search
Live updates (closed)

Kyiv asserts US has ‘no objections’ to Poland supplying jets despite past rejection

‘As far as we can conclude, the ball is now on the Polish side,’ Ukrainian FM says of prospective transfer of warplanes; Ukraine reports retaking captured town near Russian border

  • US President Joe Biden delivers a speech at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland, on March 26, 2022. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP)
    US President Joe Biden delivers a speech at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland, on March 26, 2022. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP)
  • A burned Ukranian army vehicle stands on a street leading to the airport of the city of Mykolaiv, Ukraine, March 25, 2022.(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
    A burned Ukranian army vehicle stands on a street leading to the airport of the city of Mykolaiv, Ukraine, March 25, 2022.(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
  • A child walks with a toy in a refugee center in Nadarzyn, near Warsaw, Poland, on March 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
    A child walks with a toy in a refugee center in Nadarzyn, near Warsaw, Poland, on March 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
  • US President Joe Biden participates in a meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, second from left, and Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, left, on Saturday, March 26, 2022, in Warsaw. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, right, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, third from right, look on. (AP/Evan Vucci)
    US President Joe Biden participates in a meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, second from left, and Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, left, on Saturday, March 26, 2022, in Warsaw. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, right, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, third from right, look on. (AP/Evan Vucci)
  • A man rides his bike past flames and smoke rising from a fire following a Russian attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine, March 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
    A man rides his bike past flames and smoke rising from a fire following a Russian attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine, March 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
  • People try to extinguish a fire in a market after a Russian attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine, March 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
    People try to extinguish a fire in a market after a Russian attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine, March 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
  • A map showing the state of Russia's military offensive in Ukraine as of March 26, 2022. (Wikipedia, Viewsridge, CC BY-SA 4.0)
    A map showing the state of Russia's military offensive in Ukraine as of March 26, 2022. (Wikipedia, Viewsridge, CC BY-SA 4.0)
  • US President Joe Biden (2nd R) and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (C) greet Ukrainian refugees at PGE Narodowy Stadium in Warsaw, Poland, on March 26, 2022. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP)
    US President Joe Biden (2nd R) and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (C) greet Ukrainian refugees at PGE Narodowy Stadium in Warsaw, Poland, on March 26, 2022. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP)
  • A woman sweeps in front of her house, fragments of a Russian rocket in the foreground, following a Russian attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine, March 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
    A woman sweeps in front of her house, fragments of a Russian rocket in the foreground, following a Russian attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine, March 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
  • A family stays inside a subway station, being used as a bomb shelter, as Russian attacks continue in Kharkiv, Ukraine, March 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
    A family stays inside a subway station, being used as a bomb shelter, as Russian attacks continue in Kharkiv, Ukraine, March 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

The Times of Israel live blogged Saturday’s events as they happened.

Ukraine says Russians firing on nuclear research facility in Kharkiv

A man rides his bike past flames and smoke rising from a fire following a Russian attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Friday, March 25, 2022. (AP/Felipe Dana)
A man rides his bike past flames and smoke rising from a fire following a Russian attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Friday, March 25, 2022. (AP/Felipe Dana)

Russian forces fire on a nuclear research facility in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, Ukrainian officials say.

The Ukrainian parliament, citing the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate, says, “It is currently impossible to estimate the extent of damage due to hostilities that do not stop in the area of the nuclear installation.”

Russian forces have been accused of risking nuclear disaster in Ukraine by attacking the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest, and Chernobyl.

Suspected spy detained at site of Lviv rocket attacks

Dark smoke and flames rise from a fire following an air strike in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, on March 26, 2022. (Ronaldo Chemidt and Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP)
Dark smoke and flames rise from a fire following an air strike in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, on March 26, 2022. (Ronaldo Chemidt and Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP)

The governor of Ukraine’s Lviv region says a man has been detained on suspicion of espionage at the site of one of the two rocket attacks that rattled the city today.

Maksym Kozytskyy says police found the man had recorded a rocket flying toward the target and striking it. Police also found on his telephone photos of checkpoints in the region, which Kozytskyy says had been sent to two Russian telephone numbers.

Rockets hit an oil storage facility and an unspecified industrial facility, wounding at least five people. A thick plume of smoke and towering flames could be seen on Lviv’s outskirts hours after the attacks.

Ukraine’s foreign minister: Why does Russia keep attacking Holocaust memorials?

The damaged Drobytsky Yar memorial near Kharkiv after reportedly being hit by Russian artillery fire, on March 26, 2022. (Screenshot/Twitter)
The damaged Drobytsky Yar memorial near Kharkiv after reportedly being hit by Russian artillery fire, on March 26, 2022. (Screenshot/Twitter)

Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba lashes Russia and calls for Israeli condemnation after Russian forces damage a Holocaust memorial near the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.

“This Menora in Drobytskyi Yar near Kharkiv never threatened anyone. It commemorates the memory of over 15,000 Jews murdered by Nazis,” Kuleba says.

“Damaged by Russian shelling today. Why Russia keeps attacking Holocaust Memorials in Ukraine? I expect Israel to strongly condemn this barbarism.”

In the first days of the war, Ukraine reported that the Babyn Yar Holocaust memorial site in Kyiv, located at the ravine in which over 33,000 Jews were slaughtered by Nazi Germany and its local allies in September 1941, was hit by Russian airstrikes.

The bombing was later revealed to have hit buildings near the memorial, and there was no damage to the monument itself.

Ukraine has consistently pushed Israel for stronger support since Russia’ launched its invasion.

Blinken arrives in Jerusalem, will meet with Bennett

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken waves as he boards his plane in Warsaw, Poland, on March 26, 2022, en route to Israel. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken waves as he boards his plane in Warsaw, Poland, on March 26, 2022, en route to Israel. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives in Jerusalem, after landing in Israel a couple of hours ago.

The US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price says Blinken and Prime Minister Bennett will discuss the US-Israel relationship, the Ukraine war and Iran, among other topics.

Blinken and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will hold a joint press conference at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem tomorrow morning before heading south to Sde Boker.

