The Russian government said today that it will not use nuclear weapons in Ukraine. According to Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexei Zaitsev, Russia’s use of nuclear weapons was not applicable to what he calls its special military operation in Ukraine.
Yesterday, the Speaker of the Russian Parliament had said that Russia might consider using nuclear weapons. “We only consider the possibility of answering [com um dispositivo nuclear] to a targeted attack,” said Vyacheslav Volodin. In late February, Russia announced that it was putting its nuclear deterrent forces on alert in the face of “aggressive declarations” by major NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) countries due to the Russian military, according to Moscow, in Ukraine.
Russia’s war in Ukraine reached its 72nd day today with attacks on Ukrainian territory. Ukraine’s Defense indicated that Russian forces continued to fire on “residential areas and suburbs of Kharkiv“, the country’s second largest city. Today, several regions in central Ukraine, including Kiev, are on alert for the possibility of air strikes.
Russia said in its report that it had attacked several areas in eastern Ukraine, in actions in which “up to 280 nationalists [combatentes ucranianos] and 41 units of military equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were destroyed”.
Zelensky and Churchill
For George W. Bush, who led the United States between 2001 and 2009, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is “the Winston Churchill of our time”, in reference to the British prime minister during the Second World War.
“I thanked the president for his leadership, his example and his commitment to freedom and I saluted the courage of the Ukrainian people,” said yesterday the former US president – who led the US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan in the early 1990s. 2000—referring to a conversation he had with the Ukrainian.
“Zelensky assured me that they will not waver in their fight against the barbarism and violence of the [presidente russo, Vladimir] Putin. Americans are inspired by their courage and resilience. We will continue to support Ukrainians as they defend their freedom.”
On Sunday (8), Zelensky will participate in a virtual meeting of the G7, a group that brings together Germany, Canada, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Japan.
Attacks and Evacuation
The Azovstal complex, where civilians are refugees and Ukrainian fighters make resistance in the port city of Mariupol, is the target of attacks. According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, “in some areas, with the support of aviation, [as forças russas] resumed assault operations to take control of the plant”.
Fighters say a car was hit today that would evacuate civilians from Azovstal, according to the Ukrainian government. At least one person died and six others were injured, according to the Azov Regiment, which has fighters in the compound. The information could not be verified with independent sources.
Earlier, according to the Chief of Staff of the Presidency of Ukraine, andriy Yermakin a message published around 3:00 am (Brasília time), it was possible to remove around 500 civilians from azovstal and from the region of Mariupol so far. “Ukraine will continue to do everything to save all civilians and military personnel.” According to him, “the next stage of rescuing our people from azovstal is underway.” Today, the Ukrainian government also asked the MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières) “to form an evacuation mission to save the defenders of azovstal“.
Yesterday, the Secretary-General of the UN (United Nations), which works in the organization of corridors for the evacuation of civilians, said he hoped that continued coordination with Russia and Ukraine would lead “to more humanitarian pauses to allow the safe passage of civilians”. “.
According to UK Ministry of Defense intelligence, “Russia’s renewed effort to secure Azovstal and complete the capture of Mariupol is likely linked to the upcoming Victory Day celebrations. [em referência à Segunda Guerra]9 May and Putin’s desire for a symbolic success in Ukraine”.
Russian forces are expected to try to stage parades in occupied cities in Ukraine next Monday.
Ukraine’s allies, the British said “this effort cost Russia personnel, equipment and ammunition”. “While Ukrainian resistance continues in Azovstal, Russian losses will continue to mount and thwart their operational plans south of Donbass. [área separatista, no leste ucraniano].”
The Ukrainian government issued a warning today for the possibility of attacks on May 8 and 9. “As Russian troops cannot boast of significant achievements before Victory Day, the risk of massive bombing of Ukrainian cities is increasing.”
Ukrainian government officials say a curfew is planned for the entire country in the coming days because of this fear. Officially, there has been no announcement of the measure so far. The mayor of Kiev, Vitaliy Klitschko, however, denies that there is a possibility of restriction in the capital region.
In Moscow, a speech by Putin is planned for the Victory Day parade, according to Russian government spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
“Victory Day is not just a holiday. Victory Day for all Russians, for almost all residents of the former territory of the Soviet Union, is a holy day,” Peskov said, citing the symbolism of the date because of the “Victory Day” feeling of pain we suffer for the victims and of pride for our country and for our victory. So nothing will overshadow that.”
The German Defense Ministry announced today that it will supply seven cannons to Ukraine to help it defend itself against Russian invaders. The delivery date was not disclosed. Recently, the Netherlands announced the delivery to Kiev of the same type of weapon.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, yesterday reported violations that took place in the conflict on Ukrainian territory.
“Men were arrested, beaten, summarily executed and, in some cases, taken to Belarus and Russia, without the knowledge of their families, and held in pre-trial detention,” he said. “Families were shot while trying to escape in convoys. In some areas it was dangerous to cross the street, with snipers or soldiers shooting at anyone who tried.”
According to the high commissioner, in areas controlled by Russia, there are reports of at least 180 cases of “arbitrary arrests and possible forced disappearances” of local authorities, journalists, civil society activists, retired military personnel, among others. “We also documented eight possible enforced disappearances of people deemed pro-Russian in government-controlled territory.”
According to Bachelet, there is information about “cases of women who were raped by the Russian armed forces in areas that were under their control, as well as other allegations of sexual violence by both sides of the conflict.” “Dark evidence of torture, ill-treatment and summary executions of prisoners of war committed by both sides of the conflict is emerging.”
The only way to end these horrors is for the armed forces to fully respect their obligations under international human rights law and international humanitarian law.
Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
According to the high commissioner, until yesterday, the UN counted the deaths of 6,371 civilians due to the Russian war. She added that “the list of serious violations of international human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law continues to grow every day”.
“We cannot let the number of casualties continue to rise,” she said, calling for a ceasefire, which she says, in one day, could save the lives of “at least 50 civilian children, women and men, including many elderly people.” “, he said. “More importantly, a ceasefire will show that the horror in Ukraine can be stopped.” Bachelet promises to present in June a report on the situation in Ukraine between February 24, the date of the beginning of the Russian invasion, and May 15.
The European section of the WHO (World Health Organization) announced that next week it will study a resolution in which it considers closing its office in Moscow due to the invasion of Ukraine. A special session will be held on April 10.
(With Reuters and AFP)