Security Issues

The Russians Lost Nearly An Entire Battalion Trying To Cross A River In Eastern Ukraine

The better part of a Russian army battalion—50 or so vehicles and up to a thousand troops—in recent days tried to cross a pontoon bridge spanning the Siverskyi Donets River, running west to east between the separatist provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine.

The Russians Lost Nearly An Entire Battalion Trying To Cross A River In Eastern Ukraine

David Axe, Forbes Staff – 30m ago
 

The better part of a Russian army battalion—50 or so vehicles and up to a thousand troops—in recent days tried to cross a pontoon bridge spanning the Siverskyi Donets River, running west to east between the separatist provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian artillery caught them at the river bank—and destroyed them. The rapid destruction of around three dozen tanks and other armored vehicles, along with the bridge itself, underscores Russia’s deepening woes as its troops try, and fail, to make meaningful gains in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region.

“We still assess Russian ground force in the Donbas to be slow and uneven,” an unnamed U.S. Defense Department official told reporters on Tuesday. The Russians’ inability to cross rivers might explain their sloth.

The Siverskyi Donets, which threads from southern Russia into eastern Ukraine then back into Russia, is just one of several water barriers Russian battalions must cross in order to advance west into Ukrainian-held territory. According to the Ukrainian armed forces’ general staff, the battalion that got caught at the pontoon bridge apparently was trying to strike at Lyman, a city of 20,000 that lies 17 miles west of the doomed pontoon bridge.

The Ukrainian army’s 17th Tank Brigade spotted the crossing, perhaps using one of the many small drones that function as the Ukrainian army’s eyes over the battlefield. The 17th is one of the army’s four active tank brigades. Its four line battalions operate T-64 tanks and BMP fighting vehicles. But it was the brigade’s artillery battalion with its 2S1 122-millimeter howitzers that apparently got first crack at the Russian bridge.

The 17th’s shelling destroyed at least seven T-72 and T-80 tanks, 17 BMPs, seven MT-LB armored tractors, five other vehicles and much of the bridging unit itself, including a tugboat and the pontoon span.

It’s unclear how many Russians died or were wounded, but it’s worth noting that no battalion can lose three-quarters of its vehicles and remain capable of operations. In one strike, the Ukrainians removed from the battlefield one of roughly the 99 Russian battalion tactical groups in Ukraine.

In the aftermath of their defeat, local Russian forces are sticking to their side of the river, “trying to hold positions on the right bank,” according to the general staff in Kyiv. The disastrous river-crossing comes as Russian forces also are retreating away from the city of Kharkiv, farther north.

To be fair to Moscow, crossing any water obstacle during wartime is dangerous. The Ukrainians can claim perhaps the most lopsided victory over an enemy bridging effort, but the Russians have knocked out some Ukrainian bridges, too.

China: The elderly people struggling in Shanghai’s quarantine centres

A previous illness has left the 90-year-old with one numb leg, making walking difficult. The facility's toilet block is more than 100m from her bed, so she has been trying to avoid drinking too much water to spare herself a trip to the bathroom.

China: The elderly people struggling in Shanghai’s quarantine centres

 
 
 
·5 min read
 
 
A medical worker takes a swab sample from an elderly resident who can't go out conveniently to be tested for the COVID-19 coronavirus at his home in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province
 
File photo of an elderly resident in China

Thousands of elderly people in the Chinese city of Shanghai have been hit hard by a lockdown that has now dragged on for five weeks.

Since the outbreak began in early March, more than 500,000 people have tested positive for the virus. Nearly 10,000 of those people have been aged over 80.

China’s Covid rules demand that anyone who is infected, or a close contact, must be sent to a state-run quarantine centre.

It is not uncommon for hundreds of people to be put together in such centres. Images shared on social media have showed unsanitary conditions, with clogged up toilets and overflowing rubbish bins.

One woman in Shanghai told the BBC that her 90-year-old grandmother who is in one such centre, is struggling with unsanitary conditions, unable to sleep properly, and has largely been left to fend for herself.

She now fears her 91-year-old grandfather, who has also tested positive, will also be dragged to a centre – which she says will effectively be a death sentence.

Her grandmother was the first to fall sick, said the woman, who asked to remain anonymous.

The lady tested positive on 17 April – despite having never left the house since the outbreak began. The past two weeks have been a real struggle.

