Russian forces launch missile strikes on Ukrainian cities; president defiant
Russian forces launched coordinated missile and artillery attacks on Ukrainian cities on Saturday including the capital, Kyiv, where gunfire erupted near government buildings in the city centre, military officials and a Reuters witness said.
Ukrainian authorities have urged citizens to help defend Kyiv from advancing Russian forces who invaded on Thursday in the worst European security crisis in decades.
But even as the fighting grew more intense, the Russian and Ukrainian governments signalled an openness to negotiations, offering the first glimmer of hope for diplomacy since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion.
Ukraine military says it repels Russian troops’ attack on Kyiv base
Russian troops attacked an army base located on a main avenue in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv but the assault was repelled, the Ukrainian military said early on Saturday.
US to impose coordinated sanctions on Putin and his Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
The United States has agreed to impose coordinated sanctions on both Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Washington’s agreement follows similar punitive actions from the EU and the United Kingdom in a growing coordinated response.
The targetted sanctions form part of a broader package of sanctions imposed by Western nations over Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki says, “Following a telephone conversation President (Joe) Biden held with EU Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen and in alignment with a decision by our European allies, the United States will join them in sanctioning President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov and members of the Russian National Security team. I suspect we will have more specific details out later this [Saturday] afternoon.”
What we know about the Russia-Ukraine conflict:
State security denies landing of helicopters in Lviv region
Ukraine’s State Security Service (SBU) denied a report earlier on Saturday that Russian helicopters had landed in the Lviv region, a development that would have signalled a widening of the theatre of Moscow’s invasion
French sea police seized a ship on Saturday that authorities suspect belongs to a Russian company targetted by European Union sanctions over the war in Ukraine, a government official told Reuters.
Ukraine Vice PM urges Apple to cut products, services supply in Russia
Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister on Friday urged Apple Inc (AAPL.O) top boss Tim Cook to cut supply of its products and block access to the App Store in Russia.
Mykhailo Fedorov, who is also Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation, tweeted a copy of the letter sent to Cook asking the iPhone maker to “stop supplying Apple services and products to the Russian Federation, including blocking access to App Store.
Zelenskiy asks Israel to mediate with Russia, Ukraine envoy says
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy asked Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Friday to mediate in the conflict with Russia, the Ukrainian envoy to Israel said, adding that it was the latest in a string of so-far fruitless requests from Kyiv.
“We have been talking to the Israelis for at least the last year about a possible intermediary role for Israel,” Ambassador Yevgen Korniychuk told Reuters. “Our leadership believes that Israel is the only democratic state that has excellent relations with both countries.”
Bennett’s spokespeople were not immediately available for comment. An earlier statement by his office about Bennett’s conversation with Zelenskiy made no mention of any mediation.
“Bennett reiterated his hope for a speedy end to the fighting, and said that he stands by the people of Ukraine in these difficult days,” the statement said, adding that the prime minister offered Kyiv humanitarian aid.
VIDEO PLAYLIST BELOW: