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Russia-Ukraine war live: Ukrainian PM arrives in Canada; Gershkovich ‘wrongfully detained’,


The United States on Monday determined that Russia has “wrongfully detained” American Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, “effectively saying that espionage charges are bogus and that the case is political,” Reuters reports.

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“Journalism is not a crime,” US state department spokesperson Vedant Patel said in a statement. “We condemn the Kremlin’s continued repression of independent voices in Russia, and its ongoing war against the truth.”

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The US government would provide all appropriate support to Gershkovich and his family, said Patel.

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Patel also called for Russia to release Paul Whelan, a former US Marine serving a 16-year sentence in a Russian prison and is also designated by Washington as “wrongfully detained.”

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Ukrainian prime minister Denys Shmyhal has arrived in Canada, on an official trip during which he will seek supplies of ammunition and armoured vehicles for a counteroffensive against invading Russian forces, the Globe and Mail reports.

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Shmyhal said in an interview with the Canadian newspaper that he was not concerned about the lack of new military aid allocated for Ukraine in Canada’s federal budget, and hoped the country would provide more aid among other forms of assistance.

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“Now, we need heavy armoured vehicles. And we need more artillery shells: ammunition for howitzers and ammunition for tanks,” Shmyhal said. “It’s crucially important for the organization of our counteroffensive,”

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Ukraine is expected to launch a counter-offensive to seize back land in the south and east of the country from Russian forces in the coming weeks or months.

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Shmyhal will visit Canada in coming weeks, the Globe and Mail said, adding that for security reasons the Kyiv government was not divulging the date of the trip.

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Welcome back to our continuing live coverage of the war in Ukraine. I’m Helen Sullivan and I’ll be bringing you the latest.

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Our top story this morning: the United States on Monday determined that Russia has “wrongfully detained” American Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, “effectively saying that espionage charges are bogus and that the case is political,” Reuters reports.

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Meanwhile Ukraine’s prime minister, Denys Shmyhal, has arrived in Canada on an official visit during which he will seek supplies of ammunition and armoured vehicles for a counteroffensive against invading Russian forces, the Globe and Mail reports.

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Here are the other key recent developments:

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  • The Kremlin has said there are no plans for an Orthodox Easter ceasefire in Ukraine, Russian state media reported. The Institute for the Study of War warned that Russia may try to use the upcoming Orthodox Easter holiday on 16 April to delay Ukrainian counteroffensives by calling for a ceasefire out of respect for religion.

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  • Russia plans to increase air defences over its north-western border to counter Finland’s accession to Nato, a commander in its aerospace forces has said. Lt Gen Andrei Demin, the deputy commander-in-chief of aerospace forces, also said further reforms of Russian air defences were “undoubtedly planned and will be implemented”.

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  • Col Gen Oleksandr Syrskyi, commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, has accused Russian troops of using “scorched earth” tactics in the embattled eastern city of Bakhmut. The situation in Bakhmut was “difficult but controllable”, he said, adding that the defence of the city continued.

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  • The Russian-installed head of Ukraine’s Donetsk region said Russian forces controlled more than 75% of the besieged city of Bakhmut. It was still too soon to announce a total victory in the battle over Bakhmut, Denis Pushilin said on state television while visiting the embattled city in eastern Ukraine.

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  • Reports claiming that a Russian fighter jet nearly shot down a British surveillance plane off the coast of Crimea in September “contain inaccuracies and do not reflect what happened in international air space over the Black Sea”, a British defence source said on Monday. Britain’s defence secretary, Ben Wallace, disclosed the incident to parliament in October and said at the time that the UK did not consider the case a deliberate escalation, but that it had been due to a technical malfunction.

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  • Ukraine has denied a report that it had been forced to amend some military plans ahead of a long-anticipated counter-offensive because of the leak. Presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak said Kyiv’s strategic plans remained unchanged but that specific tactics were always subject to change.

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  • More than 200 Russian and Ukrainian soldiers have returned home in a prisoner swap, according to both sides. Russia’s defence ministry said 106 Russian soldiers were released from Ukrainian custody as part of an agreement with Ukraine. Andriy Yermak, chief of staff to the Ukrainian president, said Russia freed 100 Ukrainian prisoners.

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  • The US defence department has said an interagency effort is assessing the impact of the leak could have on US national security and on its allies and partners. Officials say the breadth of topics addressed in the documents – which touch on the war in Ukraine, China, the Middle East and Africa – suggest they may have been leaked by an American rather than an ally.

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  • The documents suggest that without a huge boost in munitions, Ukraine’s air defences…



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