this is bbc news. our top stories: russia's foreign minister, sergei lavrov, again insists there is no war in ukraine. in an exclusive interview with the bbc, he repeats the kremlin line that it was not an invasion. translation: we didn't invade ukraine. - we declared a special military operation because we had absolutely no other way of explaining to the west that dragging ukraine into nato was a criminal act. the us capitol investigation hears that rioters demanded former vice—president mike pence be dragged out of the building. the hollywood actor kevin spacey arrives at a london court to face sexual assault charges. and in central africa,
we've a special report on the race to stop the plunder of rich peatlands releasing damaging carbon dioxide. welcome to our viewers on pbs in america and around the globe. one of president putin's closest advisers, the foreign minister, sergei lavrov, has told the bbc that russia has not invaded ukraine. he's repeated the kremlin line that there is no war, but instead a �*special military operation�*. this comes as russia's invasion of ukraine is almost four months old. mr lavrov, who's been at the heart of power in russia for over 20 years, spoke to our russia editor steve rosenberg. hello, thank you. how are you? it was the first time sergei lavrov had agreed to meet since moscow launched
its offensive in ukraine. russia's government has created a parallel reality. invasion? what invasion? translation: we didn't invade ukraine. - we declared a special military operation because we had absolutely no other way of explaining to the west that dragging ukraine into nato was a criminal act. russia�*s �*special operation�* has resulted in thousands of civilian deaths in ukraine. moscow claims it�*s protecting russian speakers and fighting nazis. speaks russian. i quoted a un report about a ukrainian village where russian soldiers had forced hundreds of people, including 7a children, to spend a month in a basement with no toilet, no water. ten people had died.
"is that fighting nazis?" i asked. translation: unfortunately, it�*s a great pity, but international diplomats, including the un high commissioner for human rights, the un secretary—general and other un representatives, are being put under pressure by the west. and, very often, they�*re being used to amplify fake news spread by the west. so, you�*re saying that russia�*s squeaky clean? no, russia is not squeaky clean. russia is what it is. and we are not ashamed of showing who we are. and what of the two british men sentenced to death by a russian proxy court in rebel—held eastern ukraine? aiden aslin and shaun pinner had been fighting for ukraine. i tell mr lavrov that in the eyes of the west, russia is responsible for their fate. i am not interested in the eyes
of the west at all. i am only interested in international law. according to international law, mercenaries are not recognised as combatants. but they�*re not mercenaries — they served in the ukrainian army. this should be decided by a court. you think the court is independent there? i�*m convinced there are independent courts there. do you think your courts are independent? and on uk—russian relations, no expectation of an improvement. i don�*t think there�*s even any room for manoeuvre anymore because both borisjohnson and liz truss say openly that "we should defeat russia. "we should force russia to its knees". go on then, do it. steve rosenberg there. earlier i spoke to dr evelyn farkas, the executive director of the mccain institute. i asked her what she thought
of the bbc interview with russian foreign minister sergei lavrov. well, ifound it, you know, typical russian disinformation. you know, one minute they are denying that they are invading a country and the next minute, they�*re admitting it and excusing it and all of the human rights atrocities, because the one that your interviewer steve mentioned wasjust a drop in the bucket compared to all the human rights violations that russia committed in ukrainejust in the last several months and — and so now, we have a situation where they�*re saying well, we did — we did — we did this operation and it was excusable somehow because they were afraid of ukrainejoining nato — which, of course, if you follow that logic, you would be very nervous sitting in sweden and finland. but they�*re not going to invade sweden and finland, so what you realise is that they just argue whatever argument they think is convenient at the time.
