Ukraine War: All the key developments you need to know from Friday

Outrage in Kyiv after Amnesty accuses it of endangering civilian lives

Ukraine has reacted with fury to an Amnesty International report that accuses it of disregarding civilians in the country’s fight against Russia.

In a report, the aid organization claimed that the Ukrainian army had endangered civilians by placing bases and weapons in residential areas – including schools and hospitals – as it sought to repel the Russian invasion.

“Ukraine’s tactics violated international humanitarian law as they turned civilian objects into military targets,” Amnesty said. “The subsequent Russian strikes in populated areas killed civilians and destroyed civilian infrastructure.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy denounced the findings.

Amnesty “transfers the responsibility from the aggressor to the victim,” he said in his daily video address, accusing the NGO of “attempting to grant amnesty to the terrorist state” of Russia.

On Friday evening, the head of Amnesty International Ukraine resigned. Oksana Pokalchuk said her team was not consulted on the report.

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Putin seeks to expand economic ties with Turkey by hosting Erdogan in Sochi

Moscow is seeking a deal to boost economic cooperation with Ankara, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday as he received his counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the southern city of Sochi.

The meeting came as the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine continued well into its sixth month.

“I hope that today we can sign a memorandum on strengthening our economic and trade ties,” Putin said at the start of the meeting with Erdoğan, broadcast on Russian television.

The head of the Kremlin thanked the Turkish president for his efforts to reach an agreement between Moscow and Kyiv on the delivery of grain from Ukrainian Black Sea ports.

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Zelenskyy accuses Russia of ‘nuclear terrorism’ over power plant attack

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Friday that Russia must take responsibility for the “act of terror” at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, one of the largest in Europe.

The factory is occupied by the Russian army and has been the target of airstrikes that Moscow and Kyiv accuse each other of having carried out.

“Today the occupiers have created another extremely risky situation for all of Europe: they have twice struck the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhia, the largest on our continent,” Zelensky said in a video message.

“Any bombing of this site is a shameless crime, an act of terror. Russia must take responsibility for the very fact of creating a threat to a nuclear power plant,” he continued.

A high-voltage line was damaged during the latest attack, causing one of the plant’s reactors to shut down.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Tuesday that the situation was “volatile” at the Zaporizhia power plant and was becoming “more and more dangerous by the day”.

During the takeover of the plant in March, the Russian army opened fire on the buildings on the site, posing the risk of a major nuclear accident.

Three more grain shipments leave Ukraine

Three other ships carrying thousands of tonnes of corn left Ukrainian ports on Friday and traveled through mined waters to inspect their delayed cargo, a sign that an international grain export deal suspended since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia was progressing slowly. But major hurdles await us in getting food to the countries that need it most.

Ships bound for Ireland, the UK and Turkey are following the first cargo of grain to cross the Black Sea since the start of the war. The ship’s passage to Lebanon earlier this week was the first under the landmark deal brokered by Turkey and the United Nations with Russia and Ukraine.

The first ships to leave are among more than a dozen bulk carriers and cargo ships loaded months ago but stuck in ports since the Russian invasion in late February. While the resumption of shipments has raised hopes of easing a global food crisis, much of the saved cargo is for animal feed, not human consumption, experts say.

The Black Sea region is dubbed the breadbasket of the world, with Ukraine and Russia being the world’s main suppliers of wheat, maize, barley and sunflower oil on which millions of poor people in Africa depend. , the Middle East and parts of Asia for their survival.

However, initial shipments are not expected to have a significant impact on the world price of corn, wheat and soybeans. Exports under the deal are starting slowly and cautiously due to the threat of explosive mines floating off Ukraine’s Black Sea coast.

And while Ukraine is a major wheat exporter to developing countries, there are other countries, such as the United States and Canada, with much higher production levels that can affect world wheat prices. . And they face the threat of drought.

Russia bans dozens of Canadians under new sanctions

Russia announced Friday that it would ban the entry into its territory of 62 Canadians, including political and military officials, priests and journalists, in response to recent Canadian sanctions targeting Russian personalities.

This decision was taken “in view of the particularly hostile nature of the regime of (Canadian) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau” and in response to actions intended to “insult not only the multinational and multi-faith people of Russia, but also the Orthodox believers of the whole world “. the world,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a press release.

Canada has imposed a series of sanctions against Moscow in recent months because of the Ukrainian conflict, which have notably targeted Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Some of the Canadians on Friday’s list include Canadian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Adrien Blanchard; Catholic priest and editor of Convivum magazine Raymond J. de Souza; Canadian Armed Forces Intelligence Commander Michael Charles Wright; as well as several advisers to Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and LGBT activist Brent Hawkes.