• 7:10 a.m.: Russia 'should not be' a permanent member of Security Council, says US ambassador to UN

US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Russia "should not be" a permanent member of the UN Security Council, in an exclusive interview with AFP.

"Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council. It should not be because of what it is doing in Ukraine, but the (UN) charter does not allow to change its status as a permanent member," Linda Thomas-Greenfield told AFP from Costa Rica where she was attending a democracy summit.

Russia is due to take over as head of the UN executive body from Saturday for a month, succeeding Mozambique.

The US ambassador stressed that she expects Russia to behave "professionally" in the presidency, while expressing doubts.

"We also expect them to also look for opportunities to advance their disinformation campaign against Ukraine, the United States and all of our allies," Washington's ambassador said.

  • 3:50 a.m.: One year on, Ukraine commemorates the Bucha massacre

Ukraine commemorates Friday the anniversary of Russia's withdrawal from the martyred city of Butcha, where the occupiers had left behind the corpses of coldly executed civilians, making this town near Kiev the most glaring symbol of the atrocities blamed on Moscow's troops.

On March 31, 2022, the Russian army withdrew from this city and all of northern Kiev, a month after launching the invasion of the country on the orders of President Vladimir Putin. Two days after the withdrawal, the massacre was known.

AFP journalists discovered in Boutcha on April 2 charred carcasses of vehicles, destroyed houses and above all, scattered over several hundred meters, the corpses of twenty men in civilian clothes, one of whom had his hands tied behind his back.

These scenes shocked the world, with Kiev and the West denouncing summary executions of civilians and war crimes. The Kremlin denies any involvement and evokes a staging.

During his visit to the site two days after the discovery, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, visibly upset, had denounced "war crimes" that will be "recognized by the world as genocide".

Since then, almost all foreign leaders who have visited Ukraine have made a detour to Butcha.

Russian forces have been accused of multiple abuses by Ukrainian authorities after hundreds of bodies were found in Bucha and other towns, hundreds of graves near Izium and "torture chambers" in recaptured towns, according to Kiev.

In March, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin for the "deportation" of thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia.

Kiev, for its part, insists on the creation of a special tribunal to try the highest Russian officials for the "crime of aggression" against Ukraine, but its exact form raises complex and reluctant legal questions.

  • The essentials of the day of March 30

At least six Russian missiles hit the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. Authorities are looking into whether there are any casualties, regional governor Oleh Sinegubov said.

Russia has remanded an American Wall Street Journal journalist in custody and accuses him of espionage, an unprecedented case in the country's recent history that is causing "concern" to the United States.

Finally, Turkey approved Finland's accession to NATO, the last Allied country to give the green light after Hungary.


With AFP and Reuters

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