In the south, Blinken with Lapid and the foreign ministers from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco will hold a summit.

Egypt’s top envoy is also expected to attend.

Ukraine: US has ‘no objections’ to transfer of Polish warplanes

KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine says the United States does not object to the transfer of warplanes to Kyiv to help it fend off the Russian invasion, after the Pentagon previously rejected a “high risk” offer from Poland.

Officials in Washington “have no objections to the transfer of aircrafts. As far as we can conclude, the ball is now on the Polish side. We will look further into this matter in our conversations with Polish colleagues,” Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says today in written comments.

Coalition MK urges Israel to push for declaring Houthis a terror group at Negev Summit

Zvi Hauser, member of the New Hope political party speaks at the annual Jerusalem Conference of the 'Besheva' group in Jerusalem, on March 14, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Zvi Hauser, member of the New Hope political party speaks at the annual Jerusalem Conference of the 'Besheva' group in Jerusalem, on March 14, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

MK Zvi Hauser of the coalition’s New Hope party calls for Israel to push for the declaration of the Houthis as a terror group during the Negev Summit starting tomorrow, following the attack by the Iran-backed rebels on targets in Saudi Arabia.

“Israel needs to utilize the meeting at Sde Boker tomorrow to lead an international process of declaring the Iranian proxy as a terror organization. This is the time to stand by our regional allies,” tweets MK Zvi Hauser of the coalition’s New Hope party.

Tomorrow’s meeting is due to be attended by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and his counterparts from the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia.

On behalf of the UAE, Israel has lobbied the US to relist the Houthis as a terror group. The UAE is allied with Saudi Arabia against the Houthis and has also been targeted by the rebels.

Bennett denounces ‘horrific attack’ on Saudi Arabia by Yemen’s Houthi rebels

This satellite photo from Planet Labs PBC shows a fire still burning at Saudi Aramco's North Jiddah Bulk Plant after an attack by Yemen's Houthi rebels ahead of a Formula One race in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on March 26, 2022. (Planet Labs PBC via AP)
This satellite photo from Planet Labs PBC shows a fire still burning at Saudi Aramco's North Jiddah Bulk Plant after an attack by Yemen's Houthi rebels ahead of a Formula One race in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on March 26, 2022. (Planet Labs PBC via AP)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett releases a statement denouncing the attack launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels on Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh and the Red Sea port city of Jeddah.

“The State of Israel expresses its sorrow to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after the horrific attack by the Iranian-backed Houthis,” Bennett says.

“This attack is further proof that Iran’s regional aggression knows no bounds and reinforces the concern of Iran’s IRGC being removed from the FTO list,” he adds, referring to reports the US is mulling delisting the Revolutionary Guards as a foreign terror group amid the ongoing nuclear talks in Vienna.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels announce three-day ceasefire after Saudi attacks

SANA’A, Yemen — Yemen’s Houthi rebels announce a three-day truce and dangle the prospect of a “permanent” ceasefire if the Saudi-led coalition ends its operations against the impoverished country.

Today’s statement comes a day after a wave of drone and missile attacks hit targets across Saudi Arabia, including an oil plant near the Formula One race in Jeddah, triggering an inferno.

Rebel political leader Mahdi al-Mashat announces the “suspension of missile and drone strikes and all military actions for a period of three days.

“And we are ready to turn this declaration into a final and permanent commitment in the event that Saudi Arabia commits to ending the siege and stopping its raids on Yemen once and for all.”

There is no immediate response from Saudi Arabia, which retaliated to yesterday’s attacks by launching airstrikes against Sana’a and Hodeida and destroying four explosives-laden boats.

The truce came on the seventh anniversary of the Saudi-led coalition’s intervention to support Yemen’s government after the Iran-backed Houthis seized the capital Sana’a in 2014.

Blinken lands in Israel for ‘Negev Summit,’ expected to discuss Iran nuclear talks

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives in Israel for landmark meetings with Arab countries which normalized relations with Israel in the US-brokered Abraham Accords.

Blinken is also expected to discuss with top Israeli officials the possible revival of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and, with Israeli and Arab officials, how they will manage amid the plunge in global wheat supplies due to Russia’s war against Ukraine.

White House seeks to walk back Biden’s remarks on Putin staying in power

US President Joe Biden delivers a speech about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, at the Royal Castle, on March 26, 2022, in Warsaw. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
US President Joe Biden delivers a speech about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, at the Royal Castle, on March 26, 2022, in Warsaw. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The White House attempts to clarify, soon after US President Joe Biden finished speaking in Poland, that he was not calling for a new government in Russia.

A White House official asserts that Biden was “not discussing Putin’s power in Russia or regime change.” The official, who isn’t authorized to comment by name and spoke on the condition of anonymity, says Biden’s point was that “Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region.”

The official doesn’t respond when asked whether the comment by Biden was part of his prepared remarks for the address in Warsaw or was made off the cuff.

“For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” Biden said at the very end of a speech in Poland’s capital that served as the capstone on a four-day trip to Europe.

Ukraine says it retook captured town near Russian border

KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine says Saturday its forces have recaptured the northeast town of Trostianets, near the Russian border, one of the first towns to fall under Moscow’s control in its month-long invasion.

“The city of Trostianets in the Sumy region has been liberated from Russian occupation troops,” the Ukrainian defense ministry announces on social media, citing the 93rd Brigade.

“The Russian army fled Trostianets leaving behind weapons, equipment and ammunition,” the defense ministry statement says.

It publishes images showing Ukrainian soldiers and civilians among heavily damaged buildings, and what appears to be abandoned Russian military equipment along with a signpost to the town.

Trostianets, with a pre-war population of around 20,000 people, is located between the larger settlements of Sumy and Kharkiv in east Ukraine, which have been under intensive Russian attacks since the invasion began on February 24.

Moscow’s assault on its pro-democracy neighbor has largely stalled with no major advances and Ukrainian forces even able to counterattack in places.

The recapture of Trostianets would be among the Ukrainian army’s most significant gains since they began counterattacking in several regions.

