Russia should be financially responsible for the destruction it has inflicted during its invasion, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy contends.
Speaking on the third anniversary of his inauguration, Zelenskyy said in his nightly address Friday that Russia should be made to pay for every home, school, hospital and business it destroys.
Zelenskyy urged allies to seize Russian properties under their jurisdictions and use them to create a fund for the Ukrainian victims of the war.
“That would be fair,” Zelenskyy said. “Russia would feel the true weight of every missile, every bomb, every shell that it has fired at us.”
On Friday, a Russian strike destroyed a Ukrainian cultural center in Lozova, injuring seven people. Zelenskyy called the attack “absolute evil.”
“What is in the minds of people who choose such targets? Absolute evil, absolute stupidity,” he said.
Mapping and tracking Russia’s invasion: See where Russian forces are moving within Ukraine
►Russia is set to cut off Finland’s supply of natural gas on Saturday after the Finns refused to pay for it in rubles, according to Finland’s state-owned utility Gasum. Company executives said the move wouldn’t create disruptions for customers during the summer.
►President Joe Biden is expected to sign legislation providing $40 billion in additional aid to Ukraine while traveling in Asia, according to Jake Sullivan, his national security adviser.
►The Group of Seven leading economies agreed Friday to provide $19.8 billion in economic aid to Ukraine to help keep tight finances from hindering its ability to defend itself from Russia’s invasion.
Russia claims it has full control of Mariupol steel mill
Russian officials on Friday claimed their forces have “completely liberated” the Azovstal steel mill in Mariupol, the last holdout of Ukrainian forces, in what would be its biggest victory yet in its war with Ukraine.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reported to Russian President Vladimir Putin that Russia now has full control of Mariupol. The fall of Azovstal
The last 531 Ukrainian fighters surrendered to Russian forces on Friday, according to Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti. A Russian state TV correspondent said on Telegram that among those surrendering Friday was Denys Prokopenko, commander of the Azov regiment.
Prokopenko said earlier Friday that the defenders of Mariupol received an order to “cease the defense of the city” in order to “save lives and health of the servicemen of the garrison.”
The Russian claims were not confirmed by Ukrainian officials.
Russia steps up attacks on key site in Donbas region
For weeks, Russian forces have been trying to seize Severodonetsk, a key site in the Donbas that’s outside the territory separatists have held for several years. They stepped up attacks there and in Lysychansk on Friday.
Luhansk Gov. Serhiy Haidai said Friday that Russian forces now have control of 90% of the Severodonetsk region.
Three adults were killed in a Friday attack on a school where about 200 people, including many children, were taking shelter in Severodonetsk, Haidai said on Telegram. In another attack, 60 houses were destroyed and 12 people killed, Hadai said. But, Hadai also said that the “the Russians suffered personnel losses and retreated.”
Haidai said on Telegram that Russian forces “just want to destroy the city.”
Putin: Western cyberattacks against Russia ‘an outright aggression’
Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country has faced a barrage of cyberattacks from the West amid the invasion of Ukraine but has successfully fended them off.
Speaking Friday to members of Russia’s Security Council, Putin noted that “the challenges in this area have become even more pressing, serious and extensive.”
He charged that “an outright aggression has been unleashed against Russia, a war has been waged in the information space.”
Putin added that “the cyber-aggression against us, the same as the attack on Russia by sanctions in general, has failed.”
He ordered officials to “perfect and enhance the mechanisms of ensuring information security at critically important industrial facilities which have a direct bearing on our country’s defensive capability, and the stable development of the economic and social spheres.”
Contributing: The Associated Press