Ukraine-Russia War – Updates and Analysis (13/03 – 18/03)


EU considering creating solidarity fund for Ukraine

23:02 – 18 Mar 2022

The European Union is considering creating a solidarity fund for Ukraine, European Council President Charles Michel has said.

Mr Michel said the fund would provide basic services in the country and “meet citizens’ immediate needs”.

He tweeted: “The Fund would give liquidity for continued support to authorities and in longer-term serve as the backbone for the reconstruction of a free and democratic Ukraine once hostilities stop.”


Power lines at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant have been repaired

21:56 – 18 Mar 2022

Power lines at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant have been repaired, Ukrainian news agency Interfax has reported.

The site was the scene of heavy shelling last week as Russian forces moved in to capture the plant – which is the largest in Europe.

Missiles were videoed hitting areas around the plant, but it is not clear what caused the damage.


Russian military digging in

21:39 – 18 Mar 2022

The Russian military is quite literally digging in, constructing earthen berms around its military equipment northwest of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, according to Maxar Technologies’ analysis and satellite images.

The new satellite images show the protective berms around Russian military equipment near Ozera and the Antonov Air Base.

Additional Russian military equipment, and some berm construction, are also seen in the villages of Zdvyzhivka and Berestyanka, further northwest.


Russian cosmonauts dock at International Space Station

21:09 – 18 Mar 2022

Three Russian cosmonauts have arrived at the International Space Station amid tensions between Moscow and the EU/US.

The Soyuz spacecraft carrying the team arrived at the orbital station today.

They will spend six and a half months on the station, where they will join its current seven-member crew and replace three who are scheduled to fly back to earth on 30 March.

Russia and the US have had a joint presence aboard the orbiting outpost for over two decades.


Russian forces have launched “more than 1080 missiles” since beginning of invasion, US defense official says

20:21 – 18 Mar 2022

Russian forces have launched “more than 1,080 missiles” since the beginning of their invasion of Ukraine, a senior US defence official said Friday.

Reports of missile strikes in the western part of Ukraine “in the vicinity of the Lviv International Airport appear to be accurate,” the official said.

The official did not have additional information on where the origin of the missile strikes in the western part of Ukraine was from or how much damage they caused at this time.

The airspace over Ukraine “remains contested,” the official added.


In call with Xi, Biden laid out consequences for China if it supports Russia

19:57 – 18 Mar 2022

“President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke today with President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The conversation focused on Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. President Biden outlined the views of the United States and our allies and partners on this crisis. President Biden detailed our efforts to prevent and then respond to the invasion, including by imposing costs on Russia. He described the implications and consequences if China provides material support to Russia as it conducts brutal attacks against Ukrainian cities and civilians. The President underscored his support for a diplomatic resolution to the crisis. The two leaders also agreed on the importance of maintaining open lines of communication, to manage the competition between our two countries. The President reiterated that U.S. policy on Taiwan has not changed, and emphasized that the United States continues to oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo. The two leaders tasked their teams to follow up on today’s conversation in the critical period ahead.”


Italy prepares to take in 175,000 Ukrainian refugees

19:34 – 18 Mar 2022

Italy is preparing to take in up to 175,000 refugees.

A draft decree seen by Reuters is expected to be approved by the cabinet later today.

Some 53,000 Ukrainians, among them 27,000 women and 21,600 children, have arrived in Italy so far following Russia’s invasion of their country on 24 February.


French president voiced “extreme concern” about Mariupol with Putin

19:14 – 18 Mar 2022

French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday told Russian President Vladimir Putin that he was very concerned about the situation in Mariupol, the Ukrainian city that has been hit by constant shelling over recent days, according to the Elysée Palace.

According to a statement from the Elysée, Macron “shared his extreme concern with President Putin regarding the situation in Mariupol and once again demanded an immediate ceasefire.”

“President [Macron] asked him for concrete and verifiable measures to lift the siege of Mariupol, allow humanitarian access and an immediate ceasefire,” the statement added.

“The [French] President again brought up the deterioration of the situation in Ukraine, the continued strikes hitting civilians and failure to respect humanitarian law while negotiations between the Russian and Ukrainian delegation have for now not led to any progress,” according to Macron’s office.


Baltic states expel 10 Russian diplomats in coordinated decision

18:56 – 18 Mar 2022

Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have expelled 10 Russian diplomats, according to statements from their foreign ministries on Friday.

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs confirmed that the decision “has been coordinated with Lithuania and #Estonia.”

Lithuania declared four employees of the Russian Embassy to be persona non grata, while Latvia and Estonia have each done the same for three Russian Embassy staff.

“Current activities of those persons under diplomatic cover are incompatible with their diplomatic status and are causing detriment to the Republic of Latvia,” Latvia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Friday.

“The persons subject to expulsion must leave the Republic of Latvia by 23:59 on 23 March,” the statement continued.

Lithuania also ordered the four diplomatic staff to leave the country within five days, according to its Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“Russian special services are actively involved in the planning and execution of the military invasion of Ukraine, threatening not only the security of Ukraine but also that of Lithuania,” the Lithuanian ministry’s statement said.
Estonia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs added that all three Russian Embassy staff members “have directly and actively undermined Estonia’s security and spread propaganda justifying Russia’s military action”.

