Ukraine updates: EU sanctions Russia's Wagner group
The mercenary group has been targeted over its involvement in the war in Ukraine
The European Union has added Russia's Wagner mercenary group to its sanctions list for "actively participating in the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine."
Wagner, which is leading Moscow's battle to try to capture the Ukrainian towns of Bakhmut and Soledar, had already been placed on another EU sanctions list in February for violating human rights and "destabilizing" countries in Africa.
The European Council, representing the 27 EU member states, said the new sanctions listing "completes" the previous one.
Wagner, it said, was added to the list "for actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine."
A Russian NGO and a Wagner deserter have alleged that Wagner fighters were responsible for a purported beheading of a Ukrainian prisoner of war. An apparent video of the act has drawn condemnation from Ukraine and UN officials.
Russia said it has opened a probe into the footage.
The EU has adopted 10 successive sanctions packages against Russia in the past year over its invasion of Ukraine.
Here are some of the other notable developments concerning Russia's war in Ukraine on Friday, April 14:
'Russia has re-energized its assault' on Bakhmut — UK military
The UK's Ministry of Defence (MOD) said that Russia was managing to mount a fresh assault on the Donetsk Oblast city of Bakhmut.
"Russia has re-energised its assault on the Donetsk Oblast town of Bakhmut as forces of the Russian MoD and Wagner Group have improved co-operation," the MOD said in its daily intelligence update.
The MOD said that Ukrainian forces were managing to hold the western districts of the city, but were facing "significant resupply issues" and were having to make "orderly withdrawals from the positions they have been forced to concede."
Ukrainian forces were also said to have faced "particularly intense Russian artillery fire over the previous 48 hours."
The MOD said that Wagner forces were spearheading the advance to the city center while Russian airborne forces (VDV) had been brought in to relieve some of the Wagner units that were securing the northern and southern flanks.
Area twice the size of Austria mined — Ukraine PM
A report by German news program Tagesschau has highlighted the issue of banned antipersonnel landmines and the dangers they present to people living in Ukraine.
According to the report which cited information from Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Schmyhal, an area twice the size of Austria has been mined.
According to UN figures which the report also cited, more than 740 civilians had been killed or injured by mines or other explosives since the Russia launched its invasion.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused Russian forces of using the banned devices in various places in Ukraine, which posed a danger to the civilian population.
The organization has to date published three reports documenting Russia's use of antipersonnel mines, but research has also highlighted that Ukrainian forces "appear to have extensively scattered landmines around the Izium area." HRW says Ukraine has committed to study the findings.
According the Tagesschau report its believed that it could take decades to clear the country of mines, and mentions Germany as having provided over €26 million ($28.7 million) for demining efforts thus far.
Baerbock holds talks in China on Russia and Taiwan
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has called on Beijing to ask "the Russian aggressor to stop the war " in Ukraine in talks with Chinese officials during the second day of her trip to China.
"It is good that China has signalled its commitment to a solution but I have to say frankly that I wonder why the Chinese position so far does not include a call on the aggressor Russia to stop the war," Baerbock said.
She headed to Beijing for strategic talks on Friday after visiting a German electrical mobility company based in the north-eastern port city of Tianjin with her Chinese counterpart, Qin Gang.
She was expected to attend talks at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse as part of the German-Chinese Strategic Dialogue.
Given China's support for Russian President Vladimir Putin and tensions with the West over Taiwan's status, the political talks are being seen as the most difficult part of Baerbock's visit.
kb,dh/nm (dpa, AP, AFP, Reuters)
Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google News, Instagram
Join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines