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Ukraine-Russia war LIVE: Brit volunteer ‘Johnny’ captured by Putin’s evil soldiers

A HERO Brit has been captured by Vladimir Putin’s evil Russian soldiers while fighting for Ukraine in Mariupol.

Aiden Aslin, 27, known on the battlefield as ‘Jonny’, was a care worker in the UK before heading to Ukraine to defend locals from marauding Russian forces who are raping, looting and massacring citizens.

But this week he contacted friends and family to reveal his unit had run out of food and ammo, saying “It’s been 48 days. We tried our best to defend Mariupol but we have no choice but to surrender to Russian forces.”

Aiden’s mum Ang added: “I love my son, he is my hero – they put up one hell of a fight.”

He is now likely to be used by Vladimir Putin‘s murderous regime for propaganda, but there is some hope Aiden may eventually be released as part of a prisoner exchange.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian fighters are putting up a hellish last stand in tunnels under an abandoned Stalingrad-esque steel plant in Mariupol as Russian forces close in on the besieged port city.

Experts say the fall of Mariupol, is inevitable but holdouts in their underground bases hope to make conquering the Sea of Azov port as hard as possible for the attackers.

Follow our Russia-Ukraine live blog below for up-to-the-minute updates…

  • Thank you for reading my coverage today. I’ll now be passing the blog to Joe Gamp who’s got you covered until 10pm tonight.

    If you’re just joining the Russia-Ukraine blog, or want a refresher on the news today, here’s the latest:

    • Russia’s defence ministry said that 1,026 soldiers of Ukraine’s 36th Marine Brigade, including 162 officers, had surrendered in the besieged port city of Mariupol
      • Ukraine’s defence ministry spokesman said he had no information on such a surrender
    • The mayor of Mariupol, Vadym Boichenko, said in televised remarks that more than 100,000 people remained in the city awaiting evacuation
    • At least seven people were killed and 22 wounded by shelling in Ukraine’s northeastern region of Kharkiv over the past 24 hours, Governor Oleh Synegubov said
    • Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said it was not possible to open any humanitarian corridors today
    • Russia said that claims by the United States and Ukraine that its forces could use chemical weapons were disinformation because Moscow destroyed its last chemical stockpiles in 2017
    • U.S. President Biden said for the first time that Russia’s invasion amounts to genocide
    • Polish President Andrzej Duda and the presidents of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are on their way to Kyiv to meet Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, an adviser to the Polish leader said
    • Russian President Putin reappeared after a rare public silence to say the invasion was a “noble” cause and that peace talks had reached a dead end
  • Russia plans ‘victory day’ carnival parade in Mariupol

    According to the aid of Mariupol’s mayor, Petro Andryushchenko, Russia may be planning a “Victory Day parade” in the devastated Ukrainian port city, has said on Telegram.

    He said Kostyantyn Ivashchenko, whom is in charge of Russian troops in Mariupol, was ordered “to clear a part of the city’s central district of rubble and dead bodies to ensure that a parade can be held on 9 May”.

    “Judging from the whole array of data, the occupiers are planning to hold a ‘victory carnival’ in Mariupol in case their ‘special operation’ is successful,” Andryushchenko has said.

    He added: “The good news is that there are no vehicles or people in the city to carry out such events.”

  • Putin: Russia to seek alternative to European energy market

    Russian President Vladimir Putin said today that Moscow will be looking into alternative markets for its energy exports after Western capitals sanctioned Russia over its military operation in Ukraine.

    Since Moscow’s troops moved into its pro-Western neighbour on February 24, Russia has faced a barrage of unprecedented sanctions, including embargoes on its energy exports.

    “We have all the resources and opportunities to quickly find alternative solutions,” Putin said during a televised government meeting on the development of the Russian Arctic.

    “As for Russian oil, gas and coal — we can increase their consumption on the domestic market… and also increase the supply of energy resources to other parts of the world, where they are really needed,” Putin added.

  • Heads of four eastern European countries travel to Kyiv

    The presidents of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia said they are heading to Kyiv to meet with Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky.

    Estonian president Alar Karis tweeted: “We are visiting Ukraine to show strong support to the Ukrainian people, will meet dear friend President Zelensky.”

    The other presidents on the trip are: Polish president Andrzej Duda, Lithuania’s Gitanas Nauseda, and Latvia’s Egils Levits.

  • Russian embassy in Bosnia warns of destabilization

    The Russian embassy in Bosnia today criticised the suspension of a Bosnian-Serb property law and warned of potential destabilization in the tense Balkan country unless the decision by the top international official is revoked.

    The embassy in a statement carried by local media reiterated that Moscow does not recognise German diplomat Christian Schmidt as the head of the U.N. Office of the High Representative in Bosnia – and considers his moves illegitimate.

    The Russian comments highlight a dispute with the West over policies in the volatile Balkans where Moscow has sought to increase its historic sway. With war raging in Ukraine, there have been fears of tensions soaring in the Balkans as well.