17,595 new COVID cases recorded over weekend; serious infections, transmission rate dip slightly

A Magen David worker takes a swab sample at a COVID-19 drive-thru testing site in Jerusalem, on March 22, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
A Magen David worker takes a swab sample at a COVID-19 drive-thru testing site in Jerusalem, on March 22, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The Health Ministry reports 17,595 new coronavirus cases have been recorded this weekend, including 11,663 infections confirmed yesterday.

Active COVID-19 infections stand at 70,886, with the number of serious cases dipping to 290.

For a second day in a row, the transmission rate also ticks down slightly, to 1.4. The R number measures how many people each coronavirus carrier infects, with any reading above 1 meaning the virus is spreading at an increasing rate.

The death toll remains unchanged at 10,460.

52.8% turnout reported among voters in second round of Palestinian local elections

A woman shows her ink-stained finger after voting in the Palestinian local elections in the West Bank city of al-Bireh, on March 26, 2022. (Abbas Momani/AFP)
A woman shows her ink-stained finger after voting in the Palestinian local elections in the West Bank city of al-Bireh, on March 26, 2022. (Abbas Momani/AFP)

Around 52.8 percent of eligible West Bank voters participated in the second round of Palestinian local elections, says Palestinian elections chief Hanna Nasser.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians voted for mayor and city council in major cities across the West Bank today. The first round of municipal voting was held in early December.

Nasser adds that the monitoring body did not observe many attempts at electioneering.

UK seizes 2 jets from Russian billionaire: ‘Putin’s friends… won’t enjoy luxuries’

LONDON — Britain has seized two jet aircraft belonging to Russian billionaire Eugene Shvidler as Western governments seeking to end the war in Ukraine put pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin by targeting the luxury lifestyles of his closest supporters.

Treasury Secretary Grant Shapps says that the two aircraft will be detained “indefinitely” after a three-week investigation that had already grounded the planes. The Times of London describes the aircraft as a $45 million Bombardier Global 6500 and a $13 million Cessna Citation Latitude.

“Putin’s friends who made millions out of his regime will not enjoy luxuries whilst innocent people die,” Shapps says on Twitter.

The UK froze Shvidler’s UK assets last week as it announced a new round of sanctions on Russian companies and wealthy individuals. Shvidler was sanctioned because of his links to those who have backed the war in Ukraine and because he has profited from his support for the Putin regime, the UK said.

Biden calls for Putin’s removal: ‘For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power’

This combination of pictures shows US President Joe Biden, left, speaking at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2021; and Russian President Vladimir Putin holding his annual press conference in Moscow on December 19, 2019. (Jim Watson and Alexander Nemenov/AFP)
This combination of pictures shows US President Joe Biden, left, speaking at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2021; and Russian President Vladimir Putin holding his annual press conference in Moscow on December 19, 2019. (Jim Watson and Alexander Nemenov/AFP)

WARSAW, Poland — US President Joe Biden calls for Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s removal, saying, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”

Biden also uses a speech in Poland’s capital to make a vociferous defense of liberal democracy and the NATO military alliance, while also saying Europe must steel itself for a long fight against Russian aggression.

In what was billed by the White House as a major address, Biden speaks in front of the Royal Castle, one of Warsaw’s notable landmarks that was badly damaged during War II.

He borrows the words of Polish-born Pope John Paul II and cites anti-communist Polish dissident and former president, Lech Walesa, as he warns that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine threatens to bring “decades of war.”

“In this battle, we need to be clear-eyed. This battle will not be won in days, or months, either,” Biden says.

The crowd of about 1,000 includes some of the Ukrainian refugees who have fled for Poland and elsewhere in the midst of the brutal invasion.

“We must commit now, to be this fight for the long haul,” Biden says.

Biden warns Russia: ‘Don’t even think about moving’ on ‘inch of NATO territory’

WARSAW, Poland — US President Joe Biden calls the conflict in Ukraine a “strategic failure” for Russia, but says ordinary Russians are “not our enemy.”

“Let there be no doubt that this war has already been a strategic failure for Russia,” Biden says in a speech at the Royal Castle in Warsaw.

He also says in a warning to Russia: “Don’t even think about moving” on an “inch of NATO territory.”

Russia accuses Azerbaijan of striking troops in breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh

MOSCOW — Russia accuses Azerbaijan of violating a ceasefire agreement by entering the Russian peacekeeping mission’s zone in the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh and using drones to strike Karabakh troops.

“Violating the provisions of a trilateral statement of the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia from November 9, 2020, Azerbaijan’s armed forces between March 24 and March 25 entered the zone of responsibility of the Russian peacekeeping contingent in Nagorno-Karabakh and set up an observation post,” the Russian defense ministry says, adding that Turkish-made drones were used to strike Karabakh troops.

‘We stand with you,’ Biden tells Ukrainians as he warns world of ‘long fight ahead’

US President Joe Biden delivers a speech at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland, on March 26, 2022. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP)
US President Joe Biden delivers a speech at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland, on March 26, 2022. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP)

WARSAW, Poland — US President Joe Biden portrays Ukraine’s resistance against Russian forces as part of a “great battle for freedom” and says the world should prepare for a “long fight ahead.”

Speaking at Warsaw’s Royal Castle in Warsaw, Biden also says Russia “has strangled democracy and sought to do so elsewhere” and tells Ukraine: “We stand with you. Period.”

Bennett said to bar Gantz from attending Ramallah meeting with Abbas, Jordan’s Abdullah

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Defense Minister Benny Gantz attend the annual ceremony for soldiers whose burial places are unknown, at Mount Herzl national cemetery in Jerusalem, on March 10, 2022. (Alex Kolomoisky/Pool/Flash90)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Defense Minister Benny Gantz attend the annual ceremony for soldiers whose burial places are unknown, at Mount Herzl national cemetery in Jerusalem, on March 10, 2022. (Alex Kolomoisky/Pool/Flash90)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is preventing Defense Minister Benny Gantz from attending an upcoming meeting in Ramallah between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah II, Channel 13 news reports.

According to the network, Gantz was due to take part in this week’s meeting to discuss efforts to prevent an escalation in violence over Ramadan.

