Wed. May 18th, 2022

RUSSIA is feared to have unleashed chemical weapons on Mariupol after unverified reports from the city’s Azov regiment said a ‘poisonous substance of unknown origin’ was released on Monday.

It has been reported that the substance caused breathing issues, ‘respiratory failure’ and ‘vestibulo-atactic syndrome’. 

Andriy Biletsky, the leader of the Azov volunteer regiment, claimed on Monday that three people in the southern port city of Mariupol had experienced “poisoning by warfare chemicals, but without catastrophic consequences”.

The UK’s foreign secretary, Liz Truss, said work was under way to verify the claims, adding: “Any use of such weapons would be a callous escalation in this conflict and we will hold [Vladimir] Putin and his regime to account.”

Meanwhile the Armed Forces minister, James Heappey, has said that all options would be on table in response to any use of chemical weapons in Ukraine by Russia, James Heappey, the Armed Forces minister, has said.

“There are some things that are beyond the pale, and the use of chemical weapons will get a response and all options are on the table for what that response could be,” Mr Heappey told Sky News.

Follow our Russia-Ukraine live blog below for up-to-the-minute updates…

  • What has Benjamin Hall said on his injuries?

    An update on Hall was released on March 25, 2022, revealing that he is now recovering in the United States.

    Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott said in a memo: “We’ve had an outpouring of care and concern about Benjamin Hall, so wanted to share a brief update with everyone.

    “Yesterday Ben was transferred from Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany to Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC), located at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas.”

    Hall gave an update on his condition in a now-deleted tweet.

    Hall shared a photo of himself lying in what appears to be a hospital bed, sporting an eye patch, and surrounded by various medical wires and supplies.

    “Its been over three weeks since the attack in Ukraine and I wanted to start sharing it all,” Hall tweeted.

    “But first I need to pay tribute to my colleagues Pierre and Sasha who didnt make it that day. Pierre and I traveled the world together, working was his joy and his joy was infectious. RIP.”

  • What injuries did Benjamin Hall suffer?

    Hall was badly injured in the blast in Kyiv and “lost half a leg, foot and sight in one eye”.

    He shared an update on his condition in a Twitter post on April 7, 2022.

    Hall revealed he had lost half a leg on one side and a foot on the other.

    But the extent of his injuries didn’t stop there, adding that one hand was “being put together” and he had lost the sight in one eye.

    His hearing had been “pretty blown” too.

    Hall shared a photo of himself lying in what appears to be a hospital bed, sporting an eye patch, and surrounded by various medical wires and supplies.

    His colleague, Pierre Zakrzewski, was tragically killed when the vehicle the two were traveling in came under fire.

  • What happened to Benjamin Hall?

    According to a memo from Fox News, CEO Suzanne Scott, British journalist Hall was injured outside Kyiv on Monday, March 14, 2022.

    The news outlet said: “Earlier today, our correspondent Benjamin Hall was injured while newsgathering outside of Kyiv in Ukraine.

    “We have a minimal level of details right now, but Ben is hospitalized and our teams on the ground are working to gather additional information as the situation quickly unfolds.”

    Fox news cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski was killed while reporting alongside Hall.

    Zakrzewski was tragically killed after their vehicle was struck by gunfire.

    On Tuesday, March 15, it was revealed that Hall lost a part of his leg.

    The statement was made by the Ministry of Ukraine on their official Twitter account.

    Hall was badly injured in the blast in Kyiv and “lost half a leg, foot and sight in one eye”.

    He shared an update on his condition in a Twitter post on April 7, 2022.

    Hall revealed he had lost half a leg on one side and a foot on the other.

    But the extent of his injuries didn’t stop there, adding that one hand was “being put together” and he had lost the sight in one eye.

  • Who is Benjamin Hall’s wife?

    Benjamin Hall married Australian businesswoman Alicia Meller in July 2015.

    Alicia works for the Australian fashion and shoe brand, Senso, which her parents founded in 1979.

    She joined the company in 2010 with her two sisters, Imogen and Skye, and is in charge of international development.

    Skye is in charge of the designs themselves, while Imogen is the general manager in charge of social media and marketing.

    Alicia’s parents are frequent fliers between London, where Alicia lives, and Sydney, where the brand itself is based.

  • Ukraine says it captured pro-Kremlin business tycoon who escaped house arrest

    Ukrainian authorities on Tuesday announced they had captured a prominent pro-Kremlin tycoon who escaped from house arrest after Russia’s invasion.

    President Volodymyr Zelensky posted a picture online of a dishevelled-looking Viktor Medvedchuk with his hands in cuffs and dressed in a Ukrainian army uniform.

    “A special operation was carried out by the Security Service of Ukraine. Well done!” Zelensky wrote on Telegram.

    Security agency chief Ivan Bakanov said agents had carried out a “lightning-fast and dangerous multi-level special operation to detain” the Russia-friendly lawmaker.

    “No traitor will escape punishment and all will be held accountable under the law of Ukraine,” a statement on Telegram said.

    Medvedchuk, one of the richest people in Ukraine, is a hugely controversial figure for his close ties to Moscow.

    The 67-year-old business tycoon counts Russian President Vladimir Putin among his personal friends and says the Kremlin leader is godfather to his youngest daughter Darya.

  • Putin defends his invasion despite 20,000 Russian troops killed

    Putin spoke today once again defending his invasion despite the colossal failures which has seen almost 20,000 Russian soldiers killed and potentially billions of pounds worth of equipment destroyed by Ukraine.

    Putin defended the war as a “noble mission” and promised to continue amid mounting allegations of war crimes.

    And it comes as Russia is believed to be preparing for a new offensive focused on the besieged city of Mariupol – where Putin is feared to have last night used chemical weapons.

    Putin’s troops thought they would be greeted with cheers and waving flags in Ukraine, instead they were faced with rage and molotov cocktails.

    And this slow and brutal quagmire has seen the Russians change tactics, moving from surgical strikes to indiscriminate bombardment on cities.

  • Paranoid Putin ‘bracing for military coup’ after purging 150 SPIES

    VLADIMIR Putin is bracing for a possible military coup after he purged 150 spies over Russia’s disastrous invasion of Ukraine.

    The mad tyrant has launched a “Stalinist” purge of his intelligence services – including sending spy chief Sergei Beseda to prison.

    Putin ousted the spooks from the Fifth Service group of the Federal Security Bureau – the department who were working on Ukraine.

    The Fifth Service are believed to have been working in Ukraine for years to attempt to destabilise the country ahead of the invasion.

    Vlad’s rage comes as the group are believed to have wasted billions of dollars on these activities which proved fruitless.

    Russia had expected it could march across Ukraine without much of a fight – but in reality they have faced a valiant resistance.

  • Help those fleeing conflict with The Sun’s Ukraine Fund

    PICTURES of women and children fleeing the horror of Ukraine’s devastated towns and cities have moved Sun readers to tears.

    Many of you want to help the five million caught in the chaos — and now you can, by donating to The Sun’s Ukraine Fund.

    Give as little as £3 or as much as you can afford and every penny will be donated to the Red Cross on the ground helping women, children, the old, the infirm and the wounded.

    Donate here to help The Sun’s fund

    Or text to 70141 from UK mobiles

    £3 — text SUN£3
    £5 — text SUN£5
    £10 — text SUN£10

    Texts cost your chosen donation amount (e.g. £5) +1 standard message (we receive 100%). For full T&Cs visit redcross.org.uk/mobile

    The Ukraine Crisis Appeal will support people in areas currently affected and those potentially affected in the future by the crisis.

    In the unlikely event that the British Red Cross raise more money than can be reasonably and efficiently spent, any surplus funds will be used to help them prepare for and respond to other humanitarian disasters anywhere in the world.

    For more information visit https://donate.redcross.org.uk/appeal/disaster-fund.

  • Ukraine – Russia latest developments

  • Chemical weapon watchdog ‘concerned’ over reports of use in Mariupol

    The world’s chemical weapons watchdog said on Tuesday that it was “concerned” over reports of the use of chemical weapons in the besieged Ukrainian port of Mariupol.

    “The Technical Secretariat of the OPCW is monitoring closely the situation in Ukraine. The Secretariat is concerned by the recent unconfirmed report of chemical weapons use in Mariupol, which has been carried in the media over the past 24 hours,” the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said in a statement.

  • Tories argue PM should not be removed during Ukraine conflict

    The Prime Minister should not be unseated while the Ukraine conflict rages on, according to a Boris Johnson critic.

