The latest developments on the Russia-Ukraine war:
LONDON – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday underscored his drive for energy independence, saying the West’s failure to wean itself from Russian oil and natural gas after the annexation of Crimea paved the way for the invasion of Ukraine.
Western countries made a “terrible mistake” in returning to normal economic relations with Russia after the Crimean incursion and becoming even more dependent on Russian energy exports, Johnson wrote in a front page article in The Telegraph newspaper.
“And so when (Vladimir Putin) finally came to launch his vicious war in Ukraine, he knew the world would find it very hard to punish him. He knew that he had created an addiction, ”he said. “That is why he feels able to bomb maternity hospitals. That is why he is emboldened enough to launch indiscriminate assaults on fleeing families. “
Ending the world’s dependence on Russian energy will starve Putin of cash, Johnson said as he made the case for the UK government’s plan to phase out imports of oil and gas from Russia by the end of this year.
To replace Russian energy and cut carbon emissions, the UK must expand production of wind power, and invest in other forms of renewable energy including solar, tidal, geothermal and hydroelectric power plants, Johnson said. The UK must also reverse the “historic mistake” of moving away from nuclear energy, he said.
LONDON – Britain’s defense ministry says Russia may be planning to install a pro-Moscow government in Kherson, a Ukrainian city it has occupied, as it attempts to assert “political control” over areas of Ukraine.
The Ministry of Defense says Russia “may seek to stage a ‘referendum’ in Kherson in an attempt to legitimize the area as a ‘breakaway republic’ similar to Donetsk and Luhansk and Crimea.”
UK Foreign Office Minister James Cleverly said any attempt at local referendums would “be another attempt to put a veneer of credibility on what is an unacceptable, unjustified illegal invasion.”
In an intelligence update, the defense ministry says protests have been held against occupying Russian forces in the cities of Melitopol, Berdyansk and Kherson, where troops fired warning shots at demonstrators on Monday.
It says Russia has reportedly installed its own mayor in the southern city Melitopol following the alleged abduction of his predecessor on Friday, and the mayor of another city, Dniprorudne, has also reportedly been abducted by Russian forces.
WARSAW, Poland – The leaders of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia are traveling on Tuesday to Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital which is currently under fire, on a European Union mission to show support for Ukraine as Russia’s invasion intensifies.
Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said in a tweet: “The aim of the visit is to express the European Union’s unequivocal support for Ukraine and its freedom and independence.”
He will be joined by Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who is Polish the deputy prime minister for security but also the conservative ruling party leader.
Russia’s offensive in Ukraine edged closer to central Kyiv on Tuesday, with a series of strikes hitting a residential neighborhood in the capital as the two countries planned a second day of talks.
This item has been corrected to show that Janez Janša is the Prime Minister of Slovenia, not Slovakia.
KYIV, Ukraine – A series of Russian strikes hit a residential neighborhood of Ukraine’s capital on Tuesday, igniting a huge fire and frantic rescue effort in a 15-story Kyiv apartment building. At least one person was killed and others remain trapped inside.
The Ukrainian military said in a statement that the strikes were artillery strikes. They hit the Svyatoshynskyi district of western Kyiv, adjacent to the suburb of Irpin that has seen some of the worst battles of the war.
Flames shot out of the apartment building as firefighters rescued people from ladders. Smoke choked the air.
A firefighter at the scene confirmed one person died and that several have been rescued alive but others are still inside as rescuers try to reach them.
Russian forces also stepped up strikes overnight on the northwest suburbs of Irpin, Hostomel and Bucha, the head of the Kyiv region Oleksiy Kuleba said on Ukrainian television.
Russian forces also renewed efforts Tuesday to capture the important port city of Mariupol in the south, and unleashed new artillery strikes on downtown Kharkiv in the east, the general staff of Ukraine’s armed forces said on Facebook.
TOKYO – Japan’s government is freezing the assets of 17 more Russian politicians tycoons and their relatives to step up sanctions and pressure Moscow to end its invasion of Ukraine.
The list of sanction targets include 11 members of the Russian parliamentary chamber of Duma, banker Yuri Kovalchuk and his relatives, as well as billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, chairman of Renova Group, according to a statement jointly issued by the foreign, finance and trade ministries.
The move brings the number of Russians targeted by Japan’s asset freezes to 61.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters Tuesday the additional steps were taken “in order to stop Russia’s invasion (of Ukraine) as soon as possible.”
Matsuno said Japan will cooperate with other Group of Seven nations and other international community to respond appropriately in case of further sanctions.
Japan has previously imposed sanctions against Russian central bank, seven private banks, and Russian and Belarusian individuals and groups. Tokyo also imposed an export ban to Russia of items including high technology equipment that may be used for military purposes.
UNITED NATIONS – The United Nations chief warned Monday that Russia’s war on Ukraine is holding “a sword of Damocles” over the global economy, especially poor developing countries that face skyrocketing food, fuel and fertilizer prices and are now seeing their breadbasket “being bombed. “
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters that “Russia and Ukraine represent more than half of the world’s supply of sunflower oil and about 30 percent of the world’s wheat” and that “grain prices have already exceeded those at the start of the Arab Spring and the food riots of 2007-2008. “
He told reporters that 45 African and least developed countries import at least one-third of their wheat from Ukraine and Russia, and 18 of them import at least 50%. These countries include Egypt, Congo, Burkina Faso, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, he said.
“All of this is hitting the poorest the hardest and planting the seeds for political instability and unrest around the globe,” Guterres warned.
KYIV, Ukraine – Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says that talks between Ukrainian and Russian delegations will continue Tuesday.
Speaking in a video address, Zelenskyy said that the Ukrainian delegation did good work during Monday’s talks. He didn’t provide further details.
He said he spoke Monday to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett as part of efforts to “quickly end the war” and achieve “honest peace.” Bennett, who has sought to mediate a peaceful settlement, also spoke Monday to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Zelenskyy hailed a Russian state TV employee who interrupted the main evening news program on Russian Channel 1 by running into a studio with a poster against the war in Ukraine. The employee was later arrested by police.
The Ukrainian president again addressed the Russian soldiers, urging them to stop fighting and saying: “I’m offering you a chance to survive.”
In a bid to shore up the economy badly battered by the war, Zelenskyy announced a plan to sharply reduce taxes for business.