9:33am: Russian strike on residential building kills at least five in south Ukraine
Ukraine said Friday that at least five people were killed following a Russian strike on a residential building in the southern city of Mykolaiv, near the frontline.
The attack came as Russia said it was drawing down troops from the nearby city of Kherson, the only regional capital Moscow’s forces captured in Ukraine after they launched their February invasion.
The Mykolaiv regional governor Vitaliy Kim said on social media that the toll had risen to five after the latest fatal attack on the city that has been battered for months by Russian forces.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said the strike was a “cynical response to our successes at the front.”
4:42am: Seoul denies report of arms deal with US for Ukrainian forces
South Korea on Friday denied a report that it would sell artillery shells for use by Ukrainian forces, claiming the munitions – if the ongoing deal negotiation is finalised – will be for US forces only.
The United States was nearing an agreement to purchase 100,000 rounds of 155 mm artillery from Seoul which would be delivered to Ukraine, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing “US officials familiar with the deal”.
Washington is Seoul’s key security ally, and stations some 27,000 US troops in the South to help protect it from the nuclear-armed North.
South Korea said Friday that while the arms deal with the US is ongoing, the shells are not meant to be delivered to Ukraine.
3:59am: Japanese national killed fighting alongside Ukrainian soldiers
A Japanese man fighting alongside Ukrainian soldiers against Russia was killed in combat on Wednesday, becoming the country’s first confirmed casualty in the war, authorities in Tokyo said Friday.
A foreign ministry official told AFP the man is believed to be the first Japanese national to have died in Ukraine “since the invasion began in February”.
Japan has for months urged its citizens to evacuate the war-ravaged nation and has issued its highest-level warning against travelling there.
While no other details were provided by officials, Jiji Press reported that the man belonged to a squad fighting in eastern Ukraine.
At the start of the invasion, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky openly invited foreigners to his country to join an “international legion” that would fight side-by-side with Ukrainians against the Russians.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)
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