On Wednesday, however, 1,026 members of the Ukrainian 36th Marine Brigade surrendered in Mariupol. Among them were 162 officers, 47 servicewomen, and 151 wounded soldiers.
On Wednesday, the Russia-Ukraine military conflict continues without the parties having managed to reach effective agreements to achieve an immediate and permanent ceasefire. Below are the latest developments as they happen.
The European Commission found Putin's decree to pay for gas in rubles to be a violation of sanctions
The European Commission presented member countries with an analysis of Russian President Vladimir Putin's decree on paying for gas from Russia in rubles and warned that its implementation would violate anti-Russian sanctions, Bloomberg reported, citing a source.
According to the commission's preliminary legal analysis, Putin's decree significantly changes the procedure and created a new legal situation.
As the agency's interlocutor noted, the new procedure will "transfer full control to the Russian state" as to "when the deal will be completed and at what point the buyer will be released from obligations."
It will also allow Moscow to regulate the exchange rate in its own interests.
In addition, the mechanism would violate restrictive measures taken by the EU in response to the special operation in Ukraine.
On March 31, Putin signed a decree on transferring payments for natural gas with "unfriendly" countries to rubles. According to the decree, buyers of Russian gas will have to open ruble accounts in Russian banks to pay for supplies starting from April 1.
The EU leaders have repeatedly stated that they are against paying for Russian gas in rubles.
New social networks to replace blocked ones - MGIMO rector
New social networks will substitute the ones blocked in Russia, Anatoly Torkunov, rector of the MGIMO-University, said in an interview with TASS.
Facebook and Instagram, owned by Meta Platforms, which was recognized in Russia as an extremist organization, have been banned in Russia.
"As is said, nature abhors a vacuum, and the outgoing social networks will be replaced by new ones. That is why corresponding work will always be in demand. On the other hand, we are living through a transition from unification to a more distinct country-based and regional segment of the information space, which reflects a tendency toward forming a multi-polar world," he said.
He noted that in light of recent developments social networks are no longer used as communication platforms only as home countries of these networks tend to use them to promote their agendas. "Countries of origin of various platforms tend to use these instruments to promote their agendas, form the impression of mass support for a certain point of view," he added.
Speaking about the activities of Russian diplomats in social networks, Torkunov noted that they attach "great significance" to these instruments. He stressed that a systemic approach in this area will help explain Moscow’s position to foreign audience.
"I should say that in recent year Russian diplomats have been attaching great significance to the work in social networks, which was reflected in the establishment of a wide network of the representation of Russian diplomatic missions on practically all leading global digital platforms," he said.
Ukrainian servicemen torturing prisoners will be brought to responsibility - DPR
Ukrainian soldiers who take part in tortures of prisoners of war will be brought to criminal liability, human rights ombudswoman of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Darya Morrozova told TASS on Wednesday.
"We know who these people are, where they serve and at some point, all of them will be brought to criminal liability for their war crimes," she said.
According to Morozova, the position of international organizations, which are indifferent to tortures of prisoners in Ukraine, is perplexing. "I was shocked by representatives of Ukraine’s official structures, who call for not posting in the internet photos and videos of tortures of prisoners. They don’t say that tortures are inadmissible, they just ask not to hype these facts. I think such statements have simply buried Ukraine’s law. After that, Ukraine cannot be seen as a law-rules state," she said.
Earlier, Ukraine’s mass media posted videos of tortures of Russian and DPR soldiers. Mikhail Mizintsev, chief of Russia’s National Defense Management Center who heads the Russian Joint Coordination Headquarters for Humanitarian Response in Ukraine, drew the West’s attention to tortures of Russian prisoners of war.
Russian human rights ombudswoman Tatiana Moskalkova called on international organizations to push Ukraine toward observing the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. The Russian Foreign Intelligence Service’s press office said earlier that Ukraine’s authorities has informed the UK Foreign Office that they would not observe the Geneva Convention while treating Russian prisoners.
Russia expels diplomat from Czech embassy in Moscow in tit-for-tat measure - Russian MFA
Moscow expelled a senior diplomat from the Czech embassy in Russia in a tit-for-tat measure, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.
The ministry on Wednesday summoned Czech Ambassador to Moscow Vitezslav Pivonka and expressed a protest to him over the Czech Republic’s "provocative" decision in March to expel a Russian diplomat from the Russian embassy in Prague, the ministry said.
