Day 402 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Russia takes over the Presidency of the UN Security CouncilUkraine | April 1, 2023, Saturday // 13:43| views
Day 402 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:
- Kuleba on the Russian presidency of the UNSC: The worst April Fool's joke
- Two adults and a child were killed during shelling in Avdiivka
- The US is preparing new military aid for Ukraine worth 2.6 billion dollars
- Borrell: China can help but cannot mediate peace in Ukraine
- Lukashenko is ready to accept Russian strategic nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus
- Scholz: The conflict in Ukraine could drag on for years
- New Russian foreign policy doctrine defines West as “existential threat”
Kuleba on the Russian presidency of the UNSC: The worst April Fool's joke
Ukraine expressed its indignation that from today Russia is the rotating chairman of the UN Security Council. The United States, which failed to block the procedure, will announce a new package of military aid to Kyiv. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba described Moscow's takeover of the presidency of the Security Council as the worst April Fool's joke. According to the presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak, the step is another violation of international law. Despite Kyiv’s objections, the United States has not been able to block Russia's rotational function, and while the role is largely ceremonial, Moscow's permanent representative, Vasily Nebenzya, has said he plans to lead several debates, including on arms control. The United States also urged Russia to reconsider its plans to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus. Yesterday, President Alexander Lukashenko expressed his readiness to receive on his territory Russian strategic nuclear weapons in addition to the tactical ones that Moscow is preparing to send to its ally. Washington is also preparing to announce on Monday new arms deliveries to Ukraine worth 2.6 billion dollars. The aid includes radars, anti-tank missiles, bridge equipment, anti-aircraft missiles. The IMF's Executive Board approved a four-year, $15.6 billion financial package for Ukraine. It is part of a total of 115 billion dollars of international support for Kyiv, the fund announced.
Two adults and a child were killed during shelling in Avdiivka
Russian shelling of settlements and infrastructure in eastern Ukraine continues. Meanwhile, the IMF and the United States are providing additional financial and military aid to Kyiv for the war.
Two adults, including a small child, were killed in the shelling of the town of Avdiivka, announced the regional governor of Donetsk, Pavlo Kirilenko. Strikes were also carried out in the Sumy region. The Russian army announced that it destroyed two Ukrainian sabotage groups in the direction of Kupiansk, using drones.
According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the Kremlin's plans to deploy strategic nuclear weapons in Belarus indicate a failure of Putin's talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.
The US has again called on Russia to reconsider its plans to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus and to withdraw its troops from Ukraine. Moscow's statements cannot be justified by the use of depleted uranium armor-piercing projectiles in Ukraine, because "these munitions are NOT analogous to tactical nuclear weapons," said Robert Wood, Washington's deputy representative to the United Nations.
Meanwhile, the IMF's executive board approved a four-year, $15.6 billion financial package for Ukraine. It is part of a total of 115 billion dollars of international support for Kyiv, the fund announced.
For its part, the US is preparing to announce on Monday a new delivery of $2.6 billion worth of military aid to Ukraine, which includes radars, anti-tank missiles, bridging equipment, and anti-aircraft missiles.
A search of the vicar’s house
Against the background of a confrontation between the Ukrainian government and the world-famous monastery complex of Kyiv Pechersk Lavra in the capital of Ukraine, the police searched the home of the vicar of the monastery Pavlo Lebid, DPA and BTA report.
"They told me in two words that I was suspected of working for Russia," Pavlo said in a video released by Russia's state news agency RIA Novosti. The holy man said he was also summoned for questioning on charges of religious agitation and insulting the Ukrainian president.
Pavlo denies the accusations.
The dispute over the use of the monastery has been going on for months. The Ukrainian leadership suspects the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which until recently was subordinate to the Moscow Patriarchate, of espionage and agitation in favor of Moscow.
The US is preparing new military aid for Ukraine worth 2.6 billion dollars
The United States is preparing to announce on Monday a new delivery of $2.6 billion in military aid to Ukraine, which includes radars and anti-tank missiles, Reuters reported, citing unnamed US officials.
Also provided are bridging equipment that Ukraine will use to attack Russian positions, vehicles for withdrawing disabled heavy equipment, precision air munitions, as well as additional shells for air defense. Tank ammunition is also expected to be on the list of equipment that could be finalized this weekend, the officials said on condition of anonymity, adding that the dollar amount and specific equipment in the package could change. The new package will also include additional ammunition for the NASAMS anti-aircraft systems that the US and its allies have given to Kyiv.
The aid consists of $2.1 billion coming from the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), which allows President Joe Biden's administration to buy weapons from industry rather than from US stockpiles.
The remaining $500 million is mainly in the form of ammunition to help Kyiv launch a spring offensive. They are expected to come from the funds through the Presidential Drawdown Authority - presidential powers that allow for drawing from the current US military stocks in emergencies.
Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the US has provided more than $30 billion in military aid to Kyiv.
Borrell: China can help but cannot mediate peace in Ukraine
China cannot be a mediator in terms of ending the war in Ukraine because it leans too much towards the "invader" Russia, but it can play the role of mediator in reaching a peace agreement with Moscow, the European Union's top diplomat Josep Borrell said , reports Reuters.
