Zelenskyy announces first war crime charges against Russian soldiers
After a visit from UN Secretary-General Guterres, Russian airstrikes killed journalist Vira Hyrych in Kyiv.
Cody Godwin, Associated Press
A Russian missile strike targeting Kyiv killed at least one person shortly after a meeting between U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who called the attack an attempt to “humiliate” the U.N.
Vira Hyrych, a journalist for the U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe, died in the attack, which hit her residential building, the broadcaster said Friday. Her body was found early Friday in the wreckage. In a separate incident, an American fighting in Ukraine was also killed, his family told media outlets Friday.
Ukraine’s emergency services said at least ten others were also injured in the strike, which targeted the residential high-rise and another building. Russia claimed it “destroyed production buildings” at a defense factory in Kyiv.
“This says a lot about Russia’s true attitude towards global institutions, about attempts of Russian authorities to humiliate the U.N. and everything that the organization represents,” Zelenskyy said in a video address to the nation. “Therefore, it requires corresponding powerful reaction.”
About an hour before, Guterres appeared with Zelenskyy at a news conference. The U.N. chief had been in Ukraine and Russia this week seeking humanitarian evacuations from the besieged port city of Mariupol, which the U.N. said Russia agreed to “in principle.” Guterres also toured some of the destruction in and around Kyiv.
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►Tens of thousands of troops from NATO and other north Atlantic nations will take part in a series of military exercises across Europe in the coming weeks as western countries seek to deter Russian aggression.
►President Joe Biden on Thursday asked Congress to approve $33 billion in security, economic and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, the latest move suggesting the U.S. would provide long-term support to the country.
►Ukrainian prosecutors on Thursday identified 10 Russian soldiers they accused of atrocities in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha, one of the war’s major flashpoints that helped galvanize Western support of Ukraine.
Ukrainian officials in the besieged port city of Mariupol again warned on Friday of the dire conditions its civilians are facing.
Mayor Vadym Boychenko called for an immediate evacuation of the remaining citizens as the living conditions “are now medieval.”
With no central water and sewage and decaying bodies under the rubble of the city, diseases like cholera and dysentery could break out, the city council warned.
Speaking with CNN from the Azovstal steel plant, Maj. Serhiy Volyna, commander of Ukraine’s 36th Separate Marine Brigade, said the plant’s field hospital was recently targeted. Water, food and medical supplies were also scarce, he said.
Ukraine unveils first war crimes charges amid 8,000 investigations
Ukrainian authorities unveiled
their first war crimes charges Thursday against members of Russia’s military, as the U.S. and other countries worked behind the scenes to help Kyiv with more than 8,000 criminal investigations connected to potential atrocities in the two-month old war.
The first charges accuse 10 Russian servicemen of holding civilians hostage and mistreating them in Bucha, a Kyiv suburb, in March. Russia’s military occupied Bucha for a month, and authorities and witnesses say mass graves and bodies in the streets were found in the town after the Russian withdrawal. Some Bucha residents were found dead with bullet wounds and their hands tied behind their backs.
— Josh Meyer and Kim Hjelmgaard
Read the whole story here: Ukraine unveils first war crimes charges amid 8,000 investigations
Russia’s attack Thursday on Kyiv rattled a relative sense of calm in the Ukrainian capital, where air strikes have largely been limited since the Russian military pulled back and refocused their offensive on eastern Ukraine.
At least two strikes have occurred occurred around Kyiv in the past month, but several European countries and the United States announced plans to reopen their embassies in the city as the fighting has largely calmed down.
In addition to U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres’ visit to Kyiv this week, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and U.S. Secretaries of State and Defense, Antony Blinken and Lloyd Austin, had met with Zelenskyy in the Ukrainian capital earlier this month.
Following a Russian attack on the city earlier this month, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko warned residents who had fled when fighting was more intense not to return to the city.
More: ‘You’re not going to get away with it’: Ukraine unveils first war crimes charges amid 8,000 investigations
Russian air strikes hit targets across Ukraine on Thursday, bringing a barrage of explosions from east to west.
In addition to the strike in Kyiv, there were explosions reported in Polonne in the west, Chernihiv near the border with Belarus, and Fastiv, a large railway hub southwest of the capital.
Meanwhile, the British Defense Ministry said Russia’s offensive in the Donbas region in the east remains its primary focus. The fighting has been heaviest around Lysychansk and Severodonetsk, and Russians have attempted to advance south from Izium towards Slovyansk, the Defense Ministry said in an intelligence update.
U.S. citizen and former marine Willy Joseph Cancel was killed fighting alongside Ukrainian forces, his family told CNN and ABC News.
Cancel, 22, had been working as a corrections officer and went to Ukraine to help the war effort, his mother and wife told the news outlets. CNN reported Cancel had been employed by a private military contracting company.
“He went there wanting to help people, he had always felt that that was his main mission in life,” his wife, Brittany Cancel, told ABC.
Russia has placed trained dolphins at the entrance to a key Black Sea port to help protect a Kremlin naval base there, suggest satellite photos analyzed by a naval analyst.
Around the time of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, two pens of dolphins were placed at the entrance to Sevastopol harbor, the most significant naval base in the Black Sea, according to the imagery.
The dolphins could be trained to perform tasks such as preventing divers from infiltrating a military base undetected. Both the U.S. and Russian military have trained marine mammals to complete such tasks.
“This could prevent Ukrainian special operations forces from infiltrating the harbor underwater to sabotage warships,” H I Sutton, a submarine analyst wrote in an article published by the U.S. Naval Institute on Wednesday.
— Maria Jimenez Moya
The horrors of war are rampant in Ukraine, and the U.S. and its allies say Moscow needs to pay. But most of the world isn’t joining the plan to punish Putin.
When global leaders voted in early April to punish Russia for human rights violations in Ukraine, diplomats representing the majority of the world’s population either sided with Moscow or refused to choose a side.
According to a USA TODAY analysis of the vote, about three-quarters of the global population lives in a country that did not support the U.S.-initiated measure that suspended Russia from a top human rights group. Each country received one vote, regardless of its population, land mass or wealth. Read more here.
— Joel Shannon
Contributing: The Associated Press