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Live Updates | Russia-Ukraine War – The Associated Press – en Español

Russian authorities have accused Ukrainian forces of launching air strikes on the Russian region of Bryansk which borders with Ukraine, the latest in a series of allegations of cross-border attacks by Kyiv on Russian territory.

Russia’s Investigative Committee alleged that two Ukrainian military helicopters entered Russia’s air space on Thursday and, “moving at low altitude, acting deliberately, they carried out at least six air strikes on residential buildings in the village of Klimovo,” about 11 kilometers away from the Russian border.

It said at least six houses in the village were damaged and seven people, including a toddler, sustained injuries. The Investigative Committee has launched a probe into the attack.
Earlier on Thursday, Russia’s state security service, or the FSB, also accused Ukrainian forces of firing mortars at a border post in the Bryansk region on Wednesday.

The reports could not be independently verified. Earlier this month, Ukraine’s top security officials denied that Kyiv was behind an air strike on an oil depot in the Russian city of Belgorod, 35 miles from the border.

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KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:
— Russian warship badly damaged after Ukrainians claim strike
— Pressure on US to give Ukraine more intelligence on Russia
— UN says Ukraine war threatens to devastate many poor nations
— Ukraine’s detention of oligarch close to Putin angers Moscow
— Polish, Baltic presidents visit Ukraine in show of support
— Go to https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine for more coverage
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OTHER DEVELOPMENTS:
PARIS — France is moving its embassy in Ukraine back to Kyiv from the western city of Lviv, after Russian troops pulled away from regions around the capital and have concentrated on embattled eastern Ukraine.

The French Foreign Ministry announced the move Thursday after Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba about French military and humanitarian support for Ukraine. A date for the move was not announced.
France had maintained its embassy in Kyiv at the outset of the war but moved its operations to Lviv in March. France sent a new convoy of fire trucks, ambulance and emergency equipment to Ukraine on Thursday and a team of French investigators arrived this week to gather evidence of war crimes.
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Russian news reports say a criminal case has been opened against a Siberian journalist whose news website had published content critical of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.
Mikhail Afanasyev, the chief editor of Novy Fokus in the Russian region of Khakassia, was arrested by security forces Wednesday over the website’s reporting on 11 riot police who had allegedly refused deployment to Ukraine as part of Russia’s military action there.
Afanasyev was accused Thursday of disseminating “deliberately false information” about the Russian armed forces, an offense which carries a maximum 10-year jail sentence, according to a law passed in early March.

Another Siberia-based journalist was also arrested Wednesday on suspicion of breaching Russia’s new laws on the media coverage of the situation in Ukraine. Sergei Mikhailov, the founder of the LIStok weekly newspaper based in the Republic of Altay, was reportedly placed in pre-trial detention over the outlet’s alleged “calls for sanctions against Russia.”
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LONDON — Britain’s Foreign Office says it is freezing the assets worth up to 10 billion pounds ($13.1 billion) belonging to two Russian oligarchs described as long-standing business associates of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.

Officials said Thursday that Eugene Tenenbaum took control of Evrington Investments Ltd., an Abramovich-linked investment company, immediately following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. Tenenbaum, who is also a director of Chelsea Football Club, was hit with an asset freeze.

The other sanctioned Russian is David Davidovich, who was subject to an asset freeze and a travel ban.

The move came after the Channel Island of Jersey said this week it is freezing an estimated $7 billion of assets suspected to be connected to Abramovich, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Britain’s government said the measures “cut key revenue sources for Putin’s war machine” amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
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PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron declined to use the term “genocide” to describe Russia’s Ukraine war, arguing against an “escalation of words.”

Asked about the use of the term by U.S. President Joe Biden, Macron said “the word genocide must be spelled out by jurists, not by politicians.”

Speaking on French radio France Bleu, Macron said he spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday and will speak again with him later that day. He said he will do “everything to end this war and stay by the Ukrainians’ side.”

Macron previously denounced “war crimes” in Ukraine and France sent magistrates and police officers to help the International Criminal Court, which opened an investigation.
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GENEVA — The international Red Cross says it’s rolling out its largest-ever cash assistance program to help more than 2 million people in Ukraine or who have fled abroad cope with the fallout from Russia’s invasion.

