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Lach Gates on Independence Square in Kiev. - Sputnik International

LIVE UPDATES: Kiev Agrees to UN Proposal on Orthodox Easter Ceasefire - Ukrainian Foreign Ministry

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Russia launched the special operation in Ukraine on 24 February in order to stop the eight-year-long war in Donbass waged by Kiev's troops. The Russian forces have targeted Ukrainian military infrastructure with high-precision weapons, while the DPR and LPR started reclaiming the territory of their Republics.
Since the beginning of the operation, Russian forces have eliminated 140 Ukrainian warplanes, 490 drones, 2,367 tanks and armoured vehicles, as well as many other objects, according to the Ministry of Defence.
The situation remains tense in Donbass, where the Russian troops and Donbass militia are eliminating remaining Ukrainian radicals at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol.
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Table of contents
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01:15 GMT 21.04.2022
Biden to Provide Update on Russia, Ukraine at Briefing on Thursday
US President Joe Biden will deliver a speech om Thursday to provide an update on the situation around the Russian military operation in Ukraine, the White House said.
"9:45 AM [13:45 GMT] THE PRESIDENT provides an update on Russia and Ukraine," the White House said in a schedule.
01:03 GMT 21.04.2022
Russian Troops Discover an Arsenal of Weapons Near City of Kherson
Servicemen of the Russian National Guard patrol the area next to the Alley of Fame memorial complex, as Russia's military operation in Ukraine continues, in Kherson, Ukraine. - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.04.2022
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
Russian Servicemen Discover Cache With Weapons Near Kherson
22:18 GMT 20.04.2022
France Should Prevent Escalation in Ukraine, Macron Says
The French role in the Ukrainian crisis is to prevent the further escalation, French President Emmanuel Macron said during the election debates.
"We should stick to our policy that envisages the prevention of this war's spread. The French role is also to provide support for Ukraine," Macron said during the debates with his opponent, Marine Le Pen.
According to the incumbent president, Europe and France should become a balancing force.
On April 10, France held the first round of the presidential election. Macron gained 27.84 percent of votes, Le Pen 23.15 percent, and the two politicians will face each other on April 24.
21:14 GMT 20.04.2022
Despite Ukraine Crisis, G20 Countries Recognize Importance of Cooperation, Indonesian Minister Stresses
United Arab Emirates' Finance Minister Mohamed Al Hussaini, front row from left, Australia's Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani, Indonesia's Central Bank Governor Perry Warjiyo, Italy's Central Bank Senior Deputy Governor Luigi Federico Signorini, Chairman of Financial Stability Board (FSB) Klaas Knot and other delegates pose for a photo during the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.04.2022
G20 States Understand Need to Cooperate Despite Tensions Over Ukraine, Indonesian Minister Says
21:06 GMT 20.04.2022
West Has Total Control Over Kiev, Ex-Ukrainian Official Says
This image made available by the Ukraine Presidential Press Office shows Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, center, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, center left, as they tour downtown Kiev, Ukraine, on Saturday, April 9, 2022. - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.04.2022
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
Former Ukrainian Official Says Kiev Fully Controlled by West
19:18 GMT 20.04.2022
US Defense Chief, Polish Counterpart Discuss Assistance for Ukraine, Pentagon Says
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin received his Polish counterpart, Mariusz Blaszczak, in Washington to discuss ongoing security assistance for Ukraine during Russia’s special military operation and Poland’s military modernization plans, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Wednesday.
"Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III met with Polish Minister of National Defence Mariusz Błaszczak in Washington to discuss ongoing security assistance efforts for Ukraine and ways to continue to advance the U.S.-Poland defense relationship," Kirby said in a statement. "The two leaders also discussed Poland’s robust defense modernization plans, agreeing to work together to help the Polish military become one of the most capable in Europe."
The two agreed to closely coordinate in advance of the NATO defense ministerial and the Madrid NATO summit in June, according to the statement.
19:15 GMT 20.04.2022
US Imposes Visa Restrictions on Russian, Donetsk, Lugansk Officials
The United States has imposed restrictions on a number of officials from Russia, Lugansk and Donetsk republics, the State Department said on Wednesday.
"Action to impose visa restrictions on 587 Russian individuals pursuant to a new policy under Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which was announced March 15.  The policy applies to Russian government officials involved in suppressing dissent in Russia and abroad," the statement said.
The sanctions, in particular, target Russian officials Khusein Khutaev, Nurid Salamov, and Dzhabrail Akhmatov.
"Khutaev, Salamov, and Akhmatov were publicly designated for their involvement in a gross violation of human rights perpetrated against human rights defender Oyub Titiev," the statement said.
The restrictions also target "ten purported 'authorities' of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic who are further reported to have been involved in human rights abuses at prison facilities and places of unofficial detention in Russia-controlled areas of the Donbass since 2014," the statement concluded.
18:52 GMT 20.04.2022
Cavusoglu Sees Forces Among NATO Countries Interested in Continuing Conflict in Ukraine
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that there were forces among the NATO countries that are interested in continuing the current situation in Ukraine in order to "weaken Russia."
"I personally did not expect the situation to last so long. Especially after the meeting in Istanbul. But at the meeting of the NATO foreign ministers, I already found out for myself that the situation will last," Cavusoglu said in an interview with CNN Turk.
