The Prosecutor General’s Office in Ukraine said a total of 112 children have died in the country since the start of the Russian invasion. The office says more than 140 children have been injured since February 24. According to the United Nations children’s agency, more than 1.5 million children have fled Ukraine. Most families fled to Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Moldova and Romania. UNCIEF says women and girls traveling alone are particularly at risk of gender-based violence. ___ KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIAN-UKRAINE WAR: — Russia attacked the outskirts of the western city of Lviv, a crossroads for people fleeing the war and for others entering to provide aid or fight.
– President Vladimir Putin appeared at a large patriotic rally in Moscow and praised the Russian military – President Joe Biden and China’s Xi Jinping spoke as the White House seeks to deter Beijing to provide assistance to Russia.
– Rescuers search for survivors in a Mariupol theater hit by a Russian airstrike; 130 people rescued, hundreds still missing – An estimated 6.5 million people have been internally displaced in Ukraine, in addition to the 3.2 million who have already fled the country – Go to https:/ /apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine for more coverage ___ OTHER DEVELOPMENTS TODAY: LVIV, Ukraine – In the beleaguered port city of Mariupol, Ukrainian and Russian forces battle for the Azovstal steelworks, the one of the largest in Europe, Vadym Denysenko, adviser to the Ukrainian interior minister, said in televised remarks on Saturday.
“Now there is a fight for Azovstal. … I can say that we have lost this economic giant. In fact, one of the largest metallurgical plants in Europe is being destroyed,” Denysenko said.
___ LVIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russian forces were blockading Ukraine’s largest cities to create a “humanitarian catastrophe” in an effort to persuade Ukrainians to cooperate with them.
He says the Russians are preventing supplies from reaching the encircled towns in the center and southeast of the country.
“It’s a totally deliberate tactic,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address to the nation, filmed outside Kyiv, with the presidential office in lamplight behind him.
He said more than 9,000 people were able to leave besieged Mariupol in the past day, and in total more than 180,000 people were able to flee to safety through humanitarian corridors.
He again called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to speak directly with him. “It’s time to meet, to talk,” he said. “I want to be heard by everyone, especially in Moscow.” He noted that the 200,000 people Putin gathered in and around a Moscow stadium on Friday for a flag rally were roughly the same number of Russian troops sent to Ukraine three weeks ago.
Zelenskyy then asked his audience to imagine the stadium filled with thousands of Russians who were killed, injured or maimed in the fighting.
___ NEW YORK — Three Russian cosmonauts have arrived at the International Space Station dressed in yellow and blue flight suits to match the Ukrainian flag.
The men were the first new arrivals on the space station since the start of the Russian war in Ukraine last month.
Video of one of the cosmonauts taken as the capsule prepared to dock with the space station showed him wearing a blue flight suit. It was unclear what message, if any, the yellow uniforms they wore were meant to send.
Oleg Artemyev was asked about the yellow flight suits when the newly arrived cosmonauts were able to talk to their family on Earth.
He said each crew picks their own flight suits, so they’re not all the same.
“It became our turn to choose a color. But in fact, we had accumulated a lot of yellow material so we had to use it. That’s why we had to wear yellow,” he said.
Artemyev, Denis Matveyev and Sergey Korsakov successfully lifted off from Russia’s leased launch facility at Baikonur in Kazakhstan in their Soyuz MS-21 spacecraft at 8:55 p.m. Friday (11:55 a.m. EDT). They docked smoothly at the station just over three hours later, joining two Russians, four Americans and a German on the orbiting outpost.
___ LVIV, Ukraine – Ukraine lost access to the Sea of Azov during Russia’s siege of the southern port city of Mariupol, the Ukrainian General Staff announced on Friday.
Mariupol is the main commercial port of the Sea of Azov, which is connected to the much larger Black Sea by a narrow strait.
The General Staff said Russian forces were still trying to storm Mariupol and fighting continued. It was not clear from his statement if the Russians took over the town.
___ KYIV, Ukraine – Ukraine’s Interior Minister said Friday that it will take years to defuse unexploded ordnance after the Russian invasion.
Speaking to The Associated Press in the beleaguered Ukrainian capital, Denys Monastyrsky said the country will need Western help to tackle the daunting task once the war is over.
“A large number of shells and mines were fired at Ukraine and a large part did not explode, they remain under rubble and pose a real threat,” Monastyrsky said. “It will take years, not months, to defuse them.” In addition to Russian unexploded ordnance, Ukrainian troops have also planted landmines on bridges, airports and other key infrastructure to prevent the Russians from using them.
“We will not be able to clear all of this territory, so I have asked our international partners and our colleagues in the European Union and the United States to prepare groups of experts to clear the combat zones and the bombed installations. ,” Monastyrsky told the AP.
He noted that another major challenge is dealing with the fires caused by the relentless Russian barrages. He said there was a desperate shortage of personnel and equipment to deal with the fires amid constant shelling.
___ UNITED NATIONS – Russia’s first deputy ambassador to the UN says Twitter blocked his account, accusing him of “abuse and harassment”, over a tweet about a maternity hospital in the beleaguered city of Mariupol, in southern Ukraine.
“It’s very deplorable,” Dmitry Polyansky told reporters after a UN Security Council meeting on Friday, “and it clearly illustrates how much alternative vision, free press and free information are valued by Twitter and in this country”. Polyansky, who had more than 22,000 followers and was a prolific Twitter user, said he received a message earlier Friday from Twitter’s cloud service saying he was breaking Twitter rules and was “involved in abuse.” and harassment”. He said Twitter was referring to his warning in a March 7 tweet “that the Mariupol hospital had been turned into a military object by radicals. Very disturbing that the UN is spreading misinformation without verification. Associated Press reporters, who have been reporting from inside blockaded Mariupol since the start of the war, documented the March 10 attack on the maternity ward and saw the casualties and damage firsthand. They filmed videos and photos of several bloodstained pregnant mothers fleeing the destroyed maternity ward as medical workers screamed and children cried.
(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)