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Russia-Ukraine war: Russian troops accused of ‘reckless shootings and torture’; new evacuation of Mariupol steelworks under way – live | Ukraine

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Russian troops committed ‘reckless shootings and torture’ near Kyiv, says Amnesty

Amnesty International said there was compelling evidence that Russian troops had committed war crimes, including extrajudicial executions of civilians, in the Kyiv area in February and March.

Civilians also suffered abuses such as “reckless shootings and torture” at the hands of Russian forces when they occupied an area outside Ukraine’s capital, including the town of Bucha, in the early stages of the invasion, the rights group said in a report.

Donatella Rovera, Amnesty’s senior crisis response adviser, said:

These are not isolated incidents. These are very much part of a pattern wherever Russian forces were in control of a town or a village.

A view of new graves for people killed during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, at a cemetery in Bucha, Kyiv region, Ukraine. Photograph: Zohra Bensemra/Reuters

The report concluded that Russian troops had committed a “host of apparent war crimes” in Bucha, including “numerous unlawful killings”, most of them near the intersection of Yablunska and Vodoprovidna streets.

It said it had documented 22 cases of unlawful killing by Russian forces – “most of which were apparent extrajudicial executions” – in Bucha and nearby areas.

Ukrainian authorities say they are investigating more than 9,000 potential war crimes by Russian troops. The international criminal court is also looking into alleged war crimes.

The Kremlin has denied its forces committed abuses in Ukraine, claiming “the Bucha story is a set-up and a fake”.

Germany will send seven self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine, on top of five artillery systems the Dutch government has already pledged, the German defence minister, Christine Lambrecht, said.

The seven Panzerhaubitze 2000 howitzers, described by their manufacturer as “the most powerful tube artillery system in the world”, will be delivered over the next few weeks, Lambrecht told reporters. The PzH 2000 is one of the most powerful artillery weapons in the Bundeswehr inventories and can hit targets at a distance of 40km (25 miles).

Deutschland wird 7 Panzerhaubitzen 2000 der Ukraine liefern. Das hat Ministerin Lambrecht festgelegt. Damit ergänzen wir die 5 niederländischen Panzerhaubitzen auf 12. Die Ausbildung an den Haubitzen in Deutschland ist vorbereitet und beginnt in der nächsten Woche. pic.twitter.com/Si8xFQQjas

— Verteidigungsministerium (@BMVg_Bundeswehr) May 6, 2022

Twenty Ukrainian troops will be given training on the howitzers next week in Germany, Lambrecht’s defence chief, Gen Eberhard Zorn, said. These troops have experience in operating Soviet-built howitzers, he said.

Berlin will also supply a first ammunition package for the howitzers built by German defence company KMW, Zorn said, with further ammunition purchases to be handled directly between Kyiv and the company.

Last week, Germany reversed its long-held policy of not sending heavy weapons to war zones following pressure from European allies and at home for being slow to help Ukraine in its defence against Russian forces.

G7 leaders will take part in a video conference with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, on Sunday, a spokesperson for the German government said.

The talks will cover “current issues, particularly the situation in Ukraine … Zelenskiy will take part and report on the current situation in his country”, the spokesperson said, adding:

8 May is a historic date which marks the end of world war two in Europe which caused terror, destruction and death in Europe.

Russian troops committed ‘reckless shootings and torture’ near Kyiv, says Amnesty

Amnesty International said there was compelling evidence that Russian troops had committed war crimes, including extrajudicial executions of civilians, in the Kyiv area in February and March.

Civilians also suffered abuses such as “reckless shootings and torture” at the hands of Russian forces when they occupied an area outside Ukraine’s capital, including the town of Bucha, in the early stages of the invasion, the rights group said in a report.

Donatella Rovera, Amnesty’s senior crisis response adviser, said:

These are not isolated incidents. These are very much part of a pattern wherever Russian forces were in control of a town or a village.

A view of new graves for people killed during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, at a cemetery in Bucha, Kyiv region, Ukraine.
A view of new graves for people killed during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, at a cemetery in Bucha, Kyiv region, Ukraine. Photograph: Zohra Bensemra/Reuters

The report concluded that Russian troops had committed a “host of apparent war crimes” in Bucha, including “numerous unlawful killings”, most of them near the intersection of Yablunska and Vodoprovidna streets.

It said it had documented 22 cases of unlawful killing by Russian forces – “most of which were apparent extrajudicial executions” – in Bucha and nearby areas.

Ukrainian authorities say they are investigating more than 9,000 potential war crimes by Russian troops. The international criminal court is also looking into alleged war crimes.

The Kremlin has denied its forces committed abuses in Ukraine, claiming “the Bucha story is a set-up and a fake”.

The Kremlin has declined to say whether the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, apologised to Israel’s prime minister, Naftali Bennett, for his foreign minister’s claims that Adolf Hitler had Jewish blood.

Israel said Putin made the apology during a call with Bennett yesterday. Bennett said he had accepted the apology from Putin, a rare concession from the Kremlin leader and a strong rebuke of his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov.

Lavrov claimed this week in an interview that Hitler “had Jewish blood” and that “the most rabid antisemites tend to be Jews”. The incendiary remarks sparked outrage in Israel.

Some other lines from the Kremlin’s briefing with reporters today: Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said there was hostile rhetoric coming out of Poland, and that Warsaw could be “a source of threat”.

Peskov’s remarks came amid calls from Poland for the European Union to tighten sanctions and for Nato to arm Ukraine. Earlier this week, the Polish environment and climate minister, Anna Moskwa, said “Poland is proud to be on Putin’s list of unfriendly countries”.

