- Russian missile launch near Lviv airport
- Australia and Japan add sanctions against individuals, banks and government organizations
- US and EU say ‘war crimes’ in Ukraine will be investigated, possibly prosecuted
- Russia changes plans for Security Council session later Friday
This article was last updated at 11:01 UTC/GMT
IEA says world must urgently reduce oil consumption
The International Energy Agency has urged the international community to reduce oil use, warning the world faces a massive supply crisis.
“Due to Russia’s appalling aggression against Ukraine, the world may well be facing its biggest oil supply shock in decades, with huge implications for our economies and societies,” he said. said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol.
The IEA has announced a 10-point plan to reduce oil consumption, including reducing speed limits on highways by 10 kilometers per hour (6 miles per hour).
The IEA also called on the OPEC+ group of oil-producing countries to help “relieve pressure” on markets.
Russia is the largest oil exporter to world markets and the second largest exporter of crude oil behind Saudi Arabia.
Several countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, have banned imports of Russian oil.
Scholz tells Putin progress needed in peace talks
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine during a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
According to his spokesman, Scholz urged Putin to make progress in finding a diplomatic solution and told him the humanitarian situation needed to improve.
Putin blamed Ukraine for stalling the peace talks.
“It has been noted that the kyiv regime is trying in every way to delay the negotiation process, presenting increasingly unrealistic proposals,” the Kremlin said in a reading of the appeal.
The Russian leader also told his German counterpart that they were doing everything possible to save civilian lives.
The call lasted just under an hour.
Lavrov warns West not to donate S-300s to Ukraine
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told state broadcaster RT that Russia would not allow other countries to supply S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems to Ukraine.
He repeated an earlier threat that Russian troops could target arms deliveries to Ukraine.
The S-300 missiles meet the Ukrainian requirements of the West as they are designed to hit targets at higher altitudes.
On Thursday, Slovak Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad, speaking alongside his US counterpart Lloyd Austin, said Bratislava was ready to send long-range surface-to-air missiles to Ukraine.
“The only strategic air defense system we have in Slovakia is the S-300 system,” Nad said.
He added that Western allies were giving them a “suitable replacement” to avoid creating a security breach.
Deadly bombings in several Ukrainian cities
One person was killed and several others injured when the Podil district of kyiv was shelled.
The city’s mayor, Vitali Klitschko, shared a video from the district saying, “The enemy continues to attack the capital.” He said six buildings, including a kindergarten, were damaged in the attack.
In the eastern city of Kharkiv, emergency services said one person was killed when an education building was hit.
Shells also hit the eastern city of Kramatorsk, killing two people and wounding six, according to Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko.
Two million refugees enter Poland
The Polish border guard said more than 2 million people have crossed from Ukraine into Poland since the Russian invasion began on February 24.
The UN says more than 3.1 million refugees have fled the country in total.
Ukraine hopes to evacuate civilians through nine humanitarian corridors from towns and villages on Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.
Kyiv and Russia have agreed on routes during ongoing peace talks.
Ofcom revokes RT’s UK broadcasting license
UK media regulator Ofcom has revoked Russian state broadcaster RT’s license to broadcast in the UK with immediate effect.
“Free speech is something we fiercely protect in this country, and the bar for broadcasters to act is rightly set high,” Ofcom chief executive Melanie Dawes said.
She said the decision was made because it “seems impossible for RT to adhere to the required standards of impartiality” in its coverage of the war in Ukraine.
Ofcom’s decision is largely symbolic as RT has already been taken off the air following EU sanctions.
Russia says it is fighting in Mariupol
Russian forces were fighting in central Mariupol, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
“In Mariupol, units of the Donetsk People’s Republic, with the support of the Russian armed forces, are pressing the encirclement and fighting the nationalists in the city center,” the ministry said in Moscow.
By seizing the strategic port city, Russian President Vladimir Putin could create a corridor between Russia, the Donbass region and Crimea and take full control of the Sea of Azov.
Mariupol has been under siege for weeks and is under constant bombardment from the Russians.
On Wednesday, the Mariupol theater was destroyed during a bombardment. Russia denied hitting him. Italy said it would rebuild it.