Nicole Robicheau, spokeswoman of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said Thursday the organization plans to distribute “well over 100 million” Swiss francs — about $106 million –- to people affected by Russia’s seven-week-old war in Ukraine.

Humanitarian groups like the IFRC have recently touted the effectiveness of cash assistance programs for people in places hit by events like natural disasters, drought, famine and conflict, as a way to “allow people to decide what they need” and “put money back into the local economy,” Robicheau said by phone.

The program aims to help some 360,000 people inside Ukraine and many more in countries of refuge.

IFRC says it and national Red Cross organizations have already helped over 1 million people with items like blankets, food, mats and kitchen equipment.
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MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that Western countries’ attempts to phase out Russian gas imports will have a negative impact on their economies.
Speaking Thursday, Putin said European attempts to find alternatives to Russian gas shipments will be “quite painful for the initiators of such policies.”

He argued that “there is simply no reasonable replacement for it in Europe now.”
Putin noted that “supplies from other countries that could be sent to Europe, primarily from the United States, would cost consumers many times more.” He added it would “affect people’s standard of living and the competitiveness of the European economy.”

The European Union is dependent on Russia for 40% of its natural gas and 25% of its oil.
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PARIS — France’s government says it has frozen 33 properties on the French Riviera, Paris and elsewhere that belong to Russian oligarchs targeted for sanctions over the war in Ukraine.

The Finance Ministry this week published an updated list of Russian-owned properties that have been frozen in France, including a luxury chateau overlooking the Mediterranean on the Cap d’Antibes that reportedly belonged to sanctioned Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.
Together, the 33 properties are estimated to be worth more than half a billion euros. Unlike property that is seized or confiscated, frozen properties still belong to their owners and they can continue living in them. But they cannot be sold or rented out.

The total value of Russian assets frozen or seized in France is now approaching 24 billion euros, with the bulk of that being nearly 23 billion euros in frozen financial assets for the Russian central bank. Aside from financial assets and properties, French authorities have also frozen or seized three yachts and four transport ships, and frozen six helicopters and three artworks.
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LVIV, Ukraine — Russia’s Defense Ministry says the fire at the Moskva cruiser, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, has been contained. It says the vessel remains afloat and will be towed to the port.

The ministry said in a statement Thursday that there is no open fire at the ship anymore and explosions of the ammunitions have ceased. “The main missile weapons were not damaged,” the statement read.

Ukrainian officials claimed however that the ship has sunk, saying it’s a “resounding slap in the face” to Moscow’s forces. The conflicting accounts couldn’t be immediately reconciled.
Oleksiy Arestovych, adviser to Ukrainian president’s office, said in a Facebook post that 510 crew were onboard the Moskva cruiser as it sank in the Black Sea, following serious damage from a Ukrainian missile strike.

Military analyst Oleg Zhdanov said the damaging of the Moskva significantly raises the morale of Ukrainian forces on the eve of a new wave of Russian offensive in the Donbas.
In the early hours of Thursday, the Russian Defense Ministry said the ship sustained “serious damage” after its ammunition detonated “as the result of a fire.” The ministry did not ascribe the fire to a missile strike.

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LONDON — Ireland’s foreign minister is in Kyiv, the latest in a string of senior European politicians to make the trip to show support for Ukraine’s fight against Russian invasion.
The Irish government says Simon Coveney, who is also defense minister, is meeting Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov.

Ireland has sent Ukraine 20 million euros ($22 million) in humanitarian aid and 33 million euros ($36 million) in non-lethal military assistance.

It is also a strong backer of Ukraine’s bid to join the European Union, and the government said Coveney would discuss how Ireland can “assist Ukraine in its application for EU candidate status.”
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BERLIN — German authorities say they have seized a massive superyacht in Hamburg after determining that it belongs to the sister of Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov.
The Federal Criminal Police Office said Wednesday that, after “extensive investigations” and despite “offshore concealment,” it had been able to determine that the owner is Gulbakhor Ismailova, Usmanov’s sister.

Superyacht Dilbar was launched in 2016 at a reported cost of more than $648 million.
The German police office said German authorities worked in Brussels to ensure that European Union sanctions applied to the owner. It says the yacht can no longer be sold, rented, or loaded.

