Ukraine war - latest updates: Explosions at airbase in Crimea; Ukraine 'should be erased', propagandist says (2023)

Key points
  • Explosions at military airbase in Crimea - reports
  • Ukraine should be 'erased off the map', propagandist says
  • Putin admits sanctions may damage Russian economy
  • Russia warns Sweden may become 'legitimate' military target if it joins NATO
  • Losing Bakhmut could force Ukraine to 'compromise with Putin'
  • Wagner Group chief hints at plan to replace Putin as president
  • Ukraine president fears changes in Washington could let Russia win war
  • Forthcoming 'fighting season' could be final chapter in conflict - here's why and how it could play out | Sean Bell analysis
  • Live reporting by Bhvishya Patel


'To win against tyranny greater unity is needed,' Zelenskyy says

To win against tyranny "greater unity is needed", Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said in his nightly address.

In his latest update, the Ukrainian leader said he had taken part in the global Summit for Democracy at the invitation of President Joe Biden.

He said in almost all the leaders' speeches at the summit, there were "apt words of support for our country and our people".

"But to win against tyranny, greater unity is needed. I am sure that the democratic world is capable of achieving it. It is capable of winning," he said.

Mr Zelenskyy went on to say that democracy needed victory and "as soon as possible".

He added: "Today, a step has also been taken to strengthen the spiritual independence of our state, to protect our society from the old and cynical Moscow manipulation of religion.

"Ukraine is the territory of the greatest religious freedom in our part of Europe. It has been so since 1991. It will always be so."


UN nuclear chief focusing on proposing safety measures around nuclear plant

Further to reports we brought you earlier on the head of the UN nuclear watchdog's visit to Ukraine's embattled Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant we now have more to bring you.

Rafael Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, had been pushing for a demilitarised zone at the Russian-held power station, Europe's largest nuclear facility, which has come under repeated shelling.

But today, Mr Grossi told Russian reporters that the situation was not improving.

He said he shifted the emphasis of his efforts to enacting specific protection measures acceptable to both sides.

(Video) Ukraine War: 'Crimea more vulnerable than Russia would like to pretend'

"I think what is important is to make sure there are no attacks. I am trying to put on the table realistic, viable proposals that can be accepted by all," he said.

Mr Grossi said it was no secret there had been a significant increase in the number of troops in the region.

"It is obvious that military activity is increasing in this whole region. So the plant can't be protected," he said.

On Monday, Mr Grossi also met President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who has consistently accused Russia of staging attacks in and around the plant as part of "nuclear blackmail".


Poland urges EU to limit influx of Ukrainian grain

Poland wants the EU to use all tools at its disposal to limit the amount of Ukrainian grain entering the EU market, the prime minister has said.

Ukraine, one of the world's largest grain exporters, had its Black Sea ports blocked following Russia's February 2022 invasion and it found alternative shipping routes through EU states Poland and Romania.

Logistical bottlenecks mean large quantities of Ukrainian grains, which are cheaper than those produced in the EU, have ended up in central European states, hurting prices and sales of local farmers.

Now, Poland is asking the European Commission to employ a protective clause regarding grain imports to Poland from Ukraine.

"We demand the use of all regulatory instruments - quotas, tariffs, which will limit or block the import of Ukrainian grain into Poland," Mateusz Morawiecki told a news conference.

Mr Morawiecki said he had agreed with the leaders of several countries bordering Ukraine to write to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to demand action.


Spain to send six Leopard tanks to Ukraine after Easter

Spain will send six German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine after Easter, the country's defence minister Margarita Robles has said.

Speaking to politicians today, Ms Robles said the country had just repaired the fighting vehicles that have not been used since the 1990s, and testing their combat readiness before shipping them.

(Video) Finally Ukrainian drone swarm ATTACK to Crimea: Russian navy caught unprepared in Sevastopol ports!

"By sending the Leopards, we will continue to help the Ukrainian people... to defend themselves against an absolutely unjust attack," she said, adding that Spain would now repair another four tanks which will be sent "in the near future".

The German-made 2A4 Leopard tanks will be sent to Ukraine after 9 April.

Earlier this week, 18 Leopard 2 tanks pledged by Germany and three pledged by Portugal arrived in Ukraine.

Moscow calls the deliveries of Western weapons a dangerous provocation.


Ukraine should be 'erased off the map', propagandist says

Ukraine should be "erased off the map" and there should not be any pity for them, Russian propagandist Sergey Mardan has said.

In a clip shared by Julia Davis, columnist for The Daily Beast who says she "watches Russia state media so you don't have to", Mr Mardan speaks on what is believed to be Russian television.

He claims that the people who identify as patriots of Ukraine are "degenerates".

