Zelenskyy urged allies to seize Russian properties under their jurisdictions and use them to create a fund for the Ukrainian victims of the war.
“That would be fair,” Zelenskyy said. “Russia would feel the true weight of every missile, every bomb, every shell that it has fired at us.”
On Friday, a Russian strike destroyed a Ukrainian cultural center in Lozova, injuring seven people. Zelenskyy called the attack “absolute evil.”
“What is in the minds of people who choose such targets? Absolute evil, absolute stupidity,” he said.
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►President Joe Biden signed a bill to provide $40 billion in assistance to Ukraine after Congress OK’d the legislation earlier this week.
►Delegates from the United States and four other nations staged a walkout Saturday when a representative from Russia began his opening remarks at a meeting of trade ministers of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group.
►Russia is set to cut off Finland’s supply of natural gas on Saturday after the Finns refused to pay for it in rubles, according to Finland’s state-owned utility Gasum. Company executives said the move wouldn’t create disruptions for customers during the summer.
►President Joe Biden is expected to sign legislation providing $40 billion in additional aid to Ukraine while traveling in Asia, according to Jake Sullivan, his national security adviser.
►The Group of Seven leading economies agreed Friday to provide $19.8 billion in economic aid to Ukraine to help keep tight finances from hindering its ability to defend itself from Russia’s invasion.
President Joe Biden has signed a bill to provide $40 billion in assistance to Ukraine after Congress OK’d the legislation earlier in the week.
The Senate cleared the measure Thursday, to avoid a gap in funding. The final drawdown of $100 million of previously approved funding occurred Thursday, according to Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser.
The package includes more than $20 billion for the Pentagon to provide weapons, intelligence and training, and nearly $14 billion for the State Department for food aid, refugee assistance and other diplomatic programs.
– Sean Rossman, Bart Jansen and Merdie Nzanga
Delegates from the United States and four other nations staged a walkout Saturday when a representative from Russia began his opening remarks at a meeting of trade ministers of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group in the Thai capital of Bangkok, officials said.
A Japanese official said Japan’s Trade Minister Koichi Hagiuda and his counterparts from the US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada walked out of the meeting to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
A US official in Bangkok confirmed the walkout but did not provide further details. He asked not to be identified. There is diplomatic sensitivity over speaking about the incident because the proceedings were held in closed session. US Trade Representative Katherine Tai is representing Washington at the meeting.
Russian officials on Friday claimed their forces have “completely liberated” the Azovstal steel mill in Mariupol, the last holdout of Ukrainian forces, in what would be its biggest victory yet in its war with Ukraine.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reported to Russian President Vladimir Putin that Russia now has full control of Mariupol.
The last 531 Ukrainian fighters surrendered to Russian forces on Friday, according to Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti. A Russian state TV correspondent said on Telegram that among those surrendering Friday was Denys Prokopenko, commander of the Azov regiment.
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Prokopenko said earlier Friday that the defenders of Mariupol received an order to “cease the defense of the city” in order to “save lives and health of the servicemen of the garrison.”
The Russian claims were not confirmed by Ukrainian officials.
For weeks, Russian forces have been trying to seize Severodonetsk, a key site in the Donbas that’s outside the territory separatists have held for several years. They stepped up attacks there and in Lysychansk on Friday.
Luhansk Gov. Serhiy Haidai said Friday that Russian forces now have control of 90% of the Severodonetsk region.
Three adults were killed in a Friday attack on a school where about 200 people, including many children, were taking shelter in Severodonetsk, Haidai said on Telegram. In another attack, 60 houses were destroyed and 12 people killed, Hadai said. But, Hadai also said that the “the Russians suffered personnel losses and retreated.”
Haidai said on Telegram that Russian forces “just want to destroy the city.”
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Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country has faced a barrage of cyberattacks from the West amid the invasion of Ukraine but has successfully fended them off.
Speaking Friday to members of Russia’s Security Council, Putin noted that “the challenges in this area have become even more pressing, serious and extensive.”
He charged that “an outright aggression has been unleashed against Russia, a war has been waged in the information space.”
Putin added that “the cyber-aggression against us, the same as the attack on Russia by sanctions in general, has failed.”
He ordered officials to “perfect and enhance the mechanisms of ensuring information security at critically important industrial facilities which have a direct bearing on our country’s defensive capability, and the stable development of the economic and social spheres.”
Contributing: The Associated Press
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism