Update on the Russian-Ukrainian crisis:
KYIV, Ukraine — As Russian troops continued their offensive on Friday, intense fighting also raged in the east of the country.
Russian troops entered the city of Sumy near the border with Russia which is on a highway leading to Kiev from the east. Regional Governor Dmytro Zhivitsky said Ukrainian forces fought Russian troops in the city overnight, but other Russian convoys continued to drive west towards the Ukrainian capital.
“Military vehicles from Sumy are heading towards Kyiv,” Zhivitsky said. “A lot of equipment has passed and is heading directly west.”
Zhivitsky added that another town in the northeast, Konotop, was also under siege. He urged people in the area to fight Russian forces.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The International Criminal Court prosecutor said he was “closely following recent developments in and around Ukraine with growing concern.”
Karim Khan released a statement on Twitter on Friday during a visit to Bangladesh, where he is investigating crimes against Myanmar’s Rohingya minority.
Khan said he had alerted “all parties conducting hostilities on the territory of Ukraine” that Ukraine had accepted the tribunal’s jurisdiction.
This means that “my office can exercise its jurisdiction and investigate any act of genocide, crime against humanity or war crime committed on the territory of Ukraine since February 20, 2014,” Khan added.
He said “anyone who commits such crimes, including ordering, instigating or otherwise contributing to the commission of such crimes may be liable to prosecution in the Court.”
Khan added that since neither Russia nor Ukraine are member states of the court, his office has no jurisdiction over the crime of aggression in the conflict.
The International Criminal Court is the world’s permanent court for war crimes. It was created in 2002 to prosecute atrocities in countries where local authorities are unable or unwilling to carry out trials.
KYIV, Ukraine — The Ukrainian military is reporting heavy fighting northwest of the nation’s capital as Russian forces appear to be trying to advance on Kyiv from the north.
The army said on Friday morning that a bridge crossing a river had been destroyed in the Ivankiv region, about 60 kilometers (40 miles) northwest of Kyiv.
“The hardest day will be today. The enemy’s plan is to break through with tank columns from the side of Ivankiv and Chernihiv to Kiev. Russian tanks burn perfectly when hit by our ATGMs (anti-tank guided missiles),” Interior Ministry adviser Anton Gerashchenko said on Telegram.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began Thursday morning with a series of missile strikes, many on key government and military installations, quickly followed by a three-pronged ground assault. Ukrainian and US officials said Russian forces were attacking from the east towards Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city; the southern region of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014; and Belarus to the north.
TOKYO — Ukraine’s ambassador to Japan is urging China to join international efforts to stop the Russian “massacre” in his country as Beijing does not criticize Moscow’s actions.
“We would be very happy if China exercised its ties with Russia and spoke to Putin and explained to him that it is inappropriate in the 21st century to carry out this massacre in Europe,” Ukrainian diplomat Sergiy Korsunsky told a conference of press in Tokyo.
China has not criticized Russia for its actions against Ukraine and has joined in verbal attacks on Washington and its allies.
“I believe China can take a much more active role in working with Putin in a way that we expect from civilized countries,” he said.
Korsunsky also requested support from the United States and its allies to provide missile defense equipment to counter Russian cruise missile attacks. He said Ukraine wanted to join NATO and called for its support in resolving the conflict.
KYIV, Ukraine — Explosions are heard before dawn in Kyiv as Western leaders schedule an emergency meeting and Ukraine’s president calls for international help.
The nature of the explosions was not immediately clear, but the blasts came amid signs that Ukraine’s capital and largest city were under increasing threat after a day of fighting that left more than 100 Ukrainians dead.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the government had information that “subversive groups” were encroaching on the city, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Kiev “may well come under siege” in what officials Americans see it as a brazen attempt by Russian President Vladimir Putin. to dismantle the government and replace it with its own regime.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told lawmakers in a phone call that Russian mechanized forces that entered from Belarus were about 20 miles from Kiev, according to a person familiar with the call.
BEIJING — The Chinese Embassy in Ukraine said it is organizing evacuation flights for Chinese citizens. An embassy statement on Friday said conditions in Ukraine had “sharply deteriorated”, but made no mention of the Russian invasion.
The embassy gave no details on where the evacuation flights would depart from. He also did not say when the charter flights might take place, saying the scheduling will depend on the “flight security situation”.
It says travelers need to be excited and ready to react quickly once flight schedules are announced. Passengers must have a passport from China, Hong Kong or Macau or a “Taiwan Compatriot Card”.
The embassy previously advised Chinese in Ukraine to stay at home and put a Chinese flag on their vehicles if they planned to travel long distances.
MANILA, Philippines – The head of Philippine diplomacy has said he will travel to Ukraine’s border with Poland to ensure the safety of Filipinos fleeing the Eastern European country currently under attack by Russian forces.
Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. did not specify in his tweet on Friday where he is going. He also did not say how many of the approximately 380 Filipinos in Ukraine are trying to flee amid the Russian invasion.
Locsin expressed his gratitude to Poland for agreeing to accept fleeing Filipinos without entry visas.
The Philippines did not condemn Russia’s assault on Ukraine but called for a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Its outgoing chairman, Rodrigo Duterte, has been a vocal Asian critic of US security policies and has had close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jingping.
BRUSSELS — European Union leaders are standing together after a six-hour meeting in which they agreed on a second package of economic and financial sanctions against Russia.
EU Council president accuses Russia of using ‘false pretexts and bad excuses’ to justify invasion of Ukraine, says sanctions will hurt government
The legal texts of the agreed sanctions are expected to be finalized overnight and submitted for approval to EU foreign ministers on Friday.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the package included targeting 70% of Russia’s banking market and major state-owned companies.
She says Russia’s energy sector will also be targeted “making it impossible for Russia to upgrade its refineries.” And there will be a ban on sales of software, semiconductors and airliners to Russia.
UNITED NATIONS — The UN Security Council will vote on Friday on a resolution that would condemn Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine “in the strongest terms.” It would also demand an immediate halt to the Russian invasion and the withdrawal of all Russian troops.
A senior US official said the Biden administration was aware the measure would be vetoed by Russia, but believes it is very important to put the resolution to a vote to underscore the international isolation of the country. Russia.
The official said the council’s vote would be followed by a resolution passed quickly in the 193-member United Nations General Assembly, where there is no veto.
The final draft resolution, obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday, would reaffirm the council’s commitment “to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders. “.
The council is due to vote at 3 p.m. EST on Friday.
KYIV, Ukraine – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said 137 civilians and military personnel have been killed so far during the Russian invasion of his country.
He calls them “heroes” in a video address posted early Friday in which he also says hundreds more have been injured.
Zelenskyy says that despite Russia’s assertion that it only attacks military targets, civilian sites have also been hit. In his words: “They kill people and turn peaceful towns into military targets. It is disgusting and will never be forgiven.
The president said that all border guards on the island of Zmiinyi in the Odessa region were killed on Thursday. Earlier in the day, the Ukrainian Border Guard Service announced that the island had been taken by the Russians.
Follow AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine