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April 14, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

Ukrainian officials hold up battered city of Mariupol as symbol of heroic fight
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What we covered

  • The Russian warship Moskva has sunk, according to Russian state news citing the Russian defense ministry. Conflicting claims have emerged: Ukraine says it hit the vessel with missiles, but Russia says a fire broke out on board.
  • Russian preparations continue in the east for an offensive operation, training additional units and gathering aviation forces, according to Ukraine’s armed forces. Meanwhile, the US and EU have pledged a combined $1.3 billion more in military aid for Ukraine.
  • Several countries are moving diplomatic staff back to the Ukrainian capital, including France and Italy. The US said it would follow suit as soon as it was safe to do so.
  • The International Criminal Court chief prosecutor called Ukraine “a crime scene” after visiting the ravaged town of Bucha, and Ukraine’s parliament adopted a resolution declaring Russia’s actions “genocide.”
  • Having connection issues? Bookmark CNN’s lite site for fast connectivity.
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Russian warship sinks days after Ukrainian commemorative stamp is issued

Ihor Smilianskyi CEO of the Ukrainian post holds the new postage stamp immortalizing the famous exchange on Snake Island between Russian and Ukrainian forces at the postal headquarters in Kyiv, Ukraine on April 14.

The sinking of Russian guided-missile cruiser Moskva in the Black Sea comes days after Ukraine issued a stamp immortalizing the famous exchange on Snake Island between Russian and Ukrainian forces.

A Ukrainian presidential adviser confirmed on Thursday the Moskva was one of the vessels involved in the exchange in February.

The island was hit by Russian missile strikes after Ukrainian defenders responded to the threat of Russian invasion with the words: “Russian warship, go f*** yourself.”

The stamp: Ukrposhta, Ukraine’s postal service, announced on Tuesday it had issued a postage stamp with the slogan. It shows a Ukrainian solider standing defiant, facing down a Russian warship in open water.

Roman Hrybov — the Ukrainian soldier who uttered the phrase — was invited to the ceremony unveiling the stamp, the service said in a statement.

Some context: It was initially believed the Ukrainian soldiers were killed in a subsequent attack, but were instead forced to surrender “due to the lack of ammunition,” according to the Ukrainian navy. Hrybov was later released as part of a prisoner exchange.

The phrase has become a popular Ukrainian slogan during the invasion and used as a symbol of defiance.

“There would be neither postage stamp nor such strong resistance as exemplified by soldiers from Zmiinyi Island (Snake Island) without him,” the statement read.

The warship: Conflicting accounts have emerged over the sinking of the warship, which was reported Thursday by Russian state news agency TASS.

Ukraine’s Operational Command South claimed Thursday that the Moskva had begun to sink after it was hit by Neptune anti-ship missiles.

Russia claimed a fire broke out, causing munitions aboard to explode, inflicting serious damage to the vessel and forcing its crew to be evacuated.

CNN has not been able to independently verify what caused the damage to the ship.

Read more about the sinking:

02 Russia warship satellite 041022

Russian navy evacuates flagship. Ukraine claims it was hit by a missile

CNN’s Olga Voitovych and Brad Lendon contributed to this post.

ICC Chief Prosecutor: Ukraine "is a moment that should wake everybody up" 

International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Karim Khan visits a mass grave in Bucha, Ukraine on April 13.

International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Karim Khan told CNN it may be challenging to guarantee that justice will be served after the war, given that Russia has withdrawn its signature from the ICC statute.

“We can’t be naive about things. We need to be realistic,” Khan said. “But first things first, collect the evidence, preserve it, analyze it, and make determinations based on what it shows. And those determinations can be checked by judges.”

Visit to Bucha: Khan said he visited the Ukrainian towns of Bucha and Borodyanka this week, where mass graves of murdered civilians were discovered in early April following the Russian forces’ withdrawal from northern Ukraine.

“Ukraine is a crime scene,” Khan said, according to a tweet by the ICC. “We’re here because we have reasonable grounds to believe that crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC are being committed. We have to pierce the fog of war to get to the truth.”

Need for unity: Khan said he believed the mission of investigating war crimes affects not just Ukraine but the entire world, and that “a common front needs to be built.”

“We wait for crimes in different parts of the world and say never again. And we see it again, time and time again. It should put us to shame. So we have to decide when we will react based on our shared humanity and I think this is a moment that should wake everybody up,” Khan said.

“Many other instances should have but certainly, this is the moment where we should consolidate, wake up, and fight for something that’s very important, which is legality.” he added. 

