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On April 16, the conflict in Russia and Ukraine continues, with a clear sights on a negotiated caesefire. These are today´s developments as they happen.
Russian forces destroy Ukrainian military facilities
The Ministry of Defense warned that the military attacks are not directed against civilian facilities, but seek to disable the war infrastructure
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov reported Saturday that the Russian armed forces destroyed Ukrainian military facilities, using high-precision, long-range aerial weapons, as part of the special military operation in Kiev.
According to the agency, a total of 16 enemy targets were hit, which included 11 areas of concentration of Ukrainian weapons stored in Povstanskoe, Barvenkovo, Lisichansk, Srybnoe, Petrovskoe and Opytnoe regions.
Also, the Defense Ministry spokesman added that the Russian Armed Forces eliminated a total of 811 Ukrainian targets in the last 24 hours, distributed in 8 convoys with fuel for military equipment, as well as 760 zones of concentration of live force.
He also added that near the Ukrainian locality of Nikolayev, two artillery warehouses, a depot of radar reconnaissance equipment, as well as a storage base for anti-aircraft defense means were attacked.
At the same time, the concentration area of the 95th airborne assault brigade in Ukraine was hit by Russian forces, as well as an Su-25 fighter 15 kilometers south of the town of Izium, Kharkov region.
Russian Missile Troops eliminated in one day 317 Ukrainian military facilities including 24 command posts, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov reported.
"The Missile Troops destroyed 317 facilities, including 274 military support points and groups, 24 command posts and two fuel depots of the Ukrainian forces," Konashenkov told reporters.
Russian aviation, he noted, eliminated 67 areas of concentration of servicemen, weapons and war equipment. In addition, Russian air defense systems shot down a Ukrainian Forces transport plane near the Ukrainian city of Odessa, which was delivering a large batch of weapons supplied to Kiev by Western countries, the Russian military officer added.
In total, he summed up, since the beginning of the Russian special military operation, 134 aircraft, 460 drones, 2,269 tanks and other armored fighting vehicles, 987 units of field artillery and mortars, as well as 2,158 units of special military vehicles were destroyed.
Estonia Admits Sanctions Against Russia Unsuccessful
On Saturday, Estonian Defense Minister Kalle Laanet said that economic sanctions against Russia have not yet taken effect.
"It takes time for the sanctions to take effect. So far, only a relatively short time has passed, so we still do not see the desired consequences," Laanet said in an interview with the German daily Handelsblatt.
The Estonian Defense Minister assured that they can still tighten the sanctions to "boycott oil and gas".
Numerous countries began to tighten sanctions against Russia after it recognized the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics as sovereign states on February 21 and three days later launched a "special military operation" in Ukraine, claiming that both republics had requested help in the face of "genocide" by Kiev.
Wife of detained Ukrainian opposition activist asks Putin to extradite Medvedchuk to Russia
Oxana Marchenko turned to Russian President Vladimir Putin and to other prominent leaders to have her husband, the leader of the Ukrainian party Opposition Platform for Life Party, Victor Medvedchuk, extradited to Russia if Kiev and Moscow come to an agreement.
"I, the wife of a Ukrainian opposition politician, Ukrainian People's Deputy Medvedchuk, ask for your help in exchanging my husband, who was illegally detained by the Kiev authorities for political reasons," she emphasized in a video posted on her YouTube channel.
She added that Victor Medvedchuk gave his consent to his exchange and extradition to the Russian territory in case Russia and Ukraine reach an appropriate agreement.
The wife of Ukrainian opposition politician Viktor Medvedchuk appealed to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia for help in a potential exchange of British prisoners for her husband pic.twitter.com/JKvFm6KRds
Russia Accuses Germany of Developing Biomilitary Labs
On Saturday, the Russian government claimed that Germany had in coordination with the United States a network of at least 30 biomilitary laboratories on Ukrainian territory working on "biological agents potentially useful as biological weapons."
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated that this is one of the reasons why Berlin "is more active than other EU (European Union) countries" in trying to attribute plans to use biological and chemical weapons in Ukraine to Russia.
Germany, like the U.S., has for many years been carrying out "military and biological activities" on the territory of Ukraine, she stated.
As a result of the Special Military Operation in Ukraine, the Russian Armed Forces found documents that shed some light on the biomilitary program implemented by the U.S. Department of Defense in Ukraine, she recalled.
Berlin coordinated its work on biodefense with its US allies, Russian MFA spox Maria Zakharova told RT
"Dangerous research" was being conducted in these facilities, according to Zakharova, who mentioned a direct link to the Bernhard Nocht Institute of Tropical Medicine and cited tropical diseases such as dengue or chikungunya or pathogens such as West Nile virus or the Usutu River virus.
Between 2020 and 2022, the third phase of the program has been underway, which provides for the "collection of sensitive epidemic information in third countries, including through the use of big data technologies," the spokeswoman said.
It also includes the "development of partner countries' infrastructure for working with dangerous biological agents," she said.
The spokeswoman also urged German authorities to "stop spreading lying accusations about our country's alleged intention to use weapons prohibited by international law in the special military operation."