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Zelensky lashes Western leaders, says ‘God will not forgive’ Russia for ‘atrocities’

Ukrainian president blames ‘Western politicians’ for inaction after shelling kills fleeing civilians, says ‘we will punish everyone’ who carried out alleged war crimes

  • The dead bodies of people killed by Russian shelling lay covered in the street in the town of Irpin, Ukraine, March 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Diego Herrera Carcedo)
    The dead bodies of people killed by Russian shelling lay covered in the street in the town of Irpin, Ukraine, March 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Diego Herrera Carcedo)
  • Refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine, form a line as they approach the border with Poland in Shehyni, Ukraine, March 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)
    Refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine, form a line as they approach the border with Poland in Shehyni, Ukraine, March 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)
  • A man carries a woman as they cross an improvised path while fleeing the town of Irpin, Ukraine, March 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Oleksandr Ratushniak)
    A man carries a woman as they cross an improvised path while fleeing the town of Irpin, Ukraine, March 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Oleksandr Ratushniak)
  • A coach driver watches as refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine, form a line as they approach the border with Poland in Shehyni, Ukraine, March 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)
    A coach driver watches as refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine, form a line as they approach the border with Poland in Shehyni, Ukraine, March 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)
  • A factory and a store burn after being bombarded in Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, March 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
    A factory and a store burn after being bombarded in Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, March 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
  • Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky in a video address posted to Telegram, on March 6, 2022. (Screenshot)
    Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky in a video address posted to Telegram, on March 6, 2022. (Screenshot)
  • Refugees, mostly women with children, rest inside a tent after arriving at the border crossing, in Medyka, Poland on March 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)
    Refugees, mostly women with children, rest inside a tent after arriving at the border crossing, in Medyka, Poland on March 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)
  • Map of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as of March 6, 2022. (Viewsridge/Wikipedia commons)
    Map of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as of March 6, 2022. (Viewsridge/Wikipedia commons)
  • Ukrainian servicemen help an elderly woman, in the town of Irpin, Ukraine, March 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Andriy Dubchak)
    Ukrainian servicemen help an elderly woman, in the town of Irpin, Ukraine, March 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Andriy Dubchak)
  • A factory and a store are burning after been bombarded in Irpin, in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, March 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
    A factory and a store are burning after been bombarded in Irpin, in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, March 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
  • Ukrainian civilians receive weapons training inside a cinema in Lviv, western Ukraine, March 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
    Ukrainian civilians receive weapons training inside a cinema in Lviv, western Ukraine, March 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
  • Members of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces stand guard next to anti-tank structures blocking the streets of the center of Kyiv on March 6, 2022. (Sergei Supinsky/AFP)
    Members of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces stand guard next to anti-tank structures blocking the streets of the center of Kyiv on March 6, 2022. (Sergei Supinsky/AFP)
  • A Ukrainian woman dressed in military attire prays inside the Saints Peter and Paul Garrison Church in Lviv, western Ukraine, March 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
    A Ukrainian woman dressed in military attire prays inside the Saints Peter and Paul Garrison Church in Lviv, western Ukraine, March 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
  • People wait to board an evacuation train at Kyiv central train station on March 5, 2022. (Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP)
    People wait to board an evacuation train at Kyiv central train station on March 5, 2022. (Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP)

The Times of Israel live blogged Sunday’s events as they unfolded.

US lawmakers seek to restrict trade with Russia; oil price surges; markets plummet

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the House is exploring legislation to further isolate Russia from the global economy, including banning the import of its oil and energy products into the US.

Amid rising gasoline prices in the US, the Biden administration has yet to call for an oil import ban on Russia.

In a letter to Democrats released Sunday night, Pelosi says the legislation under consideration would also repeal normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus and begin the process of denying Russia access to the World Trade Organization.

Pelosi says the House would also empower the Biden administration to raise tariffs on Russian imports.

Congress intends to approve the Biden administration’s request for $10 billion in humanitarian, military and economic support for Ukraine, Pelosi said, as part of omnibus government funding legislation this week.

The price Brent North Sea crude oil, the European benchmark, soars to a near 14-year high of $140 due to the Ukraine war, heading toward the all-time high of $147.50.

The price per barrel of Brent oil has increased 33% since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says that Washington is in “active discussions” with European nations about banning Russian oil imports, although he stopped short of announcing an outright boycott.

Even if oil is technically still exempt from sanctions, Russian oil exporters are struggling to find buyers. Shell is one of the only companies still buying Russian oil, although it says it will donate the profits to Ukrainian causes.

The price of gold rises to more than $2,000 in Asian trade as investors flee to the safe-haven commodity. The price is of gold is at its highest level since September 2020.

As stock markets open after the weekend in Asia, the benchmark Nikkei 225 index in Japan tumbles over three percent.

The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong dives over four percent.

Futures for the US benchmark S&P are down over 1.5%.

Two of the world’s “Big Four” international accounting firms pull out of Russia.

KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers both say they will end their relationships with their Russia-based member firms. KPMG said it is also pulling out of Belarus.

KPMG International says in a statement it will be “incredibly difficult” to have its Russia and Belarus firms leave the network. KPMG has more than 4,500 employees in the two countries.

PricewaterhouseCoopers says it has 3,700 employees at its PwC Russia firm and is working on an “orderly transition” for the business.

The two other Big Four companies – Deloitte and Ernst & Young – didn’t immediately return Associated Press requests for comment.

Ukraine says 20,000 volunteers from 52 countries sign up to fight

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says more than 20,000 people from 52 countries have already volunteered to fight in Ukraine, where they will serve in a newly created international legion. He does not say how many of the foreign volunteers have arrived in Ukraine.

“The whole world today is on Ukraine’s side not only in words but in deeds,” Kuleba says on Ukrainian television Sunday night.

He did not name the home countries of the volunteers, saying that some of them forbid their citizens from fighting for other countries.

Kuleba also urges Ukrainians living in other countries to begin a campaign to push for Ukraine’s membership in the European Union.

Sports world turns blue and yellow in support of Ukraine

Players draped in Ukraine flags, pledges of aid and placards demanding “No War” and “United in Peace,” as international sport turns blue and yellow in support of Ukraine.

Tennis star Novak Djokovic pledges financial support to Ukrainian tennis player Sergiy Stakhovsky, who has joined the fight to protect his country from the Russian invasion.

Stakhovsky, who famously beat Roger Federer at Wimbledon in 2013, last week said he had signed up for Ukraine’s military reserves

Ukrainian tennis player Dayana Yastremska falls agonizingly short of a dream WTA title in Lyon, a week after escaping Russian bomb attacks on her home city of Odessa, but pledges to donate her prize money to support her besieged compatriots.

World number 140 Yastremska, who draped the Ukraine flag around her shoulders at every match , went down 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to 64th-ranked Zhang Shuai of China in today’s final.

Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska at a competition in Lyon, France on March 5, 2022. (Olivier Chassignole/AFP)

“The prize money I earn here, I’m going to give to the Ukrainian Foundation to support Ukraine,” the tearful 21-year-old tells the crowd. “I tried to fight for Ukraine.”

The MotoGP racing championship displays the words “United for peace” during its television broadcasts at the opening race of the season in Qatar.

Several riders also wore a “Give peace a chance” sticker on their helmets.

The Manchester City soccer team, which has three Ukrainian players in its squad, sports white T-shirts with the Ukrainian flag and the slogan “No War.” The same message also appears on the black T-shirts worn by United players during the minute of applause.

In Spain, Real Madrid soccer displays a Ukrainian flag with the message “All with Ukraine” at their Santiago-Bernabeu stadium before their match against Real Sociedad.

Several soccer clubs announc that they have made donations to charitable groups. Bayern Munich donates 100,000 euros to SOS-Children’s Village in Ukraine.

In the American NHL hockey league, the Seattle Kraken franchise invites Ukrainian singer Roman Vashchuk to perform his country’s anthem before the game against Nashville, receiving a long ovation.

Two of the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms leave Russia

Two of the so-called Big Four accounting firms are pulling out of Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers both say they will end their relationships with their Russia-based member firms. KPMG said it was also pulling out of Belarus.

KPMG International says in a statement it will be “incredibly difficult” to have its Russia and Belarus firms leave the network. KPMG has more than 4,500 employees in the two countries.

PricewaterhouseCoopers says it has 3,700 employees at its PwC Russia firm and is working on an “orderly transition” for the business.

The two other Big Four companies – Deloitte and Ernst & Young – didn’t immediately return Associated Press requests for comment.

US says 95% of Russia’s amassed forces are now inside Ukraine

A senior US defense official says around 95% of Russia’s combat power that it amassed ahead of the invasion is now inside Ukraine.

Russia has fired around 600 missiles into Ukraine, the official says, according to CNN.

The US is monitoring fighting in the cities of Kherson and Mykolaiv, and Russia is attempting to encircle several other cities, including Kyiv. Ukraine and Russia both have most of their air power still intact and Kyiv’s skies are still contested, the official says.

UK releases $100 million more in aid for Ukraine

Britain is releasing another $100 million to help Ukraine, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces.

He also promises fresh efforts to rally international opinion against Russia’s invasion.

The $100 million, to be provided via the World Bank, is in addition to the £220 million ($290 million) of overall aid support to Ukraine, says a statement from Johnson’s office.

The new funding will go toward keeping key state functions operating, it says.

“While only Putin can fully end the suffering in Ukraine, today’s new funding will continue to help those facing the deteriorating humanitarian situation,” Johnson says.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks from 10 Downing Street, in London, on February 24, 2022 during an address to the nation on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (Jeff J Mitchell/Pool/AFP)

Tomorrow Johnson will receive the Dutch and Canadian prime ministers and they will visit a Royal Air Force base before holding a joint news conference.

On Tuesday, Johnson will meet the leaders of Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The meetings are part of a six-point plan that Johnson’s office unveiled on Saturday designed to ensure Russia’s invasion of Ukraine fails.

‘Catastrophic’: Russia intensifies shelling attacks on cities, Ukraine says

Russian forces step up shelling of Ukrainian cities in the center, north and south of the country, Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovich says.

“The latest wave of missile strikes came as darkness fell,” he says on Ukrainian television.

He says the areas that came under heavy shelling include the outskirts of Kyiv, Chernihiv in the north, Mykolaiv in the south, and Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city.

Kharkiv officials say the shelling damaged a television tower and heavy artillery is hitting residential areas.

In Chernihiv officials say all regions of the city are coming under missile attack.

Arestovich describes a “catastrophic” situation in the Kyiv suburbs of Bucha, Hostomel and Irpin, where efforts to evacuate residents today failed. He says the government is doing all it can to resume evacuations.

Evacuations also fail in Mariupol in the south and Volnovakha in the east because of the shelling.

Zelensky says ‘we will not forgive’ after Russians kill fleeing civilians

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky lashes Western leaders after shelling killed Ukrainian civilians fleeing violence, and Russia said it will bomb Ukrainian defense industry facilities, some of which are based in cities.

“It’s murder, simply murder. And I didn’t see any world leader react to it today, any Western politician,” Zelensky says in a video posted to his Facebook page.

“The audacity of the aggressor is a clear signal for the West that the imposed sanctions aren’t enough,” he says.

He calls for organizing a “tribunal” to bring to justice those who order and carry out such crimes.

“Today, a family of four, parents and two children, were killed in Irpin as they were trying to leave the city.

Today is Forgiveness Sunday. But we will not forgive hundreds and hundreds of victims. Thousands and thousands of…

Posted by Володимир Зеленський on Sunday, March 6, 2022

“We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will punish everyone who committed atrocities in this war.”

“We will find every scum who was shelling our cities, our people, who was shooting the missiles, who was giving orders. You will not have a quiet place on this earth – except for a grave.”

“God will not forgive. Not today. Not tomorrow. Never. And instead of Forgiveness, there will be Judgment.”

The Russian Defense Ministry said earlier today that its forces intend to strike Ukraine’s military-industrial complex with what it said were precision weapons.

“We urge all personnel of Ukrainian defense industry plants… to leave the territory of their enterprises,” Russian ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov says in a statement carried by the state news agency Tass.

‘Russians, go home!’ Pro-Ukraine protests sweep Europe

Thousands of demonstrators take to the streets in cities across Europe for the second weekend running to protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Rallies are again organized across the continent following demonstrations on Saturday to denounce Russia’s actions and demand an end to the conflict.

In Brussels, police say around 5,000 people took part in a rally marked by a sea of Ukrainian flags and chants of “Russians, go home,” “No to war” and “Europe, be brave, act now!”

Protesters in the French city of Toulouse — which is twinned with Ukraine’s capital Kyiv — assemble behind a large yellow and blue banner, holding portraits showing a bloodstained Putin and labelling him an assassin.

Cries of “close the airspace” and “Let’s protect Ukraine’s sky” resound through the city, a reference to Kyiv’s demand that NATO establish a no-fly zone to prevent Russian aircraft contributing to Moscow’s onslaught.

Around 5,000 people also gather in the northern city of Caen by a memorial commemorating the 1944 D-Day landings, a key turning point in the battle against Nazi Germany in World War II.

A woman holds a placard depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin during an anti-war demonstration in Amsterdam, on March 6, 2022. (Ramon van Flymen/ANP/AFP)

In Spain, protests unfold in the capital Madrid, Barcelona and other cities across the country.

Authorities say about 800 people congregate in Barcelona’s central square with banners saying “Close the sky, not your eyes,” “NATO, protect Ukraine’s sky” and “Stop Putin, stop the war.”

Thousands of Russians defy the authorities and around 2,500 are detained for protesting against the war.

A police spokeswoman says 1,700 people were arrested in Moscow after around 2,500 took part in an “unsanctioned protest,” while 750 were detained at a smaller rally of around 1,500 people in the second-largest city, Saint Petersburg, Russian news agencies reported.

Gatherings are also reported in Britain, Germany, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Belgrade and Montenegro.

Thousands of protesters descended on the streets of cities across the world, including in Paris, New York, Rome and Zurich, on Saturday to demand an end to the conflict.

Netflix suspends service in Russia

Netflix says that it is suspending its service in Russia.

A statement from the company cites “circumstances on the ground” for its decision to suspend its Russian service, and did not offer any additional details.

Palestinians in Bethlehem hold small rally in support of Russia

Around 20 Palestinians participate in a small pro-Russia rally in Bethlehem in the West Bank.

Both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, the two main Palestinian factions, have avoided taking a stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Many Palestinians sympathize with Ukrainians and argue that there are parallels between Russia’s conquest of Ukraine and Israeli rule.

But historic ties bind other Palestinians with Moscow. Many studied in the former Soviet Union, which also provided aid and comfort for years to the Palestine Liberation Organization.

IDF intercepted drones carrying arms destined for Gaza — reports

IDF permits Hebrew-language media to publish that it downed several Iranian drones heading for the Gaza Strip last year.

Two were intercepted by F-35 jets, and a third using electronic warfare, far from the Israeli borders, the reports say.

It is said to be the first time F-35 jets have been used to take down a drone.

According to the reports, the drones were carrying firearms destined for terror groups in Gaza.

Troops kill Palestinian hurling firebombs at military post in West Bank, IDF says

The Israel Defense Forces says troops shot and killed a Palestinian who allegedly hurled Molotov cocktails at a military post near the West Bank town of Abu Dis, near Jerusalem.

According to the IDF, troops identified two suspects hurling firebombs in the area, and opened fire.

The second suspect fled the scene, the IDF says.

Foreign Ministry establishes donation center to coordinate aid for Ukrainians

The Foreign Ministry establishes a donation center with the goal of centralizing and coordinating humanitarian aid initiatives and donations by Israelis to Ukrainians.

Dubbed “Matat,” the initiative will be headed by former ambassador to Czechia Daniel Meron, the ministry says.

Dozens of Israeli companies, organizations, and private individuals are currently working to transfer humanitarian aid to Ukraine, the ministry says, adding that Matat was established after “many” more inquiries were made about helping refugees fleeing the war-torn country.

TikTok suspends service in Russia over ‘fake news’ law

The TikTok video-sharing app says it is suspending livestreaming and the ability to post new content on its platform in Russia over a new law that imposes harsh jail terms for publishing “fake news” about the army.

“In light of Russia’s new ‘fake news’ law, we have no choice but to suspend livestreaming and new content to our video service in Russia while we review the safety implications of this law,” TikTok says in a statement.

“Our in-app messaging service will not be affected. We will continue to evaluate the evolving circumstances in Russia to determine when we might fully resume our services with safety as our top priority,” it adds.

Russia interfering with nuclear plant operations, IAEA says

VIENNA, Austria — The International Atomic Energy Agency says Russian forces are tightening their grip on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, Ukraine’s largest, that they seized last week.

The director-general of the agency, Rafael Grossi, says Ukrainian staff members are now required to seek approval for any operation, even maintenance, from the Russians, and that they have impeded normal communications by switching off some mobile networks and internet at the site.

Ukraine’s regulatory authority said that phone lines, as well as emails and fax lines, are no longer working.

Grossi says he is “extremely concerned about these developments,” adding that for the plant to operate safely, “staff must be allowed to carry out their vital duties in stable conditions, without undue external interference or pressure.”

Putin won’t end assault until Ukraine demilitarizes, source close to Bennett says

Russian President Vladimir Putin is unwilling to end hostilities until Ukraine demilitarizes, sources involved in Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s Saturday meeting in Moscow tell Channel 12 news.

The network says Russia’s position is: “until dialogue, hostilities [will continue].”

Sources close to Bennett tell Channel 12 that the US encouraged him to meet Putin, and it seeks to take advantage of Israel’s good relations with both sides to end the fighting.

Russia has also conveyed via diplomatic channels that it is deliberately not directly targeting Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, even though Russia knows where he is, the network reports.

According to a separate report on Channel 13 news, Bennett has told ministers that he did not present an Israeli mediation plan, but rather is conveying messages between the sides.

The network, citing Bennett’s office, says the effort is being led by the prime minister and Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Bennett met Scholz yesterday in Berlin after his meeting with Putin.

According to Channel 13, Bennett is said to say Putin is “not conspiracy theorizing or irrational, or suffering from rage attacks.”

The Prime Minister’s Office declines to answer why there was no photo of the two on Saturday. The network says Bennett did not want a picture taken on the Jewish day of rest, but it speculates that it may be due to the optics of being photographed with the man who is carrying out the invasion of Ukraine.

American Express is latest credit card service to end operations in Russia, Belarus

American Express is suspending all operations in Russia and Belarus over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, the company says in a statement.

American Express says globally issued cards will no longer work at merchants or ATMs in Russia, while cards issued locally by Russian banks will no longer work outside the country.

The company says it is also ending all business operations in Belarus.

“One of our company values is to “Do What Is Right.” This principle has guided us throughout this difficult crisis and will continue to do so, as we stand by our colleagues, customers, and the international community in hoping for a peaceful resolution to this crisis,” the statement says.

Visa and Mastercard also suspended operations in both countries last week.

Ukraine prime minister demands West suspend Russia and Belarus from IMF, World Bank

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal says he has appealed to several Western countries to suspend Russia’s and Belarus’ International Monetary Fund and World Bank memberships, over the invasion of Ukraine.

“These countries violated their commitments and turned their policies to war. Let’s stop them together!” Shmyhal writes on Twitter.

Belarus has been used as a staging ground for Russia’s invasion. However, it remains unclear if Belarusian troops have directly participated in the attacks.

India’s envoy to Ramallah dies at embassy

Indian envoy to the Palestinian Authority Mukul Arya passes away at the embassy in Ramallah, officials say.

The PA’s Foreign Ministry announces the death in a statement, offering condolences to the family and their Indian counterparts.

India’s minister of external affairs says he is “deeply shocked” by the news.

“He was a bright and talented officer with so much before him. My heart goes out to his family and loved ones,” Subrahmanyam Jaishankar writes on Twitter.

Bennett’s office confirms phone calls with Putin, Macron, Scholz

The Prime Minister’s Office confirms that PM Naftali Bennett spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this evening, after their Saturday meeting in Moscow.

Bennett also spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz today, his office adds.

Lapid to fly to Latvia tomorrow for meeting with Blinken

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid is heading to the capital of Latvia tomorrow for a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, his office says.

The two are expected to meet in Riga tomorrow afternoon.

Bennett and Putin hold call after Saturday meeting in Moscow — Kremlin

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold a phone call this evening which focuses on the war in Ukraine, the Kremlin says in a statement carried by Russian news agencies.

Putin and Bennett agree to stay in touch, Russian news agency TASS says.

There is no immediate comment from Bennett’s office on the call.

Bennett met Putin in Moscow yesterday.

Bennett also spoke today with President Macron, sources involved in the matter tell The Times of Israel.

Blinken says NATO members have ‘green light’ to send fighter jets to Ukraine

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says NATO members can send fighter jets to Ukraine, and the US will assist those countries in replacing the aircraft they would be missing as a result.

Blinken is asked if Poland, a NATO member, is allowed to send fighter jets to Ukraine.

“That gets a green light, in fact, we’re talking with our Polish friends right now about what we might be able to do to backfill their needs if in fact they choose to provide these fighter jets to Ukraine,” President Joe Biden’s top diplomat tells CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

13 Syrian soldiers dead in attack on military bus, state media says

Thirteen soldiers die in an attack on a military bus in the Syrian desert, state news agency SANA says, with a war monitor blaming the Islamic State group.

A “terrorist attack” with multiple weapons this afternoon targeted the bus, “killing 13, including officers, and wounding 18 others,” SANA reports.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based war monitor with an extensive network of sources across the country, says an Islamic State group cell carried out the attack in the Palmyra desert.

Russia warns Ukraine’s neighboring countries against hosting warplanes for Kyiv

The Russian military has warned Ukraine’s neighboring countries not to host its warplanes, saying Moscow may consider them a part of the conflict if Ukrainian aircraft fly combat missions from their territory.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov charges that some Ukrainian combat planes had redeployed to Romania and other Ukraine neighbors he didn’t identify.

Konashenkov warns that if those warplanes attack the Russian forces from the territory of those nations, it “could be considered as those countries’ engagement in the military conflict.”

Interior minister says 15,000 Ukrainian refugees expected in Israel by month’s end

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked says 15,000 Ukrainian refugees are expected in Israel by the end of this month.

“Since the outbreak of the war, 2,034 Ukrainian nationals have entered Israel. We are on an upward trend. In the first days of the war, there were dozens of Ukrainians who came to Israel,” she says.

“But if we look at the past three days: On Wednesday, 351 Ukrainian nationals entered Israel. On Thursday, there were 521. Over the weekend, 605 Ukrainians entered the country,” Shaked says.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, center, welcomes a group of orphans from the Alumim orphanage in the Ukrainian city of Zhytomyr, on arrival to Israel at Ben Gurion Airport, March 6, 2022.(Maya Alleruzzo/AP)

“According to this data and the rate of increase, we are en route to 15,000 Ukrainians by the end of the month, 90% of whom are not eligible [for Israeli citizenship] under the Law of Return,” she adds.

Shaked says she intends to formulate a clear policy on the matter.

“It appears that the State of Israel is the Western country without a land border with Ukraine that has absorbed the most Ukrainians per capita since the outbreak of fighting,” Shaked adds.

Russia warns it will strike Ukraine defense industry sites — state media

Russia’s Defense Ministry warns it will be conducting “long-range high-precision” strikes on Ukrainian defense production enterprises in the country.

Moscow’s army spokesman Igor Konashenkov says the strikes are to be part of “demilitarizing Ukraine,” according to state news agency RIA-Novosti.

Konashenkov calls on Ukrainians to avoid such sites ahead of the planned strikes.

Putin to Macron: Russia will achieve aims through ‘negotiation or war’

PARIS — Russian President Vladimir Putin tells his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron that Moscow plans to achieve its aims in Ukraine either through diplomacy or military means, the Elysee says.

Russia would reach its objectives in Ukraine “either through negotiation or through war,” Putin tells Macron according to a French presidential official.

The official adds that the Russian president also pledged “it was not his intention” to attack Ukrainian nuclear sites.

Europe’s largest atomic power plant was attacked and seized by invading Russian forces on Friday.

Ukraine has four nuclear plants with a total of 15 reactors.

EU leader says closing Ukraine airspace could spark world war

PARIS — European Union leader Charles Michel says closing Ukraine’s airspace could spark a world war.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly called on NATO countries to stop the Russian onslaught on his country by imposing a no-fly zone.

Western leaders have refused for fear of triggering a wider war in Europe. Deploying fighter jets over Ukraine could “in current circumstances” be considered as “NATO’s entry into the war and therefore risk World War III,” Michel says in an interview with the public broadcaster France Inter.

Michel denies economic sanctions against Russia constitute “a war of the EU or NATO against Russia.” Russian President Vladimir Putin has linked the West’s economic punishment for his invasion of Ukraine to “declaring war” on Moscow.

Michel says European and American allies imposed sanctions “to create pressure and hurt the (Russian) regime,” not the people.

Police deploy water cannon at ultra-Orthodox anti-draft protest in Jerusalem

Police in Jerusalem are using water cannons to disperse ultra-Orthodox Israelis protesting against the arrest of an IDF draft-dodger, footage shows.

In a statement, police say hundreds gathered in the city center and are blocking the Jerusalem light rail and cars on the road.

“Police forces are working in the area to maintain public order and direct traffic,” it says.

Four demonstrators have been detained, police add.

Putin blames Kyiv for failed civilian evacuations from Mariupol

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin in a telephone call with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron blames Kyiv for failed civilian evacuations from the key Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, which is surrounded by Russian troops, the Kremlin says.