The United States and EU last month announced economic sanctions against Usmanov, a metals magnate, over his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and in retaliation for the invasion of Ukraine.

A German official said in early March that the superyacht was registered to a holding company in Malta, but subsequent investigation by the Federal Criminal Police Office revealed the vessel is owned by a series of companies based in the Cayman Islands, Cyprus and Switzerland leading to Usmanov’s sister as the beneficial owner.
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PRAGUE — Three Czech lawmakers from Parliament’s upper house, the Senate, are visiting Kyiv together with their counterparts from Poland. Led by speaker Milos Vystrcil, they were invited by Ruslan Stefanchuk, chairman of Ukraine’s unicameral parliament Verkhovna Rada.
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UNITED NATIONS — A U.N. task force is warning in a new report that Russia’s war against Ukraine threatens to devastate the economies of many developing countries that are now facing even higher food and energy costs and increasingly difficult financial conditions.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres launched the report Wednesday stressing that the war is “supercharging” a crisis in food, energy and finance in poorer countries that were already struggling to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and a lack of access to adequate funding for their economic recovery.

Rebeca Grynspan, secretary-general of the U.N. agency promoting trade and development who coordinated the task force, said 107 countries have “severe exposure” to at least one dimension of the food, energy and finance crisis and 69 countries are severely exposed to all three and face “very difficult financial conditions with no fiscal space, and with no external financing to cushion the blow.”

The report urges countries to ensure a steady flow of food and energy through open markets, and it calls on international financial institutions to do everything possible to ensure more liquidity immediately.

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ODESA, Ukraine — In the Odesa region of Ukraine, Gov. Maksym Marchenko says forces have struck the Russian guided-missile cruiser Moskva with two missiles and caused “serious damage.”

Moskva is the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed the ship was damaged Wednesday, but not that it was hit by Ukraine.

The Ministry says ammunition on board detonated as a result of a fire whose causes “were being established,” and the Moskva’s entire crew was evacuated. The cruiser typically has about 500 on board.

Odesa is Ukraine’s biggest port.
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KYIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he’s “sincerely thankful” to the U.S. for the new round of $800 million in military assistance.

In his daily late-night address to the nation, Zelenskyy also said he was thankful for Wednesday’s visit by the presidents of Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.
He said those leaders “have helped us from the first day, those who did not hesitate to give us weapons, those who did not doubt whether to impose sanctions.”

In his telephone conversation with U.S. President Joe Biden, Zelenskyy said they discussed the new weapons shipment, even tougher sanctions against Russia and efforts to bring to justice those Russian soldiers who committed war crimes in Ukraine.

Zelenskyy also said work was continuing to clear tens of thousands of unexploded shells, mines and tripwires that were left behind in northern Ukraine by the retreating Russians.
He urged people returning to their homes in those towns to be wary of any unfamiliar object and report it to the police.

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Pope in Hungary meets with Ukrainian refugees, Russian envoy

Pope Francis plunged into both sides of Russia’s war with Ukraine on Saturday, greeting some of the 2.5 million Ukrainian refugees who have fled across the border to Hungary during a public prayer service and then meeting privately with an envoy of the Russian Orthodox Church that has strongly supported the war.

Francis maintained the Vatican’s tradition of diplomatic neutrality during his second day in Budapest, where he’s on a weekend visit to minister to Hungary’s Catholic faithful.

Starting the day, he thanked Hungarians for welcoming Ukrainian refugees and urged them to help anyone in need. He called for a culture of charity in a country where the prime minister has justified firm anti-immigration policies with fears that migration threatens Europe’s Christian culture.

Speaking in the white-brick St. Elizabeth’s church, named for a princess who renounced her wealth to care for the poor, Francis recalled that the Gospel instructs Christians to show love and compassion to all, especially those experiencing poverty and “even those who are not believers.”

“The love that Jesus gives us and commands us to practice can help to uproot the evils of indifference and selfishness from society, from our cities and the places where we live — indifference is a plague —- and to rekindle hope for a new, more just and fraternal world, where all can feel at home,” he said.

Hungary’s nationalist government has implemented firm anti-immigration policies and refused to accept many asylum-seekers trying to enter the country through its southern border, leading to prolonged legal disputes with the European Union.

