TOKYO — Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said he would visit Poland later Friday to assess the needs of Ukrainians displaced by war there and assist those seeking refuge in Japan.

Hayashi, during his five-day trip to Tuesday, is due to meet Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and other senior officials, as well as international organizations. Officials are still arranging for his government plane to bring Ukrainians back home, Hayashi said.

“In order to support the Ukrainian people facing the difficulty and to show its solidarity with Ukraine, Japan continues its efforts to accept those who fled to a third country,” Hayashi said.

The Japanese government launched a task force last month to prepare to accept Ukrainian war-displaced people as part of humanitarian aid – 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 cities and provide support for medical needs, education, employment and housing.

Political cartoons about world leaders

political cartoons

Ukraine’s ambassador to Japan, Sergiy Korsunsky, told reporters on Friday that some 300 relatives of Ukrainian residents in Japan had been allowed entry and more arrivals are expected from next week.

KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIAN-UKRAINE WAR:

— Ukraine tops agenda as China, EU prepare to meet at summit

— The Russians leave Chernobyl; Ukraine prepares for new attacks

— UK and Russian 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 announces that she will travel to kyiv.

Roberta Metsola announced the trip to the Ukrainian capital on her Twitter account on Thursday evening, posting a photo of herself standing in front of a train car.

Metsola is the first president of an EU institution to visit the Ukrainian capital since the start of the war on February 24. Details of her travel plans and who she will meet have not been announced.

SYDNEY — Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Friday his country would send Bushmaster armored 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-made four-wheel-drive vehicles and other aid.

Morrison told reporters the vehicles would be flown over on Boeing C-17 Globemaster transport planes, but he did not say how many Bushmaster vehicles would be sent or when.

“We’re not just sending our prayers, we’re sending our weapons, we’re sending our ammunition, we’re sending our humanitarian aid, we’re sending all of that, our bulletproof vests, all of those things and we’re going to send our armored vehicles, as well as our Bushmasters,” Morrison said.

LVIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he stripped two generals of their military rank.

Zelenskyy said that “something prevented them from determining where their homeland was” and that they had “violated their military oath of allegiance to the Ukrainian people”.

According to Zelenskyy, one of the generals had headed the internal security of the SBU, the main intelligence agency.

He said the other general had been the head of the SBU in the Kherson region, the first major city to fall to the Russians.

Zelenskyy said nothing about the fate of the two generals other than that they were 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 by private car.

Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said late Thursday that 12 Ukrainian buses carrying humanitarian aid left Melitopol for Mariupol, but Russian forces stopped the buses and seized the 14 tons of food and medicine.

According to Ukrainian officials, tens of thousands of people have left Mariupol in recent weeks along humanitarian corridors, reducing the pre-war population from 430,000 to around 100,000 last week.

Vereshchuk said around 45,000 residents of Mariupol have been forcibly deported to Russia and areas of eastern Ukraine controlled by Russian-backed separatists.

LVIV, Ukraine – The last Russian troops left the Chernobyl nuclear power 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 digging trenches in the forest were exposed to radiation, but this could not be confirmed.

Ukrainian nuclear operating company Energoatom said on Thursday that Russian troops were heading towards the Ukraine-Belarus border.

Energoatom said the Russian military was also preparing to leave Slavutych, a nearby town where power plant workers live.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.