Putin “drew attention to the fact that Kyiv still does not fulfill agreements reached on this acute humanitarian issue,” according to a statement from the Kremlin, after two agreements to evacuate Mariupol fell though following allegations of ceasefire breaches.

Footage said to show Russia firing at Ukrainian civilians fleeing Irpin; 3 killed

Footage posted online is said to show Russian mortar fire hitting a civilian evacuation route from the city of Irpin.

According to the New York Times, the shells first fell about 100 meters away from a bridge used by civilians to flee the city near the Ukrainian capital.

One shell lands on a street where the civilians are fleeing, leaving a family — a mother, a father, a teenage son, and a daughter who appeared about 8 years old — sprawled on the ground, the newspaper says.

The mother and children were killed, while the father was severely hurt.

Warning: graphic content

Blinken says ‘very credible’ reports of Russian war crimes in Ukraine

Washington has seen “very credible reports” that Russia has committed war crimes during its invasion of Ukraine, particularly in attacking civilians, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says.

“We’ve seen very credible reports of deliberate attacks on civilians, which would constitute a war crime,” President Joe Biden’s top diplomat tells CNN talk show “State of the Union.”

Israeli flag maker who employs refugees reports increase in orders for Ukraine flags

An Israeli flag maker says he has received hundreds of orders for Ukrainian flags in recent days, while employing Ukrainian women who fled the war.

“Women who left behind their husbands… they are all contributing to the struggle. They say it also raises morale,” Avi Marom who runs the workshop tells Channel 12 news.

Marom says all sizes of flags are being produced, mainly for Israelis wanting to express solidarity with Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion.

Ukraine’s ambassador to Israel, Yevgen Korniychuk, Ukrainian citizens and supporters attend a special prayer for the Ukrainian people organized by businessman Arie Schwartz, at the Western Wall, in Jerusalem’s Old City on March 2, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Zelensky renews demand for no-fly zone: ‘If you don’t, you want us to be killed very slowly’

Zelensky renews his demand for Western powers to enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine to prevent Russian attacks.

“We repeat every day: close the sky over Ukraine. Close for all Russian missiles, for Russian combat aircraft, for all their terrorists,” he says.

“If you don’t, if you don’t give us at least planes so we can protect ourselves, there’s only one thing to conclude: you want us to be killed very slowly.”

UN says 364 civilian deaths in Ukraine confirmed so far

BERLIN — The UN human rights office says it has confirmed the deaths of 364 civilians in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on February 24.

The Geneva-based office said that another 759 civilians had been injured as of midnight Saturday.

The rights office uses strict methodology and only reports casualties it has confirmed.

It says it believes the real figures are considerably higher, “especially in government-controlled territory and especially in recent days.” That’s because the flow of information has been delayed amid the fighting and many reports still need to be corroborated.

Ukrainian officials have presented far higher numbers.

Israeli man killed in Ukraine laid to rest in Arad

Roman Brodsky, an Israeli man who was killed by Ukrainian troops due to apparent mistaken identity, is buried in the southern city of Arad.

His body was brought back to Israel on Friday.

“My dear child, my son, you were everything, my pride, my glory. Until now my heart refuses to believe I will not hear your voice, I will not see your eyes. We talked the day before, if only I had known it was the last day, the last moment,” Brodsky’s father Yafim says, according to Ynet.

The Foreign Ministry said Brodsky was part of a convoy of vehicles traveling to the Moldovan border to leave the country. He and his partner were intending to then fly to Israel.

Brodsky came to Israel at age 13 with his family. He lived in the country for around 27 years and had two small children. He returned to Ukraine about 2 years ago to start a business in Kyiv.

The Zaka rescue service gave his age as 37, though some Israeli news outlets identified him as 41 or 42 years old.

Jewish orphans who fled Ukraine greeted by Bennett, ministers at airport

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and other government ministers are on hand at Ben Gurion Airport to greet a group of around 100 Jewish orphans fleeing Ukraine after Russia invaded.

El Al, Israel’s largest airline, says the flight is part of a special operation to rescue some 300 Jews from the fighting in Ukraine.

The airline says Ukrainian-speaking staff were on board the flight to assist. Some of the orphans have family members who are still in fighting areas, it adds.

Ukraine says second evacuation attempt from Mariupol halted, blames Russian shelling

LVIV, Ukraine — A Ukrainian official says a second attempt to evacuate civilians from a southern city under siege for a week has failed due to continued Russian shelling.

Evacuations from the port city of Mariupol were scheduled to begin at noon local time during a 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. local ceasefire, Ukrainian military authorities said earlier today.

Interior Ministry adviser Anton Gerashchenko says the planned evacuations along designated corridors were halted because of an ongoing assault.

“There can be no ‘green corridors’ because only the sick brain of the Russians decides when to start shooting and at whom,“ he says on Telegram.

A similar ceasefire planned for Mariupol and the nearby city of Volnovakha collapsed yesterday, trapping residents under more shelling and aerial bombardment by Russian forces.

Airport in central Ukraine ‘completely destroyed’ by Russian missiles, says Zelensky

KYIV, Ukraine — A barrage of Russian missiles destroyed the airport in Vinnytsia in central Ukraine today, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says.

“I have just been informed about a missile strike on Vinnytsia. Eight rockets… The airport was completely destroyed,” he says.

Poland says over 922,000 refugees have arrived during Ukraine war

WARSAW, Poland — Poland’s border guard agency says that over 922,000 refugees have crossed the border from Ukraine since February 24, when Russia launched its invasion.

The agency says on Twitter that a record one-day number of over 129,000 crossed into Poland yesterday, and almost 40,000 between midnight and 7 a.m. today.

A nation of some 38 million people, Poland is receiving the largest number of refugees among Ukraine’s neighbors. Some who entered Poland have continued on to other countries.

The head of the United Nations’ refugee agency said today that more than 1.5 million refugees have crossed from Ukraine into neighboring countries since Russia invaded.

Ministers debate Israel’s policy on Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russian invasion

At the weekly cabinet meeting, government ministers argue over Israel’s policy on allowing in refugees fleeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Immigration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata and Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai call for an end to the requirement that some refugees to pay a NIS 10,000 deposit, a policy that Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli criticizes as “irrational,” according to Army Radio.

Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar appears to defend Israel’s approach so far toward Ukrainian refugees.

“It is our role to first absorb all Jewish refugees,” he is quoted as saying.

