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Ukraine latest: All options on table if Russia uses chemical weapons, UK says

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has entered its second month, with casualties mounting on both sides.

Ukraine’s forces continue to resist, while its President Volodymyr Zelenskyy regularly calls on the world to do more to help. Governments around the globe have imposed heavy sanctions against Moscow but have stopped short of direct intervention for fear of sparking a wider conflict.

Meanwhile, rising geopolitical risk and volatile energy and financial markets are rocking Asia.

For all our coverage, visit our Ukraine war page.

Read our in-depth coverage:

How Russia spread its fabricated pretexts for invading Ukraine

Divisions exposed in vote to suspend Russia from U.N. rights council

Russian export shutdown would cut 28% of GDP: Nikkei estimate

Russian troops randomly shot civilians: Bucha resident

Analysis: Xi risks stumbling with Putin if he plays his cards wrong

Entries include material from wire services and other sources.

Note: Nikkei Asia on March 5 decided to temporarily suspend its reporting from Russia until further information becomes available regarding the scope of the revised criminal code.

Here are the latest developments:

Tuesday, April 12 (Tokyo time)

4:30 p.m. The Russian defense ministry says that its missiles have destroyed ammunition depots in Ukraine’s Khmelnytskyi and Kyiv regions. The ministry said Russian forces had struck an ammunition depot and hangar at the Starokostiantyniv airbase in the Khmelnytskyi region, as well as an ammunition depot near Havrylivka north of the capital Kyiv.

4:00 p.m. All options would be on the table in response to any use of chemical weapons in Ukraine by Russia, British armed forces minister James Heappey said. British foreign minister Liz Truss on Monday said the country was working with its partners to verify the details of reports Russian forces may have used chemical agents in an attack on Mariupol. “There are some things that are beyond the pale, and the use of chemical weapons will get a response and all options are on the table for what that response could be,” Heappey told Sky News on Tuesday.

2:20 p.m. Fighting in eastern Ukraine will intensify over the next two to three weeks as Russia continues to refocus its efforts there, the U.K.’s Ministry of Defense tweeted in a regular bulletin. Russian attacks remain focused on Ukrainian positions near Donetsk and Luhansk, with further fighting around Kherson and Mykolaiv and a renewed push toward Kramatorsk, British military intelligence said. The report also said Russian forces continue to withdraw from Belarus in order to redeploy in support of operations in eastern Ukraine.

Graves of civilians killed during the Russian invasion lie in the southern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol on April 10.

  © Reuters

11:14 a.m. The mayor of the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol told the Associated Press that more than 10,000 civilians have died in the Russian siege of his city and that the death toll could surpass 20,000, with weeks of attacks and privation leaving bodies “carpeted through the streets.” Mayor Vadym Boychenko also accused Russian forces of having blocked humanitarian convoys from entering the city for weeks in an attempt to conceal the carnage there from the outside world.

11:00 a.m. Japan’s Cabinet has approved additional sanctions against Russia, freezing assets of 398 Russian individuals, including President Vladimir Putin’s daughters and the wife of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

10:05 a.m. Japan’s wholesale inflation remained near record-high levels in March as the Ukraine crisis and a weak yen pushed up the costs of fuel and raw materials, government data shows. The corporate goods price index, which measures the prices that companies charge each other for goods and services, rose 9.5% in March from a year earlier. That followed a revised 9.7% spike in February, which was the fastest pace on record. The March index, at 112.0, was the highest level since December 1982.

An Idemitsu Kosan oil refinery in Ichihara, east of Tokyo in Chiba Prefecture. The Ukraine crisis and a weak yen have pushed up the costs of fuel and raw materials in Japan. (Kyodo via Reuters)

6:24 a.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his daily video address late on Monday that Russia forces could use chemical weapons in Ukraine, but he did not say that chemical weapons have already been used. Unconfirmed reports earlier in the day had suggested that chemical weapons were used in the besieged southern port of Mariupol.

5:00 a.m. European Union officials discussing additional sanctions on Russia have failed to agree on a Russian oil embargo despite support from some countries.

Many of the ministers meeting in Luxembourg showed support for sanctions on Russian oil imports, top EU diplomat Josep Borrell says. But for others, such a ban would constitute an “asymmetric shock,” he says. The bloc did agree to step up the delivery of weapons to Ukraine.

1:38 a.m. Axel Springer says it has hired the former Russian state TV worker who made international headlines last month by bursting onto her then-employer’s live newscast to protest the war.

Marina Ovsyannikova will report for the German company’s Welt brand as a freelance correspondent, including from Ukraine and Russia. She will write for the newspaper and regularly contribute to Welt news channel coverage, according to Axel Springer.

Ovsyannikova was fined 30,000 rubles ($373 at current rates) in mid-March and could still face further prosecution in Russia.

1:30 a.m. “This is not a friendly visit,” Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer says in a statement issued by his office about talks just outside Moscow with Vladimir Putin.

This marked the first meeting with the Russian president by a European Union leader since the invasion of Ukraine started more than six weeks ago.

Nehammer has expressed solidarity with Ukraine and denounced apparent Russian war crimes. His government last week ordered the expulsion of a total of four Russian Embassy and Russian Consulate personnel over conduct that has “not been in accordance with their diplomatic status” — generally a euphemism for spying.

For earlier updates, click here.

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