Live Updates | Slovakia can’t confirm defense is destroyed

LUXEMBOURG – Slovakia says it cannot confirm that the air defense systems provided to Ukraine have been destroyed by the Russian armed forces.

Russia’s Defense Ministry says cruise missiles launched from the sea were used to destroy four S-300 air defense missile systems on the southern outskirts of the city of Dnipro and kill about 25 Ukrainian soldiers.

The ministry did not say which country supplied the air defense systems destroyed in Sunday’s strike.

Asked by the Associated Press whether Russia destroyed Slovak-supplied S-300s, Slovakian Foreign Minister Ivan Korko said “we have no evidence of that.”

“We are hearing news from that side, but we cannot confirm it based on information provided by Ukraine. The Ukrainian side has excluded it,” he said at an EU meeting in Luxembourg.

Korkov says Slovakia is supplying the system “because we want to strengthen Ukraine’s air defense.”

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Major Developments in the Russo-Ukraine War:

– Ukraine’s defenders dig in as Russia ramps up shelling

– Biden, Modi will speak for tougher stance on Russia as US press

— Ukrainian nuns open the doors of their monastery to the displaced

– US suspects new Russian war chief could end Moscow’s plight

— ANALYSIS: War could weaken economy, Putin’s place as leader

— Visit here for more coverage

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Other Developments:

Zagreb, Croatia – Croatia is expelling 24 Russian diplomats and other embassy staff, joining other European countries that have done so.

The Croatian Foreign Ministry said on Monday it had summoned Russia’s ambassador to Zagreb and conveyed it “strongly condemned the brutal aggression on Ukraine and the many crimes committed”.

The Croatian ministry said the Russian side has been urged to stop military activities, withdraw its troops and evacuate civilians, and provide humanitarian aid. The statement said that Croatia hopes that those responsible for the crimes will be brought to justice.

Several EU countries have expelled Russian diplomats following the killings in Buka and other Ukrainian cities. Croatia says it has asked 18 diplomats and six Russian embassy staff to leave the country.

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Vatican City – A Ukrainian and a Russian family will join those carrying crosses as part of a traditional Good Friday procession presided over by Pope Francis at the Colosseum, the Vatican says.

The Vatican on Monday released some details about the torch-lit cross ceremony in the ancient region that attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourists to Rome during Holy Week. In the procession, participants pass a long, light cross to the other participants, and prayers and meditations are read aloud.

The Vatican said without elaborating, the meditations composed for this year’s night march are “inspired by the lives of each family.”

Handing out the cross to Ukrainian and Russian families would be a family that has dealt with the loss of a child. Ukrainians and Russians will crucify a family of migrants in return.

Repeatedly condemning the loss of civilian lives, the pope has voiced increasingly painful calls for an end to the “foolishness of the war” in Ukraine and a return to talks. But he has stopped condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin for his role in launching the offensive on 24 February.

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BRUSSELS – Ireland’s foreign minister says the EU should consider imposing sanctions on Russia’s oil industry, but cautioned that staying unified is most important for the 27-nation bloc.

Many EU countries are dependent on Russian oil and gas imports. After much debate, the bloc last week agreed to a phase-out of sanctions on coal imports over Moscow’s war on Ukraine.

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney says that “we need to take a maximalist approach to sanctions, offering the strongest possible barriers to continuing this war and brutality.”

Speaking at the gathering of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Monday, Coveney said: “In our view, this should include oil. We know that it is very difficult for some member states and we need to work in the whole of the EU.” A united position has to be maintained.”

The European Commission’s executive arm, the European Commission, is assessing what more can be done with the new package of sanctions.

Coveney says, “The EU is spending hundreds of millions of euros on importing oil from Russia. It is certainly contributing to the funding of this war. And in our view, we need to cut back on war funding.” “

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MOSCOW – The Russian military says it has destroyed a consignment of air defense missile systems supplied by the West.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said the military used sea-launched Kalibr cruise missiles to destroy four S-300 air defense missile launchers on the southern outskirts of the city of Dnipro. He said about 25 Ukrainian soldiers were also affected in Sunday’s attack.

Konashenkov said in a statement on Monday that Ukraine had received air defense systems from a European country, which he did not name. Konashenkov’s claim could not be independently verified.

Last week, Slovakia said it has handed over its Soviet-designed S-300 air defense systems to Ukraine, which has urged the West to give it more weapons, including long-range air defense systems.

Slovakia’s prime minister’s office issued a statement late Sunday telling the news that the S-300 system delivered to Ukraine had been “disruptively” destroyed. However, it was not clear whether the two sides were referring to the same airstrike. Russia has targeted missile defense systems at three different locations in recent days.

Seoul, South Korea – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday called on South Korea to provide military weapons to help his country fight against invading Russian forces.