Turkey’s Erdogan urges ‘general ceasefire’ in call with Putin

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appealed for an urgent general ceasefire in Ukraine when he spoke today with Russian leader Vladimir Putin by telephone, Erdogan’s office says.

The two heads of state spoke several days ahead of a diplomatic forum in the southern city of Antalya on March 11-13 that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is due to attend.

Pope decries ‘rivers of blood’ in Ukraine, demands humanitarian corridors

VATICAN CITY, Holy See — Pope Francis deplores what he terms the “rivers of blood and tears” flowing in Ukraine following the Russian invasion and demands the creation of humanitarian corridors for refugees.

“Rivers of blood and tears are flowing in Ukraine. This is not just a military operation but a war which is sowing death, destruction and misery,” says the pontiff.

Over 1,100 arrested across Russia in protests against Ukraine war — monitor

MOSCOW — More than 1,100 people in cities across Russia have been detained at protests today against Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, a protest monitor says, more than one week after the assault began.

The OVD-Info group said that by around 2:20 p.m. Moscow time, 1,103 people had been detained across 35 cities, bringing the total number of demonstrators detained to 9,472 since February 24, when President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into Ukraine to carry out a “special operation.”

Education Ministry readying for expected arrival of 2,000 Ukrainian schoolkids

The Education Ministry says it’s readying to absorb 2,000 Ukrainian schoolchildren fleeing Russia’s invasion who are due to arrive in Israel over the coming days.

The ministry says Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton ordered plans be drawn up for integrating the students and their parents into the educational system and community.

Blinken: US ‘working actively’ on deal to supply Ukraine with Polish fighter jets

CHISINAU, Moldova — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the United States is “working actively” on a deal with Poland to supply Ukraine with jets.

“Can’t speak to a timeline but I can just say we’re looking at it very, very actively,” he tells reporters during a visit to Moldova.

Blinken says the US is “in very active conversation with Ukrainian officials… to get an up-to-the-minute assessment of their needs.”

“As we get that assessment, we are working on seeing what we and allies and partners can deliver” to bolster Kyiv’s defenses against the Russian invasion, he says.

“We are looking actively now at the question of airplanes that Poland may provide to Ukraine and looking at how we might be able to backfill should Poland decide to supply those planes.”

Multiple US news outlets reported yesterday that US officials told them of the possible deal, in which Poland would send Soviet-era aircraft to Ukraine in return for American F-16 fighter jets.

Foreign Ministry believes 2,000 Israelis still in Ukraine

The Foreign Ministry says it believes there are still around 2,000 Israelis still in Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion of the country.

According to the ministry, some 10,200 Israelis have left Ukraine in the past three weeks, including 5,700 since the war began.

The ministry says that at a meeting today, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid ordered Israel to continue providing aid as needed, including by sending six large generators to help power the hospital in Ukraine’s western city of Lviv.

Ukraine warns Russia readying to shell Odesa

KYIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warns that Russian forces are preparing to shell Odesa, a historic port city on the Black Sea coast.

“This is going to be a military crime. This is going to be a historical crime,” he declares.

Russian forces have made progress in southern Ukraine since their February 24 invasion, overrunning the city of Kherson and besieging the port of Mariupol, but Odessa has so far been largely spared.

Ukraine’s Zelensky thanks Israel for support, doesn’t mention Bennett’s meeting with Putin

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanks Israel for its support in a televised address but does not mention Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s trip to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“I am grateful to Israel for their support for Ukraine,” Zelensky says, according to a translation by Sky News. “We need the support of all countries and we were talking about the support we need now and how we are going to cooperate in the future after the war.”

Zelensky says he spoke yesterday with US President Joe Biden and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“Every evening I speak to the leaders of international organizations in different countries,” he says. “These conversations help our confidence.”

Immigration minister predicts tens of thousands of arrivals within months

Immigration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata say she expects tens of thousands of people to immigrate to Israel in the coming months in light of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The Jewish Agency, which facilitates immigration to Israel, says it has already received thousands of immigration requests from Ukraine over the past week and a half, since the start of the Russian offensive, far more than they normally receive over the course of an entire year. Israeli officials have predicted a similar jump in immigration from Russia.

“We are trying to offer the best possible conditions to Jews and those eligible [to immigrate] under the Law of Return. We are not asking them to come with visas [even],” she says, entering the cabinet meeting.

“The main, massive absorption [of the immigrants] will be for the long term, and we are working on this now. I expect tens of thousands of Jews to arrive in Israel in the coming months,” she says.

4 Palestinians to be charged for firebombing Jewish home in Sheikh Jarrah

Police say four Palestinians from East Jerusalem will be charged over the firebombing of a Jewish home in Sheikh Jarrah last month.

The suspects were arrested in days following the attack on Tal Yushuvayev’s home, which sparked clashes in the flashpoint neighborhood after far-right MK Itamar Ben Gvir opened a makeshift office at the scene.

No injuries were reported in the fire. However, the house was badly damaged and police said an officer was lightly hurt from smoke inhalation after entering the home.

Police accuse some of the suspects of also participating in riots.

The suspects’ remand is extended until tomorrow, when an official indictment is expected to be filed.

Bennett: Israel has ‘moral duty’ to mediate between Kyiv, Moscow even if chances are low

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett says he flew to Moscow and Germany for talks with the countries’ leaders “to help with the dialogue between all the sides” amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting, Bennett says he traveled “with the blessing and encouragement of all the players,” in apparent reference to the United States.

“As we all know, the situation on the ground isn’t good. The human suffering is great and is liable to be even greater, if things continue on the current track,” he says. “There are also Israelis who need to return home and Jewish communities in distress that need help.”

“Naturally, I cannot expand further. We will continue to help as requested.”

The premier says that even if there is a only small chance his mediation efforts will succeed, it is Israel’s “moral duty” to try.

“Even if the chance isn’t great, when there is even a little opening and we have access to all sides and the ability, I see this as our moral duty to make every effort,” he says.

“As long as the candle is burning, we must make every effort,” Bennett adds.

The prime minister says Israel is gearing up for a “significant wave” of immigration due to the war in Ukraine, which he calls a “challenge” for the country.

“But this is a challenge we have met in the past, time after time, ” he says.

Bennett also addresses the Iran nuclear talks in Vienna, hailing the UN atomic watchdog for not agreeing to close its investigations into suspected nuclear weapons work by Tehran.

“Our position on the deal is known — the disadvantages of the agreement outweigh the advantages. In any case, the deal does not obligate the State of Israel in any way,” he says.

UN says over 1.5 million refugees have fled Ukraine in past 10 days

GENEVA — The number of people fleeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has topped 1.5 million, making it Europe’s “fastest growing refugee crisis” since World War II, the United Nations says.