and there was a lot in there, you know, insulting the uk government, saying that the government wasn�*t looking out for the british people, it was only paying attention to power. you know, this is mirror imaging. i mean, i�*m not saying that our governments — our democratic governments don�*t pay attention to power but they do pay attention to the people and far more so than vladimir putin has in his two decades running russia. in his nightly address, president zelenskyy said ukraine has never been closer to the european union than it is now. he was speaking after the leaders of the most powerful european union countries visited him in kyiv. italian prime minister mario draghi, french president emmanuel macron and german chancellor olaf scholz travelled by overnight train. they visited irpin, just outside of kyiv, where they saw evidence of the destruction caused by indiscriminate russian shelling. at a meeting with president zelenskyy, they committed to increase their support for ukraine, with more money, more humanitarian aid and,
crucially, with more weapons. we�*ll have a report from on the ground in ukraine, in a few minutes. let�*s get some of the day�*s other news. the united nations has denounced the murder of a brazilian indigenous affairs expert and a british journalist in brazil�*s amazon region. the un human rights office has called the killing the un human rights office has called the killing of bruno pereira and dom phillips a brutal and appalling act of violence. the police have detained two people. one is said to have confessed to the killings. many parts of europe are experiencing a extremely high temperatures and in france, forecasters say the heatwave there is the earliest in the year, on record. in the south—west, trains are running at reduced speed because the heat is affecting the tracks — and, the passengers. it�*s been said the peak of the heatwave will come this weekend. a uk consumer champion has begun a $900 million legal claim against apple computers. justin gutmann has accused apple of misleading customers over a software update, which is said to have slowed down some devices and drained the batteries more quickly. apple insists it would never do anything to intentionally shorten the life
of its products. to washington now where the third day of the january 6th committee hearings has wrapped up. it�*s been focused on mike pence, and connecting donald trump�*s intense pressure campaign on his vice president not to certify the election results. the hearings also included details of the violent intentions of the mob that stormed the capitol, demanding that mike pence be dragged out of the capitol building. man over loudspeaker: bring out pence! all chant: bring out pence! all chant: hang mike pence! the committee heard from two white house advisors, who testified that the vice—president had been pressured to unilaterally and illegally overturn the election. one witness was] michael luttig, a formerjudge and influentialfigure in the conservative legal community.
he said if pence had done as trump asked it would have been �*tantamount to revolution�*, and that this remains a continuing threat. donald trump and his allies and supporters are a clear and present danger to american democracy. our north america correspondent peter bowes has been following events from los angeles. this was an extremely compelling hearing and i think the thing that struck me was the amount of detail and interesting because this is detail that is coming in testimony from people who were close to donald trump, part of the trump inner circle during his presidency, but they are giving us detail about the hours and the days before january the sixth,
the conversations and the tone of the conversations that the president was having and his train of thought during that time, the fact that he was seemingly being advised by one of his lawyers about this plan to get mike pence to not certify the election, that he was told in no uncertain terms, including by mr pence, that this could not happen, it was not legal and that mr pence would not do it but then, mr trump continued with his plan and as we well know now, minutes, hours before that surge into the capitol building by those protesters, that violent attack on congress, the president was still urging mike pence to do what he wanted. as we now know, mr pence refused to do it. it�*s worth pointing out the select committee cannot bring charges against donald trump but they can build a case against him. how successful have they been in doing this, do you think? they�*ve been quite successful in bringing a lot of detail out
and as i say, again, from people who were close to the action, who were there, in the room at the time, it�*s interesting that one member of the committee today essentially appealed to others who may be sitting on the fence as to whether they should also come forward and provide evidence, i think perhaps hoping that others with information to share that may be relevant to this investigation will be spurred on from what they�*ve heard so far to provide a bigger picture, but you�*re absolutely right — this cannot in itself result in any prosecutions. it will be down to the department ofjustice. but it is certainly building a big picture as to what happened and perhaps influencing some americans when it comes to how they will vote in the midterm elections in a few months�* time. the hollywood actor kevin spacey was mobbed magistrates court. he has been charged with four counts of sexual assault and one of causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent. lucy manning reports.
