– The Biden administration pledged on Saturday to ship an additional $200 million worth of weapons and equipment to Ukraine. Just before the announcement, Russia warned that it would consider all weapons en route to Ukraine as “legitimate targets” for attack, the New York Times reports. Javelin anti-tank missiles and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles will be included in the delivery, bringing the total of US weapons sent to Ukraine over the past year to $1.2 billion. Other developments included:
- The attack on Mariupol: The southern city is shelled “around the clock”, President Volodymyr Zelensky said, according to the AP. Ukrainian officials said Russian soldiers abducted the city’s mayor, Ivan Fyodorov, on Friday evening. Despite the presence of Russian soldiers on the spot, hundreds of people took to the streets on Saturday to demand his release, shouting: “Fire the mayor! until the troops put an end to the demonstration. Zelensky said the kidnapping demonstrates how false Russian propaganda is; the mayor is an ethnic Russian who one would expect to cooperate. “For years they lied to each other saying that the Ukrainians were supposedly waiting for Russia to come,” Zelensky said. “They did not find collaborators who would hand over the city and power to the invaders.”
- The Battle of Kyiv: The capital was also shelled, and British intelligence showed that most of the Russian forces were about 15 miles from the center of Kiev, by CNN. Street-to-street fighting was reported in the suburb of Irpin.
- An attack on civilians: Ukraine reported that Russian troops opened fire on a group of women and children trying to flee a village in the Kyiv region. Seven people, including a child, were killed.
- Death toll: Zelensky said that Russian forces have killed about 1,300 Ukrainian soldiers since the start of the invasion, according to the Washington Post. More than 500 Russian soldiers surrendered on Friday, he said.
- Putin’s call: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron spent nearly 90 minutes on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin trying to broker a ceasefire. Zelensky said he would meet Putin in Jerusalem to negotiate, provided a ceasefire was in effect. Macron called the conversation with Putin, who repeated his terms, “difficult”.
(Read more stories about the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.)