Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia was leaving a treacherous landscape in its wake as invading forces withdrew from around Kiev, capturing streets and civilian homes.
“They mine the whole territory, they mine homes, mining equipment, even the bodies of people who were killed,” Zelenskyy said in a video address late Friday.
Zelenskyy urged residents to wait to resume their normal lives until landmines could be cleared and the danger of more shelling is over.
As negotiations between the nations resumed on Friday, some Russian forces continued to withdraw from Ukraine’s capital, although Ukrainian and Western officials have warned that the move is unlikely to signal a war. On the contrary, Russian forces are likely to resupply, they have said.
The peace talks were complicated on Friday when the Russians accused Ukraine of a helicopter attack on a Russian fuel depot, which Kiev denied, but would mark the first air strike by Ukraine on Russian soil.
While the Russian forces are pursuing their scorched earth policy, the United States is committed to helping keep Ukraine supplied. The Ministry of Defense announced another $ 300 million in military equipment for Ukraine.
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► Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said 3,071 people were able to leave Mariupol on Friday.
► Russian military troops left the heavily polluted Chernobyl nuclear power plant on Friday and returned control to the Ukrainians.
► A Ukrainian official said there were casualties after at least three Russian ballistic missiles were fired at the Odesa region on the Black Sea late Friday.
Red Cross mission to evacuate Mariupol civilians failed, will try again
After failing to reach the war-torn city of Mariupol on Friday, an international Red Cross committee said it plans to try again on Saturday to evacuate civilians on Friday.
Three vehicles and nine crew could not reach Mariupol to help with the safe passage of civilians. The ICRC said the team had to return to Zaporizhzhia after they could not proceed with events as planned.
More:The destruction of Mariupol
The organization had previously said tens of thousands of people were dependent on the Mariupol operation.
The ICRC described their role as a neutral intermediary to accompany individuals out of Mariupol and into another Ukrainian city.
– Ana Faguy
Pope Francis is considering visiting Ukraine
Pope Francis said on Saturday that he was considering a visit to the capital of Ukraine, Kiev.
While on a flight from Rome to Malta, a reporter asked the pope if he was considering invitations from the Ukrainian authorities.
His answer? “Yes it’s on the table.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of the Catholic Church of Ukraine with Byzantine ritual and Ukrainian Ambassador to the Vatican Andirv Yurash are among those who have invited Francis. The pope has spoken to Zelenskyy and Shevchuk by telephone.
Last Friday, Francis prayed for peace in Ukraine in front of an estimated crowd of 3,500 at St. Peter’s Basilica. “Free us from war, protect our words from the threat of nuclear weapons,” he said.
– Ana Faguy
The Pentagon announces $ 300 million more in military equipment for Ukraine
The U.S. Department of Defense announced Friday night that it will provide an additional $ 300 million in military equipment to Ukraine.
“This resolution underscores the United States’ unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in support of its heroic efforts to reject Russia’s electoral war,” said John Kirby, defense secretary.
Kirby said the equipment will include laser-guided rocket systems, unmanned aerial vehicles, armored vehicles, weapons, ammunition, night-vision equipment and medical supplies.
The equipment has increased the $ 1.6 billion in US aid money to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began, he said.
Ukraine disputes Kremlin’s allegations of air strikes on Russian fuel depot
Vyacheslav Gladkov, regional governor of Belgorod, wrote in the Telegram on Friday that two Ukrainian helicopters carried out an air strike late Thursday at the Belgorod oil plant, 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.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy declined to comment on whether he ordered the alleged attack during an interview with Fox News. Zelenskyy said he does not discuss any orders he issues as commander-in-chief.
Starring: Associated Press