“The activity of the persons in question has been in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, and therefore they must leave Estonia within 72 hours,” the Estonian ministry added.


Greece ‘ready to rebuild’ Mariupol maternity hospital

18:21 – 18 Mar 2022


Russia and Ukraine closely aligned on neutral status, negotiator says

17:07 – 18 Mar 2022

A Russian negotiator has said that the issue of Ukraine’s neutrality is where the two countries are mostly aligned in their peace talks.

He has said this afternoon that discussions are ongoing, including on the nuances of security guarantees if Ukraine refuses to join NATO.

On the issue of demilitarisation in Ukraine, the negotiator said they were “halfway there”

He has been quoted by TASS, a state-run news agency in Russia. 


Russian troops have stopped advancing – Ukraine

16:44 – 18 Mar 2022

The deputy defence minister in Ukraine Hanna Malyar has said Russian forces have been prevented from making progress, thanks to Ukrainian troops.

Ms Malyar added Russia has issues with food and fuel supplies, as well as communication problems.


Bulgaria orders Russian diplomats to leave

16:12 – 18 Mar 2022

Bulgaria has declared 10 Russian diplomats “persona non grata” and given them 72 hours to leave the Balkan country.

It said their activities were deemed incompatible with their diplomatic status.

It is the second wave of expulsions of Russian diplomats from Bulgaria, with two expelled on 2 March amid allegations they were involved in espionage.


RUSSIA’S ADVANCEMENT INTO UKRAINE

15:47 – 18 Mar 2022

The Institute for the Study of War has released the following map showing an approximation of what areas of Ukraine are, as of yesterday afternoon, under Russian occupation.


“Conflict not in anyone’s interest,” Xi tells Biden

15:26 – 18 Mar 2022

Conflict and confrontation are not in anyone’s interest, Chinese President Xi Jinping said to US President Joe Biden on a video call Friday morning, according to Chinese state media.

“State-to-state relations cannot go to the stage of military confrontation. Conflict and confrontation are not in the interests of anyone. Peace and security are the most cherished treasures of the international community,” CCTV quoted Xi as saying on the call.


Putin speaks at Crimea celebration event

14:53 – 18 Mar 2022

In Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin has just been speaking to tens of thousands of Russians who are packed inside Luzhiniki Stadium, at an event celebrating eight years since the annexation of Crimea.

The stadium is awash with Russian flags and the letter “Z”, which has come to symbolise the invasion.

Putin hails Russia’s “special operation” in Ukraine, claiming its objective is to save locals “from suffering from genocide”.

To cheers, he tells the crowd: “Russia forward!”


Call between Biden and Xi has started

14:35 – 18 Mar 2022

US President Joe Biden’s secure video call with Chinese President Xi Jinping started at 9:03 a.m. ET, a White House official said.

Chinese state media outlet CCTV also reported the call between the two world leaders was underway.


UK revokes broadcasting license of RT

14:02 – 18 Mar 2022

The United Kingdom on Friday revoked the broadcasting license of the Kremlin-backed propaganda network RT, according to a statement from regulators.

The statement from regulator Ofcom said its investigation into RT had found its licensee, ANO TV Novosti, was not fit and proper to hold a UK broadcast license.

“RT is funded by the Russian state, which has recently invaded a neighbouring sovereign country,” the statement said. “We also note new laws in Russia which effectively criminalise any independent journalism that departs from the Russian state’s own news narrative, in particular in relation to the invasion of Ukraine. We consider that given these constraints it appears impossible for RT to comply with the due impartiality rules of our Broadcasting Code in the circumstances,” the statement said.

RT was taken off the air in the UK two weeks ago after the country and the European Union imposed sanctions on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine.

Moscow denounced this decision and said it is part of “the anti-Russian madness that is happening in Europe and the US” and another step to “grossly restrict freedom of speech.”


Putin accuses Kyiv of delaying talks during call with German Chancellor Scholz

13:48 – 18 Mar 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Kyiv of delaying the negotiation process during a call with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

According to the Kremlin readout, Putin outlined his assessments of the ongoing video talks between Russian and Ukrainian representatives.

“It was noted that the Kyiv regime is trying in every possible way to delay the negotiation process, putting forward more and more unrealistic proposals. Nevertheless, the Russian side is ready to continue the search for solutions in line with its well-known principled approaches,” the readout said.

The Russian President claimed that the Russian Armed Forces were doing everything possible to save the lives of civilians, including by organizing safe corridors for the evacuation of the population from cities in the combat zone.


Humanity threatened by ‘perverse abuse of power’ – Pope Francis

13:15 – 18 Mar 2022

The Pope has called the war a “perverse abuse of power” that has condemned defenceless people to “brutal violence”.

“The tragedy of the war taking place in the heart of Europe has left us stunned,” Pope Francis said in a message to a Catholic Church conference in Slovakia. 


Talks with Russia ‘very difficult’ – Ukraine official

13:00 – 18 Mar 2022

The deputy chief of staff for Ukraine’s president has said peace talks with Russia are “very difficult”.

He said Ukraine will not give up its EU membership bid to compromise with Russian demands.

