Russia-Ukraine live news: Europe agrees to ban Russian coal

  • Ukraine’s state railway company has said 30 people were killed, and 100 were wounded, in a Russian rocket strike on a station in Kramatorsk as civilians continue to flee the area.
  • The European Commission’s Ursula von der Leyen and European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell soon to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
  • Russian forces “fully withdrawn” from Ukraine’s north, the British defence ministry says.
  • Zelenskyy warns situation in Borodyanka will be more horrible than what the world saw in Bucha.
  • The United Nations General Assembly has voted to suspend Russia from its Human Rights Council, citing concerns over human rights abuses in Ukraine.
  • Russia has responded by saying the move is illegal and politically motivated.
  • The United States Congress has voted to ban Russian oil imports and suspend Russia’s “most favoured nation” trade status.
INTERACTIVE Russia Ukraine War Who controls what Day 43
(Al Jazeera)

Here are all the latest updates:

Russia denies strike on Kramatorsk railway station: RIA

Russia’s defence ministry has denied that Russian forces were responsible for a strike on a railway station in Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine on Friday, the RIA news agency reported.

Ukraine’s state railway company had said more than 30 people had been killed and over 100 wounded in the strike, which occurred as civilians were trying to evacuate to safer parts of the country.

The defence ministry said the missile was of a type used only by the Ukrainian military, and similar to one that hit the centre of the city of Donetsk on March 14, killing 17 people, RIA reported.

Zelenskyy: Russia ‘evil’ with ‘no limits’

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy has called Russia an “evil” with “no limits” after a deadly strike on a train station in Kramatorsk.

The state railway company said at least 30 people were killed in a Russian rocket strike and over 100 were wounded as civilians gathered to flee the city, which is located in the eastern Donbas region.

The city’s mayor has said about 4,000 people were at the station at the time of the attack.

Emergency personnel tend to wounded in the aftermath of a rocket attack on the railway station in the eastern city of Kramatorsk, in the Donbass region of Ukraine. [File: Anatolii Stepanov/AFP]

Kramatorsk mayor says thousands at station at time of attack

The city’s mayor, Oleksander Honcharenko, has said there were about 4,000 civilians at the city’s railway station when it was hit by what Ukrainian officials say were Russian rockets.

He said many were elderly, women and children.

UK sanctions daughters of Russia’s Putin and Lavrov

The UK has announced sanctions on the daughters of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Foreign Office said it was targeting the “lavish lifestyles of the Kremlin’s inner circle”. The move mirrored sanctions imposed by the US.

Ukraine says Russia’s losses reach 19,000

About 19,000 Russian servicemen have been killed in Ukraine since the invasion started on February 24, Ukraine’s military has said.

Ukrainian forces destroyed some 700 tanks, 1,891 armored vehicles, 150 planes, 135 helicopters and 112 drones,  the General Staff of the Armed Forces said on Facebook.

NATO said on March 24 that Moscow lost up to 15,000 troops in Ukraine – a figure compared to the USSR’s overall death toll during the 1979-1989 Soviet-Afghan war.

Reporting by Al Jazeera’s Mansur Mirovalev in Vinnytsia, Ukraine.

EU adopts new sanctions against Russia

The European Union has formally adopted its fifth package of sanctions against Russia, including bans on the import of coal, wood, chemicals and other products.

The measures also prevent many Russian vessels and trucks from accessing the EU, further crippling trade, and will ban all transactions with four Russian banks, including VTB.

Russian cruise missile kills more than 30 in Kramatorsk: officials

A Russian strike at a railway station in the embattled eastern city of Kramatorsk more than 30 and wounding more than a hundred civilians,Ukrainian officials have said.

Regional governor Pavlo Kirilenko said in televised remarks that the attack on the town of Kramatorsk deliberately targeted the railway where hundreds gathered to leave the town that has been heavily shelled for weeks.

Olexander Kamyshin of the Ukrainian Railroads said on Telegram that more than 30 died and more than 100 were wounded.

“This is a deliberate strike at passenger infrastructure of the railroad and on the residents of Kramatorsk,” he wrote.

Reporting by Al Jazeera’s Mansur Mirovalev in Vinnytsia, Ukraine.

Rocket Kramatorsk
The remains of a rocket with the lettering ‘for our children’ lie on an area of grass, after a rocket attack on the railway station in the eastern city of Kramatorsk, in the Donbas region. [Hervé Bar/AFP]

Ukrainian negotiator: Bucha deaths affect mood at talks with Russia

Ukraine and Russia are “constantly” holding peace talks online but the mood has been affected by events including the deaths of civilians in the town of Bucha, Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak has said in televised comments.

