The announcement came amid the United States' continued allegations that Russia and China interfere in its internal affairs and pose a threat to its national security.
The Russia-Ukraine conflict continued on Monday as relevant parties held a new round of peace talks via video to discuss draft agreements between the two countries. Following are the latest developments in the situation:
The United States will seek the exclusion of Russia from the UN Human Rights Council
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations, said that she would initiate Russia's expulsion from the UN Human Rights Council (HRC).
She told a news conference in Bucharest, where she was on a visit, that she would take the matter to the UN Security Council on Wednesday, immediately upon her return to New York, and expected the General Assembly to consider the issue as early as Thursday.
In an interview with NPR, Thomas-Greenfield said that expelling Russia from the HRC "would be symbolic" because, she said, Russia has "done everything it can to damage the international order and compromise UN values."
Kiev interested in transparent investigation into Bucha events, says President Zelensky
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky stated on Tuesday that he is interested in an all-embracing and transparent investigation into the recent events in Bucha, near the country's capital of Kiev.
"We are interested in the maximally full and transparent investigation, the results of which will be announced and explained to the whole international society," Zelensky said in a video address posted by his press office on Tuesday.
"We have provided the maximum access to journalists to Bucha and other liberated cities of Ukraine, to hundreds of journalists from around the globe," he continued. "And we are interested that thousands of journalists visit this site, the more the better."
On April 3, the Russian Ministry of Defense rebutted Kiev’s accusations of murders of civilians in the town of Bucha, in the Kiev Region. The ministry stated that Russian forces completely withdrew from Bucha on March 30, while the "evidence of crimes" didn’t appear until four days later when Ukrainian Security Service officers arrived in Bucha.
The Defense Ministry also said that Bucha Mayor Anatoly Fedoruk confirmed in a video address on March 31 that there were no Russian troops in the city, and he didn’t mention any civilians shot and killed in the streets. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov described the situation in Bucha as a "fake news attack."
Russia’s UN envoy says no doubt Bucha provocation was staged
Russia’s envoy to the UN Vasily Nebenzya on Monday said available evidence leaves no doubt the events in Bucha, as they are presented by Ukraine, were staged.
"The footage that was being presented in particular, in Bucha, on which I spoke does not give us any doubt that this was staged," he said at a news conference. "We will present more evidence."
Nebenzya at his news conference at the UN headquarters demonstrated footage that showed Ukraine’s footage from Bucha as staged.
Russia has repeatedly seen how so-called independent investigations were in fact not independent, Russia’s envoy to the UN Vasily Nebenzya said.
"The question is who will conduct the so-called independent investigation," he said, commenting on calls for an "independent investigation" of the events in Bucha. "We have seen many ‘independent investigations’ which absolutely weren’t independent because they were politically motivated.".
Russian military offer Ukraine troops, mercenaries to lay down arms and exit Mariupol
On April 5, Russia will once again open a humanitarian corridor for the evacuation of civilians and foreign nationals from Mariupol, it offers the Ukrainian military, territorial defense battalions and foreign mercenaries to lay down arms and exit the city towards Zaporozhye, Mikhail Mizintsev, chief of Russia’s National Defense Management Center, said on Monday.
"Solely for humanitarian purposes and also at the request of the Turkish side, the Russian Federation reopens humanitarian corridors from 06:00 on April 5, 2022 for the evacuation of foreign nationals and civilians from Mariupol. It is also ready to ensure the entry of ships involved in the evacuation into the port of Berdyansk and exit from it in compliance with the rules of international maritime law," Mizintsev said.
According to the colonel general, the humanitarian situation is serious in certain districts of Mariupol controlled by Ukrainian armed units. "Guided purely by humanitarian principles to save the lives of civilians, the Russian Armed Forces offer units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, territorial defense battalions and foreign mercenaries to stop hostilities from 06:00 (Moscow time) on April 5, 2022, lay down arms and exit towards Zaporozhye to the territories under the Kiev control along the route coordinated with the Ukrainian side," he said. The lives of all those who lay down arms will be guaranteed, Mizintsev said.
The United States Launches the "Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy." On Monday, the U.S. State Department announced the beginning of operations of the Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy (CDP).
This Bureau "will address the national security challenges, economic opportunities and implications for U.S. values associated with cyberspace, digital technologies, and digital policy," authorities said. The CDP includes units related to cyberspace security, international information, communications policies, and digital freedom.
"The announcement came amid the United States' continued allegations that state actors —like Russia and China— as well as non-state actors interfere in U.S. internal affairs and pose a threat to its national security," Sputnik reported, recalling that State Secretary Antony Blinken announced the creation of the CDP in 2021.
Most Europeans support a common security policy. The latest Standard Eurobarometer's winter survey shows that 77 percent of Europeans support a unified defense and security policy. The highest rates of support are found in Cyprus (95 percent), Lithuania (89 percent), and Estonia (87 percent).
Compared to the survey of winter 2020-2021, however, support for a common policy declined in 13 European Union countries, including Slovakia, France, and Belgium. The Eurobarometer study included 1,000 interviews carried out between Jan. 18 and Feb. 14.
Lithuania orders Russian ambassador to leave. On Monday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania said that it downgraded the country's diplomatic relations with Russia and ordered Russia's ambassador to leave Vilnius.
Eitvydas Bajarunas, ambassador of Lithuania in Moscow, will return to Lithuania in the near future. The Baltic nation is also closing the Russian Consulate General in Klaipeda.
The Russian military struck an oil processing plant and a fuel depot in Odessa. There were no casualties in the airstrike, said Maksym Marchenko, head of the military administration of Odessa region.
Earlier on Sunday, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said that the Russian Armed Forces have destroyed an oil refinery and three storage facilities for fuel and lubricants near Ukraine's Odessa with high-precision sea- and air-based missiles.
Russia's space corporation Roscosmos would not cooperate with countries supplying weapons to Ukraine. Dmitry Rogozin, the director of the Russian space corporation Roscosmos, announced that his institution stopped joint projects with Western countries for moral and ethical reasons, and would not have any cooperation with countries that provide weapons and political support to Ukraine.
Roscosmos would soon submit proposals to Russia's leadership on ending cooperation on the International Space Station with the U.S., Canada, European countries, and Japan.
Russia restricts the granting of visas for European official delegations and journalists. On Monday, President Vladimir Putin today signed a decree restricting the granting of visas to unfriendly countries of the European Union (EU) and to Norway, Switzerland, Denmark, and Iceland. This measure will affect official delegations and journalists.
Russia refuted accusation of alleged killing of civilians in the settlement of Bucha. All photographs and video materials published by the Kiev regime, allegedly evidencing some kind of 'crimes' committed by Russian military personnel in the city of Bucha, Kiev region, are another provocation," the Defense Ministry said.
It added that during the time the settlement was under control of the Russian forces, not a single local resident suffered from any violent actions, adding that "all Russian units completely withdrew from Bucha on March 30."
Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that Germany will decide on further measures to sanction Russia. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called for tightened sanctions against Russia. During a TV interview, German Minister of Defense Christine Lambrecht noted that the European Union should talk about putting an end to gas supplies from Russia.