro-Atlantic integration and Ukraine’s bid to join NATO.

“It is obvious that Ukraine’s place is in NATO, a legal place. And we do not want the outdated illusions, which until now held back our joining the alliance, continued taking time away from Ukraine and its partners,” he said.

2012 GMT — Ukraine says it wants security guarantees before joining NATO

The head of Zelenskyy’s office, Andriy Yermak, has also expressed his gratitude for Britain’s strong support to Kiev during a meeting with UK’s envoy to Ukraine Melinda Simmons.

Yermak briefed her on the urgent need for Ukraine to continue its fight for independence and both discussed the preparations for the upcoming NATO summit in July this year in Vilnius.

Yermak also raised the issue of formalising security guarantees for Ukraine, something that Kiev wants before joining NATO.

Citing “Kiev Security Compact”, Yermak said he is sure the recommendations, if taken into account, will provide reliable security guarantees as well as build a new system of security for Europe and the world.

For our live updates from Friday (April 14), click here.

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