by Associated Press
KYIV, Ukraine – Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehmer says Austrian embassy staff will return to Kyiv from western Ukraine.
Nehamer announced the move on Saturday during a visit to Kyiv, where he met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the Austrian Press Agency reported.
Nehamer said that “as the situation around Kyiv has now stabilized somewhat, the Austrian embassy team will resume its work in the Ukrainian capital.” He said it was a sign of Austria’s “full support for Ukraine” at this difficult time.
At the start of the war the team was moved to an outpost in Uzhhorod, near the Slovak border in Ukraine’s far west.
The European Union has also returned its ambassador to Kyiv and Italy reportedly plans to reopen its embassy there.
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— Visit https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine for more coverage
BOSTON – The International Monetary Fund has created an account to give donor countries a safe way to funnel financial aid directly to war-ravaged Ukraine.
The multilateral lender said in a statement on Friday that it was launching the account at the request of several member countries.
The goal is to help Ukraine meet its payment obligations and stabilize its economy by using loans or grants from pooled resources.
The IMF says Canada has proposed to deliver up to 1 billion Canadian dollars ($795 million) to Ukraine through the new account.
Two weeks after Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine, the IMF approved a $1.4 billion emergency loan to Ukraine.
BOSTON – S&P Global Ratings has downgraded its assessment of Russia’s ability to repay foreign debt, indicating rising prospects that Moscow will soon default on such loans for the first time in more than a century.
The credit rating agency issued the downgrade Friday night to a “selective default” after Russia last week arranged to make foreign bond payments in rubles when they were due in dollars. It said it did not expect Russia to be able to convert the ruble to dollars within the 30-day grace period.
S&P said it believes its invasion of Ukraine is likely to increase sanctions on Russia, which could hamper its willingness and ability to honor its obligations to foreign debtors.
The Kremlin has indicated it is ready to pay back its debt, but has warned it will do so in roubles if its foreign accounts are frozen in foreign currencies.
KYIV, Ukraine – UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has flown to Ukraine to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky in a show of solidarity.
The prime minister’s office said in a meeting on Saturday the two leaders discussed “the UK’s long-term support to Ukraine”, including a new package of financial and military aid. The trip was not announced in advance. A photo of the two leaders at a conference table was posted online by the Ukrainian Embassy in London. Andriz Sibiha, deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office, said they were meeting in Kyiv.
The visit comes a day after Johnson promised Ukraine another 100 million pounds ($130 million) in high-end military equipment, saying Britain would help defend Ukraine from continued Russian attacks. wants.
Speaking Friday at a news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Johnson said he would give Ukraine’s military more Starstreak anti-aircraft missiles, another 800 anti-tank missiles and precision warheads to be guided to their targets. able to stay in the sky.
Johnson also promised more helmets, night vision and body armor. The items were in addition to the 200,000 pieces of non-lethal military equipment from the UK that had already been promised.
WARSAW, Poland — A fundraising event for people fleeing a country invaded by Ukraine and Russia has raised 10.1 billion euros ($11 billion) globally, says the head of the EU’s executive branch.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was joined in Warsaw by Polish President Andrzej Duda and – remotely – by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
At the end of the 90-minute program, a smiling von der Leyen said that donations would go to help refugees outside and inside Ukraine.
“We will continue to provide assistance. And once the bombs stop falling, we will help the people of Ukraine rebuild their country,” von der Leyen said.
Saturday’s pledge event was held in Warsaw as more than 2.5 million of the 4.4 million people who fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion on February 24 entered Poland. Many have stayed, although some have moved to other countries. The purpose of the event was to inspire political leaders and global figures to provide money and other charities for the people of Ukraine.
It ended with Julian Lennon singing his father John Lennon’s peace song “Imagine”.
MOSCOW — YouTube has banned the channel of the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, prompting government officials to renew long-standing threats against the platform.
The Duma TV channel reported a ban on the messaging app Telegram, noting that it had 145,000 subscribers and over 100,000 million total views. In comments to Russian news agency Interfax, Google did not specify the exact reason for the move, but said the company complies with “all applicable sanctions and business compliance laws.”
Russia’s state communications watchdog Roskomnadzor demanded that YouTube unblock the channel. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Saturday that the service had “given itself a sentence” and urged its users to “download content, transfer it to Russian platforms”. faster.”