A previous illness has left the 90-year-old with one numb leg, making walking difficult. The facility’s toilet block is more than 100m from her bed, so she has been trying to avoid drinking too much water to spare herself a trip to the bathroom.

Rest is also fleeting in the strained, communal conditions. Fluorescent lights are on 24 hours a day and so she’s been unable to sleep properly, her granddaughter says.

“Luckily there’s a warm-hearted [woman] in the quarantine centre. She accompanies my grandma to the toilet and assists her with eating.”

“If my grandma was there alone, she wouldn’t [be able to] survive at all.”

She added that her grandmother hasn’t received any medical drugs or “proper treatment” – only supplies of traditional Chinese medicine which medical experts say have no documented effect in treating or relieving Covid symptoms.

However, desperate to recover and leave the centre, her grandmother has taken whatever she has been given. This, her granddaughter claims, has led to various medical conditions, including diarrhoea.

She’s desperate to get her grandmother out, or at least to a hospital where she can be properly looked after. But community officials insist they will not let her out until she tests negative.

“When I called her, she repeated ‘I want to go home. I want to go home soon,” she said. “She’s also worried about my grandpa who’s at home.”

Forced against their will

Her biggest fear now is that her 91-year-old grandfather, who has now also tested positive for Covid, will be forced to enter the centre. On Wednesday, community officials warned this would happen soon.

Her grandfather is bedridden as a result of a stroke, and suffers from diabetes and hypertension. He can’t go to the toilet without help, and relies on a live-in carer at home.

“He just can’t go to quarantine centres or hotels,” she said. “The hygiene situation there is worrying. Old people can’t adapt to such environments. How can he live there?”

A child accompanied by her mother studies while receiving treatment in the quarantine zone at the Shanghai New International Expo Center on April 10, 2022
 
It is not uncommon for hundreds to live in such quarantine centre

His granddaughter says his Covid symptoms have been minimal – with only a dry cough so far. Rest at home is all he needs, she said.

“We argued with a community official – that if you send him to quarantine centre, you are actually forcing him to [die],” she said.

But officials say they have to follow government orders. Her family says they will take action if he is forcibly taken.

A community official contacted by the BBC said they have offered the family the option of home quarantine for him – his granddaughter told the BBC that officials called her an hour later and informed them of this offer.

She says she’s heard of another elderly person in their neighbourhood, a 94-year-old woman who’d become infected, who had been taken against her wishes.

Police came for her at midnight, she said.

“It’s just terrifying,” she said. “The government has to give us a solution. [At the moment] they’re just using old people’s lives to achieve this goal of ‘zero Covid’.”

The government she says, needs to allow old people to quarantine at home, instead of forcing them into such centres.

Other patients in such centres have also told the BBC about how hard it is for elderly people.

“There’s just not enough medical resources now. Old people can’t be treated in hospital like in normal days,” said the Shanghai resident, who wished to be identified only as Mr Wu.

However, he added that many physically-impaired elderly people were being cared for by staff and doctors to the best of their ability, adding that centres were also preparing special meals for them.

“Quarantine centres are not as good as hospitals. But I feel the country has tried its best to look after them,” he said.

The vaccination problem

The latest outbreak in Shanghai, first detected in early March, has seen around 500,000 cases recorded so far and 337 deaths.

Nearly all victims have been elderly, unvaccinated residents with underlying health problems, according to Chinese officials.

In this instance, both the woman’s grandmother and grandfather are unvaccinated.

Their granddaughter says they want to take the vaccine as they were afraid of potential side effects.

Chart of vaccine rate among different age groups in China
 
Chart of vaccine rate among different age groups in China

China has given more than 3.3 billion doses of the Covid vaccine and vaccinated over 88% of its entire population.

But vaccine rates among people over the age of 80 – who are among the most vulnerable – remain a lot lower than other age groups.

In Shanghai, only around 62% of the elderly population are double vaccinated, with around 38% having received their booster.

Pakistan attack: China condemns killing of tutors in Pakistan blast

New Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif made a personal visit to the Chinese embassy in Islamabad on Tuesday to meet officials. In a rare move, He also presented them with a handwritten letter, reaffirming his government's commitment "to eliminating all militants and terrorists from Pakistani soil".

Pakistan attack: China condemns killing of tutors in Pakistan blast

 
 
·3 min read
 
 
Pakistani security officials inspect the scene of an explosion in Karachi, Pakistan, 26 April 2022.
 
