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Russia-Ukraine war: civilian death toll ‘thousands higher’ than thought, says UN, and more than 8m displaced – live | Ukraine

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Real civilian death toll ‘thousands higher’ than official figures, says UN

The number of civilians killed in Ukraine since the beginning of the war is “thousands higher” than official figures, the head of the UN’s human rights monitoring mission in the country said.

The official UN civilian death toll in Ukraine stands at 3,381, as well as 3,680 injured. When asked about the number of deaths and injuries, Matilda Bogner told reporters:

We have been working on estimates, but all I can say for now is that it is thousands higher than the numbers we have currently given to you.

The UN team, which includes 55 monitors in Ukraine, said most of the deaths have been caused by explosive weapons with a wide impact area, such as missile and air strikes.

Bogner added:

The big black hole is really Mariupol where it has been difficult for us to fully access and to get fully corroborated information.

She said her team was also investigating “credible allegations” of torture, ill-treatment and executions by Ukrainian forces against the Russian invading forces and affiliated armed groups.

Bogner said:

In terms of the extent of violations by Ukrainian forces, while the scale is significantly higher on the side of allegations against Russian forces, we are also documenting violations by Ukrainian forces.

Hello. I’m Léonie Chao-Fong and I’ll be bringing you the latest news from the war in Ukraine. Feel free to get in touch on Twitter or via email.

Jennifer Rankin

France has said a deal on a proposed EU ban on Russian oil could be struck this week, despite opposition from the Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, who has compared the plans to an atomic bomb.

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, is due to hold a phone call with the Hungarian leader later on Tuesday in a bid to break the deadlock. Clément Beaune, an ally of Macron and France’s Europe minister, said he thought “we could strike a deal this week”.

France’s Emmanuel Macron (left) and Hungary’s Viktor Orbán at a Brussels summit earlier this year.
France’s Emmanuel Macron (left) and Hungary’s Viktor Orbán at a Brussels summit earlier this year. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Ursula von der Leyen said there had been progress after making a last-minute dash to Budapest to discuss the plans with Orbán on Monday night.

The European Commission president described the discussion as “helpful to clarify issues related to sanctions and energy security”. She added: “We made progress, but further work is needed,” promising to hold a video conference with other countries in the region to boost cooperation on oil infrastructure.

EU diplomats insist all 27 member states are united behind the idea of a ban on Russian oil, with sources close to the talks describing the delay as technical rather than political.

But the EU had hoped to announce the oil embargo and a new set of sanctions on influential Russians before last weekend, following Von der Leyen’s presentation of the plans at the European parliament last Wednesday.

Lithuania’s parliament voted unanimously to describe Russia’s actions in Ukraine as “genocide” and “terrorism” and called for an international tribunal to prosecute suspected war crimes.

The motion said Russian forces’ war crimes included the deliberate killing of civilians, mass rape, forcible relocation of Ukrainian citizens to Russia and the destruction of economic infrastructure and cultural sites, Reuters reports.

The Lithuanian parliamentary motion, co-sponsored by the prime minister, Ingrida Šimonytė, read:

The Russian Federation, whose military forces deliberately and systematically select civilian targets for bombing, is a state that supports and perpetrates terrorism.

It follows a similar unanimous vote by Canadian lawmakers last month to call Russia’s attacks in Ukraine a “genocide”.

Britain, the EU and the US have publicly blamed Russia for a massive cyber attack against a satellite internet network an hour before the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, ordered his troops to invade Ukraine.

The digital attack on Viasat’s KA-SAT network in late February took thousands of modems offline and helped facilitate Putin’s invasion of the country, the Council of the EU said in a statement.

The cyberattack had a “significant impact” and caused “indiscriminate communication outages and disruptions across several public authorities, businesses and users in Ukraine, as well as affecting several EU Member States”, the statement said, adding:

This unacceptable cyberattack is yet another example of Russia’s continued pattern of irresponsible behaviour in cyberspace, which also formed an integral part of its illegal and unjustified invasion of Ukraine.