However, the network says Bennett put the kibosh on Gantz’s participation, feeling it would distract from the summit in southern Israel between the foreign ministers of Israel, the US, the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, and Egypt, which is set to begin tomorrow.

Bennett and Gantz are reportedly set to meet tomorrow in a bid to clear the air.

Lviv mayor confirms 5 hurt in Russian strike on facility storing fuel

Dark smoke and flames rise from a fire following an air strike in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, on March 26, 2022. (Ronaldo Chemidt and Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP)
Dark smoke and flames rise from a fire following an air strike in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, on March 26, 2022. (Ronaldo Chemidt and Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP)

Lviv mayor Andriy Sadovyi confirms a Russian air assault on the outskirts of his city, which injured 5 and hit an industrial facility that stores fuel. Large black plumes are emanating from the blast site and CNN footage confirms fires are raging, which Sadovyi says is tied to fuel stores.

Sadovyi, writing on his official Telegram account, adds that residential buildings were unaffected and municipal services are still running.

As a result of the shelling, one of the industrial facilities, where fuel is stored, is on fire. Housing infrastructure was not affected.

Blinken heads to Israel for ‘Negev Summit’ with Lapid, FMs of UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Egypt

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken waves as he boards his plane in Warsaw, Poland, on March 26, 2022, en route to Israel. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken waves as he boards his plane in Warsaw, Poland, on March 26, 2022, en route to Israel. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

The US Secretary of State of State departs for a trip to the Middle East that includes stops in Israel, the West Bank, Morocco, and Algeria.

“Looking forward to connecting with old friends and deepening ties as we work to build on our wide-ranging partnerships,” he writes on Twitter.

While in Israel, Blinken will meet with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, and President Isaac Herzog.

“The secretary will underscore the unwavering U.S. commitment to Israel’s security, discuss the challenges posed by Iran, and engage on Israeli-Palestinian issues,” a statement from the State Department says.

The top US diplomat will also take part in the “Negev Summit” with Lapid and their counterparts from the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Bahrain and Egypt.

EU foreign policy chief says new Iran nuke deal coming in ‘a matter of days’

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell attends a plenary session titled 'Transforming for a New Era,' during the Doha Forum in Qatar's capital, on March 26, 2022. (Karim Jaafar/AFP)
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell attends a plenary session titled 'Transforming for a New Era,' during the Doha Forum in Qatar's capital, on March 26, 2022. (Karim Jaafar/AFP)

DOHA, Qatar — EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell says that a new deal on Iran’s nuclear program will be sealed within days.

“We are very close but there are still some issues pending,” Borrell tells reporters on the sidelines of the Doha Forum in Qatar. “I cannot tell you when or how, but it is a matter of days.”

Kremlin: Biden’s remarks on Putin ‘narrow the window’ for improving Russia-US ties

This combination of file photos shows Joe Biden (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Jim Watson and Grigory Dukor/Various Sources/AFP)
This combination of file photos shows Joe Biden (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Jim Watson and Grigory Dukor/Various Sources/AFP)

The Kremlin says US President Joe Biden’s branding of his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin as a “butcher” lowers the chances for an improvement in ties between Moscow and Washington, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Still, a state leader should keep their temper,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov is quoted as saying by the official TASS news agency.

“And, of course, each time such personal insults narrow the window of opportunity for our bilateral relations under the current [US] Administration. It is necessary to be aware of this,” he adds.

5 wounded in strikes on western Ukrainian city of Lviv, says governor

Smoke billows from the Pidzamche neighborhood after explosions were heard in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, on March 26, 2022. (Marion Payet/AFP)
Smoke billows from the Pidzamche neighborhood after explosions were heard in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, on March 26, 2022. (Marion Payet/AFP)

LVIV, Ukraine — At least five people were wounded in two strikes today on the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, the regional governor says, in a rare attack on a city that has escaped serious fighting since Russian troops invaded last month.

“There were two missile strikes within Lviv,” the regional governor Maksym Kozytsky says, adding that “according to preliminary data, five people were injured.”

Plumes of thick smoke could be seen by AFP journalists in the city center.

Iran’s FM: Lifting of US sanctions on Revolutionary Guards a key demand in nuke talks

Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, speaks during a joint press conference with his Lebanese counterpart Abdallah Bouhabib in Beirut, Lebanon, on March 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, speaks during a joint press conference with his Lebanese counterpart Abdallah Bouhabib in Beirut, Lebanon, on March 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

Iran’s foreign minister says the lifting of US sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is one of Tehran’s chief demands in talks on restoring the 2015 deal limiting its nuclear program.

“Certainly the issue of [lifting sanctions against] the Guards is part of the talks,” Hossein Amir-Abdollahian tells Iranian state television, according to Reuters.

He also says the IRGC has said an agreement should not be held up over the issue, while vowing not to cross the Islamic Republic’s “red lines.”

Biden skeptical Russia shifting strategy in Ukraine

WARSAW, Poland — US President Joe Biden casts doubt on signals from Russia that it is planning to focus its war aims in Ukraine only on controlling the eastern Donbas region.

Asked what he thinks about Russia’s change in strategy after meeting refugees in Warsaw, Biden responds: “I am not sure they have.”

Sound of explosions reported in western Ukrainian city of Lviv

Journalists from numerous outlets report hearing the sound of explosions in Lviv, as a plume of smoke is seen outside the western Ukrainian city.

https://twitter.com/JeffSempleGN/status/1507731682262020100

Biden calls Putin ‘a butcher’ while meeting Ukrainian refugees in Warsaw

US President Joe Biden (2nd R) and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (C) greet Ukrainian refugees at PGE Narodowy Stadium in Warsaw, Poland, on March 26, 2022. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP)
US President Joe Biden (2nd R) and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (C) greet Ukrainian refugees at PGE Narodowy Stadium in Warsaw, Poland, on March 26, 2022. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP)

WARSAW, Poland — US President Joe Biden calls his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin a “butcher” while meeting Ukrainian refugees in Warsaw.

Asked what he thinks of Putin after meeting refugees, Biden says: “He’s a butcher.”

Russia denies defense minister had heart attack as he reappears after 2-week absence

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

MOSCOW — Russia’s defense minister reappears on television images broadcast today, after his two-week absence from view prompted questions from journalists.

The defense ministry publishes a video showing Sergei Shoigu, a staunch ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, chairing a meeting on Russia’s defense procurement.

No dates accompany the images on state television, but Shoigu refers to a finance ministry meeting that took place yesterday.

The minister says arms orders and supplies are taking place as planned “despite difficulties we are having today” from the Western sanctions imposed after Putin sent troops to Ukraine on February 24.

Some Russian media reports have speculated that Shoigu could have health problems.

The defense ministry denies reports that Shoigu had suffered a heart attack and was in the hospital.

Writing on messaging app Telegram, the ministry says today that reports saying that Shoigu was recovering at Moscow’s Burdenko military hospital were “obviously fake.”

In early March, Russia imposed prison terms of up to 15 years for publishing “fake” news about the army.

Earlier this week, the Kremlin referred to a conversation between the minister and Putin on the occasion of a report on developments of the “special military operation” at a meeting of the Russian security council, brushing aside speculation about Shoigu’s prolonged absence.

Shoigu had last appeared in public on March 11 despite his leading role in Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine.

Georgian breakaway region says it sent troops to Ukraine to ‘help protect Russia’

Anatoly Bibilov, the leader of Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia arrives for his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on August 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)
Anatoly Bibilov, the leader of Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia arrives for his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on August 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)

MOSCOW — Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia has sent troops to Ukraine to “help protect Russia,” its leader says today, as Moscow’s military campaign in the neighboring country entered its 31st day.

“Our guys are going to fulfill their military duty with a proudly raised banner,” the leader of South Ossetia, Anatoly Bibilov, says on Telegram.

He says the troops are “on fire.”

“They understand perfectly that they are going to defend Russia, they are going to defend Ossetia too,” Bibilov says.

“Because if fascism is not crushed at the distant frontiers, tomorrow it will again manifest itself here.”

He doesn’t say how many troops have been deployed, but posts a video showing several buses and trucks on the move.

The announcement comes on the 31st day of the Kremlin’s military campaign in pro-Western Ukraine, with thousands of people killed and more than 10 million displaced.

In Poland, Biden says US has ‘sacred commitment’ to NATO mutual defense pact

US President Joe Biden (R) and Polish President Andrzej Duda (L) review a military honor guard during an official welcoming ceremony before meeting in Warsaw, Poland, on March 26, 2022. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP)
US President Joe Biden (R) and Polish President Andrzej Duda (L) review a military honor guard during an official welcoming ceremony before meeting in Warsaw, Poland, on March 26, 2022. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP)

WARSAW, Poland — The US has a “sacred commitment” to the NATO military alliance’s collective defense, US President Joe Biden tells his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda during a visit to Warsaw.

“You can count on that… For your freedom and ours,” he tells Duda, who says that Poles are feeling a “great sense of threat” as a result of the conflict in neighboring Ukraine.

British Museum to remove Sackler name from galleries, endowments

The British Museum. (Wikimedia Commons/Eric Pouhier CC BY-SA)
The British Museum. (Wikimedia Commons/Eric Pouhier CC BY-SA)

The British Museum will remove the name of the Sackler family from “galleries, rooms and endowments,” the museum’s chairman announces.

George Osborne says the decision was made in agreement with the Raymond & Beverly Sackler Foundation. The family, which owns Purdue Pharma, has faced criticism over the firm’s role in the US opioid crisis, and other museums and educational institutions have removed the family’s name from buildings and exhibit galleries.

“We’re moving into a new era, presenting our great collection in different ways for new audiences,” Osborne tweets.

Head of Ben-Gurion University says school uncovered Islamist cell operating ‘modesty patrols’

Daniel Chamovitz, President of Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba. (Facebook)
Daniel Chamovitz, President of Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba. (Facebook)

The head of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev says an Islamist cell that operated “modesty patrols” and threatened students has been uncovered at the school in Beersheba.

According to Prof. Daniel Chamovitz, the group was made up of three people who “photographed female Bedouin students and sent the pictures back to their clans if they were not modest enough.”

“How did we discover this? Because they complained,” he says during a cultural event in the southern city. “It’s a complicated situation societally because they can’t complain publicly.”

“Just as there are modesty patrols in Mea Shearim that if there’s a Haredi man or woman not behaving properly, they threaten them,” he says, adding the group also photographed male Bedouin students.

“They threaten to send the photos if they don’t change their behavior.”

Chamovitz says the school “dealt with” the issue, but refuses to say whether the members of the cell still study at the university.

He also says that when the university learned about the cell, “we were startled, Jews and Arabs both.”

EU envoy travels to Tehran in bid to close ‘remaining gaps’ in nuclear talks

Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS) Enrique Mora speaks to journalists after a meeting on the Iran nuclear deal, in Vienna, on December 17, 2021. (Alex Halada/AFP)
Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS) Enrique Mora speaks to journalists after a meeting on the Iran nuclear deal, in Vienna, on December 17, 2021. (Alex Halada/AFP)

TEHRAN, Iran — The European Union’s coordinator for talks to restore the Iran nuclear deal, Enrique Mora, says he’s hoping to close gaps in the negotiations ahead of his expected arrival in Tehran.

Iran has been engaged in negotiations to revive the accord with Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia directly, and the United States indirectly, since April 2021.

The EU diplomat, who coordinates talks between Iran and the US, is due to arrive in Tehran tonight, state news agency IRNA reports. He is scheduled to meet Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri tomorrow.

“Working on closing the remaining gaps in the #ViennaTalks on the #JCPOA,” Mora tweets ahead of his trip. “We must conclude this negotiation. Much is at stake.”

Concerned parties have signaled for weeks that the negotiations are close to an agreement, but that “political decisions” are required from Tehran and Washington.

Western parties have been pushing for the talks to be concluded “urgently” given the accelerated pace of Iran’s nuclear program.

