Ukrainians are taking DNA tests to identify dead bodies in Bucha, the Guardian’s Emma Graham-Harrison reports.
After weeks of exhumations, a morgue in Bucha holds more than 200 bodies that have not been identified. Some were buried without documents and are waiting to be claimed, but many are too disfigured by their deaths, or their treatment after death, to be identified by sight.
Ukrainians who saw their loved ones killed or have collected their bodies for burial are grappling with terrible grief. But thousands more are dealing with a loss compounded by the agony of uncertainty.
Some are searching for children or parents, a spouse or siblings who went missing when the Russians were slaughtering civilians. Others got bad news from a friend or an image online, but have not been able to find the remains of the person they loved.
So everyone lining up outside the tent in Bucha has come with the bleakest of hopes – to continue in limbo, confirm a death, or find a body they will be able to bury but not recognise.
Read the full story below.
A Moscow museum is chronicling Nato ‘cruelty’ with paintings of wounded children and grieving women lining the walls, according to a report from Agence France-Presse.
“Nato. A chronicle of cruelty” opened at the Museum of Contemporary Russian History in Moscow with displays dedicated to the history of Nato including the United States’ atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, despite the western military alliance being founded only in 1949.
It also lists the bloc’s bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as cooperation between Ukraine and Nato “that has led” to the current conflict, the news agency reports.
“Every time it’s difficult to talk about the crimes committed by Nato troops,” guide Yaroslav Polestrov, 46, told an AFP reporter.
Just days before Moscow’s annual military parade to mark the Soviet victory in World War II on May 9, the exhibition was reportedly well attended.
Lining the walls are photos of anti-Nato demonstrations in Europe and numerous photos of children in conflict zones, some visibly injured.
Guide Polestrov showed students a jumble of Ukrainian blue and yellow flags displayed next to a Nazi SS helmet and a US flag, with maps illustrating just how far into Russia Nato missiles can reach.
On the 1999 Nato bombings of Yugoslavia, he said: “Russia and China did not agree with… the decision made by (Bill) Clinton, President of the United States and criminals like him”.
“It is necessary that children, adolescents and even many adults see for themselves how rotten the Western world is,” two women, who signed their full names, wrote in a message seen by AFP.
Other visitors blasted Moscow’s narrative. “This exhibition is Soviet-style propaganda crap,” read one entry.
Images of evacuees from the Azovstal steel plant arriving to safety at a temporary accommodation centre in Bezimenne, eastern Ukraine, have just dropped on our newswires today.
The conflict in Ukraine is taking a “heavy toll” on some of Russia’s most capable units, the UK’s ministry of defence has said in its latest intelligence report.
At least one T-90M, Russia’s most advanced tank, has been destroyed in fighting, the ministry added. The T-90M was introduced in 2016 and includes improved armour, an upgraded gun and enhanced satellite navigation systems.
Approximately 100 T-90M tanks are currently in service amongst Russia’s best equipped units, including those fighting in Ukraine, British intelligence claimed adding that the system’s upgraded armour, designed to counter anti-tank weaponry, remains vulnerable if unsupported by other force elements.
The report continued:
The conflict in Ukraine is taking a heavy toll on some of Russia’s most capable units and most advanced capabilities.
It will take considerable time and expense for Russia to reconstitute its armed forces following this conflict.
It will be particularly challenging to replace modernised and advanced equipment due to sanctions restricting Russia’s access to critical microelectronic components.
Taiwan has said it hopes that the world would sanction China like it is sanctioning Russia for its war on Ukraine if Beijing were to invade the island, Reuters is reporting.
Speaking to reporters in Taipei on Saturday, foreign minister Joseph Wu said it was important to stand with others in denouncing Russia’s invasion and sanctioning both Russia and Belarus.
In the future, if we are threatened with force by China, or are invaded, of course we hope the international community can understand and support Taiwan, and sanction these kinds of aggressive behaviours,” he said.
So Taiwan stands with the international community, and takes these actions,” Wu said, referring to the sanctions.
