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Зеленський заявив, що Росія обстріляла Київ «одразу» після завершення його перемовин із Ґутеррішем

«Це багато говорить про справжнє ставлення Росії до глобальних інституцій»

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Частина військ РФ відходить від Маріуполя і рухається в бік Запоріжжя – Пентагон

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США: Палата представників ухвалила закон про лендліз для України

Закон підтримали 417 членів нижньої палати Конгресу, проти виступили 10

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Scholz Says Germany Seeks Closer Ties With Indo-Pacific

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in Tokyo on Thursday that his country wanted to strengthen ties with countries in the Indo-Pacific region that have the same values, and to work together to end Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. 

“My trip is a clear political signal that Germany and the European Union will continue and intensify their engagement with the Indo-Pacific region,” Scholz said after meeting Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. 

Kishida said he and Scholz agreed that as members of the Group of Seven industrialized nations they share a responsibility to work together to end Russian aggression and restore peace, stability and international order as quickly as possible. 

“The Ukraine crisis shakes the foundation of the international order not only in Europe but also in Asia. Any attempts to change the status quo must be avoided, especially in East Asia,” Kishida said at a joint news conference. 

“If we do not clearly show [to Russia] that this kind of unilateral change to the status quo by force and recklessness has a high cost, it will give the wrong message to Asia,” he said. 

On his first trip to Tokyo as chancellor, Scholz said both Germany and Japan are defenders of the “rules-based international order,” the principles of the U.N. Charter and the defense of universal human rights. Scholz said he also wanted to come to Japan because Tokyo will take over as chair of the G-7 after Germany. 

Japanese sanctions

Japan has imposed sanctions against Russia in line with other G-7 countries and has provided support for Ukraine out of concern that Russia’s invasion could embolden China and intensify tensions in East Asia. China has long sought to take control of independently governed Taiwan, and it has threatened to do so by force if necessary. 

Japan has also provided Ukraine with nonlethal defense equipment in an exception to its policy against exporting military materials to nations in conflict. 

Germany had initially refused to send any offensive weapons to Ukraine and later balked at sending heavy equipment such as armored vehicles. 

Scholz’s government, under pressure domestically and from allies, recently reversed that policy and agreed to send offensive weapons and allow Ukraine to purchase German armaments, and to support weapons swaps with allies who in turn are sending heavy equipment to Ukraine. 

Japan hopes to work closely with Germany as strategic partners on “various challenges that the international community faces, including responses to China,” Kishida said. 

Scholz said Germany and Japan also agreed to work together to strengthen economic cooperation in areas such as 5G technologies and economic security. 

He said ensuring that supply chains become less dependent on individual countries is “a task that is more relevant than ever,” in a reference to China.

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Is it Possible to Make a Deal with Putin?

As Russia’s war on Ukraine enters its third month, questions have swirled about whether a negotiated solution with Russian President Vladimir Putin is possible.

Kenneth Dekleva, a psychiatrist who previously worked with the U.S. State Department, dismisses any speculation that Putin is unstable and therefore impossible to deal with.

“He’s not crazy. He’s a rational actor, and in his mind, he knows exactly what he’s doing,” says Dekleva. “He is an extremely savvy, highly intelligent and ruthless longtime leader who’s now been in power for over 22 years.”

Dekleva, a senior fellow at the George H. W. Bush Foundation for U.S.-China Relations in Texas, has studied the former Russian intelligence agent for 20 years. He describes Putin as single-minded, resilient, a master manipulator of people, and hyperfocused, due to his training as a KGB officer.

Putin, however, is 69 and his recent actions could suggest a less flexible style of leadership that is sometimes seen in aging leaders.

“You’re more rigid. You see things more in black and white, and you have less tolerance for nuance and ambiguity,” Dekleva says. “That’s certainly a possibility, although I don’t know that we can say that just from his current decision-making regarding the Ukraine war. That being said, he appears to be very, very deliberately focused and a bit of a man in a hurry.”

The key to negotiating with someone like Putin, Dekleva says, is to try to understand his mindset and be empathetic, even when you don’t agree with him.

