The International Committee of the Red Cross said on Friday that its attempt to evacuate residents of the besieged port city of Mariupol failed, but they would try again on Saturday.
“Today, our team tried to facilitate a safe passage out of Mariupol,” the ICRC said said in a Twitter statement Friday. “But had to return to Zaporizhzhia after the conditions made it impossible to continue. We will try again tomorrow.”
The city remained closed to access and was “very dangerous” for people trying to leave, said Petro Andryushchenko, an aide to Mariupol’s mayor. He added that Russian forces had been blocking humanitarian supplies since Thursday, according to Reuters.
In recent weeks, tens of thousands of people have come out of Mariupol through humanitarian corridors, reducing the city’s population from 430,000 to 100,000 last week.
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Also on Friday, Russian officials accused Ukraine of attacking a fuel depot in Belgorod, which would be the first Ukrainian air strike on Russian soil if confirmed. But Ukrainian officials later denied any involvement. Russia has previously reported cross-border shelling from Ukraine, including an incident last week that killed a military chaplain but not an intrusion into the country’s airspace.
► Negotiations to stop the fighting between Russia and Ukraine resumed on Friday.
►Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, 153 children have been killed and 245 injured, according to a Telegram post from Ukraine’s State Attorney’s office on Friday. Most children have been injured in the Kiev region.
► It will cost at least $ 10 billion to renew Mariupol’s infrastructure due to damage caused by the war, the city council said in a Telegram post on Friday. Mayor Vadim Boychenko said he would push for compensation from Russia to compensate for Mariupol and its citizens’ “suffering and harm.”
►Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday issued a decree demanding payment for natural gas in rubles, but appeared to curb the order by allowing payments in dollars and euros through a designated bank
Ukrainian official says Mariupol is still ‘very dangerous’ as citizens try to flee
An attempt by humanitarian groups to remove civilians from the besieged port city Mariupol failed on Friday.
A team from the International Committee of the Red Cross planned to enter Mariupol to provide emergency humanitarian aid and begin evacuating residents, but had to return to Zaporizhzhia.
Mariupol City Council said on Friday that buses escorted by the Red Cross and Ukraine’s state emergency services would take more than 2,000 citizens. The Russian military said it was committing a ceasefire between Mariupol and Zaporizhzhia.
But Petro Andryushchenko, an aide to Mariupol’s mayor, said Friday that the city remained closed to access and was “very dangerous” to people trying to leave, according to Reuters. He added that Russian forces had been blocking humanitarian supplies since Thursday.
“This effort has been and remains extremely complex,” he says The ICRC wrote on Twitter on Friday.
Although the major effort on Friday failed, smaller groups have been able to leave the city via private transportation, the New York Times reported, quoting a statement from Iryna Vereshchuk, the deputy prime minister, on her Telegram page. Evacuated from Berdyansk and a few from Mariupol have arrived at the registration center in Zaporizhzhia on private vehicles and buses with bags and pets, photos from the site show.
– Ella Lee and N’dea Yancey-Bragg
VISUAL:The destruction of Mariupol
Ukraine disputes Kremlin’s allegations of air strikes on Russian fuel depot
Vyacheslav Gladkov, Regional Governor of Belgorod, wrote on Telegram on Friday that two Ukrainian helicopters carried out an air strike late Thursday at the oil plant in Belgorod, about 21 miles from Russia’s border with Ukraine.
Gladkov first wrote that two oil workers were injured, but later said there were no casualties. And Rosneft, the Russian oil company that owns the fuel depot, said in a separate statement that no one was injured in the fire, according to Reuters.
Kiev has denied any involvement in the attack.
“For some reason they say we did, but according to our information, this does not correspond to reality,” Ukrainian Security Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov said on Ukrainian television.
Tensions are rising between Western nations and China
EU leaders on Friday told Chinese President Xi Jinping that China would damage its global reputation if it provided economic or military assistance to Russia.
“We called on China to end the war in Ukraine,” European Council President Charles Michel told reporters in Brussels after the meeting. according to the Washington Post. “China can not turn a blind eye to Russia’s violation of international law.”
While China says it does not take sides in the conflict, it has declared a “no borders” partnership with Moscow, has refused to condemn the invasion, opposes sanctions against Russia and routinely reinforces Russian disinformation about the conflict, including not referring to it as an invasion or a war in accordance with Russian practice.
US and European leaders are aiming to find a difficult balance with China, both warning the nation about Ukraine and hoping to maintain a relationship.