“More than 1.5 million refugees from Ukraine have crossed into neighboring countries in 10 days —- the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II,” it says in a statement on Twitter.

Russian-backed separatists says evacuation corridors for 2 Ukrainian cities to reopen

LVIV, Ukraine — Russian forces will observe a temporary ceasefire in two Ukrainian cities, an official in one of the country’s two pro-Russia separatist regions says after an agreement to allow civilians to evacuate collapsed a day earlier amid continued shelling.

Eduard Basurin, the head of the military in separatist-held Donetsk territory, says safe passage corridors for residents of the besieged port city of Mariupol and the city of Volnovakha will reopen today. He doesn’t say for how long nor whether a ceasefire will accompany the evacuation.

Ukrainian officials confirmed that evacuations from Mariupol would take place starting from 12 p.m. local time. Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk regional military administration, said a ceasefire would be in effect between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m.

A promised ceasefire in Mariupol failed amid scenes of terror yesterday. Ukrainian officials said the evacuation was aborted because the city remained under attack.

Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed Ukraine for the failure and warned that the country’s ongoing resistance since Russia invaded its ex-Soviet neighbor on February 24 is putting the country’s future as a nation in jeopardy.

Bennett speaks with Ukraine’s Zelensky for 3rd time in past day

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett just spoke again with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, his office says, for the third time in 24 hours.

The Prime Minister’s Office doesn’t give any details about what the two discussed.

Today’s call follows Bennett’s whirlwind trip to Moscow and Berlin, where he held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and then German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to discuss the war in Ukraine.

Russian stores limit sales of food staples as sanctions start to bite

MOSCOW — Retailers in Russia will limit sales of essential foodstuffs to limit black market speculation and ensure affordability, the government says, as sanctions imposed over Moscow’s military incursion into Ukraine began to bite.

The trade and industry ministry says there have been cases where essential foodstuffs had been purchased “in a volume clearly larger than necessary for private consumption (up to several tons) for subsequent resale.”

Trade organizations representing retailers had proposed retailers be allowed to limit the volume of specific goods sold to individuals at any one time, the ministry’s statement says.

“The Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Agriculture supported the initiative of trade organizations,” the release says, noting that the organizations themselves would work out the policy.

Essential goods, whose prices are subject to state controls, include bread, rice, flour, eggs and selected meats and dairy products among others.

Moscow has been hit with a damaging package of financial and cultural penalties by Western countries since the Kremlin initiated what it has called “a special military operation” in neighboring Ukraine on February 24.

Shaked: ‘Impossible’ for Israel to keep absorbing Ukrainian refugees at current rate

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked signals Israel may move to limit the number of Ukrainian refugees allowed into the country.

Speaking at a meeting on the preparations for absorbing Israeli citizens and refugees fleeing the Russian invasion, Shaked says of the 2,034 Ukrainians who have arrived since the start of the war, around 10 percent are eligible for Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return.

She predicts that if the current pace continues, there will be 15,000 refugees within the month.

“It’s impossible to continue with a rate of entry like this. We need to delineate a policy. Relative to its size, Israel has brought in more [Ukrainians] that any state in Europe besides those bordering Ukraine,” she is quoted as saying by the Walla news site.

Court rejects Netanyahu lawyers’ request to dismiss evidence from state witness’s phone

The Jerusalem District Court rejects a request by former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s defense lawyers to not permit evidence obtained from the phone of key state witness Shlomo Filber, after it emerged his mobile device was illicitly hacked by police.

Testimony is now set to resume in the case tomorrow.

Prosecutors have acknowledged that Filber’s phone was hacked with NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware, but asserted that no relevant information was found or used in the case.

Encircled Ukrainian port city of Mariupol to attempt evacuation of civilians

KYIV, Ukraine — The Ukraine port city of Mariupol, which is surrounded by Russian troops, says it will begin efforts to evacuate its civilian population, after earlier efforts were scuppered by ceasefire violations.

“From 12:00 p.m. the evacuation of the civilian population begins,” city officials say in a statement, which says a ceasefire was agreed upon with Russian-led forces surrounding the city.

US, Poland said working on deal to supply Ukraine with Soviet-era planes

WASHINGTON — The United States is working on a deal with Poland to supply Ukraine with Soviet-era warplanes to bolster Kyiv’s defenses against the Russian invasion, according to US media.

Multiple news outlets report that US officials told them of the possible deal, in which Poland would send Soviet-era aircraft to Ukraine in return for American F-16 fighter jets.

Since Russia invaded 10 days ago, the economic and humanitarian toll of the war has spiraled and officials have reported hundreds of civilians killed.

Weapons, ammunition and funds have poured into Ukraine from Western allies.

“We are working with the Poles on this issue and consulting with the rest of our NATO allies,” a White House official is quoted as saying in reports by the Wall Street Journal and NBC.

Kyiv has urged the West to boost military assistance to the besieged country, including warplanes, with President Volodymyr Zelensky pleading for Eastern European neighbors to provide Russian-made planes that his pilots are trained to fly.

The Ukrainian leader had addressed US lawmakers by video call yesterday, pleading for further funding and an embargo on Russian oil imports.

The Wall Street Journal’s report cites two people on the call, who said Zelensky requested fighter jets after Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell asked the Ukrainian president what he needed most.

Absorption minister: 300 new Jewish immigrants from Ukraine arriving in Israel today

Immigration and Absorption Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata says 300 Jewish immigrants from Ukraine are due to arrive in Israel today, including orphans fleeing Russia’s invasion.

In an interview with Army Radio, she also says Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s trip to Moscow for talks with Russian President Vladimur Putin was the right move.

“It is our duty as a state to do everything in our power to reconcile and bridge between the sides. Russia also has a very large Jewish community and if Bennett can cause Putin to return to the negotiating table, that is welcome,” she says. “I believe we have this ability.”

In Moldova, Blinken pledges US support to cope with Ukrainian refugee influx

CHISINAU, Moldova – US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Moldova pledging America’s support to the small Western-leaning former Soviet republic that is coping with an influx of refugees from Ukraine and warily watching Russia’s intensifying war with its neighbor.

Blinken is meeting today with senior Moldovan officials who are appealing for international assistance in dealing with more than 120,000 refugees from Ukraine that it is now hosting while also seeking security reassurances against potential Russian aggression. More than 230,000 people have fled into Moldova from Ukraine since the war began 11 days ago.

Blinken says Moldova’s welcoming of refugees is an inspiration to the world.

