The European Union said on Sunday it would defend itself against any abuse during Russia’s presidency of the UN Security Council in April, the bloc’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said. Follow our live blog for all the latest developments on the war in Ukraine. Times are Paris time (GMT+2).
11:57 Zelensky welcomes Ukraine a year after the Russian troops were pushed back
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday hailed his country for pushing back Russian troops from areas around Kiev a year ago.
“You have stopped the greatest force against humanity of our time. You have stopped a force that despises everything and wants to destroy everything that gives people meaning,” Zelensky said on Telegram, alongside photos of areas liberated a year ago, when Russian troops withdrew from the vicinity of the Ukrainian capital. .
11:33. Ukraine says at least three people killed, six injured in Russian rocket fire in east of country
At least three civilians were killed and six others were wounded in a Russian missile attack on the eastern Ukrainian town of Konstantinivka on Sunday morning, a senior Ukrainian official said.
Konstantinivka, home to about 70,000 people before the war, is just 20 km (12.5 miles) west of Bakhmut, the epicenter of at least eight months of fighting as Russian forces try to capture the city. “The Russians have carried out a massive shelling in the direction of the city of Konstantinivka,” Andrey Yermak, the chief of staff of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said in the Telegram messaging application.
The photos published by Yermak showed the partial destruction of buildings and craters from the explosions.
10:38 Brittney Griner called on Biden to bring journalist Gershkovich, who is accused of espionage in Russia, home
American basketball star Brittney Griner, who was freed from a Russian penal colony last year in a prisoner swap, called on the Biden administration to continue using “every tool possible” to free an American journalist accused of spying in Russia.
Griner and his wife, Sherel, said on Instagram that “our hearts are filled with great concern” for journalist Evan Gershkovich, who was detained by Russia’s FSB security service last week in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg.
The Kremlin says Gershkovich used journalism as a cover for espionage – something that his newspaper, the Wall Street Journal, vehemently denied.
Russia has not released any evidence to support the charges, which carry up to 20 years in prison for Gershkovich. The White House described the accusations as “ridiculous”, and President Joe Biden called on Moscow to release him.
10:38. Ukraine will keep fighting, army chief vows, year after bodies found in Bucha
Ukraine will continue to fight for its independence, the army chief said on Sunday, a year after the bodies of civilians were found in Bucha after Russian troops retreated.
“We will continue to fight for the independence of our nation,” Valery Zaluzhny wrote on Telegram. His comments came exactly a year after AFP reporters who entered the town of Bucha after the Russian retreat found the bodies of people in civilian clothes lying in the street, including one with his hands tied behind his back.
10:18. The EU will protect itself from Russia’s abuse of the UN presidency, Borrell says
The European Union will protect itself from any abuse during Russia’s presidency of the UN Security Council in April, said the foreign policy official of the bloc.
Russia, one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, assumed its presidency on Saturday as part of a monthly rotation of its 15 members.
“Despite being a permanent member of the Security Council, Russia continues to violate the very essence of the UN legal framework,” EU foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell tweeted late Saturday.
“The EU will be against any abuse of the Russian presidency,” he said. Russia’s relations with the West have reached their lowest point since the Cold War because of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Kyiv described the presidency as a “slap”.
Moscow last chaired the council in February 2022, the same month it invaded Ukraine. – which prompted Kiev to call for Russia’s expulsion from the council. Russia will have little influence on the decisions, but will be responsible for the agenda.
05:52. The war took 262 Ukrainian athletes, said the Minister of Sports
Russia’s war against Ukraine has claimed the lives of 262 Ukrainian athletes and destroyed 363 sports facilities, the country’s Minister of Sports Vadim Hutsyt said on Saturday. Meeting with the visiting president of the International Gymnastics Federation, Morinari Watanabe, Hutzait said no athlete from Russia should be allowed to compete in the Olympics or any other sporting event.
“They all support this war and participate in activities that support this war,” Hootsite said, according to a transcript posted on President Volodymyr Zelensky’s website.
The International Olympic Committee has advised Russian and Belarusian athletes to gradually return to international competitions as neutrals. Their participation in the 2024 Paris Olympics has not been decided.
01:12. The Ukrainian cleric accused of glorifying the invasion of Russia has been placed under house arrest
A Ukrainian cleric with alleged ties to the church was sentenced to house arrest on Saturday after hearings about whether he glorified invading Russian forces and incited religious divisions, the church said.
Kiev has been cracking down on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) on the grounds that it is pro-Russian and cooperating with Moscow, which the church denies. A Kyiv court also ordered Metropolitan Pavlo to wear an electronic bracelet, the UOC said in a statement. “Interfax Ukraine” and “Ukrainform” news agencies report that Pavlo was given house arrest for 60 days.
12:41. Ukraine is angry about Russia’s presidency of the UN Security Council, says it is a “slap in the face”.
Russia, whose leader is accused of war crimes, took over the UN Security Council on Saturday, sparking anger in Ukraine and President Volodymyr Zelensky calling it an absurd and destructive move.
The last time Russia held the rotating presidency of the body responsible for maintaining peace and combating international aggression was in February 2022, when Moscow’s troops launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
“Unfortunately, we have obviously absurd and devastating news,” Zelensky said in his daily video message, adding that a five-month-old boy was killed by Russian shelling on Friday.
And at the same time, Russia chairs the UN Security Council. It is hard to imagine anything that proves the total bankruptcy of such institutions more,” he said. The presidency rotates among the 15 members in alphabetical order each month. Although it is largely procedural, the Kremlin and other Russian officials have vowed to “exercise all of its rights.” in the role.
Kiev described Russia’s presidency of the UN Security Council in April as a “slap”, joining groups of Western countries in outrage.
>>: Read our live blog for all of yesterday’s developments as they unfold.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)