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Russia Ukraine war live: Kyiv unleashes drones on Russian city as Putin mocks peace conference

The UK has fast-tracked the production of laser energy and radio waves weaponry

Two people were injured in a Ukrainian drone attack on a Russian city as Vladimir Putin mocked potential peace talks to end the war.

Six drones struck Russia’s Belgorod oblast near Ukraine’s border on Friday morning, according to the region’s governor Vyacheslav Gladkov.

Russian air defence shot down four of the drones, he said. One caused a grass fire on the outskirts of Belgorod city while the other struck the administrative building.

Switzerland said it would host a peace conference in June to help chart a path toward peace in Ukraine after more than two years of fighting.

But Mr Putin claimed Moscow hadn’t been invited to join the talks while noting the Swiss recognition that a peace process can’t happen without Russia.

“They aren’t inviting us there. Moreover, they think there is nothing for us to do there, but at the same time they say that’s it’s impossible to decide anything without us. It would have been funny if it weren’t so sad,” he said.

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Ukraine and Russia were close to peace agreement in 2022. What went wrong?

A senior Ukrainian official has acknowledged that the two sides were close to an agreement in Turkey in 2022 but said Kyiv took the proposal no further because it did not trust the Russian side to carry out any agreement.

Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesperson, said a lot had changed since 2022, including what he said was the addition to Russian territory of four new regions, a reference to the parts of Ukraine which Moscow has claimed as its own.

A woman looks through the rubble of a building destroyed by bombing in the town of Kostyantynivka, Donetsk region, on 11 April 2024, amid the Russian invassion in Ukraine (AFP via Getty Images)

But Mr Peskov said the aborted Istanbul deal could still be the basis for new talks and that Russia was ready for that. When asked if Moscow sensed any readiness from the Ukrainian side for talks, however, Mr Peskov said: “No, we don’t sense that.”

Ukraine says it wants all of its territory back, including Crimea, which Moscow annexed in 2014, and for every Russian soldier to leave its territory. It is trying to drive international talks on its stance which exclude Russia.

Namita Singh13 April 2024 04:35

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Zelensky ‘rules out’ 2022 talks as basis for peace negotiations

President Vladimir Zelensky, meeting with students in western Ukraine yesterday, appeared to rule out using the 2022 talks as a basis for further discussions, saying the meetings at the time were not talks in a true sense.

The Ukrainian president said “no” when asked whether the 2022 talks in Belarus and Turkey had the potential to stop the war.

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky arrives for talks with Lithuania’s President at the Presidential Palace in Vilnius, Lithuania, on 11 April 2024 (AFP via Getty Images)

“Negotiations are when two sides want to come to an agreement. There are different aspects, but when there are two sides,” he said in a video posted on his website.

“But when one side in any case, regardless of the country or the city, gives you an ultimatum, that is not negotiations.”

Namita Singh13 April 2024 04:31

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Why is Putin opposed to Switzerland peace talks?

Vladimir Putin brought up the subject of potential peace talks and said he was open to what he called realistic negotiations.

But he is opposed to the two-day conference to be hosted by Switzerland in June at Ukraine’s request that seeks to achieve peace, saying it is pointless if Russia does not take part.

In this pool photograph distributed by the Russian state agency Sputnik, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on flood response efforts in various regions of Russia via a videoconference in Moscow on 11 April 2024 (AFP via Getty)

In his view, the meeting does not take new realities into account, including Moscow’s annexation of territory in eastern Ukraine.

Namita Singh13 April 2024 04:11

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Aborted peace deal could be basis for Ukraine talks, says Kremlin

An aborted 2022 peace deal between Russia and Ukraine could be the basis for new negotiations but there is no sign that Kyiv is ready for talks, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said yesterday.

President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly said that Russia and Ukraine were on the verge of agreeing a deal to end hostilities during negotiations in Istanbul in April 2022, but that Ukraine backed away from it once Russian troops fell back from near Kyiv.

The deal reportedly demanded that Ukraine adopt neutrality and not join Nato, limit the size of its armed forces and grant special status to Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine – all things which Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has made clear he opposes.

Namita Singh13 April 2024 04:08

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Russia meddling in European elections, says EU chief

The Belgian Prime Minister has announced an investigation into suspected Russian interference in June’s Europe-wide elections, saying his country’s intelligence service has confirmed the existence of a network trying to undermine support for Ukraine.

“Belgian intelligence services have confirmed the existence of pro-Russian interference networks with activities in several European countries and also here in Belgium,” said Alexander De Croo, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union.

Mr De Croo said Belgian agencies were working closely with the Czech authorities after a pro-Russian influence operation was uncovered there.

He said that probe showed that members of the European Parliament were approached and offered money to promote Russian propaganda.

“According to our intelligence service, the objectives of Moscow are very clear. The objective is to help elect more pro-Russian candidates to the European Parliament and to reinforce a certain pro-Russian narrative in that institution,” he told reporters.

Europe-wide polls are being held on 6-9 June to elect a new EU parliament.

Mr De Croo said: “The goal is very clear: A weakened European support for Ukraine serves Russia on the battlefield and that is the real aim of what has been uncovered in the last weeks.”

Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (AP)

Jane Dalton13 April 2024 04:01

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Puppies saved from under burning building

Rescue workers in Ukraine have pulled five puppies from under the rubble of a destroyed building.

Officials said the animals were rescued from a non-residential building on fire in the northeastern city of Sumy, close to the border with Russia.

A video showed the puppies squealing as the firefighters cuddled them and rinsed them off with water.

“Fortunately, everything is fine with the little one(s), they were not injured. The furries were returned by their mothers,” officials said in a post on the emergency services’ Telegram channel.

“This rescue story reminds us of the importance of human compassion and the willingness to help everyone, regardless of the circumstances,” they added.

Jane Dalton13 April 2024 03:01

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Kremlin says 2022 document could form peace talks basis

A draft peace agreement that Russia and Ukraine negotiated in the early days of the war could serve as a starting point for talks to end the fighting, the Kremlin said Friday, reviving a proposal that Ukraine has rejected:

Jane Dalton13 April 2024 02:01

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China sends surge of weapons parts to Russia to help war, US says

China has sent a wave of machine tools, microelectronics and other technology that Russia to produce missiles, tanks, aircraft and other weaponry for use in its war on Ukraine, according to a US assessment:

Jane Dalton13 April 2024 01:01

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Pictured: Workers repair damaged power plant

Alexander Butler13 April 2024 00:01

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The Russian glide bombs changing the face of the war in Ukraine

The Russian glide bombs changing the face of the war in Ukraine

Winged explosives weighing up to 1,500 kilograms – and nicknamed the ‘building destroyer’ – have had a devastating impact wherever they have been used, writes Tom Watling. Kyiv is battling them as best it can but needs Western allies to step up and provide more weapons, air defences and ammunition

Alexander Butler12 April 2024 23:00


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