Medvedev says Russia can use nukes even if enemy hasn’t used them first

Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman and the head of the United Russia party Dmitry Medvedev chairs a meeting on saving businesses and jobs in foreign companies via video link at Gorki state residence, outside Moscow, Russia, on March 16, 2022. (Yekaterina Shtukina, Sputnik, Government Pool Photo via AP)
Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman and the head of the United Russia party Dmitry Medvedev chairs a meeting on saving businesses and jobs in foreign companies via video link at Gorki state residence, outside Moscow, Russia, on March 16, 2022. (Yekaterina Shtukina, Sputnik, Government Pool Photo via AP)

Russian ex-president and deputy head of security council Dmitry Medvedev says Moscow can strike an enemy country with nuclear weapons even if it does not use such weapons first.

In an interview, Medvedev lays out Russia’s nuclear doctrine.

“We have a special document on nuclear deterrence. This document clearly indicates the grounds on which the Russian Federation is entitled to use nuclear weapons,” The Guardian quotes him as saying in the interview.

“Number one is the situation when Russia is struck by a nuclear missile. The second case is any use of other nuclear weapons against Russia or its allies. The third is an attack on a critical infrastructure that will have paralyzed our nuclear deterrent forces,” Medvedev says.

“And the fourth case is when an act of aggression is committed against Russia and its allies, which jeopardized the existence of the country itself, even without the use of nuclear weapons, that is, with the use of conventional weapons,” he adds.

These comments prompted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to warn of Russia’s nuclear weapons during a surprise appearance at Qatar’s Doha Forum.

“Russia is deliberating bragging they can destroy with nuclear weapons, not only a certain country, but the entire planet,” Zelensky says.

On February 27, three days after the start of the invasion, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his defense chiefs to put the country’s nuclear forces on high alert in a highly choreographed meeting in front of TV cameras.

Russia has the largest number of nuclear warheads of any country, according to the SIPRI peace research institute in Stockholm, which puts the figure at 6,255.

Ukrainian official says Russians enter town near Chernobyl, seize hospital

LVIV, Ukraine — The governor of the Kyiv region says Russian forces have entered the city of Slavutych and seized a hospital there.

Slavutych is located north of Kyiv and west of Chernihiv, outside the exclusion zone that was established around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant after the 1986 disaster. It is home to workers at the Chernobyl site. Russian troops overran and seized control of the plant on the first day of the invasion into Ukraine on February 24.

Governor Oleksandr Pavlyuk says Russians also kidnapped the city’s mayor, but some media reported later in the day that the mayor was released swiftly. Neither claim could be verified independently.

The governor says residents of Slavutych took to the streets with Ukrainian flags to protest the Russian invasion.

“The Russians opened fire into the air. They threw flash-bang grenades into the crowd. But the residents did not disperse, on the contrary, more of them showed up,” Pavlyuk says.

Biden meets Ukrainian ministers in Warsaw

US President Joe Biden (back 2ndR) together with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (back 3rdR) and US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin (back R) attend a meeting on Russia's war in Ukraine with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba (front 3rdL) and Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov (front 3rdR) in Warsaw on March 26, 2022. (Brendan Smialowski / AFP)
US President Joe Biden (back 2ndR) together with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (back 3rdR) and US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin (back R) attend a meeting on Russia's war in Ukraine with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba (front 3rdL) and Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov (front 3rdR) in Warsaw on March 26, 2022. (Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

WARSAW, Poland — US President Joe Biden is meeting with Ukraine’s foreign and defense ministers at the Marriott Hotel in central Warsaw in his first talks with top Kyiv officials since Russia’s invasion began last month.

During the meeting, Biden is seated at a long white table alongside US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin facing Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov, a White House pool report says.

Holocaust memorial said damaged in Russian strikes near Kharkiv

A Holocaust memorial near the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv has been damaged in alleged Russian bombardments, according to images posted on social media. The information could not be verified immediately.

A giant menorah at the Drobytsky Yar site, where tens of thousands of Jews were killed by the Nazis during the Second World War, has been heavily damaged after Russian artillery shelling hit the area, Israel’s ambassador to Ukraine says, citing local sources.

The United Jewish Community of Ukraine is also reporting on damage caused to the site, blaming Russian artillery shelling.

In the first days of the war, Ukraine reported that the Babyn Yar Holocaust memorial site in Kyiv was hit by Russian airstrikes. However, the bombing was later revealed to have hit nearby buildings, and there was no damage to the monument itself.

Ukraine says 10 humanitarian corridors to operate today

Daryna Kovalenko, 19 , holds her dog Tim, while arriving at Kyiv's train station after leaving her home in Chernihiv, Ukraine, through a humanitarian corridor, Monday, March 21, 2022. (AP/Rodrigo Abd)
Daryna Kovalenko, 19 , holds her dog Tim, while arriving at Kyiv's train station after leaving her home in Chernihiv, Ukraine, through a humanitarian corridor, Monday, March 21, 2022. (AP/Rodrigo Abd)

Ukraine’s deputy prime minister says 10 humanitarian corridors have been agreed for today, the Kyiv Independent reports.

Civilians will be allowed to safely evacuate from four cities in the Kyiv Oblast and six cities in the Luhansk Oblast, the news site says.

The report says those in the besieged port city of Mariupol must make their own way to nearby Zaporizhzhia, because Russian forces are refusing to let buses through.

The mayor of Mariupol says he spoke to France’s ambassador to Ukraine about options for evacuating civilians after French President Emmanuel Macron said he would propose such plans to Russia, Sky News reports.

Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko says in a television address that the situation in the city remained critical, with street fighting taking place in the city center.

Kyiv mayor announces 35-hour curfew in capital starting Saturday evening

A man rides a bicycle as black smoke rises from a fuel storage of the Ukrainian army following a Russian attack, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, March 25, 2022. (AP/Rodrigo Abd)
A man rides a bicycle as black smoke rises from a fuel storage of the Ukrainian army following a Russian attack, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, March 25, 2022. (AP/Rodrigo Abd)

LVIV, Ukraine — Authorities in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, have announced a new 35-hour curfew in the city.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko says the curfew will run from 8 p.m. local time tonight to 7 a.m. on Monday, with local residents allowed to leave their homes only to get to a bomb shelter.

