Russia declares ceasefire in Ukraine from 06:00 GMT to open humanitarian corridors for civilians
Moscow has declared a ceasefire in Ukraine as of 06:00 GMT in order to open humanitarian corridors for civilians.
Creating humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of civilians was agreed upon by Russian and Ukrainian officials during their second round of talks in Belarus aimed at resolving the Ukraine crisis.
Russian forces will stop firing at 10 a.m. Moscow time to allow humanitarian corridors out of the Ukrainian cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha, Reuters reported.
Ukrainian army takes control of Hostomel
Ukrainian forces took control of Hostomel, killing at least 50 Russian soldiers, the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine has confirmed.
Both Samsung & Apple, which provide half of Russia’s smartphones, halted sales there
With Samsung following Apple in suspending all shipments to Russia, two companies that together account for about half of all smartphone sales in the country have now paused distribution to Russian buyers.
Chernihiv comes under renewed bombardment
A large explosion has lit up the night sky in Chernihiv, as Russia pressed on with its assault on the strategic Ukrainian city that lies 143km (88 miles) from the capital Kyiv.
Homes were heavily damaged by airstrikes earlier in the day, when a Russian bombardment killed 47 people, according to local officials.
Mayor: Strategic Ukrainian port Mariupol ‘blockaded’
Ukraine’s strategic port city of Mariupol is under a “blockade” by the Russian army after days of “ruthless” attacks, its mayor has said, calling for the establishment of a humanitarian corridor.
“For now, we are looking for solutions to humanitarian problems and all possible ways to get Mariupol out of the blockade,” Vadim Boychenko stated in a message posted on Telegram.
Pentagon successfully tests communications line with Russia
The Pentagon has successfully tested a communications line with the Russian Defense Ministry, created to avoid incidents near Ukraine, a senior US defense official told reporters, according to CNN.
Kremlin: Russia does not seek to divide Ukraine into parts
Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine is not aimed at dividing Ukraine as Russia just seeks to ensure its own security, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Sky News Arabia.
He pointed out that after the 2014 coup, Ukraine had fallen under the influence of Nazi ideas.
“We want to see Ukraine demilitarized, we want to see Ukraine free of Nazi ideology,” Peskov said, adding, “Also we want to see that the neutral status of Ukraine is fixed in its Constitution and we want to have guarantees that weapons being able to change the security balance in Europe cannot be deployed” to Ukraine,” he added.
The Kremlin spokesman emphasized that Russia did not seek to divide Ukraine into parts but only wanted to ensure its own national security.
Ukrainian president claims to be staying in Kiev
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has stated that he continues to work at his office in the country’s capital of Kiev, according to a video on Instagram, which presumably shows the presidential office.
“Reports come every other day that I have allegedly fled from Ukraine, from Kiev, from my office. I am here, and [Head of the Presidential Office] Andrey Borisovich [Yermak] is also here. No one has fled,” Zelensky stated in the video.
Russian State Duma (the lower house of parliament) Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin claimed earlier that Zelenksy had left Ukraine for Poland.
Full US senate invited to meet Zelensky via Zoom on Saturday
The entire US Senate has been invited to meet Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky through a virtual conference call on Saturday. The virtual meeting was arranged by the Ukrainian Embassy, the reported on Friday.
UN Security Council to hold emergency meeting on Monday
The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Monday on the humanitarian crisis triggered in Ukraine by the Russian invasion.
Russia to deploy up to 1,000 mercenaries to Ukraine
Russia is poised to deploy up to 1,000 more mercenaries to Ukraine in the coming days and weeks, as a senior Western intelligence official warned Moscow could “bombard cities into submission”, an escalation that could lead to significant civilian casualties.
The US has already seen “some indications” that Russian mercenaries may be involved in Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine “in some places”, a senior defense official claimed earlier this week, but it wasn’t clear exactly where or in what numbers.
US claims Russian forces approaching Ukraine’s second-largest nuclear facility
Russian forces are approaching Ukraine’s second-largest nuclear facility, US Envoy to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield stated.
“Russian forces are now 20 miles, and closing, from Ukraine’s second-largest nuclear facility,” she said without naming the plant.
According to Energoatom, the overseeing body of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants, Ukraine’s second-largest nuclear facility — in terms of power generation capacity — is Yuzhnoukrainsk Nuclear Power Station in the Mykolaiv Oblast, in southern Ukraine.