Ukrainian officials accuse Russian troops of carrying out extra-judicial killings in Bucha, outside Kyiv, where mass graves and hundreds of corpses have been discovered.

Moscow denies targeting civilians in Ukraine and has said the deaths in Bucha were a “monstrous forgery” staged by the West to discredit it.

Russia says it destroyed training centre for ‘mercenaries’ near Odesa

Russia has said it destroyed a training centre for “foreign mercenaries” near the city of Odesa as part of its military campaign in Ukraine.

“High-precision missiles of the Bastion coastal missile system destroyed a foreign mercenary assembly and training centre near the village of Krasnosilka, northeast of Odesa,” a defence ministry spokesperson said in a briefing.

3 civilians tortured, burned in Kharkiv region: prosecutors

Three villagers have been tortured, killed and burned in the eastern Ukrainian region of Kharkiv, prosecutors have said.

Russian troops used car tires to burn the bodies in a basement in the village of Husarivka, the regional prosecutor’s office said on Telegram.

Hundreds of civilians have been tortured and arbitrarily shot since the invasion began on February 24, according to survivors, officials, rights groups and media reports.

Reporting by Al Jazeera’s Mansur Mirovalev in Vinnytsia, Ukraine

Von der Leyen and Borrell head to Kyiv to meet Zelenskyy

European Commission President von der Leyen and the EU’s foreign policy chief Borrell are on their way to Ukraine’s capital to meet President Zelenskyy.

Von der Leyen is later set to attend a Stand Up For Ukraine event in Warsaw, Poland.

Looking forward to Kyiv.@JosepBorrellF @eduardheger

— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) April 8, 2022

Russia focusing on control of Luhansk cities, says Ukraine army

Russian forces are concentrating on taking control of the cities of Popasna and Rubizhne in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has written in a Facebook post.

It says that Russian forces continue trying to establish control over the besieged city of Mariupol.

“The Russian enemy continues to blockade the city of Kharkiv. To prevent the advance of our troops, the invaders put up minefields,” the post adds. It also warns of the possibility of missile attacks from Belarus on Ukraine’s civilian and military infrastructure.

Russian forces fully withdrawn from Ukraine’s north: UK

Cities in Ukraine’s east and south continue to be shelled while Russian forces have advanced further south from the city of Izyum, which remains under their control, according to Friday’s intelligence briefing from the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence.

“In the north, Russian forces have now fully withdrawn from Ukraine to Belarus and Russia,” the briefing says, adding that some of these will be transferred to fight in the eastern region of Donbas.

They will require significant replenishments before redeployment “with any mass redeployment from the north likely to take at least a week minimum”.

Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 8 April 2022

Find out more about the UK government’s response:

🇺🇦 #StandWithUkraine 🇺🇦

— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) April 8, 2022

Germany says Russian radio messages discussed Bucha killings

Germany says it has intercepted radio conversations in which Russian troops discussed the killing of civilians in the Ukrainian city of Bucha.

German magazine Der Spiegel, which first reported on the intercepted communication on Thursday, said the country’s foreign intelligence service, the BND, obtained conversations among Russian soldiers.

In one intercepted message, a soldier is seemingly heard telling another that they had shot a person riding a bicycle. Images of a body lying next to a bicycle recently surfaced following the withdrawal of Russian forces from the Bucha area.

Read more here.

DER SPIEGEL has learned that German intelligence intercepted radio traffic from the #Russian military regarding the murder of civilians in #Bucha. It appears that such atrocities were part of the plan.

— SPIEGEL English (@SPIEGEL_English) April 7, 2022

Sumy region littered with explosives, governor warns

The governor of Ukraine’s Sumy region has told residents the area is free of Russian troops but still unsafe due to land mines.

“Do not drive on the roadsides and do not use forest roads. Do not approach destroyed equipment or orc sites!” Dmytro Zhyvytskyi said on Telegram.

“If you hear explosions (and there have been many in recent days) – it’s rescuers and explosives. They are neutralising the ammunition left by the Russian military on our land,” he added.

Ukrainians have commonly referred to Russian soldiers as “orcs” since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of the country.

Armoured vehicles requested by Zelenskyy leave Australia for Ukraine

The first of 20 Bushmaster vehicles have left Australia for Ukraine, one week after the Ukrainian president requested the Australian-manufactured four-wheel-drive armoured vehicles during a speech to the Australian parliament.

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said a Boeing C-17 Globemaster transport jet that can carry four Bushmasters left the east coast city of Brisbane for Europe on Friday.