obstruction! please, move! kevin spacey is used to the cameras, the attention but usually, at film premieres on the red carpet, meeting fans. this was altogether different as the actor was jostled into court! at westminster magistrates�* court, charged with five sexual offences. the court heard mr spacey had returned voluntarily from america to attend this first hearing. standing in the dock, he gave his name as kevin spacey fowler and confirmed his date of birth and london address. the charges he is facing were read out. he�*s accused, during a period when he was artistic director of the old vic theatre in london, of four sexual assaults on three men and accused of causing a man to engage in sexual activity without consent. the oscar winner is accused over an eight—year period from 2005, with the sexual
assaults on men in london and gloucestershire. the hearing lasted just 30 minutes. kevin spacey has a way with words but he�*s said very little during this court appearance. he wasn�*t asked to plead guilty or not guilty, but his lawyer told the court he strenuously denies any or all criminality. the actor was allowed out on unconditional bail. thejudge said he�*d cooperated with four days of questioning in america, and there wasn�*t a real risk he�*d fail to return from the us. for another court appearance. his lawyer said the actor would establish his innocence. lucy manning, bbc news. do stay with us on bbc news, still to come: getting covid vaccines to kids. us vaccine advisers are due to vote on on whether to give the jab to children as young as six months.
there was a bomb in the city centre. a code word known to be one used by the ira was given. army bomb experts were examining a suspect van when there was a huge explosion. the south african parliament has destroyed the foundation of apartheid by abolishing the population registration act which, for a0 years, forcibly classified each citizen according to race. just a day old and the royal baby is tonight sleeping in his cot at home. early this evening, the new prince was taken by his mother and father to their apartments in kensington palace. germany's parliament, the bundestag, - has voted by a narrow majority to move the seat of government from bonn to berlin. _ berliners celebrated into the night, - but the decision _ was greeted with shock in bonn. the real focus of attention today was valentina tereshkova, the world�*s first woman cosmonaut. what do you think of the russian woman in space? mink— it's a wonderful achievement and i think we might be able to persuade the wife it would be a good idea,
if i could, to get her to go up there for a little while. this is bbc world news. the latest headlines: in an exclusive interview with the bbc, the russian foreign minister sergei lavrov refuses to say his country invaded ukraine, repeating the official kremlin line that there is no war. in dramatic testimony, the committee investigating the january the sixth attack on the us capitol hears that rioters got within a0 feet of the vice president. ukrainian officials say between 100 and 200 troops are being killed every day — the real number is thought to be much higher. our international correspondent orla guerin is in the kharkiv region, where ukrainian troops are trying to hold back the russians. every flag marks a new grave, a fallen soldier in ukraine�*s war, anotherfather or husband or son —
like denis gordeev, a former lawyer and human rights activist, mourned by his brothers in arms. under the summer sun, a bitter harvest. this farmer points skywards and warns us there�*s a russian drone overhead. in the trenches nearby, bordering donbas, a fighter nicknamed �*old pal�* watches for the enemy and sees all he has lost. "i�*m looking at that field, and it�*s so painful," he says, "because i used to be a farmer. "i used to cultivate that land, to reap and sow.
"i haven�*t seen my two children or my two little grandchildren "since the war broke out." further along the trench, we find artem trapped by this war. very hard, because i don�*t see my family — my mother, sister, brother. very scared... ..because i must kill people. the russians are less than four miles away. here, in this position, ukrainian forces have held their ground. they�*ve blocked the russians advancing, but they say in order to push the russians back, they need a lot more heavy weapons and they need ammunition.