Destroyed aircraft maintenance facility in Lviv
Several missiles hit an aircraft maintenance facility in Lviv, according to Mayor Andriy Sadovyi.
He wrote on Telegram that work at the factory had stopped before the strike and no casualties were reported. A bus repair factory was also affected by the strike.
The Western Command of the Ukrainian Air Force said the missiles that hit Lviv were launched from the Black Sea.
The town near the Polish border has so far been spared the worst Russian attacks.
However, last weekend Russian troops launched several airstrikes on a large Ukrainian military installation outside the city, killing at least 35 people.
Japan and Australia announce additional sanctions against Russia
Australia and Japan increased pressure on Russia on Friday by imposing sanctions on individuals, banks and government organizations.
Canberra imposed sanctions on Moscow’s finance ministry while adding 11 banks and government organizations, including the central bank, covering the majority of Russia’s banking assets as well as all entities that manage its sovereign debt.
“With our recent inclusion of the Central Bank of Russia, Australia has now targeted all Russian government entities responsible for issuing and managing Russia’s sovereign debt,” Foreign Minister Marise Payne said. in a press release.
Japan, meanwhile, said it would impose sanctions on 15 people and nine organizations, including defense officials and dual-use arms and technology exporter Rosoboronexport.
The sanctions, which include asset freezes, are the latest in a series of measures taken by Tokyo since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
Russia will not call for a UN Council vote on its resolution on Ukraine
Russia has announced that it will not call on the UN Security Council to vote Friday on its draft resolution on humanitarian aid to Ukraine, criticized for making no mention of the invasion of its neighbor by the Kremlin.
Russia’s UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia announced the change in plans at a separate session on Thursday convened by Western countries.
Instead, he will use the scheduled Council session to repeat claims that the United States has biowarfare labs in Ukraine.
Washington has denied the claims, in turn alleging they were part of a potential “false flag operation” by Moscow.
US soldiers alive, despite Russian claims, US says
Three current and former members of the Tennessee National Guard were falsely identified as killed in a Russian media report.
They are in fact alive and well, the Tennessee National Guard said Thursday.
US President Joe Biden ordered the withdrawal of US troops from Ukraine ahead of Russia’s invasion of the country.
But a report in Russian newspaper Pravda identified three Americans as dead and gave military ranks to each of them, citing reports from pro-Russian Donetsk militia in Ukraine.
The story even offered a detailed explanation of how the three were identified, using items from a backpack “near the remains of one of the militants.” Among the items was a Tennessee state flag, according to the report.
“The Tennessee Guard is aware of fake news from Russia,” said Tracy O’Grady, spokeswoman for the largest US National Guard.
The Tennessee Guard said in a statement, “They are counted, safe and not, as the title of the article erroneously suggests, American mercenaries killed in the Donetsk People’s Republic.”
Zelenskyy: Russia surprised by our determination
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia had been surprised by the resistance it had encountered since its invasion began.
“It’s our defense,” he said in his nightly video address to the nation. “When the enemy doesn’t know what to expect from us. Like they didn’t know what to expect after February 24,” the day Russia invaded. “They didn’t know what we had for defense or how we were preparing for the hit.”
He said Russia expected to find Ukraine as it did in 2014, when it seized Crimea without a fight and backed separatists in the eastern Donbass region. But Ukraine is now a different country, with much stronger defences, he said.
Summary of Thursday’s events in the Ukraine-Russia crisis
The EU said potential “war crimes” in Ukraine would be investigated and prosecuted, joining high-profile US figures in labeling Moscow’s actions that way.
The search for survivors continued at the Mariupol theater, which was bombed on Wednesday, with Ukrainian lawmaker Dmytro Gurin telling DW the attack was “deliberate”.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the Bundestag, telling the German parliament that “help came too late to stop the war”. He also criticized the German government for its economic ties with Russia.
Local officials said the shelling of the town of Merefa, outside the city of Kharkiv, killed at least 21 people and injured 25.
Bilateral talks also continued between Russia and Ukraine, although neither side said much publicly on Thursday.
lo,jsi /kb,msh (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)