“President Vladimir Putin must stop this humanitarian catastrophe by ending this war and ceasing these unconscionable attacks against the people of Ukraine,” the ambassador added.
Earlier on Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of “nuclear terror” after Russian troops attacked the nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine.
Several Western news organizations suspended operations in Russia
Several Western media organizations moved to suspend their journalistic operations in Russia in the wake of a harsh new crackdown on news and free speech by President Vladimir Putin’s government.
Zelensky criticizes NATO over its rejection of a no-fly zone
President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine criticized NATO over its rejection of a no-fly zone, hours after the alliance announced it would not intervene by air or land for fear of creating a conflict with Russia that could spill into other parts of Europe.
Leaders of the alliance met Friday in Brussels, after which NATO’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said its members had rejected any possibility of intervening against Russian forces. Ukrainian officials had called for a no-fly zone, but NATO leaders have resisted, worried about a larger war. President Vladimir Putin of Russia, announcing the invasion last month, warned other countries against interfering.
Blinken: Russia has never been so isolated
Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, has defended NATO’s decision not to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine.
He said, “We have a responsibility to ensure the war does not spill over beyond Ukraine. A no-fly zone could lead to a full-fledged war in Europe. President Joe Biden has been clear we’re not going to get into a war with Russia.”
He added that “we’re seeing them [Russia] use increasingly brutal methods including going at civilians and civilian populations”, and “the terrible expectation is that the suffering we’ve already seen is likely to get worse before it gets better”.
Blinken stated the US was “evaluating the sanctions every day” and “nothing is off the table”.
He also warned that “tens of millions of Russians will suffer because of the dangerous decisions made by a tiny circle of corrupt leaders and cronies”, stressing, “Russia has never been so isolated, we have never been more united.”
Johnson: Putin trapped in a cul-de-sac and bent on destruction
Prime Minister Boris Johnson believes Vladimir Putin intends to “double down” on his invasion of Ukraine, as the Russian president envisages “no way out” but to “continue with the destruction”.
In an interview with La Repubblica, Die Welt and El Pais, the PM said European security is “equally jeopardised” by Moscow’s attack on Europe’s largest nuclear power station.
Johnson stated it appears Putin is set on continuing with the “destruction” in Ukraine.
“It feels to me as though Vladimir Putin has decided to – and it’s clear from what’s happening – that he’s decided to double down,” he added.
“He sees no way out of the cul-de-sac that he’s in, except to continue with the destruction, the pulverising of innocent populations, in innocent European cities,” he noted.
France, partners to propose measures to boost security of nuclear energy sites
French President Emmanuel Macron has said that Paris and its partners will propose in the coming hours a set of concrete measures to boost the safety and security of Ukraine’s five main nuclear energy sites, based on International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) criteria.
Macron added he had spoken with the IAEA director and supported the organisation’s efforts to monitor Ukraine’s nuclear installations.
Russia ‘restricts access’ to Twitter amid invasion of Ukraine
Russia’s media regulator Roskomnadzor has “restricted access” to social media network Twitter after blocking Facebook in the country, Russian news agencies reported.
Russia blocks access to Facebook amid war with Ukraine
The country’s communications regulator says it blocked Meta Platforms Inc’s Facebook in response to what it said were restrictions of access to Russian media on its platform, more than a week after Moscow invaded its neighbour Ukraine.
Biden says US ‘committed to helping Ukraine defend itself’
United States President Joe Biden called the Russian invasion of Ukraine an attack on “global peace and stability”.
Speaking ahead of a meeting with his Finnish counterpart, Sauli Niinisto, Biden added, “We’re committed to helping Ukraine defend itself and support the humanitarian needs of the Ukrainian people.”
Russia, Ukraine trade barbs at UN over Zaporizhzhia incident
Western and Ukrainian diplomats have accused Russia of recklessly endangering global safety after a fire broke out at a training facility near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant – charges that Moscow dismissed as “lies”.
At a UN Security Council meeting on Friday, Kyiv’s envoy Sergiy Kyslytsya accused Moscow of “nuclear terrorism” over the incident, saying that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is an attack on “humanity”.
Moscow’s envoy to the UN, Vasily Nebenzia, however, dismissed reports that Russian troops attacked the Zaporizhzhia plant as “lies” and “disinformation”.