UN calls for safe passage of civilians after 2 aid workers and their relatives killed in Mariupol

The UN humanitarian chief called on all parties Thursday to provide safe passage of civilians out of the besieged port city of Mariupol in the southeast of Ukrainian following the announcement that two aid workers and their family members were killed.

“I am deeply saddened by the deaths of at least two aid workers who were killed, together with five of their relatives, during an attack that hit the office of the non-governmental organization Caritas in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, on March 15. The events took place nearly one month ago but the information has become available only now,” said Martin Griffiths, under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, in a statement.

Griffiths went on to “appeal for the parties to the conflict to urgently agree on clear arrangements for the safe passage of civilians out of areas where their lives are at risk, as well as the safe, rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian assistance into areas where civilians are facing catastrophic levels of need, especially in areas that have been or remain besieged.”

On Tuesday, the head of Caritas Internationalis expressed shock and horror upon learning about the deaths of two Caritas Ukraine Mariupol female staffers. 

“We join in grief and solidarity with the suffering of the families and our colleagues of Caritas Ukraine who are living a tragedy,” Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis, Aloysius John said in a statement.

John added that the Caritas Ukraine national office is still investigating the incident, adding that it probably took place on March 15 when “a tank fired shots at the building of the Caritas center in Mariupol, killing two staff members and five of their relatives. At this point of time, due to the absence of communication with the city of Mariupol as well as the lack of access to the premises of the Caritas center, our Caritas Ukraine national office is still collecting information to determine what happened. It is presumed the two Caritas staff members, together with their families, took refuge in the center during the time of the shelling attack.”

CNN has not been able to independently confirm last month’s incident.

Protesters projected the Ukrainian flag on the Russian embassy in DC. The embassy responded with spotlights.

A white spotlight is cast over Ukrainian flags projected onto the exterior of the Russian Embassy in Washington DC on April 14.

As protesters projected a Ukrainian flag onto the Russian Embassy in Washington Wednesday, personnel at the embassy attempted to use a spotlight to blot it out, video shows.

It all began at sundown, Benjamin Wittes, one of the organizers of the protest told CNN. Wittes is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, and he along with ten other people decided to organize the protest at the Russian Embassy.

“We’re not going to storm the gates [of the embassy], but we want to get in there somehow,” Wittes said. “And light lets you do that.”

He and the others gathered about 15 projector lights and four generators — in two locations — and flipped them on as night fell to project a Ukrainian flag on the embassy. Wittes says they brought so many lights because they thought they’d need them to make sure it shined clearly on the embassy, which was would be roughly 300 feet away from their set up sites.

But when they did turn on the lights, Wittes says staff at the Russian embassy were ready, and flipped on a floodlight to blot out the flag.

That’s when the game of “cat and mouse” began. 

The protesters would move one of the flags over to one spot on the embassy, and the floodlight would follow. It continued on for hours, Wittes said. Until, around 1:30 a.m., the embassy staff gave up and stopped trying to blot out the Ukrainian flag.

That, Wittes said, was proof that the protest went above and beyond their expectations.

“The fact that they felt compelled to respond the way that they did over many hours by the way,” he said. “They saw the protest as the way that we meant it. To not allow them to the space of their own embassy.” 

Watch the moment:

UK sanctions two of Roman Abramovich's business associates, including Chelsea Football Club director 

 Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich attends the UEFA Women's Champions League final soccer match against FC Barcelona in Gothenburg, Sweden on May 16, 2021.

Britain has sanctioned two “key Russian oligarchs” connected to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, freezing up to $13 billion of assets linked to Eugene Tenenbaum and David Davidovich in “the largest asset freeze action in UK history,” the Foreign Office said in a statement on Thursday.

Tenenbaum is one of Abramovich’s closest associates and was previously a top executive at Sibneft, the Russian oil company sold by Abramovich in 2006, according to Chelsea Football Club, where he is a director. The Foreign Office said he took over an investment company with ties to Abramovich on Feb. 24, the day Russia invaded Ukraine.

The UK has also put a travel ban on Davidovich, another “longstanding” business associate of Abramovich, according to the Foreign Office. 

“Davidovich has been described by Forbes as ‘Abramovich’s much lower profile right hand man,’ and took over Evrington Investments from Tenenbaum in March 2022,” it added. 

The British government said the sanctions were coordinated with Jersey authorities, who CNN reported earlier this week froze more than $7 billion dollars’ worth of assets “suspected to be connected” to Abramovich.

