MOSCOW – The wife of a Ukrainian politician detained by Kyiv on charges of treason has accused Ukrainian security services of torturing her husband and fabricating his escape from house arrest at a news conference in Moscow on Friday.
Oksana Marchenko, the wife of Viktor Medvedchuk, a former leader of a pro-Russian opposition party and a close aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin, called her husband a “political prisoner” and said she did not know where he was. .
Medvedchuk was detained on Tuesday in a special operation conducted by Ukraine’s State Security Service or SBU. The 67-year-old oligarch escaped from house arrest a few days before the fighting broke out on February 24 in Ukraine. He faces between 15 years in prison and life in prison on charges of treason and aiding a terrorist organization to mediate the purchase of coal for the separatist Russian-backed Donetsk Republic in eastern Ukraine.
“I have no doubt that my husband was beaten within hours of his capture,” she told a news conference. “I am calling for help in establishing (his) true whereabouts. I call for help to stop the physical and mental torture. ”
She did not offer evidence to support her allegations, but cited a television statement made by Ukrainian officials on Wednesday saying Kyiv would seek to prosecute Medvedchuk “as much as possible, give him the appropriate sentence, get evidence from him and then exchange it ”for Ukrainian prisoners held by Moscow.
KEY DEVELOPMENT OF THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:
– Russia is losing a warship, says the attacks on Kyiv will increase
– The port of Ukraine Mariupol survives despite all chances
– War Crimes Watch: The woman who will make Putin pay
– The Russian legislator and 2 associates are accused of criminal liability in the United States
– Go to https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine for more coverage
The leading independent Russian-language news outlet says Russian authorities have blocked its website in Russian for criticizing the war in Ukraine.
The Moscow Times reported on Friday that its Russian-language website had become inaccessible to some users, citing a decision by the Prosecutor General’s Office to restrict access.
According to the publication, the authorities have blocked a separate page on the site with a story about 11 police officers who refused to fight in Ukraine. On Thursday, a journalist who first revealed the story was jailed on charges of spreading false information about the Russian military.
The Moscow Times said it had not received a formal notification from the government.
The Kremlin has sought to control the story of the war since its troops entered Ukraine. He called the attack a “special military operation” and stepped up pressure on Russia’s independent media, which called it a “war” or “invasion”, blocking access to many news sites that deviate from the official line.
Kyiv, Ukraine – The Mariupol Municipal Council said on Friday that locals reported that Russian troops were digging up bodies previously buried in residential yards and not allowing new burials of “people killed by them”.
“A guard has been appointed in each yard, which does not allow Mariupol residents to rest with deceased relatives or friends. It is not known why the exhumation is taking place and where the bodies will be taken, “the Telegram said in a statement.
The claim cannot be verified independently.
Earlier this month, Mariupol Mayor Vadim Boychenko told the AP that Russian forces had brought mobile cremation equipment into the city to dispose of the bodies of the victims of the siege.
Boychenko said Russian forces were taking many bodies to a huge shopping mall with warehouses and refrigerators. “Mobile crematoria have arrived in the form of trucks: you open it and there’s a pipe inside and those bodies are burned,” he said.
Kyiv, Ukraine – Seven people were killed and 27 were injured after Russian forces opened fire on civilian buses in the Ukrainian village of Borovaya, near the northeastern city of Kharkiv, a spokesman for the regional prosecutor’s office told Ukrainian news website Suspilne on Friday.
Ukrainian law enforcement is working to establish the circumstances surrounding the attack, Dmytro Chubenko said. He added that investigators were also establishing the routes and destinations of vehicles transporting civilians through Russian-controlled territory around Borovaya.
Chubenko said Ukrainian authorities have opened criminal proceedings on suspicion of “violation of the laws or customs of war, combined with premeditated murder.”
Allegations cannot be verified independently.
MOSCOW – Russia’s Defense Ministry on Friday promised to step up “the scale of missile attacks” against Kyiv in response to “Ukraine’s deviations from Russian territory.”
The statement comes a day after Russian authorities accused Ukrainian forces of carrying out air strikes on apartment buildings in one of the country’s regions bordering Ukraine, injuring seven people.
According to Russian officials, about 100 residential buildings were damaged in Thursday’s attack on the village of Klimovo in the Bryansk region. The Ministry of Defense announced that Russian forces in the Chernihiv region of Ukraine have stopped a Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopter, which is believed to have participated in the attack on the Bryansk region.
Authorities in another border region, Belgorod, also reported Ukrainian shelling on Thursday.
LONDON – The British Ministry of Defense says the loss of Russia’s naval flagship is likely to force Moscow to change the way the navy operates in the Black Sea.
“Moscow” sank after being damaged in controversial circumstances. Ukraine says it hit the ship with missiles while Moscow acknowledged a fire on board, but no attack.
In an update posted on social media on Friday, the UK Ministry of Defense said that the Soviet-era ship, which returned to operational service last year after a major overhaul, “played a key role as both a command ship and a air defence”.
It says the sinking means that Russia has already suffered damage to two key naval assets since the invasion of Ukraine, the first being the Russian alligator landing ship Saratov on March 24th. Both events are likely to force Russia to reconsider its maritime position in the Black Sea.
Kyiv, Ukraine – President Vladimir Zelensky told Ukrainians on Thursday that they should be proud to have survived 50 days under Russian attack, when the Russians “gave us a maximum of five”.
In a late-night video address, Zelensky called it “an achievement of millions of Ukrainians, of all those who made the most important decision of their lives on February 24 – to fight.”
Zelensky gave an extensive and almost poetic list of the many ways in which Ukrainians have helped repel Russian troops, including “those who have shown that Russian warships can sail, even if they are at the bottom,” at sea. It was his only mention of the Russian missile cruiser Moscow, which sank while being towed to port.
Zelensky said he remembered the first day of the invasion, when many world leaders, unsure whether Ukraine could survive, advised him to leave the country.
“But they did not know how brave Ukrainians are, how much we value freedom and the opportunity to live the way we want,” Zelensky said.
OTTOVA, Ontario – Canada is sending troops to Poland to help care for, coordinate and resettle Ukrainian refugees in Poland, including some who will come to Canada.
More than 2.6 million Ukrainians have fled to Poland since the first Russian troops crossed into Ukraine on February 24, and more than 2 million more have fled to other countries.
Defense Minister Anita Anand announced the deployment of up to 150 troops on Thursday, saying most troops will be heading to reception centers in Poland to help care for and register Ukrainian refugees.
Another group has been sent to help coordinate international aid efforts.
Canada has deployed hundreds of additional troops in Eastern Europe since Russia’s invasion, as NATO’s military alliance seeks to support Ukraine and prevent the conflict from escalating into a wider war.
Kyiv, Ukraine – The head of the UN World Food Program has said people are “starving” in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol and predicts that the country’s humanitarian crisis is likely to worsen as Russia intensifies its attack in the coming weeks.
WFP Executive Director David Beasley also warned in an interview with the Associated Press in Kyiv on Thursday that Russia’s invasion of grain exporter Ukraine risks destabilizing nations off its shores and could spark waves of migrants seeking a better life elsewhere.
The war, which began on February 24, is “devastating the people of Ukraine,” Beasley said, lamenting the lack of access faced by the WFP and other humanitarian organizations in trying to reach those in need during the conflict.
The fluid nature of the conflict, in which fighting has shifted from areas around the capital to eastern Ukraine, has made it particularly difficult to reach hungry Ukrainians.
The WFP is trying to place food supplies in areas that could be involved in the fighting, but Beasley acknowledged that there are “many complications” as the situation develops rapidly.
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Live updates Pro-Russian politician accused of treason
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