- Russia’s foreign ministry barred entry to the country for Boris Johnson and other British government politicians and members. The move was in response to the government’s “hostile action” including sanctions against senior Russian officials, the ministry said in a statement.
- The Kremlin will expand restrictions against British politicians over what it calls a “wave of anti-Russian hysteria”. Dominic Raab, Grant Shapps, Priti Patel, Rishi Sunak, Kwasi Kwarteng, Nadine Dorries, James Heappey, Nicola Sturgeon, Suella Braverman and Theresa May have been named alongside Boris Johnson.
- Following Russia’s decision to bar Boris Johnson and other British government politicians and members from entering the country, the UK government said: “We remain resolute in our support for Ukraine”.
- Russia targeted a Ukrainian missile factory following the sinking of its Black Sea flagship. The Vizar factory, near Kyiv’s international airport, produced Neptune cruise missiles, at least one of which Ukraine says were used to sink the Moskva warship.
- A key adviser to the Ukrainian president took to Twitter to express frustrations at the progress of the weapons transfer from the European Union. Mykhailo Podolyak said Ukraine hasn’t received “the ones we asked for” and they “take too long to arrive”.
- One person has been killed and several left fighting for their lives after missile strikes hit Kyiv earlier today. On Telegram, the city’s mayor, Vitali Klitschko, said that air defences were trying to protect people, but the “enemy is ruthless”.
- The battle for Mariupol is ongoing. If Moscow captures Mariupol, a city home to 400,000 people before the invasion, it would be the first big city to fall.
- Nine humanitarian corridors have been agreed for Saturday, the Ukrainian deputy prime minister, Iryna Vereshchuk, announced. Five of the nine evacuation corridors were from the east, in Ukraine’s Luhansk region, which local officials have said is under heavy shelling.
I’ll now hand over the blog to my colleague Nadeem Badshah.
The Vatican’s decision to have the cross carried by Ukrainian and Russian families together during Good Friday’s Way of the Cross service has been called “inopportune and ambiguous’’ by Ukraine.
Two families, one Russian and one Ukrainian, were entrusted by Pope Francis with bearing the cross during the procession at Rome’s Colosseum, which represents the one Jesus carried up to Calvary.
The candlelight service, which takes place on the day marking Jesus’s crucifixion, two days before his resurrection on Easter Sunday, consists of the 14 Stations of the Cross, stages between the condemnation of Jesus to death and his burial. Normally, those who carry the cross from one station to the next reflect world events.
Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, head of Ukraine’s Byzantine-rite Catholic church, called their inclusion inopportune and ambiguous because it did not “take into account the context of Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine”.
The original text of the meditation the two women had written spoke of death, loss of values, rage, resignation, and reconciliation despite bombings, Reuters has reported.
Shevchuk said the text, which had been approved by the Vatican, was:
Incoherent and even offensive, especially in the context of the expected second, even bloodier attack of Russian troops on our cities and villages.
Ukraine’s ambassador to the Vatican, Andrii Yurash, also expressed his unease and tweeted:
Ukraine embassy to Holy See understands and shares general concern in Ukraine and many other communities about idea to bring together Ukrainian and Russian women to carry Cross during Friday’s CrossRoad at Colosseum. Now we are working on the issue trying to explain difficulties of its realisation and possible consequences.
Francis has condemned the Ukraine war and according to Ansa, a visit by the pope to Kyiv has been discussed, if it can help achieve peace after the Russian invasion.