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A view of a tank with the Ukrainian flag painted on it in Klymentove, Ukraine, in this still image taken from drone video released by the Ukrainian Armed Forces March 20, 2022. - Sputnik International

LIVE UPDATES: Ukrainian Nationalists Are Taking Food Away From Donbass Civilians - LPR Ombudsperson

On 24 February, Moscow launched a special military operation in Ukraine to "demilitarise and de-Nazify" the country following an appeal from the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk for help in defending themselves against Ukrainian forces.
As the Russian special op in Ukraine is underway, on Friday, the head of the Russian delegation in the negotiations with Ukraine, Vladimir Medinsky, announced that Moscow held talks with Kiev via videoconferencing.
The most recent in-person round of negotiations took place on 29 March in Istanbul, Turkey. Moscow has announced its intention to scale down military activities in the Kiev and Chernigov regions and focus on its goals in Donbass.
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03:24 GMT 03.04.2022
Ukrainian Nationalists Take Food Away From Donbass Civilians - LPR Ombudsperson
Militants from Ukrainian nationalist battalions are taking humanitarian aid away from civilians in Donbass, Victoria Serdyukova, the Human Rights Commissioner of the Lugansk People's Republic (LPR), told Sputnik.

"Sometimes cars with this humanitarian aid arrive from the territory of Ukraine. Under shelling, people come to the part of the city where the humanitarian convoy will be located. Members of nationalist battalions arrive there with weapons in their hands, and they forbid them to receive this humanitarian aid. They take it for themselves. This is not an isolated case", Serdyukova said.

The ombudsperson added that nationalists and Ukrainian security forces have been driving people out of basements and bomb shelters in cities across the Donbass that are still under the control of Kiev's forces.

"...they did not hesitate to force them [civilians] to leave the basements, they were forced to go up to the upper floors, to the apartments", Serdyukova told Sputnik.
23:09 GMT 02.04.2022
A Ukrainian serviceman stands on board a coast guard ship (File) - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.04.2022
Over 60 Foreign Ships Remain Blocked in Ukrainian Ports - Russian Defence Ministry
21:34 GMT 02.04.2022
Russia Ready to Help Evacuate Foreigners Held Hostage by Ukrainian Nationalists
A decision has been made in accordance with a request by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Russian President Vladimir Putin to help evacuate foreigners held hostage by Ukrainian nationalist battalions in Mariupol, the head of the Russian National Defence Control Centre, Mikhail Mizintsev, said.
"In accordance with the request of the president of the Republic of Turkey to the president of the Russian Federation V. V. Putin, a decision was made to provide full assistance in the evacuation of citizens of foreign countries held hostage by the remaining militants of nationalist battalions in certain areas of Mariupol", Mizintsev said.

He specified that Russian troops are opening a humanitarian corridor from Mariupol to Berdyansk starting 00:00 Moscow time on Sunday (21:00 GMT on Saturday). Foreigners can be evacuated from Berdyansk along any of the available humanitarian paths and Russia is ready to ensure the entry and exit of ships for evacuation to the port of Berdyansk, Mizintsev said.

"The humanitarian operation is only possible with the full assistance of the Kiev authorities for the passage of the humanitarian convoy from Mariupol, strict observance of the 'ceasefire regime' during the evacuation, as well as the exclusion of the threat of shelling ships when they are leaving the port and along the entire passage route", Mizintsev emphasised.
20:22 GMT 02.04.2022
Kiev Says Conducting Talks With Beijing on Security Guarantees
Member of the Ukrainian delegation at talks with Russia, David Arakhamia claimed on Saturday that Kiev is holding talks with Beijing on security guarantees.

Earlier in the day, Director of the Department of European Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Wang Lutong commenting on the Chinese-EU summit held on Friday, said that China has not received any requests from Kiev asking Beijing to become a security guarantor for Ukraine.

"The negotiations are being conducted with China via diplomatic channels, so that it becomes a guarantor country for Ukraine," Arakhamia was quoted as saying by Strana.ua Telegram channel.

He also noted that the issue of providing security guarantees with China is worked out less than with other countries.

