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Russia-Ukraine war: killing of two Ukrainians by Russian in southern Germany investigated for political motive, say prosecutors – as it happened

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Killing of two Ukrainians by Russian in southern Germany investigated for political motive, say prosecutors

The suspected murder of two Ukrainians by a Russian in southern Germany is being investigated for a possible political motive, prosecutors said on Monday, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The public prosecutor’s office in Munich, responsible for investigating politically motivated crimes, has taken over the case because such a motive “cannot be ruled out”, a spokesperson told AFP.

A 57-year-old Russian suspect was arrested after the two Ukrainian men were found with stab wounds in a shopping centre in the Bavarian town of Murnau on Saturday evening. The circumstances remain unclear, according to investigators.

The two victims aged 36 and 23 were Ukrainian soldiers who were in Germany for medical rehabilitation, according to the foreign ministry in Kyiv.

The suspect was arrested on Saturday in his apartment not far from the crime scene and remains in custody, reports AFP.

Foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba thanked German investigators for the quick arrest.

Bavarian interior minister Joachim Hermann said on Sunday there were no indications that the crime was a “reflection of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine”, according to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

Witnesses said the three men had been seen together in the town before the incident and had been drinking heavily, the newspaper said.

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Key events

Closing summary

It has gone 6pm in Kyiv and in Moscow. We will be closing this blog soon, but you can stay up to date on the Guardian’s Russia and Ukraine coverage here.

Here is a recap of today’s latest developments:

  • The suspected murder of two Ukrainians by a Russian in southern Germany is being investigated for a possible political motive, prosecutors said on Monday. The public prosecutor’s office in Munich, responsible for investigating politically motivated crimes, has taken over the case because such a motive “cannot be ruled out”, a spokesperson told AFP.

  • Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Monday that vital US weapons were starting to arrive in Ukraine in small amounts and that the process needed to move faster as advancing Russian forces were trying to take advantage. The Ukrainian president told a joint press conference in Kyiv alongside visiting Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg that the situation on the battlefield directly depended on the speed of ammunition supplies to Ukraine.

  • Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday that it was “not too late” for Ukraine to win the war, agreeing with president Volodymyr Zelenskiy that Kyiv needs more weapons. “Ukraine has been outgunned for months, forced to ration its ammunition … But it’s not too late for Ukraine to prevail,” he said.

  • Stoltenberg also told Ukrainians on Monday that his Nato’s members had failed to live up to their promises of military aid in recent months. However, Stoltenberg said the flow of arms and ammunition would now increase. “The United States spent six months to agree a package and European allies have not delivered the ammunition we promised. But now I’m confident that things will change,” he said.

  • The US secretary of state Antony Blinken said that the international coalition supporting Ukraine has meant that Vladimir Putin has failed in his ambition. Speaking at a World Economic Forum (WEF) gathering in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, he said: “… the designs that Vladimir Putin had on Ukraine to begin with, to erase it from the map, to subsume it into Russia, that no longer exists. That’s failed.”

  • At the WEF gathering in Riyadh on Monday, Blinken criticised China for supplying Russia’s defence industry, saying the Chinese can’t “have it both ways” in seeking an end to the conflict and better relations between China and Europe, while also providing goods that are building what Blinken termed “the greatest challenge to European security since the end of the cold war”.

  • Polish farmers stopped protesting at the last blocked border crossing with Ukraine on Monday, Kyiv and Warsaw said, suspending a blockade that has dragged on for months and soured bilateral relations. Ukraine’s farm minister hailed “constructive work” by Poland to lift the blockade in a statement, saying negotiations with Warsaw and industry associations had not been easy but that “the main thing is that we have a result”. Trucks had started crossing the border in both directions on Monday morning, said Ukrainian border guard spokesperson Andriy Demchenko.

  • Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine has given a fresh impetus to the European Union’s drive to admit more countries, the bloc’s chairman said on Monday. “Because of the war launched by Russia against Ukraine, there is a new impetus, a reinvigoration of the [EU] enlargement strategy,” said European Council president Charles Michel ahead of the 20th anniversary on Wednesday of the EU’s “big bang” enlargement.

  • Michel also said that Kyiv would need special transition arrangements as it will need to rebuild after the war, while the EU would also have to tread carefully in fully opening up to Ukraine’s large population and food exports.

