‘Bloody Battles’ Are Unfolding Around The Plant Where Civilians Remain Trapped In Russia’s Siege, A Ukrainian Commander Says

‘Bloody Battles’ Are Unfolding Around The Plant Where Civilians Remain Trapped In Russia’s Siege, A Ukrainian Commander Says

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4 hr 16 min agoAlmost 400 health facilities destroyed or damaged by Russian troops, Zelensky saysUkrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky address the nation on May 5. (President of Ukraine)Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said “Russian troops have destroyed or damaged almost 400 health facilities,” during his address to Ukrainians on Thursday night.

He said this was based on “only the medical infrastructure,” and that the facilities affected included “hospitals, maternity hospitals, outpatient clinics.”

“In the temporarily occupied areas of Ukraine — in the east and south — the situation with access to medical services and medicines is just catastrophic,” Zelensky said, adding that “even the simplest medications are missing.”

The President also highlighted the “complete lack of treatment for cancer patients,” as well as “a lack of antibiotics” and “difficult or impossible” lack of access to insulin.

Russia’s attack on a maternity and children’s hospital in Mariupol on March 9 has been one of the most reported incidents to date during the ongoing invasion.

At least five people were killed and at least 17 were injured, including children.

Two hospitals in Zhytomyr, west of the capital, Kyiv, had their windows blown out in a Russian airstrike on a thermal power plant and civilian building in the city on the same day, the mayor said. One of them was a children’s hospital.

The rules of war specify that civilians should not be targeted and that medical workers, medical vehicles and hospitals dedicated to humanitarian work cannot be attacked.

12 min agoKremlin spokesperson twice ducks question of whether Putin apologized to Israel’s PMRussian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attends a press conference in Moscow, Russia, on April 27. (Russian Foreign Ministry/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov twice declined to answer questions from journalists on Friday about whether Russian President Vladimir Putin apologized to Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett over anti-Semitic remarks his foreign minister made this week.

An Israeli summary of a phone call between the two leaders on Thursday said Bennett accepted Putin’s apology; a Russian summary made no mention of any contrition.

“At the moment, we have nothing to add to what was said in the readout,” Peskov said on his regular press briefing call.

Israeli leaders responded with fury earlier in the week after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov suggested that Adolf Hitler had Jewish ancestry. The assertion has no basis in fact.

Asked on Friday by a journalist if Lavrov should apologize, Peskov replied: “I’m not sure I understand your question.”

Some context: On Sunday, Putin’s top diplomat Lavrov sought to justify Moscow’s absurd goal of “de-Nazifying” Ukraine — a baseless portrayal of the country, which is led by a Jewish president — by claiming Adolf Hitler had “Jewish blood” and that “the most ardent anti-Semites are usually Jews.”

Bennett called the assertions “lies” and Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid described them as “unforgiveable and outrageous,” warning that Israel had “tried to maintain good relations with Russia, but there is a line, and this time the line has been crossed.”

6 hr 7 min agoPutin’s reputed girlfriend Alina Kabaeva included in proposed EU sanctions list, sources sayFrom CNN’s Luke McGee

Alina Kabaeva smiles as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin delivers his speech at the congress of the United Russia Party on November, 27, 2011 in Moscow. (Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)Alina Kabaeva, a woman romantically linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been included in the sixth proposed package of EU sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, according to two European diplomatic sources.

At this stage names can be taken off or added at member state discretion, an EU Commission source said.

The EU has not officially signed off on the draft proposal but could do so as early as this morning at a meeting of EU ambassadors — currently underway in Brussels. 

“Discussions are going on. It’s not a piece of cake, but we have to wait and see,” said one of the diplomatic sources.

Kabaeva was first linked to Putin more than a decade ago, while she was a medal-winning gymnast. Putin has denied a relationship with her.

In April, the Wall Street Journal reported that US officials had been debating whether or not to place sanctions on Kabaeva over concerns that the move might escalate tensions even more because it could be seen as an extreme personal blow to Putin.

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, is also among the individuals who are included in the proposed sixth round of EU sanctions, according to two sources who have seen the full documents.

3 hr 47 min agoFrom medals to road signs, Russians try to put their stamp on MariupolFrom CNN’s Tim Lister, Olga Voitovych and Julia Presniakova 

(andiyshTime/Telegram)Medals, road-signs and statues have served as some of the early symbols of Russia’s seizure of parts of southern Ukraine, and especially Mariupol. 

This week, medals were awarded “for the Liberation of Mariupol” by the leader of self-styled Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Denis Pushilin, and a senior official in Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party, Andrei Turchak.  

The DPR has been hard at work changing road signs from Ukrainian into Russian — especially those at the entrance to Mariupol.

The southeastern port city has been under siege for several weeks, with efforts now concentrated on the Avostal steel plant. On Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russian forces were “not stopping” their shelling of the plant.

The plant is now being evacuated as civilians and soldiers remain trapped inside, with the “next stage” underway, according to Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian President’s office. More than 300 evacuees from the Mariupol area arrived in the city of Zaporizhzhia on Wednesday.

The Ministry of Transport of the DPR promised Thursday that work on the replacement of road signs in what they call liberated territories will continue. A statue has also gone up in Mariupol, depicting an elderly woman grasping the Soviet flag.  

Petro Andrushchenko, an adviser to the elected mayor of Mariupol, spoke bitterly about the rising number of Russian officials visiting Mariupol, including the Sergey Kiriyenko, a senior official at the Kremlin — describing them as “curators of Mariupol’s integration into Russia.” 

Referring to the new statue, Andrushcheko said the Russians had opened a monument “to an old lady with a flag on Warriors Liberators Square, which they stubbornly call the Leninist Komsomol.” 

Andrushchenko also distributed new photographs Friday, saying that “in recent days, all the monuments of the Soviet period have been ‘restored’: the so-called ‘fists’ with eternal fire — and the signs that say ‘To victims of Fascism’ in the Russian language. [Also the] monument to ‘Komsomol members and communists’ in the Primorsky district.”

Altho

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‘Bloody battles’ are unfolding around the plant where civilians remain trapped in Russia’s siege, a Ukrainian commander says

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