The latest developments on the Russia-Ukraine war:
ZAGREB, Croatia — A drone has crashed on the outskirts of Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, and is suspected of having flown all the way from the Ukrainian war zone.
Croatian authorities said Friday the overnight crash caused a loud blast but no injuries.
A statement issued after Croatia’s National Security Council meeting said the “pilotless military aircraft” entered Croatian airspace from neighboring Hungary at a speed of 700 kph (430 mph) and an altitude of 1,300 meters (4,300 feet).
That means the large drone flew at least 350 miles (560 kilometers) apparently undetected by air defenses in Croatia and Hungary. Both countries are members of NATO.
Military experts of The War Zone online magazine said that the aircraft is likely a Soviet-era Tu-141 “Strizh” reconnaissance drone that must have severely malfunctioned. They said that Ukraine is the only known current operator of the Tu-141.
TEL AVIV, Israel — Ukraine’s ambassador to Israel is calling on the country to join its Western allies in slapping sanctions on Russia.
Yevgen Korniychuck told reporters Friday that it was the “moral obligation” of Israeli companies to suspend business in Russia, as many Western firms have done.
Korniychuck also indicated that Israel’s attempt at mediating between Kyiv and Moscow appeared to have stalled, saying it was “unclear” where the mediation stood and that he was not aware of “any immediate tasks” taken up by Israel on the matter.
Israel is one of the few countries with good working relations with both Ukraine and Russia. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has repeatedly expressed support for the Ukrainian people, and Israel has sent humanitarian aid to the country, but he has stopped short of condemning Russia for its incursion.
That middle ground helped pave the way for Bennett to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin last Saturday in an attempt to mediate between the sides.
Mediation efforts by Turkey, which also has ties with both of the warring countries, also have yet to make demonstrable progress.
WARSAW, Poland — U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris has wrapped up her visit to Poland by meeting with U.S. and Polish troops, as Russia pressed ahead with its invasion of neighboring Ukraine.
Harris is on a whirlwind trip to meet with the leaders of Poland and Romania. Those two countries are eastern flank NATO allies and have witnessed an influx of refugees since war broke out last month.
“We stand as partners,” Harris said. “We work together, we train together, we form friendships that are based on solidarity, mutual values and shared principles,” she told the troops.
Harris was due to meet later Friday with Romania’s president to discuss a response to the influx of refugees from Ukraine due to the war.
STOCKHOLM — Police in Sweden are donating helmets, flak jackets, binoculars and drones to Ukraine.
Swedish Justice Minister Morgan Johansson said Friday that Ukraine police had requested the material via the European police agency Europol, which has 27 member countries.
The Scandinavian country will donate 367 flak jackets, 94 bulletproof helmets, 62 pairs of binoculars and five drones. Sweden is also sending 3,400 items of protective clothing. All the equipment was either to be thrown away or was not in use but it is in working order, Johansson said.
GENEVA — The International Organization for Migration says 2.5 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded more than two weeks ago.
IOM spokesman Paul Dillon said in a text message that the figures, taken from national governments, were up to date through Friday morning.
He said that more than 1.5 million refugees have gone to neighboring Poland and that some 116,000 of the refugees are “third-country nationals,” not Ukrainians.
The U.N. high commissioner for refugees, Filippo Grandi, also gave the 2.5 million total for refugees and said his agency estimates that about two million people are displaced inside Ukraine as well.
NEW YORK — Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered that so-called volunteer fighters should be brought into Ukraine.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Russia knew of “more than 16,000 applications” from countries in the Middle East, many of them from people who he said helped Russia against the Islamic State group, according to a Kremlin transcript.
They want “to take part in what they consider a liberation movement,” Shoigu said, on the side of Russia-backed separatist regions in eastern Ukraine.
Since 2015, Russian forces have backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against various groups opposed to his rule, including Islamic State.
Putin told Shoigu that Russia should help would-be volunteers to “move to the combat zone” and contrasted them with what he called foreign “mercenaries” fighting for Ukraine.
ISTANBUL – Pegasus Airlines, a Turkey-based budget carrier, has suspended flights to and from Russia following sanctions on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, the airline announced late Thursday.
The company’s operations “related to insurance/reinsurance, leasing, operations and maintenance services on flights” would be halted from Sunday to March 27, it said.
The airline said the suspension was linked to “operational risks” due to European Union sanctions. The EU, Britain, Canada and the U.S. have suspended flights to Russia and closed their airspace to Russian aircraft as part of sanctions.
Pegasus flies to six destinations in Russia, which still has air links to countries such as Turkey, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Turkish Airlines maintains its flights to 36 cities in Russia.
LONDON — British defense officials say Russia is rearranging its forces on the ground in Ukraine in an attempt to push forward its struggling invasion plan.
The Ministry of Defence says that “Russia is likely seeking to reset and re-posture its forces for renewed offensive activity in the coming days. This will probably include operations against the capital Kyiv.”