“We are tightening the ratchet on Putin’s war machine and targeting the circle of people closest to the Kremlin. We will keep going with sanctions until Putin fails in Ukraine. Nothing and no one is off the table,” British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss was quoted saying in the statement.

Ukraine's claim of missile strike on Russian cruiser believed to be credible, sources say

Ukraine’s claim that it conducted a missile strike that sank the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet is believed to be credible, two sources familiar with US and western intelligence told CNN, although officials as yet have no definitive proof.

The US believes with “medium confidence” that Ukraine’s version of events — which Moscow disputes — is accurate, according one source familiar with the latest intelligence. 

Still, even though US and western officials have no reason to distrust Ukraine in this instance, both sources cautioned that the US has not yet made an independent attribution.  

“We’re not in a position to officially confirm independently what exactly led to the ship’s now sinking,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Thursday. “But we’re also not in any position to refute the Ukrainian side of this. It’s certainly plausible and possible that they did in fact hit this with a Neptune missile or maybe more.”  

The missile cruiser, the Moskva, sank on Thursday after an explosion the day before “seriously damaged” the ship near the Ukrainian port city of Odessa, Russia said Thursday.

The governor of Odessa has claimed that the ship was hit by a Ukrainian anti-ship missile, while Russia has claimed that the damage was caused by an on-board fire that detonated on-board ammunition. 

Outside analysts have largely treated Ukraine’s version of events as the more credible possibility, but American officials have so far declined to publicly attribute the ship’s destruction to a missile strike.

There is shelling in Kharkiv and "active hostilities" around Izium, Ukrainian official says

A man walks his dog past a building destroyed by recent Russian shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine on April 14.

A number of residential areas of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, have come under shelling, said Oleh Syniehubov, the head of Ukraine’s Kharkiv region military administration, on Thursday.

“These are exclusively peaceful areas where there is no military infrastructure,” he said in remarks on national television. “And so the enemy is trying to destabilize our population, in fact inflicting such blows from which civilians alone are actually suffering.”

The heaviest point in the region, Syniehubov said, was in the direction of Izium direction, from which Ukrainian officials say Russian forces are trying to advance toward the eastern Donbas.

“Active hostilities are taking place, and our armed forces are holding back the enemy so that they will not be able to transport their equipment to Luhansk and Donetsk regions,” he said.

Syniehubov said authorities were trying to conduct an “organized evacuation” of Barvinkove and Lozova, two towns in the south of Kharkiv region.

In Bucha, a CNN reporter recounts being among the first to reach a mass grave dug during Russian occupation

International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Karim Khan stands next to a grave where remains of three bodies were found, in the town of Bucha, Ukraine on April 13.

I have seen a lot of awful things in my career, but some of the things we were confronted with on the outskirts of Kyiv after Russian troops were beaten back by Ukrainian forces have been among the most harrowing.

In the suburb of Bucha we were among the first to reach a mass grave that residents dug while the place was under Russian occupation, because so many residents had been killed and longer burial ceremonies would have been too dangerous amid the shooting and shelling.

We saw half-buried bodies, legs and arms sticking out of the earth. We met one man who was sure his little brother was buried here; he broke down and could not stop crying. The neighbor who comforted him was also in tears.

These moments of heartbreak are difficult to witness — they make you want to cry as well.

Also in Bucha, we were led into a basement where five bodies had been found — the Ukrainians say the men had been executed by Russian troops. Some had their hands tied and gunshot wounds to the head or the heart.

You could still see the horror on their faces. It seemed like the dead wanted the truth of their violent death to be uncovered.

No matter how many bodies you see, you never forget a single one.

As Ukrainians reclaim areas previously occupied by invading Russian troops, evidence of the horrors of recent weeks is emerging from the rubble of shattered villages and towns. New victims are discovered on a daily basis. And those lucky enough to have survived the

ordeal tell harrowing tales of kidnappings, rapes and torture.

Iryna Venediktova, Ukraine’s prosecutor general speaks with CNN in Bucha on April 11.

Iryna Venediktova, Ukraine’s prosecutor general, said Monday that her office is investigating 5,800 cases of alleged Russian war crimes, with “more and more” proceedings opening every day.

Russia has denied allegations of war crimes and claims its forces do not target civilians. But CNN journalists on the ground in Ukraine have seen firsthand evidence of atrocities at multiple locations across the country.

Read more about what CNN journalists have witnessed in Ukraine here.