Answering whether NATO was interested in continuing the situation, Cavusoglu said that "there are such forces."
"Yes, of course, there are such forces. They want Russia to be further weakened. But who pays the price for this? Ukraine," he stressed.
It is difficult to talk about the timing of the meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Turkey, but Ankara hopes it will happen soon, Cavusoglu said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is "in active contact" with Putin and Zelenskyy to organize their meeting, offered to do it "as soon as possible," he said, adding that Erdogan's phone conversations with Putin and Zelenskyy were planned "in the coming days."
Turkey also proposes a meeting of the foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine in Istanbul or Antalya, the minister added.
17:46 GMT 20.04.2022
US Imposes New Russia-Related Sanctions
The United States added 40 Russian entities and 29 individuals to the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s (OFAC) list of sanctioned nationals, the Treasury Department said on Wednesday in an update of the list.
The new sanctions target individuals, including the head of Russia’s central bank Kseniya Yudayeva and Otkritie FC Bank chief Mikhail Zadornov, as well as other individuals connected to Russia's financial institutions, according to the Treasury Department update.
The new round of US sanctions also targets Russian tycoon Konstantin Malofeyev and his network as well as Russian financial institution Transkapitalbank.
OFAC sanctioned Malofeyev for having allegedly acted on behalf of the Russian government and violated US sanctions, the Treasury Department said in a press release. The sanctions target Malofeyev, his son, and his companies, including the media company Tsargrad, according to the press release.
The United States is also imposing sanctions on the private Russian financial institution Transkapitalbank for purportedly offering clients the ability to conduct transactions in violation of US sanctions, the press release said.
Further, the United States is imposing visa restrictions on 635 Russian nationals for alleged activities that threaten Ukraine as well as on three Russian officials for purported involvement in human rights abuses in Donbass.
“The United States is imposing visa restrictions on 635 Russian nationals who are involved in suppressing dissent in Russia and abroad, who have been involved in activities that threaten the territorial integrity of Ukraine, and who have been involved in human rights abuses in prison facilities and places of unofficial detention in Russia-controlled areas of the Donbas region of Ukraine,” the press release said.
The US State Department in coordination with the Treasury Department is also placing visa restrictions on 17 individuals allegedly responsible for undermining democracy in Belarus, the press release also said. The State Department is expected to soon release a statement with further details on the restrictions.
16:59 GMT 20.04.2022
US Reportedly Begins Training Over 50 Ukrainians on Howitzers Outside Ukraine
The US has begun training over 50 Ukrainians outside Ukraine on how to operate howitzers, and the process will last about a week, Politico reported on Wednesday, citing a senior US defense official.
Howitzers are arriving in Ukraine as part of the $800 million aid package announced by President Joe Biden last week. The package includes 18 155mm Howitzers, 40,00 shells, 300 Switchblade drones, 500 Javelin anti-armor missiles, 200 M113 armored personnel carriers and 16 Mi-17 helicopters, among other equipment.
16:32 GMT 20.04.2022
UN Handed Over Letters to Russia, Ukraine Mission Asking Putin and Zelensky to Receive Secretary General Cuterres in Their Capitals
16:31 GMT 20.04.2022
Netherlands Withholds Data on Military Aid to Ukraine Over 'Security Concerns'
The Netherlands is refraining from disclosing information on the types of military supplies to Ukraine due to security concerns, the Dutch cabinet said on Wednesday.
"The Defense Ministry does not make any statement on the types of armaments or equipment supplied by the Netherlands [to Ukraine]. This is done for security reasons," the cabinet said in a statement.
On Tuesday, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, following a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, announced that the Netherlands would send more arms to Ukraine, particularly "heavy materiel" and armored vehicles.
15:56 GMT 20.04.2022
EU to Provide Extra 1.5Bln Euros Worth of Military Equipment to Ukraine
The European Union will provide additional $1.6 billion (1,5 billion euros) worth of military equipment to Ukraine, European Council President Charles Michel said on Wednesday during his visit in Kiev.
"We succeeded to convince the EU member states in a few hours to provide military equipment … Today we have decided [to provide] 1,5 billion euros of military equipment," Michel told a press conference.
15:49 GMT 20.04.2022
Lavrov Tells Cavusoglu Outcome of Russia-Ukraine Talks Depends on Kiev's Readiness to Take Into Account Moscow's Legitimate Demands
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, during their phone conversation that the outcome of negotiations with Ukraine depended on Kiev's readiness to take into account Moscow's legitimate demands, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.
"With regard to the prospects for the Russian-Ukrainian negotiation process, the immutability of the principled Russian position was confirmed: the outcome of the negotiations depends entirely on Kiev's readiness to take into account our legitimate demands," the ministry said.
Cavusoglu expressed gratitude for the assistance provided by the Russian special forces in releasing the hostages held by militants in a mosque in Mariupol.
Lavrov and Cavusoglu discussed possible joint steps between the foreign and defense ministries to ensure the security of civilians in Ukraine, including foreigners.
In addition, Lavrov, in a conversation with Cavusoglu, said that "the responsibility for the difficult humanitarian situation in the combat areas lies with the Ukrainian right-wing radical nationalist battalions, which use the civilian population as a 'human shield' and refuse to use the humanitarian corridors regularly provided by the Russian military."
