Ukraine is preparing for a new Russian offensive as Moscow denies rape allegations

  • Zhelensky says Russia could use chemical weapons
  • The Austrian leader met with Putin and warned of a ‘massive’ attack
  • UN official cites growing reports of rape
  • The United States urges India to reduce Russia’s oil and gas

LVV, Ukraine, April 12 (Reuters) – Ukraine has demanded more weapons from the West to end the siege of Mariupol and prevent a possible Russian offensive in the east, following reports of Russian violence and brutality against Ukrainian civilians. Forces.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selensky said in a televised speech late Monday that Russia could deploy troops in the eastern Donbass region and seek chemical weapons for a new offensive in the port of Mariupol, where thousands are believed to have died. The siege of the week. read more

“When it comes to the weapons we need, we are still dependent on our partners. Unfortunately, we do not have enough resources to end this war quickly … in particular, to lift the siege of Mariupol,” he said.

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The first EU leader to meet face-to-face with Russian President Vladimir Putin since he called it a “special operation”, Austrian President Carl Nehmer, said the offensive in the east was “preparing on a massive scale” following talks in Moscow on Monday. Size “. Read more

After heavy casualties and the withdrawal of troops from the suburbs of Kyiv, Russia has turned its attention to the Donbass, where it is demanding that Ukraine hand over control to separatist militants. The capture of Mariupol would allow Moscow to encircle the main Ukrainian force in the east.

Civilians of the Ukrainian armed forces, who provided the usual early morning siege from the conflict zone, said that in addition to trying to control Mariupol, Russian forces were also aiming to capture the town of Bobasna, more than two hours west of Luhansk. An attack was planned in the direction of Kurokov in the Donetsk region.

The Ukrainian military says it has repelled attacks in both Luhansk and Donetsk, destroying four tanks, five armored vehicles, 26 vehicles and eight enemy artillery systems. It said its forces shot down a Russian plane, two helicopters and four drones. Reuters could not verify those figures independently.

On Tuesday, Luhansk Governor Serhiy Gaidai called for the evacuation of residents using five humanitarian corridors approved for the eastern Ukrainian region.

“It is very scary to burn from your sleep from the Russian shell,” he wrote in the Telegram news app. “Get out. The situation is getting worse every day. Pick up your essentials and go to the pickpoint.”

In all, nine humanitarian corridors were agreed on Tuesday, including one for private cars from Mariupol, said Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vareshchuk.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Lis Tras said on Monday that Britain was working with its allies to verify reports that Russian forces may have used chemicals in the attack on Mariupol.

“There are some things beyond the light, and the use of chemical weapons will get an answer and all the options are on the table for what that answer will be,” James Hippie, Britain’s defense minister, told Sky News.

Accused of rape and execution

The withdrawal of Russian troops from the suburbs of Kiev has brought to light horrific allegations of war crimes, including executions and civilian rape. Moscow has denied the allegations in a statement issued Friday stating “Similar, baseless allegations concerning Ukrainian and Western provisions have been made more than once.

Sima Bahaus, a senior UN official, told the Security Council on Monday that although all allegations should be investigated independently, “the brutality shown against Ukrainian citizens has raised all red flags.”

“We hear a lot about rape and sexual assault,” he said. read more

Russia’s deputy ambassador has denied the allegations, accusing Ukraine and its allies of “clearly intent on portraying Russian soldiers as brutal and rapists.”

Russia’s Ministry of Defense has said that the Ukrainian government is being led by the United States to sow false evidence of Russian violence against civilians, despite Moscow’s alleged “unprecedented measures to protect civilians.” read more

Ukraine’s deputy prime minister has accused Russia of holding civilians in prisons on Russian soil, including journalists, activists and elected officials. Reuters could not confirm the allegation. read more

Pressure U.S.

According to Russian and Belarusian news agencies, Putin will meet with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Tuesday to discuss the situation in Ukraine and Western sanctions. Belarus is an important location for Russian forces.

The United States sought to pressure Putin to withdraw its troops by banning Russia’s oil and gas and encouraging allies to follow suit.

But world powers, including China and India, have not banned Russia. Data compiled by Reuters shows that India, inspired by the steep oil rebate, has bought more Russian crude since the start of the February 24 invasion than it did last year. read more

White House spokeswoman Zhen Zaki said in a video call to US President Joe Biden that they had made it very clear to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that they were not interested in increasing Russia’s reliance on energy.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said that Moscow will not stop fighting for any new round of peace talks, which last convened on April 1.

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Reuters bureau report; Written by Stephen Coates & Simon Cameron-Moore; Editing Lincoln Feast.

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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