Situation on the ground, international reactions, sanctions: update on the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
Kyiv threatened again
Russia announced on Friday that it had destroyed an arms factory in a Kyiv suburb and gave assurances that strikes in the Ukrainian capital were intensifying in response to attacks on Russian territory it accuses of Ukraine.
This factory, which makes Neptune missiles that the Ukrainian army says it used to attack the Russian cruiser Moskva, was hit overnight, AFP journalists noted on Friday. According to the Pentagon, the Moskva, the flagship of the Russian Black Sea fleet, was sunk by two Ukrainian missiles. It was “a heavy blow” for Russia, commented his spokesman.
War in Ukraine: Russia attacks Neptune missile factory
The Moscow version states that this building was “seriously damaged” by fire and sank while being towed.
For the Pentagon, the Russian cruiser Moskva was sunk by two Ukrainian missiles
– Zelenskyy highlights Russian nuclear risk –
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Friday that “the whole world” should be “concerned” about the risk that his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, cornered by his military setbacks in Ukraine, will resort to a tactical nuclear weapon could, repeating the previous day’s warning from the Director of the CIA.
US foreign intelligence chief William Burns said the threat of President Putin’s potential use of tactical or weak nuclear weapons should not be “taken lightly” should he “sink into despair” at the failings of his army.
– New Victims –
At least seven people were killed and 34 others injured when Russians shelled a residential area in Kharkiv, the largest city in north-eastern Ukraine, the regional governor said on Friday.
Almost everyone found dead in Boutcha near Kyiv was shot, said the local police chief.
The residents themselves buried the victims during the occupation of this city by the Russian army, which lasted almost a month.
A spokesman for Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Friday that Russian artillery had killed around 30 “Polish mercenaries” in northeastern Ukraine, fueling heightened tensions between Moscow and Warsaw.
– Moscow expels 18 EU officials –
Moscow on Friday announced the expulsion of 18 diplomats from the European Union’s representation in Russia in retaliation for a similar action by Brussels after the Kremlin’s offensive launched in Ukraine.
The European Union deemed this expulsion “unjustified” and believed that it would only “exacerbate” Moscow’s international isolation.
North Macedonia has expelled six Russian diplomats accused of breaking diplomatic rules.
– NATO: Finland’s candidacy “very likely” –
Finland will “very likely” apply for NATO membership because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Finnish Minister for European Affairs Tytti Tuppurainen said on Friday.
Russian diplomacy warned both Finland and Sweden that such a move would have consequences for those countries and European security.
– Complexity of a Russian oil embargo –
The European Union is preparing to stop buying oil from Russia to sanction it over the war in Ukraine, but the measure is “complex” and will “take several months,” sources told AFP on Friday .
“The Commission is studying the options,” said an EU official involved in the talks.
– RFI website blocked in Russia –
Russia has blocked the website of French radio RFI, which broadcasts information in fifteen languages including Russian, amid a crackdown on critics of the offensive in Ukraine.
– Five million refugees –
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than five million people have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on February 24.
It is the biggest refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.