“The Bushmaster is well suited to provide protection to the Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers and Ukrainian civilians against mines and improvised explosive devices, shrapnel from artillery and small arms fire,” he said in a statement.

“Additionally, a Ukrainian flag is painted on either side with the words ‘United with Ukraine’ stencilled in English and Ukrainian to acknowledge our commitment and support to the government and people of Ukraine,” Morrison added.

It is a historic moment! Upon the invitation from @PeterDutton_MP, I was pleased to witness the transfer of 20 PMVs Bushmaster to Ukraine worth 50 million AUD (38 million USD). It’s a significant boost to Ukraine’s defence capabilities.

— Vasyl Myroshnychenko (@AmbVasyl) April 7, 2022

Serbia’s vote in UN against Russia was driven by fear of sanctions, president says

Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vučić said his country voted for suspending Russia’s membership in the UN Human Rights Council because of the threat of sanctions against it. Serbia was one of the 93 members that voted to support the resolution.

“People ask why we didn’t vote against or why we didn’t abstain,” Vučić said on Serbia’s public broadcaster, Radio Television of Serbia. His comments were also reported on Russian state-owned Ria News.

He said if Serbia abstained, more countries would be against them “and the pressure will become even greater. At the same time, today a decision is being made about the fate of Serbia – whether we will be an exception from the package of sanctions on oil”.

Gazprom Neft, one of the Russian-owned companies sanctioned by the EU, is the majority shareholder of the Petroleum Industry of Serbia.

Zelenskyy says Russia will use dead Ukrainians in propaganda campaign against his country

Russian propagandists are planning to use the corpses of Mariupol victims to stage a murder scene that can be blamed on Ukraine, Zelenskyy has said.

“They are going to show the victims in Mariupol as if they were killed not by the Russian military, but by the Ukrainian defenders of the city. To do this, the occupiers collect corpses on the streets, take them out and can use them elsewhere in accordance with the elaborated propaganda scenarios.”

Zelenskyy called it a “mirror response” to what people saw in Bucha. Russia has claimed the atrocities in Bucha, where bodies of shot civilians lined the streets, were staged by Ukrainians.

US sanctions Russia’s shipbuilding and diamond mining companies

The Biden administration has announced sanctions against Russia’s largest military shipbuilding and diamond mining companies, blocking their access to the US financial system.

Alrosa is the world’s largest diamond mining company and accounts for about 90% of Russia’s diamond mining capacity, according to the US Treasury Department. Diamonds are one of Russia’s top 10 non-energy exports by value.

The US State Department also said it was blacklisting the United Shipbuilding Corporation, along with its subsidiaries and board members.

Killings in Mali underscore Russia’s ‘malign activity’ beyond Ukraine, UK ambassador

The UK deputy representative to the UN, James Kariuki, has said reports of the massacre in the Malian town of Moura underline the extent of “Russia’s malign activity around the world, beyond Ukraine”.

“We know that, as of early 2022, around 1,000 Russian mercenary personnel have been stationed across Mali. Just as the presence of Russian mercenaries drove an increase in human rights violations and abuses in the Central African Republic last year, we fear we are now seeing the same in Mali,” Kariuki told the UN’s Security Council.

A Human Rights Watch (HRW) investigation revealed about 300 civilians and suspected members of armed groups were allegedly executed in Moura during an operation by Malian forces and foreign fighters. HRW says several sources identified the foreign fighters as Russians.

Russian mercenaries have reportedly been deployed to Africa as part of the Wagner Group, a paramilitary unit that was also allegedly aiding Russian separatists in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. Russia has consistently denied the group’s connection to the state.

#UNSC meets today to discuss #Mali. We pay tribute to UN peacekeepers serving in #MINUSMA

Horrified by reports of massacre in Moura last week. Alleged role of Wagner mercenaries underlines the extent of Russia’s malign activity around the world, beyond Ukraine.

— Ambassador James Kariuki (@JamesKariuki_UN) April 7, 2022

Destruction in Chernihiv as Russian troops retreat

Russian troops retreating from the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv left behind crushed buildings, streets littered with destroyed cars and residents in dire need of food and other aid, the Associated Press news agency reports.

Dozens of people lined up to receive bread, diapers and medicine from vans parked outside a shattered school now serving as an aid-distribution point in Chernihiv, which Russian forces besieged for weeks as part of their attempt to sweep south towards the capital before retreating.

A man walks past building damaged by shelling in Chernihiv
A man walks past a building damaged by shelling in Chernihiv, Ukraine, April 7, 2022 [Evgeniy Maloletka/AP]

Russia’s suspension from UN rights body sends strong signal: Rights groups

The vote to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council has strengthened the forum and sent a powerful message that violators cannot be members, rights organisations say.