This comes as rumours emerged yesterday that a 15-point peace deal was being “seriously discussed”, with both Russia and Ukraine appearing more optimistic.


222 people killed in Kyiv since start of war – local officials

13:00 – 18 Mar 2022

Kyiv’s city administration has announced the total number of people killed in the capital is 222 – which includes 60 civilians and four children. 

The capital was hit by early morning attacks today, with one person killed and buildings left damaged.


past Russian cyber attacks prepared ukraine for war – Western officials

12:45 – 18 Mar 2022

In a briefing with journalists this morning, the officials said Russia’s cyber attacks targeting Ukraine over the past eight years “helped the Ukrainians get match fit” to defend themselves, which boosted their resilience.

“There was a significant amount of intent on the part of Russia to disrupt Ukrainian systems before the invasion, and at the time of the invasion.”

“To some degree, I would say the Russians helped the Ukrainians get match fit on this stuff,” one official said.

Western officials are actively investigating a cyber attack targeting Viasat, a satellite company that Ukrainian officials said caused a massive communications outage at the start of the invasion.


130 people rescued from Mariupol theatre after airstrike

11:45 – 18 Mar 2022

More than 100 people have been rescued from a bomb shelter beneath a bombed theatre in Mariupol, Ukraine’s human rights ombudswoman has said. 

Russian forces struck the theatre two days ago, despite the word “children” being written on the ground outside in Russian. 

Hundreds of Ukrainians, including women and children, were thought to be sheltering inside the theatre after their homes were destroyed.

Yesterday, rescuers were working to remove debris of the destroyed theatre in an effort to reach survivors in the bomb shelter below. 


Russia demands Google stop spreading ‘threats’ against citizens

11:30 – 18 Mar 2022

Roskomnadzor said that Youtube, a Google-owned company, was threatening the life and health of the Russian citizens.

Google has not yet responded to a request for comment made by Reuters. 


Ukraine food supply chain ‘falling apart’

11:15 – 18 Mar 2022

Ukraine’s food supply chain is “falling apart”, according to the World Food Programme, with a portion of infrastructure destroyed and many grocery stores and warehouses now empty.

Jakob Kern, WFP Emergency Coordinator for the Ukraine crisis, also expressed concern about the situation in “encircled cities” such as Mariupol, saying that supplies were running out and that its convoys had not yet been able to enter the city.


Bombed zoo asks people to buy e-tickets

11:00 – 18 Mar 2022

A Ukrainian zoo has asked people to buy e-tickets to help support the stressed-out animals after it came under shelling.


Kremlin: Biden’s statements on Putin fuelled by ‘irritation, fatigue and forgetfulness’

10:45 – 18 Mar 2022

The Kremlin has said President Joe Biden’s characterisations of Putin amount to personal insults, adding that his statements are fuelled by “irritation, fatigue and forgetfulness”. 

The US president described the Russian president as a “war criminal” and a a “thug” in recent days, a political move that likely would have been carefully calculated. 

The Kremlin also called the UK decision to revoke the license of Russia Today “madness”. 


Western strategists have ‘tunnel vision’, warn military experts

10:00 – 18 Mar 2022

Russia is planning to advance from southern Ukraine and encircle Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s army and claim it has won the war, some military experts have warned.

The strategy includes a bogus attack designed to distract Ukrainian generals from a secret new tactic.

A defence report has warned Western military strategists may suffer “tunnel vision”, with an obsession around the taking of cities like Kyiv.

Instead of attacking Odesa, the headquarters of the Ukrainian navy, strategists believe the Russian military machine will continue to “bypass” nearby Mykolaiv by thrusting northwards before heading east.


2 million refugees entered Poland – country is ‘starting to reach breaking point’

09:45 – 18 Mar 2022

More than two million refugees – most of which are women and children – have entered Poland from Ukraine since the start of the invasion, the Polish border guard has said. 

A UN Refugee Agency spokesperson said there are concerns in Poland the country is “starting to reach breaking point in terms of the numbers”. 


Europe should be on guard against nuclear attacks – former NATO commander

09:30 – 18 Mar 2022

The war in Ukraine is “absolutely going the Ukrainian way” but Europe should be on guard against nuclear attacks, one former NATO commander has warned.

Former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, General Sir Richard Shirreff, told Sky News that Russian forces have shown “extraordinary incompetence and lack of professionalism”, adding: “Amateurs talk tactics and professionals talk logistics.”

He continued: “Putin cannot accept defeat and therefore in typical KGB style if he is facing trouble in one direction, he could cause even greater trouble in another.

“We should be on our guard to chemical attack, quite potentially the use of tactical nuclear.”

He added “we can take nothing for granted” and a ramp-up of forces would lead to a “general war that could easily go nuclear”.


Russians questioning their government’s actions in internet searches – UK minister

08:45 – 18 Mar 2022

The British armed forces minister, James Heappey, has said he has information that some Russians are using search platforms to question their country’s official line on the war in Ukraine. 

He told Sky News they are asking whether the behaviour of Russian forces is “quite how it’s presented to them in their media”. 

There has been a harsh crackdown on news reporting in Russia since the invasion, with the threat of up to 15 years in prison for people people who stray from the government’s official line. 

Many social media sites have also been blocked in Russia, meaning ordinary Russians are cut off from information. 


