A Russian missile strike targeting Kyiv killed at least one person shortly after a meeting in the city between UN Secretary-General António Guterres and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who called the attack an attempt to “humiliate” the UN
Vira Hyrych, a journalist for the US-funded Radio Free Europe, died in the attack, which hit her residential building, the broadcaster said Friday. Her body was found early Friday in the wreckage. In a separate incident, an American fighting in Ukraine was also killed, his family told media outlets Friday.
Ukraine’s emergency services said at least ten others were also injured in the strike, which targeted the residential high-rise and another building. Russia claimed it “destroyed production buildings” at a defense factory in Kyiv.
“This says a lot about Russia’s true attitude towards global institutions, about attempts of Russian authorities to humiliate the UN and everything that the organization represents,” Zelenskyy said in a video address to the nation. “Therefore, it requires corresponding powerful reaction.”
About an hour before, Guterres appeared with Zelenskyy at a news conference. The UN chief had been in Ukraine and Russia this week seeking humanitarian evacuations from the besieged port city of Mariupol, which the UN said Russia agreed to “in principle.” Guterres also toured some of the destruction in and around Kyiv.
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►The UN’s human rights office said Friday 2,899 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since the start of the war. An additional 3,235 have been injured, the office said.
►Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will both be in attendance at the G20 summit to be held in Bali in November, said Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who is hosting the event and spoke with both leaders this week.
►Tens of thousands of troops from NATO and other north Atlantic nations will take part in a series of military exercises across Europe in the coming weeks as western countries seek to deter Russian aggression.
►President Joe Biden on Thursday asked Congress to approve $33 billion in security, economic and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, the latest move suggesting the US would provide long-term support to the country.
►Ukrainian prosecutors on Thursday identified 10 Russian soldiers they accused of atrocities in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha, one of the war’s major flashpoints that helped galvanize Western support of Ukraine.
Zelenskyy says Russian troops came close to capturing him, family
Zelenskyy chronicled the war from his eyes during an in-depth interview with Time Magazine, detailing the moments at the start of the war that nearly led to the capture of him and his family.
Zelenskyy told of multiple attempts to storm presidential offices in Kyiv at the very beginning of Russia’s invasion. He said at one point Russian strike teams had parachuted into the city to capture or kill both him and his family.
“Before that night, we had only ever seen such things in the movies,” Andriy Yermak, Zelensky’s chief of staff, told Time about the incident.
Kremlin forces attempted multiple times to storm the presidential compound and guards used whatever they could find to secure the area, including using police barricades and plywood to create a barricade.
The first evening of fighting around Kyiv led guards to shut off the lights in the compound and handout assault rifles and bulletproof vests. Russians made two attempts that evening to storm the area as Zelenskyy’s wife and children were inside, he said.
Former US marine killed while fighting in Ukraine
A former US Marine was killed while fighting alongside Ukrainian forces, according to his relatives, making his the first known death of an American citizen while fighting in the war against Russia.
Willy Joseph Cancel, 22, was killed Monday while working for a military contracting company that sent him to Ukraine, his mother, Rebecca Cabrera, told CNN. Cancel joined the Marines after graduating from Newburgh Free Academy in New York and served from 2017-21. He more recently worked as a corrections officer in Tennessee.
Cabrera said her son signed up to work with the private military contractor shortly before fighting began in Ukraine on Feb. 24 and that he agreed to go to Ukraine. She said he flew to Poland on March 12, entered Ukraine shortly thereafter and had been fighting alongside men from a number of countries.
“He wanted to go over because he believed in what Ukraine was fighting for, and he wanted to be a part of it to contain it there so it didn’t come here, and that maybe our American soldiers wouldn’t have to be involved in it,” she said.
Cabrera said her son’s body hasn’t been recovered.
Reports: EU moving closer to embargo on Russian oil
The European Union was moving closer toward an embargo on Russian oil imports as part of the latest sanctions against Russia from the 27-nation bloc, the New York Times and Washington Post reported Friday.
The Times, citing unnamed EU officials and diplomats, reported approval for a phased embargo was likely to come by the end of next week. The Post reported debate would continue through the weekend, as Germany reported earlier more acceptance of the move. Still, it was unclear whether Hungary would agree given its dependence on Russian oil, the Post reported.
The United States in March banned Russian oil imports as part of a wide package of sanctions aimed at putting pressure on the Russian economy. EU countries, though also sanctioning Russia in other ways, have been more hesitant to cut ties with Russian energy sources.
