Russia invades Ukraine live updates: Ukraine says Russia is trying to bring in Belarus
Ukraine has accused Russia of staging airstrikes in Belarus to get its ally to join the conflict. Meanwhile, shelling hit a mosque sheltering more than 80 people in the port city of Mariupol, the Ukrainian government said.
More of the context and updates:
- Ukrainians protested the alleged abduction of the mayor of Melitopol, a city in southern Ukraine.
- Ukraine's president told the mothers of Russian forces not to send their children "to fight in a foreign land."
- Video analysis reveals that Russia's attack on a Ukrainian nuclear plant veered near disaster.
Follow the latest developments:
The flowers still bloom even as war rages. And this shop stays open to sell bouquets
Mykolaiv, a few miles from the front line in southern Ukraine, has become a deserted town. Most shelves are empty, and many stores are closed — but not this tiny flower shop.
Angela Kalisnik sells shimmering tulips and roses because, war or not, "the flowers keep on blooming."
Chelsea's soccer league boots Roman Abramovich over his ties to Putin
The board of the Premier League has disqualified Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich, just days after the U.K. sanctioned the Russian businessman.
The unprecedent ruling means the league is ordering Abramovich to stop running Chelsea and to sell up, according to The Associated Press.
The British government says Abramovich, one of seven alleged oligarchs penalized on Thursday over ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, is "one of the few oligarchs from the 1990s to maintain prominence under Putin."
Britain alleges Abramovich also benefits financially from his involvement in destabilizing Ukraine.
The team will still be allowed to play and train for the remainder of the club's contract with the government, which expires at the end of May, the league said.
The U.S. adds $200 million in its security aid for Ukraine
President Biden is sending Ukraine another $200 million in new aid. The package includes anti-aircraft weapons and small arms.
This brings the total aid that the U.S. has sent to Ukraine so far to $1.2 billion.
The new round of funding comes as the Russian military has grown belligerent about the help that the U.S. and other NATO allies have sent to Ukraine. The increased tension led the Pentagon to scuttle a plan to get Polish fighter jets to Ukraine earlier this week.
Biden has said repeatedly he does not want a direct conflict with Russia in Ukraine.
In parts of Indian Country, people wear scarves to show solidarity
From Indian Country to Ukraine — there’s a little thread of brightly-colored material tying people together in pain and hope.
Scarves were early trade items when immigrants and Native Americans met, and today, the items have become a way to show support for Ukrainians.
Bobbie Conner, the head of the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute on the Umatilla Reservation near Pendleton, Ore., tells the Northwest News Network that what's happening in Ukraine today feels familiar to what her people experienced with colonialism.
"It was right here in this country, not very long ago that our people were being treated in the same way," she told the network's Anna King.
Russia intensifies its attacks on several cities, including the capital
Russia's army has intensified its assaults on several cities — including the country's capital of Kyiv.
Fighting has raged on the outskirts of Kyiv, and international aid groups are working to rush medical supplies to cities in eastern Ukraine that have been especially affected by attacks.
Doctors Without Borders has had to suspend almost all of its work in the country, and some aid groups are sending in body armor and helmets for health care workers.
Ukraine protests call for the release of Melitopol mayor
In Ukraine's southern city of Melitopol, hundreds of people gathered in front of city hall on Saturday to protest the alleged abduction of Mayor Ivan Fedorov, said Ukraine's security and intelligence service early Saturday.
Fedorov was captured by Russians the day prior, Ukrainian government officials have said.
In an address the Ukraine government shared online, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy likened the actions of the Russian invaders — what he called an attack on democracy — to that of ISIS terrorists.
The Russian military reportedly continues its assault on Ukrainian hospitals
Russian military forces continued to target health care buildings in their attacks on southern cities in Ukraine.
The head of the regional health department Maxim Beznosenko accused Russia of damaging a cancer hospital in Mykolaiv on Friday, The Associated Press reported. No one there was killed, he said.
The attack comes days after Russians’ deadly bombing of a maternity hospital in Mariupol, a port city where failed cease-fires have prevented the safe evacuation of civilians.
As of Friday, the World Health Organization said there had been 29 verified incidents of violent attacks aimed at health care, leading to 12 deaths and 34 injuries. At least two of those deaths were of health care workers, the group said.
Zelenskyy addresses mothers of Russian soldiers as forces make their way to Kyiv
Air raid sirens went off in several cities across Ukraine overnight. Heavy Russian bombardment continues in eastern and southern Ukraine — and has intensified in the north, near the capital of Kyiv.
With Russia forces positioned less than 20 miles from Kyiv's city center, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy gave a speech in the middle of the night, in which he addressed the mothers of Russian troops.
“Do not send your children to fight in a foreign land,” he said, speaking in Russian, in a video the government shared online.
Russia targets a mosque in Mariupol where adults and children are sheltering
A mosque in the port city of Mariupol became a target of Russian shelling on Saturday.
More than 80 adults and children were sheltering in the mosque, including some who are Turkish citizens, according to a tweet from Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
It is not yet known if there were casualties, The Associated Press reports.
The attack on the mosque is the latest in the city that has been hard hit since Russia invaded Ukraine. On Wednesday, a maternity hospital was hit in what Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called a “direct strike.”
Mariupol Deputy Mayor Serhiy Orlov estimated that the civilian death toll was more than 1,200 since the conflict started — a number so high that mass graves have been needed to bury the dead.
The AP also reported that on Friday one of its journalists saw Russian tanks firing on an apartment building in Mariupol.
Why it matters that McDonald's is leaving Russia
The company behind the Golden Arches is joining the corporate exodus from Russia over that country's invasion of Ukraine.
But McDonald's decision to temporarily close its 850 locations has more symbolic significance than other companies who have made similar choices.
The fast food chain was one of the first Western companies to open sites in Russia as the Soviet Union was collapsing. It was a glimpse into the global economy, and thousands of curious customers lined up on opening day for Big Macs and fries. The first McDonald's restaurant — on Pushkin Square — became a kind of landmark.
Daniel Treisman, a professor at UCLA who specializes in Russian politics and economics, tells NPR the temporary closure is "a shocking reversal."
"I think Russians are just horrified at losing connection to this world that they have been living in for the last 30 years."
Ukraine accuses Russia of staging an airstrike in Belarus
Ukrainian officials have accused Russia of staging a fake attack on its ally Belarus to draw them into the conflict.
Ukraine says two fighter jets took off from Belarus on Friday, entered Ukrainian airspace and then hit a town on the Belarusian side.
NPR could not independently verify the strikes.
Belarus, a landlocked country of 9 million people, maintains close ties with Russia after becoming an independent country in 1991. It shares a nearly 700-mile long border with Ukraine.