COPENHAGEN, Denmark – Latvia says it will train Ukrainian troops to handle drones.
“At the moment, we must do everything we can to promote Ukraine’s victory and to defend its principles of self-determination and sovereignty,” Defense Minister Artis Pabriks said.
He added that two Latvian companies had delivered unmanned aerial vehicles.
Latvia already has provided, among other supplies, Stinger anti-air systems to Ukraine but also weapons, personal equipment, dry food supplies, ammunition, anti-tank weapons, worth more than € 200 million, the defense minister said.
KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:
– Ukraine probes claim poisonous substance dropped in Mariupol
– A look at Russia’s military objectives and challenges it faces
– ‘It’s not the end’: The children who survived Bucha’s horror
– Russian war worsens fertilizer crunch, risking food supplies
– Czechs provide free shooting training for local Ukrainians
– Go to https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine for more coverage
NICOSIA, Cyprus – Cyprus’ government spokesman says the country is moving to revoke citizenship for four Russians and 17 of their family members, who are included among those sanctioned by the European Union after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Marios Pelekanos confirmed to The Associated Press on Wednesday that procedures are underway to strip citizenship from 21 persons. Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades had said earlier that the government had authorized the Interior Ministry to begin revocation procedures for the four Russians, who have not been named.
The four received Cypriot passports under the country’s once lucrative citizenship-by-investment program that was scrapped in 2020.
The program’s end came in the wake of an undercover TV report that allegedly showed the parliamentary speaker and a powerful lawmaker claiming that they could skirt rules to issue a passport to a fictitious Chinese investor who had supposedly been convicted of fraud at home.
A 2021 report found that more than half of a total 6,779 passports were issued unlawfully to relatives of wealthy investors over the program’s 13-year run that generated over 8 billion euros.
Asked on France-2 television Wednesday about U.S. President Joe Biden’s use of the term, Macron said:
“I would say that Russia has unleashed an excessively brutal war in a unilateral way. It has been established that war crimes have been committed by the Russian army,” Macron said. “We must find those responsible and bring them to justice.”
“I am prudent with terms today….Genocide has a meaning. The Ukrainian people and Russian people are brotherly people. It’s madness what’s happening today. It’s unbelievable brutality and a return to war in Europe,” the French president said.
“But at the same time I look at the facts, and I want to continue to try the utmost to be able to stop the war and restore peace. I’m not sure if the escalation of words serves our cause.”
De Croo was joined by Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis and Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca on Wednesday at the southeast Mihail Kogalniceanu air base, where NATO troops are positioned.
The Belgian leader said that “armed aggression and war crimes were unleashed upon innocent people, innocent people of Ukraine.” The aggression, he said, was ”aimed at denying the fact the the population has a right to choose freedom.”
He called Russia‘s actions “a turning point for Europe – for it is a brutal attack on the core values of Europe,” he said.
President Iohannis said that NATO will continue its “robust response.”
“The fact that we are together in this military base is further proof of the unity, cohesion and solidarity that exists at NATO level,” Iohannis said. He told the troops they are the “concrete expression of our determination to further strengthen NATO’s deterrence and defense posture in the Black Sea region.”
NEW YORK – JPMorgan Chase has written down $1.5 billion of assets when the bank reported its quarterly results, most of it tied to the bank’s exposure to Russian and Ukrainian assets.
The write offs on Wednesday partially drove JPMorgan to report a noticeable decline in profits in the first quarter, and to miss Wall Street estimates.
JPMorgan is the first of Wall Street’s big giant banks to report its results. Analysts expect the big banks to have to write off billions of assets that are tied to Russia .
WARSAW, Poland – A top aide to Poland’s President Andrzej Duda says Duda and the presidents of the three Baltic nations have arrived in Ukraine, ahead of talks about material aid for country invaded by Russia.
Pawel Szrot, chief of Duda’s staff, said Wednesday that Duda, “together with the presidents of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, is currently on the territory of Ukraine. They are traveling to Kyiv to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.”
For security reasons he gave no details.
Duda brings “symbolic support, with political support and for talks on material support,“ Szrot said, adding that all four countries are “extending support to Ukraine that is of humanitarian nature and not necessarily of humanitarian nature. “
In a twitter post, Estonian President Alar Karis said: “We are visiting Ukraine to show strong support to the Ukrainian people, will meet dear friend President Zelenskyy.“
Russia says more than 1,000 Ukrainian troops have surrendered in the besieged southeastern port of Mariupol.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj.-Gen. Igor Konashenkov said 1,026 troops from the Ukrainian 36th Marine Brigade surrendered at a metals plant in the city.