The UK’s national cyber security centre has assessed that Russian military intelligence was almost certainly involved in the 13 January attacks on Ukrainian government websites, as well as the subsequent attack impacting Viasat on 24 February.

Britain’s foreign secretary, Liz Truss, said Russia would face “severe consequences” for its “malign behaviour and unprovoked aggression” across land, sea and cyberspace, adding:

This is clear and shocking evidence of a deliberate and malicious attack by Russia against Ukraine which had significant consequences on ordinary people and businesses in Ukraine and across Europe.

Russia routinely denies it carries out offensive cyber operations.

More than eight million people displaced in Ukraine, says UN

The UN’s migration agency said more than eight million people have been internally displaced in Ukraine since Russia began its invasion on 24 February.

The figures, published in a report by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), represent a 24% increase compared to the first internal displacement figures published on 16 March.

Nearly half of those people were considering further relocation due to the humanitarian crisis in the country, the report said. More than 2.7 million people have returned home.

Displaced Ukrainians at the Lviv train station in western Ukraine.
Displaced Ukrainians at the Lviv train station in western Ukraine. Photograph: Miguel A Lopes/EPA

The survey highlights financial support as the overwhelming need among people who have been internally displaced in Ukraine. Two-thirds of people identified cash assistance as one of their needs, compared to 49% at the beginning of the war. More than 70% said they would use that cash assistance to buy food or medicine.

Russia will not be taking part in a special session of the UN’s human rights council on Ukraine, the foreign ministry said.

The council announced yesterday that it would hold a special session to examine “the deteriorating human rights situation in Ukraine stemming from the Russian aggression”.

More than 50 countries, including Britain, Germany, Turkey and the US backed the request by Kyiv and demanded an extraordinary meeting of the UN’s top rights body.

Russia’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, said the Russian delegation “will not legitimise with its presence this new political show organised under the guise of an extraordinary session”.

In a statement, Zakharova said:

Unfortunately, our arguments and explanations on the true objectives of this special military operation and the real situation on the ground have been completely ignored.

She said it was “evident” that Russia’s arguments “will not be heard this time either” during the west’s “new anti-Russian measure”.

A man helps an old woman to get on an evacuation bus from Kramatorsk to Dnipro
A man helps an old woman to get on an evacuation bus from Kramatorsk to Dnipro. Photograph: Andriy Andriyenko/SOPA Images/Rex/Shutterstock
A little boy with his mother and other refugees in an evacuation bus heading from Kramatorsk to Dnipro
A little boy with his mother and other refugees in an evacuation bus heading from Kramatorsk to Dnipro. Photograph: Andriy Andriyenko/SOPA Images/Rex/Shutterstock

A recent rise in dolphin deaths in the Black Sea may have been caused by the war in Ukraine, scientists have said, Selin Uğurtaş reports.

Researchers believe heightened noise pollution in the northern Black Sea, caused by about 20 Russian navy vessels and ongoing military activities, may have been driving cetaceans south to Turkish and Bulgarian shores, where they are being stranded or caught in fishing nets in unusually high numbers.

Since the beginning of the war, Turkey has recorded a rise in strandings of the common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) across its Black Sea coast. More than 80 of the animals were found dead across the country’s western Black Sea, which the Turkish Marine Research Foundation (Tudav) described as “an extraordinary increase”.

Initial investigations by Tudav revealed about half of these dolphins were killed after getting entangled in fishing nets. The fate of the other half, however, is still an “unanswered question”, according to Dr Bayram Öztürk, the chair of Tudav, as no signs of entanglement or gunshot wounds could be found on the carcasses.

“Acoustic trauma is one of the possibilities that come to mind,” Öztürk said, although he stressed it was important to remain cautious. “We don’t have proof on what low frequency sonar may cause in the Black Sea because we have never seen this many ships, and this much noise for such an extended time – and science always demands proof.”