For Jason Pack, a senior analyst at the NATO Defense College Foundation in Italy, reaching an agreement with Putin requires decisive action.

“I do think we need to be extremely bold, right up to the threshold of things that we might think would cause a big escalation … like engaging in bold cyberwarfare,” Pack says. “Like, ‘Hey, we’re going to make the lights go off in St. Petersburg for two hours and then negotiate after that. … The next time, it’s going to be two days if you don’t meet our demands.'”

Pack says Putin had every reason to believe the West would back down if he invaded Ukraine, despite the West having “more discretionary military and economic power.”

He points to Russia’s 2008 incursion in Georgia, formerly a part of the Soviet Union and now an independent republic, which resulted in Russia occupying 20% of that country. And Putin seized the southern region of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

“He seems to respect force, and he doesn’t respect just talking. I don’t even think that he thought that we would do the sanctions that were threatened if he invaded, because it was like, ‘This is just talk, talk, talk,'” says Pack, adding that he doesn’t believe Putin will take catastrophic nuclear action.

“He wants to live. He’s terrified of COVID. He’s 20 feet (6 meters) away from his advisers (in pictures). So, I don’t think that there is a risk of his blowing the world up so long as we stick to the rules of there not being NATO personnel fighting in Ukraine.”

Putin is adamantly against Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, joining NATO. He has complained about the West edging too close to Russian borders.

“His primary goal was to take Kyiv, and he didn’t use tactical nuclear (weapons) to try to take Kyiv,” Pack says. “He’s been exposed to be a degree of the paper tiger. He thought we would back down. He wants to live. He doesn’t want to be overthrown inside Russia. He has had horrible coordination with his generals. They had no battle plans.”

Dekleva says negotiations to end the conflict in Ukraine must simultaneously address Ukraine’s security needs and sovereignty while addressing Putin’s perception of threat in terms of the expansion of NATO to Russian borders. He thinks a very senior third- party mediator that both Putin and the West can trust — possibly from China, India or Israel — could be useful to the process. And he’s very clear on what should not happen.

“Name-calling — calling Putin crazy or calling him a thug, or a murderer, or a war criminal — by senior leaders in the West, including (U.S.) President (Joe) Biden, is not helpful,” Dekleva says. “That’s not how you get your negotiating partner to come to the table.”

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Former US Marine Back Home After Prisoner Swap with Russia

After nearly three years in a Russian prison, former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed is back in the United States on Thursday after a swap with a Russian held in the U.S. 

 

Reed had been convicted of endangering the lives of two Moscow police officers while drunk. The U.S. called the trial a “theater of the absurd.” 

 

Reed arrived in his native Texas and will spend a few days in a military hospital to monitor his health. 

 

A Texas congressman posted photos on Twitter of Reed’s arrival.  

 

“It’s been (a) very exciting day for The Reed family. Trevor is back in the USA,” Reed’s mother, Paula Reed, tweeted early Thursday. 

 

Reed was exchanged for Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who had been convicted of trying to smuggle drugs into the U.S. He had been arrested by U.S. special forces in Liberia in 2010. 

 

The official swap reportedly took place at an airport in Turkey. 

 

“The American plane pulled up next to the Russian plane, and they walked both prisoners across at the same time, like you see in the movies,” said Trevor’s father, Joey Reed. 

 

The U.S. is also trying to secure the release of another American, former Marine Paul Whelan, who was sentenced to 16 years in June 2020 for espionage.  

Some information in this report comes from Reuters. 

 

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У результаті чергового обміну полоненими звільнено 45 українців – Верещук

Скільки натомість було повернуто російських військових, вона не уточнила

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У «хатньої робітниці» Медведчука вилучили майже 500 тис дол та близько 90 тис євро – ОГП

Генеральна прокурорка Ірина Венедіктова повідомила, що у громадянки, яка працювала «хатньою робітницею» у народного депутата Віктора Медведчука, вилучили значну суму в іноземній валюті.

