On Saturday, April 22, 2023, the world was once again rocked by news of escalating tensions between Russia and Germany. Russia announced that it would be expelling more than 20 German diplomats in response to the removal of Russian embassy staff from Germany. According to Russian state media, Berlin was destroying ties with Moscow.
Meanwhile, in the United States, the New York Times reported that Jack Teixeira, a US Air National Guardsman accused of leaking classified documents about the war in Ukraine to a small group of gamers, had been posting confidential material months earlier than previously known and to a much larger chat group.
The situation on the ground in Ukraine remained volatile, with Russia’s Defence Ministry reporting the capture of three more city blocks by Russian forces fighting in the western part of the destroyed Ukrainian city of Bakhmut. Additionally, at least five Russian missiles hit the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv and surrounding districts late on Saturday night, causing some damage to civilian buildings. Kharkiv regional governor Oleh Sinegubov said one missile hit a house in the village of Kotliary, while another sparked a major fire in the city.
In Russia, seventeen apartment buildings were evacuated in the city of Belgorod near the Ukrainian border after an explosive device was found at the site where a bomb was accidentally dropped by a Russian warplane on Thursday. Russia acknowledged that one of its Su-34 bombers had accidentally caused the explosion.
In a surprising development, Yevgeny Prigozhin, chief of the Wagner mercenary force in Ukraine, revealed that the son of Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov had fought alongside his forces. Nikolay Peskov, who lived in the United Kingdom for several years and is also known as Nikolai Choles, previously told the tabloid KP in Moscow that he fought in Ukraine because he considered it his duty.
On a more positive note, a cargo of Russian fertiliser seized by Latvia last year was being shipped to Kenya by the UN World Food Programme, according to Latvia. It was not immediately clear if Russia approved of the shipment. Additionally, Ukrainian state-owned gas company Naftogaz held talks with Exxon Mobil Corp, Halliburton, and Chevron about projects in Ukraine, according to the Financial Times.
As tensions continue to rise between Russia and its neighbors, the world watches with bated breath to see what will happen next. Diplomacy and law will be key in preventing further escalation of the conflict, while aid and economic initiatives may help to ease the suffering of those caught in the crossfire.