Klitschko says that shops, pharmacies, gas stations, and public transport will not be operating during the curfew.

Ukraine official says army to retake Kherson from Russians today

A Ukrainian official says the country’s military will retake Kherson — the first major city Russia’s troops captured — later today.

Markian Lubkivskyi, an adviser to the Ukrainian defense minister tells the BBC: “I believe that today the city will be fully under the control of Ukrainian armed forces.

“We have finished in the last two days the operation in the Kyiv region so other armed forces are now focused on the southern part trying to get free Kherson and some other Ukrainian cities,” he says, according to Sky News.

Last night, US defense officials said the city in southern Ukraine was once again “contested.”

Egyptian FM said to join upcoming ‘historic’ Abraham Accords summit in Israel

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid chats with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Cairo, on December 9, 2021. (Shlomi Amsalem/GPO)
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid chats with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Cairo, on December 9, 2021. (Shlomi Amsalem/GPO)

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry is expected to attend the “historic” diplomatic summit in Israel on Sunday, joining foreign ministers from the UAE, Bahrain, and Morocco — signatories to the US-brokered Abraham Accords in 2020 — for the two-day event.

Hebrew-language news site Walla reports that sources with knowledge of the preparations surrounding the summit said Shoukry will arrive in Israel on Sunday, joining US Secteray of State Anthony Blinken, the UAE’s Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Bahrain’s Abdullatif bin Rashid Al- Zayani and Morocco’s Nasser Bourita for the gathering.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will be hosting the event on Sunday and Monday. The sources tell Walla efforts are being made to host Jordan’s foreign minister as well.

Israel has made strengthening the Abraham Accords a top priority, scheduling regular diplomatic meetings to member countries.

Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett traveled to the Sinai resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh for the first-ever trilateral summit with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

In address at Doha Forum, Zelensky warns world of Russian nukes

In this image from video provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks to world leaders attending the NATO summit in Brussels from Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 24, 2022. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)
In this image from video provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks to world leaders attending the NATO summit in Brussels from Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 24, 2022. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

DOHA, Qatar — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has made a surprise video appearance at Qatar’s Doha Forum, calling on the energy-rich nation and others to boost their production to counteract the loss of Russian energy supplies.

He called on the United Nations and world powers to come to his aid, as he has in a series of other addresses given around the world since the start of the war on February 24. He compared Russia’s destruction of the port city of Mariupol to the Syrian and Russian destruction wrought on the city of Aleppo in the Syrian war.

“They are destroying our ports,” Zelensky said. “The absence of exports from Ukraine will deal a blow to countries worldwide.”

The loss of Ukrainian wheat already has worried Mideast nations like Egypt, which relies on those exports.

He adds: “The future of Europe rests with your efforts.” He called on countries to increase their exports of energy — something particularly important as Qatar is a world leader in the export of natural gas.

He criticizes Russia for what he described as threatening the world with its nuclear weapons.

“Russia is deliberating bragging they can destroy with nuclear weapons, not only a certain country but the entire planet,” Zelensky says.

He also notes Muslims in Ukraine would have to fight during the upcoming holy fasting month of Ramadan.

“We have to ensure this sacred month of Ramadan is not overshadowed by the misery of people in Ukraine,” he says.

Ukraine says 136 children killed in Russian invasion, 199 wounded

A child walks in front of a damaged school in the city of Zhytomyr, northern Ukraine, on March 23, 2022. (FADEL SENNA / AFP)
A child walks in front of a damaged school in the city of Zhytomyr, northern Ukraine, on March 23, 2022. (FADEL SENNA / AFP)

Ukraine’s prosecutor general office says at least 136 children have been killed since the Russian invasion began a month ago.

In an infographic published by the office on Telegram, it adds that another 199 children have been wounded in Russia’s bombardments.

Breaking down the country’s Oblasts, the office says 64 children have been killed in Kyiv, 50 in Donetsk, and 44 in Kharkiv.

Biden to deliver ‘major’ speech in Poland on support for Ukraine

US President Joe Biden boards Air Force One in Jasionka, southeastern Poland, around 100 kilometres (62 miles) from the border with Ukraine, on March 25, 2022 (Brendan Smialowski / AFP)
US President Joe Biden boards Air Force One in Jasionka, southeastern Poland, around 100 kilometres (62 miles) from the border with Ukraine, on March 25, 2022 (Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

US President Joe Biden is slated to deliver a “major address” later today during his visit to Poland, the White House says.

Biden “will deliver remarks on the united efforts of the free world to support the people of Ukraine, hold Russia accountable for its brutal war and defend a future that is rooted in democratic principles,” the White House says in a statement according to Reuters.

Yesterday, White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters that Biden will “give a major address tomorrow that will speak to the stakes of this moment, the urgency of the challenge that lies ahead, what the conflict in Ukraine means for the world, and why it is so important that the free world sustain unity and resolve in the face of Russian aggression.”

Russian troops ‘reluctant’ to engage in urban warfare due to heavy losses, says UK

A man looks at the gutted remains of Russian military vehicles on a road in the town of Bucha, close to the capital Kyiv, Ukraine, March 1, 2022.  (AP Photo/Serhii Nuzhnenko)
A man looks at the gutted remains of Russian military vehicles on a road in the town of Bucha, close to the capital Kyiv, Ukraine, March 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Serhii Nuzhnenko)

The United Kingdom’s Defense Ministry says Russian troops are “reluctant” to enter and fight in urban areas, and instead rely on continued indiscriminate bombardments.

“Russia continues to besiege a number of major Ukrainian cities including Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Mariupol,” the ministry says in a new intelligence report.

“Russian forces are proving reluctant to engage in large scale urban infantry operations, rather preferring to rely on the indiscriminate use of air and artillery bombardments in an attempt to demoralise defending forces,” it says.

“It is likely Russia will continue to use its heavy firepower on urban areas as it looks to limit its own already considerable losses, at the cost of further civilian casualties,” the report adds.