«У хатньої робітниці провели санкціонований судом обшук та вилучили 467 тисяч доларів США та 87 тисяч євро. І знову-таки, ви скажете, що рано бити у дзвони, а раптом – спадщина, хтось позичив, накопичила, продала щось – це ж життя. Так, вона така: корислива, везуча, продумана, сучасна хатня робітниця Медведчука», – написала Венедіктова у фейсбуці.

За її даними, обшуки відбулися у ході розслідування кримінального провадження про «фінансування дій, вчинених з метою насильницької зміни чи повалення конституційного ладу або захоплення державної влади, зміни меж території або державного кордону України».

Інших деталей очільниця ОГП не вказала. Про особу жінки і її позицію також наразі нічого невідомо.

Увечері 12 квітня президент України Володимир Зеленський повідомив про затримання Віктора Медведчука, який після зникнення з-під домашнього арешту наприкінці лютого був оголошений у державний, міждержавний та міжнародний розшук.

16 квітня суд обрав Медведчуку запобіжний захід у вигляді тримання під вартою без визначення застави. 18 квітня Служба безпеки України оприлюднила відеозвернення, на якому Медведчук просить обміняти його на захисників і жителів оточеного російськими військами Маріуполя. Господар Кремля Володимир Путін, який є кумом Медведчука, поки не поспішає це робити.

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На Запоріжжі знищено міст, яким «окупанти постачали зброю та паливо з Криму» – Братчук

Через Якимівку проходить двоколійна електрифікована залізнична лінія Джанкой-Мелітополь

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 Biden to Visit South Korea, Japan in May

U.S. President Joe Biden is set to travel to South Korea and Japan next month to meet with leaders and discuss economic and security ties. 

The White House announced the trip Wednesday, saying Biden would go to the region May 20-24. 

In South Korea, Biden will hold talks with President Yoon Suk Yeol, who was elected in March. 

In Japan, Biden is due to meet with Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and to hold talks with leaders from the Quad group of countries that includes Japan, Australia, India and the United States.

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France’s Election Offers Lessons to US Ahead of Midterms  

This week’s French presidential contest boiled down to a debate between nationalism and globalism — and globalism prevailed in the victory of President Emmanuel Macron, an ally of President Joe Biden. What can the U.S. learn from this as Biden’s party faces elections? VOA’s Anita Powell reports.

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«Є певне просування» військ РФ у напрямку Лиману, але ЗСУ тримають свої позиції – Кириленко

На Лиманському напрямку відбуваються постійні обстріли, бомбардування, авіаудари, ракетні удари по місту Лиман

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Арештовану 93-метрову яхту Медведчука планують продати – АРМА

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На Запоріжжі біля Гуляйполя тривають бої, війська РФ намагаються прорвати українську оборону – ОВА

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Ukraine Hosts UN Chief Guterres, Urges Russian Oil Embargo

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is hosting U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for talks Thursday, while Ukraine calls for an embargo on Russian energy supplies and U.S. President Joe Biden prepares a proposal for military, economic and humanitarian aid.

Guterres toured areas outside Kyiv, including Bucha, where the bodies of civilians were found after Russian forces withdrew from the area. Those discoveries prompted calls for investigations of possible war crimes, and Guterres on Thursday encouraged Russia to cooperate with probes by the International Criminal Court.

“I fully support the ICC and I appeal to the Russian Federation to accept, to cooperate with the ICC,” Guterres said. “But when we talk about war crimes, we cannot forget that the worst of crimes is war itself.”

The U.N. chief said after arriving in Ukraine that he wanted to “expand humanitarian support and secure the evacuation of civilians from conflict zones,” topics that were part of his talks earlier this week with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

“The sooner this war ends, the better — for the sake of Ukraine, Russia, and the world,” Guterres tweeted.

Russian energy

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said Thursday “it’s a matter of time” before an embargo is imposed on Russia’s key energy industry.

While European nations have taken steps to reduce or eliminate their reliance on Russian oil and gas, replacing those supplies and potential economic hits at home have made some leaders express caution about how quickly to proceed down that path as Ukrainian officials called for an embargo.

