Russian military forces unleashed a new round of strikes in Kyiv and Lviv on Friday, both a residential building and military aircraft repair facility, while continuing to mount aggressive sieges outside major cities in Ukraine during the fourth week of its invasion.
The strike at the repair facility near Lviv wounded one person, said regional governor Maksym Kozytskyy, and was the closest Russian strike to the center of the city just four miles away. The Ukrainian air force’s western command said it shot down two of the six missiles fired at the city from the Black Sea. Lviv, near the Polish border, has largely been spared from the worst of the fighting, but a strike at a training facility last weekend nearly three dozen people. A bus repair facility was also targeted Friday, mayor Andriy Sadovyi said.
At the Kyiv residential building in the Podil neighborhood, one person was killed and 19 injured, according to emergency services and mayor Vitali Klitschko.
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US-CHINA ‘CROSSROADS’:Biden, Xi to speak as US-China relations face ‘crossroads’ over Russian invasion of Ukraine
Meanwhile, around 130 were rescued form the bombed theater in the southeastern city of Mariupol, said Ludmyla Denisova, the Ukrainian parliament’s human rights commissioner. More than 1,300 people remain under the rubble, Denisova told Ukrainian television on Friday. The theater had been used as a bomb shelter before Russia attacked it amid its siege of the port city.
The fighting has led more than 3.27 million people to flee Ukraine, the UN estimates. More than 2 million people have gone to Poland, the country’s border agency said Friday. The death toll remains unknown, though Ukraine has said thousands of civilians have died.
Among the most condemned attacks of the Russian invasion was last week’s airstrike on a maternity hospital in Mariupol that killed three people and left 17 injured.
The World Health Organization says that’s just one of 43 confirmed attacks on hospitals and health care facilities by Russian forces since the war began. Those aggressions have killed 12 and injured 34.
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►Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Friday said his country would formally submit a proposal for a peacekeeping and humanitarian mission in Ukraine at a NATO summit next week. Denmark indicated it would be ready to join a similar mission.
►In a coordinated move Friday, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania ordered the expulsion of Russian embassy staff members in the Baltic countries. Bulgaria also said 10 Russian diplomats were “persona non grata” and demanded their expulsion.
►The Ukraine military says it has captured about a thousand Russian servicemen and that an estimated 14,000 more have been killed in battle. Meanwhile, the UN’s human rights office said Friday 816 civilians have been killed and 1,333 injured – likely an undercount – since the start of the invasion.
►In an evening address to the nation Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked President Joe Biden for additional military aid but avoided detailing specifics over concerns of tipping Russian forces.
►Europe won’t be attempting to send its first rover to Mars this year because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the European Space Agency confirmed Thursday. The mission was a collaboration with Roscosmos, Russia’s state space corporation.
► German Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke for about an hour Friday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a spokesperson for Scholz said. Also Friday, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Germany should consider imposing an oil embargo on Russia.
►Dozens of European lawmakers called on the Nobel Peace Prize Committee to reopen nominations so Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy and the people of Ukraine could be nominated for the honor.
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Biden, Xi speak as US-China relations face ‘crossroads’ over Russian invasion of Ukraine
President Joe Biden spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday following what administration officials described as “intense” seven-hour talks between US and Chinese officials earlier this week. The talks came as Beijing denied reports that Moscow had asked for military support for its war in Ukraine, which has triggered severe global sanctions that have tanked Russia’s economy.
The chilly US-China relationship may face its biggest test as the US turns up pressure on China to take a stand against Russia in the largest land conflict in Europe since World War II.
Analysts say Beijing’s decision – whether to overtly support Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war or to distance itself from the Kremlin’s military assault on Ukraine – is shaping up to be an inflection point in the US-China relationship.
With civilian consequences mounting in Ukraine, the White House is pressing Beijing to join the global condemnation of Moscow’s invasion and prevent Ukraine from becoming a wider proxy war that could reshape the international order forged over the last century. So far, Beijing has tried to walk a geopolitical tightrope, offering tacit support of Russia, a major ally, while trying not to aggravate the West.
— Courtney Subramanian
American man killed in Ukraine, was ‘gunned down’ while in line for bread, sister confirms
An American man was killed in a Russian attack on the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv, where he was seeking medical treatment for his partner. The death of Jim Hill was reported Thursday by his sister.
“My brother Jimmy Hill was killed yesterday in Chernihiv, Ukraine. He was waiting in a bread line with several other people when they were gunned down” by Russian military forces, his sister, Cheryl Hill Gordon, wrote on Facebook. “His body was found in the street by the local police.”
Ukrainian officials reported that 10 people were killed Wednesday in Chernihiv while standing in the bread line.
— Associated Press
Russia won’t ask for humanitarian vote, instead to press on ‘biological laboratories’ at Security Council
At a UN Security Council meeting on Friday, Russia will not ask for a vote on its humanitarian resolution concerning Ukraine and instead will discuss its claims of US “biological laboratories” in Ukraine, which the United States has said are baseless.
Russian UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said Thursday he wouldn’t seek a vote on the humanitarian resolution, which US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield called “farcical” and “doomed to fail.”
Last week, Russia discussed its claims about the alleged biological laboratories in Ukraine, but the United States responded, calling the claims disinformation.
“We know if Russia really cared about humanitarian crises, the one that it created, it could simply stop its attacks on the people of Ukraine,” Thomas-Greenfield said.
Blinken: ‘There will be accountability for any war crimes’
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday that he agrees with President Joe Biden that war crimes have been committed in Ukraine.
“Intentionally targeting civilians is a war crime,” he said at a White House news briefing. “I find it difficult to conclude that the Russians are doing otherwise.”
Blinken’s comments came a day after Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “criminal war.” Thursday, Biden called Putin “a murderous dictator, a pure thug who is waging an immoral war against the people of Ukraine.”
Describing the recent attack on Ukrainians waiting in bread lines and the bombing of a theater where children were sheltered, Blinken said the US is helping document potential war for crimes.
Asked what should happen to Putin if he’s found guilty, Blinken said he won’t get ahead of the investigation, but he promised there will be consequences.
“I can say with conviction that there will be accountability for any war crimes that are determined to have occurred,” he said.
— Maureen Groppe
House moves to further suspend Russia, Belarus from trade
The House of Representatives voted Senate effort Thursday in a bipartisan to suspend normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus, a decision the Senate is also likely to pass.
The House voted overwhelmingly, with a vote of 424-8, to revoke a “most favored nation” status for Russia. If passed, the suspension would be mostly symbolic: earlier sanctions of Russian oil, gas, and coal imports already cut around 60% of American imports.
The Thursday vote would make certain steel, aluminum, and plywood items more expensive to import.
— Celina Tebor
Contributing: The Associated Press