Russian invasion ‘faltering’ due to logistical problems – uk

00:15 – 18 Mar 2022

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is “faltering” due to logistical problems, the UK Ministry of Defence has said.

In its latest Defence Intelligence update, the MoD said Russia was struggling to supply its frontline troops with basic essential such as food and fuel.


Ratings agency cuts Russia’s rating on debt default risk

23:45 – 17 Mar 2022

The S&P ratings agency has cut Russia’s rating to ‘CC’ from ‘CCC-‘ as the country reported difficulties meeting its debt payments due to international sanctions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

The ratings agency said the sanctions have reduced Russia’s available foreign exchange reserves and restricted its access to the global financial system.


More than 320,000 Ukrainian citizens have returned home to fight, border officials say

22:46 – 17 Mar 2022

More than 320,000 citizens have returned home to help Ukraine fight since Russia began its invasion, according to the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine. Most of them are men.

“Our boys don’t give up, so we need to help, we need to fight for our country. Ukraine must be free, like all people,” the State Border Guard Service said in a tweet Thursday.


Mayor of Velykoburlutska in northeastern Ukraine “captured” by Russian forces

22:26 – 17 Mar 2022

Viktor Tereshchenko, mayor of Velykoburlutska in Ukraine’s northeastern region of Kharkiv, has been captured by Russian forces according to a video message from Oleh Syniehubov, Kharkiv Regional State Administration head.

“We have news today that [the Russians] captured the head of the Velykoburlutska community, Viktor Nikolaevich Tereshchenko. Such people need to have security. Victor Nikolaevich was kidnapped simply from his workplace and taken to the local police station. They are holding him and will not release him,” Syniehubov said.

The locals condemn the act, he added, and said he is working to free the village leader as soon as possible.


Russia claims Mariupol theatre was a hostage situation

22:01 – 17 Mar 2022

Russia has told the United Nations Security Council that the situation at the theatre in Mariupol, which is widely believed to be the work of a Russian airstrike, was instead a hostage situation undertaken by Ukrainian nationalists.

Vasily Nebenzya said in New York that Azov, a far-right militia in Ukraine and considered to be a legitimate target of Russian forces, was holding people hostage in the theatre, and preparing for a “bloody provocation”.

Mr Nebenzya added the theatre was never a target, and pointed to the Ukrainian armed forces and nationalist groups, blaming Western journalists for misreporting the situation.  

The ambassador also addressed humanitarian corridors in to Russia, saying the country has received more than 2.5 million requests from people in Ukraine to flee there.


Pentagon says Russian advance is frozen

21:34 – 17 Mar 2022

The US Defence Department says that the Russian advance into Ukraine has essentially stalled.

“They clearly were not prepared for them to be in the position they are three weeks in – basically frozen around the country on multiple lines of axes, struggling to fuel themselves and to feed their troops and to supply them with arms and ammunition and meeting a very determined Ukrainian resistance,” a senior official said on Thursday.

Russian forces have had one recent success: capturing the beleaguered eastern town of Izyum.

But the Pentagon believes that morale is low in some Russian units, hampered by poor leadership and a lack of information.

According to the official, invading forces have discussed resupply and resourcing issues – a sign they are concerned about longevity – but have not brought in any new troops or resources yet.


Czechia can no longer accept refugees from Ukraine 

21:14 – 17 Mar 2022

The Prime Minister of the Czech Republic has said the country can no longer accept refugees from Ukraine as it struggles to deal with a huge influx of people fleeing the war.

Around 270,000 refugees from Ukraine have arrived in the Czech Republic since the Russian invasion last month.

Petr Fiala said the government is already running out of resources.

“We have to admit that we are at the very edge when we can accept [these refugees] without problems,” the Associated Press quoted the prime minister as saying.

The Czech government plans to issue long-term residence permits to refugees already in the country.


US House passes bill that suspends normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus

20:58 – 17 Mar 2022

The US House just passed a bill that suspends normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus — the latest effort by US lawmakers to inflict economic pain on Russia for its unprovoked and brutal invasion of Ukraine

The final vote was 424-8.


43 attacks on health care in Ukraine so far, WHO says

20:33 – 17 Mar 2022

The World Health Organization has said it has confirmed there have been 43 attacks on Ukrainian health care so far.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the UN Security Council: “In any conflict, attacks on health care are a violation of international humanitarian law.”


Oil spikes back above $100

20:07 – 17 Mar 2022

Oil prices surged on Thursday back above $100 a barrel on renewed concerns about the war in Ukraine disrupting Russia’s energy supplies.

After sinking below $94 a barrel earlier this week, US crude soared 8% to $102.65 a barrel in recent trading. Brent crude spiked 9% to $107 a barrel.

The swift rebound in oil prices will be watched closely by leaders in Washington and Wall Street because high energy prices threaten to exacerbate inflation and slow down the economy.

Energy traders blamed Thursday’s spike on growing pessimism about a resolution between Russia and Ukraine being reached in the near term.

“The mood has darkened a little bit,” said Robert Yawger, vice president of energy futures at Mizuho Securities. “It sounds like this is going to be a dragged-out situation.”


