Day 58 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Moscow rejected the Easter Armistice, New Mass Graves near Mariupol

World » UKRAINE | April 22, 2022, Friday // 10:42
Bulgaria: Day 58 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Moscow rejected the Easter Armistice, New Mass Graves near Mariupol @Maxar

Moscow has rejected the Easter truce, reports of new mass graves near Mariupol. Here are the highlights of events in Ukraine over the past 24 hours:

Aerial photos published by the Mariupol City Council show that the Russian army is burying residents of the city in mass graves in a nearby village. The BBC has not independently verified this allegation, and Russia has not commented publicly on the issue;

Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered forces in Mariupol to blockade Ukrainian soldiers who are hiding - along with about 500 civilians - at the Azovstal steel plant, the city's last Ukrainian fortress.

Ukrainian authorities are trying to evacuate civilians from larger areas in the center of Mariupol through a humanitarian corridor to Ukrainian-controlled Zaporizhzhia. On Wednesday, they hoped to evacuate 6,000 people, but only 80 managed to escape. Mariupol Mayor Vadim Boychenko said about 200 people were waiting to be evacuated from the city, but no bus was able to pick them up.

US President Joe Biden said "there is still no evidence that Mariupol has fallen completely under Russian control" and that it is "doubtful" whether Putin actually controls the city;

Biden has announced an additional $800 million package to support security in Ukraine, which will include heavy artillery, dozens of howitzers, ammunition and tactical drones;

Russian officials say two British fighters captured in Ukraine are being well cared for and provided with food and water.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a meeting of the World Bank and the IMF that Ukraine now needs about $7 billion a month in aid. In turn, the IMF recommended that financial assistance to Ukraine be in the form of grants so as not to overburden the country's debt.

Ukraine says Russia has rejected a ceasefire request during Orthodox Easter.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said U.S. prosecutors were investigating evidence of potential war crimes by Russian forces in Ukraine. At a news conference Thursday, he said the United States is "in contact with Ukraine's Attorney General" as well as other international allies who are cooperating in this regard;

Italian Finance Minister Daniele Franco has announced that the country will send an additional 200m euros in aid to Ukraine. "The other issue that will arise is recovery - someone at the meetings today talked about the Marshall Plan for Ukraine," the minister told Il Sole 24 Ore.

Borrell: The EU is not ready for a collective ban on oil imports from Russia

The European Union has not yet planned to impose centralized restrictions on Russian oil supplies, as several EU member states have threatened to block such a decision if it is put to a vote. This was stated by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell in an interview with journalists from the European Information Alliance LENA.

"It will be very difficult [to reach unanimity in the EU on the embargo or increase in tariffs on Russian oil] because some member states have already said they will veto any collective decision," Le Figaro was quoted, Borrell. The newspaper notes that after the ban on Russian coal, EU countries, including Poland and France, support the complete rejection of Russian energy, while Germany, Austria and Hungary oppose it.

In this regard, Borrell said that EU countries have voluntarily reduced oil imports from Russia after a sharp increase in supplies in the first weeks of the special operation in Ukraine. According to him, in the medium term, Europeans will have to give up Russian energy in one way or another, as this is "the most important stage in building autonomy." The article also notes the fact that "the idea of ​​splitting the bloc by tightening sanctions will not reassure Europeans, but it will make Moscow happy." The European Commission is now considering imposing tariffs on oil imports, but only for a certain volume.

"This is the new Babi Yar." Satellite images showed a mass grave near Mariupol

The American satellite company Maxar announced on Friday that it had identified a mass grave for about 200 people near Mariupol, and local officials accused Russia of burying up to 9,000 Ukrainian civilians there.

The images show the expansion of the cemetery park, which began in late March.

The mass grave is located near the village of Manhush, about 20 km west of Mariupol. Maxar said there were four new sections with linear rows about 85 meters long.

The BBC reports that it did not check the photos independently.

The photos came yesterday, just hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared victory in the battle of Mariupol, although there are still about 2,000 Ukrainian fighters besieged in a large steel plant. Putin ordered his troops not to storm, but to block access to their fortifications, "so that even a fly would not fly out.”

Journalists from "Схем” /Schem/ (a project of "Радіо Свобода" /Radio Freedom/) have analyzed the satellite footage and believe that the trenches are 300 meters long, reports gordonua.com. They appeared in late March

On March 23, they are still missing, trenches and objects around them are already appearing in photos from March 26 - probably the equipment with which they were excavated. In the photos from March 30 and April 3, they are increasing.

The journalists compared these shots with photos from the mass grave in Bucha, where 73 bodies were found, according to information from the mayor of the town Anatoliy Fedoruk to UNIAN. The trenches in Bucha were 14 meters long. The comparison suggests that 3 to 9 thousand people may be buried in the mass grave in Manhush.

According to estimates unconfirmed by an independent source, more than 22,000 people were killed in the Russian attack in the Mariupol region.

According to local Ukrainian authorities, the Russians are burying civilians killed by the aggressors' troops in Mariupol.

Mariupol City Council said the Russians were digging trenches and "using dump trucks to bring the bodies" and provided its own aerial photo of what he said was "twice the size of a nearby cemetery".

Mayor Vadim Boychenko said tens of thousands of civilians may have died in Mariupol.

"This is the new Babi Yar (in two days - on September 29 and 30, 1941 - 33,771 people were shot on the outskirts of Kyiv). Then Hitler was killing Jews, Roma and Slavs. Now Putin is destroying Ukrainians. He is already it killed tens of thousands of Mariupol citizens. We need a strong reaction from the entire civilized world," said Boychenko, who described the incident as genocide.

Moscow has repeatedly denied accusations by Ukraine and its Western allies that Russian troops and senior Kremlin politicians are responsible for the mass killings of civilians.

Earlier this month, photos of Maxar from the city of Bucha near Kyiv appeared, showing the bodies of civilians lying on the street nearly two weeks before the Russians left the city as part of a withdrawal from northern Ukraine.

The March 19 image, first reported by the New York Times and confirmed by the BBC, contradicts Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's claim that the footage in Bucha was "staged" after the withdrawal of the Russians.

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