The third phase of the initiative focuses on proactively creating a fundamental shift in the mindset of government sector employees
Russian President Vladimir Putin praised his country’s troops at a huge flag-waving rally in Moscow as Russian forces strike Ukrainian cities from a distance again, pounding the capital of Kyiv and the country’s west.
The war is now in its fourth week. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky again appealed to Putin to hold talks with him directly.
Zelensky also said in his Friday night time video address to the nation that more than 9,000 people were able to leave besieged Mariupol in the past day, and in all more than 180,000 people have been able to flee through humanitarian corridors.
The UN migration agency says the fighting has displaced nearly 6.5 million people inside Ukraine, on top of the 3.2 million refugees who have already fled the country. Ukraine says thousands have been killed.
11.50pm: Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv facing air raids
Russian air raids on Mykolaiv were taking place in quick succession Saturday, a regional official said, a day after a deadly strike on a military barracks in the southern Ukrainian city.
Vitaly Kim, head of the regional administration, said there wasn't even enough time to raise the alarm over the raids "because by the time we announce this tornado, it's already there".
"The (alert) message and the bombings arrive at the same time," he said on social media.
11.05pm: Ukraine says 6,623 people were evacuated from cities on Saturday
A total of 6,623 people were evacuated from Ukrainian cities through humanitarian corridors on Saturday, a senior official said, considerably fewer than managed to escape the previous day.
Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the president’s office, said in an online post that 4,128 people had left the besieged city of Mariupol. On Friday, he said 9,145 people had managed to leave cities across the country during the day.
9.20pm: Boris Johnson: Russian win would bring ‘age of intimidation’
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Saturday that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was a “turning point for the world,” arguing that a victory for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces would herald “a new age of intimidation.”
But the British leader was accused by opponents of making a crass comparison by likening Ukraine’s fight against invasion to the U.K.’s exit from the European Union.
8.30pm: Russia warns of Ukrainian mines in Black Sea
Russia on Saturday warned that mines that Ukrainians had deployed in the Black Sea against its "military operation" could drift as far as the Straits of Bosphrous and the Mediterranean Sea.
"After the start of the Russian special military operation, Ukrainian naval forces had deployed barriers of mines around the ports of Odessa, Ochakov, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny," the FSB security service said in a statement, adding that the mines were "dilapidated" and made in the first half of the 20th century.
7.40pm: Troops push deeper into Mariupol as locals plead for help
Russian forces pushed deeper into Ukraine’s besieged and battered port city of Mariupol on Saturday, where heavy fighting shut down a major steel plant and local authorities pleaded for more Western help.
The fall of Mariupol, the scene of some of the war’s worst suffering, would mark a major battlefield advance for the Russians, who are largely bogged down outside major cities more than three weeks into the biggest land attack in Europe since World War II.
5.25pm: Dozens dead after military barracks hit in Mykolaiv
Dozens of soldiers were killed after Russian troops struck a Ukrainian military barracks in the southern city of Mykolaiv, witnesses told AFP on Saturday while a rescue operation was underway.
"No fewer than 200 soldiers were sleeping in the barracks" when Russian troops struck early Friday, a Ukrainian serviceman on the ground, 22-year-old Maxim, told AFP without providing his last name.
"At least 50 bodies have been recovered, but we do not know how many others are in the rubble," he said.
1.33pm: Shelling kills nine in outskirts of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia, deputy mayor says
Nine people were killed and 17 wounded in shelling of the suburbs of the city of Zaporizhzhia in southern Ukraine on Friday, deputy mayor Anatoliy Kurtiev said on Saturday.
The military has since declared a 38-hour curfew in Zaporizhzhia, which was being attacked by Russian forces with mortars, tanks, helicopters and rocket systems, Kurtiev said in an online post.
1.19pm: Ukraine says 10 humanitarian corridors agreed with Russians
Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk announced Saturday that 10 humanitarian corridors have been agreed on with the Russians.
They include a corridor from the besieged port city of Mariupol, several in the Kyiv region and several in the Luhansk region.
