- Ukraine says it troops have retaken the entire Kyiv region
- Ukraine expects fierce battles in southern and eastern regions, especially in besieged Mariupol
- Red Cross is trying again to evacuate civilians from Mariupol
- Former ICC prosecutor Carla del Ponte calls for an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin
- Ukrainian photojournalist Max Levin found dead near Kyiv
This article was last updated at 22:30 GMT/UTC.
Zelenskyy criticizes West for holding back on weapons deliveries
In a video message late on Saturday night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his country needs more modern weapons to continue fighting Russia’s invasion — and that Western allies have been holding back in their support.
“Unfortunately, Ukraine has not yet received enough modern Western anti-missile systems. Has not received aircraft. Hasn’t received what the partners could provide. Could — and still can!” he said in an official English transcript of the video.
“Every Russian missile that hit our cities and every bomb dropped on our people, on our children only adds black paint to the history that will describe everyone on whom the decision depended. [The] decision whether to help Ukraine with modern weapons,” Zelenskyy added.
In the video, the Ukrainian leader also praised troops in the embattled port city of Mariupol, saying their defense has helped “hold back a significant part of the enemy forces” and bought Ukraine “invaluable time.”
Holocaust survivors in Ukraine flee Russia’s war to Germany
For Holocaust survivors living in Ukraine, it can be painful to emigrate to the country of the former perpetrators. But, given the Russian invasion, most are just grateful that the opportunity to escape exists.
One of the recent evacuees, Liliya Vaksman, fled the embattled city of Dnipro. As a child, she experienced Wold War II, persecution and flight. And now, at 82, she has again.
“I’m just shocked by what’s happening in Ukraine now,” Vaksman told DW. “I just can’t believe the same thing is happening again now as when I was a kid.”
DW met with Vaksman and two other Holocaust survivors who recently arrived in the German capital of Berlin. For more on their journey, read the full story here.
Red Cross team ‘yet to reach’ to Mariupol
A Red Cross evacuation mission to help civilians escape Mariupol has not yet arrived at the besieged port city.
A spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said the convoy left again on Saturday after being turned back in an earlier attempt on Friday.
“They are spending the night en route to Mariupol and are yet to reach the city,” an ICRC spokesperson told news agency AFP.
Russia’s Defense Ministry has blamed the Red Cross, saying the convoys left too late to reach the city on time, according to comments carried on the Russian state news agency Interfax.
DW correspondent Nick Connolly in Kyiv said that Russia is facing increased pressure to ensure the safe evacuation of civilians from Mariupol.
“This is such a big story internationally — so much attention on this, that there is a whole lot of pressure on the Russians to make this possible,” Connolly said.
After speaking with people who have escaped Mariupol in recent days, he said they describe the situation as being “far from being a well organized, slick operation, it’s all pretty chaotic on the ground.”
Tens of thousands of people are currently trapped in Mariupol, with limited access to food and water.
Nearly 300 people buried in mass grave near Kyiv, official tells news agency
News agency AFP has reported that almost 300 people have been buried in a mass grave in the town of Bucha, not far from Kyiv, according to the town’s mayor.
The report comes after Ukrainian forces retook the town following Russia’s pullback.
“In Bucha, we have already buried 280 people in mass graves,” mayor Anatoly Fedoruk told AFP, adding that the streets are littered with bodies.
As Ukrainian troops search the reclaimed areas around Kyiv, the Defense Ministry said soldiers found more civilians who had been killed.
“Dead civilians are seen near a highway 20 km outside Kyiv,” the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said in a post on Twitter. In the picture, the bodies of four to five women are covered under a blanket.
The ministry said Russian troops “tried to burn [the bodies] right there on the side of the road.”
Draft peace treaty at advanced stage — report
News agency Interfax Ukraine has reported that Russia has given indications that a draft peace treaty is at an advanced stage. Citing Ukrainian negotiator David Arakhamia, the agency reported that negotiations were at the point of direct consultations.
