British Defense Ministry Says Ukraine Has ‘repelled’ Numerous Russian Assaults In Donbas, While Attacks On Other Regions Rage On

British Defense Ministry Says Ukraine Has ‘repelled’ Numerous Russian Assaults In Donbas, While Attacks On Other Regions Rage On

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1 hr 16 min agoIt’s 6 p.m. on Sunday in Kyiv. Here’s what you need to knowAn Orthodox priest sprinkles holy water during the Orthodox Easter service next to The Nativity of the Holy Virgin Church damaged by shelling in the village of Peremoha, Ukraine on April 24. (Vladyslav Musiienko/Reuters)Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says he will meet top US officials in Kyiv on Sunday, as heavy fighting continues in the east and south of the country over Ukraine’s Easter weekend. 

Meanwhile, many Ukrainians are attempting to celebrate one of their most important holidays of the year, Orthodox Easter, two months after the country was thrust into a devastating war

Zelensky said he was “expecting specific things and specific weapons” from world leaders who come to the country, after announcing that he would meet US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in Kyiv on Sunday.

The White House has declined to comment or confirm the potential trip, which would be the first visit to Ukraine by top US officials since the war broke out.

Here are more of the latest headlines on the Russia-Ukraine war:

Russian forces continuing attack on Mariupol, Ukrainian commander says in Easter message: In an Easter message, Capt. Svyatoslav Palamar, the deputy commander of Ukraine’s Azov Regiment, said Sunday that Russian forces were continuing to bombard the city of Mariupol, underscoring the need for evacuation of civilians and encircled Ukrainian forces. “Christ is Risen, dear Ukraine,” he said. “Today is a big day but even so, the enemy continues to drop aerial bombs, ships fire artillery, cannons fire, enemy tanks continue to hit, infantry tries to assault.”White House official says to expect more announcements on US assistance to Ukraine: White House deputy national security adviser Jon Finer said Sunday to expect more announcements on US assistance to Ukraine “in the week ahead,” highlighting the billions of dollars in security aid the US has delivered so far. “We’ve been announcing deliverables, which is a fancy word for things that we are providing to the Ukrainians, to enable their fight just about every day and if not every day, every week, and we will have more to say about that in the week ahead,” Finer said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” stressing that US assistance has had a “significant” impact. Republican congresswoman urges US to restart diplomatic work in Ukraine: Republican Rep. Victoria Spartz of Illinois, who is the first Ukrainian-born member of Congress, on Sunday urged the US to restart diplomatic work in Ukraine, saying the move would send “a strong message for Ukrainian people.”More than 370,000 Ukrainian refugees are in Germany: Germany’s federal police has recorded 376,124 refugees from Ukraine to date, according to the country’s Interior Ministry. These are predominantly children, women and elderly people, they said in a Sunday tweet.International Committee for the Red Cross says they urgently need “humanitarian access” to Mariupol: The International Committee of the Red Cross said that “immediate and unimpeded humanitarian access” to the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol is “urgently needed.” In a press release Sunday, the ICRC said it is “deeply alarmed by the situation in Mariupol, where the population is in dire need of assistance.” Russian forces continued to attack the city on Sunday, Ukrainian Capt. Sviatoslav Palamar said in an Easter message.Melitopol mayor says Putin wants to “kill all of Ukrainian nation”: Melitopol mayor Ivan Fedorov, who was detained by Russian forces for five days in March, told CNN Sunday that his city is in a “very difficult and dangerous situation.” Russian forces occupied Melitopol, in southeastern Ukraine, within days of the invasion beginning, but the city has seen sporadic protests since. A new mayor was installed in the city, which is under Russian military control, after Fedorov was kidnapped. Fedorov was later released as part of a prisoner exchange. He told CNN’s Boris Sanchez on “New Day” that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s goal was to “kill all of Ukrainian nation,” starting by occupying its cities.Russia is “trying to depopulate the east of Ukraine,” says Zelensky administration adviser: An adviser to President Zelensky’s administration said Sunday that Russia was “trying to depopulate the east of Ukraine,” amid heavy fighting there. “I think the message they’re sending is very clear,” Tymofiy Mylovanov told CNN’s Isa Soares in Lviv. “If you surrender, like Crimea in 2014, nothing is going to happen to you. If you resist, like Donbas, like the east of Ukraine, you’ll be destroyed. (It) doesn’t matter if you’re military or civilians. So the message Russia is sending is, ‘surrender or be erased.'”OSCE says several staff have been detained in eastern Ukraine: The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is working to “facilitate the release” of several of its Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) members who have been “deprived of their liberty in Donetsk and Luhansk,” it said Sunday. “The OSCE is extremely concerned that a number of SMM national mission members have been deprived of their liberty in Donetsk and Luhansk,” it said in a statement posted to Twitter. “The OSCE is using all available channels to facilitate the release of its staff.” The SMM is an unarmed civilian division of the OSCE, which is tasked with observing and reporting on conflict zones.1 hr 27 min agoThe new journalism uncovering poisoning and war crimesAnalysis by Zachary B. Wolf