Russian forces moved on Mariupol in late February and units in the city have been running low on supplies.
Konashenkov said that the 1,026 Ukrainian marines included 162 officers and 47 female personnel, and that 151 wounded received medical treatment.
Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych did not comment on the alleged mass surrender, but said in a post on Twitter that elements of the 36th Marine Brigade had managed to link up with other Ukrainian forces in the city as a result of a “risky maneuver.”
ROME – Pope Francis says his contention shortly after he became pontiff in 2013 that a third world war “in pieces” was afflicting the globe is ever more actual. Francis writes in an essay published on Wednesday in Italian daily Corriere della Sera that he would never a thought a year ago, while on a pilgrimage in Iraq, that war would be raging in Europe.
Francis wrote that the many wars being fought throughout the world seem far away until “almost unexpectedly, war explodes near us. Ukraine was attacked and invaded.”
The pope also lamented that people’s memories are short. “Yes, because if we had a memory, we would recall what our grandparents and our parents recounted to us, and we would feel the need for peace like our lungs need oxygen.”
Francis called war “a cancer that feeds itself by engulfing everything.” He decried that women, children and older adults are “forced to live in the belly of the earth to escape bombs.”
Francis said that the way to rip out “hate from the heart” is through “dialogue, negotiations, listening, diplomatic ability and creativity, long-ranged policies capable of constructing a new system of co-existence that isn’t any longer based on weapons, on deterrence.”
WASHINGTON – The United States and its allies are pushing ahead with sanctions aimed at forcing Vladimir Putin to spend Russia’s money propping up its economy rather than sustaining its “war machine” for the fight in Ukraine, a top Treasury Department official said Tuesday.
Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo, one of the main U.S. coordinators on the Russian sanctions strategy, said in an interview with The Associated Press that the goal is to make Russia “less able to project power in the future.”
On the same day that inflation notched its steepest increase in decades, Adeyemo said reducing supply chain backlogs and managing the pandemic are key to bringing down soaring prices that he related to the ongoing land war in Ukraine, which has contributed to rising energy costs.
Adeyemo discussed the next steps the U.S. and its allies will take to inflict financial pain on Russia – and the complications the war has on rising costs to Americans back home.
Adeyemo said the U.S. and its allies will next target the supply chains that contribute to the construction of Russia’s war machine, which includes “everything from looking at ways to go after the military devices that have been built to use not only in Ukraine, but to project power elsewhere.”
KYIV, Ukraine – More than 720 people have been killed in Bucha and other Kyiv suburbs that were occupied by Russian troops and more than 200 are considered missing, the Interior Ministry said early Wednesday.
In Bucha alone, Mayor Anatoliy Fedoruk said 403 bodies had been found and the toll could rise as minesweepers comb the area.
Ukraine’s prosecutor-general’s office said Tuesday it was also looking into events in the Brovary district, which lies to the northeast.
Authorities said the bodies of six civilians were found with gunshot wounds in a basement in the village of Shevchenkove and Russian forces are believed to be responsible.
Vladimir Putin vowed Tuesday that Russia’s bloody offensive in Ukraine would continue until its goals are fulfilled and insisted the campaign was going as planned, despite a major withdrawal in the face of stiff Ukrainian opposition and significant losses.
KYIV, Ukraine – Ukrainian officials say fugitive Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk, who is both the former leader of a pro-Russian opposition party and a close associate of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, has been detained in a special operation carried out by the country’s SBU secret service.
In his nightly video address to the nation Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy proposed that Russia could win Medvedchuk’s freedom by trading Ukrainians now held in Russian prisons.
Ivan Bakanov, the head of Ukraine’s national security agency, said on the agency’s Telegram channel that Medvedchuk had been detained.
The statement came shortly after Zelenskyy posted on social media a photo of Medvedchuk sitting in handcuffs and wearing a camouflage uniform with a Ukrainian flag patch.
Medvedchuk was the former leader of the pro-Russian party Opposition Platform – For Life. He was being held under house arrest before the war began and disappeared shortly after hostilities broke out.
Putin is the godfather to Medvedchuk’s youngest daughter.
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