(Reuters) – Ukraine said at least 39 people died and 87 were wounded, many of whom had lost limbs, in a rocket strike at a railway station packed with women, children and elderly evacuees, amid a threat of a major Russian offensive in the country’s east.
As regional authorities sought to rush civilians out of harm’s way, European Union leaders arrived in Kyiv to offer Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy support and reassurance that there will be a path to EU membership for Ukraine.
* British military intelligence said Russian forces were shelling cities in the east and south and had advanced further south from the city of Izyum, which is under their control. Reuters could not immediately verify the report.
* Capturing Mariupol remains the main focus of Russian troops and Russian battalions are blockading and bombarding the northeastern city of Kharkiv, the Ukrainian military said.
* The United States will send new weapon systems to Ukraine, after NATO foreign ministers agreed to accelerate arms deliveries. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned of a war that could last months or even years.
* The Kremlin said on Friday that Russian operations in Ukraine could end in the “foreseeable future” since its aims were being achieved and work was being carried out by both the Russian military and Russian peace negotiators.
* Forensic investigators began exhuming a mass grave in the town of Bucha on Friday, laying out the bodies of civilians who Ukrainian officials say were killed during a Russian invasion in what amounted to war crimes. [
* The names of the dead are scrawled on the peeling wall of a school basement where residents say more than 300 people were trapped for weeks by Russian occupiers in Yahidne, a village north of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.
* Ukraine said it aimed to establish up to 10 humanitarian corridors on Friday to evacuate at least 160,000 trapped civilians, but civilians trying to flee besieged Mariupol will have to use private vehicles.
* The United Nations General Assembly voted to suspend Russia from the U.N. Human Rights Council and voiced grave concern at the continuing human rights and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. Russia called the move illegal.
* The European Union on Friday formally adopted its fifth package of sanctions against Russia, including bans on the import of coal, wood, chemicals and other products.
* Britain added Vladimir Putin’s daughters to its sanctions list on Friday, mirroring moves by the United States, in what it said was an effort to target the lifestyles of those in the Russian president’s inner circle.
* “As soon as they started digging, there was shelling,” said Olha Meniaylo, referring to makeshift burials of victims in a village north of Kyiv. “The people who were doing the digging had to lie on the dead bodies in the graves to protect themselves from the shelling. My husband was there.”
* “The whole world is not comfortable. Do you think that anyone should be comfortable with this crisis?” Zhang Jun, the United Nations ambassador of Russia’s strategic partner China, in response to remarks by his U.S. counterpart.
(Compiled by Michael Perry, Frank Jack Daniel, Alexandra Hudson; Editing by Mark Heinrich)