Peskov also said he did not know whether there would be a parade in Mariupol on 9 May to commemorate the Soviet Union’s victory in the second world war, adding: “The time will come to mark Victory Day in Mariupol.”

Hello, I’m Léonie Chao-Fong and I’ll be bringing you all the latest news from the war in Ukraine. Feel free to drop me a message if you have anything to flag, you can reach me on Twitter or via email.

Ukrainian refugee Victoria Bielova, 18 years old, plays with her 9-month daughter Vladyslava in Algeciras.
Ukrainian refugee Victoria Bielova, 18 years old, plays with her 9-month daughter Vladyslava in Algeciras. Photograph: Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images
Ukrainian father of 9-month Vladyslava (R), speaks during a video call with his family in Algeciras.
Ukrainian father of 9-month Vladyslava (R), speaks during a video call with his family in Algeciras. Photograph: Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images
Shaun Walker

Shaun Walker

Shaun Walker, our central and eastern Europe correspondent, reports for us today on how Victory Day became central to Putin’s idea of Russian identity:

The rhetoric of victory and of fighting Nazis, which has become gradually more twisted over the past two decades, plays a role. Of course, it takes a particular mindset to look at Russia’s expansionist war, with the executions, targeting of civilians, filtration camps and harassment of dissidents at home, and come to the conclusion that it is the Ukrainians who are the Nazis.

But already for some years, the victory cult has been referred to by critics as pobedobesie, a derogatory play on the Russian words for victory and obscurantism – “victorymania” is an approximate English translation.

As this pobedobesie metastasised year on year, the phenomenon took on forms that were ever more grotesque: schools put on performances in which the children dressed up as Soviet soldiers; people posing as captured Nazis were paraded through the streets. Ever more opponents of modern Russia were branded as Nazis, neo-Nazis or Nazi accomplices.

These days, almost any interview with a Russian official about current events will contain references to the second world war. The foreign ministry tweets about the conflict almost daily. Putin’s influential, hawkish confidant Nikolai Patrushev recently blamed the west for the rise of Hitler, and suggested today’s western world (and their Ukrainian “puppets”) are the true heirs to the Nazis.

“You should not be fooled by Anglo-Saxon respectability. Even a sharply tailored suit cannot hide hatred, anger and inhumanity,” he raged.

Read more of Shaun Walker’s report here: How Victory Day became central to Putin’s idea of Russian identity

Today so far …

  • Rescue operations to evacuate civilians trapped in besieged Mariupol are set to resume today as Russia’s assault on the Azovstal steel works plant continues. The Mariupol local authority has posted on its Telegram channel to thank those who have been carrying out evacuations from the city.
  • Andriy Yermak, the head of the presidential staff in Ukraine, said this morning a new attempt was under way to evacuate civilians trapped in the Azovstal steelworks. He said “The next stage of rescuing our people from Azovstal is under way at the moment. Information about the results will be provided later.”
  • Russian forces have continued their ground assault on the Azovstal steelworks for a second day, despite Russian statements claiming they would seek only to seal it off, the UK’s ministry of defence has said in its latest intelligence report.
  • The UN secretary general, António Guterres, described the war zone in Mariupol as appearing to be “hellscapes”. The UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross have so far helped nearly 500 civilians flee the steel plant area in the southern port city during two operations in the past week.
  • Reports suggest the European Commission has amended a proposal for an embargo on Russian oil to extend the period before it takes effect for Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Under the tweaked proposal, Hungary and Slovakia will continue to be able to buy Russian oil from pipelines until the end of 2024, whereas the Czech Republic could continue until June 2024.
  • Russia’s defence ministry said its missiles destroyed a large ammunition depot in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk. It also said its air defences shot down two Ukrainian warplanes, an Su-25 and a MiG-29, in the eastern Luhansk region.
  • The US defense department has denied that it provided intelligence on the locations of Russian generals on the battlefield so that Ukraine forces could kill them. However, the US did provide intelligence that helped Ukrainian forces locate and strike the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet last month, according to US officials.

That is it from me, Martin Belam, for now. I will be back later. I am handing you over to my colleague Léonie Chao-Fong.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has been speaking at a conference hosted by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, and Reuters reports she said “I am confident that we will get this [sanctions] package on track – if it takes a day longer, it takes a day longer – but we are moving in the right direction.”

EU to allow Hungary, Slovakia and Czech Republic longer to implement oil ban – reports

Reuters is claiming that two sources have told it the European Commission has amended a proposal for an embargo on Russian oil to extend the period before it takes effect for Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Under the tweaked proposal, Hungary and Slovakia will continue to be able to buy Russian oil from pipelines until the end of 2024, whereas the Czech Republic could continue until June 2024, provided that it does not get oil via a pipeline from southern Europe earlier, the sources said.

Ukraine celebrates 6 May as Infantry Day, and earlier Lt Gen Serhii Shaptala, who is chief of the general staff of the armed forces of Ukraine, posted this message to social media:

Being an infantryman is not easy, but it is honourable. That is why Ukrainians value and respect the infantry. Every day and every hour our warriors are in the thoughts, prayers and hearts of millions of people. Russian executioners in Ukraine should not be spared. We will not stop until the last occupier leaves our land.

I want to thank all the infantry, men and women who defend the will of our country and defend the entire civilised world in fierce battles with the enemy. I am proud to be an infantryman. Let’s win together!

https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2022/may/06/russia-ukraine-war-rescue-operations-to-resume-in-mariupol-hellscape-un-says-amid-rumours-russia-wants-to-claim-city-for-victory-day-live

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