Russian warship Moskva sinks in Black Sea, Russian Ministry of Defense reported via state media

The Russian guided missile cruiser Moskva is seen in Sevastopol, Crimea in this satellite image on April 7.

The Russian warship Moskva has sunk, Russian state news agency TASS reported, citing a statement from the Russian Ministry of Defense.

“During the towing of the cruiser Moskva to the port of destination, the ship lost its stability due to hull damage received during a fire from the detonation of ammunition. In the conditions of stormy seas, the ship sank,” the statement said according to TASS. 

Conflicting accounts have emerged about an incident involving the warship in the Black Sea on Wednesday.

Russia said a fire broke out on the guided-missile cruiser, causing munitions aboard to explode, inflicting serious damage to the vessel, and forcing the crew of the warship to be evacuated. Ukraine says it hit the Moskva with anti-ship missiles and later claimed that she had been sunk.

CNN has not been able to independently verify what caused the damage to the ship. 

This is a developing story.

Ukraine's parliament adopts resolution declaring Russia's actions "genocide"

The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, on Thursday adopted a resolution declaring the actions of the Russian forces in the country are “genocide,” the legislative body said in a tweet.

“It is clear now that the actions committed by the armed forces of the Russian Federation amount not only to a crime of aggression but are also aimed at systematic and consistent destruction of the Ukrainian nation, its distinct identity and at depriving the Ukrainian nation of its right to independent development. This requires the immediate recognition of the actions committed by the armed forces of the Russian Federation during the most recent phase of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, which began on 24 Feb 2022, as genocide of the Ukrainian nation,” an explanatory note posted on the Verkhovna Rada site said.

The statement on Twitter listed mass atrocities, willful killing of civilians and forcible transfer of children to Russian territory as some of the actions by Russian forces that amount to genocide.

US President Joe Biden, earlier this week, called atrocities underway in Ukraine constitute a “genocide,” but added that his remark was not a legal assessment

Ukrainian officials: Russians continue build-up in eastern Ukraine with widespread shelling reported Thursday

A firefighter works to extinguish a fire at a warehouse caused by recent Russian shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine on April 14.

In its latest update, the general staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces says Russian preparations continue in the east for an offensive operation, with command and control as well as aviation being added to the gathering force.  

It says Russia is training additional units of its Southern Military District “to conduct hostilities” in Ukraine and claims Russia is planning an additional mobilization nationwide. 

“The enemy continues to launch missile and bomb attacks on infrastructure facilities and residential areas of cities and villages,” the general staff says.

At the same time the Russian armed forces are “regrouping units in the northern direction with a further concentration in areas bordering Ukraine. From the Bryansk and Kursk regions, there is a movement to Russia’s Belgorod and Voronezh regions.”

The General Staff says Russian units inside Ukraine are conducting reconnaissance in areas such as Slobozhansky in Kharkiv region ahead of the planned offensive, while the shelling of Kharkiv city continues. It says they are also preparing for offensive action towards Slaviansk, an important town in Donetsk region.

Fighting continues in towns around Severodonetsk, the General Staff says. The Russians had tried to break through Ukrainian defenses in the region but had failed.

Civilians continue to be evacuated from the region, which has seen weeks of shelling as the Russian invasion of Ukraine has shifted to seizing control of the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. 

Serhii Haidai, head of the Luhansk region military administration, said Thursday that despite the opening of humanitarian corridors the Russians continued to shell the cities of Luhansk region throughout the day.

Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk region military administration, said the Russians had carried out three air strikes on the town of Velyka Novosilka, close to the border between Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia.

At least two people had been injured, he said. And further north, in Zarichne, one person was killed in Russian shelling. In Vuhledar on the frontlines in Donetsk region, one person had been killed, but a further 46 people had been evacuated from the town, Kyrylenko said. 

“I once again call on all those who are not involved in the work of critical infrastructure to leave the region as soon as possible,” he said. 

The military landscape in eastern Ukraine shows a three-pronged offensive taking shape - with Russian forces edging forward from the north, east and south but meeting stiff resistance on all fronts. 

US State Department: Goal is to reestablish diplomatic presence in Ukraine as soon as it is safe and practical

State Department spokesman Ned Price speaks during a news conference at the State Department on Thursday, March 10.

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Thursday the department’s goal is to have the country’s diplomatic presence “reestablished in Ukraine as soon as it would be safe and practical to have US diplomats on the ground there,” but did not give any indication that this would happen in the near future. 

