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Latest Developments in Ukraine: April 9

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People mourn April 8, 2022, in Chernihiv region, Ukraine, at the funeral of Veronika Kuts, 12, who was killed during a Russian bombardment in Ukraine.

For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.

Recap of April 9
FIGHTING
* Russian forces again hit a storage tank holding nitric acid, according to Serhii Haidai, governor of Ukraine's eastern Luhansk region.
* Ukraine is ready for a tough battle with Russian forces amassing in the east of the country, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Saturday.
* At least 176 children have died and more than 324 children have been injured as a result of Russia's invasion, Ukraine's Parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, said in a tweet Saturday.
HUMANITARIAN
* EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced in a tweet that global support effort Stand Up For Ukraine raised 9.1 billion euros.
* A total of 4,532 people were evacuated from Ukrainian cities through humanitarian corridors on Saturday.

For the latest developments of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, all times EDT:

9 p.m.: Olena Zelenka, the wife of Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, spoke to British Vogue. In the interview, she talks about the night of the invasion, says she and her children are not with her husband in Kyiv and only speak by phone. She has also started a Telegram channel for Ukrainian women to send her their stories:

8:20 p.m.: Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said NATO is making plans for a permanent presence on its border.

NATO was "in the midst of a very fundamental transformation" that will reflect "the long-term consequences" of Russian President Vladimir Putin's actions, Stoltenberg told The Telegraph.

“Therefore, we have now asked our military commanders to provide options for what we call a reset, a longer-term adaptation of NATO," Stoltenberg said, adding that decisions on the reset are to be made in June at a summit in Madrid.

7:55 p.m.: Russian shelling killed five civilians and wounded five others in two east Ukrainian cities Saturday, the local governor, Pavlo Kyrylenko, posted on Telegram.

Four of them died in the city of Vugledar, and one in the town of Novomikhaylovka, he said, Agence France-Presse reports.

Further north, in the Kharkiv region, "at least two people were killed in Slatyne as a result of a (Russian) shelling and another injured," the mayor of the neighboring municipality of Dergachi, Vyacheslav Zadorenko, wrote on Facebook.

On Saturday, the Ukrainian army announced on Facebook that it had "destroyed four tanks, eight armored vehicles and seven enemy vehicles," as well as "a plane, a helicopter" and drones.

7:30 p.m.: The official Twitter account of Ukraine released a video of the walk around Kyiv that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson took on Saturday.

7 p.m.: A total of 4,532 people were evacuated from Ukrainian cities through humanitarian corridors on Saturday, fewer than the 6,665 who escaped on Friday, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of Ukraine's presidential administration, announced in an online post.

6:22 p.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told The Associated Press that he remains open to peace negotiations, but Ukraine’s chief negotiator, Mykhailo Podolyak, said Zelenskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin would not meet until after the country defeated Russia in the east, which would bolster its negotiating position.

"We are paying a very high price. But Russia must get rid of its imperial illusions," he said, according to the Interfax Ukraine news agency.

5:57 p.m.: Russian forces continue to use improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to inflict casualties, lower morale, and restrict Ukrainian freedom of movement, according to British military intelligence on Saturday.

"Russian forces also continue to attack infrastructure targets with a high risk of collateral harm to civilians," the Ministry of Defense said in a statement.

Russia's departure from northern Ukraine leaves evidence of the disproportionate targeting of non-combatants, the statement said.

5:22 p.m.: Mayors across Poland, anxious about the wellbeing of their Ukrainian refugees, are refusing the government’s instructions to sound air raid sirens Sunday in observance of the 2010 plane crash of Poland’s president, The Associated Press reports.

President Lech Kaczynski, the twin of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, and 95 other prominent Poles died in the crash.

“We will not sound the sirens on the anniversary,” said Rafal Bruski, mayor of the central city of Bydgoszcz. “I have seen too many children terrified by war.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in his office in Kyiv, Ukraine, April 9, 2022.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in his office in Kyiv, Ukraine, April 9, 2022.

4:35 p.m.: "No one wants to negotiate with a person or people who tortured this nation. It's all understandable. And as a man, as a father, I understand this very well," Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told The Associated Press in an interview on Saturday. But "we don't want to lose opportunities, if we have them, for a diplomatic solution."

Zelenskyy looked exhausted yet animated by a drive to persevere. He spoke to the AP inside the presidential office complex, where windows and hallways are protected by towers of sandbags and heavily armed soldiers.

"We have to fight, but fight for life. You can't fight for dust when there is nothing and no people. That's why it is important to stop this war," he said.

4 p.m.: Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said on Saturday he was deeply disappointed and saddened by the behavior of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Reuters reports.

The tycoon, for years had a close friendship with the Russian leader, said Putin must take full responsibility for the invasion of Ukraine.

"The attack on Ukraine, instead of bringing Russia into Europe has thrown it into the arms of China. … What a pity, what a pity," he said.

Berlusconi made the comments, his first about Putin since the invasion, in an address to a convention of his conservative Forza Italia party in Rome.

3:10 p.m.: The credit ratings agency Standard & Poor's has downgraded its assessment of Russia's ability to repay foreign debt, The Associated Press reports, signaling rising prospects that Moscow will soon default on external loans for the first time in more than a century.

S&P Global Ratings issued the downgrade to "selective default" late Friday after Russia arranged to make foreign bond payments in rubles on Monday when they were due in dollars.

S&P said it believes sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine "are likely to be further increased in the coming weeks, hampering Russia's willingness and technical abilities to honor the terms and conditions of its obligations to foreign debtholders."

2:35 p.m.: "What Putin has done in places like Bucha and Irpin is war crimes that have permanently polluted his reputation and the reputation of his government," British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Saturday, standing next to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv.

Johnson became the latest European leader to visit Kyiv this weekend after the bodies were discovered in several towns from where the Russian army retreated.

2 p.m.: Ukraine on Saturday said 12 Ukrainian soldiers and 14 civilians were returning home following a prisoner exchange with Russia, Agency France-Presse reports.

"On the order of President (Volodymyr) Zelenskyy, the third prisoner exchange took place today. 12 of our servicemen are returning home, including one female officer," deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Telegram.

Fourteen civilians including nine women were also on their way home, he added.

12:24 p.m.: Human Rights Watch chief Kenneth Roth said in a tweet that the Russian government's closure of the Moscow offices of HRW and Amnesty International in the same week that the U.N. General Assembly suspended it from the U.N. Human Rights Council is yet another indication of why that suspension was warranted.

12:21 p.m.: Russian forces again hit a storage tank holding nitric acid, according to Serhii Haidai, governor of Ukraine's eastern Luhansk region, The Kyiv Independent tweeted. He urged residents in and around the city of Rubizhne "not to leave bomb shelters and to close windows and doors."

10:28 a.m.: EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced in a tweet that global support effort Stand Up For Ukraine raised 9.1 billion euros for people fleeing Russia's invasion, pledging that more support will come. "And once the bombs have stopped falling, we will help the people of Ukraine rebuild their country," she added.

10:21 a.m.: Ukraine is ready for a tough battle with Russian forces amassing in the east of the country, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Saturday, a day after a missile strike in the east killed more than 50 civilians trying to evacuate, according to officials, Reuters reported.

10:14 a.m.: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Saturday, in what appears to be an unannounced visit. The Kyiv Independent shared a photo on Twitter.

9:27 a.m.: At least 176 children have died and more than 324 children have been injured as a result of Russia's invasion, Ukraine's Parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, said in a tweet Saturday. The figures, it said, are not final, as work is underway to establish them in places of active attacks.

9:19 a.m.: European Union countries sharing borders with Russia and Belarus have barred some cargo vehicles registered in the two countries from entering since Friday because of sanctions, the Russian customs service said Saturday, Reuters reported.

9:04 a.m.: After visiting Kyiv, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell announced in a tweet an additional 500,000 euros in assistance to Ukraine, saying that "this war will be won on the battlefield." He also condemned Russian attacks against defenseless civilians as showing the "Kremlin’s complete disrespect of human life," adding that he will meet Sunday with a prosecutor of the International Criminal Court "to discuss tailored support."

7:37 a.m.: YouTube has blocked Duma TV, which broadcasts from Russia's lower house of parliament, and is drawing an angry response from Russian officials who said the world's most popular streaming service could face restrictions in response, Reuters reported.

5:50 a.m.: CNN reported that heavy shelling continues in regional capital of Ukraine's Kharkiv region.

4:58 a.m.: The BBC reported that the Ukrainian city of Odesa has imposed a weekend curfew as the threat of further missile strikes looms. The southern port city has a population of about 1 million.

3:46 a.m.: Al Jazeera reported that 10 humanitarian corridors in Ukraine are set for Saturday.

2:24 a.m.: CBS News reports that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will detail evidence of alleged Russian war crimes when he speaks with Scott Pelley in an interview that airs Sunday on 60 Minutes.

1:12 a.m.: The U.K. Ministry of Defence's latest intelligence update said that Russia is focused on the Donbas region, Mariupol and Mykolaiv and continues to hit civilians. It noted, however, that Ukraine is managing to thwart Russia's plan to establish a land corridor between Crimea and the Donbas regioin.

12:01 a.m.: “There were people everywhere. Torn-off limbs, flesh, bone, pieces of people everywhere."
Yelena Khalenmonva, who was inside the Kramatorsk train station when missiles hit it, as quoted in The Washington Post

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.

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