Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

Ukraine criticizes Hungary’s willingness to buy Russian gas in rubles as “unfriendly act”

Tension is growing between the governments of Ukraine and Hungary as Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba criticized Budapest’s unwillingness to take a harder stance on Moscow.

Kuleba said he views Hungary’s willingness to pay for Russian gas in rubles, something Putin has demanded, as an “unfriendly act.” Ukraine also said that Hungary, which opposes energy sanctions on Russia despite the evidence of Russian atrocities against civilians, fortifies Russia’s impunity and encourages it “to commit new atrocities against Ukrainians.”

“If Hungary really wants to help end the war, here’s how to do it: stop destroying unity in the EU, support new anti-Russian sanctions, provide military assistance to Ukraine, and not create additional sources of funding for Russia’s military machine,” said Oleg Nikolenko, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson. “It is never too late to get on the right side of history.”

Hungary pushed back, saying that interfering with its energy needs, for which it is heavily dependent on Russia, would be a red line. Hungary has condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and taken in hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees, but Hungarian President Viktor Orban has refused to criticize Putin and recently referred to Hungarian President Viktor Orban as his “enemy.”

— Natasha Turak

Russian artillery and air strikes continue along Donbas line of control: UK’s Defense Ministry

“Progressing offensive operations in eastern Ukraine is the main focus of Russian military forces,” Britain’s Defense Ministry said in a tweet.

Russian attacks continue along the Donbas line of control in Ukraine’s east, the ministry said, adding that strikes against infrastructure targets in Ukraine are “likely intended to degrade the ability of the Ukrainian military to resupply and increase pressure on the Ukrainian government.”

Still, despite refocusing its forces and logistical operations in the Donbas, Russian forces “are likely to continue facing morale issues and shortages of supplies and personnel,” the ministry said.

— Natasha Turak

Ukrainian foreign minister’s request to NATO: ‘Weapons, weapons, and weapons’

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba met with G7 and NATO members on Thursday in a bid to gather more support for his country’s fight against Russia.

“I came here today to discuss three most important things: weapons, weapons, and weapons. Ukraine’s urgent needs, the sustainability of supplies, and long-term solutions which will help Ukraine to prevail,” he wrote in a tweet.

Kuleba asked specifically for planes, missiles, armored vehicles, and heavy air defense systems. The meeting came as Russia intensifies its strikes on Ukraine’s east and south after retreating from areas around the capital Kyiv.

— Natasha Turak

Shell to write off roughly $5 billion in assets after leaving Russia

Shell will write off between $4 and $5 billion in the value of its assets after pulling out of Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, revealing some of the financial impact to Western oil companies of leaving Russia.

“For the first quarter 2022 results, the post-tax impact from impairment of non-current assets and additional charges (eg write-downs of receivable, expected credit losses, and onerous contracts) relating to Russia activities are expected to be $4 to $5 billion,” Shell said in a statement Thursday.

The company added that the additional charges “will not impact Adjusted Earnings.”

— Natasha Turak

UN says 63 children are among the 1,563 civilians killed in Ukraine

A young boy gives an offering of food to his mother’s grave as his younger brother and a neighbor stand next to it, in the town of Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, after the Ukrainian army secured the area following the withdrawal of the Russian army from the Kyiv region on previous days, Bucha, Ukraine, April 4th, 2022.

Narciso Contreras | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The United Nations has confirmed 1,563 civilian deaths and 2,213 injuries in Ukraine since Russia invaded its neighbor on Feb. 24.

Of those killed, the UN has identified at least 63 children.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights adds that the death tolls in Ukraine are likely t higher, citing delayed reporting due to the armed conflict.

A resident searches for the graves of relatives in a cemetery in Chernihiv, northern Ukraine, on April 5, 2022.

Sergei Supinsky | AFP | Getty Images

The international body says that most of the civil damages recorded were caused by the use of explosive weapons, including shelling from heavy and multiple launch missile systems, as well as missile and airstrikes.

The UN says the war has created more than 4.2 million Ukrainian refugees, mostly the elderly, women and children.

Serhii Lahovskyi, 26, mourns next to the grave of his friend killed Ihor Lytvynenko, who according to residents was by Russian soldiers, after they found him beside a building’s basement, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Bucha, in Kyiv region, Ukraine, April 6, 2022.

Alkis Konstantinidis | Reuters

US charges Russian oligarch with Ukraine-related sanction violations

Konstantin Malofeev, chairman of the board of directors of the Tsargrad media group, speaks during an interview with Reuters in Moscow, Russia September 16, 2021.

Tatyana Makeyeva | Reuters

The Department of Justice charged Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev for conspiracy to violate and for violating US sanctions that were imposed in 2014 following Moscow’s illegal annexation of Crimea.

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctioned Malofeyev, 47, eight years ago for playing “a leading role in supporting Russia’s 2014 invasion of eastern Ukraine.” He remains at large but is believed to be in Russia, according to US authorities.

The FBI said Malofeyev “recently described Russia’s 2022 military invasion of Ukraine as a holy war.”

The Russian embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request to comment on the charges.

Amanda Macias

US Putin’s adult children, bans all new investment in Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to Governor of the Novgorod Region Andrei Nikitin during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia March 22, 2022.

Mikhail Klimentyev | Sputnik | Reuters

The US announced a slate of new sanctions on Russia as it tries to squeeze Moscow’s economy and elites in response to mounting Russian atrocities in Ukraine.

The Biden administration will ban all new investment in Russia and put full blocking sanctions on Sberbank and Alfa Bank, two of the country’s largest financial institutions.

The US will also sanction two adult daughters of Russian President Vladimir Putin and family members of other top Russian officials.

The Biden administration believes “many of Putin’s assets are hidden with family members, and that’s why we’re targeting them,” said a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

— Christina Wilkie

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Andrew Naughtie

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