She also announced plans to deliver humanitarian aid to the city of Kherson, which is currently under control of the Russian forces.
12.03pm: Big steel plant ‘being destroyed’ in Mariupol
In the besieged port city of Mariupol, Ukrainian and Russian forces are fighting for the Azovstal steel plant, one of the biggest in Europe, said Vadym Denysenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister, 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 actually being destroyed,” Denysenko said.
11.53am: Ukraine military orders 38-hour curfew in southern Zaporizhzhia city, says official
The Ukrainian military imposed a 38-hour curfew in the southern city of Zaporizhzhia, starting at 1400 GMT on Saturday and ending early on Monday, deputy mayor Anatoliy Kurtiev said.
“Do not go outside at this time!” he said in an online post.
The regional capital has become an important point of transit for some of the 35,000 people estimated to have fled the besieged Mariupol city in the south-east.
10.42am: Humanitarian corridor for evacuation in Ukraine’s Luhansk region will be open on Saturday - governor
A humanitarian corridor for evacuations in Ukraine’s Luhansk region will be opened on Saturday morning, regional governor Serhiy Gaiday said on Telegram.
“A humanitarian corridor has been agreed, we will try to evacuate people and bring food today. A ‘regime of silence’ has been agreed for March 19, starting at 9 a.m. (0700 GMT),” Gaiday said.
9.38am: Zelensky calls for fresh talks, Russia says entered Mariupol centre
Ukraine’s leader Volodymyr Zelensky made a fresh appeal for talks with Moscow Saturday, while Russia said its soldiers had entered the centre of besieged port city Mariupol.
As bitter fighting between local forces and Russian troops rages across the country more than three weeks into the assault, the two sides are already holding negotiations remotely.
8.43am: Last apps standing?: Telegram, WhatsApp duck Russia bans
Chat platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram have avoided being blocked by Russia — unlike some of the world’s biggest social networks.
YouTube, which has barred channels linked to Russian state media globally, was on Friday also facing a direct threat of being blocked after Russia’s media regulator, Roskomnadzor, accused the site’s owner Google of being “anti-Russian.”
Messaging apps, however, have gotten a pass so far in part because Meta-owned WhatsApp is less suited for mass communication, while Telegram’s ability to blast information to large groups has made it useful both for independent media and the Kremlin.
7.59am: Russian President Putin appears at big rally as troops press attack in Ukraine
Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared at a huge flag-waving rally at a packed Moscow stadium Friday and lavished praise on his troops fighting in Ukraine, three weeks into the assault that has led to heavier-than-expected Russian losses on the battlefield and increasingly authoritarian rule at home.
Meanwhile, the leader of Russia’s delegation in diplomatic talks with Ukraine said the sides have narrowed their differences. The Ukrainian side said its position remained unchanged.
7.15am: Zelensky appeals to Putin for talks
“It’s time to meet, time to speak,” he said. “I want to be heard by everyone, especially in Moscow.”
6.54am: Zelensky says 9,000 leave besieged Mariupol
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says Russian forces are blockading Ukraine’s largest cities to create a “humanitarian catastrophe” with the aim of persuading Ukrainians to cooperate with them.
He says Russians are preventing supplies from reaching surrounded cities in the centre and south-east of the country.
“This is a totally deliberate tactic,” Zelensky said in his night-time video address to the nation, filmed outside in Kyiv, with the presidential office in the lamplight behind him.
He said more than 9,000 people were able to leave besieged Mariupol in the past day, and in all more than 180,000 people have been able to flee to safety through humanitarian corridors.
He again appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to hold talks with him directly.
Thai ambassador noted that completion of the agreement and strong participation in the upcoming COP28 are his top priorities in the coming months
More than 180 Arab citizens in Israel have been killed in crime-related violence since January — a seven-year high — in a spate of killings
During the Arab Media Forum, the Emirati astronaut also spoke of how much his father taught him, despite not attending college himself
The superstar regularly replies to fan messages on X (formerly known as Twitter) every Tuesday