“We admire the generosity of hospitality, the willingness to be such good friends to people who are in distress, and, indeed, I want to do everything we can to help you deal with the burden that this has imposed,” he says.

Russia already has troops in the country of 2.6 million that are stationed in the disputed territory of Transnistria and are being closely watched as Russian President Vladimir Putin presses ahead with the invasion of Ukraine. Although it has no plans to try to become a member of NATO, Moldova formally applied to join the European Union just three days ago in a fast-track bid to bolster its ties with the West.

WHO says 6 killed in attacks on Ukrainian healthcare facilities

The World Health Organization says it has verified at least six attacks on healthcare facilities in Ukraine amid Russian’s invasion of the country, resulting in six deaths and 11 injuries.

The UN health agency says it is looking into additional reports of health facilities being struck.

“Attacks on healthcare facilities or workers breach medical neutrality and are violations of international humanitarian law,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus writes on Twitter.

UK intel assessment: Russia surprised by ‘scale and strength’ of Ukraine resistance

In its latest intelligence update, the UK Defense Ministry says Russia was caught off guard by “the scale and strength” of Ukraine’s resistance to the Russian invasion.

“It has responded by targeting popular areas in multiple locations… This is likely an effort to break Ukrainian morale,” the ministry says.

“Russia has previously used similar tactics,” it adds, noting past Russian military campaigns in Chechnya and Syria.

The intelligence update also says “Russian supply lines reportedly continue to be targeted, slowing the rate of the advance of their ground forces.”

Far-right MK pulls gun on rock-throwing Palestinians in West Bank

Far-right MK Itamar Ben Gvir pulls a gun on a group of Palestinians throwing rocks at Israeli vehicles traveling along Route 60 near the al-Aroub refugee camp in the West Bank, according to Hebrew media reports.

“This is anarchy. Soldiers can’t respond with fire against terrorists,” Ben Gvir says.

There are no reports of injuries.

Foreign Ministry on why no military aid for Ukraine: Israel wants ‘open channels’ with all sides

The Foreign Ministry defends Israel’s decision not to grant military assistance to Ukraine following Russia’s invasion of the country.

“Israel wants to maintain open channels with all the sides that are involved in the conflict,” spokesman Lior Haiat tells Army Radio. “We’ll focus on humanitarian aid, which is needed by the people in Ukraine.”

Noting the large number of refugees fleeing to Ukraine’s neighbors, he says, “without a doubt such assistance is necessary.”

Zelensky adviser to Israeli radio: We don’t know why Bennett went to Moscow

A Hebrew-speaking adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomes Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s trip to Moscow for talks with Russian Vladimir President Putin about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but expresses skepticism it will lead to a diplomatic breakthrough.

“We don’t know why [the trip] was made, if it was political or electoral,” Vladislav Roitberg tells Radio 103FM. “We’re open to diplomacy, whether by Bennett, [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan or any other leader, it’s welcomed. Time will tell if it succeeds.”

After Bennett trip, minister says Israel has responsibility to try to save lives

Culture Minister Chili Tropper says he doesn’t believe “there’s much of a chance” that any Israeli mediation between Ukraine and Russia will succeed.

“But we have a responsibility to try to exhaust every small chance to save lives,” he tells Army Radio.

He also praises Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s trip to Moscow during Shabbat, saying “there is an element here of pikuach nefesh,”  the Jewish principle that puts preserving life above most other religious rules such as not traveling on the day of rest.

Weekly cabinet meeting to be held as scheduled after PM’s return from Moscow, Berlin

The weekly cabinet meeting will go ahead today as scheduled, a spokesman for Prime Minister Naftali Bennett says, following the premier’s return from a trip to Moscow and Berlin for talks on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Population Authority: 2,034 Ukrainians have arrived in Israel since Russian invasion

The Population and Immigration Authority says that 2,034 Ukrainians have arrived in Israel since the start of Russia’s invasion, 112 of whom were denied entry to the country, according to Army Radio.

Palestinian stabs and wounds two policemen in Jerusalem, is shot dead

A 19-year-old Palestinian assailant stabs and wounds two policemen in Jerusalem’s Old City before being shot dead.

The cops are in light-to-moderate condition.

The attack takes place in the Muslim Quarter.

Zelensky thanks SpaceX chief for access to Starlink satellite-internet system

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanks SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk for giving Ukraine access to his company’s satellite-internet system, called Starlink.

“I’m grateful to him for supporting Ukraine with words and deeds,” Zelensky says in a tweet. “Next week we will receive another batch of Starlink systems for destroyed cities.” He jokes that they discussed possible space projects, which he would talk about “after the war.”

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko on Saturday showed off a shipment of the Starlink systems that had arrived in the capital city. He said Starlink would help secure the work of critical infrastructure and the defense of the city.

Several large Ukrainian cities remained without internet or phone connection after being shelled by Russian troops.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks to media as he arrives to visit a construction site in Gruenheide, near Berlin, September 3, 2020. (Odd Andersen/AFP)

Crowds of men line up in Kyiv to join the Ukrainian army

Crowds of men have been lining up in Kyiv to join the Ukrainian army.

An order from Ukraine’s government prohibited men between the ages of 18 and 60 from leaving the country to keep them available for military conscription.

But some like Volodymyr Onysko volunteered to fight.

“We know why we are here. We know why we defend our country. And our guys that are actually standing there and fighting Russian military forces,” he tells Britain’s Sky News. “We know what we are doing and that’s why we will win.”

Others, like British Army veteran Mark Ayres, traveled to Ukraine to help.

Ayres says the Ukrainian people have been inspiring and “it’s galvanized everybody.”

“I’ve got no illusions. I’ve got no romantic ideas of war or like ‘I’m going to be some hero’ or make a difference… but it is what I do,” Ayres says.

North Korea confirms new tests on spy satellite

North Korea performed data transmission and other key tests needed to develop a spy satellite, state media says, in the second such tests in about a week, indicating the country intends to conduct a prohibited long-range rocket launch soon.

The moves come as North Korea has been carrying out a spate of ballistic missile launches — including one detected by its neighbors on Saturday — in what experts call an attempt to add new weapons systems to its arsenal and pressure the United States into making concessions amid stalled diplomacy.

The North’s Korean Central News Agency says it conducted “another important test” yesterday under its plan to develop a reconnaissance satellite. It says authorities tested the satellite’s data transmission and reception system and its ground-based control systems.

People watch a TV showing a file image of North Korea’s missile launch during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, March 5, 2022 (AP Photo /Ahn Young-joon)
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