    Veteran Conservative Sir Roger Gale has previously called for Boris Johnson to resign over the so-called partygate allegations but said the news of the Prime Minister being fined should not distract from confronting Russia.

    The Prime Minister has apologised for breaching the Covid lockdown by attending his own birthday bash in the Cabinet Room of No 10 on June 19 2020, and said he has paid the police fine.

    Sir Roger, MP for North Thanet, told the PA news agency: “It’s serious of course.

    “My position remains that the fact that the Prime Minister has effectively misled the House of Commons is a very serious issue indeed, but we are in the middle of an international crisis and I am not prepared to give Vladimir Putin the comfort of thinking that we are about to unseat the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and destabilise the coalition against Putin.”

    Sir Roger, speaking before the PM made a statement to broadcasters, said Mr Johnson should acknowledge that he had been “patently wrong” to previously suggest that “no rules were broken and nothing untoward took place”.

  • Ukraine’s president publishes photo of pro-Russian politician in handcuffs

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Tuesday published a photo of prominent pro-Russian Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedchuk in handcuffs after what he said was an operation by security forces.

    In February, Kyiv said Medvedchuk, the leader of the Opposition Platform – For Life party, had escaped from house arrest.

    Last year authorities opened a treason case against Medvedchuk, who says Russian President Vladimir Putin is godfather to his daughter, and who denies wrongdoing.

  • Germany receives over 330,000 refugees from Ukraine

    The German Interior Ministry said that federal police have recorded 335,578 people entering since Russia’s invasion started on February 24. Those who have arrived are overwhelmingly women and children.

    The true number of refugees in Germany could be higher, however, since there are no strict controls on the country’s eastern border and Ukrainian citizens can stay up to 90 days in the European Union without a visa.

    Officials say an unknown number also have moved on to other European countries.

  • Pope says invasion is ‘marked by the forces of evil’

    “The present moment leaves us deeply troubled, because it is marked by the forces of evil,” he said in the message read on his behalf.

    “The suffering inflicted on so many frail and defenceless persons; the many civilians massacred and the innocent victims among the young; the desperate plight of women and children.

    “All this troubles our consciences,” he said.

  • Downing Street says: Biden and Johnson discussed boosting support for Ukraine

    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and U.S. President Joe Biden discussed boosting military and economic support to Ukraine on Tuesday as well as the need to end Western reliance on Russian oil and gas, a spokeswoman for Johnson’s office said.

    “The leaders discussed the need to accelerate assistance to Ukraine, including bolstering military and economic support, as the Ukrainian forces prepare for another Russian onslaught in the east of the country,” a Downing Street spokeswoman said.

    “The pair also agreed to continue joint efforts to ratchet up the economic pressure on (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and decisively end Western reliance on Russian oil and gas.”

  • Russia is ‘shelling Donetsk round the clock’ says governor

    Russia is shelling Ukraine’s eastern region of Donetsk round the clock and Moscow is now in the final stages of regrouping its forces in the area, Donetsk’s governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on Tuesday.

    Kyrylenko also said Russian forces were not allowing residents of the besieged port city of Mariupol in the south of the region to leave – even in their own cars.

  • 400 bodies buried in Ukraine’s Severodonetsk since start of war says governor

    Around 400 civilians have been buried in the town of Severodonetsk near the frontline in eastern Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion, the governor of the Lugansk region said on Tuesday.

    “In Severodonetsk, pits are dug with a tractor and graves are systematised in the register… During the 48 days of the war about 400 burials,” Sergiy Gaiday said, referring to civilians.

    In the nearby town of Lysychansk, he said, the dead “are buried in mass graves”.

    In smaller areas on the frontline, “burials are carried out by residents in the yards of residential areas” or “the bodies remain lying in the streets”.

  • Putin: Russian forces acting bravely and efficiently in Ukraine 

    Russian President Vladimir said today that Russian forces carrying out Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine were acting bravely and efficiently and using the most modern weapons, TASS news agency reported.

    Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 in what it called a special operation to degrade its southern neighbour’s military capabilities and root out people it called dangerous nationalists.