US threatens to impose ‘costs’ on China

19:51 – 17 Mar 2022

Anthony Blinken, the US secretary of state, has said that the White House will have no hesitation in imposing “costs” on China, if they continue to defend Vladimir Putin’s actions.

In a televised speech, Mr Blinken said that China should use its international influence to put pressure on the Kremlin, adding the country is trying to portray itself as a neutral state.

He said that he will make it clear to the Chinese government that they will bear responsibility for any actions it takes in support of Russian aggression.

Around an hour before Mr Blinken spoke, Chinese-state media CGTN tweeted a report that Russian forces had targeted civilians waiting in line for bread in the northern city of Chernihiv – citing US and Ukrainian officials.


Italy ready to rebuild bombed Ukrainian theatre

19:28 – 17 Mar 2022

The Italian government has said it is ready to rebuild a theatre destroyed by a bomb attack in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

“The cabinet … has approved my proposal to offer Ukraine the resources and means to rebuild it as soon as possible. Theatres of all countries belong to the whole (of) humanity,”  Culture Minister Dario Franceschini tweeted after a cabinet meeting.


US President Biden calls Putin a “murderous dictator, pure thug”

18:55 – 17 Mar 2022

US President Joe Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “pure thug” while speaking at a St. Patrick’s Day event Thursday.

At the annual Friends of Ireland Luncheon on Capitol Hill, Biden said Putin is a “murderous dictator, a pure thug who is waging an immoral war against the people of Ukraine.” 

Biden also said Ireland has “stepped up” in the face of Russian aggression against Ukraine. He said the relationship between Ireland and the United States was “taking on an even more intense and cooperative forum than it ever has because of Ireland’s neutrality.” 

In their support for sanctions against Russia and for Ukraine, Biden said Ireland was also “paying a big price” for a contribution he called “not minor.” 

“Everybody talks about how Germany have stepped up and changed their notions about being more leaning forward, and they have,” Biden said, “and so has Ireland. A neutral country, Ireland has stepped up, and they’re taking the hit for what they’re doing.”  

The President also referenced his upcoming call with Chinese President Xi Jinping Friday, joking that Xi “remembers everything I’ve said.” 

“All kidding aside,” Biden continued, “he does not believe in democracy can be sustained in the 21st century.” 


Bus carrying fleeing refugees overturns in Lithuania

18:30 – 17 Mar 2022

A bus carrying 53 women and children fleeing the conflict overturned near the town of Pasvalys in Lithuania.

It said at least 10 people, including children, were injured. They were taken to nearby hospitals.

The remaining passengers were taken to the Salociai cultural centre.

One of the passengers told the TV channel: “We haven’t slept for three days, perhaps all the 18 days during which we are being bombarded.

“Just as I fell asleep and the bus overturned, my daughter started screaming, and we started looking for my granddaughter. She fell out of her seat and ended up near the driver. Thank God she wasn‘t injured.”


Slovakia willing to provide air defense systems to Ukraine

18:04 – 17 Mar 2022

Slovakian Minister of Defence Jaroslav Nad’ said Slovakia is willing to provide S-300 air defense systems to Ukraine, and they are in discussions with the US and other allies on obtaining a “proper replacement, or… a capability guaranteed for a certain period of time.”

“We’re willing to do so immediately when we have a proper replacement,” Nad’ said at a joint news conference with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. “The only strategic air defense system that we have in Slovakia is S-300 system. So what would happen immediately when we decide to give it to Ukrainians is that we actually create a gap, a security gap in NATO.”


Up to 90% of Mariupol destroyed

17:32 – 17 Mar 2022

Authorities in the besieged eastern city of Mariupol have said that up to 90% of buildings in the city have been destroyed by Russian forces in their daily bombardment of the city.

Lesia Vasylenko, a Ukrainian MP, wrote on Twitter that the city is being “destroyed from the sky” and repeated President Volodymyr Zelensky’s call on Western nations to impose a no-fly zone over the country.

The report comes amid reports that rescue teams in the city are trying to bring out survivors of an attack on a theatre, where about 1,000 people – mainly women and children – were hiding in a bomb shelter.


350,000 people still remain in Mariupol

17:02 – 17 Mar 2022

In Mariupol, the besieged port city in the south of Ukraine, around 30,000 people have managed to escape, the city council says.

However, more than 350,000 people remain in the city, which has been encircled by Russian forces.

Officials in the city add they are still trying to work out if there are any casualties from the strike on its theatre.


Russia extends detention of US basketball star

16:43 – 17 Mar 2022

American basketball star Brittney Griner’s detention in Russia has been extended until May, Russian state news agency TASS reported, citing the Khimki Court of the Moscow Region.

Griner has been detained for weeks after Russian officials said they found vape cartridges containing oil derived from cannabis in her luggage at the Sheremetyevo airport near Moscow.

The offence could carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.


Biden to speak with President Xi tomorrow

16:11 – 17 Mar 2022

US President Joe Biden will speak with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday night Beijing time, China’s foreign ministry has said.

The two leaders will discuss Chinese-US relations and issues of common concern, the foreign ministry added.

World leaders and security experts have previously said China is the only country in a position to make Vladimir Putin stop the invasion. 


