War in Ukraine: Kyiv's mayor warns the death toll in the city could be in the thousands
Kyiv's mayor tells NPR the number of dead in Ukraine's capital could be in the hundreds, if not thousands, after weeks of attacks from Russian forces.
And in the latest nightly address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on Russians to resist the draft — saying conscripts will most certainly face the risk of death — and asked people in occupied regions to sabotage Russia's military.
Here's more context to understand Ukraine and the impact of the invasion:
- The Ukrainian mayor who was kidnapped says the Russian soldiers who snatched him knew nothing about his country.
- Russia threatened to fine Wikipedia if it doesn't remove some details about the war.
- On Friday, Russian officials said that Ukrainian helicopters struck an oil depot in the Russian city of Belgorod.
Follow the latest developments.
UNESCO says more than 50 cultural sites in Ukraine have been damaged
Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, UNESCO says its verified damage to at least 53 cultural sites in the country.
The organization says it assesses damage reported in the media or by Ukrainian officials and have a system to monitor main Ukrainian sites and monuments via satellite imagery.
"Our experts continue to verify each report and it is feared that other sites will be added to this list," a UNESCO spokesperson told NPR.
As of March 30, UNESCO said, the confirmed damaged sites, located in several regions across Ukraine, include 29 religious sites, 16 historic buildings, four museums and four monuments.
The body of a missing Ukrainian photojournalist has been found
A Ukrainian photojournalist who went missing last month in a combat zone near Kyiv has been found dead, Ukrainian officials confirm.
Maks Levin, 40, was killed with two gunshots, allegedly fired by the Russian military. The office of Ukraine's prosecutor general said they found Levin's body in a village north of Kyiv on Friday.
A biography of Levin from LB.ua, a Ukrainian publication he worked for, says he dreamed of being a photographer at the age of 15, and many of his projects related to the conflicts with Russia.
"Every Ukrainian photographer dreams of taking a photo that will stop the war," he told the outlet.
Levin had been missing since March 13. An investigation into his death has been launched.
NPR's Nathan Rott contributed to this report.
Russia's space leader says a partnership on the ISS is unclear if sanctions aren't lifted
Russia's top space official says the future of the country's partnership with the U.S., Canada, Europe and Japan on the International Space Station is in jeopardy if sanctions from the West are not lifted.
Dmitry Rogozin, director of Russian space agency Roscosmos, said he considers the current state of affairs unacceptable.
"The United States, Canada, the European Union, Japan sanctions are aimed at blocking the financial, economic and production activities of our high-tech enterprises," according to a translation of Rogozin's tweet.
"The purpose of the sanctions is to kill the Russian economy, plunge our people into despair and hunger, and bring our country to its knees. It is clear that they will not be able to do this, but the intentions are clear."
Rogozin himself has been subject to U.S. sanctions since 2014, when he was deputy prime minister of Russia.
Rogozin has implied on Russian state TV that continued sanctions could disruptRussian operations on the ISS and that space agencies in the U.S., Canada and Europe cannot manage the ISS without Russian partnership.
Ukraine and Russia forces conduct the largest prisoner swap thus far
Ukraine and Russia have conducted their largest round of prisoner swaps to date, with 86 soldiers on each side going home.
But now, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is saying he's willing to exchange all Russian prisoners of war — if Russia agrees to stop abducting civilian children.
Russia has denied doing so, but Russian state-owned news agency TASS reported that military forces have evacuated more than 3,000 children into Russia and are preparing hundreds of Ukrainian orphans for adoption.
Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman, Lyudmila Denisova, has also accused Russian troops of using children as human shields to protect military equipment from attack.
Zelenskyy tells Russia's men to resist the draft
More than 130,000 Russian men have been conscripted for the springtime draft, but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is warning that they will most certainly face the risk of death.
Russia has said the new soldiers won't be sent to the front lines, but Zelenskyy's message is to resist the draft anyway.
In his address Friday night, he also offered Crimean conscripts amnesty if they surrendered to Ukrainian forces, and he asked people in occupied regions to sabotage Russia's military wherever possible.
Attacks on Ukraine move to its east and south. But the southwest remains on alert
Five regions in Ukraine's east and south were attacked as Friday night became early Saturday morning.
The worst of the attacks happened in the Luhansk region, where Russian airstrikes damaged 27 residential buildings and some utilities. Earlier this week, Ukrainian military officials said Russians were trying a strategy as they did in Mariupol.
There are casualties in the Kherson and Poltava regions as well.
The attacks come as Russian military officials said in the last week that their strategy would refocus on eastern and southern parts of Ukraine.
Russian troops have mostly retreated from the Kyiv region, but Kyiv’s mayor says it’s risky for residents to return right now.
Kyiv's mayor says a compromise with Russia is difficult in the current state of the war
The mayor of Kyiv tells NPR that compromise with Russia is a difficult possibility in the current state of the war, though he still hopes for a diplomatic solution.
In an interview Saturday with NPR's Scott Simon, Mayor Vitali Klitschko says he just visited what is left of Ukraine's capital city and that right now, people are still nervous to come back.
“Nobody can predict how the situation will be developed. Everybody hopes for diplomatic solution," Klitschko said.
"We can talk about compromise or solution if Russian soldiers go away from our territory, from our country."
Before the invasion, the population of the city was a little more than 3 million people.
But now, "the city changed totally."
Klitschko says the whole infrastructure — as well as the suburbs of Irpin, Bucha and Hostomel — don't exist anymore after Russian attacks. He estimates the number of dead may be in the hundreds, if not thousands.