Navies commonly rely on sonar to detect enemy submarines from great distances. Because marine mammals also depend on sound for communication and other functions, the underwater noise can have serious, even fatal, effects on cetaceans.

According to Dr Pavel Gol’din, a researcher at Ukraine’s National Academy of Sciences, while acoustic trauma may explain the strandings, constant underwater noise caused by military activities could explain the higher bycatch rate.

Germany’s foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, and her Dutch counterpart, Wopke Hoekstra, visited areas around Kyiv devastated by the war on a surprise visit to Ukraine.

Both visits were unannounced, with Baerbock visiting the town of Bucha, which has become synonymous with allegations of Russian war crimes after dozens of bodies in civilian clothing were found in the streets. Baerbock is the highest-ranking German government official to visit Ukraine since the beginning of the war.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, right, and Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova near a mass grave in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine.
German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock (right) and Ukrainian prosecutor Ggeneral Iryna Venediktova near a mass grave in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv. Photograph: Efrem Lukatsky/AP

As she walked around the town with Ukraine’s general prosecutor, Iryna Venediktova, Baerbock said those responsible for the killings in Bucha should face justice.

Baerbock said:

That is what we owe to the victims. And these victims, you can feel that here very intensely, these victims could have been us.

Hoekstra tweeted that he had visited Irpin, another town near Bucha where Russian troops are alleged to have carried out atrocities.

The bombed-out houses and buildings illustrate the impact the war has had on the lives of the men, women and children who live here. These acts cannot go unpunished. The Netherlands is committed to establish the truth and achieve justice. 2/3 pic.twitter.com/V8PXrBrNrN

— Wopke Hoekstra (@WBHoekstra) May 10, 2022

Hoekstra is also scheduled to meet with his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, and with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a spokesperson from the Dutch foreign ministry said.

Dan Sabbagh

Dan Sabbagh

Britain has provided £450m in arms for Ukraine, says Queen’s Speech briefing, incl over 5,000 anti-tank weapons (mostly NLAWs), five air defence systems (Starstreak) with 50 missiles, 1,360 anti-structure munitions + 4.5 tonnes of explosive. Most detailed list I have seen

— Dan Sabbagh (@dansabbagh) May 10, 2022

For comparison, US has supplied $3.8bn of arms so far. UK contribution far less than that but likely to be second largest after ten weeks of fighting

— Dan Sabbagh (@dansabbagh) May 10, 2022

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the EU’s planned sixth package of sanctions against Russia, including an oil embargo, was needed as the bloc’s proposal still faced talks.

Addressing Slovakia’s parliament, Zelenskiy said:

Now the sixth package of sanctions will be adopted, and it is certainly a package that we need, and also energy sanctions are needed.

Meanwhile, the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said he hoped a deal would be reached soon on an EU oil embargo on Russia, Reuters reports.

Foreign ministers are due to meet on Monday. Borrell said last week that he could also call an emergency meeting of the ministers to sign off on sanctions if they were ready, or to move negotiations forward.

It comes after the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, hailed the “progress” made during talks with Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orbán, who has so far resisted Brussels’ plans for a Russian oil embargo.

Real civilian death toll ‘thousands higher’ than official figures, says UN

The number of civilians killed in Ukraine since the beginning of the war is “thousands higher” than official figures, the head of the UN’s human rights monitoring mission in the country said.

The official UN civilian death toll in Ukraine stands at 3,381, as well as 3,680 injured. When asked about the number of deaths and injuries, Matilda Bogner told reporters:

We have been working on estimates, but all I can say for now is that it is thousands higher than the numbers we have currently given to you.

The UN team, which includes 55 monitors in Ukraine, said most of the deaths have been caused by explosive weapons with a wide impact area, such as missile and air strikes.

