Live Updates | Russia says the West is pushing Ukraine to keep fighting

MOSCOW – Russia’s defense minister has accused the United States and other Western countries of supplying arms to Ukraine so that it continues to fight “to the last Ukrainian”.

Sergei Shoigu told a meeting with senior military officials on Tuesday that Washington and its allies were doing everything they could to prolong Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine.

He noted that “the growing supply of foreign weapons is a clear signal of their intention to provoke the kyiv regime into continuing to fight to the last Ukrainian.”

Shoigu said that the Russian army has “systematically implemented the plan for the complete liberation of the people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk”.

Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian forces for eight years in the eastern industrial heartland of the predominantly Russian-speaking Donbass region, which includes the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. They declared two independent republics which were recognized by Russia.

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KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIAN-UKRAINE WAR:

— Russian Forces attacking along the broad eastern frontsays Ukraine

– In a building in Lvivdisplaced people from all over Ukraine seek refuge

Yellen will meet the Ukrainian Prime Ministeravoid Russians at global meetings

— The global financial meeting focuses on food insecurity caused by war

— Syrian fighters ready to join Russia for the next phase of the war in Ukraine

Follow all AP stories about Russia’s war on Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine.

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OTHER DEVELOPMENTS:

SOFIA, Bulgaria – Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said his country’s security also means the security of Bulgaria and all other Black Sea countries.

“We are not just fighting for our security,” Kuleba said after talks on Tuesday with his Bulgarian counterpart, Teodora Genchovska. “We are also fighting for you, so that you never have to face the tragedy of Russia’s attempts to affect and harm your country.”

Kuleba said he understands that many Bulgarians have emotional and historical ties to Russia.

“But now it’s different – to destroy, to kill, to torture, to rape,” he said. “This is not a Russia that deserves sympathy and understanding. I want everyone to understand that.

No details of the talks were released, but media outlets claimed that Kuleba could demand a stronger commitment from Bulgaria in defending Ukraine from Russian aggression. Along with Hungary, Bulgaria is the only EU member to have so far hesitated to send arms to kyiv.

During his unofficial visit to Sofia, Kuleba will also meet Bulgarian President Rumen Radev and Prime Minister Kiril Petkov.

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MOSCOW — Russia’s foreign minister said Moscow’s campaign in Ukraine is entering a new stage.

Sergei Lavrov said in an Indian television interview broadcast on Tuesday that “the operation is continuing, and another phase of this operation is starting now.”

Lavrov’s statement follows Ukrainian claims that Russia on Monday launched an offensive in the country’s eastern industrial heartland, Donbass. Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian forces for eight years in the majority Russian-speaking region and have declared two independent republics that have been recognized by Moscow.

Lavrov stressed that the Russian operation is aimed at the “total liberation of the republics of Donetsk and Luhansk”.

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AMSTERDAM — Automaker Stellantis says it is suspending production in Russia due to the impact of sanctions and logistical issues.

Stellantis manufactured vans in Russia under the Peugeot and Citroën brands at a plant in Kaluga that it shared with Mitsubishi. The Japanese manufacturer suspended production there at the beginning of the month.

Stellantis said on Tuesday it wanted to “ensure full compliance” with international sanctions and “protect its employees” by suspending production. The company had previously warned that the Kaluga plant was running out of parts. Many Russian-based automakers have struggled to import the components they need since the invasion of Ukraine began.

Based in the Netherlands, Stellantis is the world’s fourth largest automaker with brands including Chrysler, Jeep and Fiat. It had previously halted vehicle shipments to and from Russia last month.

Russian authorities have criticized companies that have shut down and warned they may take steps to bring production facilities under state control.

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KYIV, Ukraine – A regional governor in eastern Ukraine says five civilians were killed by Russian shelling.

Kharkiv region governor Oleh Synyehubov said on Tuesday that another 17 residents were injured in Russian rocket fire from central Kharkiv and its outskirts.

Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, has faced Russian attacks since the Russian invasion began on February 24.

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STOCKHOLM — The Swedish government wants to allocate 9.8 billion crowns ($1 billion) to the Swedish Migration Board for the increased costs of hosting people fleeing war in Ukraine.