15:23 GMT 20.04.2022
Kiev Agrees to UN Proposal on Orthodox Easter Ceasefire, Ukrainian Foreign Ministry Says
Ukraine agrees to United Nation’s proposal to cease hostilities during the Orthodox Easter celebrations this week, the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for a four-day humanitarian pause in Ukraine beginning on Holy Thursday and running through Orthodox Easter Sunday, and appealed to the sides of the conflict to "open a window for dialogue and peace."
"Ukraine has always been and remains committed to resolving the conflict in a peaceful and diplomatic way. We also reaffirmed our agreement to the proposals for a humanitarian truce presented by UN Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths’ during his visit to Ukraine," the ministry said in a statement, adding that it will be possible to evacuate civilians from high-risk areas during a ceasefure.
15:16 GMT 20.04.2022
US Company Donates 100 Reconnaissance Drones to Ukraine MIlitary
AeroVironment, a robotics company based in the US state of Virginia, is donating 100 unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones, to the armed forces of Ukraine to aid them in their conflict with Russia, the firm said in a press release on Wednesday.
"AeroVironment, a global leader in intelligent, multi-domain robotic systems, today announced it will donate more than 100 Quantix Recon UAS and operational training services to the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine and territorial forces amid the ongoing war against Russia," the release said.
The donation was presented to the Ukrainian Ambassador and the Defence Attaché at the country's embassy in Washington by AeroVironment President and CEO Wahid Nawabi last week, the release said.
"This donation will provide operators with a tool that can fly undetected by enemy forces and unaffected by radio frequency jammers to deliver accurate and rapid reconnaissance of remote, inaccessible areas of the dynamically changing battlefield," Nawabi said.
AeroVironment’s Quantix Recon is a fixed-wing unmanned aircraft with fully automated flight operation that can survey up to 1.6 square kilometers (0.6 square miles), or 20 linear kilometers (12.4 miles), per 45-minute single battery flight.
The first half of the donated shipment is expected to be delivered this week, according to the statement.
14:57 GMT 20.04.2022
French Gov't Spokesperson: France, EU, NATO, US Discuss Ukraine's Security Guarantees
France has held a multilateral discussion including the EU, NATO and the US partners on the issue of providing Ukraine with security guarantees, French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Wednesday.
"Yesterday, a meeting with the German, UK, Italian, Polish, Romanian, Canadian, US leaders, the European Commission president, the European Council president and the NATO secretary general took place ... These discussions allowed us to start exchange of opinions on the security guarantees that should be provided to Ukraine after the conditions for negotiations are fulfilled," Attal told a briefing.
He added that the French side also raised the issue of further sanctions pressure on Russia and the supply of military and humanitarian aid to Kiev.
Earlier in April, French President Emmanuel Macron said Paris is ready to become Ukraine's security guarantor after a state of ceasefire is in effect.
14:56 GMT 20.04.2022
Germany Wants to Abandon Gas Imports From Russia
Germany wants to abandon imports of Russian gas, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Wednesday, adding that "it is better to do it today."
"Security in Europe means that we are reducing and ending our dependence on Russia, primarily in the energy sector. We want to abandon gas imports from Russia. Better to do it today than tomorrow," Baerbock said during a press conference in Riga.
14:28 GMT 20.04.2022
Yellen Says 'There Will be No Business as Usual' for Russia in Global Economy
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen hold talks with her Indonesian counterpart Sri Mulyani Indrawati during which she said that there will not be "business as usual" for Russia in global economy, the Treasury Department said on Wednesday.
"Secretary Yellen firmly condemned Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, and emphasized there will be no business as usual for Russia in the global economy," the Treasury Department said in a statement.
Yellen also emphasized her support for strong US-Indonesia relations, including on the issues of climate finance, just energy transition and the G20 Joint Finance and Health Task Force, the statement said.
14:22 GMT 20.04.2022
Russia Submitted Proposals to Ukraine on Possible Agreement on 15 April, But Has Not Received Response Yet
14:21 GMT 20.04.2022
IMF Chief: End of Ukraine Conflict Would Have Most Positive Effect on Global Recovery
An end to the conflict in Ukraine would become the most positive development for the recovery of the global economy at present, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on Wednesday.
The IMF chief urged the international community to do everything in their power o help Ukraine and other countries that are affected by the current crisis.
“The IMF has already provided $1.4 billion in emergency financing to Ukraine, and set up a special account through which others can securely contribute,” she said.
Georgieva also noted that the IMF is working with other impacted countries, including Moldova, in order to mitigate the negative effects of the crisis that they are facing.
14:19 GMT 20.04.2022
Supplying Arms to Ukraine Doesn't Make Germany Party to Conflict, Foreign Minister Says
Germany supports the countries of Eastern Europe in supplying Soviet-made weapons to Ukraine amid Russia's special military operation, but believes that such deliveries do not make the country a party to the conflict, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Wednesday.
"We support those partners who can promptly supply Soviet-made weapons. In this case, we guarantee compensation [for the weapons] so these countries can deliver supplies quickly. At the same time, I want to make it clear that we, in the government, are unanimous that supplies of weapons will not make us a party to the conflict," Baerbock said at a press conference in Riga, broadcast by the German Foreign Ministry.
13:22 GMT 20.04.2022
Moscow Not Ruling Out Russian Territory May be Hit by Weapons West Supplied to Ukraine

