He told CBS’ “60 Minutes” that Ukraine’s security services have intercepted Russian communications that include discussions of targeting civilians.
“There are pilots in prison who had maps with civilian targets to bomb,” Zelenskyy said in a clip of the interview that will air in full Sunday.
Zelenskyy said “everyone who made a decision, who issued an order, who fulfilled an order” is guilty of war crimes. Asked if he holds Vladimir Putin responsible, Zelenskyy said, “I do believe he’s one of them.”
This week Ukrainian forces retaking territory around the capital of Kyiv after Russian troops retreated discovered evidence of atrocities against civilians. In the suburb of Bucha, bodies were left in the streets, some with hands tied behind their backs, and bodies were found in a mass grave.
“This means that they killed civilians, shot them,” Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said Friday.
A rocket strike killed at least 50 people and injured dozens more at a train station in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk. Five children were among the dead, officials said.
“Like the massacres in Bucha, like many other Russian war crimes, the missile attack on Kramatorsk should be one of the charges at the tribunal that must be held,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address Friday.
World leaders were quick to condemn the strike on the train station, where civilians were trying to evacuate.
“Where we are now is we’re going to support efforts to investigate the attack as we document Russia’s actions, hold them accountable,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters, calling the strike “another horrific atrocity.”
LATEST VISUAL EXPLANATIONS: Mapping and tracking Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
► Russian naval forces are launching cruise missiles into Ukraine to support military operations in the eastern Donbas region, according to Britain’s Ministry of Defense. The attacks also are targeting the cities of Mariupol and Mykolaiv.
► Russia and Ukraine on Saturday agreed upon 10 humanitarian corners across three regions, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in a Telegram post. The list includes one corner in the Donetsk region, four in the Zaporizhzhia region and four in the Luhansk region.
►The Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office says approximately 67 bodies were buried in a mass grave near a church in Bucha, a northern Kyiv suburb where journalists and returning Ukrainians discovered scores of bodies on streets and elsewhere after Russian troops withdrew.
►The European Union adopted a fifth package of restrictions against the Moscow. The latest measures, announced Friday by the EU’s European Commission, include an import ban on all Russian coal as well as other materials.
► Over 6,600 Ukrainians were evacuated along humanitarian corridors across three regions on Friday, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.
► Ukrainian forces have “eradicated” some of the Russian units that invaded the country in late February, according to a senior Defense official. Some Russian units have only a handful of troops and vehicles left, the official said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in Ukraine this morning.
Andriy Sybiha, deputy head of the Ukrainian president’s office, announced the visit on Facebook, “Right now Boris Johnson’s visit to Kyiv began with a tet-a-tet (sic) meeting with President Zelenskyy. Great Britain leader in defense support of Ukraine. The leader in the anti-war coalition. Leader in sanctions on Russian aggressor.”
A tweet from the Ukrainian embassy to the UK confirmed the visit. The embassy account tweeted a photo of Johnson seated across a table from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Meanwhile, fellow European nations are showing their solidarity with Ukraine in other ways. Next week, after Easter, Italy announced the reopening it’s embassy in Kyiv. The moves by the Brits and Italians signal a safer view of the Ukrainian capital.
– Ana Faguy
The Ukrainian official in charge of integrating the nation with Europe said on Saturday she expects Ukraine to be a candidate for the European Union by June.
“Ukraine received the EU membership questionnaire,” said Olga Stefanishyna, deputy prime minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine. “We have already done much preparatory work, so ready to move fast…It is part of our recovery & victory over RU aggressor who wants to reverse Ukraine’s democratic course.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed Ukraine’s application to join the EU in February, appealing to the group and the world in a video the same day.
“Europeans are witnessing how our soldiers are fighting not only for our country, but for all of Europe, for peace, for peace for all, for all the countries of the European Union,” Zelenskyy said.
In response to Zelenskyy’s plea, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said that any country’s membership bid could take “a lot of years” but did not close the door on Ukraine’s potential candidacy. The EU’s website also expresses that negotiation and induction into the EU “takes time to complete.”
– Ella Lee
In her first in-depth interview since the invasion began, Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, said in the early days of the conflict the possibility of war was unfathomable.
“There had been a lot of talk, everywhere, about a possible invasion,” Zelenska told Vogue. “But until the last minute it was impossible to believe that this would happen…in the twenty-first century?”
As the war continues, Zelenska said Russian President Vladmir Putin underestimated the perseverance of Ukrainian civilians.
“He [Putin] wanted to divide us, to shatter us, to provoke internal confrontation, but it is impossible to do this with Ukrainians,” she said.
Zelenka also said she and her children were not allowed to stay with her husband, Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, when the war began and were moved to a safe place. They now communicate with him through phone.
But Zelenska does have moments that give her hope. “My family – just like every Ukrainian – and my compatriots: incredible people who organized to help the army and help each other,” she said.
– Mabinty Quarshie
YouTube blocked Duma TV from broadcasting Saturday. The channel broadcasts from Russia’s lower house of parliament.
The world’s most popular streaming service said the Duma channel had been “terminated for a violation of YouTube’s Terms of Service.”
