Live updates l Ukraine: civilians killed in Russian bombings
KYIV, Ukraine — The Ukrainian authorities say several civilians have been killed in the latest Russian bombardment.
The office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Monday that at least three people were killed and another three, including a child, were wounded in the eastern Luhansk region over the last 24 hours. It said that four people were wounded in the shelling in another eastern region of Donetsk.
The regional administration in the Zaporizhzhia region further west said that at least two people died and another four were wounded in the Russian shelling of the town of Orikhiv.
KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:
— Evacuation of civilians from Ukrainian steel plant begins
— Pelosi, in surprise Kyiv trip, vows unbending US support
— Jill Biden to meet Ukrainian refugees in Romania, Slovakia
Follow all AP stories on Russia’s war on Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
BERLIN — Germany says it would be able to cope if supplies of Russian oil were cut off due to an embargo or a decision by Moscow.
Economy Minister Robert Habeck said that Russian oil now accounts for 12% of total imports, down from 35% before the war, and most of it goes to the Schwedt refinery near Berlin.
Habeck acknowledged that losing those supplies could result in a “bumpy” situation for the capital and surrounding region, with price hikes and shortages, but that wouldn’t result in Germany “slipping into an oil crisis.”
He said the issue of an oil embargo would be discussed at an EU energy ministers meeting in Brussels, attended by also India. Still, he added that “other countries aren’t so far yet and I think that needs to be respected.”
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Denmark has summoned Russia’s Ambassador in Copenhagen Monday to explain the violation by a Russian military reconnaissance plane of Danish airspace last week.
The plane, an AN-30 propeller plane, first briefly entered the Danish airspace late April 29 east of the Danish Baltic Island of Bornholm before flying into Swedish airspace.
Denmark’s Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said Monday on Twitter that it was “extremely worrying in the current situation.”
Over the weekend, Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist said the violation was “unacceptable” and “unprofessional.”
BRUSSELS — European Union energy ministers are meeting later Monday to discuss Russia’s decision to cut gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland, and debate planned new sanctions over Moscow’s war on Ukraine.
The 27-nation EU has imposed five rounds of sanctions on Russian officials, oligarchs, banks, companies and other organizations since Russian troops invaded Ukraine in February.
The European Commission is working on a sixth round of measures which could include oil restrictions, but Russia-dependent countries like Hungary and Slovakia are wary of taking tough action.
The EU’s executive branch could announce new sanction proposals later this week. The measures would have to be approved by the member countries — a process that can take several days.
The energy ministers will also look at what steps to take should Russia ramp up its pressure by cutting gas supplies to other countries.
TEL AVIV, Israel — Israel has summoned the Russian ambassador over comments made by the Russian foreign minister about Nazism and antisemitism.
In an interview with an Italian news channel, Sergey Lavrov explained that Ukraine could still have Nazi elements even if some figures, including the country’s president, were Jewish.
“Hitler also had Jewish origins, so it doesn’t mean anything,” he said, according to an Italian translation.
In a statement Monday, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called the remarks “unforgivable and scandalous and a horrible historical error.”
“The Jews did not murder themselves in the Holocaust,” Lapid said. “The lowest level of racism against Jews is to blame Jews themselves for antisemitism.”
Israel’s Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem called the remarks “absurd, delusional, dangerous and deserving of condemnation.”
The stern reaction stands in contrast to Israel’s position on the war in Ukraine, where it has tried to maintain a semblance of neutrality. It relies on Russia for security coordination in Syria and has been measured in its criticism of Russia’s invasion. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has also tried mediating between the two countries, though the efforts appear to have stalled.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Denmark will become the first Nordic country to reopen its diplomatic mission in Kyiv, meaning Danes “can have a direct cooperation by having our embassy and ambassador in the heart of the Ukrainian capital,” Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said Monday.
Kofod said the improved security situation meant that Ambassador Ole Egberg Mikkelsen and his staff can return to Kyiv, where their embassy reopens Monday.