Arakhamia reportedly told Ukrainian television that Russia had accepted Ukraine’s overall stance, with the exception of its position on Crimea.
He said if Russian President Vladimir Putin were to meet Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the venue would most likely be in Turkey. Arakhamia said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had called the two leaders on Friday and “seemed to confirm from his side that they are ready to arrange a meeting in the near future.”
Ukraine forces say they regain full control of Kyiv region
Ukrainian troops have regained full control of the entire territory in the Kyiv region, according to Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar.
“The whole Kyiv region is liberated from the invader,” she said in a Facebook post.
More than 200 anti-war protesters arrested in Russia
A human rights group tracking the detention of anti-war activists in Russia said that 208 people were detained across the country in protests held on Saturday.
According to OVD-Info, there were protests in 17 cities. Most of the arrests were made in Moscow and St Petersburg.
The organization says that since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine there have been over 15,300 arrests made.
At least 20 bodies found in Ukrainian city street — report
French news agency AFP has reported that the bodies of at least 20 men dressed in civilian clothing have been found lying in a street of a retaken town near Kyiv.
According to the agency, one of the men’s hands were tied behind his back. The discovery was made in the town of Bucha, which was recently retaken after Russian troops withdrew.
The cause of death of those found was not clear, although at least one of those found had a head wound.
Regional governor says thousands of Ukrainians are returning
A Ukrainian regional governor claims thousands of Ukrainians are making their way back into the country despite the ongoing war. Maksym Kozytskyy posted on Facebook that more than 19,000 citizens had returned to Ukraine in a 24 hour period.
According to these figures more people had returned to the country than the 14,000 who left during that same time period.
Kozytskyy went on to say that since Russia’s invasion 556,000 people had re-entered the country.
According to UN figures, more than 4 million people have fled the country in total.
Scholz warns of global impact of war in Ukraine
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has called for the Russian war in Ukraine to come to an end “quickly.”
Speaking in the western German city of Essen, Scholz said Russian President Vladimir Putin is pursuing “territorial claims that stem from the imperialist visions of earlier centuries” which he said were now “destroying the future of Russia.”
“He [Putin] did not expect Ukraine to defend itself. He believed that there would be people standing there waving flags and applauding. That is not the case. Everyone is defending themselves,” the chancellor said.
“All the difficulties that the world economy is facing today, which were already great enough because of the coronavirus pandemic and its economic and social effects, are now becoming even greater because of this war. I say: it is a destruction of the future, far beyond Russia and Ukraine,” Scholz warned.
Russian troop mobilization reports in Transnistria ‘untrue’
Kyiv’s claim that Russian troops are massing in the tiny breakaway region of Transnistria in Moldova to conduct provocations on the Ukraine border is “absolutely untrue,” authorities in Tiraspol said.
Ukraine’s army chief said Russian troops already in Transnistria were preparing for “a demonstration of readiness for an offensive and, possibly, hostilities against Ukraine.”
Transnistria is a Russia-backed region of Moldova that broke away after a short civil war in the early 1990s and is unrecognized by most countries.
In response, Transnistria’s Foreign Ministry insisted that the region’s leaders had repeatedly “declared the absence of any threat to Ukraine.”
Moldova’s Foreign Ministry also said Saturday there is “no information to confirm the mobilization of troops in the Transnistrian region” and that “state institutions are closely monitoring the security situation in the region.”
Wladimir Klitschko thanks ‘German brotherland’ after Berlin talks
Former world heavyweight boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko has thanked Germany for supporting Ukraine’s fight against the Russian invasion
Klitschko, the brother of Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko, posted a video to Twitter in German after two days of talks in Berlin with German ministers, including Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
“The support that Germany is providing to Ukraine is remarkable,” he said. “Be it the material aid, the provision of essential goods or defensive weapons.”
Klitschko added that the backing given by Berlin was in proportion to the “horrors of the war initiated by Putin’s regime.”
He said Germany and Ukraine were “united like never before because together they defend international law and the core value of freedom.”