“This sends a powerful message that the Human Rights Council is no place for states that are perpetrating massive human rights violations, including acts that amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity,” said Phil Lynch, executive director of the International Service for Human Rights.

That was echoed by Human Rights Watch, which said in a statement that the UN General Assembly “sent a crystal-clear message to Russia’s leadership that a government whose military is routinely committing horrific rights violations has no business” on the council.

New Zealand to release more barrels of crude, diesel

The government of New Zealand has announced plans to release 184,000 barrels of crude and close to 299,000 barrels of diesel to the International Energy Agency emergency stock release.

“There has been a great deal of volatility in global oil markets since the invasion [of Ukraine],” the country’s minister of energy and resources, Megan Woods, said in a statement.

“This further action, coupled with the United States’ move to release 180 million barrels of oil over the next six months, will help to provide some certainty to the market.”

Situation in second Ukraine town ‘more dreadful’ than Bucha: Zelenskyy

Zelenskyy has said that the situation in the town of Borodyanka was “significantly more dreadful” than in nearby Bucha, where Russian forces’ suspected killings of civilians have been broadly condemned.

“The work to clear the rubble in Borodyanka has begun … It’s significantly more dreadful there. Even more victims from the Russian occupiers,” Zelenskyy said in a video posted on the Telegram messaging service.

The town is about 25km (15 miles) from Bucha.

Canada boosts financial aid to Ukraine in new budget

Canada has increased financial support for Ukraine as the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled its new federal budget.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said the budget earmarked an additional $800m in loans through the International Monetary Fund, as well as $400m in military aid.

“The brave people of Ukraine are fighting our fight—a fight for democracy—it is in our urgent national interest to ensure that they have the missiles and the money they need to win,” Freeland tweeted.

The brave people of Ukraine are fighting our fight—a fight for democracy—it is in our urgent national interest to ensure that they have the missiles and the money they need to win.

— Chrystia Freeland (@cafreeland) April 7, 2022

Ukrainian villagers say Russian forces used them as ‘shields’

In the village of Obukhovychi, residents say Russian forces dug in around their houses, using them as “shields” to discourage counterattacks by Ukrainian armed forces.

“They dug the trenches to put the vehicles in and used us as a shield,” said 35-year-old Yulia Piankova.

“It’s bad that they didn’t go into the field to fight, but they came to where they knew that many people were,” she said.

More than 100 attacks on healthcare in Ukraine: WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) says it has confirmed more than 100 attacks on healthcare facilities and other services in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began.

“As of now, WHO has verified 103 incidents of attacks on health care, with 73 people killed and 51 injured, including health workers and patients,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a news conference.

Of the confirmed attacks, 89 had impacted health facilities and most of the rest hit transport services, including ambulances.

“We are outraged that attacks on health care are continuing,” the WHO chief said, adding they constituted “a violation of international humanitarian law”.

Zelenskyy calls for more sanctions and supplies

Ukraine’s president has called for nations to impose “more courageous sanctions” against Russia in order to end the war.

“If sanctions had really worked at 100 percent, then it wouldn’t have been necessary to explain their importance in such a detailed and meticulous way,” Zelenskyy said during his daily address.

“That’s why I underline once again that we need more sanctions, more courageous sanctions,” he said.

Men riding bicycle past destruction
Men ride bicycles by a destroyed apartment building in Borodyanka, Ukraine [Vadim Ghirda/AP]

Germany to give $2.2bn to federal states to aid Ukraine refugees

The German government will provide $2.2bn to federal states to cover the cost of caring for and integrating Ukrainian refugees in the country, Scholz has said.

“The agreement is a good basis for our country to stand together in the long-term,” Scholz said after a meeting with the premiers of Germany’s 16 states.

Germany has registered approximately 307,000 refugees from Ukraine, the interior ministry said.

Germany will need to use transition period to implement coal ban: Scholz

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said Germany will need to use the full transition period to implement a ban on Russian coal under EU sanctions.

The EU’s ambassadors agreed on a fifth sanctions package on Russia, including a coal embargo, with a 120-day wind-down period to give member states time to find alternative suppliers.

Pink Floyd members reunite to record song for Ukraine

British rock band Pink Floyd will release a new song on Friday to raise money for humanitarian relief in Ukraine, featuring the vocals of a Ukrainian singer who quit an international tour to fight for his country and was wounded.

The single “Hey Hey, Rise Up” – Pink Floyd’s first original new music in almost 30 years – was recorded last week and highlights singing by Andriy Khlyvnyuk from Ukrainian band Boombox, which was taken from an Instagram post.

