Ukraine war live updates: Zelenskyy says fighting back ‘the most important decision of our lives’

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks from Kyiv on Thursday, 14 April 2022


It is day 51 of the war in Ukraine, as Russian forces are expected to begin a new big offensive in the east of the country after their retreat from the Kyiv region and other parts of the country revealed growing evidence of human rights atrocities.

Despite Moscow’s blanket denials, horrific discoveries of civilian murders, torture and other barbaric acts continue coming to light, with Ukrainian authorities claiming tens of thousands of civilian casualties in Mariupol alone.

Kyiv forces continue to prepare for the renewed assault, while Western nations keep tightening sanctions against Moscow and NATO and condemnations of Vladimir Putin’s actions continue to grow.

Follow Friday’s events as they unfold in our blog below, or watch TV coverage in the video player above.


Friday’s key points:

    In his nightly address on Thursday, Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised the courage of his compatriots in fighting back for almost eight weeks after Moscow “gave us five days”.

    The flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet has sunk after it was badly damaged and its crew evacuated due to a possible Ukrainian missile hit on Thursday. The Kremlin claims it was due to a fire that broke out on the vessel, not an attack.

    Russia has threatened a military build-up should Finland or Sweden join NATO.

    Kyiv said it’s reached an agreement with Moscow to reopen humanitarian corridors in Mariupol.

    Russia claims Ukraine has struck its territory with airstrikes. This cannot be independently verified. 

    More than 4.6 million refugees have fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, with millions being displaced internally, mostly in the western parts of the country.

    Additionally, 4.8 million of Ukraine’s 7.5 million children have been displaced since 24 February, said UNICEF.


Ukrainian lawmakers back resolution declaring Russian invasion ‘genocide’

Ukraine’s parliament passed a resolution on Thursday recognising the actions of the Russian military in the country as “genocide”.

“The actions committed by the armed forces of Russia are not just a crime of aggression, but […] the systematic and consistent destruction of the Ukrainian people, their identity and the deprivation of their right to self-determination and independent development,” the text approved by a majority of 363 out of the 450 Verkhovna Rada lawmakers said.

“This requires immediate recognition of the actions committed by the armed forces of Russia during the last phase of the aggression against Ukraine, which began on 24 February 2022, as a genocide of the Ukrainian people,” an online statement said.

The resolution from the Ukrainian parliament also called for appeals to be sent to foreign governments, parliaments and the UN to recognise Russia’s war as genocide.


Zelenskyy praises Ukrainians for resolve in fighting back Russian invasion

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told Ukrainians on Thursday they should be proud of having survived 50 days under Russian attack when the Russians “gave us a maximum of five”.

In his late-night video address, Zelenskyy called it “an achievement of millions of Ukrainians, of everyone who on 24 February made the most important decision of their life – to fight.”

Zelenskyy gave an extensive and almost poetic listing of the many ways in which Ukrainians have helped to fend off the Russian troops, including “those who showed that Russian warships can sail away, even if it’s to the bottom” of the sea.

It was his only reference to the Russian missile cruiser Moskva, which sank after being hit by Neptune missiles, according to Kyiv’s claims.

Zelenskyy said he remembered the first day of the invasion when many world leaders, unsure whether Ukraine could survive, advised him to leave the country.

“But they didn’t know how brave Ukrainians are, how much we value freedom and the possibility to live the way we want,” Zelenskyy said.


Siberian journalists arrested, indicted for ‘deliberately false information’ 

Russian news reports say a criminal case has been opened against a Siberian journalist whose news website had published content critical of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.

Mikhail Afanasyev, the chief editor of Novy Fokus in the Russian region of Khakassia, was arrested by security forces Wednesday over the website’s reporting on 11 riot police who had allegedly refused deployment to Ukraine as part of Russia’s military action there.

Afanasyev was accused Thursday of disseminating “deliberately false information” about the Russian armed forces, an offence carrying a maximum 10-year jail sentence, according to a law passed in early March.

Another Siberia-based journalist was also arrested Wednesday on suspicion of breaching Russia’s new laws on the media coverage of the situation in Ukraine.

Sergei Mikhailov, the founder of the LIStok weekly newspaper based in the Republic of Altay, was reportedly placed in pre-trial detention over the outlet’s alleged “calls for sanctions against Russia”.


Kremlin accuses Kyiv of attacking Russian territory again

Russian authorities have accused Ukrainian forces of launching airstrikes on the Russian region of Bryansk which borders Ukraine, the latest in a series of allegations of cross-border attacks by Kyiv on Russian territory.

Russia’s Investigative Committee alleged that two Ukrainian military helicopters entered Russia’s air space on Thursday and, “moving at low altitude, acting deliberately, they carried out at least six air strikes on residential buildings in the village of Klimovo,” about 11 kilometres away from the Russian border.

Earlier on Thursday, Russia’s state security service, or the FSB, also accused Ukrainian forces of firing mortars at a border post in the Bryansk region on Wednesday.

The reports could not be independently verified.


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