A fragment of a Tochka-U missile lies on the ground following an attack at the railway station in Kramatorsk, 8 April 2022 —
It is day 51 of the war in Ukraine, as Russian forces are expected to begin a new big offensive in the east of the country after their retreat from the Kyiv region and other parts of the country revealed growing evidence of human rights atrocities.
Despite Moscow’s blanket denials, horrific discoveries of civilian murders, torture and other barbaric acts continue coming to light, with Ukrainian authorities claiming tens of thousands of civilian casualties in Mariupol alone.
Kyiv forces continue to prepare for the renewed assault, while Western nations keep tightening sanctions against Moscow and NATO and condemnations of Vladimir Putin’s actions continue to grow.
Follow Friday’s events as they unfold in our blog below, or watch TV coverage in the video player above.
Friday’s key points:
The content of the article:
- 1 Friday’s key points:
- 2 Leading newspaper blocked in Russia
- 3 Finland ‘very likely’ to apply to join NATO, says minister
- 3.1 Explosion in eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk
- 3.2 Factory manufacturing Neptune missiles hit by a Russian strike
- 3.3 Mariupol officials: Russians forbid burials
- 3.4 Seven civilians killed by Russian fire on evacuation buses near Kharkiv, Ukrainian General Prosecutor’s Office says
- 3.5 Finland and Sweden joining NATO would have ‘consequences’, Russia says
- 3.6 UN food programme chief says people are being ‘starved to death’ in Mariupol
A factory in the Kyiv region that manufactures Neptune missiles was hit overnight by a Russian strike
as the Kremlin vowed more missile strikes on Kyiv in response to alleged Ukraine attacks.
Seven killed after evacuation buses fired upon near Kharkiv, says Ukraine’s general prosecutor’s office.
In his nightly address on Thursday, Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised the courage of his compatriots in fighting back for almost eight weeks after Moscow «gave us five days».
The flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet has sunk after it was badly damaged and its crew evacuated due to a possible Ukrainian missile hit on Thursday. The Kremlin claims it was due to a fire that broke out on the vessel, not an attack.
Should Finland or Sweden join NATO, Russia has threatened a military build-up in the region.
Kyiv said it’s reached an agreement with Moscow to reopen humanitarian corridors in Mariupol.
Russia claims Ukraine has struck its territory with airstrikes. This cannot be independently verified.
More than 4.6 million refugees have fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, with millions being displaced internally, mostly in the western parts of the country.
Additionally, 4.8 million of Ukraine’s 7.5 million children have been displaced since 24 February, said UNICEF.
Leading newspaper blocked in Russia
One of Russia’s top independent newspapers has had its website blocked over critical coverage of the war in Ukraine.
The Moscow Times, which also publishes in English, said Friday its Russian-language site was unavailable for some users.
According to the paper, the authorities acted after a story about 11 riot police officers who refused to fight in Ukraine was published.
On Thursday, a journalist who first broke the story was jailed on the charges of spreading false information about the Russian military.
Finland ‘very likely’ to apply to join NATO, says minister
An application to join NATO by Finland is «very likely,» the country’s European affairs minister has said.
«It is very likely but the decision has not yet been taken,» said Tytti Tuppurainen said on Friday. On Wednesday, during a trip to Sweden, which is also debating NATO membership, the head of the Finnish government Sanna Marin indicated that a choice would be taken «within a few weeks»
Russia has previously warned that there would be dire consequences if Finland, which shares a 1,300 km (800 mile) border with Russia, was to join the US-led military alliance, including a nuclear deployment and military build up in the area.
Read more: Russia warns of nuclear deployment if Sweden and Finland join NATO
Explosion in eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk
A large explosion has struck the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk, the site of a missile strike on a train station a week earlier that left more than 50 dead and dozens wounded.
Associated Press journalists in the city heard the sound of a rocket or missile and then the blast, followed by sirens wailing early Friday afternoon. It was not immediately clear what was hit or whether there were casualties.
Factory manufacturing Neptune missiles hit by a Russian strike
A factory in the Kyiv region that manufactures Neptune missiles was hit overnight by a Russian strike.
An AFP journalist at the scene saw that the factory was seriously damaged.
The spokesperson for Russia’s defence ministry had announced earlier that Russia had destroyed a missile production workshop at the factory.
Ukraine had said it used a Neptune missile to destroy a Russian warship.
Mariupol officials: Russians forbid burials
Mariupol City Council said Friday that local residents report Russian troops are digging up bodies previously buried in residential courtyards and not allowing any new burials “of people killed by them.”
“A watchman has been assigned to each courtyard and is not allowing Mariupol residents to lay to rest dead relatives or friends. Why the exhumation is being carried out and where the bodies will be taken is unknown,” according to a statement on the messaging app Telegram.
The claim could not be independently verified.
Seven civilians killed by Russian fire on evacuation buses near Kharkiv, Ukrainian General Prosecutor’s Office says
At least seven people died and another 27 were injured on evacuation buses near Kharkiv, Ukraine’s prosecutor’s office said.
«Russian servicemen fired on evacuation buses with civilians in the village of Borova, Izium district,» the office claimed.
The prosecutor’s office said they were opening an investigation into the attack.
Euronews is unable to independently verify this claim.
Finland and Sweden joining NATO would have ‘consequences’, Russia says
Russia’s foreign ministry warned on Friday that NATO membership for Sweden and Finland would have consequences for these countries and for European security.
These countries «must understand the consequences of such a step for our bilateral relations and for the European security architecture as a whole,» ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement.
«Being a member of NATO cannot strengthen their national security.»
Her statement came after former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev threatened that Russia would increase its military forces if the two countries joined the military alliance.
Both Helsinki and Stockholm are considering joining the alliance due to the war in Ukraine.
UN food programme chief says people are being ‘starved to death’ in Mariupol
The head of the UN World Food Programme said people in the besieged Ukrainian port city of Mariupol are being «starved to death» and said the country’s humanitarian crisis will worsen, in an interview with The Associated Press.
David Beasley said the World Food Programme was trying to get food supplies to areas with a lot of fighting but there are «a lot of complexities» including a lack of access and shortage of manpower and fuel.
“It’s not just going to be the next few days — but the next few weeks and few months could even get more complicated than it is now,” he said. “In fact, it’s getting worse and worse, concentrated in certain areas, and the front lines are going to be moving.”
“We will not give up on the people of Mariupol and other people that we cannot reach. But it’s a devastating situation: the people being starved to death,” he said.
(Euronews with AP)