Podolyak tweeted that avoiding Russian energy supplies is both a moral issue and a matter of Russia ceasing “to be a reliable and predictable partner in the eyes of the world.”

“Switching to alternative supply channels quickly will be expensive, but not as expensive as not doing so,” Podolyak tweeted. “In the medium term, Moscow will face total economic and political isolation. As a result, poverty, the scale of which Russia has not seen yet.”

His comments came a day after Russia’s Gazprom halted natural gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria.

Gazprom said Wednesday that Poland and Bulgaria had not met Russia’s demand to pay for natural gas in rubles. The company said four unnamed natural gas buyers have paid Russia in rubles, and 10 European companies have created ruble accounts to make payments in the Russian currency, Bloomberg News reported.

The White House said Wednesday this move by Russia was anticipated.

“That is why we, of course, had been in touch with Europe, including with these countries … over the last 24 hours, with leaders in Poland and Bulgaria,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters. “We have been working for some time now, for months with partners around the world to diversify natural gas supply to Europe in anticipation of, and to also address, near-term needs and replace volumes that would otherwise come from Russia.”

Polish President Andrzej Duda said the Russian gas cutoff violated “basic legal principles,” while Bulgarian Energy Minister Alexander Nikolov said gas was being used as a “political and economic weapon.”

U.S. aid

The White House said Biden is scheduled to deliver remarks Thursday “on support for Ukrainians defending their country and their freedom against Russia’s brutal war.”

Psaki told reporters Wednesday that Biden would send to Congress this week a proposed package similar in focus to those already carried out to help Ukraine, with security, humanitarian and economic assistance to “help address a range of the needs the Ukrainians have.”

The U.S. Congress could also send “lend-lease” legislation further freeing up the flow of weapons to Biden’s desk for a signature as early as the end of this week.

The U.S. Department of Defense said Wednesday more than half of the 90 U.S. howitzers have reached Ukraine, and a first round of training on the long-range weapons has already wrapped up.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby cited the ongoing flow of weapons and aid in the success Ukraine has maintained in the battle against Putin’s unprovoked invasion.

“He’s concentrating all his firing forces in the east and in the south of Ukraine. So, he has achieved none of his strategic objectives,” Kirby said. “I think that’s proof right there that the kinds of systems that are being provided to Ukraine have had an effect … on their self-defense needs.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned against Western intervention in Ukraine as he spoke to lawmakers in St. Petersburg on Wednesday.

“If someone intends to intervene in the ongoing events from the outside, and create strategic threats for Russia that are unacceptable to us, they should know that our retaliatory strikes will be lightning-fast,” Putin said. “We have all the tools for this, things no one else can boast of having now. And we will not boast, we will use them if necessary. And I want everyone to know that.”

Support reaches $8 billion

Military support for Ukraine, either pledged or provided already by NATO allies, has reached $8 billion, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has pushed Finland and Sweden to consider applying to be members of the NATO military alliance, and Stoltenberg said if they do choose to take that step, the process could be completed quickly.

“It is, of course, for Finland and Sweden to decide whether they would like to apply for membership in NATO or not. But if they decide to apply, Finland and Sweden would be welcomed with open arms to NATO,” Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels.

Russia has expressed opposition to prospective NATO membership for Finland and Sweden, saying if they do join, Russia will deploy nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles to Kaliningrad.

“This is fundamentally about the right of every nation in Europe to decide its own future,” Stoltenberg said. “So when Russia tries to threaten, to intimidate Finland and Sweden from not applying, it just demonstrates how Russia is not respecting the basic right of every nation to choose its own path.”