Taiwan has raised its alert level since the Ukraine war began, wary of China making a similar move, though the government in Taipei has reported no signs of an imminent Chinese attack.
China, which has not condemned Russia’s invasion, has dismissed any comparisons with Taiwan, saying it is not a country and merely a Chinese province, a view the democratically-elected government in Taipei strongly disputes.
Taiwan has joined in western-led sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine in moves that are largely symbolic given Taiwan’s minimal levels of direct trade with Russia.
Ukraine’s plight has won broad public sympathy in Taiwan due to what many people view as the parallels between what is happening in Ukraine and what could happen in Taiwan – an island China claims as its own.
US officials have deflected questions that intelligence from the Pentagon helped Ukraine kill top Russian generals and sink the Moskva missile cruiser.
The US defence department’s spokesperson, John Kirby, held a press conference on Friday where he was asked about reports that the Pentagon has provided information with Ukrainian leaders to help them target and kill Russian generals.
US officials earlier confirmed that they shared information about the location of the Russian warship Moskva with Ukraine prior to its sinking last month but Kirby said it was Ukraine that “makes the decisions” when it comes to how it uses US intel and emphasised the importance of being careful when discussing intelligence-sharing with other countries.
Kirby told reporters:
We provide [Ukrainians] what we believe to be relevant and timely information about Russian units that could allow them to adjust and execute their self- defence to the best of their ability. …
The Pentagon spokesperson also emphasised that other countries have provided Ukraine with information on Russian troop movements:
We are not the only sole source of intelligence and information to the Ukrainians. They get intelligence from other nations as well. And they have a pretty robust intelligence collection capability of their own. …
And if they do decide to do something with that intelligence, then they make the decisions about acting on it….
The kind of intelligence that we provide them – it’s legitimate, it’s lawful, and it’s limited.”
Kirby also stressed that Ukraine combines intelligence from many countries and the US is “not the sole source of intelligence and information to the Ukrainians”.
The US has also been providing the location and other details of the Russian military’s mobile headquarters, which has allowed Ukraine to target them with artillery strikes, potentially disrupting the invaders’ command and control.
It is thought to be one reason why about a dozen Russian generals have been killed in the fighting so far, prompting a New York Times report this week with the headline “US Intelligence Is Helping Ukraine Kill Russian Generals, Officials Say” that was shut down by the Pentagon as “misleading”.
However, the fact that the US is willing to confirm it had at least some involvement shows how far Washington is willing to acknowledge its critical backseat role in the 10-week-long war, even at the risk of openly antagonising Moscow.
The Group of Seven (G7) leaders including US President Joe Biden will hold a video call on Sunday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in a show of unity the day before Russia marks its Victory Day holiday, the White House said.
Talks will focus on the latest developments in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, efforts to bolster the country and ways to demonstrate “continued G7 unity in our collective response, including by imposing severe costs for Putin’s war,” a spokesperson for the White House’s National Security Council said on Monday.
The leaders of the G7 countries, which include the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Canada and Italy, will hold their virtual meeting with Zelenskiy on Sunday in the US morning, the spokesperson added.
Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One as Biden flew to Ohio for the day, Psaki said the timing of the session was significant because it will take place a day before Putin participates in Victory Day. The holiday on Monday marks the end of World War Two and includes military parades across Russia.
Psaki also said US officials are discussing imposing more sanctions on Russian oligarchs and companies as well as taking steps to avoid Russians previously sanctioned from evading them.
“I’ll be speaking with the members of the G7 this week about what we’re going to do or not do,” Biden told reporters this week.
The UN Security Council earlier issued its first statement on the war in Ukraine, but withheld from using the words “war”, “conflict” or “invasion”.
The statement instead “expresses deep concern regarding the maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine” and voiced “strong support” for Secretary General Antonio Guterres in seeking a peaceful solution to the “dispute”.
“The Security Council expresses deep concern regarding the maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine,” it reads.
“The Security Council recalls that all Member States have undertaken, under the Charter of the United Nations, the obligation to settle their international disputes by peaceful means.”
“The Security Council expresses strong support for the efforts of the Secretary-General in the search for a peaceful solution.