    Schmidt on Tuesday suspended the law that the semi-autonomous Bosnian Serb region passed in February, and which declares that the property used by local public authorities belongs to the Republika Srpska entity.

    The law is seen as part of the Serb drive in Bosnia to gain as much independence as possible.

    Bosnia also has a Bosniak-Croat entity, along with joint, central institutions designed to keep the country together after its 1992-95 war.

  • UK sanctions 206 more Russian entities

    The UK’s foreign office has just announced that another 206 Russian individuals and businesses have been added to the sanctions list.

    Viktor Medvedchuk, who has been captured by Ukrainian forces, is among those who have seen their assets frozen.

    Another high-profile person is Russian oil magnate and head of LUKOIL, Vagit Alekperov.

  • German economic institutes faces sharp recession if Russian gas cut off

    Germany would face a sharp recession if gas supplies from Russia are suddenly cut off, the country’s leading economic institutes said today, and the government said the war in Ukraine poses “substantial risks” for Europe’s largest economy.

    A sudden stop in Russian energy supplies would slow economic growth to 1.9% this year and result in a contraction of 2.2% in 2023, they said.

    “If gas supplies were to be cut off, the German economy would undergo a sharp recession,” said Stefan Kooths, vice president and research director business cycles and growth at the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

  • Fugitive Putin ally arrested

    Ukraine says it has arrested fugitive pro-Russian politician Viktor Medvedchuk, who is seen as President Vladimir Putin’s closest ally.

    Ukraine’s security service SBU posted a photo which shows Mr Medvedchuk in handcuffs and wearing Ukrainian military fatigues.

    He had been under house arrest in the capital of Kyiv on suspicion of treason. However, he escaped soon after Russia began its invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.

    Mr Medvedchuk, 67, denies wrongdoing.

    In his nightly video address to the nation on Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky offered to exchange Mr Medvedchuk for Ukrainian “boys and girls who are now in Russian captivity”.

    He earlier wrote on Facebook that Mr Medvedchuk had been arrested after a “special operation” by the SBU.

    The security service said in a statement: “You can be a pro-Russian politician and work for the aggressor state for years. You may have been hiding from justice lately. You can even wear a Ukrainian military uniform for camouflage.

    “But will it help you escape punishment? Not at all! Shackles are waiting for you and same goes for traitors to Ukraine like you.”

    Credit: Reuters
    Credit: AFP
  • France seizes £20 BILLION worth of Russian Oligarch assets

    France has seized more than £20billion-worth of cash and property belonging to Russian oligarchs including Roman Abramovich in response to the Ukraine War.

    The incredible figure was confirmed by Economy and Finance Ministry in Paris today, as it confirmed that 12 properties belonging to former Chelsea Football Club owner were among the assets frozen.

    “They include homes, superyachts and helicopters, and add up to well over 25 billion euros,” said a ministerial source.

    “There are 33 properties that have been frozen, including a dozen belonging to Roman Abramovich.

    “It is all part of the programme of sanctions being brought against the Russian Federation in response to its invasion of Ukraine.”

    Freezing property assets mean they cannot be sold or used for rental income, the source explained.

  • Symbols reveal Putin’s ‘plan to kill hundreds of civilians’

    CHILLING symbols reveal Vladimir Putin plans to kill hundreds of civilians and then blame Ukraine for the war, a whistleblower has claimed.

    A secret service source in Moscow warned the Russian President’s sinister plans include a major “false flag” attack in border areas of Russia.

    The hit which will cause the “deaths of hundreds of civilians” will be later “blamed on Ukrainians” and “internal enemies”.

    According to the source, the attacks will be against  “Z” and “V” war symbols which are to be painted in the coming days on prominent residential buildings.

    The signs will be daubed on the walls of buildings in apartment blocks-local authorities in Russia have the right to place slogans on residential buildings.

    Explosions in blocks of flats could cause “hundreds of civilian victims”, the whistleblower, purportedly an FSB insider said.

  • Zelensky: ‘We’ll find Russian troops involved in violent crimes’

    Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, has said that his country would find all Russian’s involved in crimes against his civilians – such as rape.

    In his latest video message last night, the president said: “There is more and more evidence and other official data of the investigation about the terrible crimes of the occupiers in those areas where, unfortunately, they were able to enter.”

    He contined: “About the inhuman cruelty of the Russian military towards women and children. About multiple rapes.

    “Not all serial rapists reached the level of cruelty that Russian soldiers did. Of course, we will establish the full truth about all these monsters. No matter how much time and effort it would take, we will find everyone.

    “And let [Viktor] Medvedchuk be a good example for you. Even the former oligarch did not escape. Let alone much simpler criminals from the Russian hinterland. We will get everyone.”

  • Seven killed & 22 wounded by shelling in Kharkiv region

    At least seven people were killed and 22 wounded by shelling in Ukraine’s northeastern region of Kharkiv over the past 24 hours, Governor Oleh Synegubov said today, reported Reuters.