The blast happened near the Confucius Institute in Karachi

China has condemned an attack that killed three of its citizens in Pakistan, demanding that Islamabad fight against those involved.

Three Chinese tutors and a Pakistani driver were killed in a suicide bombing near Karachi University’s Confucius Institute on Tuesday.

The separatist Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) said it carried out the attack.

The incident poses a key challenge for a government freshly-installed after weeks of political turmoil.

A long time ally and key investor in the country, China is heavily involved in large development projects across Pakistan. But the BLA, which is banned in Pakistan, opposes Chinese investment in the country, saying locals do not benefit.

 

Confucius Institutes are a key part of China’s soft diplomacy strategies across the world.

What have China and Pakistan said?

“China expresses its strong condemnation and great indignation at this major terrorist attack,” deputy director of the Chinese foreign ministry Zhao Lijian tweeted on Wednesday.

He urged Pakistani authorities to “deal with the aftermath” and “resolutely fight against terrorist organisations involved in the case”.

Top level Pakistan officials have also scrambled to appease China since the incident.

New Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif made a personal visit to the Chinese embassy in Islamabad on Tuesday to meet officials. In a rare move, He also presented them with a handwritten letter, reaffirming his government’s commitment “to eliminating all militants and terrorists from Pakistani soil”.

“We won’t rest until the culprits are hunted down and given exemplary punishment,” he wrote.

The chief minister of Sindh province – of which Karachi is the capital – also visited the Chinese consulate, reassuring officials that Pakistan “values the services rendered by Chinese experts in the country and the province” and that those involved would be “brought to justice”.

In a statement, Pakistan’s foreign office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar termed the incident “reprehensible” and a “direct attack” on Pakistan-China relations.

Former prime minister Imran Khan, who was ousted from power in early April, also weighed in, calling the incident “yet another attack with a specific agenda of trying to undermine Pakistan-China strategic relationship”.

What did the BLA say?

The separatist Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) said the suicide bomber had been a woman.

It released a photo of a woman in fatigues raising two fingers in salute who it said had carried out the attack, and named her as Shari Baloch alias Bramsh.

Balochistan, rich in natural resources but Pakistan’s poorest province, is home to a long-running insurgency.

It is being transformed by major Chinese infrastructure projects on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a network of roads, railway and pipelines between the two countries which forms part of Beijing’s ambitious Belt and Road initiative.

What is the significance of the Confucius Institutes?

The three Chinese nationals killed were teaching at the Confucius Institute of University of Karachi, which aimed to “deepen international understanding of Chinese language and culture, and promoting people-to-people exchanges between China and Pakistan”.

Since its inception in 2013 however, the faculty members – who were mostly Chinese nationals – had faced threats to their safety and had to follow strict security protocols, according to Pakistan daily newspaper Dawn.

They were escorted by a security detail to and from the institute every day and to their classrooms, where students would be frisked before being allowed to enter.

The Confucius Institute is a Chinese government-run global education programme.

The institutes are seen as a way to exercise “soft power”, with China spending approximately $10 bn (£7.8 bn) a year on CIs and related programmes, according to a 2018 report from the Council of Foreign Relations.

The institutes operate in co-operation with affiliate colleges and universities around the world. However the close relationship between these institutes and the Chinese government has sparked concerns over issues like academic freedom and political influence, especially over controversial topics like Taiwan, Tibet and Uighurs in Xinjiang.

In 2020, the US designated the Confucius Institute as a foreign propaganda mission, saying it was “owned or effectively controlled” by a foreign government.

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Anger mounts among locked-down Shanghai residents as city reports more COVID deaths

China's major financial hub of Shanghai reported more new COVID-19 related deaths on April 22, as residents vented their anger over a harsh lockdown and strict censorship online.

Anger mounts among locked-down Shanghai residents as city reports more COVID deaths

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By David Stanway

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s major financial hub of Shanghai reported more new COVID-19 related deaths on April 22, as residents vented their anger over a harsh lockdown and strict censorship online.

Shanghai’s full-city lockdown began at the start of April, though many people have been confined to their homes for much longer, and the stress began to tell on the residents.

The city, battling China’s biggest coronavirus outbreak so far, reported 12 new COVID-19 deaths on Friday, up from 11 a day before.

The patients who died had an average age of 88, the Shanghai government said. All had underlying health conditions, and none had been vaccinated.

On social media, netizens battled against censors overnight to share a six-minute video entitled “The Voice of April”, a montage of voices recorded over the course of the Shanghai outbreak.

