Russia blocks Radio France Internationale, Moscow Times websites
Russia has blocked access to the websites of Radio France Internationale and the Russian-language service of The Moscow Times, the communications regulator said, in the latest restrictions on media since Russia invaded Ukraine. The Moscow Times, whose English-language website was unaffected, said in a statement the move was due to a story about the conflict in Ukraine. RFI, which broadcasts in 16 languages including Russian, said it had not been provided with an explanation.
China downplays top Russian scientist's charge that Beijing puts science cooperation on hold' post-Ukraine crisis
China on Friday downplayed the report that its scientists have withheld cooperation with their Russian counterparts after the Ukraine crisis, saying the bilateral collaboration in science and technology has been gaining momentum and has immense potential. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the China-Russia Year of Scientific and Technological Innovation was successfully held from 2020 to 2021, during which over 1,000 innovative cooperation and exchange activities were held, delivering fruitful results. This has opened new ground for future cooperation and testified to the immense potential and broad prospects of bilateral scientific and technological cooperation, he said. Zhao's remarks came in response to a claim made by Alexander Sergeev, President of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS).
US seafood imports fuel Russian war machine
A US ban on seafood imports from Russia over its invasion of Ukraine was supposed to sap billions of dollars from Vladimir Putin's war machine. But shortcomings in import regulations mean that Russian-caught pollock, salmon and crab are likely to enter the US anyway, by way of the country vital to seafood supply chains across the world: China. Like the US seafood industry, Russian companies rely heavily on China to process their catch. Once there, the seafood can be re-exported to the US as a product of China because the country of origin labelling isnt required.
Ukraine says Russia used long-range bombers on Mariupol; first time in war
Ukraine's defence ministry spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk said that for the first time since the start of its invasion, Russia used long-range bombers to attack the besieged port city of Mariupol. Motuzyanyk said Russia was concentrating its efforts on seizing the cities of Rubizhne, Popasna and Mariupol.
Russian Deputy PM says several buyers agree to pay in roubles for Russian gas
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said several buyers of the country's gas have agreed to switch to payments in roubles.
"We expect the decision (to switch to roubles) from other importers," he added, in comments published in the ministry's in-house magazine.
He did not disclose the identities of customers who had already switched.
Last month, Russia President Vladimir Putin had said that buyers of Russian gas from "unfriendly" countries should pay in roubles, a move rejected by European Union authorities under the bloc's sanctions regime against Moscow.
North Macedonia orders another six Russian diplomats to leave country
North Macedonia's Foreign Ministry on Friday ordered six Russian diplomats to leave the country over violations of diplomatic norms, the second such expulsion in less than a month, a statement said. A diplomatic note has been handed over to Sergey Bazdnikin, Russia's ambassador to Skopje and the diplomats have five days to leave the country, it said.
Officials from the Russian embassy in Skopje could not immediately be reached for comment.
North Macedonia is a NATO member and wants to join the European Union. On March 28, it had expelled five other Russian diplomats.
Ukraine's port of Mariupol holds out against all odds
Unbroken by a Russian blockade and relentless bombardment, the key port of Mariupol is still holding out, a symbol of staunch Ukrainian resistance that has thwarted the Kremlin's invasion plans. More than six weeks after the Russian siege began, Ukrainian troops are continuing to fight the vastly superior Russian forces in ferocious battles amid the ruins of what once was a bustling city on the Sea of Azov coast.
The Ukrainians' fight against all odds has scuttled Moscow's designs, tying up significant Russian forces and delaying the start of a planned Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine's industrial heartland, Donbas.
Russia promises to ramp up missile attacks
Russia's Defense Ministry on Friday promised to ramp up the scale of missile attacks on Kyiv in response to Ukraines diversions on the Russian territory, news agency AP reported. The statement comes a day after Russian authorities accused Ukrainian forces of launching airstrikes on residential buildings in one of the country's regions on the border with Ukraine, in which seven people sustained injuries.
According to Russian officials, some 100 residential buildings were damaged in Thursdays attack on the Klimovo village in the Bryansk region. The Defense Ministry said that the Russian forces in Ukraines Chernihiv region shut down a Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopter that was allegedly involved in the attack on the Bryansk region.
Authorities in another border region, Belgorod, also reported Ukrainian shelling on Thursday.
Ukraine says 2,557 people evacuated on Thursday
A total of 2,557 people were evacuated from Ukrainian cities through humanitarian corridors on Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.
Of that, 289 people evacuated from the besieged southern port of Mariupol by their own transport, Vereshchuk said in social media post.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy praises Ukraine's resolve
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy hailed his people for their resolve since Russia invaded in February and for making the most important decision of their life to fight. Zelenskyy told Ukrainians late on Thursday that they should be proud of having survived 50 days under Russian attack when the invaders gave us a maximum of five.
Back then even friendly world leaders urged him to leave, unsure whether Ukraine could survive, he said. "But they didn't know how brave Ukrainians are, how much we value freedom and the possibility to live the way we want." (Read more)
US preps new effort to crack down on Russian sanctions evasion
The United States is preparing new efforts to crack down on sanctions evasion by Russia, President Joe Biden's national security adviser said on Thursday.
"Where our focus will be over the course of the coming days is on evasion," national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in an interview at the Economic Club of Washington. "I think we'll have some announcements in the next week or two that identify targets that are trying to facilitate that evasion both inside Russia and beyond," he said, without giving details on the coming plans.
But Sullivan did say that Washington has no desire to give back yachts and other assets seized from people they see as oligarchs with ties to Putin. "The president is actively looking at how we can deal with the fact that as we seize these assets, our goal is not to give them back," he said. "Our goal is to put them to a better use than that. But I'll be careful in what I say today because there's an ongoing - kind of - policy process around how we end up dealing with that question. But rest assured that the goal is not just to sit on them for a while and then pass them all back."
US, Russia clash over cause of food price rises
The US ambassador to the United Nations accused Russia on Thursday of making the precarious food situation in Yemen and elsewhere even worse by invading Ukraine, calling it just another grim example of the ripple effect Russia's unprovoked, unjust, unconscionable war is having on the world's most vulnerable.