Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Russia was a “terrorist state” in his latest video address. “The world must know it. The world must acknowledge it, ”he said, and also accused Russian forces of attacking a convoy of humanitarian aid for the besieged city of Mariupol.
Russian forces appear to be regrouping in order to encircle Kyiv. In a potentially significant military development, satellite images released by the US company Maxar Technologies on Thursday appeared to show that the large Russian military convoy last seen north-west of Kyiv had largely dispersed and redeployed. Maxar said its pictures showed that armored units had fanned out through towns and forests in the area, with artillery pieces moved into potential firing positions.
Zelenskiy said no one had been evacuated from Mariupol on Thursday but almost 40,000 people had fled on Thursday from five other cities.
The Russian defense ministry said it would open up humanitarian corridors on Friday for civilians to evacuate from Kyiv, Kharkiv, Sumy, Chernihiv and Mariupol. It also accused Ukraine of using security service personnel to drive aid trucks and spy on Russian military positions.
US President Joe Biden will announce another ratcheting up of economic pressure on Friday when he calls for the end of normal trade relations with Russia. This measure will cast Russia into the economic wilderness along with Cuba and North Korea and deepen the recession the IMF says is already beginning to bite.
European Union leaders “Acknowledged the European aspirations” of Ukraine and agreed to support Ukraine in “pursuing its European path”. After a meeting in Versailles, a statement also called for an immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Russian forces, and praised Ukraine’s courageous resistance.
A recently released report from the UK’s Ministry of Defense says Russian forces are “committing an increased number of their deployed forces to encircle key cities” due to strong Ukrainian resistance.
Air sirens were heard in Lviv the early hours of Friday. Explosions were also reported in Lutsk in northwestern Ukraine, near the Polish border, as well as in Dnipro, a major stronghold in central-eastern Ukraine. Three air strikes in Dnipro killed at least one person.
The United Nations security council will convene on Friday at Russia’s request, diplomats said, to discuss Moscow’s claims of US biological activities in Ukraine.
High-level talks between Russia and Ukraine – the first of their kind since Moscow invaded its neighbor two weeks ago – ended without a ceasefire. Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said there had been no progress towards achieving a ceasefire with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.
Hundreds of thousands of people in Mariupol face an “increasingly dire and desperate” humanitarian situation, the International Red Cross has said. A delegation leader said people in Mariupol had “started to attack each other for food” and many people report having no food for their children.
The British public will be able to offer accommodation to Ukrainian refugees as the government announces a new route to the UK for those fleeing the Russian invasion.
Boris Johnson has Expressed fears that Vladimir Putin may use chemical weapons in Ukraine. Echoing language used by the White House, the UK prime minister said Russian claims about its enemies getting ready to use chemical weapons were “straight out of their playbook”.
Germany’s former chancellor Gerhard Schröder has reportedly met Russian president, Vladimir Putin, in Moscow for talks on ending the war in Ukraine, Politico reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.
The Chelsea football club owner, Roman Abramovich, is among seven of Russia’s wealthiest and most influential oligarchs to have been hit with sanctions by the UKin an effort to further punish allies of Vladimir Putin over the invasion of Ukraine.