Zelensky’s video address to South Korean lawmakers came hours after Seoul’s defense ministry confirmed it had rejected Ukraine’s request for anti-aircraft weapons. The ministry cited the government’s principle of limiting military aid to non-lethal supplies.

Referring to South Korea’s official name, Zelensky said, “The Republic of Korea has tanks, ships and various equipment that can intercept Russian missiles and we would be grateful if the Republic of Korea could help us fight against Russia.” “

Zelensky, whose comments were dubbed by a translator during the televised speech, thanked South Korea for participating in US-led economic sanctions against Moscow, but said sanctions alone are not enough.

He highlighted Russia’s brutal takeover of Mariupol, stopping his speech to play a video showing rocket-hit buildings, Russian tanks firing as they rolled through destroyed streets and weeping over dead relatives in overwhelmed hospitals. People who happened “Russia is aiming to destroy Ukraine’s independence and isolate the country. It is trying to destroy the culture and language of the Ukrainian nation,” Zelensky said.

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Rome – About 90,000 refugees from the war in Ukraine have arrived in Italy. Italy’s Interior Ministry said on Monday that most of them travel to Milan, Rome, Naples and Bologna, providing data on Monday. According to the Italian government, the vast majority of those who visit live with relatives or friends of the approximately 250,00 Ukrainians who have been living and working in Italy for years. The refugees include some 46,000 women and 33,000 minors. For those who do not already have a place to live, many are being hosted by charity groups, church organizations and towns across Italy.

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BRUSSELS – Austria’s foreign minister says Chancellor Karl Nehmer is carrying “very clear messages of a humanitarian and political kind” to his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

Foreign Minister Alexander Schellenberg said on Monday that Nehamer decided to visit Kyiv on Saturday after a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and contacts with leaders of Turkey, Germany and the European Union.

Schalenberg said before a meeting with his EU counterparts in Luxembourg that “we do not want to leave any opportunity unattended and must seize every opportunity to end the humanitarian hell in Ukraine.”

He added that “every voice that makes it clear to President Putin what reality looks like outside the Kremlin walls is not a vain voice.”

Schalenberg said Nehmer and Putin would meet face-to-face without media opportunities. He insisted that Austria had done everything to ensure that the visit was not abused, “and I think he (Putin) himself should be interested in telling the truth to someone and really finding out what’s out there.” What are you saying.”

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BRUSSELS – Germany’s foreign minister says Ukraine needs heavy weapons to defend itself and this is not the time for “excuses”.

Ukraine’s president has warned that his country is facing a critical time and that Russian troops will intensify operations in the east.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Berbock, arriving for a meeting with her EU counterparts on Monday, said: “It is clear that Ukraine needs military material more than all heavy weapons, and now is not the time for excuses – now is the time.” There is creativity and practicality.”

Germany broke with foreign policy conventions after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to supply arms, but faced criticism from Kyiv for perceived hesitation and slowness in providing materials.

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BRUSSELS — EU foreign ministers are meeting to assess the effectiveness of the bloc’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine amid concerns about Moscow’s preparedness for a major offensive in the East.

The minister will hold talks with Prosecutor-General Karim AA Khan of the International Criminal Court as Western pressure mounts to hold those responsible for any war crimes in Ukraine.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who is chairing Monday’s meeting in Luxembourg, called the “brutal, brutal aggression” of Russian troops.

Borrell, who is in Ukraine over the weekend, says EU sanctions against Russia are “always on the table.”

He says he fears “Russian troops are launching massive offensives to the east to attack the Donbass,” the former region after Moscow withdrew its forces from around the capital Kyiv last week.

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LONDON – Britain’s Defense Ministry says Ukraine has withstood several attacks by Kremlin forces in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, resulting in the destruction of Russian tanks, vehicles and artillery.

In an intelligence update released Monday morning, the ministry says Russian shelling continues in the two eastern regions.

“Russia’s continued reliance on unguided bombs reduces their ability to discriminate when targeting and attack, while greatly increasing the risk of civilian casualties,” the ministry said.

The ministry also said that Russia’s “prior use” of phosphorus weapons in the Donetsk region raises the possibility that they could be used in Mariupol as fighting intensifies for the city on Ukraine’s southern coast.

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand – New Zealand will send a military transport plane and a support team of 50 to Europe, as well as give Britain money to buy weapons, as it significantly enhances its response to the war in Ukraine.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday that the C130 Hercules aircraft would travel across Europe to carry essential equipment and supplies to major distribution centres. It said the plane would not fly directly over Ukraine because most of the military equipment is transported by land in the country.

Ardern said his government would spend an additional 13 million New Zealand dollars ($9 million) on military and human rights support, including NZ$7.5 million to buy arms and ammunition for Britain.

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