In thanking the “German brotherland,” Klitschko said he would “never forget Germany’s support and your government’s commitment.”
Sanctions could imperil ISS, says Russian space chief
The future of the International Space Station (ISS) is at risk after Western space agencies missed a deadline by Moscow to lift sanctions, the head of Russia’s space program has said.
Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Roscosmos, implied on Russian state TV that the sanctions, some of which predate Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, could disrupt the operation of Russian spacecraft servicing the ISS with cargo flights.
Rogozin stressed that the Western partners need the space station and that “no one but us can deliver fuel to the station.” Only the engines of Russian cargo craft are able to correct the ISS’s orbit, keeping it safe from space debris, he added.
Space is one of the last remaining areas of cooperation between Moscow and Western nations.
A NASA astronaut caught a Russian ride back to Earth on Wednesday after a US record 355 days at the ISS, returning with two cosmonauts.
Rogozin later wrote on his Telegram channel that Western counterparts had vowed to promote “further cooperation on the ISS and its operations.”
Ukraine expects large battles in east and south
Ukrainian presidential advisor Oleksiy Arestovych said on national television Saturday that heavy battles are expected in the east and south of the country as well as in the besieged city of Mariupol.
Arestovych also said Ukraine had retaken 30 towns in the Kyiv region from Russian forces and was holding the line against Russia in the east.
“Let us have no illusions,” he said.
Russia detains 176 people at antiwar protests
Russian protest monitor OVD-Info said at least 176 people were detained for demonstrating against the war in Ukraine Saturday.
An AFP journalist in Moscow watched as 20 people were detained by riot police in the central Zaryadye park near the Kremlin.
Protest organizers said in a statement, “Russia deserves peace, democracy and prosperity.”
Galina Sedova, 50, told French news agency AFP, “Nobody will come, all the active ones were detained at previous protests.”
Russians who protest what the Kremlin calls a “special military operation” face fines and imprisonment. Since the war began, 15,000 have been detained at protests in Russia.
Poland’s Prime Minister calls for ‘real sanctions’
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called for “real sanctions” against Russia in a meeting with EU Parliament President Roberta Metsola at a refugee reception center near Warsaw.
Morawiecki expressed dismay that sanctions had not hit hard enough as evidenced by the successful Russian central bank interventions and enforcement of capital controls, stabilizing the ruble.
“This means that all economic measures — microeconomic, macroeconomic, financial, budgetary and monetary — have not worked as some politicians would have liked,” he said.
More than 2.4 million Ukrainian refugees are currently in Poland, the most of any EU country.
Enerhodar authorities: Russia violently disperses rally
Local authorities in the town of Enerhodar said occupying Russian forces had violently dispersed a pro-Ukrainian event and arrested some who took part.
Residents had gathered in the city center and sang the Ukrainian national anthem when authorities say Russian soldiers arrived and kidnapped some residents and detained them.
Local authorities also said Russian forces had shelled residential areas in a different part of town, with four being treated for wounds.
Enerhodar rests on the Dnipro river and is home to many who work at the nearby Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
Former war crimes prosecutor calls for Putin arrest warrant
Veteran International Criminal Court (ICC) war crimes prosecutor Carla del Ponte called for an arrest warrant to be issued for Russian President Vladimir Putin by the ICC for the invasion of Ukraine in an interview with Swiss newspaper Le Temps.
Del Ponte said, “Putin is a war criminal.”
She is best known for her investigations of war crimes in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. An arrest warrant she said would indicate “investigative work has been done.” Del Ponte said, “It would be impossible for him to leave his country, and it would be a strong signal that he has many states against him.”
The ICC is based in The Hague. While Ukraine is not a signatory, it did recognize the ICC’s jurisdiction regarding crimes committed by Russian-backed forces in Ukraine in 2014.
Russia withdrew from the Rome Statute treaty which established the ICC in 2016.
Pope Francis criticizes Russia and Putin
Pope Francis took aim at Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Russian President Vladimir Putin directly, calling him “some potentate,” during an address in Malta.