for now, the troops wait — for the next battle and the next burials. they face an enemy that, in places, may have 20 times as many big guns. in the trenches, many are resigned to a long war. orla guerin, bbc news, izyum. to the us, and the question of whether to vaccinate children against coronavirus. earlier this week, vaccine advisers to the food and drug administration voted unanimously in favour of expanding emergency use authorisations of the moderna and pfizer covid—i9 vaccines to include children as young as six months. the us centers for disease control and prevention is expected to vote on saturday on whether the shots can be administered. i spoke to professor arthur reingold, an epidemiologist at the university of california in berkeley. he is also a member of the advisory committee
to the fda and told us more about this and how the cdc will be discussing this at the weekend. well, i wouldn�*t like to try and predict what my colleagues on the acip will say, but i can�*t imagine why they wouldn�*t, so, it seems to me the evidence is very strong and that they�*re likely to vote to proceed, yes. you say the evidence is strong, what benefits — can you run us through the benefits of why you think this should pass and it will pass? well, fundamentally, the data that we reviewed tells us that the benefits do outweigh the risks and the benefits are that these vaccines can have reasonable effectiveness in preventing serious illness in young children — in kids under five, effectively — and that�*s what we�*d like to do is keep young children out of the hospital, from getting very sick, etc. we�*ve seen, obviously, in the past with covid that
public opinion doesn�*t necessarily follow the evidence. what�*s public opinion like in this case? because, surely, a lot of people would say children at six months old, do they really need this jab? so — so, during our meetings, we hearfeedback from the public — and i�*ve certainly gotten quite a bit since the meeting, and i�*ve heard from quite a few mothers of young children who have been eagerly awaiting the ability to vaccinate their kids — that includes both of my daughters, who have children 20 months of age — but we certainly heard from plenty of people who believe this is a mistake and who certainly are not going to vaccinate their children. and i guess one argument might be that children are already vaccinated at that age — for example, measles and polio. so, i think what people need to understand is that in one sense, covid—i9 is not that different from a disease like polio. back in the 1950s, we responded appropriately to the horrifying cases of paralysis — kids in iron lungs, kids left
in wheelchairs — and vaccinated kids against polio to get rid of a terrible disease. what people may not understand is that those very severe cases were, again, a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of all the kids who had got infected with poliovirus. most of the kids got infected with poliovirus, something like 199 out of 200 or so, had absolutely no illness or a very mild, self—limiting illness, so it�*s absolutely the case that we are trying with our vaccines to prevent the most serious outcomes — not only for covid, but for other infectious diseases. based on your current knowledge ofjust how sort of popular this might be, what you think the take—up will be if it does pass this vote? well, we know the uptake in older children, 5—11, has only been in the range of 25%—30%, and i�*m afraid i�*m a little pessimistic — i think it�*s going to be less than that. professor arthur reingold there. in central africa, a giant slab of carbon—rich peat discovered by a team of british
and congolese scientists is under threat from oil companies. the carbon must be kept in the ground to avoid boosting climate change but some plots have already been sold for oil exploration and the republic of the congo wants to develop the area for agriculture, unless richer nations deliver more financial assistance. our africa correspondent andrew harding reports. in the vast forests of central africa, a group of scientists are hacking their way towards a remarkable discovery. this formidable team has spent years tracing the outlines of something huge and hidden and precious. just entering the coordinates of a point that�*s about three kilometres away. it�*s gruelling work in near—impenetrable swamps full of snakes and crocodiles, but the scientists, using hand—held drills, have discovered a fantastically large expanse of peat.
so, we want as many samples as possible from as many different locations. and this rotting vegetation is important because it traps carbon. we estimate that there�*s around 30 billion tonnes of carbon stored in the peatlands of the cuvette centrale in the congo basin, and that�*s equivalent to around 20 years of us fossil fuel emissions, so a huge amount of carbon. the scientists here have discovered something extraordinary in these swamps — a slab of peat that�*s two metres deep and as large as england. it�*s the biggest of its kind anywhere in the world, and that makes it incredibly important when it comes to climate change. if all this carbon is released into the atmosphere, it�*s going to, we can say, accelerate the global change
— climate change. and do you think that is a realistic threat? i think it�*s a threat, yeah. the congo peatlands have been quietly trapping and storing carbon dioxide for thousands of years, but humans could change all that — fast. these vast peatlands are already under threat. that�*s because all around the congo peat basin, developers, farmers, growing populations are looking for ways to make money out of this land. we found these farmers tapping palm trees for palm wine, but the process kills the trees and the peat below. so how to save all this? translation: congo's peatlands are the world's lungs but rich - nations, the biggest polluters, should pay for that service, should pay to protect them. why should we stay poor so you can breathe?
