Ukrainian Railways has helped around 3.5 million to evacuate, company says
Around 3.5 million people have used Ukrainian Railways to leave their hometowns and cities, the state owned company said Saturday.
The majority of people were evacuated from the capital Kyiv, the northern city of Kharkiv and the eastern Donbas region, the company said in a statement posted to its Telegram channel. Most had traveled to the western cities of Lviv and Uzhhorod, it added.
The company said over 470,000 had used its services to leave the country and the majority had travled to the Polish cities of of Przemyśl, Warsaw and Chełm, it said, adding that others had gone to Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
Britain is one of Putin’s fiercest critics. Its politicians still get millions in Russia-linked cash.
It was a strongly worded warning from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to Russian President Vladimir Putin: Invade Ukraine and there will be “significant consequences.”
Three days after that phone call last Dec. 13, Johnson’s Conservative Party received a donation of 66,500 pounds (nearly $88,000) from Lubov Chernukhin, the wife of one of Putin’s former deputy ministers.
In all, Chernukhin has donated more than 2 million pounds to the Conservative Party since 2012, making her one of the largest female donors in British political history, public records from the British Electoral Commission show.
Chernukhin says that she is a vehement critic of Putin and his war, and that none of her donations have been funded by corruption or improper means. Neither she nor her husband are among those who have been sanctioned by the the British government or others, and there is no suggestion either are guilty of any wrongdoing.
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176 children have died since Russian invasion, Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office says
A total of 176 children have died and more than 324 have been injured as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office said in a statement Saturday.
The figure was not likely to be the total number as investigators were working to verify deaths in regions that had recently been liberated from Russian troops and areas where fighting continued, the statement posted to its Telegram channel said.
It added that the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine had suffered the most child casualities with 102 while 91 children had been killed in the capital Kyiv, the statement said. It added that children have also died in eight other cities, including Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Mykolaiv.
Russia has repeatedly denied that it is targeting civilians and NBC News has not been been able to independently verify the numbers.
Americans help rescuers deliver critical aid to Ukraine
10 humanitarian corridors to open Saturday, Ukraine’s deputy PM says
Ten humanitarian corridors will open on Saturday in the south and east of the country, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said Saturday.
The corridors in the Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Luhansk region include evacuation routes leading out of the cities of Melitopol and Mariupol, the Iryna Vereshchuk wrote on her official Telegram channel.
Her comments came as Serhiy Gaidai, the governor of the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine, said more people needed to evacuate as shelling had increased in recent days and more Russian forces had arrived in the region.
Gaidai told public television that some 30 percent of residents still remain in cities and villages across the region and have been asked to evacuate.
He added that Russia was “amassing forces for an offensive and we see the number of shelling has increased.”
Pentagon’s Kirby: Russia conducted railway station strike with ballistic missile
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby called the deadly attack on a Ukrainian railway station “Russian brutality.”
He dismissed Russian claims that it was not behind the attack in Kramatorsk, a city in the Donetsk region. Friday’s strike occurred as thousands of Ukrainians tried to flee the region.
“We find unconvincing Russian claims that they weren’t involved — particularly when the ministry actually announced it, and then when they saw reports of civilian casualties decided to unannounce it,” Kirby said at a briefing Friday.
He said that the U.S. assesses Russian forces used a short-range ballistic missile to carry out the strike.
“It is again, of a piece with the Russian brutality in the prosecution of this war, and their carelessness,” Kirby said.
Russia has repeatedly denied targeting civilians in Ukraine. But hospitals and other structures have been attacked. The World Health Organization said it has verified over 100 attacks on health care. Images of corpses in civilian clothes in the Kyiv area town of Bucha, and accounts of survivors and witnesses of executions by Russian forces, have added to accusations that Russian forces have committed war crimes.
U.K. pledges $130M in more military aid to Ukraine
LONDON — U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged another $130 million in high-grade military equipment to Ukraine, saying Britain wants to help Ukraine defend itself.
Speaking Friday at a news conference with Germany Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Johnson said he would give Ukraine’s military more Starstreak anti-aircraft missiles, another 800 anti-tank missiles, and precision munitions capable of lingering in the sky until directed to their target.
He also promised more helmets, night vision and body armor. The items were in addition to some 200,000 pieces of non-lethal military equipment from the UK that had already been promised.
The pledge of new weaponry came as Johnson condemned the attack on train station in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk earlier Friday. Women and children gathering on a train platform perished in the blast.
Johnson said both the U.K. and Germany shared the “revulsion at the brutality being unleashed, including the unconscionable bombing of refugees fleeing their homes,” adding that the train station attack “shows the depths to which Putin’s vaunted army has sunk.’’
E.U. returns ambassador to Kyiv after Russian withdrawal
The European Union has returned its ambassador to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, in a move that the international body’s foreign affairs chief hopes is followed by other countries.
Josep Borrell, the E.U. high representative for foreign affairs, made the announcement duuring a visit to Kyiv in which he also announced plans to allocate 500 million euros for more military aid.
“Our delegation is coming back, the E.U. is coming back to Kyiv, and I am sure that other delegations and embassies from member states will follow,” Borrell said Friday.
The E.U. delegation left Kyiv shortly after Russia attacked and invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, and since then had been in Poland.
Russian forces had moved against and attacked Kyiv and its suburbs, but faced resistance and setbacks before late last month beginning to remove some troops. A U.S. senior defense official said Wednesday that Russian forces near Kyiv had completed their withdrawal — but that they will be likely refit and resupplied. Officials have said they could be used in other parts of Ukraine.
Ukraine has applied to become a member of the E.U.