A building destroyed by an explosion in Kyiv on April 29, 2022 in Ukraine (AFP/Genya SAVILOV)
Russia confirmed Friday that it had bombed the city of Kyiv the previous day amid a visit by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, a strike that killed a Ukrainian journalist from Radio Liberty, a symbolic US-funded media outlet.
Meanwhile in Mariupol, the martyred coastal city in the southeast fell mainly into the hands of the Russians, but on Friday it was scheduled to evacuate civilians trapped with Ukrainian soldiers at the Azovstal steel plants, an AFP team heard heavy shelling of the steel complex that It does not appear at this point that such an operation is permitted.
Russia confirmed that it had bombed the capital the day before, claiming that it had targeted military and strategic targets even while the United Nations Secretary-General was there.
In particular, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that “the Russian forces destroyed with long-range and high-precision weapons the workshops of the Artyom space company” in the Ukrainian capital.
The bombing left ten people injured and at least one killed: Vera Gerich, a Ukrainian journalist working for Radio Liberty, a Cold War-era media funded by the US Congress in Eastern Europe. The body of the journalist was found in the rubble of her building.
“If this is a high-precision attack, it’s really ridiculous. It’s inhumane,” Michalo Vovchinsky, 22, a resident of the area, said Friday.
The attack occurred when the head of the United Nations, who made his first visit to Ukraine on Wednesday and Thursday since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24, was in Kyiv.
Germany and France strongly condemned, and Berlin emphasized that these strikes once again showed “that (Vladimir) Putin and his regime do not respect international law.”
However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky lamented in a video address on Friday evening, “that such a brutal and deliberate humiliation of the United Nations went unanswered.”
And while the Russian president, like his Ukrainian counterpart, was invited to the G20 summit scheduled for November in Indonesia, the US said it refused to treat Vladimir Putin “as if nothing had happened”.
On Friday, the Pentagon even accused the Russian president of “corruption” and “brutality” due to the way Russian forces are behaving in Ukraine. “It’s hard to watch some of the footage and imagine a serious leader doing that,” spokesman John Kirby said.
– ‘Saab’ in Kharkiv –
On the ground, Volodymyr Zelensky admitted that the situation in the Kharkiv region, the main northeastern city in the region where Russian forces refocused their offensive, was “difficult.”
“But our military is achieving tactical success,” he said.
This is especially the case in Ruska Lozova, a Ukrainian-held village north of Kharkiv, according to which Russian forces bombed the city. The village was liberated after heavy fighting.
“We had two nights that were scary as hell,” said 23-year-old Svetlana Perebelica. “On the penultimate night, we thought the sky was burning and the whole village was burning.”
To the south and east, in the Donbass region, which the Kremlin set itself the goal of restoring complete control, Volodymyr Zelensky asserted that “the constant bombing of infrastructure and populated areas shows that Russia wants to make this area uninhabited.”
A senior Pentagon official said on Friday that the Russian offensive in Donbass was “postponed”, “they are far from connecting” the forces that have entered the Kharkiv region (east), north of Donbas, and those coming. From the south of the country, one of the goals of the Russian army was to take the pincers of the Ukrainian forces deployed on the front line around the separatist regions of Donetsk and Lugansk.
“We believe they continue to create the conditions for a sustained, larger and longer offensive,” the senior Pentagon official added.
– British investigators –
On Thursday, the UN coordinator in Ukraine, Osnat Lubrani, said he was heading south to prepare for an evacuation attempt in Mariupol, stressing that the UN was doing “everything it could” to get civilians trapped in an “end of the world”.
Map showing the destruction and damage to buildings in the area of the Azovstal complex in Mariupol as of April 25, according to a satellite analysis by UNOSAT (AFP /)
The United Nations chief traveled Thursday to Bucha and other locations near Kyiv where Ukraine has blamed Russian forces for abuses and urged Moscow to “cooperate” with the International Criminal Court’s investigation into possible war crimes.
At the same time, the services of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Irina Venediktova revealed that ten Russian soldiers were charged with alleged war crimes in Bucha.
This action is the first of its kind since AFP found the bodies of twenty people in civilian clothes on April 2 dumped in a street in this area, sparking outrage and turmoil around the world.
The Ukrainians blamed the Russians, but Moscow denied any responsibility and spoke of Kyiv’s “staging”.
A fire after a bombing at a warehouse at Lyman station in eastern Ukraine on April 28, 2022 (AFP/Yasuyoshi CHIBA)
The prosecutor said that “more than 8,000 cases” of alleged war crimes have been identified in Ukraine.
On Friday, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said that in this regard, the UK would send investigators to assist their Ukrainian colleagues.
– Better protection for refugees –
Norway will follow in the footsteps of the European Union, of which it is not a member, by closing its ports to Russian ships, except for fishing vessels, while the first ship carrying corn from Ukraine left the Romanian Black Sea port of Constanta on Friday, marking the resumption of grain exports by that country.
Women and children on a train at the Kramatorsk station, fleeing from the Donbass region, April 4, 2022 (AFP/FADEL SENNA)
The United Nations has indicated that more than 5.4 million Ukrainians have left their country since the start of the Russian invasion, including 57,000 in the past 24 hours.
The NGO Human Rights Watch warned Friday that Poland, where 3,033,000 people have fled conflict in Ukraine have entered according to border guards, must “urgently” strengthen prevention and control measures to protect them, especially women, victims of trafficking, violence and rape. .
In addition, this summer about 8,000 British soldiers will participate in exercises in Eastern Europe alongside NATO soldiers, in order to “show solidarity and strength”.
A 22-year-old former US Marine was killed in Ukraine as he left to fight Russian forces in mid-March, family members said, and the Pentagon on Friday urged Americans “not to go” into the country.
UK-based non-profit organisation, Presidium Network, reported that Russian soldiers captured two British aid workers on Monday at a checkpoint.