Saudi Arabia proclaims $400 million in humanitarian support for Ukraine

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Saudi Arabia announced on Saturday $400 million in humanitarian aid for Kyiv. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman emphasised “the Kingdom’s position of supporting everything that will contribute to de-escalation, and the Kingdom’s readiness to continue the efforts of mediation.” Read FRANCE 24’s liveblog to catch up on the day’s events as they unfold. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).

9:28am: The city of Lviv faces power cuts

After several days of disruption caused by Russian strikes, the Ukrainian authorities announced on Thursday that they had managed to “stabilise” the electricity network. But in Lviv, in western Ukraine, the situation remains very delicate.

FRANCE 24’s Gulliver Cragg reports.

9:10am: Russian evacuations amount to ‘deportation’, says Kyiv

Fighting remains active in the southern and eastern parts of Ukraine, according to the latest military sources, as Ukrainian troops have been advancing towards Kherson.

Russian occupying forces had called for civilians to be evacuated out of combat zones towards Russia. Ukrainian members of Kherson’s counsel said that they would consider such movements to be “deportations”, not evacuations.

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FRANCE 24’s Catherine Norris Trent tells us more.

6:14am: Putin says Russia ‘doing everything right’ in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow was “doing everything right” in its nearly eight-month invasion of Ukraine despite a string of embarrassing defeats against Kyiv’s forces, who will receive $725 million in new US military assistance.

Putin’s comments Friday came hours after Kremlin-installed officials in the southern Kherson region urged residents to leave as Kyiv said its soldiers were advancing on the region’s main city.

Moscow also hinted at the extent of the damage dealt to the Crimea bridge — the sole land connection between its mainland and the annexed Ukrainian peninsula — following a blast last Saturday, saying it could take many months to complete repairs.

“What is happening today is not pleasant. But all the same, (if Russia hadn’t attacked in February) we would have been in the same situation, only the conditions would have been worse for us,” Putin told reporters after a summit in the capital of Kazakhstan.

3:01am: Saudi Arabia announces $400 million in humanitarian aid for Ukraine, reports SPA news agency

Saudi Arabia on Saturday announced $400 million in humanitarian aid for Ukraine, the official SPA news agency said, adding that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had made a phone call to President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The prince emphasised “the Kingdom’s position of supporting everything that will contribute to de-escalation, and the Kingdom’s readiness to continue the efforts of mediation,” SPA reported.

1:50am: US announces $725 million in new military assistance to Ukraine, says Blinken

The United States will send an additional $725 million in military assistance to Ukraine, the State Department and Pentagon announced Friday.

The aid comes “in the wake of Russia’s brutal missile attacks on civilians across Ukraine,” and “the mounting evidence of atrocities by Russia’s forces,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

This newest package includes more ammunition for the HIMARS rocket system and brings the total US military assistance to Ukraine to $18.3 billion since the start of Joe Biden’s administration, the Department of Defence said in a separate statement.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)

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