    In an online post, he said a 2-year-old boy was among those killed in the 53 artillery or rocket strikes he said Russian forces had carried out in the past day in the region.

    Reuters have not independently verify the information.

    And, Russia denies targeting civilians.

  • Ukraine says risk of Russia using chemical weapons remains high

    Ukraine’s Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Malyar said on today there was a high risk of Russia using chemical weapons against her country, echoing warnings by President Volodymyr Zelensky earlier in the week.

    On Tuesday Malyar said authorities were checking unverified reports that Russia may have already used chemical weapons while besieging the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol and that there was a theory that phosphorous munitions had been used.

    Russia has previously called U.S. talk of Russia using chemical weapons a tactic to divert attention away from awkward questions for Washington and accused Ukraine of preparing to use them.

  • Over 1,000 Ukrainian soldiers surrender in Mariupol

    Russia’s defence ministry said Wednesday more than a thousand Ukrainian soldiers have surrendered in Mariupol, a strategic port city in eastern Ukraine that has been besieged by Moscow’s troops for over a month.

    “In the city of Mariupol… 1,026 Ukrainian servicemen of the 36th marine brigade voluntarily laid down their arms and surrendered,” the ministry said in a statement.

    The ministry said that the soldiers surrendered near the “Mariupol Metallurgical Plant named after Illich”, a large steel factory.

    Among the troops were 162 officers and 47 were women, the ministry added. More than 100 were wounded.

  • One civilian killed in Russian shelling of Ukraine’s Luhansk region

    One civilian was killed in Russian shelling of Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region over the past 24 hours, Luhansk Governor Serhiy Gaidai said today.

    In a post on the Telegram messaging app, he said that three trains would be offered today to residents who wanted to leave the region, which he said was under constant shelling and may face a new large offensive by Russian forces.

    Ukraine’s state railway company said in a separate statement on Wednesday that a train station in central Ukraine had been shelled overnight.

  • Russia says U.S. spreading lies on possible chemical attack in Ukraine

    Russia said today that claims by the United States and Ukraine that Russia could use chemical weapons in Ukraine were disinformation because Moscow destroyed its last chemical stockpiles in 2017.

    Ukraine’s defence ministry said on Tuesday that it was checking claims that Russia may have used chemical weapons in the southern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol.

    Russia’s embassy in Washington said: “We call on Washington to stop spreading disinformation.

    “Ned Price once again distinguished himself by his idle talk, not substantiated by a single piece of evidence.”

  • Chechen chief says over 1,000 Ukrainian marines surrender in Mariupol

    Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said more than 1,000 Ukrainian marines had surrendered in the besieged port city of Mariupol and urged remaining forces holed up in the Azovstal steel mill to surrender.

    There was no comment from Ukrainian officials on the statement made on Kadyrov’s Telegram channel.

    Ukraine’s General Staff, in its morning report otoday, said that Russian forces were proceeding with attacks on Azovstal and the port.

    It was not clear what plant – Azovstal or Illich Iron and Steel Works – Kadyrov meant when he talked about the 1,000 surrendered Ukrainian marines.

    “Within Azovstal at the moment there are about 200 wounded who cannot receive any medical assistance,” Kadyrov said in his post on Telegram.

    “For them and all the rest it would be better to end this pointless resistance and go home to their families.”

  • No humanitarian corridors open today

    Unfortunately, it has not been possible to open humanitarian corridors today, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister has said.

    Iryna Vereshchuk noted that work was ongoing to get them reopened.

    This comes after the Mayor of Mariupol sad that there are more than 100,000 residents awaiting to be evacuated from the area – one of the most heavily bombarded cities in Ukraine.

  • Putin: Russia to seek alternative to European energy market

    Russian President Vladimir Putin said today that Moscow will be looking into alternative markets for its energy exports after Western capitals sanctioned Russia over its military operation in Ukraine.

    Since Moscow’s troops moved into its pro-Western neighbour on February 24, Russia has faced a barrage of unprecedented sanctions, including embargoes on its energy exports.

    “We have all the resources and opportunities to quickly find alternative solutions,” Putin said during a televised government meeting on the development of the Russian Arctic.

    “As for Russian oil, gas and coal — we can increase their consumption on the domestic market… and also increase the supply of energy resources to other parts of the world, where they are really needed,” Putin added.

  • Russia plans ‘victory day’ carnival parade in Mariupol

    According to the aid of Mariupol’s mayor, Petro Andryushchenko, Russia may be planning a “Victory Day parade” in the devastated Ukrainian port city, has said on Telegram.

    He said Kostyantyn Ivashchenko, whom is in charge of Russian troops in Mariupol, was ordered “to clear a part of the city’s central district of rubble and dead bodies to ensure that a parade can be held on 9 May”.

    “Judging from the whole array of data, the occupiers are planning to hold a ‘victory carnival’ in Mariupol in case their ‘special operation’ is successful,” Andryushchenko has said.

    He added: “The good news is that there are no vehicles or people in the city to carry out such events.”

    Read More News HERE.

    Source: thesun.co.uk

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