"China does not distinguish between an aggressor and a victim of aggression," Borrell said in the Spanish capital Madrid, adding: "China does not call for the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine."
But China should use its influence over Russia to press for peace in Ukraine, he noted.
According to Borrell, the only peace plan on the table is the one presented by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in November, including demands to withdraw Russian troops and restore Ukraine's territory to the status quo before Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.
Borrell's comments echoed Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's call in Beijing for Chinese leader Xi Jinping to talk to the Ukrainian president and learn first-hand about Kyiv's peace formula.
Lukashenko is ready to accept Russian strategic nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus
In his annual message to the nation, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko expressed his readiness to receive Russian strategic nuclear weapons on the country's territory in addition to the tactical nuclear weapons that Moscow is preparing to send to its ally, reports AFP.
Today, Lukashenko announced that a week ago he issued an order to the military to immediately restore the sites where Russia can deploy the Topol strategic ballistic missiles if necessary. Most such sites have been preserved, the Belarusian leader said, despite nuclear weapons being moved to Russia in the 1990s.
The President of Belarus also said that all the infrastructure regarding tactical nuclear weapons has already been created and is ready.
"This weapon will help us preserve our sovereignty and independence," Lukashenko said, while emphasizing that Belarus is a peaceful country that does not plan to attack anyone.
Scholz: The conflict in Ukraine could drag on for years
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz believes that the conflict in Ukraine could drag on for several years. Scholz expressed this opinion during the conference "Der F.A.Z.-Kongress 2023".
"We will do everything possible to continue supporting Ukraine as long as necessary. It may happen that this conflict drags on for two, three, four years... This will be a test for all of us," he said Scholz.
According to him, when it comes to the state borders, Moscow cannot refer to the previous international agreements, which are no longer valid. "Ukraine must not lose. There can be no peace dictated by Russia," Scholz concluded.
At the same time, Kyiv is not ready to accept such a forecast for the duration of the conflict. Andriy Melnyk, Ukraine's former ambassador to Berlin, said at the same conference that the authorities in Kyiv hope to achieve peace as early as 2023.
Earlier, Ruslan Stefanchuk, the chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, had stated the need for a quick victory. "We are not in a position to fight to the point of exhaustion," he said in an interview with The Times.
New Russian foreign policy doctrine defines West as “existential threat”
Out the Cold War, in the hybrid: Russia adopted on Friday a new foreign policy doctrine, defining the West as an "existential threat" and whose "dominance" Moscow must fight, reported AFP.
The adoption of this new strategy confirms the deep rift that has existed between Russia and Western countries since the start of the attack on Ukraine, which led NATO to consolidate and Moscow to turn to China.
In a document of more than 40 pages, reminiscent in its content and language of the era of confrontation between the Soviet Union and America in the last century, Russia is presented as a bulwark of the Russian-speaking world against Westerners, who are accused of wanting to "weaken it by any means".
During a meeting of the National Security Council, President Vladimir Putin justified these changes with "cataclysms on the international stage" that oblige Russia to "adapt its strategic planning documents".
The new doctrine notes "the existential nature of the threats (...) created by the actions of hostile countries" and defines the US as "the main instigator and conductor of the anti-Russian line", summarized the head of Russian diplomacy Sergey Lavrov.
In general, the West's policy of weakening Russia by any means is characterized as a new kind of hybrid war, he added.
The foreign policy doctrine is a document defining the priorities of a country in international relations, and the way it sees its relations with the world.
In this case, the new document, which replaces a 2016 version and was posted on the Kremlin's website, gets straight to the point.
"Russia intends to give priority attention to removing the remnants of the dominance of the United States and other hostile states in world affairs," it said.
Washington and its allies have imposed heavy economic sanctions on Moscow, which accuses them in return of waging a proxy war in Ukraine, notably by supplying arms to Kyiv.
In this context of Western isolation, Russia seeks to become economically and diplomatically closer to Asia, particularly China, a vital priority that is reflected in the new doctrine.
"Comprehensive deepening of ties and coordination with friendly world centers of sovereign power and development located on the Eurasian continent is of particular importance," the document says in the chapter dedicated to China and India.
Putin showed his sympathy with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at a summit in Moscow earlier in March, highlighting the "special nature" of the relationship between their countries, which nevertheless appears increasingly skewed in Beijing's favor because of Moscow's growing dependence from him.
The new Russian doctrine also gives an important place to relations with African countries, while Moscow strengthens its presence in Africa, in particular through the Wagner paramilitary group.
Echoing the conflict in Ukraine, where Moscow says it wants to prevent abuses against the Russian-speaking population, the new document presents Russia as a "civilization" uniting the nations that make up the "Russian world."
While Putin presents himself as a defender of the "traditional values" of the Orthodox Church against the West, portrayed as decadent, the new doctrine brings militancy into the moral realm as well.
We must "neutralize attempts to impose pseudo-humanist and neoliberal ideological principles that lead to the loss of traditional spirituality and moral principles," the doctrine reads.
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