The conservative populist prime minister, Viktor Orbán, has said that migration threatens to replace Europe’s Christian culture. Orbán, who has held office since 2010, has hinged multiple election campaigns on the threats he alleges that migrants and refugees pose to Hungarians.

While Orbán’s government has consistently rejected asylum-seekers from the Middle East and Africa, around 2.5 million Ukrainians fleeing war in their country found open doors. Around 35,000 of the refugees remain in Hungary and have registered for temporary protection there, according to the U.N.

One who has chosen to stay was Olesia Misiats, a nurse who worked in a Kyiv COVID-19 hospital when she fled with her mother and two daughters on Feb. 24, 2022 — the day Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

First she went to the Netherlands, but high costs compelled her to move to Hungary, where she said she has found an apartment and given birth to her third daughter, Mila, who was in the pews Saturday with her mother and sister.

“Here it’s safe,” Misiats said of her new life. She said that she hopes to return to Kyiv one day, but for now she and her children are adapting. “I want to go back home. There it’s my life — it was my life,” she said. “But the war changed my life.”

Immediately after greeting and encouraging the refugees, Francis visited the Greek Catholic church next door, which has been providing aid to refugees. And then he met with the Russian Orthodox Church’s representative in Hungary, Metropolitan Hilarion, who developed close relations with the Vatican during his years as the Russian church’s foreign minister. The Vatican said the 20-minute meeting at the Holy See’s embassy in Budapest was “cordial.”

The Russian church’s strong support for the Kremlin’s war has rankled the Vatican and prevented a second papal meeting with Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church and an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Francis and Kirill had a 2016 encounter in Cuba that marked the first between a pope and the head of the Russian church. They had planned a second one in June, but the meeting has been indefinitely postponed over Kirill’s support for the war.

In a statement, Hilarion’s office said that he briefed Francis on the social and educational activities of the Russian church in Hungary and its relations with the Catholic Church here. He said that he gave the pope an Italian translation of a six-volume opus on the life of Christ.

Francis’ visit to Hungary, his second in as many years, is bringing him as close as he’s come to the front lines of the war. Upon arriving in Budapest on Friday, he denounced the “adolescent belligerence” that had brought war back to European soil and demanded the EU recover its values of peaceful unity to end

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As battle for Sudan continues, civilian deaths top 400

– Gunfire and heavy artillery fire persisted Saturday in parts of Sudan’s capital Khartoum, residents said, despite the extension of a cease-fire between the country’s two top generals, whose battle for power has killed hundreds and sent thousands fleeing for their lives.

With ordinary Sudanese caught in the crossfire, the civilian death toll jumped Saturday to 411 people, according to the Sudan Doctors’ Syndicate, which monitors casualties. In some areas in and around the capital, residents reported that shops were reopening and normalcy gradually returning as the scale of fighting dwindled after the shaky truce. But in other areas, terrified residents reported explosions thundering around them and fighters ransacking houses.

Now in its third week, the fighting has wounded 2,023 civilians, the syndicate added, although the true toll is expected to be much higher. The Sudanese Health Ministry put the overall death toll, including fighters, at 528, with 4,500 wounded. In the city of Genena, the provincial capital of war-ravaged West Darfur, intensified violence has killed 89 people, the Doctors’ Syndicate said.

Khartoum, a city of some 5 million people, has been transformed into a front line in the grinding conflict between Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan, the commander of Sudan’s military, and Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, who leads the powerful paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Forces. The outbreak of violence has dashed once-euphoric hopes for a democratic transition in Sudan after a popular uprising helped oust former dictator Omar al-Bashir.

Foreign countries continued to evacuate their citizens while hundreds of thousands of Sudanese fled across borders. The first convoy organized by the United States to evacuate hundreds of American citizens from the conflict reached the coastal city of Port Sudan Saturday after a dangerous overland journey escorted by armed drones.

Britain meanwhile was ending its evacuation flights Saturday, after demand for spots on the planes declined. The United Arab Emirates announced Saturday it had started evacuating its own citizens along with nationals of 16 other countries.