ESA suspends Mars mission with Russia

15:51 – 17 Mar 2022

The European Space Agency announced Thursday it has suspended the Russian-European Mars mission over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“We deeply deplore the human casualties and tragic consequences of the aggression towards Ukraine. While recognizing the impact on scientific exploration of space, ESA is fully aligned with the sanctions imposed on Russia by its Member States,” ESA said in a statement. 

During its meeting in Paris, ESA’s ruling council “acknowledged the present impossibility of carrying out the ongoing cooperation with (Russian space agency) Roscosmos on the ExoMars rover mission with a launch in 2022, and mandated the ESA Director General to take appropriate steps to suspend the cooperation activities accordingly,” it said.

Despite suspending the Mars mission, ESA said that the International Space Station program “continues to operate nominally. The main goal is to continue safe operations of the ISS, including maintaining the safety of the crew.”


Canada imposes new sanctions on Belarusian leaders

15:23 – 17 Mar 2022

Canada is imposing new sanctions on Belarusian leadership in response to the country’s involvement in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly.

These new measures impose restrictions on 22 senior officials of Belarus’s Department of Defense who supported the attack on Ukraine by allowing Belarus to serve as a “launch pad” for the Russian invasion, a release from Global Affairs Canada said.

“The world is horrified to witness the senseless violence occurring in Ukraine. Just as Canada is imposing severe sanctions on the Russian regime, Belarusian leadership must also be held accountable for enabling and supporting Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked attacks,” Joy said. “Canada implores Alexander Lukashenko to end his support for the Russian invasion. We will not hesitate to take further action. The world is watching.”


Belgium’s royals to host Ukrainian refugees

15:11 – 17 Mar 2022

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium have decided to host Ukrainian refugees.

The Belgian Royal Palace has confirmed to the BBC that two houses owned by Belgium’s Royal Trust will be made available for three Ukrainian families.

One of the houses is located in Brussels and the other is in the southern region of Wallonia.

A spokesman for the Royal Palace told the BBC that King Philippe had been moved by the testimonies he heard when meeting with Ukrainians, mostly women and children while visiting a registration centre in Brussels on Wednesday.


Ukraine’s foreign minister working with Turkey to set up meeting between Putin and Zelenskyy

15:03 – 17 Mar 2022

Ukraine’s foreign minister says he is working with Turkey to try and set up a meeting between the Ukrainian and Russian leaders.

The highest-level meeting of the conflict so far has been between Russia and Ukraine’s foreign ministers, but talks ultimately came to nothing.

A meeting between Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Vladimir Putin would be a significant step forward in the peace negotiations and raise hopes of a ceasefire.

Both countries have expressed cautious optimism over negotiations so far, but there are some worries that Russia’s rhetoric is a stalling tactic by Russia to get more resources to the front line.


UK troops to be deployed to Poland for 3 to 6 months

14:47 – 17 Mar 2022

UK is set to deploy its Sabre anti-air missile system to Nato ally Poland, along with 100 troops.

The troops are to be sent on a short deployment of three to six months.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said the Sabre missile system was being sent to protect Polish airspace and was purely for defensive purposes.

The US and Germany have already sent air defence systems to Nato’s eastern flank.


RUSSIA’S ADVANCEMENT INTO UKRAINE

14:34 – 17 Mar 2022

The Institute for the Study of War has released the following map showing an approximation of what areas of Ukraine are, as of yesterday afternoon, under Russian occupation.


Popular TV chef could be first sentenced to jail in Russia under censorship laws

14:11 – 17 Mar 2022

Veronika Belotserkovskaya, a popular blogger and Russian-language cookbook author, is facing prosecution in Russia over a series of Instagram posts.

Russia recently introduced laws to clamp down on anyone speaking out against the invasion – which Russia insists is a “special military operation”.

Those who fall foul of the laws could spend up to 15 years in prison.

Ms Belotserkovskaya, who was born in Odesa, Ukraine, has been accused of posting “deliberately false information about the use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation to destroy cities and the civilian population of Ukraine, including children”.

In her posts, she had accused Russia of waging “an aggressive WAR against a sovereign state”.

It is thought the blogger’s posts were written outside Russia – where Instagram has been blocked – but reports suggest Russia may seek her extradition. 


More than 7,000 Russian troops killed, says US intelligence agency

13:54 – 17 Mar 2022

More than 7,000 Russian soldiers have died since Russia invaded Ukraine last month, estimates from American intelligence agencies show. 

Pentagon officials told the New York Times they were able to compile their data by analysing satellite images and video content showing Russian tanks and troops.

However, they stressed the death figure was not exact. 

Estimates suggest more than 150,000 Russian troops have now entered Ukraine since 24 February, with around 14,000 to 21,000 injured.

The latest figures come after reports emerged from Kyiv this morning that Major-General Oleg Mityaev had become the fourth Russian General reportedly killed in the fighting in Ukraine.

Earlier this week, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that roughly 1,300 Ukrainian troops had been killed amid Russia’s ongoing war with the country.


Ukraine war could hit global growth, OECD warns

13:32 – 17 Mar 2022

The war in Ukraine could cut global economic growth by more than one percentage point in the first year after the invasion, according to a new report.

The Organisation for Economic Development (OECD) says the impact could also cause a “deep recession” in Russia if it is sustained.