"On 13 April, the United States announced another package of military assistance [to Ukraine]. Dozens of howitzers, thousands of artillery rounds, hundreds of armoured personnel carriers, and Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters will be handed over to Kiev … the peaceful cities of the DPR and LPR will then be shelled [using these weapons and equipment], and, possibly, the territory of Russia - as stated by some figures in Ukraine," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a briefing, adding that Ukraine is receiving helicopters form the US that were intended for the Afghan military.

13:19 GMT 20.04.2022
Some 7,000 Mercenaries Fighting for Ukraine, Russian Foreign Ministry Says
11:27 GMT 20.04.2022
G7 Leaders Discuss Alternatives to Ukraine's NATO Membership, Reports Suggest
Soldiers take part in an exercise at the Yavoriv military training ground, close to Lvov, Western Ukraine, Friday, Sept 24, 2021. Ukraine, the US, and other NATO countries continue joint military drills in Western Ukraine presenting offensive exercises in town-like surroundings with tanks and other military vehicles involved.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.04.2022
G7 Leaders Discuss Alternatives to Ukraine's NATO Membership, Reports Suggest
11:01 GMT 20.04.2022
DPR Says 5 Ukrainian Soldiers Laid Down Arms, Left Besieged Azovstal Plant in Mariupol

"Having used the proposal made by the DPR People's Militia and the Russian armed forces, five servicemen of the Ukrainian armed forces laid down their arms and voluntarily left the territory of the Azovstal plant", the DPR forces said on its Telegram channel.

According to the DPR forces, the Ukrainian soldiers learned about the proposal that they can voluntarily lay down their arms from special leaflets that had been previously dropped on the territory of the industrial zone of Mariupol.
10:43 GMT 20.04.2022
Russia Not Ruling Out Blocking Assets of Foreign Embassies - Foreign Ministry

"The assets of our embassies are blocked, problems happen in different countries. Accordingly, if our embassies do not open assets and pay their bills, including utility costs, then, accordingly, appropriate measures will be taken here as well", Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yevgeny Ivanov told reporters.

