- According to US President Joe Biden, the Atlantic Alliance will respond if Russia uses chemical weapons in Ukraine. Emmanuel Macron for his part refused to specify whether NATO had defined “red lines” likely to trigger an intervention.
- At least five people died, including two children, and six others injured in Russian strikes near Lugansk. In Kharkiv, at least six civilians were killed and fifteen others injured in a shelling.
- More than half of children in Ukraine, or 4.3 million, have had to leave their homes since February 24. In total, nearly 3.7 million people have fled Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion, according to the UN.
- Russians and Ukrainians exchanged prisoners for the first time. “In exchange for ten captured occupants, we got back ten of our military,” said Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk, who also accused Russian forces of detaining civilians and engaging in torture.
10:25 p.m. – Ukrainian military intelligence chief calls Russian army “medieval”
Ukraine’s military intelligence chief, General Kyrylo Budanov, has promised the Russians a “real hell” in Ukraine, where the Russian army, which he deems “medieval”, will face a constant guerrilla war of Ukrainian partisans, he says. in an interview published Friday. “The Russian command has made many mistakes and we are using these mistakes,” the American weekly told The Nation General Boudanov, who spoke in Ukrainian from kyiv, through an interpreter at his side.
“The Ukrainian army has shown that the Russian army, the second army in the world, was just a myth. It’s just a concentration of medieval power, old methods of combat,” added this young general of 36. years old, who joined the army after the fall of the USSR and was trained in NATO methods.
9:41 p.m. – Kill Putin to stop the war? The Russian Embassy in Rome sues La Stampa
“What if the assassination of Putin was the only way out” of the war in Ukraine? The Russian ambassador to Italy filed a complaint on Friday against the daily La Stampa after the publication of an editorial examining the hypothesis of the elimination of the Russian president. In an article published on March 22, the journalist and war reporter Domenico Quirico wrote: “Military intervention being ruled out, the diplomatic solution inoperative, all that remains is to theorize the assassination of the Tsar at the hand of a close”. “The number one plan of Biden, NATO and the Europeans is this: have someone in Moscow assassinate Putin, freeing us of the burden,” he said.
8:53 p.m. — Putin signs law cracking down on ‘lies’ about Moscow’s action abroad
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday evening signed a law punishing prison sentences of up to 15 years for “false information” about Moscow’s action abroad, an additional repressive weapon to control information on its offensive. in Ukraine. This text, whose presidential signature marks the entry into force, punishes the “public dissemination of knowingly false information under the guise of reliable information” about the “activities of Russian state bodies outside Russian territory”.
8:38 p.m. – Ukrainian counter-offensive on Kherson, whose control by the Russians is “disputed”
Ukrainian forces have launched a counter-offensive on the southern city of Kherson, the only major urban center completely conquered by Moscow forces, which is now “contested”, a senior Pentagon official said on Friday. “The Ukrainians are trying to take back Kherson,” the official, who requested anonymity, told reporters. “We cannot say exactly who is in control of Kherson, but the fact is that it is no longer as firmly under Russian control as before.”
8:25 p.m. – Macron announces a “humanitarian operation” to evacuate Mariupol with Turkey and Greece
This Friday evening, at the end of the second day of the European summit, Emmanuel Macron announced the establishment of an “exceptional humanitarian operation” in Mariupol in collaboration with Turkey and Greece “to evacuate all those who want to leave Mariupol”. The French head of state said he had to discuss the subject with Russian President Vladimir Putin “within 48 to 72 hours”.
6:46 p.m. – Ukrainian air force command center hit by Russian missiles
A salvo of Russian cruise missiles hits the command center of the Ukrainian air forces in Vinnytsia, causing “significant damage”, according to the Ukrainian army. “The Russians fired six cruise missiles. Some were shot down by anti-aircraft defense. The others hit several buildings, causing significant damage,” the air force command said.
5:51 p.m. – The mayor of Kharkiv denounces the Russian bombardments
The mayor of Kharkiv, in eastern Ukraine, denounced Friday “indiscriminate” and incessant Russian bombardments on his city, the second in the country. “The situation today is very difficult,” said Ihor Terekhov, during an improvised press briefing in an undisclosed location. He said the shelling targeted “residential areas, civilians, infrastructure, such as schools.” “It’s a war against Kharkiv, against Ukraine, against civilians,” lambasted Ihor Terekhov, estimating that nearly two-thirds of the 1.5 million inhabitants fled the city, located about forty kilometers from the Russian border. Russian troops, which penetrated to the suburbs on the first day of their offensive on February 24, were pushed back several kilometers to the outskirts, where fighting continues. Since then, the city has been the target of daily artillery fire, missiles and aerial bombardments, which have claimed “many victims”, according to the mayor, who however refused to specify the number.
5:22 p.m. – France summons Russian ambassador for “unacceptable” caricatures
The Russian ambassador in Paris is summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after the publication of caricatures on his Twitter account deemed “unacceptable” by French diplomacy. “We strive to maintain a demanding channel of dialogue with Russia”, but these “actions are perfectly inappropriate”, declares the Quai d’Orsay in particular reference to a drawing showing Europeans on their knees licking the buttocks of Uncle Sam .
4:18 p.m. – The Russian army will now focus on “liberating Donbass”
Russia’s military said on Friday it would now focus on ‘liberating’ eastern Ukraine, saying it had achieved the initial goals of the military operation it launched there on February 24 . “The combat capabilities of the Ukrainian forces have been significantly reduced, which allows (…) to concentrate the bulk of the efforts on the main objective: the liberation of Donbass”, in eastern Ukraine, said Deputy Chief of the Russian General Staff Sergei Rudskoy.
4:11 p.m. – Talks with Moscow are “very difficult”, judges kyiv
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says talks with Moscow are “very difficult”, more than a month after the start of the Russian invasion.
3:52 p.m. — Russian military says it will now focus on eastern Ukraine
The Russian army says it will now focus on the “liberation” of eastern Ukraine, claiming to have achieved the initial objectives of the military operation it has been carrying out there since February 24.
3:34 p.m. – The UN denounces arbitrary detentions and enforced disappearances by Russian forces
Dozens of Ukrainian officials, journalists and activists opposed to Moscow’s invasion have been arbitrarily detained by Russian forces or have disappeared, denounces the UN, considering that some cases are similar to “hostage taking”. The most famous case is that of the mayor of the city of Melitopol in southeastern Ukraine, Ivan Fedorov, who, according to the Ukrainian authorities, was kidnapped by the Russian occupying forces and detained for several days. before being released.
3:16 p.m. – Russian-Ukrainian talks stalled on key points, Moscow says
The talks between Russia and Ukraine are stalling on the main points, deplores the chief negotiator in Moscow, while emphasizing a rapprochement on less important aspects.
3:02 p.m. – Another Russian general killed in Ukraine, says kyiv
kyiv claims to have once again killed a Russian general in the south of Ukraine, according to an adviser to the Ukrainian presidency, Oleksiï Arestovych. Russia has so far confirmed the death in Ukraine of General Andrei Sukhovetsky, deputy commander of the 41st army after serving in Syria in 2018-2019. But another Russian general, Vitali Guerassimov, would also have died in combat, according to kyiv.
Consult our file: War in Ukraine