"The ambassador was handed a note of the ministry that, as a tit-for-tat measure, declared a senior diplomat at the Czech embassy in Moscow a persona nоn grata, ordering him to leave the territory of the Russian Federation before the end of day on April 16," the ministry said.
Zelensky warns that the war is "far from over." On Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asked Western countries for more weapons. He said that "the war is far from over" because what has been experienced so far is "only the first round."
More specifically, he asked his allies to send him armored personnel carriers and T-72 tanks, aircraft, 155 and 152 mm caliber artillery shells, and Grad, Uragan, or American M142 missile systems. Zelensky believes Russia will press harder in Kharkov, Mariupol, and the Donbas.
Over 1,000 Ukrainian soldiers surrender on Wednesday. Russia's Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said that 1,026 members of the Ukrainian 36th Marine Brigade had surrendered in Mariupol, following an offensive carried out by Russian forces and the militia units of Donetsk. Among them were 162 officers, 47 servicewomen, and 151 wounded soldiers.
"Forty-eight days have passed, wetried everything possible to protect Mariupol, but have no choice but to surrender to ��ussian troops. We don't have food or ammunition left," said soldier Aydin Eislin, as reported by Euromaidan Press.
The land connection between the cities of Kyiv and Chernihiv is broken. Deputy Head of Ukraine's Presidential Office Kyrylo Tymoshenko said that authorities are working to restore the automobile connection between Kyiv and Chernihiv in northern Ukraine.
Work is underway to build temporary passages for automobile transport near two key bridges destroyed in the Chernihiv region, he explained, adding that efforts to clean up the Kyiv-Chernihiv highway from landmines and other explosives are also underway.
Russia makes adjustments to its oil policy. President Vladimir Putin said Russia will aim to increase the consumption of oil, gas and coal on its domestic market, and increase the supply of energy resources to other parts of the world.
"The refusal of some Western countries to cooperate normally" and their partial ban on Russian energy resources have already affected millions of Europeans, further provoking an energy crisis and unprecedented inflation, he pointed out during a meeting on the development of the Russian Arctic zone.
With tacit approval from Zelensky, Ukraine's CIA-trained SBU kidnaps and tortures leftist activists in Dnipro— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) April 13, 2022
"The war is being used to kidnap, imprison and even kill opposition members who express themselves critical of the government," said one leftist https://t.co/SHCI1E4w65
U.S.-funded Ukrainian labs were engaged in developing components of biological weapons. The activities conducted by the United States and its allies near the Russian borders "were not aimed at searching for effective means of protection against dangerous diseases or cooperating with the international community," Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev said.
"Work there was carried out behind closed doors. In fact, components of biological weapons were developed and pathogenic microorganisms were studied that have posed a threat to all mankind," he stressed.
"Therefore, we consider such activities as a whole absolutely unacceptable both in Ukraine and other countries surrounding us," he said, adding that such activities should be transparent and under control.
The EU modifies its advisory mission to support crime investigations. On Wednesday, the Council of the European Union modified the mandate of the EU Advisory Mission (EUAM) to assist the Ukrainian authorities in the investigation and prosecution of international crimes committed during the Russian military operation.
Established in 2014, EUAM-Ukraine is a non-executive civilian mission whose objective is to support that country in strengthening the rule of law through the development of sustainable, responsible, and efficient security services.
Besides being authorized to donate funds or equipment, the EU mission will work in cooperation with the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust).
The Ukrainian conflict has damaged 90 cultural sites. According to a preliminary balance made by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the ongoing conflict has affected 90 cultural sites in Ukraine, Donetsk, and Lugansk.
Among them are 44 religious buildings, 11 monuments, six museums, three theaters, and a library. So far, however, no "World Heritage Sites" appear to have been damaged. In Ukraine, the UN agency registered damages to historical sites such as the Mariupol museum, the Kharkov cathedral, the Ivankiv museum, and the Church of the Nativity in Kyiv.
UNESCO Director Audrey Azoulay recalled that all cultural places are covered by the Hague Convention, which protects cultural property in the event of armed conflict. Any violation of this convention will generate international responsibilities for those involved, she warned.
Fifteen bodies are exhumed from a mass grave in Bucha. On Wednesday, the Bucha Mayor's Office reported that Ukrainian investigators exhumed 15 bodies from a grave in the courtyard of the St. Andrew's Church.
The municipal authorities acknowledged that the residents themselves buried many of the bodies in that grave “so that they would not rot.”