Although Russia and Ukraine only make up a small percentage of the global economy, they are huge producers of raw materials.

The OECD also warns that the conflict could push up prices globally by about 2.5%.

Costs were already going up due to increased demand as Covid restrictions ease.

It comes as the Bank of England raises UK interest rates to 0.75%, citing concerns the war in Ukraine will push prices up further.


US to provide Ukraine with ‘Kamikaze drones’

12:45 – 17 Mar 2022

The Biden administration will provide Ukraine with additional high-tech defensive weapons including so-called “Kamikaze drones”, according to US reports.

The weapons being provided will be easily portable and require little training to use against Russian tanks, armoured vehicles and aircraft, the New York Times is citing US and European officials as saying.

Military officials call the weapon, which is carried in a backpack, the “Kamikaze drone” because it can be flown directly at a tank or a group of troops, and is destroyed when it hits the target and explodes.


Nestle should ‘change its mind’ about staying in the Russian market – Ukrainian prime minister

11:45 – 17 Mar 2022

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal has levelled some strong criticism at Nestle ater meeting with its CEO Mark Schneider.

A Nestle spokesperson told Sky News in a statement: “We consider conversations with governmental authorities private.

“We will continue to do the utmost to deliver food to Ukrainians in the country and to support Ukrainian refugees in many countries.”


UK will deploy 100 troops and missile system in Poland

11:45 – 17 Mar 2022

The UK will send a Sky Sabre missile system and 100 troops to Poland, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said. 

Britain – like all other NATO members – has refused to put troops in Ukraine, but has bolstered resources in neighbouring NATO countries. 

Other NATO members have also moved to increase the security of the military alliance’s eastern flank. 


Kremlin ignores court’s demand to stop invasion

11:15 – 17 Mar 2022

Russia has signalled it will not stop its invasion of Ukraine, after the United Nations’ top court ordered it to halt immediately. 

The court had said it was “profoundly concerned” by Russia’s use of force. 

The Kremlin has now said it will not pay heed to the order, accusing Western media of spreading “monstrous fake news” about the conflict. 

They also said the US has long bombed civilians and used nuclear weapons in Japan at the end of the Second World War, Mr Biden has “no right to lecture Russia”.


Trains grind to a halt across Poland – disrupting key transport for fleeing refugees

11:00 – 17 Mar 2022

Poland is suffering serious rail problems in many areas due to a widespread traffic control system outage, operator PKP PLK has said.

The outage is nearly nationwide, affecting 510 miles of track.


Russia ‘has the might to put all of our brash enemies in their place’ – former russian president

10:00 – 17 Mar 2022

Russia has the strength to put enemies led by the United States in their place and Moscow will foil the West’s “Russophobic plot” to tear Russia apart, one of President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies said.

Dmitry Medvedev, who served as Russia’s president from 2008 to 2012 and is now deputy secretary of Russia’s security council, said the United States had stoked “disgusting” Russophobia in an attempt to force Russia on its knees and then rip it apart.


Peace talks are continuing – Russian foreign ministry

09:45 – 17 Mar 2022

Talks with Ukraine are continuing via videolink, with both sides discussing military, political and humanitarian issues, Russia’s foreign ministry has said.


Russian government websites facing unprecedented cyber attacks – news agency

09:30 – 17 Mar 2022

Kremlin websites in Russia are facing unprecedented cyber attacks, the TASS news agency has reported the digital ministry as saying.

State-owned companies are being targeted amid the country’s invasion of Ukraine and efforts are being made to filter foreign web traffic.

Russia’s largest lender Sberbank and its flagship carrier Aeroflot are among those to have seen outages or access issues in recent weeks.


‘All you cared about was the economy’: Zelenskyy hits out at Western leaders

09:20 – 17 Mar 2022

Zelenskyy has issued scathing criticism of western leaders during an address to the German parliament. 

He said that as Russian forces were gathering on the Ukrainian border before the invasion, Western leaders acted too slowly and did not go far enough to deter Russia. 

“All you cared about was the economy,” he said. 

Mr Zelenskyy criticised the reluctance to let Ukraine join the NATO military alliance, saying there is “no place for us at this table”.

Germany was previously criticised for being slow to adopt harsher measures against Russia, although it has since dropped its plans for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between itself and Russia – a huge move that will damage the German economy. 


Women and babies using theatre as shelter days before it was bombed

09:15 – 17 Mar 2022

Footage shows children playing and women carrying babies in a Mariupol theatre being used as a shelter for those who lost their homes. 

Yesterday, the theatre was hit by a missile strike – despite the word “children” being written in Russian on the ground outside. 


Ukrainian mother of 6 children killed in battle

09:00 – 17 Mar 2022

Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has paid tribute to a Ukrainian mother-of-six who was killed in fighting.

Olga Semidyanova, 48, died fighting against Russian forces after serving as a military medic since 2014 in the Donetsk region – an area that has been in conflict for years. 

She was a mother of six children and had also adopted six more, earning her the title of Mother-Heroine. 


53 people killed in Chernihiv yesterday – local authorities

08:40 – 17 Mar 2022

Chernihiv’s regional governor has confirmed 53 people were killed in the city yesterday. 

It was reported that the bodies of 3 children were found in a shelled building in the city.


