UN Security Council breaks out in rare applause after observing moment of silence for those killed in Ukraine
From CNN’s Mirna Alsharif and Bonney Kapp
The United Nations Security Council chamber erupted in rare applause late Friday after Ukraine’s ambassador to the UN, Sergiy Kyslytsya, called for a moment of silence to honor those who had died in Ukraine.
“I will ask all of you to dedicate a moment of complete silence to pray, or to mediate if you do not believe in God, for peace,” said Kyslytsya at the meeting. “To pray for souls of those who has been already killed, for souls of those who may be killed.”
He also invited Russia’s ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, to “pray for salvation.”
The moment came after Russia used its veto power to block a Security Council resolution to condemn Russia’s invasion into Ukraine.
After Kyslytsya spoke, Nebenzia cut in to say the council should also honor those who died in the Donbas region, where Russia launched its military operation on Thursday.
After a brief moment of silence, Kyslytsya thanked the council, and diplomats from around the room broke out into a rare round of applause. Nebenzia was not among those who clapped.
Explosions are happening in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv
Explosions have been seen and heard in parts of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, after days of heavy fighting and blasts in the outer suburbs as Russian forces approached the city.
Earlier Saturday, videos from eyewitnesses show explosions taking place in an area north-west of Kyiv. There is a military base in the area.
CNN teams in the capital also reported hearing loud explosions to the west and south of the city Saturday. Shortly afterward, Ukraine’s State Service of Special Communications said clashes are underway in an eastern suburb as well.
“We are all here” Zelensky pledges to defend Ukraine in Facebook video from streets of Kyiv
“We are here. We are in Kyiv. We are defending Ukraine.”
That was the title of a video posted on Facebook Friday night by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, as he vowed to defend his country while standing on a Kyiv street with other leaders of his administration.
“Good evening everyone! Leader of the faction is here. Head of the president’s administration is here. Prime Minister (Denys) Shmyhal is here. (Adviser to the head of the President’s Office Mykhailo) Podoliak is here. The President is here,” said Zelensky, pointing to the various men around him as he spoke, ending with himself.
“We are all here. Our military are here. Citizens and society are here. We are all here defending our independence, our state and it will remain so. Glory to our defenders! Glory to our women defenders! Glory to Ukraine!”
The rest of the group chimed in: “Glory to heroes!”
Zelensky’s post, which has since gone viral online has been widely shared across different social media platforms.
Also on Friday night, Zelensky released a formal national address, confirming that Russian forces were close to the capital, advancing from the north and the east. He added that he was still communicating with world leaders including US President Joe Biden.
“Our main goal is to finish this slaughter,” Zelensky said in the address. “Ukrainians resist the Russian aggression heroically.”
Watch Zelensky’s video:
Fifty countries issue joint statement saying Russia abused its power in vetoing UN Security Council resolution
Fifty counties have issued a joint statement saying Russia abused its veto power by blocking a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The statement was read aloud by the US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, after Friday’s meeting of the Security Council in New York City.
Thomas-Greenfield was joined at the podium by representatives of many of the countries who signed on to the statement.
“Those of us standing here today continue to believe in the Security Council’s solemn duty and highest purpose – to prevent conflict and avert the scourge of war,” Thomas-Greenfield said. “Russia has abused its power today to veto our strong resolution.”
Some context: Earlier Friday, Russia used its veto power as a permanent member of the Security Council to block the resolution from being adopted. 11 countries voted in favor of adopting. China, India, and the UAE abstained.
Ukraine says battle is underway in eastern suburb of Kyiv
From CNN’s Tim Lister in Kyiv
Ukraine’s State Service of Special Communications said early Saturday that clashes are underway in an eastern suburb of the capital, Kyiv.
“The enemy is trying to attack CHP-6 near Troieschyna. The Armed Forces give battle,” the service tweeted.
About 20 minutes ago, CNN teams in Kyiv also heard loud explosions to the west and south of the city, with the sky lit up with a series of flashes on the horizon.
Loud explosions and flashes in the sky over Kyiv
CNN teams in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv are reporting loud explosions to the west and south of the city early Saturday morning. The sky, still dark, lit up with a series of flashes on the horizon.
Zelensky says France’s Macron supports the removal of Russia from SWIFT global banking system
From CNN’s Tim Lister
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says he has continued holding calls with foreign leaders into the early hours of Saturday morning local time. Zelensky shared the update via his official Twitter account, offering specifics about a call he held with French President Emmanuel Macron.
“I must say that he is a true friend of Ukraine. France with us in the most difficult moments. The disconnection (of Russia) from SWIFT and the imposing of personal sanctions against Putin as well as the provision of defense weapons were supported. Merci la France,” the post read.
There has been prolonged debate among western governments as to whether Russia should be excluded from SWIFT, a system that enables international financial payments
Zelensky said he had also spoken with Polish President Andrzej Duda.
You can read an English version of the Twitter post here:
Ukraine says it is ready to talk about a ceasefire and peace
From CNN’s Tim Lister in Kyiv
“Ukraine has been and remains ready to talk about a ceasefire and peace. This is our constant position,” said President Volodymyr Zelensky’s spokesperson Sergii Nykyforov on Friday night.
Nykyforov’s comments follow a Russian proposal to send representatives to the Belarusian capital of Minsk to talk with Kyiv.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Ukrainian side had countered with a proposal to meet in Warsaw before dropping contact.
Nykyforov denied what he called “claims that we have refused to negotiate.”
“We agreed to the proposal of the President of the Russian Federation. Currently, during these hours, the parties [are discussing] the place and time of the negotiation process. The sooner negotiations begin, the better the chances of resuming normal life,” he added.
US military seeks communication line with Russia to avoid a miscalculation near Ukraine
From CNN’s Barbara Starr
There has been no direct communication between the US and Russian militaries to avoid any potential miscalculations in and around Ukraine, according to two US officials.
But as Russia continues their invasion, the US military would like to talk to the Russians about the feasibility of setting up a communications channel to notify each other of some potential air operations — especially with the two militaries within fairly close proximity.
The US has forces in Poland, while Russian forces are advancing in Ukraine.
The US is still formulating what it might want to propose. Right now, no alliance or US aircraft are flying over Ukraine. But officials envision a potential need for such a mechanism in the coming days and weeks, and it could take various forms. One could be an air exclusion or “no fly” zone to allow humanitarian aid into Ukraine, but it’s unclear how that could be enforced.
Some background: The US Defense Secretary and the Joint Chiefs Chairman have spoken with their Russian counterparts in recent weeks, but not since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to public readouts provided by their offices. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin last spoke with Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu on Feb. 18. The two also spoke one week earlier. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley last spoke to the Chief of Russian General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov on Feb. 11.