LVIV, Ukraine – The governor of the Kyiv region says Russian forces entered the town of Slavutych and seized a hospital there.
Slavutych is located north of Kyiv and west of Chernihiv, outside the exclusion zone established around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant after the 1986 disaster. It is home to Chernobyl site workers.
Governor Oleksandr Pavlyuk said on Saturday that the Russians also abducted the city’s mayor, but some media outlets reported later in the day that the mayor was quickly freed. None of these claims could be independently verified.
The governor said residents of Slavutych took to the streets with Ukrainian flags to protest the Russian invasion.
“The Russians opened fire in the air. They threw flash grenades into the crowd. But the residents did not disperse, on the contrary, more of them showed up,” Pavlyuk said.
KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIAN-UKRAINE WAR:
— The bombed city of Chernihiv in northern Ukraine fears it could become the ‘next Mariupol’
– The Associated Press has independently documented at least 34 assaults on Ukrainian medical facilities by Russian forces
— Russian President Vladimir Putin faces tough choices in invading Ukraine as armed forces stagnate
– A Ukrainian fashion brand in a bombed city takes flight and flees
Go to https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine for more coverage
LVIV, Ukraine — Authorities in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, have announced a new 35-hour curfew in the city.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said the curfew would extend from 8 p.m. local time Saturday to 7 a.m. Monday, with local residents only allowed to leave their homes to go to a bomb shelter. bombs.
Klitschko said shops, pharmacies, gas stations and public transport will not operate during the curfew.
ISTANBUL — Turkey’s Defense Ministry said a “mine-like” object had been “neutralized” at the northern entrance to the Bosphorus Strait.
Saturday’s sighting of a possible naval mine followed warnings that mines laid at entrances to Ukrainian ports could break loose in bad weather and cross the Black Sea.
Broadcaster NTV showed footage of an object floating in the waves off Istanbul’s Sariyer district on Europe’s Bosphorus coast. A Coast Guard vessel was stationed nearby.
A Ministry of Defense statement said divers had been dispatched to deal with the object. According to the Demiroren news agency, he was noticed by fishermen.
On March 18, Turkey advised ships to remain “vigilant” and report any possible mines that have drifted from Ukrainian ports.
Last year, some 38,500 ships crossed the Bosphorus, which connects the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. Shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ankara closed the strait to military vessels.
LONDON — Britain’s Ministry of Defense says Russia continues to besiege a number of major Ukrainian cities, including Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Mariupol.
A daily update indicates that Russian forces are proving reluctant to engage in large-scale urban infantry operations, preferring instead to rely on the indiscriminate use of aerial bombardment and artillery in an attempt to demoralize the defending forces.
The assessment indicates that Russia is likely to continue to use its heavy firepower on urban areas as it seeks to limit its own already considerable casualties, at the cost of further civilian casualties.
DOHA, Qatar — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a surprise video appearance at the Doha Forum in Qatar.
Zelenskyy in his video speech on Saturday criticized Russia’s ongoing war against his country. He called on the United Nations and world powers to come to his aid. He compared Russia’s destruction of the port city of Mariupol to the Syrian and Russian destruction of the city of Aleppo during the Syrian war.
“They are destroying our ports,” Zelenskyy said. “The lack of exports from Ukraine will be a blow to countries around the world.”
He added: “The future of Europe depends on your efforts. He called on countries to increase their energy exports, which is particularly important as Qatar is a world leader in the export of natural gas.
He criticized Russia for what he described as threatening the world with its nuclear weapons.
“Russia deliberately brags that it can destroy with nuclear weapons not only a certain country but the entire planet,” Zelenskyy said.
He also noted that Muslims in Ukraine are expected to fight during the upcoming holy fasting month of Ramadan.
“We must ensure that this holy month of Ramadan is not overshadowed by the misery of Ukrainians,” he said.
ISTANBUL — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke by phone with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky, discussing the situation in Ukraine and negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv, Erdogan’s office said Friday.
Erdogan told his counterpart that he raised Turkey’s support for Ukrainian territorial integrity at a recent NATO summit, where he relayed Turkey’s diplomatic efforts in one-on-one meetings with d other leaders, according to a press release from the Turkish presidency.