"People who are fighting for it are criminals. Taken separately, every one of them may be normal," he says.

"For many of them, Russian is their native language."

The propagandist goes on to say that in one year "all conclusions have already been reached".

"They are simple animals," he adds


Ukrainian troops carry out military training near frontline in Zaporizhzhia region

Ukrainian troops have been carrying out military training near the frontline in theZaporizhzhia region, in southeastUkraine.

(Video) Ukrainian Army Has Hit Crimea! Russian Port of Sevastopol is on Fire!

In October last year, Vladimir Putin signed laws absorbing four Ukrainian regions - including Zaporizhzhia - into Russia.

It followed the so-called referenda in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, rejected as a sham by Ukraineand the West.

The areas annexed are not under the full control of Russian forces.


Murder rate rises in Russia for first time in 20 years - reports

The number of murders in Russia has increased for the first time in 20 years, Russia's daily paper Kommersant reports.

The paper, which cited official data from judicial departments in the area, said there had been a decline in murder and attempted murder cases from 32,265 in 2002 to 7,332 in 2021.

However, this figure shot up in 2022 by 4% rise to 7,628 murder and attempted murder cases.

The data also showed a rise in murder cases in the Russian regions that border Ukraine.

The report was published by the Travmpunkt lawyer association who attributed the increase in murders to factors directly and indirectly related to the invasion of Ukraine.


Ukraine condemns IOC recommendations on Russian and Belarusian athletes competing as neutrals

Ukraine's sports ministry has today condemned what it said was a partial change of position by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in international competitions as neutrals.

In a statement the ministry said: "The Ministry of Youth and Sports of Ukraine condemns the partial change of the position of the International Olympic Committee regarding the non-admission of Russian and Belarusian athletes.

"We have consistently advocated and will continue to insist that under the conditions of the unprecedented unprovoked military aggression of the Russian Federation with the support of the Republic of Belarus against Ukraine, which contradicts the principles of the Olympic Charter, representatives of aggressor states should not be present at international sports arenas."

For context: Yesterday, the IOC issued recommendations for the gradual return to international competitions for Russian and Belarusian athletes, with president Thomas Bach saying their participation "works" despite the ongoing war in Ukraine.

(Video) It's all-out attack: Ukrainian Army opened the entrance door of Crimea! Russia on verge of disaster!

The IOC had sanctioned Russia and Belarus after the February 2022 invasion but it is now eager to see athletes come back across all sports and have a chance to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

It has set out a pathway for these competitors to earn Olympic slots but has faced headwinds, with Ukraine threatening to boycott the Paris Games should they compete there, even as neutrals.


Explosions at military airbase in Crimea - reports

Reports are coming though of an explosion at a military airbase in Hvardiiske, which is in central Crimea.

In a post on Telegram, the Russian-appointed head of Crimea,Sergey Aksyonov, said a unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was shot down in the Simferopol region.

He wrote: "Fell into the field.There are no casualties or destruction."


Ukrainian offensive planned in 'several areas' this spring

Ukraine's armed forces are planning a counteroffensive in several areas this spring, the country's defence minister Oleksii Reznikov has said.

In an interview with Estonia's television channel ERR, Mr Reznikov said the country's counterattack had been planned.

He said: "I am sure that we will continue to liberate temporarily occupied territories, as was done in Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv and Kherson region. This will all continue."

The Ukrainian official went on to say the country needed to "defend against Russian troops" and "contain them".

"Then we'll go on the counteroffensive. To do this, we need more ammunition to break through their line of defence," he added.

"This is how we save the lives of our soldiers. That's why help is so important. This war is a war of resources. The resources of the civilised world, including European countries, are on our side."

Asked about the use of German Leopard-2 tanks, he added: "They will be involved in the counteroffensive after the appropriate decision of the general staff.

(Video) Massive Airstrike: Ukraine hit Russia where it never expected! Crimean airbase is burning like hell!

"It is already planned in several directions.It is important to determine the most appropriate moment.It also depends on weather conditions.

"In the spring our soil is very viscous, so only tracked vehicles can be used.I think Leopard tanks will appear on the battlefield in April-May."


1. Ukraine struck an airbase in Crimea
(Artur Rehi)
2. Ten Reasons Why Ukraine Hasn't Destroyed the Crimean Bridge
(William Spaniel)
3. Russia's War in Ukraine: Should & Will Ukraine Take Back Crimea? (with Lt. General Ben Hodges).
4. Ukrainian air force shoots down Russian missile using German Cheetah anti-aircraft system
(The Telegraph)
5. Ukrainian soldiers barely avoid Russian bomb as they hide in a trench
(The Telegraph)
6. Explosions at Russian air base in Crimea destroy 9 warplanes
(CNBC Television)


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