In an update on social media Friday, the ministry said Russian ground forces continued to make “limited progress,” hampered by logistical problems and strong Ukrainian resistance.
It said it “remains highly unlikely that Russia has successfully achieved the objectives outlined in its pre-invasion plan.”
LVIV, Ukraine — Two Ukrainian servicemen were killed and six people wounded in Russian airstrikes Friday on the Lutsk military airfield, according to the head of the surrounding Volyn region, Yuriy Pohulyayko.
The mayor of Ivano-Frankiivsk, Ruslan Martsinkiv, had ordered residents in the neighboring areas to head to shelters after an air raid alert. The mayor of Lutsk had also announced an airstrike near the airport.
The strikes were far to the west from the main Russian offensive and could indicate new direction of the war.
The western cities hit Friday are between 130 and 150 kilometers (80-90 miles) from Lviv, the city that has become a refuge for Ukrainians from across the rest of the country and a hub for global humanitarian aid and other support for Ukraine.
LVIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian authorities announced plans for several evacuation and humanitarian aid delivery routes Friday, with the support of the Red Cross.
The top priority remained freeing people from the besieged city of Mariupol and getting aid to its hungry, thirsty, freezing and terrified population.
Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in a video message that Ukrainian authorities are trying yet again Friday to send aid into Mariupol and bring evacuees out to the city of Zaporizhzhia. Repeated previous attempts have failed, as aid and rescue convoys were targeted by Russian shelling.
Vereshchuk said buses would be sent Friday to multiple Kyiv suburbs to bring people to the capital, and to bring aid to those staying behind.
She also announced efforts to create new humanitarian corridors to bring aid to people in areas occupied or under Russian attack around the cities of Kherson in the south, Chernihiv in the north and Kharkiv in the east.
LVIV, Ukraine — Russian forces are continuing their offensive toward Kyiv on Friday from the northwest and east, notably trying to break through Ukrainian defenses from Kukhari, 90 kilometers (56 miles) to the northwest through to Demidov, 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Kyiv, the general staff of Ukraine’s armed forces said in a statement.
The general staff said Russian troops had been halted in efforts to take the northern city of Chernihiv, notably by Ukraine’s re-taking of the town of Baklanova Muraviika, which Russian troops could use to move toward Kyiv.
Russian forces are blockading Kharkiv and pushing their offensive in the south around Mykolaiv, Zaporizhzhia and Kryvyi Rih, Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s hometown.
Rough weather on the Azov and Black Seas has stalled Russian ships’ efforts to come ashore, the general staff said.
Three Russian airstrikes hit the important industrial city of Dnipro in eastern Ukraine on Friday, killing at least one person in strikes that hit near a kindergarten and apartment buildings, according to Interior Ministry adviser Anton Herashchenko.
One strike hit a shoe factory, sparking a fire, he said. He released video showing flashes over residential areas of the city, home to nearly 1 million people.
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will announce Friday that, along with the European Union and the Group of Seven countries, the U.S. will move to revoke “most favored nation” trade status for Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
That’s according to a source familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preview the announcement.
Biden’s move comes as bipartisan pressure has been building in Washington to revoke what is formally known as “permanent normal trade relations” with Russia.
The move would allow the U.S. and allies to impose tariffs on Russian imports.
Associated Press Writer Zeke Miller contributed to this report.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate has given final congressional approval to a $13.6 billion emergency package of military and humanitarian aid for besieged Ukraine and its European allies.
The measure passed with a 68-31 bipartisan margin.
The House easily passed the compromise bill on Wednesday. President Joe Biden is expected to sign it.
Around half the $13.6 billion measure was for arming and equipping Ukraine and the Pentagon’s costs for sending U.S. troops to other Eastern European nations skittish about the warfare next door. Much of the rest included humanitarian and economic assistance, strengthening regional allies’ defenses and protecting their energy supplies and cybersecurity needs.
Democrats and Republicans have battled this election year over rising inflation, energy policy and lingering pandemic restrictions. But they’ve rallied behind sending aid to Ukraine, whose stubborn resilience against Russia has been inspirational for many voters.
BEIJING — China’s Premier Li Keqiang on Friday called the situation in Ukraine “grave” and offered Beijing’s help in playing a “positive role” for peace while continuing to refuse to criticize Russia.
China has largely sided with Russia, refusing to refer to its actions in Ukraine as a war or invasion. Chinese officials and state media have parroted Russian claims while Beijing calls itself neutral and defending national sovereignty above all else.
“We support and encourage all efforts that are conducive to a peaceful settlement of the crisis,” Li told reporters at an annual news conference.
“The pressing task now is to prevent tension from escalating or even getting out of control,” Li said. “China calls for exercising utmost restraint and preventing a massive humanitarian crisis.”
Li spoke following the close of the annual session of China’s rubber-stamp legislature.
Russia’s war in Ukraine was not openly discussed at the meeting, although it echoes in Beijing’s approach to Taiwan — the self-governing island democracy China claims as its own territory, to be annexed by force if necessary.
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