Earlier, the Ukrainian side indicated that Kiev adopt a neutral status under a system of security guarantees from UNSC members, including Germany, Canada, Poland, Israel and Turkey.
18:33 GMT 02.04.2022
Flags of NATO member countries flap in the wind outside NATO headquarters in Brussels, Feb. 22, 2022.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.04.2022
Decision on Finland’s Possible Accession to NATO Should Be Made in Spring, Prime Minister Says
17:42 GMT 02.04.2022
Kremlin: Network of Labs for Developing New Bioweapons Against Certain Ethnic Groups Created Around Russia, Belarus Under US Programme
17:30 GMT 02.04.2022
Officers watch maneuvers during joint Russian-Belarusian drills in Russia's Nizhny Novgorod region, file photo. - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.04.2022
Moscow's Support for Minsk 'Absolute', Attack on Belarus Would Be Equal to Strike on Russia: Kremlin
17:15 GMT 02.04.2022
WATCH Russian Iskander Strike Destroy Ukrainian Nationalists' HQ in Kharkov
16:37 GMT 02.04.2022
Belarus Will Start Paying For Russian Oil and Gas in Rubles This Year, PM Says
Belarus will begin to pay in rubles for oil and gas supplied from Russia this year as it is beneficial for both countries, Belarusian Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko said on Saturday.

"We have switched to rubles in payments for energy resources. This is very important, this is what we have been striving for for a very long time, decoupling settlements from the dollar, now we will pay in the Russian ruble. This is not because Moscow is now demanding to make payments in Russian national currency from the West. It is economically beneficial for us, we have always fought for this. This year we will pay for oil and gas in Russian rubles", Golovchenko said in an interview with the broadcaster Belarus 1.
16:33 GMT 02.04.2022
Russian MoD: 125 Ukrainian Planes, 381 UAVs Destroyed Since Start of Special Operation
16:29 GMT 02.04.2022
Russian Air Forces Hit 28 Ukrainian Military Targets on Saturday, Russian MoD Says
16:26 GMT 02.04.2022
Russian MoD: LPR Forces Continue Advancing Toward Positions of Ukrainian 57th Motorised Infantry Brigade
16:15 GMT 02.04.2022
Russian Forces Kill Over 100 Nationalists, Mercenaries in High-Precision Iskander Strike Against Defence HQ in Kharkov
16:03 GMT 02.04.2022
525 Ukrainian Servicemen Have Joined DPR Forces Since Start of Russian Op, Donetsk Says
16:01 GMT 02.04.2022
DPR Forces Say 59 Ukrainian Nationalists Killed in the Past 24 Hours
15:47 GMT 02.04.2022
Lithuania Says It's No Longer Dependent on Russian Gas
14:59 GMT 02.04.2022
Kremlin Believes Confrontation With EU Can Be Resolved
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, speaking on Saturday about Russia's tense relations with the European Union, said that there is a way out of all complicated situations.
"There are always ways out. From any confrontation, from any difficult situation, there are always ways out", Peskov told the broadcaster Rossiya 1.
14:30 GMT 02.04.2022
DPR: 328 Civilians, Including 72 Children, Evacuated From Mariupol on Saturday
14:28 GMT 02.04.2022
German Economy Minister: Russian Gas Supply 'Still Guaranteed'
Germany is still receiving Russian gas, but is preparing for all scenarios, Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Robert Habeck said.

"Currently, the gas supply is still guaranteed... [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's statements are contradictory. Therefore, it is good that the emergency early warning level has been introduced. It helps the provision. Nobody can wish for an escalation", Habeck said in an interview with the Rheinische Post.

According to Habeck, Berlin is "ready for anything" as now it is necessary to "think through even the most unlikely scenarios".

Abandoning the boycott of Russian gas was the right move, as the situation was fraught with a split in German business and society, Habeck added.

On Wednesday, Habeck announced an early warning level in anticipation of Moscow cutting off gas exports over Western sanctions imposed on the country due to its military operation in Ukraine.

On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree, stipulating that all contracts for gas supplies with companies registered in "unfriendly" countries be settled in rubles. The measure only concerns Gazprom's pipeline exports, with the company expecting to receive first ruble payments in the second half of April and in May.
14:21 GMT 02.04.2022
Russian Rights Advocate Says Conditions for Captive Ukrainian Troops Up to Standard
Russian Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova said on Saturday that detention conditions at holding facilities for captured Ukrainian troops in Crimea meet international standards.

"The conditions of detention of [Ukrainian] captives on our side strictly comply with the norms set by international laws", Moskalkova said after reviewing the housing provided by the Russian Defence Ministry.

The ministry said that all Ukrainian troops who laid down their arms were granted accommodation, rations, and medical assistance.

Moskalkova said Ukrainians described their treatment as "humane". For her part, the rights advocate noted that the conditions of their detention were "ideal" and in line with the Geneva Convention on Prisoners of War.

She urged the Ukrainian authorities to ensure the dignified treatment of captive Russian personnel and civilians after videos appeared online allegedly depicting Ukrainian troops torturing and brutally murdering Russian soldiers.
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