Meanwhile, earlier Friday, China accused the United States of inciting the war in Ukraine, saying NATO should have been disbanded after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
“As the guilty and leading instigator of the Ukraine crisis, the United States has engaged NATO in five rounds of expansion to the east in the last two decades after 1999,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters at a daily briefing.
Lijian added that the number of NATO members increased from 16 to 30, moving east and “pushing Russia to the wall step by step.”
– She is reading
16 American colleges issue honorary degrees to the Ukrainian president
A collection of 16 American colleges, one with Ukrainian roots, plans to issue honorary degrees to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Manor College, a private Catholic institution in Pennsylvania founded by Ukrainian nuns in 1947, said Zelenskyy “exemplifies leadership through crisis and caring for his people who are worthy of being awarded this degree,” according to a press release.
The other 15 colleges include Adrian College in Michigan, Bard College in New York, Lenoir-Rhyne University in North Carolina and Shenandoah University in Virginia. The group urges other universities to “join them in raising the profile of President Zelensky’s heroism and his courageous efforts to protect Western civilization.”
Manor College said Ukraine’s honorary consul in Philadelphia, Iryna Mazur, will accept the degree on Zelensky’s behalf.
Alfred University President Mark Zupan asked the Ukrainian embassy if Zelenskyy would be able to receive the degree via video, according to Democrat & Chronicle, part of the USA TODAY Network. The embassy said no as he is busy fighting a war.
– Chris Quintana
Peace talks between Ukraine and Russia resume on Friday
Russia and Ukraine resumed negotiations online on Friday. Russian delegation leader Vladimir Medinsky posted a picture of the ongoing talks, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office confirmed to the Associated Press that the talks had resumed.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said the alleged attack on Russia’s fuel depot “could not be construed as creating favorable conditions for the continuation of negotiations.” It reported Russian state media.
On Tuesday, the two countries held face-to-face negotiations in Turkey as the UN pressed for a ceasefire in Russia’s brutal invasion. The talks took place in the Turkish presidential office in Istanbul and lasted more than three hours, the Russian Tass agency reported.
Tuesday’s talks failed to create a breakthrough, prompting President Joe Biden to pledge an additional $ 500 million in aid to Ukraine earlier this week.
– Celina Tebor
How Ukrainian students in the United States cope with war, thousands of miles away
Marta Hulievska, a first-year student at Dartmouth College, has organized campus rallies to raise awareness about the war in Ukraine to prevent her from reading the news and worrying about her family. Her mother, sisters and grandmother were forced to flee to western Ukraine while her father remained in their hometown of Zaporizhzhia.
“You get a little bit into this alternative world where you are not in America and you are not in Ukraine, you are like a place in between,” she said, describing her experience as “used PTSD.”
An estimated 1,700 college and university students from Ukraine live in the United States. Unsure whether they will be able to return to Ukraine when their programs end, many are trying to find ways to stay in the country longer.
“It’s really hard to go through a crisis in your country when you’re not in your country,” said Sarah Ilchman, co-president of the Institute of International Education. “Maybe there are people at home who should pay for their tuition, and there are no more.”
IIE launched grants and scholarships to provide resources for students, Ilchman said. Campus offices also facilitate emergency funding and offer mental health resources. Meanwhile, some institutions are helping students secure temporary protection status, which will protect them from deportation for the next 18 months. Read more here.
– N’dea Yancey-Bragg
Russian troops leave Chernobyl after prolonged exposure
Russian military troops left the heavily polluted Chernobyl nuclear power plant early Friday. give control back to Ukrainians.
Moscow took control of Chernobyl over a month ago. According to Ukrainian officials, Russian troops destroyed a new laboratory at the factory working to improve the management of radioactive waste that had “highly active samples and samples of radionuclides” last week.
Other reports indicated that more than 100 workers at the factory were stuck there for more than 12 days in early March after Russian forces seized it.
Ukraine’s state power company, Energoatom, said the Russian withdrawal in Chernobyl was due to soldiers receiving “significant doses” of radiation from digging trenches in the forest in the exclusion zone around the closed facility. But there has been no independent confirmation of that.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russian withdrawals from the north and center of the country were only military tactics.
In a Friday press conference, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael M. Grossi, said he had spoken to Ukrainian and Russian nuclear officials, but they did not discuss reports of Russian troops experiencing radiation poisoning, according to the New York Times. Grossi added that radiation near the plant was “completely normal”, but that there was a “relatively higher level of localized radiation due to the movement of heavy vehicles.”
Starring: Associated Press