Russia vows to step up missile attacks

By The Associated Press

MOSCOW – The wife of a Ukrainian politician detained by kyiv for treason has accused Ukrainian security services of torturing her husband and fabricating his escape from house arrest during a press conference held in Moscow Friday.

Oksana Marchenko, the wife of Viktor Medvedchuk, the former leader of a pro-Russian opposition party and a close aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin, has called her husband a “political prisoner” and said she does not don’t know where he is.

Medvedchuk was arrested on Tuesday as part of a special operation by the Ukrainian State Security Service, or SBU. The 67-year-old oligarch escaped house arrest several days before the outbreak of hostilities on February 24 in Ukraine. He faces between 15 years and a life sentence for treason and complicity with a terrorist organization for having negotiated coal purchases for the separatist republic of Donetsk, supported by Russia, in eastern Ukraine.

“I have no doubt that my husband was beaten within hours of his capture,” she said at the press conference. “I call for help to establish (his) real whereabouts. I call for help to stop the physical and mental torture.

She did not provide evidence to back up her claims, but referred to a televised statement made by Ukrainian officials on Wednesday, which said Kyiv would endeavor to try Medvedchuk “as soon as possible, give him the appropriate sentence , to obtain evidence from him, then exchange him” for Ukrainian captives held by Moscow.

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KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIAN-UKRAINE WAR:

– Russia loses warship, says attacks on kyiv will increase

— The Ukrainian port of Mariupol resists against all odds

— War Crimes Watch: The Woman Who Would Make Putin Pay

– Russian lawmaker and 2 aides criminally charged in US

— Go to https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine for more coverage

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OTHER DEVELOPMENTS:

Russia’s leading English-language independent media outlet said Russian authorities blocked its Russian-language website over critical coverage of the war in Ukraine.

The Moscow Times said on Friday that its Russian-language website had become unavailable to some users and cited a decision by the attorney general’s office to restrict access.

According to the outlet, authorities separately blocked a website page containing an article about 11 riot police who refused to fight in Ukraine. On Thursday, a journalist who first published the story was jailed for spreading false information about the Russian military.

The Moscow Times said it received no official notification from the government.

The Kremlin sought to control the narrative of the war from the moment its troops arrived in Ukraine. He called the attack a ‘special military operation’ and increased pressure on independent Russian media which called it a ‘war’ or an ‘invasion’, blocking access to many news sites whose coverage deviated from the official line.

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KYIV, Ukraine – The Mariupol City Council said on Friday that local residents are reporting that Russian troops are digging up bodies previously buried in residential yards and not allowing new burials “of people killed by them”.

“A caretaker has been assigned to each yard and does not allow residents of Mariupol to rest their deceased relatives or friends. The reason for the exhumation and where the bodies will be taken are unknown,” according to a statement posted on the Telegram messaging app.

The claim could not be independently verified.

Earlier this month, Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko told the AP that Russian forces had brought mobile cremation equipment into the city to dispose of the corpses of siege victims.

Boychencko said Russian forces were taking many bodies to a huge shopping center where there are warehouses and refrigerators. “Mobile crematoriums have come in the form of trucks: you open it up, and there’s a pipe inside and these bodies are burned,” he said.

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KYIV, Ukraine – Seven people died and 27 were injured after Russian forces opened fire on buses carrying civilians in the Ukrainian village of Borovaya, near the northeastern city of Kharkiv, A spokesperson for the regional prosecutor’s office told Ukrainian news site Suspilne on Friday.

Ukrainian law enforcement is working to establish the circumstances of the attack, Dmytro Chubenko said. He added that investigators are also establishing the routes and destination of vehicles transporting civilians through Russian-held territory around Borovaya.

Chubenko said Ukrainian authorities had opened criminal charges for an “alleged violation of the laws and customs of war, combined with premeditated murder”.

The claims could not be independently verified.

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MOSCOW — Russia’s Defense Ministry vowed on Friday to increase the “scale of missile attacks” on kyiv in response to Ukraine’s “entertainment” on Russian territory.

The statement comes a day after Russian authorities accused Ukrainian forces of launching airstrikes on residential buildings in one of the country’s regions bordering Ukraine, in which seven people were injured. .

According to Russian officials, around 100 residential buildings were damaged in Thursday’s attack on the village of Klimovo in the Bryansk region. The Defense Ministry said Russian forces in Ukraine’s Chernihiv region stopped a Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopter believed to have been involved in the attack on the Bryansk region.

Authorities in another border region, Belgorod, also reported Ukrainian shelling on Thursday.

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LONDON — Britain’s Ministry of Defense said the loss of the Russian navy’s flagship would likely force Moscow to change the way its naval forces operate in the Black Sea.

The Moskva sank after being damaged in controversial circumstances. Ukraine says it hit the ship with missiles, while Moscow acknowledged a fire on board but no attack.

In an update posted on social media on Friday, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said the Soviet-era ship, which returned to operational service last year after a major refit, “has played a key role both as a command ship and an air defense node”.

He said the sinking “means that Russia has now suffered damage to two key naval assets since the invasion of Ukraine, the first being the Russian Alligator-class landing ship Saratov on March 24. These two events will lead probably Russia to review its maritime position in the Black Sea.

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KYIV, Ukraine – President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told Ukrainians on Thursday they should be proud to have survived 50 days under Russian attack when the Russians “gave us a maximum of five”.

In his late-night video speech, Zelenskyy called it “the achievement of millions of Ukrainians, of all those who on February 24 made the most important decision of their lives: to fight.”

Zelenskyy gave a detailed and almost poetic list of the many ways the Ukrainians helped repel Russian troops, including “those that showed that Russian warships can navigate, even if it’s on the bottom” of the sea It was his only reference to the Russian guided-missile cruiser Moskva, which sank while being towed to port.

Zelenskyy said he remembers the first day of the invasion when many world leaders, unsure whether Ukraine could survive, advised him to leave the country.

“But they didn’t know how brave Ukrainians are, how much we value freedom and the ability to live as we want,” Zelenskyy said.

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OTTAWA, Ontario — Canada is sending troops to Poland to help with the care, coordination and resettlement of Ukrainian refugees in Poland, including some who will come to Canada.

More than 2.6 million Ukrainians have fled to Poland since the first Russian troops entered Ukraine on February 24 and more than 2 million others have fled to other surrounding countries.

Defense Minister Anita Anand announced the deployment of up to 150 troops on Thursday, saying the majority of the deployed troops will head to reception centers across Poland to help care for and register Ukrainian refugees. .

Another group is sent to help coordinate international aid efforts.

Canada has deployed hundreds more troops to Eastern Europe since the Russian invasion as the NATO military alliance seeks to both support Ukraine and prevent the conflict from turning into a a larger war.

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KYIV, Ukraine – The head of the United Nations World Food Program said people were “starved to death” in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol and he predicted the country’s humanitarian crisis was likely to worsen as the Russia would intensify its assault in the coming weeks.

WFP Executive Director David Beasley also warned in an interview with The Associated Press in Kyiv on Thursday that Russia’s invasion of grain-exporting Ukraine risks destabilizing countries far from its shores and could trigger waves of migrants seeking a better life elsewhere.

The war that began on February 24 has “devastated the people of Ukraine”, Beasley said, lamenting the lack of access faced by WFP and other aid organizations in trying to reach those in need during the conflict. .

The fluid nature of the conflict, which has seen fighting move from areas around the capital to eastern Ukraine, has made it particularly difficult to reach starving Ukrainians.

The WFP is now trying to deliver food to areas that could be caught in the fighting, but Beasley acknowledged there are “a lot of complexities” as the situation rapidly evolves.

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