State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin called the move against parliament’s YouTube channel “another evidence of Washington’s violation of citizens’ rights and freedoms.”
MILAN – Italy’s foreign minister has reportedly told staff that Italy will reopen its embassy in the Ukrainian capital after Easter.
The news agency ANSA quoted Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio as telling his ministry’s crisis unit on Saturday that Italy would be “among the first to return” to Kyiv.
He called it “another gesture to demonstrate support for the Ukrainian population, a concrete way of reaffirming that diplomacy must prevail.”
Di Maio said the withdrawal would be coordinated with other EU countries.
The EU itself announced the return of its ambassador on Friday. On Saturday, EU Ambassador Matty Monthis tweeted a photo of the EU flag atop a flag with the words “first things first”.
KYIV, Ukraine — Austria’s leader says he expects more EU sanctions against Russia, but has so far defended his country’s opposition to cutting Russian gas deliveries.
Chancellor Karl Nehmer speaks after becoming one of several European leaders to meet Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on Saturday.
Nehmer told a news conference that “we will continue to impose sanctions inside the EU until the war stops” and that a package of sanctions imposed this week “will not be the last.” He acknowledged that “so long as people are dying, every sanction is insufficient.”
Austria, which gets most of its gas from Russia, is one of the countries protesting halting deliveries. Asked about that Saturday, Nehamer said EU sanctions were becoming increasingly “precise”, but that “sanctions are effective when they attack those against whom they are directed, and war Do not weaken those who impose sanctions against the doer.”
Austria is militarily neutral and is not a member of NATO.
LONDON – Britain’s defense ministry says Russian naval forces are launching cruise missiles into Ukraine to support military operations in the eastern Donbass region and around the cities of Mariupol and Mykolaiv.
At a Saturday morning briefing, the ministry said that Russia’s air force is expected to increase activity in the south and east of Ukraine to further support these operations.
The ministry said these actions come as efforts to establish a land corridor between Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, and Russian-controlled parts of the Donbass region “are being thwarted by Ukrainian resistance”. “
UK officials also say Russia continues to attack non-combatants, such as those killed in a rocket attack on Friday at the Kramatorsk railway station.
KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s railway operator says it has halted operations at the train station in Kramatorsk, which was damaged in a missile attack on Friday, but will continue to evacuate civilians through other stations in eastern Ukraine.
The company said on Saturday that evacuations would continue from Sloviansk and Pokrovsk in the Donetsk region and Novozolotarivka stations in the Luhansk region.
The statement on the messaging app Telegram said that “Railways does not stop the work of evacuating everyone”.
KYIV, Ukraine – Ten humanitarian corridors are to open for the evacuation of civilians in Ukraine’s east on Saturday, according to Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk. The corridor will allow residents to leave several cities in the regions of Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhya.
People living in Mariupol, Enerhodar, Tokmak, Bardyansk and Melitopol will be able to evacuate to the city of Zaporizhzhya, while people from Severodonetsk, Lisichansk, Popasna, Girske and Rubizne can evacuate to the city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region.
WASHINGTON – Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said his country’s security service intercepted communications from Russian soldiers that provided evidence of war crimes.
“Soldiers are talking to their parents about what they stole and who abducted. “There are recordings of prisoners of war who have admitted to killing people,” Zelensky said in an excerpt from an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” that aired Friday.
“There are pilots in the prison who had maps with civilian targets to make bombs. The remains of the dead are also under investigation,” he said in a translation provided by CBS.
Zelensky said, “everyone who made the decision, who issued the order, who carried out the order” is guilty of a war crime. Asked whether he blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin, he said: “I believe he is one of them.”
LVIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has called the missile attack on the Eastern Railway station another Russian war crime and said Ukraine expects a tough global response.
“Like the massacre in Bucha, like many other Russian war crimes, the missile attack on Kramatorsk should be one of the charges in the tribunal,” he said during his nightly video address to the nation on Friday.
The president told Ukrainians that “great efforts would be made to establish every minute who did what,” so that those responsible for the attack could be held accountable.
Zelensky said he spoke with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Friday and urged the EU to impose a complete ban on Russian oil and gas.
“It is energy exports that provide the lion’s share of Russia’s income and allow the Russian leadership to believe in their impunity,” Zelensky said.