If you want to understand Vladimir Putin’s stranglehold on power in Russia, watch the new film “Navalny,” which premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on CNN.

Russia’s government has gone to great lengths to sideline the opposition leader Alexey Navalny, who was sentenced to prison after surviving a poisoning attempt.

The film documents the improbable detective work that identified the team of Russian spies who hunted and then tried to kill Navalny, as well as his recovery in Germany and return to Russia, where he was immediately arrested.

I talked to one of the investigators who unmasked the spies, Christo Grozev — who works with the investigative group Bellingcat — about his methods, his new mission documenting war crimes in Ukraine and his views about how the ethics of journalism must change to fight government corruption.

Our conversation, edited for length and clarity, is below:

WHAT MATTERS: In the documentary, you put all these pieces together — from telephone numbers to car registrations and so forth — to figure out who poisoned Navalny. How have you and Bellingcat developed this process of investigation? And what made you apply it to Russia in particular?

GROZEV: We started in a different way, by just piecing together social postings in the context of the initial Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014.

The first investigation that Bellingcat did by just piecing together available pieces of data from the internet was the downing of (Malaysia Airlines) MH17 in July 2014.

At that time, a lot of public data was available on Russian soldiers, Russian spies, and so on and so forth — because they still hadn’t caught up with the times, so they kept a lot of digital traces, social media, posting selfies in front of weapons that shoot down airliners.

That’s where we kind of perfected the art of reconstructing a crime based on digital breadcrumbs. … But as time went by, sort of the bad actors that we were investigating, they started hiding their stuff better. … By 2016, it was no longer possible to find soldiers leaving status selfies on the internet because a new law had been passed in Russia, for example, banning the use of mobile phones by secret services and by soldiers.

So we had to develop a new way to get data on government crime. We found our way into this gray market of data in Russia, which is comprised of many, many gigabytes of leaked databases, car registration databases, passport databases.

Most of these are available for free, completely freely downloadable from torrent sites or from forums and the internet.

And for some of them, they’re more current. You actually can buy the data through a broker, so we decided that in cases when we have a strong enough hypothesis that a government has committed the crime, we should probably drop our ethical boundaries from using such data — as long as it is verifiable, as long as it is not coming from one source only but corroborated by at least two or three other sources of data.

That’s how we develop it. And the first big use case for this approach was the … poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in 2018 (in the United Kingdom), when we used this combination of open source and data bought from the gray market in Russia to piece together who exactly the two poisoners were. And that worked tremendously.

Click here to read the full story.

1 hr 22 min agoRepublican congresswoman urges US to restart diplomatic work in UkraineFrom CNN’s Devan Cole

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British defense ministry says Ukraine has ‘repelled’ numerous Russian assaults in Donbas, while attacks on other regions rage on

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