‘Positive progress’ in talks, Putin says, Kiev threatened by… update on war in Ukraine

Situation on the ground, international reaction, sanctions: update on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

EU must ‘do more’ for Ukraine, Zelensky says

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday that the European Union must “do more” for Ukraine after the leaders of 27 countries ruled out any quick Ukraine’s accession to the EU the day before. “We need to put in more effort. This is not what we expect,” Zelensky said in a Telegram video. “The decisions of politicians must coincide with the moods of their peoples, the peoples of Europe (…) The European Union must do more for us, for Ukraine.”

To read :Terrorist attack in Mariupol: photo of a pregnant woman at the heart of disinformation

Russia charged Meta with “calling for murder” of Russians

Russia announced on Friday that it is prosecuting Meta for “calling to kill” Russians after Facebook and Instagram’s parent company relaxed its rules on violent messages targeting the military and Russian leaders.

Russia’s influential investigative committee said it was launching an investigation “due to illegal calls for the killing of Russian citizens by employees of the American company Meta.” The Russian prosecutor’s office asked him to recognize the Internet giant as an “extremist” organization and block access to Instagram in the country.

1500 dead during the siege of Mariupol

So far, unattacked by Russian soldiers, Dnepr, an industrial city of a million people on the Dnieper River, the river that marks the division between Ukraine’s partly pro-Russian east and the rest of Ukraine, has been the target of the raids. At least one person died as a result of this, according to local authorities.

“There were three air strikes on the city, on a kindergarten, an apartment building and a shoe factory (…), where a fire then broke out,” the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Ukraine reported. Adding its string of images of desolation to those of Kharkov (northeast) and Mariupol (southeast), whose 1,582 inhabitants died during the siege, the Dnieper awoke in amazement, surrounded by charred buildings, gutted or blown up.

Kyiv, “symbol of resistance”

The official report also lists four Ukrainian soldiers killed and six wounded in a shelling of the Lutsk military airport in northwestern Ukraine. Ivano-Frankivsk, located in the far west, was also attacked. These bases have been “decommissioned,” the Russian Defense Ministry said.

To read :“Ukrainians stop tanks with their bare hands”

There were also night air raids on the cities of Chernihiv (north), Sumy (northeast) and Kharkov, as a result of which residential buildings were damaged. And the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate in communities under siege or threatened by Russian offensives.

“Stopped, demoralized”

In the country’s southeast, the Russian army is “concentrating its efforts” on Severodonetsk and besieged Mariupol, a strategic port on the Sea of ​​Azov, according to the Ukrainian General Staff. Russian aircraft hit residential areas on Thursday “every 30 minutes”, “killing civilians, the elderly, women and children,” Mayor Vadim Boytchenko detailed in a video.

A representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) described the dire situation in the city, where residents are deprived of electricity, water and gas: “People started fighting for food. Others destroyed another person’s car to get gasoline from it,” Sasha Volkov said in an audio recording sent to the media. The city’s children’s hospital was hit by an explosion on Wednesday that killed three, according to the mayor’s office, sparking a wave of international condemnation. The United States and its European allies have considered imposing additional sanctions on Russia in response to the seemingly “escalating” atrocities against civilians in Ukraine.

Fighting also continues for control of Chernihiv (north), Kharkiv (northeast) and the port of Mykolaiv (south), the Ukrainian General Staff notes, noting that Moscow was trying to “launch an offensive” on the major cities of Zaporozhye and Krivoy Rog. . “The Russian invaders have been stopped, demoralized and are suffering heavy losses,” he assured. For the British Ministry of Defense, the “growing number” of Russian troops deployed to “encircle strategic cities (…) will further slow Russia’s advance,” he analyzed on Twitter.

“Perceived Terror”

After the first high-level talks between the warring parties since February 24 in Turkey without a ceasefire, Moscow has vowed to open humanitarian corridors daily to allow Ukrainians fleeing the fighting to defeat Russia. But Ukraine, where the population of cities besieged by Russian troops is hiding due to shelling, calls for the creation of safe passages within its borders for the evacuation of civilians.

To read :7-year-old Amelia, who filmed singing in a Kiev bunker, came to Poland

On Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused the Russian army of obstructing the evacuation of civilians from Mariupol and Volnovakha (southeast) and of attacking a planned humanitarian corridor route. “Russian troops did not stop firing. Despite everything, I decided to send a convoy of cars with food, water, medicines to Mariupol (…) But the occupiers launched a tank attack exactly where this corridor was supposed to pass,” he said in a video published by the president. “This is an alleged terror, brazen terror by seasoned terrorists,” he said. According to the leader, some 100,000 people have fled other Ukrainian cities in the grip of hostilities over the past two days, including 40,000 on Thursday alone, through humanitarian corridors.

The war in Ukraine, which has thrown more than 2.3 million people onto the roads according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, according to the latest UN tally, which highlights that its balance sheets are likely much lower than they actually are. Faced with this situation, the Americans and their allies are trying to help this country by avoiding direct military intervention by NATO member countries.

$14 billion

Thus, the US Congress passed on Thursday a new federal budget that includes a staggering nearly $14 billion package for the Ukraine crisis. Means that should allow Ukraine to protect its electricity grid, fight cyber attacks and arm itself with defensive weapons. The package also includes more than $2.6 billion in humanitarian aid and more than $1 billion to support refugees. Meeting at a summit in Versailles, near Paris, to develop economic and military responses to the shock of the Russian invasion, EU heads of state and government ruled out Thursday for Ukraine’s rapid entry into the European Union, opening the door for closer ties.

The UN Security Council will also meet Friday at 1600 GMT on Moscow’s request for alleged biological weapons production in Ukraine, which Mr. Zelenskiy has vehemently denied. Western sanctions continue to hit Russia, including the freezing of assets in the UK of seven Russian oligarchs, including Roman Abramovich, the decision to suspend the sale of the Chelsea football club. As a result of the war, the International Monetary Fund will lower its global growth forecasts, warning that a Russian default is no longer “incredible”.

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