- Zelensky Says He’ll Meet the U.S. Secretary of State and Pentagon Chief in Kyiv Tomorrow — They will be the highest-ranking U.S. officials to visit Ukraine since the start of Russia’s invasion.
Zelensky said during a press conference Saturday (April 23) he will meet with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in Kyiv on Sunday (April 24).
Blinken and Austin will be the highest-ranking U.S. officials to visit Ukraine since the start of Russia’s invasion.
The unconfirmed meeting would come just days after the Biden administration unveiled another $800 million in military aid for Ukraine, including heavy artillery.
Zelensky said Saturday he didn’t think it was a “big secret” that Blinken and Austin “are coming to us tomorrow” and that the three will discuss a list of weapons Ukraine’s military needs to defend against the Russian offensive in the Donbas region of the country.
Secretary-General António Guterres will be visiting with Zelensky and Putin separately next week, the U.N. announced Friday (April 21).
- “Could Lead to Nuclear War”: German Chancellor Resists Sending “Quickly Available” Tanks to Ukraine — “NATO must avoid a direct military confrontation with Russia that could lead to a third world war,” Chancellor Scholz warned.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is under continued pressure to “do more” for the Ukrainians, particularly in the area of sending heavier weaponry to Kiev, with Bloomberg reporting at the close of this week that a “German arms manufacturer has asked the government to approve the export of 100 Marder tanks to Ukraine, Welt am Sonntag reports, without saying where it got the information.”
The arms maker is saying the tanks are “quickly available” and that the first wave delivery could be transferred to Ukraine “within a few weeks”—pending approval of the Scholz government. However, unlike the British and US governments, he’s expected to reject the appeal by the arms maker.
“NATO must avoid a direct military confrontation with Russia that could lead to a third world war,” Chancellor Scholz was cited as saying in a new interview Der Spiegel when asked why Germany hasn’t sent heavy weapons.
He vowed to not be “irritated by shrill calls” to take potentially reckless action, according to more from the interview:
Asked in an extensive interview published on Friday (April 22) why he thought delivering tanks could lead to nuclear war, he said there was no rule book that stated when Germany could be considered a party to the war in Ukraine.
“That’s why it is all the more important that we consider each step very carefully and coordinate closely with one another,” he was quoted as saying. “To avoid an escalation towards NATO is a top priority for me.”
“That’s why I don’t focus on polls or let myself be irritated by shrill calls. The consequences of an error would be dramatic,” he warned.
- Turkish Airspace Has Now Closed to All Planes Carrying Troops From Russia to Syria — Turkish airspace has been closed to military and civilian planes carrying troops from Russia to Syria after talks with Moscow.
Turkish airspace has been closed to military and civilian planes carrying troops from Russia to Syria after talks with Moscow, Turkey’s state broadcaster TRT Haber cited Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as saying.
Speaking to reporters during his flight to Uruguay on Saturday (April 23), Cavusoglu said that Turkey had been giving Russia permission to use its airspace in “three-month intervals,” but that the last one was expired in April.
“Henceforth the flights have stopped,” Cavusoglu told reporters, adding that he conveyed the decision to his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, who then relayed it to President Vladimir Putin.
There was no immediate response to Turkey’s announcement from Russia, which together with Iran has been a crucial supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during the war-torn country’s civil war.
Turkey has backed Syrian rebels during the conflict.
- Multiple U.S. Governors Announce That Their State National Guards Are Sending Armored Vehicles to Ukraine — Multiple governors announced this week that their state National Guards would be sending armored vehicles to Ukraine.
Multiple governors announced this week that their state National Guards would be sending armored vehicles to Ukraine in response to a request from the Pentagon.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) and West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced that their state National Guards would be providing an unspecified number of M-113 armored personnel carriers (APC), which help move equipment and soldiers “while providing protection from small arms fire and the effects of artillery,” according to press releases from both governors’ offices.
“As we continue to learn about Russian war crimes in Ukraine, those of us in Ohio stand ready to help the Ukrainian people in any way possible,” DeWine said in a statement on Wednesday (April 20). “Ohio has a strong Ukrainian community, and we stand behind them and their families overseas.”
“By joining with other states in sending numerous of these armored vehicles to Ukraine, we hope and pray that this will give Ukrainian forces a major leg up in their defense of their home country,” Justice said in his own statement on Friday (April 22).