a reasonable question. but outside help has been slow to reach these isolated forests. is it your sense that the international community has shown commitment, money, to sort this? i think not yet, not enough money. i think — i think these ecosystems aren�*t yet valued as they should be at an international level. the scientists have done their work. now, the race is on to prevent these precious peatlands going up in smoke. andrew harding, bbc news, in the republic of congo. just before we leave you, let�*s bring you this story. i2 penguins have been returned to the wild after being rescued and rehabilitated by an animal charity in argentina. the birds were found earlier this year not far from the capital, buenos aires. they showed signs of malnutrition, dehydration and even hypothermia. one of the volunteers
who brought them back to health says climate change could be to blame. that�*s it from me. thank you for watching. that�*s it from me. thank you forwatching. do that�*s it from me. thank you for watching. do stay tuned. hello. friday is set to bring the peak of the heat that has been building over the last couple of days, especially across england and wales. on thursday, scotland and northern ireland stayed that bit cooler but cardiff got to 26. to the west of london, a high of 29.5 celsius. but that�*s nothing compared with the temperatures we�*ve seen in south—west europe. this a0 in southern france on thursday is a record—breaker — the earliest point in the year that france has recorded a temperature of a0 degrees — and some of that extra heat will waft northwards on friday into the south—east corner, highs of 33 — always cooler further north and west. these are the starting temperatures for friday — quite warm and muggy out there first thing. we�*ve got outbreaks of rain
that will be pushing down across parts of scotland into northern ireland and this is a bit of a dividing line because, behind this, we are into cooler, fresher conditions. quite windy, as well. but ahead of our band of cloud and rain, lots of hot sunshine. some mist and murk perhaps for some western coasts but east wales, the west country, into the midlands, a good part of eastern england, the south east seeing temperatures into the high 20s or low 30s, likely to peak somewhere around 33 degrees. with very high uv levels in these southern parts, the sun is very, very strong at this time of year. now, through friday night, this band of cloud continues to sink southwards. a weak weather front at this stage, not much rain on it but to the north of it, we�*re into the cool air. to the south of it, still very warm and muggy — 18 likely to be the starting temperature in the centre of london on saturday morning. so, you can see that warm air clinging on in the south but further north and west, something cooler and fresher to the north of this weather front. now, along the line of the weather front on saturday, we�*ll see some outbreaks of rain starting to develop.
some of this rain could be heavy, possibly thundery. also, some showers into the north—west of scotland. generally, quite a lot of sunshine across the northern half of the uk. temperatures for most of us at this stage in the high teens but still 27 in london, maybe 29 across parts of southern and south—eastern england. but by sunday, the cooler air does win out, however, still some heavy, thundery downpours in the south and especially the south—west. elsewhere, a lot of dry weather but largely northerly winds by this stage, so temperatures at best between ia—20 degrees.
this is bbc news, the headlines: one of president putin�*s closest advisers, the foreign minister, sergei lavrov, has told the bbc that russia has not invaded ukraine. he�*s repeated the kremlin line that there is no war but, instead, a "special military operation". this comes as russia�*s invasion of ukraine is almost four months old. a congressional panel investigating last year�*s storming of capitol hill has heard how former president donald trump tried to pressurise his deputy, mike pence, to overturn the result of the 2020 election. witnesses say mr trump knew his plan was illegal but insisted mr pence go along with it anyway. the hollywood actor kevin spacey has appeared in court, charged with four counts of sexual assault and one of causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent. he strenuously denies