German supply of heavy weapons to Ukraine permitted by international law: Minister of Justice

KYIV – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has threatened to break off talks with Moscow if Russian forces exterminate the remaining Ukrainian soldiers trapped in the besieged port city of Mariupol, as explosions rocked Kyiv, Lviv and several other cities following the wish of Moscow to step up attacks on the 51st day of the war.

“The elimination of our troops, of our men [in Mariupol]will end all negotiations,” he said in an interview with the Ukrayinska Pravda news site on April 16. “It will lead to a stalemate because we are not negotiating over our territories or our people.

Live briefing: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

RFE/RL Live briefing gives you all the major developments on the invasion of Russia, how kyiv is fighting back, the plight of civilians and the Western reaction. For all of RFE/RL’s coverage of the war, click here.

Peace talks have taken place between the two sides since the start of the February 24 Russian invasion, with little or no progress.

Air raid sirens could be heard in many parts of Ukraine on April 16 amid continued fighting, including in kyiv, after Russia said it would seek revenge on the capital after blaming the Ukraine to target Russian border towns.

Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko said at least one person was killed and several others injured in early morning attacks.

The Ukrainian military said Russian warplanes took off from Belarus for the attacks on kyiv and Lviv, while four cruise missiles were shot down by Ukrainian air defenses.

“For Kyivites who have left and are already considering returning to the capital, I ask you to refrain from doing so and stay in safer places,” Klitschko said in a statement. message on his Telegram channel.

Reports from April 16 said heavy fighting continued in several parts of the besieged city as Ukrainian troops tried to push back Russian soldiers who have been reinforced with reinforcements in recent days.

Zelenskiy said in his nightly address to the nation that his military successes and the impact of international sanctions against Russia will determine the duration of the war.

“The success of our military on the battlefield has been truly significant. Historically significant. But it’s still not enough to rid our territory of invading forces,” he said.

“Sanctions against Russia are very serious, economically painful. But this is not enough to starve the Russian military machine. We must promote stronger and more destructive sanctions. This will determine the duration of this war,” he said. added.

Zelensky told CNN in an interview aired late on April 15, between 2,500 and 3,000 Ukrainian soldiers have died so far, with around 10,000 more wounded in action. He said he was not counting on civilian casualties.

Earlier on April 15, police said the bodies of more than 900 civilians were discovered in the Kyiv region after Russian forces withdrew.

“It’s very difficult to talk about civilians, because in the south of our country, where the cities are blocked — Kherson, Berdyansk, Mariupol further east, and the area in the east where Volnovakha is — we don’t we just don’t know how many people died in this area that’s blocked off, Zelenskiy said.

Zelenskiy put the number of Russian military casualties at around 19,000 to 20,000, well above Moscow’s recent statement that it had lost around 1,350 soldiers.

None of the figures could be independently verified. Western intelligence estimates indicate that several thousand soldiers died on the Russian side.

Russia’s promise to inflict more damage on Ukraine came a day after a symbolic defeat with the loss of its Black Sea Fleet flagship, the Moskva, which sank during a tow to port on April 14 after sustaining heavy damage in circumstances that remain in dispute. .

“The number and scale of missile attacks against objects in Kyiv will be intensified in response to the nationalist regime in Kyiv committing terrorist attacks or hijackings on Russian territory,” the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said. , Major General Igor Konashenkov.

The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) dismissed Russia’s accusations over the attacks on Russian cities, calling them “an attempt to trigger anti-Ukrainian hysteria in Russia”.

kyiv, however, claimed to have hit the Moskva with Neptune anti-ship missiles early on April 14, while Russia said a fire broke out on the ship, causing an explosion.

The US military agreed with the Ukrainian version.

“We estimate they hit it with two Neptunes,” a senior Pentagon official said in a briefing with reporters on April 15, calling it a “crushing blow” for Moscow.

The strikes reportedly caused casualties, but it was difficult to assess the number, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The official added that the United States had observed survivors picked up by other Russian ships in the area. Russia said the crew of the Moskva had been evacuated to nearby ships.

In retaliation, Russian airstrikes on the night of April 16 targeted a factory outside kyiv that is believed to have manufactured the missiles used in the attack on the Moskva.

Meanwhile, the United States and its Western allies continued to pressure Moscow during its campaign.

The German government said on April 15 that it planned to release more than one billion euros in military aid to Ukraine.

The move comes amid criticism from Ukraine and some EU partners such as Poland and the Baltic states that Germany has not done enough to send armaments to kyiv.

In response on April 16, the Russian Foreign Ministry mentioned it barred British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and several other cabinet ministers from British moves to isolate Moscow and cripple the country’s economy.

The department listed 13 UK officials in total, including former Prime Minister Theresa May, and warned it would be expanded “in the near future”.

WATCH: A Ukrainian woman has given RFE/RL a detailed account of how she was raped by a Russian army soldier. To protect his privacy, we have pixelated his face and are not disclosing his name. The Ukrainian police have been informed of the case.

Ukrainian authorities continue to expect an imminent and reinforced offensive by Russian forces in the east of the country.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said nine humanitarian corridors were agreed with Russia on April 16 to allow the evacuation of civilians from several towns, including the besieged port of Mariupol.

Vereshchuk said 363 people from Mariupol were among 2,864 people evacuated from the conflict zone on April 15.

Reports from April 16 said heavy fighting continued in several parts of the besieged city as Ukrainian troops tried to push back Russian soldiers who have been reinforced with reinforcements in recent days.

According to Ukraine, tens of thousands of people were killed in Mariupol, a strategic city that saw some of the worst fighting of the war.

“The humanitarian corridors in the Luhansk region will operate subject to the cessation of shelling by the [Russian] strengths,” she said. She added that the Berdyansk, Tokmak, Mariupol and Enerhodar corridors will only be accessible by private transport.

Britain says Moscow’s targeting of civilian infrastructure is hampering the distribution of humanitarian aid to civilians in areas where Russian troops have withdrawn.

“Road infrastructure in conflict-affected areas in Ukraine has suffered significant damage,” the UK Ministry of Defense said. said in a tweet April 16. “Russian troops exacerbated this by destroying bridges, employing landmines and abandoning vehicles along key roads as they retreated from northern Ukraine.”

The ministry said the destruction of river crossings in and around Chernihiv, for example, left only one pedestrian bridge in the city to cross the Desna River.

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