Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

UK rejects Lavrov’s ‘bravado’ and says there is no imminent threat of nuclear war

Britain’s Armed Forces Secretary played down Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s warning that the war with Ukraine could escalate into a nuclear war.

Lavrov said on Monday evening that the risks of nuclear war are now “very, very great and should not be underestimated”, but the remarks were called “bravado” by British Minister James Heappey.

“Lavrov’s hallmark over the 15 years he was Russian foreign minister has been that kind of bravado. I don’t think there’s an imminent threat of escalation right now,” James Heappey said. on BBC Breakfast. tuesday.

When asked if Russia would use a tactical nuclear weapon, Heappey said he thought there was an “infinitely small” possibility of this kind of escalation.

Holly Ellyatt

The town of Kreminna reportedly fell to Russian forces

The snow-capped city of Kreminna, believed to have fallen to Russian forces, is seen here from a bird’s eye view. The city is located in the Lugansk region in eastern Ukraine.

Edition of the future | Edition of the future | Getty Images

The town of Kreminna in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine has reportedly fallen to Russian forces, according to the latest intelligence update from the UK Ministry of Defense on Tuesday.

“The city of Kreminna is reported to have fallen and heavy fighting is reported south of Izium as Russian forces attempt to advance towards the cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk from the north and east,” the ministry said in a statement. an update on Twitter, although he didn’t give further details.

Russian forces are likely trying to encircle heavily fortified Ukrainian positions in eastern Ukraine, the ministry said, adding that Ukrainian forces were preparing defenses in Zaporizhzhia, a town on the Dnipro River in southeast Ukraine. Ukraine, in view of a possible Russian attack.

Holly Ellyatt

Russia and India reportedly in talks to revive coking coal trade

A worker walks over a pile of coal at a coal yard near a mine on November 23, 2021 in India. Russian and Indian officials met last week in hopes of resolving coking coal supply issues, a business source and an Indian government source said, according to Reuters.

Ritesh Choukla | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Russian and Indian officials met last week in hopes of resolving coking coal supply issues, Reuters reported citing sources.

Exports of Russian coking coal to Indian steelmakers have stalled since March due to payment methods, a trade source and an Indian government source said, according to Reuters. And this despite the signing by New Delhi last year of a plan to import coking coal from Russia.

Coking coal is essential for steel production, and Russia typically supplies around 30% of the coking needs of the European Union, Japan and South Korea.

Russian trade officials are reportedly concerned about sanctions from the West and have asked India to pursue the deal, the sources said.

Indian officials have been invited to visit Russia to strategize on how to ensure smooth shipments of coking coal, sources said, according to Reuters.

—Chelsea Ong

Risk of nuclear war now ‘very, very high’, says Russian foreign minister

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during a news conference after his talks with Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani in Moscow, Russia, April 7, 2022.

Alexander Zemlianitchenko | Reuters

The risks of nuclear war are now very great and should not be underestimated, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a Russian television channel on Monday.

“The risks are really, really big,” Lavrov told Channel One. However, he also added that there was a danger that the risks could be “artificially” inflated.

“The danger is serious, it is real, it cannot be underestimated,” Lavrov said in comments. reported by Russian news agency Ria Novosti.

Holly Ellyatt

UK says Ukraine grain harvest likely to be around 20% lower than 2021

A wheat sample being inspected on March 18, 2022. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has “significantly” disrupted Ukrainian agricultural production, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said in an intelligence update.

Shannon VanRaes | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The Russian invasion has “significantly” disrupted Ukrainian agricultural production, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said in an intelligence update.

“The Ukrainian grain harvest for 2022 is expected to be around 20% lower than in 2021 due to reduced sown areas following the invasion,” the UK ministry said.

Reduced grain supplies from Ukraine – the world’s fourth-largest producer and exporter of agricultural products – would not only lead to inflationary pressures and an increase in the world grain price, but would also have an impact on world food markets, said said the ministry.

Grain prices have surged since the outbreak began, and Morgan Stanley expects grain prices to remain above last year’s levels through 2023.

“High grain prices could have significant implications for global food markets and threaten global food security, particularly in some of the less economically developed countries,” the UK ministry said.

—Chelsea Ong

“We want to see Russia weakened,” says US Secretary of Defense Austin

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin attends a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine April 24, 2022.

Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | Reuters

Washington wants to see Russia “weakened” as part of its arms and support goals for Ukraine, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Monday during a visit to Kyiv, the first high-level visit by Washington. an American official since the beginning of the war.

“We want Ukraine to remain a sovereign country, a democratic country capable of defending its sovereign territory. We want to see Russia weakened to the point that it cannot do the kinds of things it did by invading the Ukraine,” Austin told reporters. .

“He’s already lost a lot of military capability and a lot of his troops, quite frankly. In terms of our – their ability to win, the first step to winning is believing you can win. And so they believe they can win, we believe they can win, if they have the right equipment.”

The visit saw the United States pledge more military and diplomatic support to Ukraine as the Russian invasion entered its 60th day.

—Natasha Turak

Schumer expects ‘swift and bipartisan’ passage of upcoming Ukraine aid bill

US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he expects “swift and bipartisan” passage of another bill to help Ukraine in its fight against Russia once President Joe Biden will have submitted a new request for funding.

—Reuters

Mariupol officials announce discovery of new mass grave

Maxar satellite imagery of another extension of the mass grave site just outside Vynohradne, Ukraine, just east of Mariupol. Sequence — 3 of 4 frames.

Maxar Technologies | Getty Images

Officials in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol said a new mass grave had been identified north of the city.

Mayor Vadym Boychenko said authorities were trying to estimate the number of victims at the grave about 10 kilometers (about 6 miles) north of Mariupol.

Satellite photos released in recent days have shown what appear to be images of other mass graves.

Mariupol has been decimated by heavy fighting over the past two months. Taking the city would deprive Ukraine of a vital port and allow Moscow to establish a land corridor to the Crimean peninsula, which it seized from Ukraine in 2014.

— Associated Press

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