  • Russian forces have taken the village of Semenivka in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, Russia’s defence ministry said on Monday. On Sunday, the ministry announced the capture of Novobakhmutivka, another village near Berdychi, which has become a focal point of fighting in recent days.

  • Ukraine said on Monday it had foiled 55 Russian attacks in the eastern Donetsk region, a day after it admitted to a worsening situation on the frontline. The Ukrainian army said it had “repulsed 55 attacks” in several villages north and west of Novobakhmutivka. These included Ocheretyne, where heavy fighting was reported on Sunday.

  • A 60-year-old man was killed on Monday when Russian forces attacked the village of Kizomys in the Kherson region, according to the Kyiv Independent. Governor Oleksandr Prokudin said that residential areas were targeted in the Russian attack on the village. The man reportedly died from severe injuries en route to the hospital.

  • Russian forces launched attacks against 18 settlements of Kherson oblast over the past day, damaging five houses, a kindergarten, critical and transport infrastructure facilities, and an agricultural enterprise, reported the Kyiv Independent on Monday, citing local authority sources.

  • Ruslan Stefanchuk, the speaker of Ukraine’s parliament said a group of lawmakers from the two chambers of the Polish parliament visited Ukraine on Monday. According to the Kyiv Independent, Stefanchuk met Polish members of the Ukraine-Poland Parliamentary Friendship Group to “discuss military aid for Kyiv and sanctions against Russia, among other topics”.

  • Two Russian journalists were arrested by their government on “extremism” charges and ordered by courts there on Saturday to remain in custody pending investigation and trial on accusations of working for a group founded by the late Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny. Konstantin Gabov and Sergey Karelin both denied the charges for which they will be detained for a minimum of two months before any trials begin.

  • Additionaly, a journalist for the Russian edition of Forbes magazine, Sergei Mingazov, was detained on charges of spreading false information about the Russian military, his lawyer said on Friday.

  • Chinese president Xi Jinping is due to make a state visit to France on 6 and 7 May, Paris announced on Monday, with war in Ukraine and the Middle East expected to be high on the agenda. “Exchanges will focus on international crises, first and foremost the war in Ukraine and the situation in the Middle East, trade issues, scientific, cultural and sporting cooperation,” French president Emmanuel Macron’s office said in a statement.

Here are some of the latest images on the newswires:

A man stands next to flowers and flags laid in front of a shopping center where two Ukrainian men have been stabbed to death, in Murnau, Germany, on Monday. Photograph: Leonhard Simon/EPA
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy (R) and Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg (L) attend a joint press conference after their meeting in Kyiv on Monday. Photograph: Anadolu/Getty Images
A woman sells toys in front of a building with windows protected by sandbags in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Sunday. Photograph: Francisco Seco/AP

Killing of two Ukrainians by Russian in southern Germany investigated for political motive, say prosecutors

The suspected murder of two Ukrainians by a Russian in southern Germany is being investigated for a possible political motive, prosecutors said on Monday, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The public prosecutor’s office in Munich, responsible for investigating politically motivated crimes, has taken over the case because such a motive “cannot be ruled out”, a spokesperson told AFP.

A 57-year-old Russian suspect was arrested after the two Ukrainian men were found with stab wounds in a shopping centre in the Bavarian town of Murnau on Saturday evening. The circumstances remain unclear, according to investigators.

The two victims aged 36 and 23 were Ukrainian soldiers who were in Germany for medical rehabilitation, according to the foreign ministry in Kyiv.

The suspect was arrested on Saturday in his apartment not far from the crime scene and remains in custody, reports AFP.

Foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba thanked German investigators for the quick arrest.

Bavarian interior minister Joachim Hermann said on Sunday there were no indications that the crime was a “reflection of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine”, according to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

Witnesses said the three men had been seen together in the town before the incident and had been drinking heavily, the newspaper said.

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Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine has given a fresh impetus to the European Union’s drive to admit more countries, the bloc’s chairman said on Monday, reports Reuters.

According to the news agency, European Council president Charles Michel spoke ahead of the 20th anniversary on Wednesday of the EU’s “big bang” enlargement that added 10 mostly ex-communist nations such as Poland and Hungary but also the Mediterranean islands of Malta and Cyprus to a bloc that had then comprised just 15 members.