Swedish Finance Minister Mikael Damberg presented the budget for 2022 on Tuesday.

The Swedish government has repeatedly said that Sweden will accept its share of refugees from Ukraine, but not as many as in 2015, when it welcomed a record 163,000 migrants, the highest number per capita of all. European countries.

The government largely wants to take money for Ukrainian refugees from development aid.

The budget proposal also includes a previously announced increase in military spending by non-NATO member Sweden in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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MOSCOW — The Russian army has again called on the Ukrainian defenders of Mariupol to lay down their arms.

Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev gave Ukrainian troops entrenched in the giant Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol until noon (0900 GMT) on Tuesday to surrender.

He said those who surrender will “keep their lives”.

Ukrainian troops who defended the city for seven weeks ignored these previous offers. The Azovstal factory, which covers an area of ​​about 11 square kilometers (more than 4 square miles), is the last major Ukrainian pocket of resistance in Mariupol, a strategic port on the Sea of ​​Azov.

Earlier on Tuesday, Eduard Basurin, spokesman for Russia-backed separatists in the Donbass region, said assault groups had moved towards Azovstal in a bid to uproot Ukrainian troops following shelling and artillery barrages.

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Danes must be independent of Russian gas “as quickly as possible,” Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Tuesday, adding that the Scandinavian country “must develop as much renewable energy as possible.”

“Putin, he must be stopped. The war in Ukraine affects us all,” Frederiksen said.

Denmark is relatively self-sufficient and has other sources of energy – onshore and offshore wind farms, bioenergy, among others, and depends little on the import of Russian gas. Around 40% of EU gas imports come from Russia, and Denmark derives around 15% of its total energy from natural gas.

Copenhagen-based Ørsted, in which the Danish government owns a 50.1% stake, has come under pressure to back out of its 2006 contract with Gazprom, which supplies Russian gas. He said he would remain tied to the Russian company until the contract expires in 2030, but chose not to extend the current deal.

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ATHENS, Greece — Greek authorities say they seized a Russian tanker in the Aegean Sea as part of European Union sanctions imposed on Russia.

The Greek Coast Guard said the Pegas, a Russian-flagged tanker with 19 Russian crew on board, was seized on April 15 and is currently anchored in Karystos Bay on the island’s southern coast. from Euboea. The Coast Guard said the seizure order was for the ship itself, not its cargo.

The European Union, of which Greece is a member, has adopted a wide range of sanctions against Russia following the latter’s invasion of Ukraine, intended to put pressure on the Russian economy and the government of President Vladimir Putin .

The sanctions include import and export bans for a wide variety of goods and a ban on access to EU ports for Russian-flagged vessels.

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TOKYO – Japan will send gas masks, hazmat suits and drones to Ukraine to help defend the country against Russian invasion amid growing concern over the use of chemical weapons by the Russian army.

Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said on Tuesday that Japan was sending the anti-chemical equipment at the request of the Ukrainian government.

Japan last month supplied body armor, helmets and other non-lethal weaponry equipment to Ukraine as an exception to Tokyo’s ban on arms exports to countries. in conflict, claiming that Ukraine was invaded. The shipment raised controversy in Japan, whose pacifist constitution renounces war.

“Uniting with the international community and acting firmly against the Russian invasion, which violates international law, is also extremely important from the perspective of our own national security,” Kishi said.

The government has revised its operational directive on the transfer of arms to allow the supply of non-lethal equipment to Ukraine and says the new rule covers gas masks and protective equipment. Japan also sends commercially available drones that are not considered weapon equipment.

Japan was quick to join the United States and the European Union in imposing sanctions on Russia and supporting Ukraine and its people, as Tokyo fears the impact its invasion could have on the East Asia, where China is increasingly pushing its own territorial claims.

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KYIV, Ukraine – The General Staff of the Ukrainian army said on Tuesday that Russian forces were focusing their efforts on taking full control of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the east.

He noted that a “new phase of war” began on Monday when “the occupiers attempted to break through our defenses along almost the entire frontline in the Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv regions.”

He said in a statement released early Tuesday that “the Russian military continued blockading and shelling Mariupol and launching missile strikes on other cities.”

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