Panning across Shanghai’s silent skyscrapers, the video consists of residents complaining about the lack of food and medicine, as well as the heavy-handed tactics of city authorities.

All direct references to the film were removed from the Weibo microblogging service by Saturday morning, though some comments criticising the censorship survived.

“I can only say that if you don’t even want to listen to just a small amount of real voices, then it is really hopeless,” said one.

Many were reminded of the anger that erupted on social media two years ago following the death from COVID-19 of Li Wenliang, a doctor reprimanded by police for sharing “false” information about a new SARS-like infectious disease in Wuhan in late 2019.

“Dr. Li, after two years nothing has changed,” said another Weibo user. “We still can’t open our mouths, still can’t speak.”

‘GRIT OUR TEETH’

Despite the anger and frustrations among residents in Shanghai’s sealed off residential compounds, local officials maintain there will be no relaxation until new cases outside of quarantine areas have all been cleared.

“The more critical the period becomes, the more we need to grit our teeth and focus our strength,” Shanghai Mayor Gong Zheng was quoted as saying on Shanghai’s official government WeChat channel late on Friday.

The number of cases outside quarantine areas stood at 218 on Friday, down from 250 the previous day.

There were 20,634 new local asymptomatic infections in the city, rebounding from 15,698 on Thursday. Total new symptomatic cases reached 2,736, up from 1,931 on April 21, official data showed.

“One strategy that needs immediate implementation is to increase rates of the booster vaccination dose to the elderly and other vulnerable groups and to see if mRNA vaccines can be used,” said Jaya Dantas, a public health expert at the Curtin School of Population Health in Australia, who is monitoring the Shanghai outbreak.

China has yet to introduce its own mRNA vaccines, and has chosen not to import those developed overseas.

In a study published by China’s Disease Prevention and Control Center on Friday, medical experts in the northeastern city of Jilin, the location of another recent outbreak, said China’s vaccines have been effective so far, though new emerging COVID-19 variants remained unpredictable.

They said “the data is strong enough to indicate the public significance of the strategy of full and booster vaccination, particularly for the elder population.”

Liang Wannian, head of a COVID-19 expert advisory body with the National Health Commission, told state television late on Friday that China’s current “dynamic” zero-COVID policies had given the country “time to prepare”, allowing it to strengthen vaccination levels.

Tang Jiafu, a city official, acknowledged on Saturday that the disruptions were putting Shanghai’s environmental health under pressure, with less than half of its sanitation workers currently active, affecting garbage collection rates.

Even after shutting down for more than 30 days, some compounds are still reporting new cases, casting doubt on the efficacy of China’s approach.

“This is a significant amount of time and does have mental health impacts: people are exhausted and frustrated,” said Dantas.

(Reporting by David Stanway and Wang Jing; Editing by Sam Holmes & Shri Navaratnam)

China reports first 3 deaths in Shanghai COVID outbreak, fueling skepticism over official numbers

China has reported its first three deaths linked to the COVID-19 outbreak in Shanghai, as the country battles its worst surge of infections since the pandemic began. According to a statement on Monday from the Shanghai Municipal Health Commission, the people who died on Sunday were aged between 89 and 91. All of them were unvaccinated. As Shanghai’s 25 million residents enter a third week of lockdown, the city on Monday recorded 22,248 new cases, 2,417 of which were symptomatic.

China reports first 3 deaths in Shanghai COVID outbreak, fueling skepticism over official numbers

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China reports first 3 deaths in Shanghai COVID outbreak, fueling skepticism over official numbers
 
·2 min read
 
 

China has reported its first three deaths linked to the COVID-19 outbreak in Shanghai, as the country battles its worst surge of infections since the pandemic began.

According to a statement on Monday from the Shanghai Municipal Health Commission, the people who died on Sunday were aged between 89 and 91. All of them were unvaccinated.

As Shanghai’s 25 million residents enter a third week of lockdown, the city on Monday recorded 22,248 new cases, 2,417 of which were symptomatic.

PHOTO: A health worker wearing personal protective equipment conducts a swab test for the COVID-19 coronavirus in Shanghai, April 17, 2022. (Liu Jin/AFP via Getty Images)
 
PHOTO: A health worker wearing personal protective equipment conducts a swab test for the COVID-19 coronavirus in Shanghai, April 17, 2022. (Liu Jin/AFP via Getty Images)

The official death toll, which is remarkably lower than those in other major cities, has fueled skepticism of the official data coming out of China.