National security correspondent Jeff Seldin contributed to this report. Some information came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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Влада рекомендує фермерам Херсонщини взяти паузу до звільнення області – голова ОВА

25 квітня у Херсоні російські військові захопили міську раду. Будівлю Херсонської облдержадміністрації вони зайняли ще 1 березня

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Голова ОВА: на Харківщині через російські обстріли загинула одна людина, 6 – поранені

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У Канаді зробили перший крок до визнання дій РФ в Україні геноцидом

У заяві канадських депутатів уточнюється, що систематичні випадки умисного вбивства цивільних, осквернення трупів, катування та примусова депортація українських дітей є воєнними злочинами, вчиненими військами РФ

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At UN, Calls for Accountability for Atrocities in Ukraine

Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister said Wednesday that the list of war crimes committed by Russian troops in her country grows daily and accountability is critical.

“The city of Mariupol has turned into dust,” Emine Dzhaparova told an informal meeting of the U.N. Security Council. “Thousands of civilians live in blockade without water, electricity, communications and basic things that all people need.”

She said that new mass graves and buried bodies are found daily in Ukrainian cities and that Russian soldiers carry out crimes on civilians, including torture, rape and murder.

“Russia must be [held] accountable for its crimes as a state,” she said, adding that the individuals who carried out the crimes must be prosecuted, too.

“The one who raped a girl, kicking out her teeth; who killed a man riding a bicycle; who fusilladed a queue of people waiting for bread; who shot humanitarian convoys, maternity hospitals, ambulances, cars,” Dzhaparova said. “These people have names and faces, and they are to be brought to criminal liability.”

8,000 investigations

Ukraine Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said from Kyiv that her office has opened 8,000 cases to probe allegations of violations and the list continues to grow.

Several governments have offered Ukraine assistance in carrying out investigations and documenting abuses.

In an unprecedented move, more than 40 states have referred the situation in Ukraine to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan has made two trips to Ukraine and has an investigative team on the ground that includes experts, lawyers and anthropologists.

He said he sent three communications to Russia but had not received a reply. He urged Moscow to cooperate with his office, saying if it wants to expose accusations against it as fake, the best way to do so is to hold them up to scrutiny.

“My office and myself have no political agenda other than to get to the truth,” he assured member states.

But Russia’s representative dismissed the ICC as an institution susceptible to political pressure and financial leverage exerted by such countries as the United States and Britain.

“ICC is merely a political instrument and has nothing in common with justice,” Russian legal adviser Sergey Leonidchenko said. He said Russia would have its own meeting on accountability with its own briefers on May 6.

In terms of new crimes, the U.S. representative said Washington now had credible information that a Russian military unit operating near the eastern city of Donetsk had executed Ukrainians who were attempting to surrender, rather than take them into custody.

‘Deeply disturbing pattern’

Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice Beth Van Schaack said that, if true, this would violate a core principle of war prohibiting the summary execution of civilians who surrender.

“These images and reports suggest that these atrocities are not the act of rogue units or individuals; rather, they reveal a deeply disturbing pattern of systematic abuse across all areas where Russia’s forces are engaged,” she said.

Russia has a record of abuses, including in Syria, where its troops have backed President Bashar al-Assad’s forces since 2015.

“The pattern of abuse we are seeing in Ukraine is consistent with well-documented grave crimes by Russian forces in other places such as Syria,” Human Rights Watch’s Ida Sawyer said from Kyiv. “The lack of accountability for those violations has regrettably opened the door for what is occurring today.”

Human rights lawyer and activist Amal Clooney said the horrific scenes from the Kyiv suburb of Bucha reminded her of the 2012 massacre of 108 civilians, many of them children, in the northwestern Syrian town of Houla.

“This Security Council met in an emergency session to decry the killings, and people thought it would be a turning point for accountability. It wasn’t,” Clooney said. “And now the same Russian general known as “the butcher,” who mounted a brutal attack on civilians in Aleppo, is massacring innocent families in Mariupol.”

She urged the diplomats not to grow numb to the violence as the war grinds on and merely call for justice that is never delivered.

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Dramatic Prisoner Swap Despite Strained US-Russia Relations

The United States and Russia have exchanged high-profile prisoners, even amid strained relations over Moscow’s two-month-old invasion of Ukraine. As VOA’s Senior Diplomatic Correspondent Cindy Saine reports, Russia is holding other wrongfully detained Americans.