“We are constantly evaluating and reevaluating the safety and the security situation,” he said at a department briefing. 

Price said that the lack of diplomatic presence on the ground “has in no way hampered our ability to coordinate and to consult with our Ukrainian partners.”

Asked about Secretary of State Antony Blinken potentially traveling to Ukraine, Price said he had no travel to announce.

US President Joe Biden said Thursday he was still working with his team to determine whether he should dispatch a senior member of his administration to Ukraine.

“We’re making that decision now,” Biden said when asked whether he would send a senior official to Ukraine.

A number of nations have moved their diplomatic presence back to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, with France announcing it would do so Thursday.

In February, the US announced that it was closing the US embassy in Kyiv.

Why some Belarusians want to fight Russians in Ukraine

At an undisclosed location in Poland, the Pohonia Battalion trains with Kalashnikov replicas.

Pohonia Battalion is a group of fewer than 30 Belarusian exiles living mostly in Poland and other countries across Europe. They hope to join hundreds of their compatriots already involved in the battle for Ukraine.

The aspiring volunteer fighters say that in order to free Belarus of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s grip, he must first be defeated in Ukraine.

The group, whose ages range from 19 to 60, carry Kalashnikov replicas. Almost none have fighting experience.

Most of the members were forced to flee their country in 2020, when Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko — a Kremlin-backed, Putin ally — cracked down on a mass protest movement after he claimed victory in a widely disputed election, which was marred by fraud.

“If Ukraine loses this war, Belarus will have zero chance to get free,” said dissident and restaurateur Vadim Prokopiev, who is leading the group. “If Ukraine wins this war that means Putin’s hands are too busy and he’s too weakened and he won’t be supporting Lukashenko with resources.”

Pohonia wants to join the International Legion of Defence of Ukraine, a military unit made up of foreign volunteers, but at the time of writing this story, they have yet to be admitted.

Hundreds of other Belarusian volunteers are already on the ground fighting alongside Ukrainian troops. Four have been killed since the start of the war, said Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.

Read the full story here:

Most of Pohonia's members fled Belarus in 2020 when Kremlin-backed President Alexander Lukashenko brutally cracked down on a mass opposition movement. Critics refer to Lukashenko as Europe's last dictator.

Some Belarusians want to fight Russians in Ukraine. They also hope to free their country from Putin's grip

In Staryi Bykiv, Ukrainians tell CNN of tragic losses

Olga Yavon speaks with CNN about her boys Igor, 32, and Oleg, 33, among six of the village’s young men who authorities say were executed by Russian soldiers on February 27.

Indiscriminate killings of civilians attempting to flee the violence. Victims found with their hands tied behind their backs. An attack on a maternity hospital, a theater turned shelter bombed. The list of atrocities and apparent war crimes allegedly committed by Russian troops in Ukraine gets longer by the day.

As Ukrainians reclaim areas previously occupied by invading Russian troops, evidence of the horrors of recent weeks is emerging from the rubble of shattered villages and towns. New victims are discovered on a daily basis. And those lucky enough to have survived the ordeal tell harrowing tales of kidnappings, rapes and torture.

Iryna Venediktova, Ukraine’s prosecutor general, said Monday that her office is investigating 5,800 cases of alleged Russian war crimes, with “more and more” proceedings opening every day.

Russia has denied allegations of war crimes and claims its forces do not target civilians. But CNN journalists on the ground in Ukraine have seen firsthand evidence of atrocities at multiple locations across the country.

Here’s CNN’s Clarissa Ward’s report from the ground:

Novyi and Staryi Bykiv are two tiny specks on the map, separated by a small stream. Together they form a sleepy community of about 2,000 people that you’d expect few Ukrainians — let alone the Russian army — to be familiar with.

Katerina Andrusha told me that’s why her daughter Victoria decided to leave her apartment in the Kyiv suburb of Brovary and come back here at the start of the war; she believed it would be safer at home.

But on Feb. 27, residents say Russian forces rolled into the neighboring villages, turned the local school into their base, vandalized and looted homes and terrorized the people here for five weeks.

On March 25, Katerina said Russian soldiers came to her home and took Victoria, claiming she had information about their forces on her phone.

Three days later, Katerina herself was taken captive. She said she was held in a cellar for three days. Blindfolded and terrified, she tried to find out what had happened to her daughter.

“They told me she was in a warm house and that she was working with them and would be home soon,” said Katerina.