Bogner added:

The big black hole is really Mariupol where it has been difficult for us to fully access and to get fully corroborated information.

She said her team was also investigating “credible allegations” of torture, ill-treatment and executions by Ukrainian forces against the Russian invading forces and affiliated armed groups.

Bogner said:

In terms of the extent of violations by Ukrainian forces, while the scale is significantly higher on the side of allegations against Russian forces, we are also documenting violations by Ukrainian forces.

Hello. I’m Léonie Chao-Fong and I’ll be bringing you the latest news from the war in Ukraine. Feel free to get in touch on Twitter or via email.

Today so far …

  • Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy urged the international community to take immediate steps to end a Russian blockade of his country’s ports in order to allow wheat shipments and to prevent a global food crisis.
  • At least 100 civilians remain in Azovstal steelworks under heavy Russian fire in the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, an aide to the city’s mayor has said.
  • Ukrainian officials have announced they found the bodies of 44 civilians in the rubble of a building in the north-east of the country that was destroyed weeks ago. The bodies were found in a five-story building that collapsed in March in Izyum.
  • Russia’s underestimation of Ukrainian resistance and its “best case scenario” planning have led to “demonstrable operational failings, preventing President Putin from announcing significant military success in Ukraine” at the 9 May Victory Day parade, the UK’s Ministry of Defence has said.
  • The president of the European commission, Ursula von der Leyen, hailed “progress” made during talks with Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán on Monday night, who has so far resisted Brussels’ plans for a Russian oil embargo.
  • In the US, the White House has dismissed a Victory Day speech by Russian president Vladimir Putin as “revisionist history” and said his suggestion that western aggression led to the Ukraine war was “patently absurd”.
  • The Nordic region’s defence capabilities would be strengthened if Sweden and Finland joined Nato, Sweden’s defence minister told Swedish radio on Tuesday.
  • Greece has reopened its embassy in Kyiv, joining the list of countries to begin operating diplomatic missions in Ukraine.

Léonie Chao-Fong will be along shortly to take over the blog for the next few hours.

Russia’s defence ministry have also published their operations update. They claim that:

Units of the People’s Militia of the Luhansk People’s Republic, with the support of the armed forces of the Russian Federation, having completed the cleansing from the nationalists of the village of Popasnaya, broke through the enemy’s defence in depth and reached the administrative border of the Luhansk People’s Republic. As a result of the offensive, up to 120 nationalists, 13 armoured vehicles and 12 vehicles for various purposes were destroyed.

Operational-tactical and army aviation hit 16 areas of concentration of manpower and military equipment of the armed forces of Ukraine overnight.

Rocket troops and artillery units hit 33 command posts, 407 areas of concentration of manpower and military equipment, as well as five ammunition and fuel depots in the areas of Nikolaev and Mirny of the Nikolaev region. As a result of the strikes, up to 380 nationalists were destroyed, 53 units of military equipment were disabled.

None of the claims have been independently verified.

The general staff of the armed forces of Ukraine made the following claims in their operations update today:

Over the past day, in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the Ukrainian defenders successfully repulsed 15 enemy attacks, destroying 1 anti-aircraft missile system, 9 tanks, 3 artillery systems, 25 armored combat vehicles, 3 units of special engineering equipment, and 3 enemy vehicles.

There is no independent verification of the claims.

Ukraine’s army also raised the spectre of chemical sabotage, posting as part of their daily report:

Russian invaders may conduct acts of sabotage at the Ukrainian chemical industry facilities to further accuse the units of the armed forces of Ukraine of them.

Again, they did not present any evidence of intelligence that directly backed the claim.

Helena Smith

Helena Smith

Greece has reopened its embassy in Kyiv, joining the list of countries to begin operating diplomatic missions in Ukraine.

Staff had withdrawn from Kyiv shortly after Russia’s invasion on 24 Februarywith diplomats instead bolstering Greece’s consulate in eastern Ukraine, home to some 150,0000 ethnic Greeks.