“Then I saw this incredible video on Instagram, where he stands in a square in Kyiv with this beautiful gold-domed church and sings in the silence of a city with no traffic or background noise because of the war,” guitarist David Gilmour said on Pink Floyd’s website.

“It was a powerful moment that made me want to put it to music.”

Number of Ukrainians arriving at Mexico-US border doubles

The number of Ukrainians arriving at the US-Mexico border to seek asylum in the US has more than doubled in less than a week, officials have said.

Lying on plastic mattresses, hundreds of Ukrainians — including families — waited in a crowded shelter run by the local government in the Mexican border city of Tijuana this week.

Enrique Lucero, director of Tijuana’s immigration services, said about 2,829 Ukrainians were waiting, more than double the 1,200 counted last Friday. Nearly two-thirds of them were in shelters, with the rest in hotels and churches, he said.

See more images from the US-Mexico border here.

Ukrainians at US-Mexico border
Hundreds of Ukrainians have fled to Mexico amid the Russian invasion of their homeland in an effort to reach the US [Quetzalli Nicte-ha/Reuters]

UN rights council suspension shows Russia as ‘international pariah’: Biden

US President Joe Biden has welcomed the UN vote to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council as a “meaningful” step that shows Moscow has become an “international pariah”.

“Russia has no place on the Human Rights Council,” Biden said in a statement.

“After today’s historic vote, Russia will not be able to participate in the Council’s work or spread its disinformation there as the Council’s Commission of Inquiry investigates Russia’s violations and abuses of human rights in Ukraine.”

Russia acknowledges ‘significant’ troops losses in Ukraine

Russia has appeared to give the most damning assessment so far of its invasion, describing the “tragedy” of mounting troop losses and the economic hit it has suffered since the war began in late February.

“We have significant losses of troops,” Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told Britain’s Sky News.

“It’s a huge tragedy for us,” he said.

“We have significant losses of troops”.

Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov says it’s a “huge tragedy to us” to have lost Russian troops during the war in Ukraine.

📺 Sky 501, Virgin 602, Freeview 233 and YouTube

— Sky News (@SkyNews) April 7, 2022

EU approves embargo on Russian coal, official says

The EU has said it approved an embargo on Russian coal as well as the closing of the bloc’s ports to Russian vessels.

An official from the French presidency of the European Council said the moves spearhead a “very substantial” fifth round of sanctions against Moscow, which will also include a ban on high-tech exports.

The coal ban should cost Russia $4.4bn a year, the EU’s executive commission said.

US Congress votes to suspend Russia trade status, enact oil ban

The US Congress has voted overwhelmingly to suspend normal trade relations with Russia and ban imports of Russian oil.

“We in Congress must do all we can to end the slaughter of innocent civilians, total destruction of cities, and assault on democracy in Ukraine,” said Representative Richard Neal.

The measures now go to President Joe Biden to be signed into law.

Read more here.

US plans to starve Russia’s ‘war machine’: Official

The US is ramping up sanctions against Russia to deprive its “war machine” of money, US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo has said, but added that curbing Moscow’s main source of funding – exports – will take time.

“What this means is that Russia will be deprived of the capital it needs to build up its economy, but also to invest in its war machine,” Adeyemo said in an interview with the Reuters news agency.

“Because of our ability to produce energy at home, we were able to ban the Russian import of oil to America rather quickly,” he said. “It’s going to take them more time but what they’re doing is they’re reducing their dependence over time.”

UN aid chief ‘not optimistic’ about Ukraine ceasefire

The UN’s humanitarian chief, Martin Griffiths, has said he is not optimistic about securing a ceasefire to halt the fighting in Ukraine following high-level talks in Moscow and Kyiv.

“I think it’s not going to be easy because the two sides, as I know now … have very little trust in each other,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press news agency.

“I’m not optimistic,” he added later.

Russian Nobel laureate Muratov attacked with red paint

The Russian co-winner of last year’s Nobel Peace Prize, Dmitry Muratov, has said that he was attacked on a train with red paint, in an apparent protest at his newspaper’s coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“They poured oil paint with acetone all over the compartment. Eyes burning badly,” Muratov’s Novaya Gazeta investigative newspaper quoted him as saying.

Pictures posted by the newspaper on the Telegram messaging app showed Muratov with red paint on his head and clothes and around his sleeping compartment on a Moscow-Samara train.

❗️Неизвестный напал на главреда «Новой газеты» и лауреата Нобелевской премии мира Дмитрия Муратова прямо в вагоне поезда

— Novaya Gazeta. Europe (@novayagazeta_eu) April 7, 2022

Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Read all the updates from Thursday, April 7 here.

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