“It was a call of history to unite European countries,” Michel told reporters of the 2004 enlargement.

‘Because of the war launched by Russia against Ukraine, there is a reinvigoration of the [EU] enlargement strategy,’ said the European Council president Charles Michel on Monday. Photograph: Johanna Geron/Reuters

“Twenty years later we face a similar challenge because there is this geo-political chaos, including because of this war by Russia against Ukraine. And facing this chaos is the geo-political strategy to reunify once again,” he said.

Michel, a former Belgian prime minister, said the 2004 accession countries had seen their shared gross domestic product (GDP) per capita rise from about half of the EU’s average back then to 80% now.

“Because of the war launched by Russia against Ukraine, there is a new impetus, a reinvigoration of the [EU] enlargement strategy,” said Michel.

“It is challenging. But what is the alternative? The alternative would be a terrible, irresponsible mistake from the EU,” he said, calling for the EU and candidate countries to carry out by 2030 the reforms necessary for a new enlargement.

According to Reuters, Michel said Kyiv would need special transition arrangements as it will need to rebuild after the war, while the EU would also have to tread carefully in fully opening up to Ukraine’s large population and food exports.

‘It’s not too late for Ukraine to prevail’, says Nato secretary general

Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday that it was “not too late” for Ukraine to win the war, agreeing with president Volodymyr Zelenskiy that Kyiv needs more weapons, while Russian forces advance.

“Ukraine has been outgunned for months, forced to ration its ammunition … But it’s not too late for Ukraine to prevail,” the Nato secretary general said at a press conference with Zelenskiy, reports Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy (R) and Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg (L) shake hands after a joint press conference in Kyiv on Monday. Photograph: Sergey Dolzhenko/EPA

He said months-long delays in US military aid to Ukraine had “serious consequences on the battlefield”. Stoltenberg said that “more support is on the way”.

“Our allies are looking into what more they can do and I expect new announcements soon. So we are working hard to meet Ukraine’s urgent needs,” he promised.

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Russia exploiting delays in arms supplies from allies, says Zelenskiy

Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Monday that vital US weapons were starting to arrive in Ukraine in small amounts and that the process needed to move faster as advancing Russian forces were trying to take advantage.

The Ukrainian president told a joint press conference in Kyiv alongside visiting Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg that the situation on the battlefield directly depended on the speed of ammunition supplies to Ukraine.

“Timely support for our army. Today I don’t see anything positive on this point yet. There are supplies, they have slightly begun, this process needs to be sped up,” he said.

The US passed a $61bn aid package last week, ending months of congressional deadlock and raising hopes in Kyiv that its critically low stocks of artillery shells would soon be replenished.

“The Russian army is now trying to take advantage of a situation when we are waiting for supplies from our partners … and that is exactly why the speed of deliveries means stabilising the front,” Zelenskiy said. “Russia is preparing for offensive actions,” he added.

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Nato boss Jens Stoltenberg told Ukrainians on Monday that his alliance’s members had failed to live up to their promises of military aid in recent months, Reuters reports. However, Stoltenberg said the flow of arms and ammunition would now increase.

In an unannounced visit to Ukraine, the secretary general of the transatlantic military alliance held talks with president Volodymyr Zelenskiy and was due to address Ukraine’s parliament, the Rada.

His visit – the third since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 – comes at a difficult time on the battlefield. After a failed Ukrainian counter-offensive last year, Russian forces have gained the initiative – at least in part due to a dearth of arms and ammunition from Kyiv’s western partners.

“I will also be very honest with president Zelenskiy and also with the Rada that Nato allies have not delivered what we have promised over the last months,” Stoltenberg said on the train taking him into Kyiv on Monday.

“The United States spent six months to agree a package and European allies have not delivered the ammunition we promised. But now I’m confident that things will change,” he said.

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Ruslan Stefanchuk, the speaker of Ukraine’s parliament said a group of lawmakers from the two chambers of the Polish parliament visited Ukraine on Monday, reports the Kyiv Independent.

According to the news outlet, Stefanchuk met Polish members of the Ukraine-Poland Parliamentary Friendship Group to “discuss military aid for Kyiv and sanctions against Russia, among other topics”.

“Ukraine urgently needs additional air defence systems to protect cities from missile attacks by the Russian Federation,” Stefanchuk wrote on Facebook, according to the Kyiv Independent.