Upon arriving for a two day-long visit, Pope Francis said, “From the east of Europe, from the land of the sunrise, the dark shadows of war have now spread. We had thought that invasions of other countries, savage street fighting and atomic threats were grim memories of a distant past.”
Pope Francis also took direct aim at Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Once again, some potentate, sadly caught up in anachronistic claims of nationalist interests, is provoking and fomenting conflicts, whereas ordinary people sense the need to build a future that, will either be shared, or not be at all,” Pope Francis said.
Photojournalist Max Levin found dead near Kyiv
Ukrainian media and international journalists based in Kyiv in recent years report photojournalist Max Levin was found dead near Kyiv, citing the Institute of Mass Information.
Anna Chornous, a producer for BBC News in Ukraine, quoted Levin on Twitter: “Every Ukrainian photographer dreams to take a photo which will stop the war.”
Zaborona Media editor-in-chief Katerina Sergatskova wrote: “Max was a brave journalist and good father of four kids. I don’t want to believe he’s gone.”
Pope Francis considering travel to Kyiv
Pope Francis said aboard the papal plane en route to Malta that he is considering traveling to Kyiv.
An invitation has been made to the Pope by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Ukraine’s Byzantine-rite Catholic Church and Ukraine’s ambassador to the Vatican, Andriy Yurash.
Pope Francis spoke with both Zelenskyy and Shevchuk by phone and condemned what he called Russia’s “unjustified aggression.” On March 25, he referred to Russia directly in prayers during a special global peace event.
Pakistan’s army chief condemns Russia, praises Ukraine’s resistance
Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Bajwa said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine ought to be “stopped immediately” at the Islamabad Security Dialogue, Dawn reports.
He added that “despite legitimate security concerns of Russia, its aggression against a smaller country cannot be condoned.”
Bajwa also said Ukraine’s resistance provided hope to smaller nations that they could undertake territorial defense with smaller, more nimble units if confronted by a greater armed power.
Pakistan has sent aid and maintained good relations with Ukraine since its independence whereas Bajwa described relations with Russia as “cold.”
Ukrainian orphans will overwhelm state social services: Bavarian minister
The family minister in the southern German state of Bavaria has criticized the federal government for its policy on Ukrainian orphans arriving from the war zone, saying state youth welfare services would not be able to cope.
Ulrike Scharf told the DPA news agency that Berlin’s categorization of groups of orphans arriving in Germany as unaccompanied minors meant that such services would not manage to take proper care of all the children, some of whom were disabled.
She said Federal Family Affairs Minister Anne Spiegel had overruled the states’ unanimous objections to this system.
The groups of orphans arriving together with their carers would have to be separated, which would not be in the best interests of the children, she argued.
Ukraine’s economy shrinking massively: Economy Ministry
Ukraine’s economy shrank 16% in the first quarter of this year compared with the same period last year amid Russia’s invasion, the country’s Economy Ministry has said, citing preliminary estimates.
It said there could be a 40% contraction over the year.
“Areas in which remote work is impossible have suffered the most,” it said.
Seven humanitarian corridors planned: Ukrainian deputy PM
It is planned to evacuate people from areas under Russian attack through seven humanitarian corridors on Saturday, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has said.
One planned corridor will be for people evacuating by private transport from the city of Mariupol, Vereshchuk said. The city is one of the hardest hit by Russian bombardment and is in the grip of a humanitarian crisis.
Several planned humanitarian corridors have failed to materialize in the past weeks.
US Pentagon adds $300 million in ‘security assistance’ to Ukraine
The US Defense Department says it is giving $300 million (€271.5 million) more in funds to help improve Ukraine’s defense capabilities amid the Russian invasion.
The sum comes on top of the $1.6 billion already allotted by the US to Ukraine since Russia’s aggression began.
The money will go toward new contracts for military equipment from the Pentagon’s defense industry partners.
