Lithuania joins Canada in acknowledging Russian actions in Ukraine as genocide

Latest political developments

  • The UN’s top human rights body will hold a special session on Thursday to discuss the deteriorating human rights situation in Ukraine.

  • Lithuania has joined Canada in acknowledging Russia’s actions as genocide.

  • Head of UN human rights monitoring mission says death toll in Ukraine is probably considerably higher than the official figure, which is 3,381 civilians killed.

  • The RuTube website, essentially a Russian version of YouTube, is down for a second day after a cyberattack.

  • German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock visited a mass grave in Bucha and promised that the international community would hold those responsible for the “worst crimes imaginable” to account.

War Day 76 Terrain Updates

  • Ukraine said its forces had villages recaptured from Russian troops in the north and northeast of Kharkiv.

  • 1 dead and 5 injured after Russia fired seven missiles at the port city of Odessa.

  • Ukrainian troops take position at a steelworks in Mariupol, the last remaining stronghold in the strategic port city of Mariupol.

Calls to prosecute alleged war crimes

A cemetery worker takes a break after working on the graves of civilians killed in Bucha during the war with Russia, on the outskirts of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv on April 14. (Rodrigo Abd/Associated Press)

Lithuania’s parliament has voted unanimously to label Russia’s actions in Ukraine as “genocide” and “terrorism”, two weeks after a similar decision by Canadian lawmakers.

Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte co-sponsored the motion, which listed evidence of alleged war crimes including the deliberate killing of civilians, gang rape, forcible displacement of Ukrainian citizens to Russia, and destruction of economic infrastructure and cultural sites.

Lithuania has also called for an international tribunal, inspired by the Nuremberg trials after World War II.

Later this week, the UN’s top human rights body is expected to hold a special session to discuss the deteriorating human rights situation on the ground.

US President Joe Biden has previously said he believes invading Ukraine amounts to genocide, but will leave it to lawyers to make a final decision.

Moscow denies targeting civilians and describes its invasion as a “special military operation”, which Russian President Vladimir Putin has blamed on the West, NATO and Ukraine’s hostilities.

Russia attacks with “the dagger”

Firefighters walk past a building damaged by Russian shelling in Odessa, Ukraine on April 23. On Monday, Ukrainian officials reported that Russian forces fired seven missiles from the air in Odessa, hitting a shopping center and a warehouse. (Max Pshybyshevsky/Associated Press)

On Monday, a deluge of attacks hit the strategically placed port city of Odessa in Ukraine after Putin marked his country’s biggest patriotic holiday without being able to boast of major battlefield successes.

The Ukrainian military said Russian forces fired seven missiles at Odessa, hitting a shopping center and a warehouse. One person was killed and five others injured.

The Center for Defense Strategies, a Ukrainian think tank that tracks the war, said in the attack a Russian supersonic bomber fired three hypersonic missiles. He identified the weapons used as Kinzhal, or “Dagger”, hypersonic air-to-surface missiles.

The Kinzhal can fly at five times the speed of sound. The use of advanced guided missiles allows Russia to fire from aircraft remotely without being in Ukrainian airspace and without being exposed to possible anti-aircraft fire.

The UN says the death toll is considerably higher

According to the latest update Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, 3,381 civilians have been killed and 3,680 injured in Ukraine since the invasion began at 4 a.m. on February 24.

But the head of the UN human rights monitoring mission, Matilda Bogner, said the death toll would be considerably higher than official records show.

Bogner said the mission had received information that more than 300 men, women and children were unlawfully killed in Bucha during the Russian occupation.

The European head of the World Health Organization has also released sobering figures, reporting some 200 attacks in Ukraine on health facilities and estimating that at least 3,000 people have died in the country as a result. a lack of access to treatment for chronic diseases.

WATCH | The World Health Organization calls for a ceasefire to end the suffering:

Ukrainian health system hit by 200 direct attacks, WHO says

The World Health Organization urges an immediate humanitarian ceasefire to end the suffering of Russia’s widespread assault on Ukraine’s healthcare systems, its workers and the sick and injured. 1:15

A German diplomat describes the horrors of Bucha

On Tuesday, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock visited a mass grave in Bucha.

She promised the international community would hold those responsible to account, saying “the worst crimes imaginable” had been perpetrated in Bucha.

Witnesses described how Russian soldiers apparently targeted civilians at random, leaving their bodies lying in the street after withdrawing from the area on March 31.

Speaking to reporters at a damaged church, Baerbock said he heard stories of people who had lost loved ones during the occupation, including people killed in a supermarket while shopping, and the story of how a woman and her two children were shot as they tried to flee.

Tetyana Boikiv, right, meets and kisses her neighbor, Svitlana Pryimachenko, at a funeral service for her husband, Mykola Moroz, near Bucha, Ukraine, April 26. Moroz was captured by the Russian army from his home in the village of Ozera, taken for several weeks to an unknown location and finally found shot dead about 10 miles from his home. (Emilio Morenatti/Associated Press)

Cyberattacks target Russian sites

State-owned company websites and news websites have been subject to sporadic hacking efforts since Russia invaded Ukraine.

RuTube, a Russian video platform similar to YouTube, is down for a second day following a cyberattack.

In a separate incident on Monday, Russian satellite TV menus were hacked to show viewers in Moscow messages about events in Ukraine, including ‘You have blood on your hands’, according to screenshots obtained by Reuters.

Intense fighting continues in the east

In the port city of Mariupol, in the south of the country, the Ukrainian defenders are still entrenched in a steelworks, where they are fighting a last battle.

Ukrainian officials now say around 100 civilians are still trapped in the Azovstal steelworks, despite earlier reports that all women, children and the elderly had been rescued.

After fierce and unexpected resistance forced the Kremlin to abandon its efforts to storm kyiv more than a month ago, Moscow’s forces turned their attention to capturing Donbass, the industrial region of east of Ukraine.

But the fighting there has been back and forth, village by village. Some analysts have suggested that Putin could declare the fighting a war, not just a “special military operation”, and order a national mobilization and call for reserves to fight a protracted conflict.