But Roskomnadzor, Russia’s telecom watchdog, is pushing Google, owner of YouTube, to lift those restrictions. In a statement released Saturday, the watchdog said the block on the YouTube channel restricts the flow of information.
“Roskomnadzor has demanded that the US-based Google LLC, the owner of the YouTube service, immediately restore access to the Russian State Duma’s ‘Duma TV’ YouTube channel and explain the reason for such restrictions,” a statement from Roskomnadzor read.
– Ana Faguy
Call it a new chapter in Moscow’s unrelenting propaganda war.
Russia’s Museum of Contemporary History on Tuesday launched a new exhibit tracing purported brutality by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the intergovernmental military alliance in which 28 European nations, the U.S. and Canada participate.
The exhibit, called “NATO: A Chronicle of Cruelty,” examines events including the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (which predated the creation of NATO by four years); the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia; the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the conflict in Syria. It also includes the war in Ukraine, which the museum describes as “current events in Ukraine” that “led to cooperation between Ukraine and NATO.”
The exhibit is based on photos from Russian state media and the museum’s collection of artifacts and documents relating to the Cold War period. It’s one of Russia’s latest efforts to control the narrative on the war in Ukraine.
– Ella Lee
The European Union adopted a fifth package of restrictions against the Russian regime for its invasion of Ukraine.
The latest measures, announced Friday by the EU’s European Commission, include an import ban on all Russian coal, a transaction ban and asset freeze imposed on an additional four Russian banks and a ban on Russian and Belarusian freight road operators from working in the EU.
The measure also extends import bans on cement, spirits, rubber products, wood and high-end seafood.
The sanctions are the European Commission’s latest attempt to increase the economic pressure on the Kremlin and limit the regime’s financial ability to further invade Ukraine.
The coal ban alone is projected to cost Russia about 8 billion euros in annual lost revenue. Targeted export bans on other items such as specialist catalysts used in the refinery industry to advanced semiconductors to quantum computing, are projected to cost Russia an additional 10 billion euros.
The European Council also banned Russian nationals and entities from procuring EU contracts.
– Ana Faguy
LONDON — Britain’s Ministry of Defense says Russian naval forces are launching cruise missiles into Ukraine to support military operations in the eastern Donbas region and around the cities of Mariupol and Mykolaiv.
In its Saturday morning briefing, the ministry said Russia’s air forces are expected to increase activity in the south and east of Ukraine to further support these operations.
The ministry said these actions come as attempts to establish a land corridor between Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, and Russian-controlled parts of the Donbas region “continue to be thwarted by Ukrainian resistance.”
The mayor of the encircled Ukrainian city of Mariupol said earlier this week that more than 5,000 civilians, including 210 children, have been killed during the month-long Russian siege.
Vadym Boichenko said Wednesday Russian forces bombed hospitals, including one where 50 people burned to death, and have destroyed more than 90% of the southern port city’s infrastructure.
– Associated Press
The International Monetary Fund Executive Board approved an Administered Account Friday for countries that want to securely provide direct financial assistance to Ukraine.
In a statement released Friday, the IMF said several member countries requested a secure way to help the war-torn country. And member countries aren’t alone, intergovernmental agencies and organizations who want to use the account will be able to as well.
The Canadian government already is considering using the Administered Account to disburse a one billion CAD allocated to Ukraine in their federal budget.
The announcement comes a month after the IMF Board approved $1.4 billion in emergency funding to assist with the economic impact of the war.
– Ana Faguy
50 killed in rocket strike on Kramatorsk train station
A rocket strike targeting a train station in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk Friday killed at least 50 people and injured dozens who were attempting to flee amid Russia’s new focus on the region, Ukrainian officials said.
There were about 4,000 civilians in and around the station when it was struck. According to regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko, 98 people were hospitalized, including 16 children. Five children were among the dead.
The Russians used an SS-21 short-range ballistic missile in the attack, according to a senior Defense official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence assessments. The Russian Defense Ministry denied targeting the station in Kramatorsk.
Microsoft disrupts cyberattacks against Ukraine
Microsoft intercepted cyberattacks from a Russian military-linked group of hackers targeting Ukrainian media organizations and U.S. and European think tanks and government institutions this week, the company said.
Microsoft said it obtained a court order on Wednesday to take control of seven internet domains used by the hackers, known as Strontium or Fancy Bear.
“We have since re-directed these domains to a sinkhole controlled by Microsoft, enabling us to mitigate Strontium’s current use of these domains and enable victim notifications,” Tom Burt, corporate vice president for customer security and trust, said in a statement.
UN: World food prices reach highest levels ever due to war
World food commodity prices reached their highest levels for the second month in a row, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization said in a Friday report.
The FAO Food Price Index averaged 159.3 points in March, about 13% up from February’s index level – already the highest level since the U.N. began tracking food prices with the index in 1990.
The agency credited ongoing war in the Black Sea region for the rising prices, noting the markets for staple grains and vegetable oils were particularly affected.
Over the last three years, Russia and Ukraine together accounted for 30% and 20% of global wheat and maize exports, respectively, according to the U.N.. The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index increased more than 23% in March, largely because of rising costs for sunflower seed oil, of which Ukraine is the world’s leading exporter.
Contributing: The Associated Press