Ankara, which has close ties with Russia and Ukraine, has positioned itself as a neutral party, seeking to facilitate negotiations between the warring parties.
Russian forces in Ukraine appear to have shifted their focus from a ground offensive targeting kyiv to prioritize what Moscow calls the liberation of the disputed Donbass region, suggesting a new phase in the war.
It seems too early to know whether this means President Vladimir Putin has scaled back his ambitions in Ukraine, but Russian military moves this week point to surprisingly strong recognition of the Ukrainian resistance. Russian-backed separatists have controlled part of the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine since 2014.
On Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky again called on Russia to negotiate an end to the war, but he said Ukraine would not agree to cede any part of its territory in the name of peace.
Putin’s forces are under heavy pressure in many parts of the country, and the United States and other countries are accelerating their arms and supply transfers to Ukraine. In recent days, US officials said they saw evidence that Ukrainian defenders were going on the offensive in a limited way in some areas.
Putting a positive face to all this, Russia’s deputy chief of staff said his forces had largely achieved the “main objectives” of the first phase of what Moscow calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine.
LVIV, Ukraine – Even as the conflict rages on, a vast apparatus is being built to collect and preserve evidence of potential war crimes.
Less than a month after Putin’s order to drop the first bombs on his neighbor, the United States said Russian forces violated international laws of war written after World War II. But it is far from clear who will be held accountable and how.
Possible war crimes that have been reported in Ukraine include destroying homes, shooting civilians as they evacuate through safe corridors, targeting hospitals, using indiscriminate weapons like cluster bombs in civilian areas, attacking nuclear power plants and intentionally blocking access to humanitarian aid or food and water.
But the intention matters. Destroying a hospital alone is not evidence of a war crime. Prosecutors would have to prove the attack was intentional or at least reckless.
LVIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s chief of staff is calling on the West to create a new lend-lease program for Ukraine, referencing the World War II effort that sent American supplies to Ukraine. Soviet Union to help fight Nazi Germany.
“We need a full lease,” Andriy Yermak said in a Friday night speech. “Today, Ukraine is the Holy Grail of Europe, and without exaggeration, Ukraine revives those principles that have given life to today’s Western civilization.”
He said what Ukraine needs most is real-time intelligence and heavy weapons.
Yermak also repeated calls for the Ukrainian president’s help in closing the skies over Ukraine to stop Russian bombing and missile attacks. The West refused to impose a no-fly zone for fear of extending the war.
He said options include supplying Ukraine with air defense systems or fighter jets, or creating an “air police force to protect civilian infrastructure”.
LVIV, Ukraine – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has again called on Russia to negotiate an end to the war, but said Ukraine would not agree to give up any of its territory in the name of peace.
In his nightly video address to the nation on Friday, Zelenskyy appeared to be responding to Colonel General Sergei Rudskoi, Russia’s deputy chief of staff, who said Russian forces would now focus on “the main objective, the liberation of Donbass. “.
Russian-backed separatists have controlled part of the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine since 2014, and Russian forces are fighting to seize more of the region from Ukraine, including including the besieged city of Mariupol.
Rudskoi’s statement was also a suggestion that Russia might give up trying to take kyiv and other major cities where its offensive has stalled. Zelenskyy noted that Russian forces have lost thousands of soldiers but still have not been able to take Kyiv or Kharkiv, the second largest city.
LVIV, Ukraine – The Associated Press has independently documented at least 34 assaults on Ukrainian medical facilities by Russian forces.
PA journalists in Ukraine have seen firsthand the deadly results of Russian strikes on civilian targets, including the final moments of children whose bodies were ripped apart by shrapnel and dozens of corpses piled up in mass graves.
AP journalists outside Ukraine have confirmed details of other attacks by interviewing survivors and independently verifying war zone videos and photos posted online. The accounting is part of the War Crimes Watch Ukraine project, a larger AP and PBS “Frontline” effort.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights confirms that at least 1,035 civilians, including 90 children, have died and another 1,650 civilians have been injured since the war began a month ago. These numbers are definitely an undercount.