UN to vote on replacing Russia on human rights council
The United Nations General Assembly will hold a vote next month on a country to replace Russia on its human rights council after suspending the nation for its actions in Ukraine.
The Czech Republic is the only candidate for the May 10 vote, said Assembly spokeswoman Paulina Kubiak. Forty-seven members divided by regional groups sit on the Human Rights Council, and Russia’s replacement would have to come from eastern Europe.
After being suspended from the council, Russia’s deputy ambassador Gennady Kuzmin said the country would withdraw from the council, which allows it not to be deprived of observer status at the rights body.
Ukrainian officials in the besieged port city of Mariupol again warned on Friday of the dire conditions its civilians are facing.
Mayor Vadym Boychenko called for an immediate evacuation of the remaining citizens as the living conditions “are now medieval.”
With no central water and sewage and decaying bodies under the rubble of the city, diseases like cholera and dysentery could break out, the city council warned.
Speaking with CNN from the Azovstal steel plant, Maj. Serhiy Volyna, commander of Ukraine’s 36th Separate Marine Brigade, said the plant’s field hospital was recently targeted. Water, food and medical supplies were also scarce, he said.
Ukraine unveils first war crimes charges amid 8,000 investigations
Ukrainian authorities unveiled their first war crimes charges Thursday against members of Russia’s military, as the US and other countries worked behind the scenes to help Kyiv with more than 8,000 criminal investigations connected to potential atrocities in the two-month old war.
The first charges accuse 10 Russian servicemen of holding civilians hosting and mistreating them in Bucha, a Kyiv suburb, in March. Russia’s military occupied Bucha for a month, and authorities and witnesses say mass graves and bodies in the streets were found in the town after the Russian withdrawal. Some Bucha residents were found dead with bullet wounds and their hands tied behind their backs.
— Josh Meyer and Kim Hjelmgaard
Read the whole story here:Ukraine unveils first war crimes charges amid 8,000 investigations
Air strike in Kyiv rattles relative calm
Russia’s attack Thursday on Kyiv rattled a relative sense of calm in the Ukrainian capital, where air strikes have largely been limited since the Russian military pulled back and refocused their offensive on eastern Ukraine.
At least two strikes have occurred around Kyiv in the past month, but several European countries and the United States announced plans to reopen their embassies in the city as the fighting has largely calmed down.
In addition to UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ visit to Kyiv this week, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US Secretaries of State and Defense, Antony Blinken and Lloyd Austin, had met with Zelenskyy in the Ukrainian capital earlier this month.
Following a Russian attack on the city earlier this month, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko warned residents who had fled when fighting was more intense not to return to the city.
More:‘You’re not going to get away with it’: Ukraine unveils first war crimes charges amid 8,000 investigations
Russian air strikes hit targets across Ukraine on Thursday, bringing a barrage of explosions from east to west.
In addition to the strike in Kyiv, there were explosions reported in Polonne in the west, Chernihiv near the border with Belarus, and Fastiv, a large railway hub southwest of the capital.
Meanwhile, the British Defense Ministry said Russia’s offensive in the Donbas region in the east remains its primary focus. The fighting has been heaviest around Lysychansk and Severodonetsk, and Russians have attempted to advance south from Izium towards Slovyansk, the Defense Ministry said in an intelligence update.
Russia is using dolphins to protect naval base, satellite photos suggest
Russia has placed trained dolphins at the entrance to a key Black Sea port to help protect a Kremlin naval base there, suggest satellite photos analyzed by a naval analyst.
Around the time of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, two pens of dolphins were placed at the entrance to Sevastopol harbor, the most significant naval base in the Black Sea, according to the imagery.
The dolphins could be trained to perform tasks such as preventing divers from infiltrating an undetected military base. Both the US and Russian military have trained marine mammals to complete such tasks.
“This could prevent Ukrainian special operations forces from infiltrating the harbor underwater to sabotage warships,” HI Sutton, a submarine analyst wrote in an article published by the US Naval Institute on Wednesday.
—Maria Jimenez Moya
When global leaders voted in early April to punish Russia for human rights violations in Ukraine, diplomats representing the majority of the world’s population either sided with Moscow or refused to choose a side.
According to a USA TODAY analysis of the vote, about three-quarters of the global population lives in a country that did not support the US-initiated measure that suspended Russia from a top human rights group. Each country received one vote, regardless of its population, land mass or wealth. Read more here.
Contributing: The Associated Press