The embassy will be headed by Manolis Androulakism who as Greek consul general in Mariupol was the last EU envoy to leave the besieged coastal city in March.

Recounting his experience upon his return to Athens, the diplomat said the bombardment of Mariupol would undoubtedly rank alongside Stalingrad and Aleppo.

“Mariupol will be included in a list of cities in the world that were completely destroyed by war, such as Guernica, Stalingrad, Grozny, Aleppo,” he told reporters at Athens airport shortly after his arrival in the capital on 20 March.

Athens had urged members of Ukraine’s Greek community to leave the country with Androulakis organising the evacuation of expatriates from Mariupol. The minority has had a presence around the Black Sea area, overseeing a flourishing business community, for centuries.

“We tried to save as many expatriates as we could,” the diplomat said in March. “Heroes are the people who stayed on and will try to make their lives from scratch.”

Here are some of the latest images from Ukraine to land across our newswires today.

A man takes pictures of the destroyed shopping and entertainment centre in Odesa.
A man takes pictures of the destroyed shopping and entertainment centre in Odesa. Photograph: Oleksandr Gimanov/AFP/Getty Images
Ukranian journalist Illia video chats with her girlfriend through the train window as he sees her off in Dnipro on Victory Day.
Ukrainian journalist Illia videochats with her girlfriend through a train window as she sees her off in Dnipro on Victory Day. Photograph: Daniel Ceng Shou-Yi/ZUMA Press Wire/Rex/Shutterstock
A view of the city of Mariupol.
A view of the city of Mariupol. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
Birds fly past a tombstone damaged by the war in Bucha.
Birds fly past a tombstone damaged by the war in Bucha. Photograph: Carol Guzy/ZUMA Press Wire/REX/Shutterstock

Ukrainian officials have announced they found the bodies of 44 civilians in the rubble of a building in the north-east of the country that was destroyed weeks ago.

The bodies were found in a five-story building that collapsed in March in Izyum, about 120km (75 miles) from the city of Kharkiv, which has been under sustained Russian attack since the beginning of the war in late February.

“This is another horrible war crime of the Russian occupiers against the civilian population!” said Oleh Synehubov, the head of the regional administration, in a social media message announcing the deaths,

Associated Press reports that Izyum lies on a key route to the eastern industrial region of the Donbas, now the focus of Russia’s war in Ukraine. Synehubov did not say specifically where the building was.

The claims have not been independently verified.

Weronika Strzyżyńska

More than 2 million Ukrainians have found refuge in Poland since the beginning of the war in February; the vast majority are women with children. While the two countries share history, culture and a border, women’s access to reproductive healthcare is radically different.

Oxana Lytvynenko, a Ukrainian reproductive rights activist who has lived in Poland for 16 years and has been helping refugees in reception points since the war began, says that some women have no idea that their access to reproductive healthcare services will vanish upon crossing the border.

“It’s difficult because you don’t want to re-traumatise these women just after they are so happy to be safe again. It doesn’t feel like the right moment to tell them the truth.”

Lytvynenko says she has met women at the border who have asked her to help them access medication to terminate a pregnancy, but says that the ability to access reproductive healthcare services is down to chance.

Read more of Weronika Strzyżyńska’s report: ‘Declare it to a doctor, and it’s over’: Ukrainian women face harsh reality of Poland’s abortion laws

At least 100 civilians remain in Azovstal steelworks under heavy Russian fire in the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, an aide to the city’s mayor has said.

“In addition to the military, at least 100 civilians remain in the shelters. However, this does not reduce the density of attacks by the occupiers,” Reuters reports mayoral aide Petro Andryushchenko wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2022/may/10/russia-ukraine-war-live-news-russian-troops-trying-to-storm-azovstal-steel-plant-says-kyiv-us-plans-40bn-aid-package-latest-updates

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