She said she hasn’t seen Victoria since. As she spoke to us, Katerina’s gaze drifted skyward in disbelief. She showed us pictures of her daughter, a beautiful schoolteacher.

“We hope that she will get in touch with someone, somewhere,” she said.

Just a few streets away, we met another mother. Olga Yavon’s grief was raw and all-consuming. She knew why we were there and the moment she came out to greet us, she broke down in tears.

Her boys, Igor, 32, and Oleg, 33, are among six of the village’s young men who authorities say were executed by Russian soldiers on February 27.

She told us Russian forces rounded them up after a bridge nearby was blown up.

The Russians kept hold of their bodies for nine days before dumping them on the outskirts of the village, with instructions to bury them quickly, she said.

Read more firsthand accounts of atrocities in Ukraine here.

French embassy in Ukraine set to return to Kyiv from Lviv "very soon," foreign ministry says

France announced Thursday that its embassy in Ukraine would “very soon” return to the capital Kyiv from Lviv. 

“This redeployment will take place very soon and will allow France to further deepen its support of Ukraine in every area in order to face the war started by Russia this past February 24,” the French foreign ministry said in a statement.  

The French embassy had been moved to the western Ukrainian city of Lviv in early March. 

According to the statement, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian informed his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba of the decision on a Thursday phone call, during which the pair also discussed France’s assistance in “gathering and documenting evidence of abuses committed by the Russian forces in Ukraine,” as well as humanitarian operations and the provision of military equipment. 

Top ICC prosecutor after visiting town of Bucha: "Ukraine is a crime scene"

Workers remove bodies from a mass grave in Bucha, Ukraine on April 14.

International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor Karim Khan visited the Ukrainian towns of Bucha and Borodyanka this week, where mass graves and murdered civilians were discovered in early April following the Russian forces’ withdrawal from northern Ukraine. 

“Ukraine is a crime scene. We’re here because we have reasonable grounds to believe that crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC are being committed. We have to pierce the fog of war to get to the truth,” Khan said after visiting Bucha on Wednesday, according to a tweet by the ICC.

Images tweeted by the court show Khan meeting with residents and visiting the devastated towns. 

“The voices of those impacted by alleged crimes must be at the centre of our independent work to establish the truth. Survivors and the families of victims will be full partners in our collective efforts to deliver justice,” Khan said. 

On Wednesday, Khan met Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova in Kyiv to cooperate on an independent ICC investigation.  

Khan and Venediktova agreed to deepen engagement and strengthen partnerships to deliver accountability for international crimes committed in Ukraine, the ICC tweeted.

The ICC formally opened an investigation into the situation in Ukraine on March 2.

Medvedev warns Russia would bolster military over potential Swedish and Finnish NATO membership

Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chair of Russia's Security Council, speaks in Moscow, Russia in 2021.

Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chair of Russia’s Security Council, warned in a statement Thursday Russia’s military would “more than double” its forces in Russia’s Western flank should Sweden and Finland join NATO.

Ground- and air-defense forces would be beefed up, he wrote on Telegram, and Russia would deploy “significant naval forces” in the Gulf of Finland.

If Sweden and Finland join NATO, Medevedev added, “it will no longer be possible to talk about any non-nuclear status of the Baltic — the balance must be restored.” 

Medvedev, who served as president of Russia from 2008 to 2012 in a four-year interregnum for Russia President Vladimir Putin’s two-decade rule, has struck a bellicose pose in recent months, though he is not a top decision-maker.

A 2018 Federation of American Scientists report concluded that Russia may have significantly modernized a nuclear weapons storage bunker in Kaliningrad, an exclave of Russian territory between Poland and the Baltic states.

It's 8:30 p.m. in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know.

The Russian Navy cruiser Moskva, bottom, is seen in port in Sevastopol, Crimea, on April 7.

Thursday marks 50 days since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and there has been a marked shift in Moscow’s approach. Ukrainian officials have warned for days they expect a major offensive by Russian forces in the eastern Donbas region.

The US and EU have pledged a combined $1.3 billion more in military aid for Ukraine as Russia prepares to launch an eastern offensive.

Meanwhile, organizations like the United Nations have warned that the prolonged war in Ukraine could lead to more problems in an already struggling global economy with food insecurity as a top concern.

Here are the latest developments:

Casualties of war: As of April 12, the civilian death toll in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on Feb. 24 stood at 1,932, the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) said Thursday. It warned that “the actual figures are considerably higher.”

Global impact: The United Nations secretary-general has warned that the world is on the brink of a “perfect storm” as the war