10:38 GMT 20.04.2022
Putin: Donbass Tragedy Forced Russia to Start Special Military Operation in Ukraine
Russian President Vladimir Putin during video conference call on economic issues, 18 April 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.04.2022
Putin: Donbass Tragedy Forced Russia to Start Special Military Operation in Ukraine
10:29 GMT 20.04.2022
WATCH: Russia Hits Ukrainian Military With 'Bal' Missile System
09:54 GMT 20.04.2022
Kremlin: Russia Hands Over Draft Document With Clear Proposals to Ukraine

"At the moment, our draft document has been handed over to the Ukrainian side, which includes absolutely clear points. The ball is on their side. We are waiting for an answer", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

The spokesman also said that the Ukrainian side do not seek to intensify the negotiation process.
09:42 GMT 20.04.2022
Germany Not Planning Heavy Weapons Delivery to Ukraine, MoD Says
09:09 GMT 20.04.2022
Norway to Donate 100 Mistral Air Defenсe Missile Systems to Ukraine
The Norwegian government decided to donate the reserve of Mistral short-range air defense missile systems that its army plans to replace, to Ukraine, Norwegian Defense Minister Bjorn Arild Gram said on Wednesday.

"The conflict in Ukraine may be prolonged, and the country is dependent on international support to resist Russian aggression. Therefore, the government has decided to donate the Mistral air defenсe system to Ukraine," Gram said in a statement released by the defense ministry.

Norway's reserve includes about 100 Mistral missiles, according to the statement.

"This missile will not be used by the Norwegian armed forces, but it is still a modern and effective weapon that will greatly benefit Ukraine," the ministry said.

08:51 GMT 20.04.2022
Russian MoD Publishes New List of Ukrainian Losses Amid Special Operation, Including 20 Dead and 71 Injured
08:45 GMT 20.04.2022
Russia Has Warned Sweden & Finland About Consequences of Joining NATO

"We have issued all our warnings both publicly and through bilateral channels. They [Sweden and Finland] know about it, they will have nothing to be surprised about, they were informed about everything, what it will lead to", foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told the Rossiya 24 broadcaster.

08:41 GMT 20.04.2022
WATCH: Russian Su-34 Jet Strikes Strongholds of Ukrainian Radicals
The Russian Defence Ministry has published footage of an Su-34 strike against fortified facilities of Ukrainian nationalists - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.04.2022
WATCH: Russian Su-34 Jet Strikes Strongholds of Ukrainian Radicals
08:39 GMT 20.04.2022
Shell Withdraws Staff From Joint Ventures With Russia's Gazprom
Anglo-Dutch petroleum giant Shell said on Wednesday it is withdrawing employees dispatched at joint ventures with Russia's energy corporations Gazprom and Gazprom Neft after the decision to cease operations in the country.

"Pursuant to our stated intention to withdraw from our joint ventures with Gazprom and Gazprom Neft, Shell is demobilising its secondees in these ventures in a phased process. Our key focus in this process is safety of our people and operations and compliance with applicable laws," the company said.

Shell also owns a network of gas stations in Russia and a lubricant plant in the Tver Region in the country's west. These will keep working, and any further decisions will be made based on Shell's declared intentions concerning its presence on the Russian market, the company said.
Shell was among foreign companies that made the decision to leave Russian in the wake of the military operation in Ukraine. In March, Shell said it would gradually withdraw from joint ventures with Gazprom and Gazprom Neft, including the Sakhalin-2 pipeline.
08:32 GMT 20.04.2022
Bosphorus Strait Navigation Suspended in Both Directions - Reports
Navigation through the Bosphorus Strait has been suspended in both directions, media reported on Wednesday.
The movement of ships off the Turkish coast in the north-south direction was suspended on Wednesday from 2 a.m. local time (23:00 GMT on Tuesday), and in the south-north direction from 6:15 a.m. local time, according to the Anadolu news agency.
There is no information on when the traffic across the strait will resume.
07:49 GMT 20.04.2022
DPR Militia Says It Has Eliminated 86 Ukrainian Radicals Over the Past Day
07:41 GMT 20.04.2022
Constructive US Contribution to Russia-Ukraine Negotiations is Impossible Now - Source
It is now impossible to speak of the United States making a constructive contribution to the negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, a high-ranking diplomatic source in Moscow told Sputnik.

"Given the position that is formulated and reproduced on a daily basis by US officials, I think there is no room for any constructive contribution," the source said, commenting on the possibility of Washington joining the Russian-Ukrainian negotiations.

The US is unambiguously seeking a military escalation, pumping up Ukraine with weapons, the source said, adding that "militant statements" by Washington are often irresponsible.
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