“This decision underscores the United States’ unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in support of its heroic efforts to repel Russia’s war of choice,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.
The package is to include Switchblade drones, which directly fly into targets with explosives
More than 3,000 from Mariupol brought to safety: Zelenskyy
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said more than 6,000 people have been led to safety through humanitarian corridors in the regions of Donetsk, Lugansk and Zaporizhzhia, with around half of them being from the besieged city of Mariupol.
“We have managed to rescue 6,266 people, including 3,071 people from Mariupol,” he said in a video address early on Saturday.
It was not immediately clear whether those from Mariupol had been evacuated from the city or had managed to escape on their own previously.
Mariupol has suffered almost constant bombardment from Russian forces, leaving residents there largely without water, food or power.
Russian troops pulled out of Hostomel Airport: British military intelligence
Russian armed forces are reported to have withdrawn from Hostomel Airport, an international cargo airport some 27 km (17 miles) from the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, according to a British military intelligence report cited by Reuters.
The airport has seen fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces since the first day of Russia’s invasion on February 24.
Germany must avoid becoming Russia’s target – German economy minister
“In everything we’re doing, we are very careful not to take any unconsidered step that could make Germany a target of Russia,” German Economy Minister Robert Habeck told the German newspaper Rheinische Post.
While it’s difficult for Ukrainians to understand, he added, “In politics, there are no faultless moral positions. There are always trade-offs to prevent something worse from happening. That’s the basis for political moves.”
The comments were in response to Ukraine’s request for more support from Germany in its fights against Russia.
Ukrainian president: Retreating Russians creating ‘complete disaster’ outside Kyiv
Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy has warned his nation that retreating Russian troops were creating a “complete disaster” outside Kyiv as they leave mines across “the whole territory.”
“They are mining the whole territory, they are mining homes, mining equipment, even the bodies of people who were killed,” he said in a video address to the nation late on Friday.
His warning comes as the humanitarian crisis in the port city of Mariupol intensifies, with Russian forces blocking evacuation operations for the second day in a row.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin has accused Ukrainians of launching a helicopter attack on a fuel depot on Russian soil.
Red Cross to make a fresh attempt at Mariupol evacuation
A Red Cross team will make a fresh attempt on Saturday to help evacuate thousands of civilians from the port city of Mariupol after its earlier try failed due to “conditions that made it impossible.”
The international aid organization appealed for all sides to provide security guarantees so that the evacuation mission can proceed.
“For the operation to succeed, it is critical that the parties respect the agreements and provide the necessary conditions and security guarantees,” the Red Cross urged.
The initial plan on Friday was for the Red Cross to escort dozens of cars and buses carrying thousands of civilians out of Mariupol and bring them safely to another Ukrainian city.
Russian and Ukrainian officials had previously agreed to a humanitarian corridor, but it was unclear whether the message had been received by troops on the ground.
The aid group later managed to escort some Mariupol evacuees who had already escaped the besieged city, Ukrainian Red Cross Deputy Director-General Olena Stokoz told DW.
Round-up of events in Ukraine war on Friday
See all the developments from Friday’s live updates by clicking here.
A Red Cross team will make a fresh attempt on Saturday to help evacuate thousands of civilians from the port city of Mariupol after its earlier try failed due to “conditions that made it impossible.”
Russian energy giant Gazprom announced it will fully pull out of its German wing, Gazprom Germania, amid soured relations between Russia and Germany and other European countries over payments for Russian natural gas.
The European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has urged China to not interfere with Western sanctions against Russia following the Ukraine war.
Von der Leyen made the comments after she and other top EU top diplomats met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and China’s Premier Li Keqiang in a virtual summit earlier on Friday.
Ukraine and Russia carried out a prisoner exchange on Friday, in which some 86 Ukrainian soldiers, including 15 servicewomen, were released, Ukrainian officials said.
The deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential administration said the exchange was part of ongoing peace talks and did not say how many Russian servicepeople were released in the swap.
rs, fh, ar/sms, wd (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)