Some experts suspect that China is attributing underlying health conditions to COVID deaths. Yanzhong Huang, a Senior Fellow for Global Health at the Council on Foreign Relations pointed to a Shanghai study that estimates there were more than 2,000 excess diabetes deaths in Shanghai associated with the lockdown.

MORE: Shanghai lockdown tests resilience of ‘Zero-COVID’ strategy, as economic and social tolls grow

Anger over the country’s hardline “Zero COVID” approach to the pandemic has been swelling in the country, particularly in Shanghai where residents have experienced food shortages and delivery difficulties.

PHOTO: A community volunteer wearing personal protective equipment gestures during a test for the COVID-19 coronavirus in a compound during a lockdown in Pudong district in Shanghai, April 17, 2022. (Liu Jin/AFP via Getty Images)
 
PHOTO: A community volunteer wearing personal protective equipment gestures during a test for the COVID-19 coronavirus in a compound during a lockdown in Pudong district in Shanghai, April 17, 2022. (Liu Jin/AFP via Getty Images)

The economic costs are also growing as the lockdown impacts the flow of goods to major shipping ports, posing disruptions to global supply chains.

On Monday, China’s State Council Vice-Premier Liu He, an economic advisor to Chinese President Xi Jinping, said that China must stabilize its supply chains with the help of local governments.

MORE: China orders 51 million into lockdown as COVID surges

Meanwhile, Shanghai’s Economic and Information Technology Commission announced plans to resume production and ease controls on manufacturers.

PHOTO: A child receives a swab test for the COVID-19 in a compound in Shanghai on April 17, 2022. (Liu Jin/AFP via Getty Images)
 
PHOTO: A child receives a swab test for the COVID-19 in a compound in Shanghai on April 17, 2022. (Liu Jin/AFP via Getty Images)

Data released on Monday showed a significant slowdown in the country’s economic activity in March. Shanghai contributes to about a third of China’s gross domestic product.

“We should solve outstanding problems one by one in key regions,” Liu said, according to Xinhua News Agency. Liu said the government will establish a so-called “white list” of companies that require assistance in recovering from disruptions.

PHOTO: Workers in a protective suits direct residents lining up for nucleic acid test during lockdown amid COVID-19 pandemic, in Shanghai, April 17, 2022. (Aly Song/Reuters)
 
PHOTO: Workers in a protective suits direct residents lining up for nucleic acid test during lockdown amid COVID-19 pandemic, in Shanghai, April 17, 2022. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Speaking with ABC News, Huang also voiced concern that prolonged lockdowns could hurt China’s competitiveness in the lockdown.

“When other countries are now learning to coexist with the virus and their economy and the manufacturing capacity is recovering, China’s export sector will be affected,” Huang said.

Huang added that it’s time for China to move away from its 2020 tactics: “Over the past two years, the Zero COVID strategy was effective in sustaining extremely low levels of infection in helping China fight this, to boost its reputation as a success by pandemic response. But now this approach are showing diminishing returns. The social economic costs associated with the approach are rising rapidly and exponentially.”

China reports first 3 deaths in Shanghai COVID outbreak, fueling skepticism over official numbers originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

Bucha massacre: Global outcry against Russia escalates as horrifying stories emerge of Ukraine atrocities

One Ukrainian lawmaker said that Russian troops beheaded an elderly woman who was trying to flee the city of Bucha, where bodies have been found in mass graves.

Bucha massacre: Global outcry against Russia escalates as horrifying stories emerge of Ukraine atrocities

Ukraine says bodies of at least 410 civilians have been found near Kyiv in recent days

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Russia is facing a rapidly escalating international outcry as more horrific images and stories are emerging of alleged atrocities being committed against Ukrainian civilians.

One Ukrainian lawmaker said that Russian troops beheaded an elderly woman who was trying to flee the city of Bucha, where bodies have been found in mass graves. 

Ukrainian parliament member Oleksiy Goncharenko said Russian troops beheaded an elderly woman who was trying to flee the city of Bucha, where bodies have been found in mass graves, describing the graphic scene in the Kyiv region as a “scene from a horror movie.” 

“That’s a real genocide. Russians should pay for these war crimes,” Goncharenko said Monday outside the vehicle where the grandmother allegedly was traveling in with her daughter and granddaughter before her gruesome death, according to Reuters.

WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES BELOW

RUSSIA INVADES UKRAINE: LIVE UPDATES 

Ukrainian officials say the bodies of 410 civilians were found in Kyiv-area towns and cities – like Bucha – that were recently retaken from Russian forces. 

Associated Press journalists saw the bodies of at least 21 people in various spots around Bucha, northwest of the capital. One group of nine, all in civilian clothes, were scattered around a site that residents said Russian troops used as a base. They appeared to have been killed at close range. At least two had their hands tied behind their backs, one was shot in the head, and another’s legs were bound. 

One resident, who refused to give his name out of fear for his safety, told the AP that Russian troops went building to building and took people out of the basements where they were hiding, checking their phones for any evidence of anti-Russian activity before taking them away or shooting them. 

Hanna Herega, another resident, said Russian troops started shooting at a neighbor who had gone out to gather wood for heating. 

“They hit him a bit above the heel, crushing the bone, and he fell down,” Herega said. “Then they shot off his left leg completely, with the boot. Then they shot him all over.” 

GRAPHIC IMAGE WARNING: Bodies lie in a mass grave in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on Sunday.

GRAPHIC IMAGE WARNING: Bodies lie in a mass grave in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on Sunday. (AP/Rodrigo Abd)

RUSSIA-CONTROLLED AREAS NEAR UKRAINE’S CAPITAL SHOW EVIDENCE OF WAR CRIMES: HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH 

Russian troops had rolled into Bucha in the early days of the invasion and stayed up until March 30. 

Russia is denying anything to do with the widespread killing of Ukrainian civilians, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying Monday that “we categorically reject the accusations.” 

Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed in a statement that fresh photos and videos of the dead bodies “have been stage managed by the Kyiv regime for the Western media.” 

Russia is also asking Monday for a meeting of the U.N. Security Council to discuss events in the city, but the U.S. and Britain have recently accused Russia of using Security Council meetings to spread disinformation. 

GRAPHIC IMAGE WARNING: A body with hands bound by white cloth, who according to residents was shot by Russian soldiers, lies in the street in Bucha, Ukraine, on Sunday.

GRAPHIC IMAGE WARNING: A body with hands bound by white cloth, who according to residents was shot by Russian soldiers, lies in the street in Bucha, Ukraine, on Sunday. (Reuters)

Meanwhile, Russia is facing a growing avalanche of criticism for its military’s actions in Ukraine during an invasion that has now lasted 40 days. 

“You can’t help but see these images as a punch to the gut,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CNN on Sunday when reacting to photos out of Bucha.  

Blinken said the U.S. is documenting any potential war crimes and vowed “accountability.” 

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Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said Monday that he hopes “everything possible can be done so that those behind these war crimes don’t go unpunished, and that they can appear before the courts, in this case the International Criminal Court, to answer these alleged cases of crimes against humanity, war crimes and, why not say it, of genocide, too.” 

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said “the Russian authorities are responsible for these atrocities, committed while they had effective control of the area,” while U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said “reports emerging from [Bucha] and other areas raise serious and disturbing questions about possible war crimes, grave breaches of international humanitarian law and serious violations of international human rights law.” 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Ukraine intelligence accuses China of hacking days before invasion: report

China allegedly launched a major cyberattack on Ukraine’s military and nuclear facilities in the lead up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to Ukrainian intelligence reports obtained by British daily newspaper The Times.

Ukraine intelligence accuses China of hacking days before invasion: report

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·2 min read
 
 

China allegedly launched a major cyberattack on Ukraine’s military and nuclear facilities in the lead up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to Ukrainian intelligence reports obtained by British daily newspaper The Times.

Ukraine’s security service said the Chinese government attempted to hack more than 600 websites belonging to the government and other key institutions, according to the report.

The security agency alleged that the attacks began before the end of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games held in Beijing and escalated the day before Russian troops invaded Ukraine on Feb. 23.

The agency added that China tried to hack several institutions, including Ukraine’s defense forces, the national bank, and the railway authority. The attacks were intended to steal data and find ways to disrupt or shut down the country’s defense and critical infrastructure, according to the report.

 

Ukrainian officials have also accused the Russians of targeting several Ukrainian government websites, including the parliament and the foreign affairs and defense ministries, in the weeks and days leading up to the invasion.

Although China hasn’t publicly declared its support or opposition to the war in Ukraine, some experts say that doesn’t mean it is not helping behind the scenes.

