The lives of about 2.7 million people with disabilities are at risk in Ukraine, a UN committee has warned, citing reports that many are trapped or abandoned in their homes, care centres and orphanages without basic supplies or medicines. The committee said it was “deeply disturbed” that the fate of people with disabilities in Ukraine is “largely unknown”.
At least 503 civilians, including 24 children, have been killed in Ukraine’s eastern Kharkiv region since Russia launched its invasion on 24 February, the region’s local governor has said. Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city with a prewar population of about 1.5 million, is 40km (25 miles) from the Russian border.
Russia’s deputy foreign minister Alexander Grushko said Moscow would take “security and defence measures that we will deem necessary” if Sweden and Finland join Nato. In an interview with the Russian state-owned news agency Tass, the minister said the membership in the military alliance would “seriously worsen the military situation” and lead to “the most undesirable consequences”. Finland and Sweden had earlier taken a major step towards joining Nato.
Russia’s investigative committee said Ukrainian forces carried out at least six helicopter airstrikes on the village of Klimovo in the Russian region of Bryansk, injuring seven people. The Bryansk region governor said earlier that two residential buildings in the village had been hit by shelling. The area lies north of the Ukrainian region of Chernihiv. A village in Russia’s Belgorod region had also come under fire from Ukraine, the region’s governor said.
Ukraine’s foreign ministry has appealed to the United Nations to facilitate the return of Ukrainian children who have been “illegally deported” to Russia. In a statement, the ministry said Russia had “engaged in state-organised kidnapping of children and destruction of the future of the Ukrainian nation”.
France is planning to return its embassy to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. It had moved to the western city of Lviv in March as Russia invaded. The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has urged allies to resume their normal diplomatic presence in Ukraine.
Turkey is still working on organising a meeting between Putin and Zelenskiy, said the Turkish foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu. The Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said the condition for a meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian presidents is a document ready for the two leaders to sign.
The UK government has imposed sanctions on the Chelsea football club director Eugene Tenenbaum in an attempt to freeze up to £10bn of assets linked to the club’s Russian oligarch owner, Roman Abramovich. The UK said it was extending sanctions to Tenenbaum and David Davidovich, another close associate of Abramovich, because the oligarch had transferred billions of pounds of assets to the pair as Russia invaded Ukraine.
Zelenskiy has issued a video compiled by his government that further urges European countries to give up Russian oil that provides “blood” money to Moscow, and appeals for more weapons to help Ukraine repel Russia’s invasion.
A total of 2,557 people were evacuated from Ukrainian cities through humanitarian corridors on Thursday, deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk said, with 289 of those from Mariupol. The head of the UN World Food Program, meanwhile, said people were being “starved to death” in the besieged city.
Moody’s Investors Service has said that Russia “may be considered in default” if it fails to pay bonds in US dollars by 4 May. Russia paid two bonds in rubles this month after sanctions cut the country off from global financial systems and the US banned Moscow from making debt payments using dollars held in American banks. The payments in rubles “represent a change in payment terms” and may be considered a default, according to Moody’s. S&P Global Ratings has also declared Russia in default.