Ukraine war: US journalist shot dead, another injured in Kyiv suburb of Irpin

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Soldiers walk on a path as smoke billows from the town of Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv on Saturday

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Video journalist Brent Renauld was killed in the Kyiv suburb of Irpin on Sunday, while another journalist was injured, the Ukrainian authorities confirmed.

Although he was originally said to have been a correspondent for the New York Times, the US outlet issued a statement claiming he was not on assignment for them in Ukraine.

Russian forces fired eight rockets at the Yavoriv military range 30 kilometres northwest of Lviv in western Ukraine, expanding its offensive closer to the border with Poland.

Moscow is trying to create new puppet republics in Ukraine similar to the two in Donbas to break his country apart, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly address to the nation Saturday.

In another ceasefire violation, seven Ukrainian civilians, including a child, died when the Russian army shelled a humanitarian convoy of refugees near Kyiv and forced them to turn back, Ukrainian authorities claim.

09:59

Sunday’s main developments:

    Russian forces carried an attack on a military range near Lviv, expanding the offensive to western Ukraine.Overnight, significant fighting continued in Irpin and Makariv near Kyiv, while Chernihiv came under heavy bombardment. At least one residential building was destroyed in the Russian attack, with one person dead and seven reported injured.In Luhansk, the cities of Severodonetsk, Rubizhne, Lysychansk and Popasna are under constant fire. In the Donetsk region, Mariupol remains under siege.The humanitarian crisis worsens as gas, water and electricity shortages continue to affect the residents of many cities, including the besieged southern port of Mariupol.Ukrainian authorities again accused Russia of violating the ceasefire agreement and opening fire on “humanitarian corridors”. Just nine of 14 agreed-upon corridors were open on Saturday, with 13,000 people evacuated on them around the country. At least 2.5 million people have fled Ukraine in the two weeks since Russia invaded it, UNHCR said.Read an overview of the main events on Saturday here. 

13:47

Pope Francis: ‘In the name of God, I ask, stop this massacre’

Pope Francis has decried the “barbarianism” of killing children and other defenceless civilians in Ukraine and pleaded to stop the attacks “before cities are reduced to cemeteries”.

In some of his most vigorous denunciations yet of the war in Ukraine, and in an apparent reference to Russia, which invaded Ukraine on 24 February, the pontiff said that “there are no strategic reasons that hold up” in the face of such armed aggression.

Francis told about 25,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his customary Sunday noon appearance that Mariupol, the southern Ukrainian city that “bears the name” of the Virgin Mary, has “become a city martyred by the heartbreaking war that is devastating Ukraine.”

“In the name of God, I ask: ‘Stop this massacre,’” Francis said, sparking applause from the pilgrims, tourists and Romans, some of whom held Ukrainian flags, in the square.

Francis prayed for an end to the bombings and other attacks and for ensuring that humanitarian corridors “are safe and secure.”

12:58

Soviet drone that crashed near Zagreb contained explosives, Croatian minister of defence says

The large military drone that crashed on the outskirts of the Croatian capital Zagreb on Thursday night had “airplane bomb” parts, Minister of Defence Mario Banožić said on Sunday.

“Traces of explosives were found, as well as other traces that indicate that this was not a scouting aircraft,” he told the gathered press in Zagreb.

“We found airplane bomb parts and have concluded that it was also Soviet-made.” 

The 1970s-made missile-like drone Tu-141 is currently in use by Ukrainian forces, but Banožić said that the Russian military could have launched the aircraft. 

“There are elements indicating it could have come from either side,” he stated.

A black box has been retrieved, and its contents are being analysed. Banožić also stated that Croatia will work together with NATO — who are conducting a parallel investigation — to try and retrace the drone’s point of origin.

12:30

Ukrainian defence minister calls for closed skies once again

Minister of Defence Oleksii Reznikov has called on NATO to immediately implement a no-fly zone after a Russian missile attack on the Yavoriv training facility near Lviv in western Ukraine.

