Russia on Friday accused Ukraine of attacking a fuel depot in Belgorod, which would be the first Ukrainian airstrike on Russian soil if confirmed.
Vyacheslav Gladkov, regional governor of Belgorod, wrote on Telegram on Friday that two Ukrainian helicopters carried out an airstrike Thursday evening on the oil facility, located about 20 miles from the Russian-Ukrainian border.
Gladkov initially wrote that two oil workers were injured, but later said there were no casualties. Rosneft, the Russian oil company that owns the fuel depot, said in a statement that no one was injured in the fire, according to Reuters.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he could neither confirm nor deny reports of Ukrainian involvement because he was unaware of all the military information.
Meanwhile, Dmitry Peskov, press secretary to Russian President Vladimir Putin, said the alleged attack “cannot be seen as creating comfortable conditions for the continuation of the talks”, Russian state media reported.
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► Mariupol City Council said in a Telegram article on Friday that it will cost at least $10 billion to renew the city’s infrastructure due to war damage. The city’s mayor, Vadim Boychenko, said he would push for reparations from Russia to compensate for the “suffering and damage” to Mariupol and its citizens.
►The Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine said in a Telegram article on Friday that 153 children were killed and 245 injured in connection with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Most of the children were injured in the Kyiv region.
►Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a decree on Thursday requiring payment for natural gas in rubles, but appeared to temper the order by allowing payments in dollars and euros through a designated bank
►Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Friday that his country would send Bushmaster armored vehicles to Ukraine to help in its war against Russia.
Ukrainian official says Mariupol still ‘closed, dangerous’ as citizens try to escape
Tens of thousands of people made it Mariupol in recent weeks along humanitarian corridors, reducing the pre-war population from 430,000 to around 100,000 last week. But attempts by aid groups to evict civilians from the beleaguered port city have been heavy-handed.
A team from the International Committee of the Red Cross was planning to enter Mariupol on Friday to deliver emergency humanitarian aid and begin evacuating residents of the besieged.
“This effort has been and remains extremely complex,” said the The ICRC wrote on Twitter on Friday. “We hope to have the necessary conditions to make this evacuation as soon as possible. If and when a safe passage occurs, our role as a neutral intermediary will be to lead the convoy from #Mariupol to another city in #Ukraine.”
The Mariupol city council said on Friday that buses escorted by the Red Cross and the Ukrainian State Emergency Service would transport more than 2,000 citizens. The Russian military said it was committed to a ceasefire between Mariupol and Zaporizhzhia.
But Petro Andryushchenko, an aide to Mariupol’s mayor, said on Friday the city remained closed to entry and was “very dangerous” for people trying to leave, according to Reuters. He added that Russian forces had been blocking humanitarian supplies since Thursday.
VISUALS:The devastation of Mariupol
Peace talks between Ukraine and Russia resume on Friday
Russia and Ukraine resumed online negotiations on Friday.
The head of the Russian delegation, Vladimir Medinsky, posted a photo of the ongoing talks on Friday. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office confirmed to The Associated Press that negotiations have resumed.
The two countries held face-to-face talks Tuesday in Turkey as the United Nations pushed for a ceasefire in Russia’s brutal invasion. The talks took place at the Turkish presidential office in Istanbul and lasted more than three hours, Russian news agency Tass reported.
Tuesday’s negotiations failed to yield a breakthrough, leading President Joe Biden to pledge an additional $500 million in aid to Ukraine earlier this week.
— Celina Tebor
Marta Hulievska, a freshman at Dartmouth College, organizes campus rallies to raise awareness about the war in Ukraine to stop her reading the news and worrying about her family. His mother, sisters and grandmother were forced to flee to western Ukraine while his father remained in their hometown of Zaporizhzhia.
“You kind of come in like this alternate world where you’re not in America and you’re not in Ukraine, you’re like somewhere in between,” she said, describing her experience as a “Second hand PTSD”.
About 1,700 Ukrainian college and university students live in the United States. Unsure if they will be able to return to Ukraine when their programs are over, many are trying to find ways to stay longer in the country.
“It’s really hard to get through a crisis in your country when you’re not in your country,” said Sarah Ilchman, co-chair of the Institute of International Education. “Maybe there are people back home who were going to pay their tuition and it’s not there anymore.”
The IIE has launched grants and scholarships to provide resources for students, Ilchman said. Campus offices also facilitate emergency funding and offer mental health resources. Meanwhile, some institutions are helping students obtain temporary protected status, which will protect them from deportation for the next 18 months. Learn more here.
— N’dea Yancey-Bragg
Russian troops leave Chernobyl after prolonged exposure
Russian military troops left the heavily contaminated Chernobyl nuclear power plant early Friday, return control to the Ukrainians.
Moscow took control of Chernobyl more than a month ago. According to Ukrainian officials, Russian troops destroyed a new laboratory at the plant working to improve radioactive waste management containing “highly active samples and samples of radionuclides” last week.
Other reports said more than 100 workers at the plant were stranded there for more than 12 days in early March after Russian forces seized it.
Ukraine’s state-owned electricity company, Energoatom, said Russia’s withdrawal from Chernobyl was due to soldiers receiving “large doses” of radiation while digging trenches in the forest in the exclusion zone around the center closed. But there has been no independent confirmation of this.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the Russian withdrawals from the north and center of the country were just military tactics.
Chinese official says US ‘main instigator of Ukraine crisis’
China accuses the United States of being behind the war in Ukraine and claims that NATO should have been disbanded after the breakup of the Soviet Union.
“As the culprit and main instigator of the Ukraine crisis, the United States led NATO to engage in five rounds of eastward expansion over the past two decades after 1999,” the door said. – Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian to reporters during a daily briefing on Friday.
“The number of NATO members has increased from 16 to 30, and they have moved east over 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) somewhere near the Russian border, pushing Russia step by step towards the wall,” Zhao said.
While China says it is not taking sides in the conflict, it has declared a ‘limitless’ partnership with Moscow, refused to condemn the invasion, opposes sanctions against Russia and regularly amplifies Russian disinformation. on the conflict, including not referring to it as an invasion or a war according to Russian practice.
Zhao’s comments came as Chinese and European Union leaders were meeting virtually for a summit in which Ukraine was expected to dominate discussions. EU officials say they are seeking a commitment from China not to undermine sanctions and to help efforts to end the fighting.
— Associated Press
Contribute: The Associated Press