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Russia

Stories under this heading cover Russia, as well as countries in the eastern part of the European continent, such as Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldova.

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G7 explores ways to use frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine 

G7 explores ways to use frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine 

The G7 will explore ways to use future revenues from frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine. Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the G7 and its allies froze around $300 billion in Russian assets. "We are making progress in our discussions on potential avenues to bring forward the extraordinary profits stemming from immobilized Russian sovereign assets to the benefit of Ukraine," the draft statement said. G7 negotiators have been discussing for weeks how best to use these assets, which include major currencies and government bonds held mainly in European vaults. The United States (US) has been urging its G7 partners - Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Canada - to support a loan that could provide Kyiv with up to $50 billion in the near term. The cautious language of the statement, lacking figures or specifics, underlines the many legal and technical issues that would need to be resolved before such a loan could be issued. A G7 source indicated that there would be no significant changes to the statement before the final version is released later on Saturday (25 May).
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More than 3,000 Ukrainian prisoners join army to fight against Russia

More than 3,000 Ukrainian prisoners join army to fight against Russia

Thousands of Ukrainian prisoners have expressed interest in a new initiative that offers them the opportunity to exchange their prison sentence for military service. According to Ukrainian Deputy Justice Minister Olena Vysotska, more than 3,000 prisoners have already signed up to contribute to strengthening Ukraine's armed forces. "This response is in line with our expectations when introducing this legislation," Vysotska stated. Furthermore, she noted that up to 20,000 prisoners could potentially be eligible to participate in the programme, with approximately 4,500 having expressed interest thus far. It is important to stress that prisoners convicted of serious crimes such as murder, rape, other sexual violence, and crimes against national security are excluded from this scheme. This development coincides with Ukraine's urgent need for additional troops in its ongoing conflict with Russia. Russia has similarly implemented analogous arrangements for prisoners of war in the context of this conflict.

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Railway sabotage and oil depot explosions in Russia and Crimea as Ukraine gears up for counteroffensive

Railway sabotage and oil depot explosions in Russia and Crimea as Ukraine gears up for counteroffensive

Russia's Bryansk Oblast that borders Ukraine's north-east has now seen two railway derailments in as many days, both reportedly as a result of sabotage. On Monday (1 May), Bryansk Oblast Governor Alexander Bogomaz published a post on his Telegram channel announcing that "an unidentified explosive device" detonated near railway tracks, derailing the train and resulting in the suspension of rail traffic in the area. Overnight on Sunday (30 April), overhead powerlines in Russia's Leningrad Oblast were also blown up, although power supply to populated areas and civil infrastructure was allegedly not disrupted. Then, yesterday on Tuesday (2 May), Russian media reported a second supposed railway sabotage in Bryansk Oblast in as many days. Governor Bogomaz said that railway lines had been blown up near Snezhetskaya station, derailing a locomotive and approximately 20 freight cars. Being critical for logistical operations in their full-scale invasion of Ukraine, railways in Russia's border regions have frequently been targets of suspected sabotage during the ongoing war.
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Russian pre-dawn missile strikes on Ukraine kill at least nineteen

Russian pre-dawn missile strikes on Ukraine kill at least nineteen

Russia has launched another wave of missile strikes at Ukraine before dawn on Friday (28 April), killing at least nineteen people as of 3pm CET. According to Ukrainian national police, at least 17 people were killed after two Russian missiles hit a nine-storey residential building in the central city of Uman. Three children were also rescued from the rubble. In a separate attack, a 31-year-old woman and her 2-year old daughter were killed after a Russian missile hit the eastern city of Dnipro, according to the regional governor, Serhii Lysak. Four people were also wounded. In total, according to Ukrainian authorities Russia fired 23 missiles and two drones at Ukraine before dawn on Friday (28 April). 21 missiles in total were shot down, with 11 missiles and the two drones were intercepted by air defense over Kyiv, said the city hall, with no immediate reports of missiles hitting targets and no reports of casualties. It is the first attack on the city since March. Interfax news agency also reports there have been explosions in the cities of Poltava and Kremenchuk.
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Russia launches strikes on Odesa and Kharkiv Oblasts, Zelensky visits Avdiivka

Russia launches strikes on Odesa and Kharkiv Oblasts, Zelensky visits Avdiivka

Early in the morning of Wednesday (19 April), Russia launched a wave of drone strikes on the southern Odesa Oblast, with two drones striking a "public infrastructure facility", according to the Odesa Oblast Military administration. According to the Ukrainian Air Force, Russia launched 12 Iranian-made Shahed "kamikaze" drones, of which ten were shot down. No casualties were reported after last night's attack, said the military administration. Explosions were heard around 2am in the morning of Wednesday, with air raid sirens having been activated a few minutes prior. Yesterday on Tuesday (18 April), the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the front-line town of Avdiivka, in Donetsk Oblast, located only 10km north of the city of Donetsk, which has been occupied by Russia since 2014. "I wish you nothing but victory – something that every Ukrainian desires and which holds great importance for all of us," Zelensky said. "I extend my wishes for good health to you and your loved ones and express sincere gratitude from every Ukrainian for the remarkable path that you tread each day." Russian forces made significant gains around Avdiivka in March, with Ukrainian military spokesperson Oleksii Dmytrashkivskyi acknowledging on 20 March that it could become a "second Bakhmut".
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Blackouts in Russian city of Belgorod after suspected Ukrainian drone strikes

Blackouts in Russian city of Belgorod after suspected Ukrainian drone strikes

Various media are reporting that Ukraine has launched a drone strike on power stations in the Russian city of Belgorod and the surrounding area overnight on Monday (17 April). Neither Ukraine nor Russia has officially confirmed the strikes. Shortly after the strikes local Telegram channels reported problems with electricity supply in parts of the city. The regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov confirmed that "two fires were recorded at civilian facilities" in Belgorod and Belgorod district, but stopped short of specifying exactly what caused the fires. In the past, suspected Ukrainian strikes inside Russian territory have rarely, if ever, been admitted as such by Russian authorities. "There are no casualties. All emergency services are on site, the fire is being put out," Gladkov said. Recently there has been an increase in reports of drone sightings and explosions in Russian regions bordering Ukraine, including in Belgorod Oblast. Last week on Monday (10 April), a UAV carrying an explosive device fell on an airfield in Belgorod, damaging a fence and signal cable.