However, the experts were quick to explain that the collaboration between the two countries is highly unlikely because the Chinese playbook in cyberspace tends to be different than Russia’s.

“Generally, when we talk about China in cyberspace, we’re talking about cyber espionage more than cyberattacks,” said Josephine Wolff, an associate professor of cybersecurity policy at the Tufts University Fletcher School.

Chinese actors tend to target their victims by means of cyber espionage to gather intelligence and steal intellectual property and trade secrets, rather than disrupt and harm the networks and operations of critical infrastructure, the experts said.

The experts, who spoke to The Hill prior to the release of The Times article, said they hadn’t seen any credible evidence that China is helping Russia launch cyberattacks against Ukraine.

“I find it unlikely that the Russians would enlist China’s help with that,” said Michael Daniel, president and CEO at Cyber Threat Alliance.

“Russia has so much [cyber] capability on its own … it’s difficult for me to imagine that kind of collaboration,” he said.

The Chinese and Ukrainian embassies as well as the White House Office of the National Cyber Director did not respond to a request for comment on the matter.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.

Russia reveals harsh demands for ending war as talks begin; Ukraine calls evacuation routes ‘unacceptable’: Live updates

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Monday revealed Russia's harsh demands: Ukraine halt its military activity, change its Constitution to include neutrality so it can't join the EU or NATO, recognize Crimea as Russian territory and recognize independence for the separatist regions of Donetsk and Lugansk.

Russia reveals harsh demands for ending war as talks begin; Ukraine calls evacuation routes ‘unacceptable’: Live updates

Russian and Ukrainian delegations began talks Monday in Belarus aimed at ending the nascent war that has brought ruin to vast areas of Ukraine’s largest cities.

Two previous attempts to negotiate an end to the conflict, now in its 12th day, proved fruitless. The Pentagon estimates that nearly 100% of the Russian combat forces President Vladimir Putin deployed to Ukraine’s borders are now inside the country.

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Monday revealed Russia’s harsh demands: Ukraine halt its military activity, change its Constitution to include neutrality so it can’t join the EU or NATO, recognize Crimea as Russian territory and recognize independence for the separatist regions of Donetsk and Lugansk.

 

Russia’s military said it would cease fire and open humanitarian corridors in several Ukrainian cities Monday but continued to pound residential areas of the battered cities of Kyiv, Mariupol, Kharkiv and Sumy. Ukraine Defense Secretary Aleksey Danilov said Russia “violates the agreements reached, blocks the opening of green corridors, does not allow humanitarian supplies – but at the same time tries to create a false picture of a ‘joyful meeting’ of the occupiers by local residents.”

Some of the evacuation routes actually would funnel civilians toward Russia or its ally Belarus, a plan that Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk called unacceptable. U.K. Europe Minister James Cleverly agreed, saying that “evacuation routes into the arms of the country that is currently destroying yours is nonsense.”

US delegation touches down in Taiwan, sparking criticism from China

The group was sent to "demonstrate our continued robust support for Taiwan," a U.S. official told Reuters, amid increasing Chinese aggression in airspace around the country.

US delegation touches down in Taiwan, sparking criticism from China

A U.S. delegation arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday to demonstrate support for the island nation, drawing swift condemnation from China, which said the efforts were “bound to fail.”

The delegation deployed by President Biden was led by former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Mike Mullen and included four other former senior security and military officials, Reuters reported.

The group will meet President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday and were greeted by Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu.

The group was sent to “demonstrate our continued robust support for Taiwan,” a U.S. official told Reuters, amid increasing Chinese aggression in airspace around the country.

Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang called the visit “a very good thing,” adding it shows “the importance both of the Taiwan-U.S. relationship and Taiwan’s position.”

China claims Taiwan as part of its territory, while the democratically-run island says it is an independent entity.

“The will of the Chinese people to defend our country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is immovable. Whoever United States sends to show support for Taiwan is bound to fail,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said in regards to the U.S. delegation visit, according to Reuters.

The visit follows China sending planes into Taiwan’s defense zone and a U.S. warship going through the Taiwan Strait.

Concerns about Chinese incursions into Taiwan have also escalated as the world watches Russia’s bloody invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow claims as part of its historical territory.

Ukraine crisis live: Putin orders troops to separatist states for ‘peacekeeping operations’

Ukraine crisis live: Putin orders troops to separatist states for ‘peacekeeping operations’

Ukraine crisis live: Putin orders troops to separatist states for ‘peacekeeping operations’

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