According to the English-language Ukrainian online newspaper, Stefanchuk said he and the Polish delegation also discussed Nato’s July summit in Washington and Kyiv’s 10-point peace formula.

“This plan remains the only realistic and comprehensive plan to restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity and guarantee security and justice for the international community,” he added.

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Ashifa Kassam, the Guardian’s European community affairs correspondent, has written a feature on the many Roma people on the frontlines of the war on Ukraine and how campaigners across Europe are calling on Kyiv to recognise the contribution of the marginalised community.

You can read the piece here:

The Kyiv Independent reports that a 60-year-old man was killed on Monday when Russian forces attacked the village of Kizomys in the Kherson region.

According to the news outlet, governor Oleksandr Prokudin said that residential areas were targeted in the Russian attack on the village. The man reportedly died from severe injuries en route to the hospital.

Russian forces launched attacks against 18 settlements of Kherson oblast over the past day, damaging five houses, a kindergarten, critical and transport infrastructure facilities, and an agricultural enterprise, reports the Kyiv Independent citing local authority sources.

Russian forces take control of village in Ukraine’s Donetsk region

Russian forces have taken the village of Semenivka in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, Russia’s defence ministry said on Monday, according to Reuters.

On Sunday, the ministry announced the capture of Novobakhmutivka, another village near Berdychi, which has become a focal point of fighting in recent days.

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Martin Belam

US secretary of state Antony Blinken has criticised China for supplying Russia’s defence industry, saying the Chinese can’t “have it both ways” in seeking an end to the conflict and better relations between China and Europe, while also providing goods that are building what Blinken termed “the greatest challenge to European security since the end of the cold war”.

Speaking at a World Economic Forum gathering in Saudi Arabia, Blinken said

We have engaged with China from the start of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, and urged them not to provide Russia with arms, with weapons that would fuel the aggression.

And I think it’s fair to say that China has not directly supplied Russia with weapons, with missiles, with munitions. Iran is doing it. North Korea is doing it.

However, what China is doing, is providing invaluable support to Russia’s defence industrial base that’s helping Russia deal with the massive pressure that’s been exerted through sanctions, through export controls and other measures.

If you look at what Russia has done over the last year, in terms of its production of munitions, missiles, tanks and armoured vehicles, it has produced them at a faster pace than at any time in its modern history, including during the cold war as the Soviet Union.

How has it been able to do that? Because it is getting massive inputs of machine tools, micro electronics, optics, mostly coming from China. Now these are dual-use items, but we know very clearly where so many of them are going. And this poses two problems.

It is enabling Russia to continue the aggression against Ukraine. So it’s perpetuating a war that China says it would like to see come to an end. As all of us would.

But second, it’s also enabling Russia to rebuild a defence industrial base that countries throughout Europe are deeply concerned will be turned against them after Ukraine is done.

And so at the very time that China is seeking better relations with countries in Europe, it is also fueling the greatest challenge to European security since the end of the cold war. And as I shared with my Chinese colleagues, you can’t have it both ways.”

Putin’s ‘designs’ on Ukraine have ‘failed’, says US secretary of state

Martin Belam

Martin Belam

Speaking at a World Economic Forum gathering in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, the US secretary of state Antony Blinken said that the international coalition supporting Ukraine has meant that Vladimir Putin has failed in his ambition.

He told the audience:

On Ukraine, we were able to bring so many countries together, not just in Europe, but beyond, because countries recognise that there was an aggression, not only against Ukraine, but against some of the foundational principles of the international system.

And if we let that challenge go with impunity, then it was likely that would-be aggressors everywhere would take note, and we would have a world of more conflict, not less conflict.

And having brought many countries together effectively, we helped the incredibly courageous Ukrainians repel the aggression, and now it’s an ongoing effort, and ongoing struggle, but the designs that Vladimir Putin had on Ukraine to begin with, to erase it from the map, to subsume it into Russia, that no longer exists. That’s failed.

And we also have an alliance in Europe that’s stronger, that’s also larger than it was, and I think [we have] a plan to enable Ukraine to be a success over time. A strong country: militarily, economically democratically.”

US secretary of state Antony Blinken attends a joint ministerial meeting with his Saudi counterparts in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Monday. Photograph: Evelyn Hockstein/AP
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