Over 50,000 Sudanese refugees — mostly women and children — have crossed over to Chad, Egypt, South Sudan and the Central African Republic, the United Nations said, raising fears of regional instability. Ethnic fighting and turmoil has scarred South Sudan and the Central African Republic for years while a 2021 coup has derailed Chad’s own democratic transition.

Those who escape the fighting in Khartoum face more dangers on their way to safety. The route to Port Sudan, where ships evacuate people via the Red Sea, has proven long, exhausting and risky. Hatim el-Madani, a former journalist, said that paramilitary fighters were stopping refugees at roadblocks outside Khartoum, demanding they hand over their phones and valuables.

“There’s an outlaw, bandit-like nature to the RSF,” he said, referring to Dagalo’s Rapid Support Forces. “They don’t have a supply line in place. That could get worse in the coming days.”

Airlifts from the country amid the chaotic fighting also posed challenges, with a Turkish evacuation plane even hit by gunfire outside Khartoum on Friday.

On Saturday — despite a cease-fire extended under heavy international pressure early Friday — clashes continued around the presidential palace, headquarters of the state broadcaster and a military base in Khartoum, residents said. The battles sent thick columns of black smoke billowing over the city skyline.

But in other areas, residents reported signs that the cease-fire had taken hold.

“We are not hearing the bombs as we did before, so we’re hoping that this means they will go back to a political process,” said Osman Mirgany, a columnist and editor of the daily al-Tayar, who assessed it was safe enough on Friday to return home to Khartoum after seeking refuge in a far-flung village.

But Khartoum residents are forced to live side by side with armed fighters. Many RSF militants have moved into civilian homes and taken over stores and hospitals in the capital. The paramilitary group even transformed Mirgany’s newsroom into a makeshift base, he said. Residents also must cope without sufficient electricity and running water, among other basic supplies.

“For the past 14 days we’ve suffered from a lack of everything,” Mirgany said.

Residents in the city of Omdurman, west of Khartoum, have been waiting at least three days to get fuel — complicating their escape plans.

The U.N. relief coordinator, Martin Griffiths, said that U.N. offices in Khartoum, as well as the cities of Genena and Nyala in Darfur had been attacked and looted. Genena’s main hospital was also leveled in the fighting, Sudan’s health ministry said.

“This is unacceptable — and prohibited under international law,” Griffiths said.

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Will you marry me?’ Bulgarian woman contacts News 6 to expose international romance scheme

A 52-year-old Bulgarian woman currently working in Ireland is the latest target of international imposters who use stolen photos of a handsome Carnival Cruise Line officer in an online dating scheme that steals victims’ money.

Alessandro Cinquini, 29, who is known on dating sites as “Alex the Officer,” first contacted News 6 in March 2022 when he discovered his photographs were being used to fool women from Florida to India.

Vanya Dimova contacted News 6 after seeing our reports about Cinquini on the web.

She said an Alex imposter sent her photos and videos of lavish gifts that included a shimmering engagement ring.

Alessandro Cinquini has gone public to warn women across the globe that imposters have stolen his photographs from social media platforms to create “catfish” style profiles that offer love but target money.

News 6 sent 15 questions to her in advance so Dimova could translate and prepare responses during a Zoom interview.

She said she met the Alex imposter on Instagram back on March 26. According to Dimova, the conversation went from casual to romantic very quickly.

“After two days, he told me he was in love with me,” Danya told News 6. “Every day, he tell me he want to buy a house in Bulgaria and live together.”

Cinquini told News 6 the imposters have never stopped using his photos and he assured us he never contacted Dimova.

They have my old pictures from my old life,” Cinquini said. “Most of those pictures aren’t on my Instagram anymore. I canceled them years ago.”

He told News 6 he currently works as a fleet operation center watch officer for Carnival Cruise Line.

Danya sent News 6 a voice message from a man claiming to be Alex.

“I love you, I love you,” the man said.

The voice sounded nothing like Cinquini

Danya said that voice recording was the only evidence she has. She never met the imposter face-to-face or spoke to him on FaceTime or Zoom.

Danya said she became suspicious when the imposter asked her to pay the shipping charges for her gifts. He sent her a Bank of America receipt to prove his account had been frozen.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, romance scams in the U.S alone netted an estimated $1.3 billion last year, impacting 70,000 men and women.

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