Forty countries meet in Germany to strengthen Ukraine’s defense

Russia tells the world not to underestimate the enormous risks of nuclear war and warns that Western conventional weapons were legitimate targets in Ukraine, where battles rage on the 62nd day.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has invited defense ministers and senior military officials from around the world to discuss the Ukraine crisis. (AFP)

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Forty countries meet in Germany to strengthen Ukraine’s defense

Forty countries are holding emergency talks in Germany on strengthening the defense of Ukraine, which the head of the US Pentagon says “can win” against Russia if it has the necessary means and support.

The meeting convened by the United States at its Ramstein Air Base in southwestern Germany is “focused on building additional capabilities for Ukrainian forces”, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said after his Sunday visit to Kyiv.

Just before the talks, Germany, under pressure from the United States and its allies, signaled that it was ready to allow deliveries of Gepard anti-aircraft tanks to Ukraine, which would constitute a major change in policy. Berlin’s cautious approach to supplying defense equipment to kyiv.

Two explosions near the western border of Ukraine

Police in the breakaway Moldovan region of Transnistria said two explosions on Tuesday morning at a radio facility near the Ukrainian border knocked out two powerful antennas.

The incident happened in the small town of Maiac about 12 kilometers west of the border with Ukraine, according to the region’s interior ministry.

It comes just a day after several explosions, believed to be caused by rocket-propelled grenades, reportedly hit the Ministry of State Security in the region’s capital city of Tiraspol. No one was injured in the blasts, officials said.

Security meeting in Moldova on explosions in Russian-backed region

The president of former Soviet Moldova has called a meeting of the country’s security council after a series of explosions in the breakaway Russian-backed region of Transnistria.

President Maia Sandu was due to hold a meeting of the country’s Supreme Security Council followed by a press briefing on Tuesday afternoon, after explosions hit a radio tower and the Ministry of Security in the breakaway region.

Russia and Belarus to hold joint air force exercises

Russia and Belarus will hold joint exercises of their air forces and air defense forces in Belarus, the Minsk Defense Ministry said in a statement.

The exercises will take place from April 26 to 29, the ministry said.

Deadly rocket fire on Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region

At least one person was killed and another injured in a rocket strike on business premises in the Zaporizhzhia region of southern Ukraine, local authorities said.

The regional administration said two rockets hit the premises and a third rocket exploded before reaching its target.

Bulgarian Prime Minister asks the public to donate a month’s salary to Ukraine

Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov has called on Bulgarian citizens to donate one month’s salary to a fund to buy arms for Ukraine.

“I call on all Bulgarian citizens who really want to help Ukraine give a salary like me. Words are easy, deeds are hard,” Petkov said in a Facebook post on Monday.

Sharing a bank receipt of his donation, he said he had donated one month’s salary to the fund.

Russia strikes more than 90 targets in Ukraine, killing 500 soldiers

Russia struck more than 90 military targets in Ukraine overnight, killing at least 500 Ukrainian soldiers and destroying dozens of armored vehicles, artillery and other military equipment, the defense ministry said.

Russia also said it struck two ammunition depots in the Kharkiv region of eastern Ukraine.

Norway to allocate $44 million to purchase British-led Ukrainian weapons

Norway will allocate $43.7 million (400 million crowns) to a British-led initiative to buy arms from Ukraine, the Norwegian prime minister has said.

Norway could also make additional direct arms shipments to Ukraine on top of those it has already made, Jonas Gahr Stoere told parliament.

Separatist leader: Moscow should launch next phase of campaign

The Russian-backed separatist leader of Ukraine’s separatist Donetsk region said Moscow is expected to launch the next stage of its military campaign in Ukraine after reaching the region’s borders, the RIA news agency reported.

Denis Pushilin, the leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, made the comment during a Russian talk show broadcast online.

UK increases humanitarian aid to Ukraine

The British government has announced an increase in humanitarian supplies for war-torn Ukraine, including ambulances and fire engines.

The government will provide new ambulances and fire engines to Kyiv, as well as funding for UK charities working across Ukraine.

“We have all been appalled by the abhorrent images of hospitals deliberately targeted by Russia since the invasion began more than two months ago,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement.

EU aims for zero dependence on Russian oil and gas by 2027

The European Union (EU) aims to reduce its dependence on Russian oil and gas to two-thirds by the end of the year and to zero by the end of 2027, the commissioner said to the bloc economy Paolo Gentiloni to the daily Il Messaggero in an interview published on Tuesday.

Gentiloni also told the newspaper that the EU would cut its own growth estimates for 2022 from a previous target of 4%, adding, however, that it is too early to tell whether the slowdown will lead to stagnation.

The EU will publish its spring forecast on May 16.

Russian official: Ukraine shoots Russian village

Several buildings were damaged in the village of Golovchino in Russia’s Belgorod province, which came under Ukrainian fire on Tuesday morning, regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said on the Telegram messaging app without citing evidence.

Hours earlier, Gladkov said at least two people were injured in an attack on another village, Zhuravlyovka.

He did not specify whether the two attacks were cases of artillery or mortar fire or missile fire.

Spain seizes bank accounts, yachts, properties belonging to Russians

Spanish authorities have frozen 12 bank accounts and funds and seized three yachts and 23 properties belonging to Russian oligarchs since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, the prime minister’s chief of staff has said.

Speaking in the Spanish parliament, Oscar Lopez said the assets had been seized in line with European Union sanctions imposed on Russian oligarchs.

Over the past two months, Spanish authorities have seized the yachts of billionaires Viktor Vekselberg, Alexander Mikheev and Sergey Chemezov.

Britain says Russia is trying to encircle Ukraine’s positions in the east

Russia is likely trying to encircle heavily fortified Ukrainian positions in the east of the country, the British military said in an update.

Reports say the town of Kreminna has fallen, with heavy fighting in the southern town of Izium, as Russian forces attempt to advance towards the towns of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, the UK Ministry of Defense said on Twitter.

“Ukrainian forces have prepared defenses in Zaporizhzhia in anticipation of a possible Russian attack from the south,” he added in the regular bulletin.

Six Ukrainian women train to demine their country

Six Ukrainian women have started demining training in Kosovo to clear explosive devices in their war-torn country.

This is the first group of Ukrainian deminers to be trained by MAT Kosovo, part of the Malta-based PCM group of companies.

Instructors teach them how to dispose of unexploded ordnance, such as cluster munitions, minefields, booby traps and other explosive remnants.

For live updates from Monday, April 25, click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies