Russia“s war on Ukraine latest: Black Sea grains export deal renewed
A deal allowing the export of Ukrainian grain from Black Sea ports that was due to expire on Saturday has been renewed, Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan said, while a Ukrainian government minister said the extension had been agreed for 120 days.
* Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Crimea on Saturday on an unannounced visit to mark the ninth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of the peninsula from Ukraine.
* The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Putin on Friday, accusing him of the war crime of illegally deporting hundreds of children from Ukraine.
* It provoked a furious reaction in Moscow, ranging from dismissal of the court’s jurisdiction to vows to protect Putin from arrest. The Kremlin said the warrant was outrageous but meaningless with respect to Russia.
* U.S. President Joe Biden said Putin has clearly committed war crimes and the ICC’s decision to issue an arrest warrant for him was justified.
* The ICC move obligates the court’s 123 member states to arrest Putin and transfer him to The Hague for trial if he sets foot on their territory.
* Moscow has repeatedly denied accusations that its forces have committed atrocities during the invasion, which it calls a special military operation.
* Three senior U.S. security officials held a video call with a group of their Ukrainian counterparts to discuss military aid to Kyiv, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s chief of staff said. * President Erdogan said on Friday Turkey’s parliament will start ratifying Finland’s accession to NATO, lifting the biggest remaining hurdle to enlarging the Western defence alliance as war rages in Ukraine, though he held off approving Sweden’s bid.
* Russia’s Wagner mercenary group plans to recruit approximately 30,000 new fighters by the middle of May, its founder Yevgeny Prigozhin said on Saturday.
* In eastern Ukraine, Kyiv’s forces continued to withstand Russian assaults on the ruined eastern city of Bakhmut.
* A commander of Ukrainian ground forces said on Friday Russian forces were trying to break through Ukrainian defences in several directions in an attempt to fully encircle Bakhmut.
* Britain will help Kazakhstan develop export routes bypassing Russia, British Foreign Minister James Cleverly said on a visit to the Central Asian nation on Saturday, where he also signed a memorandum on supplies of critical minerals.
* The International Monetary Fund said on Friday its executive board approved rule changes that would allow the IMF to approve loan programmes for countries facing “exceptionally high uncertainty” – a move expected to pave the way for fresh Ukraine loans.
* EXCLUSIVE-Russians flood Kazakhstan with sanction-busting requests
* INSIGHT-North of Bakhmut, another key battle tests Ukraine’s defences
* SPECIAL REPORT-Wagner’s convicts tell of horrors of Ukraine war and loyalty to their leader
* ANALYSIS-Patchwork fixes to Ukraine grain shortfall leave world vulnerable a year into war