    Ukrainian forces have mounted stiff resistance and the West has imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia in an effort to force it to withdraw its force

  • Mayor: More than 10,000 civilians dead in Ukraine port city

    Speaking by phone Monday with The Associated Press, Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko accused Russian forces of having blocked weeks of attempted humanitarian convoys into the city in part to conceal the carnage there from the outside world.

    Boychenko said the death toll there could surpass 20,000.

    Boychenko also gave new details of allegations by Ukrainian officials in recent weeks that Russian forces have brought mobile cremation equipment to Mariupol to dispose of the corpses of victims of the siege.

    “Russian forces have taken many bodies to a huge shopping center where there are storage facilities and refrigerators,” Boychenko said.

    “Mobile crematoriums have arrived in the form of trucks: You open it, and there is a pipe inside and these bodies are burned”.

  • Alleged chemical weapons use fits ‘Syrian playbook’ 

    Intelligence consultant Justin Crump spoke to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme and said that if verified, the attack could fit a wider pattern of Russian behaviour on the battlefield.

    It follows the “Syrian playbook”, he said.

    Russian troops may begin with “small, deniable operations,” which the West may turn a blind eye to. But later, they “increase the scale”, he added.

    Despite this, Crump said the situation is “very uncertain” in Mariupol.

  • Ukraine says peace talks with Russia are continuing – but ‘very hard’

    Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak, asked about comments by Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier on Tuesday that peace talks between the two countries were at a dead-end, said negotiations were very hard but they were continuing.

    Podolyak also told Reuters that Russia was trying to put pressure on the talks with its public statements and that negotiations were continuing at the level of working sub-groups.

  • Mariupol believed to be surrounded by Russian troops

    The fighting in Mariupol has intensified as the city is believed to be surrounded by Russian troops.

    Ukrainian marines said on a Facebook post they are preparing for a “last battle” to defend the city’s port.

    The 36th marine brigade’s statement said: “For more than a month, the Marines fought without refilling ammunition, without food, without water, almost a lacquer from the puddle and died in packs.

    “Today will probably be an extreme fight… Further is death for some, but captivity for others,” the statement read adding that forces had been defending the port for 47 days and “did everything possible and impossible” to reclaim the city.

    Denis Pushilin, who heads the breakaway Ukrainian territory of Donetsk, later said: “Regarding the port of Mariupol, it is already under our control.”

    Ukrainian forces in Mariupol were “surrounded and blocked” according to Myhaylo Podolyak, an official from President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office.

  • Putin dismisses killings in Bucha as ‘fake’

    Vladimir Putin on Tuesday dismissed reports of the discovery of hundreds of dead bodies of civilians in the town of Bucha outside the Ukrainian capital Kyiv after the withdrawal of Moscow’s troops.

    Putin compared the accusations to those concerning the use of chemical weapons by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    “It’s the same kind of fake in Bucha,” Putin said during a press conference with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko at the Vostochny cosmodrome in Russia’s Far East.

  • Help those fleeing conflict with The Sun’s Ukraine Fund

    PICTURES of women and children fleeing the horror of Ukraine’s devastated towns and cities have moved Sun readers to tears.

    Many of you want to help the five million caught in the chaos — and now you can, by donating to The Sun’s Ukraine Fund.

    Give as little as £3 or as much as you can afford and every penny will be donated to the Red Cross on the ground helping women, children, the old, the infirm and the wounded.

    Donate here to help The Sun’s fund

    Or text to 70141 from UK mobiles

    £3 — text SUN£3
    £5 — text SUN£5
    £10 — text SUN£10

    Texts cost your chosen donation amount (e.g. £5) +1 standard message (we receive 100%). For full T&Cs visit redcross.org.uk/mobile

    The Ukraine Crisis Appeal will support people in areas currently affected and those potentially affected in the future by the crisis.

    In the unlikely event that the British Red Cross raise more money than can be reasonably and efficiently spent, any surplus funds will be used to help them prepare for and respond to other humanitarian disasters anywhere in the world.

    For more information visit https://donate.redcross.org.uk/appeal/disaster-fund.

  • Zelensky accuses Russian troops of ‘hundreds of rapes’

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday said investigators had received reports of “hundreds of cases of rape” in areas previously occupied by Russian troops, including sexual assaults of small children.

    “Hundreds of cases of rape have been recorded, including those of young girls and very young children.

    “Even of a baby!” he told Lithuanian lawmakers via video link.

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