“Russia has attacked the International Centre for Peacekeeping and Security near Lviv. Foreign instructors work here,” Reznikov said on Twitter. “This is new terrorist attack on peace & security near the EU-NATO border. Action must be taken to stop this. Close the sky!”

12:24

Israeli FM openly condemns Kremlin’s actions

Israel’s foreign minister condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, calling on Moscow to halt its attacks and end the conflict.

Yair Lapid’s criticism Sunday is among the strongest that has come from Israeli officials since the war began. His remarks set him apart from Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who has stopped short of condemning Russia.

Israel has walked a fine line in its response to the crisis. Bennett has voiced support for the Ukrainian people, and the country has sent humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

But Israel relies on Russia for security coordination in Syria, where Moscow has a military presence and where Israeli aircraft have frequently struck enemy targets over recent years.

Bennett has been attempting to mediate between the Kremlin and Kyiv.

Lapid made his remarks in Bucharest, Romania, where he met his Romanian counterpart.

11:07

Nine killed, 57 wounded in Yavoriv missile strike

At least nine people were killed and 57 wounded when a Russian airstrike hit a military training base in western Ukraine close to the Polish border, a local official said Sunday.

The governor of the Lviv region, Maksym Kozytskyi, said Russian forces fired more than 30 cruise missiles at the Yavoriv military range, located 30 kilometres northwest of the city of Lviv and 35 kilometres from Ukraine’s border with Poland.

The United States and NATO have regularly sent instructors to the range, also known as the International Peacekeeping and Security Center, to train Ukrainian military personnel. 

Russian fighters also fired at the airport in Ivano-Frankivsk, a city in western Ukraine located 250 kilometres from Ukraine’s border with Slovakia and Hungary.

10:16

One Ukrainian refugee died, several injured in bus accident in Italy

Italian state radio says a bus carrying about 50 refugees from Ukraine has overturned on a major highway in northern Italy, killing a passenger and injuring several others, none of them seriously.

RAI radio said one woman died, and the rest of those aboard the bus were safely evacuated after the accident early Sunday near Forli’. It wasn’t immediately clear where the bus was headed.

Some 35,000 Ukrainian refugees who fled the war have entered Italy, most of them through its northeastern border with Slovenia.

Forli’ is in the region of Emilia-Romagna, which borders the Adriatic Sea and has taken in some 7,000 refugees.

The accident is under investigation.

10:03

Zelenskyy: Moscow wants to set up new puppet states in Ukraine

Russia is trying to create new “pseudo-republics” in Ukraine to break his country apart, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly address to the nation Saturday.

Zelenskyy called on Ukraine’s regions, including Kherson, which was captured by Russian forces, not to repeat the experience of Donetsk and Luhansk. Pro-Russian separatists began fighting Ukrainian forces in those eastern regions in 2014.

“The occupiers on the territory of the Kherson region are trying to repeat the sad experience of the formation of pseudo-republics,” Zelenskyy said. “They are blackmailing local leaders, putting pressure on deputies, looking for someone to bribe.”

City council members in Kherson, a southern city of 290,000, on Saturday rejected plans for a new pseudo-republic, Zelenskyy said.

10:01

Russia fired on civilian convoys again, Ukrainian authorities claim

Seven Ukrainian civilians, including a child, died when the Russian army shelled a humanitarian convoy of refugees and forced them to turn back, Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense said.

The seven were among hundreds of people who tried to flee the village of Peremoha, 20 kilometres northeast of Kyiv. An unknown number of people were wounded in the shelling, the report added.

Moscow has said it would establish humanitarian corridors out of conflict zones, but Ukrainian officials have accused Russia of disrupting those paths and firing on civilians.

On Saturday, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said just nine of 14 agreed-upon corridors were open on Saturday, and that about 13,000 people were evacuated on them around the country.

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