War in Ukraine: Moscow assumes a strike in Kyiv with a full visit from the UN chief

Kyiv | Russia confirmed Friday it had bombed Kyiv the day before amid a visit by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, a strike that killed a Ukrainian journalist from Radio Liberty, an emblematic media outlet funded by the United States.

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At the same time, Mariupol, the major martyred port city in the south-east, essentially fell into Russian hands, but where evacuation of civilians trapped with Ukrainian soldiers in the Azovstal steelworks was planned on Friday, an AFP team heard heavy shelling of the steel complex, which at that time did not seem to allow such an operation.

Russia has confirmed it attacked the capital the day before and claims to have attacked military and strategic targets even though the UN Secretary-General was there.

“Russian armed forces have destroyed the workshops of the space company Artyom with high-precision long-range weapons,” said the Russian Ministry of Defense in the Ukrainian capital.

That bombing left ten wounded and at least one dead: Vira Ghyrytch, a Ukrainian journalist with Radio Liberty, a media outlet funded by the US Congress in Eastern Europe since the Cold War era. The journalist’s body was found in the rubble of her building.

“If this is a high-precision attack, that’s really cynical. It’s inhumane,” said Mykhaïlo Vovtchynsky, a 22-year-old resident, on Friday.

  • Listen to Loïc Tassé’s column on QUB radio on Benoit Dutrizac’s mic:

The attack came while the United Nations chief, who made his first trip to Ukraine on Wednesday and Thursday since the Russian invasion began on February 24, was in Kyiv.

Germany and France sharply condemned this, Berlin stressed that these strikes had shown once again “that (Vladimir) Putin and his regime are disregarding international law”.

However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy regretted in a video address on Friday evening “that such a brutal and deliberate humiliation of the United Nations has remained unanswered”.

However, while the Russian president, like his Ukrainian counterpart, was invited to the G20 summit in Indonesia scheduled for November, the United States refused to “treat as if nothing happened” to Vladimir Putin.

The Pentagon even accused the Russian president on Friday of “depravity” and “cruelty” for the conduct of Russian forces in Ukraine. “It’s hard to look at some footage and imagine a serious leader doing this,” spokesman John Kirby said.

“Difficult” in Kharkiv

On the ground, Volodymyr Zelenskyy acknowledged that the situation in the Kharkiv region, the largest northeastern city in the area where Russian forces have refocused their offensive, is “difficult”.

“But our military is making tactical gains,” he said.

This is particularly the case in Rouska Lozova, a village north of Kharkiv taken over by the Ukrainians, from where Russian troops say they bombed the city. The village was liberated after intense fighting.

“We had two nights that were scary as hell… The night before last we thought the sky was on fire, the whole village was on fire,” said Svitlana Perepilitsa, 23.

Further south and east, in the Donbass region, which the Kremlin aims to completely recapture, “the occupiers are doing everything they can to destroy all life,” asserted Volodymyr Zelenskyy, considering that “the constant bombing of infrastructure and inhabited areas show that Russia wants to make this area uninhabited”.

The Russian offensive in Donbass “has been delayed,” a senior Pentagon official said Friday, “they are far from breaking the link between the troops that entered from the Kharkiv region (east), north of the Donbass, and Having made those coming from the south of the country one of the targets of the Russian army to use pincers to overwhelm Ukrainian forces stationed on the front lines around the Donetsk and Lugansk separatist zones.

But “we believe they continue to create the conditions for a sustained, larger, and longer offensive,” the senior Defense Department official added.

British investigators

On Thursday, United Nations coordinator in Ukraine Osnat Lubrani said he would go south to prepare an evacuation attempt in Mariupol, with Mr Guterres assuring that the UN was doing “everything possible” to help the civilians trapped in ” of the apocalypse” to get out.

The UN Secretary-General on Thursday traveled to Boutcha and other locations near Kyiv, where Ukraine blamed Russian forces for abuses and urged Moscow to “cooperate” with the ICC’s investigation into possible war crimes.

At the same time, the services of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Iryna Venediktova revealed that ten Russian soldiers have been charged with alleged war crimes in Boutcha.

This is the first such action since the bodies of twenty people in civilian clothes were discovered by AFP on April 2 on a local street, sparking condemnation and uproar around the world.

The Ukrainians blamed the Russians, but Moscow denied any responsibility and spoke of Kiev’s “staging”.

In total, “more than 8,000 cases” of suspected war crimes have been identified in Ukraine, the prosecutor said.

In this context, the UK will send investigators to help their Ukrainian counterparts, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on Friday.

better protect refugees

Norway will follow in the footsteps of the European Union, of which it is not a member, by closing its ports to Russian ships except trawlers, while a first ship loaded with corn from Ukraine left the Romanian port of Constanta on 27 Black Sea on Friday, marking the resumption of grain exports from that country.

More than 5.4 million Ukrainians have fled their country since the Russian invasion began, including 57,000 in the past 24 hours, the United Nations found.

But Poland, where 3,033,000 people who fled the conflict in Ukraine have entered, according to border guards, “urgently” needs to step up prevention and surveillance measures to protect them, especially women, victims of trafficking, violence and rape, the NGO Human Rights Watch warned on Friday.

In addition, around 8,000 British soldiers will join NATO soldiers in exercises in Eastern Europe this summer to “show solidarity and strength”.

A 22-year-old former US Marine was killed in Ukraine, where he left in mid-March to fight Russian forces, family members said. The Pentagon on Friday urged Americans “not” to go to that country.

A UK-based non-profit organization, Presidium Network, reported that two British aid workers were arrested by Russian soldiers at a checkpoint on Monday.

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