From The Associated Press
DOHA, Qatar – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy makes a surprise video appearance at the Doha Forum in Qatar.
Zelenskyy criticized Russia’s ongoing war against his nation in his video address on Saturday. 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 in the Syrian war.
“They are destroying our ports,” Zelenskyy said. “The lack of exports from Ukraine will hit countries around the world.”
He added: “The future of Europe depends on your efforts.” He urged countries to increase their energy exports – which is particularly important as Qatar is the world’s leading exporter of natural gas.
He criticized Russia for what he described as a threat to the world with its nuclear weapons.
“Russia is considering boasting that it can use nuclear weapons to destroy not just a specific country but the entire planet,” Zelenskyy said.
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He also pointed out that Muslims in Ukraine would have 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 the people of Ukraine,” he said.
KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:
— The Associated Press has independently documented at least 34 attacks by Russian forces on Ukrainian medical facilities
– US President Joe Biden visits American troops in Poland, a complex ally on Ukraine’s doorstep
– Russian President Vladimir Putin faces tough decisions on invading Ukraine as the armed forces falter
– Ukraine says 300 dead in airstrike on theaters in Mariupol; Hunger stalking besieged areas
— Some prominent Russians are quitting jobs, refusing to support the war against Ukraine
– EU and US announce partnership to undercut Russian energy
— A vast apparatus is being set up to collect and store evidence of possible violations of international martial law for possible prosecution
For more coverage, visit https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
ISTANBUL – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke by phone with Ukrainian Volodymyr Zelenskyy about the situation in Ukraine and the talks between Moscow and Kyiv, Erdogan’s office said late Friday.
Erdogan told his counterpart he increased Turkey’s support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity at a recent NATO summit, where he relayed Turkey’s diplomatic efforts in one-on-one meetings with other leaders, according to a statement from the Turkish presidency.
Ankara, which has close ties with both Russia and Ukraine, has positioned itself as a neutral party and is trying to facilitate negotiations between the warring factions.
Russian forces in Ukraine appear to have shifted their focus from a ground offensive aimed at Kyiv to what Moscow has dubbed the liberation of the embattled Donbass region, signaling a new phase in the war.
It seems too early to know whether that means President Vladimir Putin has scaled back his ambitions in Ukraine, but this week’s Russian military movements point to a recognition of the surprisingly strong Ukrainian resistance. Since 2014, Russian-backed separatists have controlled part of the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday again appealed to Russia to negotiate an end to the war, but said Ukraine would not agree to giving up parts of its territory for the sake of peace.
Putin’s armed forces are under strain in many parts of the country, and the United States and other countries are accelerating the transfer of arms and supplies to Ukraine. In recent days, US officials have said they are seeing evidence that Ukrainian defenders are taking a limited offensive in some areas.
Putting a positive face on the whole thing, the deputy chief of Russia’s General Staff said his forces had largely achieved the “main objectives” of the first phase of what Moscow is calling a “military special operation” in Ukraine.
LVIV, Ukraine – As the conflict rages on, a vast apparatus is being built to gather and secure evidence of potential war crimes.
Less than a month after Putin ordered the first bombs to be dropped on its neighbor, the United States declared that 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 reported in Ukraine include house demolitions, shooting at civilians as they evacuate through secure corridors, attacking hospitals, indiscriminate use of weapons such as cluster bombs in civilian areas, attacking nuclear power plants and deliberately Blocking access to humanitarian aid or food and water.
But intention counts. The destruction of a hospital alone is not proof of a war crime. Prosecutors would have to prove that the attack was premeditated 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, citing WWII efforts that saw US supplies sent to the Soviet Union to to help her fight against Nazi Germany.
“We need a full lease,” Andriy Yermak said in a speech late Friday. “Today, Ukraine is the holy grail of Europe, and without exaggeration, Ukraine enlivens the principles that gave life to Western civilization today.”
He said what Ukraine needs most is real-time information and heavy weapons.
Yermak also reiterated the Ukrainian President’s calls for help to close the skies over Ukraine to stop Russian bombing and missile attacks. The West has refused to impose a no-fly zone for fear of escalating the war.
Options included supplying Ukraine with air defense systems or fighter jets, or creating an “air police force to protect civilian infrastructure.”
LVIV, Ukraine – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has again appealed to Russia to negotiate an end to the war, but says Ukraine would not agree to giving up any part of its territory for the sake of peace.
In his nightly video address to the nation on Friday, Zelenskyy appeared to be responding to Colonel General Sergei Rudskoy, deputy chief of the Russian General Staff, who said Russian forces would now focus on “the main goal, the liberation of Donbass.”
Russian-backed separatists have controlled part of the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine since 2014, and Russian forces are struggling to capture more parts of the region from Ukraine, including the besieged city of Mariupol.
Rudskoi’s statement was also an indication that Russia may back off from trying to take Kyiv and other major cities where its offensive has stalled. Zelenskyy noted that Russian forces have lost thousands of troops but have still not been able to capture Kyiv or Kharkiv, the second largest city.
LVIV, Ukraine – The Associated Press has independently documented at least 34 attacks by Russian forces on Ukrainian medical facilities.
AP journalists in Ukraine have seen firsthand the deadly aftermath of Russian attacks on civilian targets, including the final moments of children whose bodies were shredded by shrapnel and dozens of bodies heaped in mass graves.
AP journalists outside Ukraine have confirmed the details of other attacks by interviewing survivors and independently reviewing videos and photos from the war zone posted online. The accounting is part of the War Crimes Watch Ukraine project, a broader effort by AP and PBS “Frontline.”
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 certainly an undercount.
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