- Russia Says It Destroyed Weapons Delivered by U.S. and E.U. to Ukraine — Russian forces have destroyed a logistics terminal in Odessa that held a large batch of foreign weapons, Moscow said on Saturday.
Russian forces have destroyed a logistics terminal in Odessa that held a large batch of foreign weapons, Moscow said on Saturday (April 23) amid its ongoing military offensive in Ukraine.
However, the city’s authorities claimed that its air defense group destroyed two missiles but that another four hit a military target and residential buildings, leading to victims. RT reports it was not immediately clear if the civilian buildings were hit as a result of attempts by Ukrainian forces to strike down the missiles initially aimed at a military target.
According to Russian military spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov, in the afternoon, “high-precision long-range air-launched missiles” hit a logistics terminal located on a military airfield near Odessa, where “a large batch of foreign weapons received from the United States and European countries was stored.”
Russia has repeatedly warned NATO against sending arms to Ukraine and stated that it would consider arms convoys to be legitimate military targets.
- Putin to Test Nuclear Missile Capable of Striking U.S. by Autumn — The Sarmat is capable of carrying 10 or more nuclear warheads and of striking targets thousands of miles away in the US or Europe.
According to Reuters, the ambitious target was announced by Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Roscosmos space agency, on Saturday just days after the first test launch was carried out on Wednesday (April 20). Western military experts said more tests would be needed before the missile could be deployed.
The Sarmat is capable of carrying 10 or more nuclear warheads (or decoys) and of striking targets thousands of miles away in the US or Europe.
This week’s test came after years of delays due to funding and technical issues. The missile test marked a show of strength by Russia at a time when the war in Ukraine has sent tensions with the US and its allies soaring to the highest levels since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.
- Anger Mounts in Shanghai Over Censorship as Lockdown Restrictions Escalate and City Reports More COVID-19 Deaths — The new measures include placing electronic door alarms to prevent those infected from leaving homes.
The patients who died had an average age of 88, all had underlying health conditions, and none had been vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Shanghai government.
New measures include placing electronic door alarms to prevent those infected from leaving, as well as evacuating people to disinfect their homes—including those who have tested negative. Earlier this week, hundreds were forcibly evacuated from their homes to allow for buildings to be disinfected.
Meanwhile, a six-minute video titled Voice of April, describing the lockdown experience in Shanghai, has been widely circulating on Chinese social media despite censorship.
Shanghai’s lockdown is now entering its fifth week.
- Wikipedia Deletes Entry for Hunter Biden Investment Firm Rosemont Seneca Partners — Wikipedia editors removed the entry for Rosemont Seneca Partners earlier this week on the ground that it was “not notable.”
The deletion happened Wednesday. The investment company co-founded by Hunter Biden has been at the heart of numerous questions surrounding his overseas business dealings.
“This organization is only mentioned in connection with its famous founders, Hunter Biden and Christopher Heinz,” said a Wiki editor identified only as Alex who additionally warned that “keeping it around” ran the risk of the page becoming “a magnet for conspiracy theories about Hunter Biden.”
Arguments to merge the story with Hunter Biden’s official wikipedia page were also overruled.
The brief article was thin on details and in bad need of an overhaul, but did provide information about the company’s founding by Hunter Biden, Devon Archer and Chris Heinz. … Read More
- Twitter Bans Ads That Are Skeptical of Climate Change — A new Twitter policy bans ads that contradict the “scientific consensus” on climate change.
As part of an effort to fight climate change “misinformation,” Twitter has updated its policies to ban ads that promote “climate denialism.”
“We believe that climate denialism shouldn’t be monetized on Twitter, and that misrepresentative ads shouldn’t detract from important conversations about the climate crisis,” the company said in a blog post. “We recognize that misleading information about climate change can undermine efforts to protect the planet.”
The new policy bans ads that contradict the “scientific consensus” on climate change. Twitter will rely on information from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to determine which ads violate its policy.
- Ukrainian Mayor Charged With Treason for Accepting Aid From Russia — The mayor of Balakliia was recently charged with treason for taking aid from Russia amid the ongoing war between the two nations.
A Ukrainian mayor was recently charged with treason for taking aid from Russia amid the ongoing war between the two nations.
In a press release on Friday (April 22), the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office said that the mayor of Balakliia was recently accused of “treason and collaboration” with the Russian Federation.
According to the press release, the mayor was elected in 2015 and shortly after Russian military forces invaded Ukraine, “the mayor decided to side with the enemy.”