Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia was leaving a treacherous landscape in its wake as invading forces retreated from around kyiv, trapping streets and civilian homes.
“They mine the whole territory, they mine the houses, the mining equipment, even the bodies of the people who were killed,” Zelenskyy said in a video address Friday evening.
Zelenskyy urged residents to wait to resume their normal lives until landmines can be cleared and the danger of further bombardment has passed.
As talks between the nations resumed on Friday, some Russian forces continued to move away from the Ukrainian capital, although Ukrainian and Western officials warned that the move is unlikely to signal the war will end. On the contrary, Russian forces are likely to be resupplying, they said.
Peace talks became complicated on Friday when the Russians accused Ukraine of a helicopter attack on a Russian fuel depot, which kyiv denied but would mark Ukraine’s first airstrike on Russian soil.
As Russian forces exercise their scorched-earth policy, the United States pledges to help maintain supplies to Ukraine. The Ministry of Defense announced an additional $300 million in military equipment for Ukraine.
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► Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said 3,071 people were able to leave Mariupol on Friday.
► Russian military troops left the heavily contaminated Chernobyl nuclear power plant on Friday, returning control to the Ukrainians.
► A Ukrainian official said there were casualties after at least three Russian ballistic missiles were fired at the Odessa region on the Black Sea on Friday night.
► After being unable to reach the ravaged city of Mariupol on Friday, a Red Cross team plans to attempt another evacuation of thousands of citizens on Saturday.
► UNESCO reports that 53 Ukrainian monuments have already been damaged or destroyed due to the Russian invasion. This number may increase as there are no reports of war-ravaged Mariupol and Kherson yet.
Report: Russian forces shelled evacuees in Lugansk, regional governor says
Serhiy Haida, governor of Ukraine’s Lugansk region, said on Saturday that Russian forces shelled people evacuating besieged towns, according to CNN.
“It’s impossible to negotiate with ‘Orcs’,” Haidai told the network, referring to the mythical monsters in JRR Tolkein’s ‘Lord of the Rings’. “The Russians are deliberately hitting during the evacuations. There were shells coming in near the meeting places. Fortunately, everyone is alive.”
The Luhansk region governor added that several tons of humanitarian aid have been delivered to civilians who could not be evacuated and are being moved to bomb shelters. Around 2,700 civilians were still being evacuated from the area on Saturday.
Former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court: arrest of Putin
The former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has called for an international arrest warrant to be issued against Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Putin is a war criminal,” Carla Del Ponte told Swiss newspaper Le Temps in an interview published on Saturday.
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The Swiss lawyer who oversaw ICC investigations into war crimes in Rwanda, Syria and the former Yugoslavia said there were clearly war crimes committed in Ukraine. She said attacks on civilians, the destruction of civilian buildings and even entire towns, were other war crimes.
“I hoped never to see mass graves again,” she told the Blick newspaper, referring to the wars in the former Yugoslavia. “These dead have loved ones who don’t even know what has become of them. This is unacceptable.”
– Associated press
UNESCO: More than 50 war-damaged Ukrainian monuments
Dozens of Ukrainian historical sites, religious buildings and museums have been damaged since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the United Nations cultural agency told AFP on Friday.
Using satellite images and witness reports to verify information provided by Ukrainian officials, UNESCO confirmed 53 damaged sites – 29 religious sites, 16 historical buildings, four museums and four monuments.
This toll is expected to increase since information from the besieged port city Mariupol and the captured city of Kherson are not on the list. So far, none of the confirmed sites are on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites, according to AFP.
Ukrainian Ministry of Economy: GDP could fall by 40% this year
On Friday, Ukraine’s economy ministry said the country’s GDP fell by 16% in the first quarter of 2022 and could fall by up to 40% by the end of the year.
“Russian aggression against Ukraine has completely changed our economy,” Denis Kudin, Ukraine’s first deputy economy minister, said in a Facebook post.
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The industries most affected are those whose work cannot be done remotely, such as air and maritime transport and services where companies work directly with consumers, he said.
Still, the economy began to revitalize over the past week as businesses in “safe regions” began to reopen, Kudin said, noting that farmers had already started sowing seeds. The State Economy Ministry focuses on strengthening utility and energy companies and manufacturing enterprises that help the Ukrainian military.
Seven humanitarian corridors should be operational on Saturday
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said seven humanitarian corridors had been set up to evacuate people from areas under attack on Saturday, according to news reports.
A corridor has been set up to evacuate people from the city of Mariupol by private transport. Buses are planned to transport residents of Mariupol out of Berdyansk on another route.
Mariupol currently lacks water, gas, electricity, internet and cell service. At least 150,000 people are believed to be stranded in the southern Ukrainian city.
Humanitarian corridors will also be opened in Severodonetsk and Popasna, according to reports.
Red Cross mission to evacuate civilians from Mariupol fails, will try again
After failing to reach the war-torn town of Mariupol on Friday, a team from the International Committee of the Red Cross said it planned to try again on Saturday to evacuate civilians on Friday.
Three vehicles and nine personnel were unable to reach Mariupol to assist in the safe passage of civilians. The ICRC said the team had to return to Zaporizhzhia because they were unable to make arrangements as planned.
Continued:The devastation of Mariupol
The organization had previously said that tens of thousands of people depended on the Mariupol operation.
The ICRC described its role as a neutral intermediary to accompany people out of Mariupol and into another Ukrainian city.
Pope Francis plans visit to Ukraine
Pope Francis said on Saturday he was planning a visit to Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv.
On a flight from Rome to Malta, a journalist asked the pope if he was considering any invitations made by the Ukrainian authorities.
His answer ? “Yes, it’s on the table.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of the Byzantine Rite Catholic Church of Ukraine and Ukrainian Ambassador to the Vatican Andirv Yurash are among those who have invited Francis. The pope spoke with Zelenskyy and Shevchuk by phone.
Last Friday, Francis prayed for peace in Ukraine before an estimated crowd of 3,500 at St. Peter’s Basilica. “Free us from war, protect our word from the threat of nuclear weapons,” he said.
The Pentagon announces an additional $300 million in military equipment for Ukraine
The US Department of Defense announced late Friday that it would provide an additional $300 million in military equipment to Ukraine.
“This decision underscores the United States’ unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in support of its heroic efforts to repel Russia’s war of choice,” said John Kirby, Ministry of Defense press.
Kirby said the equipment will include laser-guided rocket systems, unmanned aircraft, armored vehicles, weapons, ammunition, night vision equipment and medical supplies.
The equipment adds to the $1.6 billion in U.S. aid to Ukraine since the Russian invasion began, he said.
Ukraine disputes Kremlin allegations of airstrike on Russian fuel depot
Vyacheslav Gladkov, regional governor of Belgorod, wrote on Telegram on Friday that two Ukrainian helicopters carried out an airstrike Thursday night on the oil facility in Belgorod, about 21 miles from the Russian-Ukrainian border.
Gladkov initially wrote that two oil workers were injured, but later said there were no casualties. And Rosneft, the Russian oil company that owns the fuel depot, said in a separate statement that no one was injured in the fire, according to Reuters.
kyiv has denied any involvement in the attack.
“For some reason they say we did it, but according to our information, this does not correspond to reality,” Ukrainian Security Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov told Ukrainian television.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy declined to say whether he ordered the alleged attack during an interview with Fox News. Zelenskyy said he does not discuss the orders he issues as commander-in-chief.
Contribute: The Associated Press