First ice shelf collapse recorded in previously stable East Antarctica

This satellite image provided by NASA, Aqua MODIS 12 on March 2022  shows the main piece of C-37 close to Bowman Island.  Scientists are concerned because an ice shelf the size of New York City collapsed in East Antarctica, an area that had long been thought to be stable. The collapse last week was the first time scientists have ever seen an ice shelf collapse in this cold area of Antarctica. (NASA via AP)
This satellite image provided by NASA, Aqua MODIS 12 on March 2022 shows the main piece of C-37 close to Bowman Island. Scientists are concerned because an ice shelf the size of New York City collapsed in East Antarctica, an area that had long been thought to be stable. The collapse last week was the first time scientists have ever seen an ice shelf collapse in this cold area of Antarctica. (NASA via AP)

An ice shelf the size of New York City has collapsed in East Antarctica, an area long thought to be stable and not hit much by climate change, concerned scientists say.

The collapse, captured by satellite images, marks the first time in human history that the frigid region had an ice shelf collapse.

It happened at the beginning of a freakish warm spell last week when temperatures soared more than 70 degrees (40 Celsius) warmer than normal in some spots of East Antarctica.

Satellite photos show the area has been shrinking rapidly the last couple of years, and now scientists wonder if they have been overestimating East Antarctica’s stability and resistance to global warming that has been melting ice rapidly on the smaller western side and the vulnerable peninsula.

Saudi-led coalition launches retaliatory strikes on Yemen

Smoke billows from an oil storage facility in Saudi Arabia's Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah on March 25, 2022. (ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP)
Smoke billows from an oil storage facility in Saudi Arabia's Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah on March 25, 2022. (ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP)

The Saudi-led coalition early is launching airstrikes “against sources of threat in Sanaa and Hodeida” following attacks by Yemeni Huthi rebels in the kingdom, the official Saudi news agency SPA tweets.

“The military operation will continue until its objectives are achieved,” the coalition says in a statement quoted by SPA.

The strikes come a day after an attack by Yemeni rebels on an oil facility near Jeddah which set off a huge fire.

New phase of Ukraine war? Russia shifts focus

A plastic skull is displayed at a check point on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, March 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
A plastic skull is displayed at a check point on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, March 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

Russian forces in Ukraine appear to have shifted their focus from a ground offensive aimed at Kyiv to instead prioritizing what Moscow calls the liberation of the contested Donbas region, suggesting a new phase of the war.

It appears too early to know whether this means President Vladimir Putin has scaled back his ambitions in Ukraine, but Russian military moves this week indicate a recognition of the surprisingly stout Ukrainian resistance. Russian-backed separatists have controlled part of the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine since 2014.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy again appeals to Russia to negotiate an end to the war, but he says Ukraine would not agree to give up any of its territory for the sake of peace.

Putin’s forces are under great strain in many parts of the country, and the United States and other countries are accelerating their transfer of arms and supplies to Ukraine. In recent days, US officials have said they see evidence of Ukrainian defenders going on the offensive in a limited way in some areas.

Putting a positive face on it all, the deputy chief of the Russian general staff said his forces had largely achieved the “main objectives” of the first phase of what Moscow calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine.

Zelensky chief of staff calls for massive supply of arms to Ukraine

Ukraine's presidential chief of staff Andriy Yermak speaks at a news conference in Kyiv, Ukraine, Feb. 12, 2020. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)
Ukraine's presidential chief of staff Andriy Yermak speaks at a news conference in Kyiv, Ukraine, Feb. 12, 2020. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s chief of staff is calling on the West to create a new lend-lease program for Ukraine, referring to the World War II effort that sent US supplies to the Soviet Union to help it fight Nazi Germany.

“We need a full lend lease,” Andriy Yermak said in an address late Friday. “Today Ukraine is the holy grail of Europe, and without exaggeration, Ukraine is reviving those principles that gave life to current Western civilization.”

He said what Ukraine needs most is real-time intelligence and heavy weapons.

Yermak also repeats the Ukrainian president’s calls for help in closing the skies over Ukraine to stop Russian bombing and missile attacks. The West has refused to impose a no-fly zone for fear of widening the war.

He said options include supplying Ukraine with air defense systems or fighter jets, or creating an “air police force to protect civilian infrastructure.”

NY state comptroller divesting retirement fund from Russia

Exterior view of the New York state Capitol, Jan. 17, 2021, in Albany, New York (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)
Exterior view of the New York state Capitol, Jan. 17, 2021, in Albany, New York (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

ALBANY, New York — New York state’s public pension fund will be getting rid of any Russian investments, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announces.

DiNapoli had announced a freeze on any new investments and a review of current ones in the days soon after Russia started its invasion of Ukraine, leading to the decision to divest.

“Russia’s unconscionable and immoral invasion has brought devastation and destruction to Ukraine,” DiNapoli says in a statement, adding that the “violent and unpredictable foreign policy” made the country “an unacceptable investment risk.”

The New York State Common Retirement Fund has a value of almost $280 billion, with about an estimated $110 million invested in Russian companies.

Zelensky calls again for peace talks, but says Ukraine won’t give up any territory

In this image from video provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks to the leaders of the European Council during their summit in Brussels from Kyiv, Ukraine, March 24, 2022. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)
In this image from video provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks to the leaders of the European Council during their summit in Brussels from Kyiv, Ukraine, March 24, 2022. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is again appealing to Russia to negotiate an end to the war, but says Ukraine would not agree to give up any of its territories for the sake of peace.

In his nightly video address to the nation Friday, Zelensky appears to be responding to Col. Gen Sergei Rudskoi, deputy chief of the Russian general staff, who said Russian forces would now focus on “the main goal, the liberation of Donbas.”

Russian-backed separatists have controlled part of the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine since 2014, and Russian forces have been battling to seize more of the region from Ukraine, including the besieged city of Mariupol.

Rudskoi’s statement also was a suggestion that Russia may be backing away from trying to take Kyiv and other major cities where its offensive has stalled. Zelenskyy notes that Russian forces have lost thousands of troops but still haven’t been able to take Kyiv or Kharkiv, the second-largest city.

read more:
comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed