A spokesman for Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine has denied using chemical weapons to uproot Ukrainian troops in the port city of Mariupol.
Eduard Basurin was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying on Tuesday that separatist forces “did not use any chemical weapons in Mariupol”.
Basurin’s assertion follows his statement on Russian state television on Monday that separatists will use “chemical troops” against Ukrainian soldiers entrenched in hardened positions at a giant steel plant in Mariupol “to smoke them out.”
A Ukrainian unit defending Mariupol claimed without providing evidence that a drone had dropped a toxic substance on its positions. He said there were no serious injuries.
KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIAN-UKRAINE WAR:
— Mayor: More than 10,000 civilians dead in Ukrainian port city
– “This is not the end”: The children who survived the horror of Bucha
— War in Russia worsens fertilizer shortage, jeopardizing food supply
— Czechs offer free shooting training to local Ukrainians
— Go to https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine for more coverage
TOKYO — Japan’s Cabinet has approved additional sanctions against Moscow. They include freezing the assets of nearly 400 people, including the two daughters of Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as banning new investments and vodka imports.
New sanctions approved on Tuesday include an asset freeze on 398 Russians, including the wife and daughter of Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Japan has now frozen the assets of more than 500 Russian individuals and organizations.
Japan’s new measures also include freezing the assets of major banks Sberbank and Alfa Bank, as well as 28 other Russian organizations such as those linked to military companies. The measure for banks will come into effect on May 12.
Japan will ban new investment and Russian imports, including vodka, wine, timber and auto parts from next week.
Tuesday’s approval covers part of a list of sanctions announced last Friday by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who also proposed phasing out Russian imports of coal and other fossil fuels.
LONDON — A senior British defense minister has said “all possible options are on the table” for the West’s response if Russian forces use chemical weapons in Ukraine.
Armed Forces Minister James Heappey said on Tuesday that neither the UK nor Ukrainian governments had confirmed reports that a chemical weapon may have been used in the besieged city of Mariupol.
Heappey told Sky News that “there are weapons which simply should not be used, and if they are used people will be held accountable”.
He said: “I think it’s helpful to maintain some ambiguity…about the exact answer, but let’s be clear, if used, President Putin should know that all possible options are on the table in terms how the West might react.
The British Ministry of Defense said Russia was continuing to redeploy its forces for a push into eastern Ukraine, and fighting there was expected to intensify over the next two to three weeks. It indicates that Russian forces are withdrawing from Belarus in order to redeploy in support of operations in eastern Ukraine.
KIAMBU COUNTY, Kenya — Russia’s war in Ukraine has driven up already high fertilizer prices, made scarce supplies even harder to come by and pinched farmers, especially those in developing countries.
Rising fertilizer prices are making the global food supply more expensive and less plentiful, as farmers skimp on nutrients for their crops and get lower yields.
While the repercussions will be felt by grocery shoppers in rich countries, the strain on food supplies will hit families in poorer countries harder. The fertilizer crisis threatens to further limit global food supplies, already constrained by the disruption of crucial grain shipments from Russia and Ukraine.
UNITED NATIONS – The UN children’s agency says nearly two-thirds of all Ukrainian children have fled their homes in the six weeks since the Russian invasion and the UN has confirmed the deaths of 142 young people, although the number is certainly much higher.
Manuel Fontaine, director of emergency programs at UNICEF who has just returned from Ukraine, said on Monday that the displacement of 4.8 million of Ukraine’s 7.5 million children in such a short time was something that he hadn’t seen happen so quickly in 31 years of humanitarian work.
Ukraine’s UN Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya claimed that Russia had removed more than 121,000 children from Ukraine and had drafted a bill to simplify and speed up adoption procedures for children. orphans and even those who have parents and other relatives.
Most of the children were removed from the beleaguered port city of Mariupol and taken to eastern Donetsk and then to the Russian city of Taganrog, according to Kyslytsya.
Fontaine said that among Ukrainian refugee children, 2.8 million are internally displaced within Ukraine and another 2 million are in other countries.
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