However, Kofod who had traveled to the Ukrainian capital for the reopening of the embassy, told Danish media that “this is not a normal situation” as he spoke of the overall circumstances in Ukraine. Denmark, he added, still advises against all travel to the country where there “is a fierce war.”
ISTANBUL — Turkey’s president says the war in Ukraine shouldn’t negatively affect the tourism season.
After prayers marking the beginning of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “very sensitive” about Turkey’s need for tourism revenue and has already pledged to give his support.
Turkey suffers from skyrocketing inflation and needs tourists’ foreign currencies. Erdogan added Saudi tourists would also be arriving following his visit to Saudi Arabia last week.
In an interview with Greek state broadcaster ERT, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russian tourism brought revenue to neighboring Greece and Turkey and called this “blood money.” Zelenskyy pointed to a double standard where Turkey acted as a meditator between Ukraine and Russia while preparing destinations for Russian tourists.
Erdogan said he’ll speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin this week to discuss speeding up evacuations from the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol and to find a way for grain exports from Ukraine and Russia.
LVIV, Ukraine — The British military believes more than a quarter of all troops Russia deployed for its war in Ukraine are now “combat ineffective.”
The comment Monday came as part of a daily briefing on Twitter the British Defense Ministry has offered about the ongoing war in Ukraine. The British military believes Russia committed over 120 so-called “battalion tactical groups” into the war since February, which represents 65% of all of Moscow’s combat strength.
The ministry said, “It is likely that more than a quarter of these units have now been rendered combat ineffective.”
Combat ineffective is a term that refers to a military’s ability to wage war. Losing soldiers to wounds and death, as well as having equipment damaged or destroyed, affects that.
The British military said that some of Russia’s most elite forces, like the VDV Airborne, “have suffered the highest levels of attrition.”
It added: “It will probably take years for Russia to reconstitute these forces.”
KYIV, Ukraine — Svyatoslav Palamar, deputy commander of the Azov Regiment that is helping defend the last section of Mariupol not occupied by the Russians, said he was glad evacuations had begun.
Palamar hoped the evacuations from the Azovstal steel mill continue until everyone in the plant, civilians and soldiers, has gotten out. It’s been difficult even to reach some of the wounded inside the plant, he told The Associated Press in an interview from Mariupol on Sunday.
“There’s rubble. We have no special equipment. It’s hard for soldiers to pick up slabs weighing tons only with their arms,” he said.
The Azovstal plant is strewn with mines, rockets, artillery shells and unexploded cluster ordnance, he said.
He said the presence of children and civilians makes it harder to fight, and there are many injured people in the plant. There’s not enough water, he said, and the air smells of decomposing bodies.
The fighters in the plant will continue to resist until they receive an order not to, Palamar said.
An explosive device damaged a railway bridge Sunday in the Kursk region of Russia, which borders Ukraine, and a criminal investigation has been started. The region’s government reported the blast in a post on Telegram.
Recent weeks have seen a number of fires and explosions in Russian regions near the border, including Kursk. An ammunition depot in the Belgorod region burned after explosions were heard, and authorities in the Voronezh region said an air defense system shot down a drone. An oil storage facility in Bryansk was engulfed by fire a week ago.
The explosion Sunday caused a partial collapse of the bridge near the village of Konopelka, on the Sudzha-Sosnovy Bor railway, the report from Kursk said.
“It was a sabotage, a criminal case has been opened,” said the region’s governor, Roman Starovoit, according to the Russian News Agency TASS. He said there were no casualties, and no effect on the movement of trains.
KYIV, Ukraine — Four civilians were reported killed and 11 more were injured by Russian shelling in the Donetsk region on Sunday, the Ukrainian regional governor said that evening.
The deaths and seven of the injuries were in the northern city of Lyman, governor Pavlo Kyrylenko wrote in a Telegram post. One person also died in the city of Bakhmut from injuries received in the Luhansk region, he said.
In the same post, Kyrylenko said that it was impossible to determine the number of victims in the bombed-out port city of Mariupol and the town of Volnovakha, which is controlled by pro-Kremlin separatists.