TOKYO — Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi says he is heading to Poland later Friday to assess the need for the war-displaced Ukrainians in that country and assist those who seek refuge in Japan.
Hayashi, during his five-day trip through Tuesday, is set to meet with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and other top officials, as well as international organizations. Officials are still making arrangements for a possibility of his government plane bringing some Ukrainians on his way back, Hayashi said.
“In order to support the Ukrainian people facing the difficulty and to show our solidarity with Ukraine, Japan is pursuing our effort to accept those who fled to a third country,” Hayashi said.
Japan’s government last month launched a taskforce to prepare accepting Ukrainian war-displaced as part of humanitarian support — a rare move for a country known for its strict and reluctant refugee policy. Several municipalities, including Tokyo, Kanagawa, Ibaraki and Osaka, have offered to be their host towns and provide support for medical needs, education, jobs and housing.
Ukrainian Ambassador to Japan Sergiy Korsunsky told reporters Friday that some 300 relatives of Ukrainian residents in Japan have been granted entry, and more arrivals are expected from next week.
KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:
— Ukraine top of agenda as China, EU prepare to meet at summit
— Russians leave Chernobyl; Ukraine braces for renewed attacks
— UK, Russia foreign ministers visit India amid Ukraine crisis
— Kremlin decree says foreign currency can still buy natural gas
— Go to https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine for more coverage
BRUSSELS — The president of the European Parliament says she is traveling to Kyiv.
Roberta Metsola announced the trip to the Ukrainian capital city on her Twitter account late Thursday, posting a picture of her standing in front of a railcar.
Metsola is the first president of an EU institution to travel to the Ukrainian capital since the war began on Feb. 24. Details about her travel plans and who she will meet have not been announced.
SYDNEY — Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Friday that his country will be sending armored Bushmaster vehicles to Ukraine to help in its war against Russia.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the Australian Parliament on Thursday and asked for the Australian-manufactured four-wheel-drive vehicles and other aid.
Morrison told reporters the vehicles will be flown over on Boeing C-17 Globemaster transport planes, but he didn’t specify how many Bushmaster vehicles would be sent or when.
“We’re not just sending our prayers, we are sending our guns, we’re sending our munitions, we’re sending our humanitarian aid, we’re sending all of this, our body armor, all of these things and we’re going to be sending our armored vehicles, our Bushmasters as well,” Morrison said.
LVIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he has stripped two generals of their military rank.
Zelenskyy said “something prevented them from determining where their homeland was” and they “violated their military oath of allegiance to the Ukrainian people.”
According to Zelenskyy, one of the generals had headed internal security at the SBU, the main intelligence agency.
He said the other general had been the SBU head in the Kherson region, the first major city to fall to the Russians.
Zelenskyy didn’t say anything about the fates of the two generals other than them being stripped of their rank.
LVIV, Ukraine — The Ukrainian government said Russian forces blocked 45 buses that had been sent to evacuate civilians from the besieged port city of Mariupol, and only 631 people were able to get out of the city in private cars.
Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said late Thursday that 12 Ukrainian buses with humanitarian aid left Melitopol for Mariupol, but the Russian forces stopped the buses and seized the 14 tons of food and medicines.
According to Ukrainian officials, tens of thousands of people have made it out of Mariupol in recent weeks along humanitarian corridors, reducing the prewar population of 430,000 to about 100,000 by last week.
Vereshchuk said about 45,000 Mariupol residents have been forcefully deported to Russia and areas of eastern Ukraine controlled by Russian-backed separatists.
LVIV, Ukraine — The last Russian troops left the Chernobyl nuclear plant early Friday, according to the Ukrainian government agency responsible for the exclusion zone around the plant.
Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said Russian troops who dug trenches in the forest were exposed to radiation, but that could not be confirmed.
The Ukrainian nuclear operator company Energoatom said Thursday that Russian troops were headed toward Ukraine’s border with Belarus.
Energoatom said that the Russian military was also preparing to leave Slavutych, a nearby city where power plant workers live.