Wielding veto power in the council, Russia has stymied all prior bids to adopt a statement on Ukraine.
Mexico’s UN ambassador, whose country helped draft the statement, was asked about criticism that it took two months to draft and merely supports the UN secretary general.
Juan Ramon De La Fuente told the Associated Press there has to be a start somewhere and is “a very first initial step but it points on the right direction”.
The latest US military aid package to Ukraine, announced by president Joe Biden on Friday, is worth $150m, secretary of state Antony Blinken confirmed.
I have authorised $150 million in additional US arms, equipment, and supplies for Ukraine to reinforce its defences to counter Russia’s offensive in the East,” Blinken said.
The latest tranche of assistance includes 25,000 155mm artillery rounds, as well as counter-artillery radars, jamming equipment, field equipment and spare parts.
I am announcing another package of security assistance that will provide additional artillery munitions, radars, and other equipment to Ukraine,” Biden said in a statement.
“US support, together with the contributions of our Allies and partners, has been critical in helping Ukraine win the battle of Kyiv and hinder Putin’s war aims in Ukraine,” he added.
With the latest $150m US security aid package to Ukraine, Washington’s military assistance to Kyiv since the Russian invasion began has reached around $3.8bn, Blinken said.
Howitzer systems provided by the US have required training for Ukrainian soldiers, with about 220 servicemen having received training and 150 more currently being trained, Kirby added.
Hello, I’m Samantha Lock bringing you all the latest updates in the Russia-Ukraine war.
Here are some of the key developments in the past few hours:
- The UN Security Council has issued its first statement on the war in Ukraine, but withheld from using the words “war”, “conflict” or “invasion”. The statement instead “expresses deep concern regarding the maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine” and voiced “strong support” for secretary general Antonio Guterres in seeking a peaceful solution to the “dispute”.
- Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said the southern port city of Mariupol is “an example of torture and starvation used as a weapon of war”. In an address to Chatham House, he said he was “elected as president of Ukraine and not a mini-Ukraine”, and that Russia must first fall back to the territory it held before its invasion on 23 February if peace talks are to succeed. He also accused Russia of “outright nuclear blackmail” during the speech.
- The latest US military aid package to Ukraine, announced by president Joe Biden on Friday, is worth $150m, secretary of state Antony Blinken confirmed. The latest tranche of assistance includes 25,000 155mm artillery rounds, as well as counter-artillery radars, jamming equipment, field equipment and spare parts. It brings Washington’s military assistance to Kyiv since the Russian invasion began to around $3.8bn, Blinken said.
- Evacuation operations are continuing from the besieged southern city of Mariupol with 40 civilians rescued on Friday, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy confirmed in his latest national address.
- Three evacuation buses left the besieged Azovstal steel plant in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol on Friday, according to Russian media reports. Buses carrying 25 civilians including children were brought out from the plant to a camp in the Russian-controlled town of Bezimenne. An estimated 200 civilians, along with Ukrainian resistance fighters, remained trapped in underground refuges at the huge industrial complex.
- 41 Ukrainian soldiers and civilians captured by Russia, among them 11 women and a cleric, have been freed in a new prisoner exchange, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in a statement on Telegram Friday.
- The UK government has said it will give Ukraine 287 mobile generators in addition to 569 generators it had donated earlier.
- US officials have said they shared information about the location of the Russian warship Moskva with Ukraine prior to its sinking last month, a fresh demonstration of the close intelligence support Kyiv is receiving from Washington. However, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby deflected questions about whether the US provided information to Ukraine that helped military leaders target Russian generals, instead saying Ukraine “makes the decisions” when it comes to how they use US intel.
- Russia’s foreign ministry said it had summoned Britain’s ambassador to Russia, Deborah Bronnert, adding that it strongly protested in relation to new UK sanctions on Russian media. Russia would continue to react “harshly and decisively” to all sanctions imposed by the UK, the ministry said in a statement.
- Italian officials have seized a yacht with ties to the Russian government and believed to belong to Russian president Vladimir Putin, according to a release from the Ministry of Economy and Finance on Friday.