A new attempt to evacuate civilians from the besieged southern city of Mariupol will be launched on Saturday, the International Committee of the Red Cross said in a statement, after Friday’s effort faltered over conditions the group described as “impossible”.
Tens of thousands remain trapped with scant access to food and water in the city, which has been encircled since the early days of the five-week Russian invasion. The ICRC on Friday sent a team to lead a convoy of about 54 Ukrainian buses and other private vehicles out of the city, but they turned back.
Six other humanitarian corridors would also be opened, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said in a separate statement on her Telegram channel.
Her announcement came after the UK Ministry of Defense said in an intelligence briefing that Ukrainian forces were making further advances in withdrawing Russian forces near the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. It added that Russian forces “have reportedly withdrawn from Hostomel Airport to the north-west of the city, which has been the subject of fighting since the first day of the conflict”.
However, in a late night address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said retreating Russian forces would leave mines in their wake, including around houses and bodies. “There are a lot of trip wires, a lot of other dangers,” he said.
His comments came after the US Department of Defense said Friday it would fulfill a virtual wish list for Ukraine’s armed forces. The promised goods, valued at an estimated $300 million, include laser-guided missile systems; armed drones, armored all-terrain vehicles; Ammunition; machine guns; night vision devices and more, the department said in a statement.
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Ukraine says seven humanitarian corridors will open on Saturday
Seven humanitarian corridors to evacuate people from the besieged regions of Ukraine are scheduled for Saturday, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Iryna Vereshchuk said in a message published on her Telegram channel.
The planned corridors include one for people evacuated from the city of Mariupol by private transport and buses for Mariupol residents from the city of Berdyansk, Vereshchuk said.
Humanitarian corridors will also open in the southern cities of Severodonetsk and Popasna, as well as other areas of southern Ukraine that have been besieged by Russian forces, she said.
UK: Russian forces reportedly withdrawn from Kyiv area airport
Russian forces are said to have withdrawn from an airport near the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, where fighting has been going on since the February 24 invasion, Britain’s Defense Ministry said on Saturday.
Russian forces have withdrawn from Hostomel Airport, north-west of the capital, the UK said in an intelligence service To update.
Ukrainian forces have also recaptured some villages and “after fierce fighting secured a key route east of Kharkiv,” according to the British assessment.
Kharkiv is located in northeastern Ukraine near the Russian border.
Vice President Kamala Harris says regime change is not US policy
Vice President Kamala Harris reiterated that regime change in Russia was not US policy, days after the president noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin should not remain in power.
“Let me be very clear: we are not into regime change and that is not our policy. Period,” Harris said in an interview with MSNBC host Joy Reid that aired Friday.
The vice president’s comments come after President Joe Biden said in a speech in Poland last week, “For God’s sake, that man can’t stay in power,” referring to Putin.
A White House official said that day Biden is not calling for Putin’s ouster, and Biden said Monday he was not talking about a change in US policy.
“I have expressed my outrage. He shouldn’t stay in power, just like bad people shouldn’t keep doing bad things. But that doesn’t mean we have a basic policy of doing anything to bring Putin down in any way,” Biden said.
Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded to Biden’s remarks in Poland by telling Reuters “that’s not for Biden to decide” and that “the Russian president will be elected by the Russians.”
Harris said Russia committed atrocities in Ukraine and called Russia’s invasion and attack “a war waged – unprovoked, unjustified – against an entire population”.
Efforts are underway to protect the works of art in the Lviv National Gallery
Venice is preparing special material to be sent to the Lviv National Art Gallery and other museums in the Ukrainian city so that artworks can be better protected during the war.
Mariacristina Gribaudi, head of the Venice City Museums Foundation, said in a statement on Friday that about 65,000 works of art and 2,000 sculptures were kept in Lviv’s storage rooms as a precaution, but the objects were not adequately protected.
The Venice Foundation will oversee a shipment of specialty fabrics that can cover paintings and graphics, as well as furniture, costumes and materials made of glass or marble to protect the objects from most solvents and gases. The substance also prevents mold and fungus growth while the works are in storage.
Impact-resistant panels made of polyethylene foam are also supplied.
Experts from the Venice museums also gave advice on the optimal preservation of works of art in a video call with the management of the Lviv Gallery.
Russian troops are leaving mines behind, says Zelenskyy
Minefields have been laid in areas where Russian forces have been withdrawn or pushed back, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video address on Friday.
He said that Russian forces in northern Ukraine had either been withdrawn or pushed back, leaving “complete disaster behind them”.
“Firstly, the airstrikes can continue,” said Zelenskyy. “Secondly, they are laying minefields on these areas, in houses, on equipment, even on corpses. There are many trip wires, many other dangers.”
He said in reclaimed areas, people would have to wait until the country was cleared of explosives.
Russian forces against Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, were reduced somewhat, but US military officials said Thursday it was not a comprehensive repositioning. On Friday, the mayor of the city of Bucha, northwest of Kyiv, said it had been recaptured by Ukrainian forces.