UK to ‘choke off funding to Russian war machine’, uk minister

08:30 – 17 Mar 2022

Foreign Office minister James Cleverly has said the UK will keep applying pressure to “choke off the funding to the Russian war machine” in an effort to bring an end to the country’s invasion of Ukraine “as quickly as possible”.

Speaking to Sky news this morning, the government minister said: “We have seen obvious targeting of civilian infrastructure that’s against humanitarian law, it’s against the law of armed conflict.

“We’ve got to make sure that we capture evidence of all these instances so that the Russian regime that’s conducting this completely illegal, completely unjustified war in Ukraine are held accountable by the international courts once this is resolved.


Ukraine hoping to open 9 humanitarian corridors again today

08:30 – 17 Mar 2022

Nine humanitarian corridors – including from the hard-hit city of Mariupol – could open once again today, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister has said. 

Thousands of people have been taken to safer locations in recent days, although some humanitarian corridors have been targeted by Russia, Ukraine has said.


Rubizhne continually shelled all day and night – local governor

08:15 – 17 Mar 2022

One person has been killed and five injured in Russian shelling on Rubizhne, its local governor Serhiy Haidai has said.

He said the area was targeted all of yesterday and last night, leaving the city “ablaze” and destroying more than 20 houses.


Russian invasion has ‘largely stalled on all fronts’ – British intelligence

07:15 – 17 Mar 2022

The latest Ministry of Defence update suggests Russian forces have made “minimal progress” on land, sea and air in recent days.

They “continue to suffer heavy losses” and the invasion has “largely stalled on all fronts”, the MoD said.


Putin wants ‘self-purification’ of Russia, references Westerners who ‘can’t do without oysters or so-called gender freedoms’

05:00 – 17 Mar 2022

The Russian president has appeared on television to take aim at Russians who don’t back the invasion.

Vladimir Putin said Russians “will always be able to distinguish true patriots from scum and traitors and will simply spit them out like a gnat that accidentally flew into their mouths”.

He accused the West of using a “fifth column” of traitorous Russians to create civil unrest, adding: “And there is only one goal, I have already spoken about it — the destruction of Russia.”

He also hit out at Russian oligarchs living in the West, saying: “I am not at all judging those who have a villa in Miami or the French Riviera, who cannot do without foie gras, oysters or so-called gender freedoms.


Zelenskyy confirms abducted mayor has been released after refusing to collaborate with Russians

03:15 – 17 Mar 2022

In an overnight TV address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said a local official taken hostage by Russian troops has been released.

“We have finally managed to release the mayor of Melitopol from captivity. Our Ukrainian Melitopol, which did not submit and will not submit to the occupiers. Ivan Fedorov is free. I talked to him today,” he said. 


Ukrainian forces deal ‘punishing blow’ to Russian-seized airport

01:15 – 17 Mar 2022

Ukrainian forces have dealt a punishing blow to an airport seized by Russian troops in Kherson, the General Staff said.

It said the Russians were trying to remove any surviving military equipment following the strike yesterday.

Satellite photos show helicopters and vehicles on fire at the airbase, which Russia seized in the first days of the war.


Russia resorting to use of older, less precise weapons – MoD

00:00 – 17 Mar 2022

Russia has probably used more of its air-launched weapons than originally planned as it tries to take control of Ukrainian airspace and is likely “resorting to the use of older, less precise weapons”, the Ministry of Defence has said.

In its latest Defence Intelligence update, the MoD warned Russia’s older weapons “are less militarily effective and more likely to result in civilian casualties”.


Ukraine swapped nine captured Russian soldiers for Melitopol mayor – local news

23:00 – 16 Mar 2022

Ukraine swapped nine captured Russian soldiers for the mayor of Melitopol, who was detained last week, the Interfax Ukraine news agency quoted a senior official saying.

Interfax Ukraine quoted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s press aide, Darya Zarivnaya, saying: “Ivan Fedorov was released from Russian captivity… for him, Russia received nine captured soldiers who were born in 2002 and 2003. These are actually children”.


“Children” was spelled out on two sides of Mariupol theater before bombing, satellite images show

22:21 – 16 Mar 2022

New satellite images from Maxar Technologies show that on Monday, the word “children” was spelt out outside the theatre that the Mariupol City Council said was bombed earlier today.

The City Council said that on Wednesday that Russian forces had “purposefully and cynically destroyed the Drama Theater in the heart of Mariupol. The plane dropped a bomb on a building where hundreds of peaceful Mariupol residents were hiding.”


Putin says Biden comments about him are ‘unacceptable and unforgivable’

21:52 – 16 Mar 2022

As reported earlier, Joe Biden said for the first time today that he believed Vladimir Putin was a war criminal.

The Kremlin has now responded, with the Russian leader issuing an angry rebuke to his US counterpart.

Dmitry Peskov, Mr Putin’s spokesman, described Mr Biden’s comments as “unacceptable and unforgivable rhetoric by the leader of a country from whose bombs hundreds of thousands of people have died,” according to state news agency Ria Novosti.


US defense official: Russian forces have not made “any significant advances” towards Kyiv

21:28 – 16 Mar 2022

Russian forces are still “generally stalled” near Kyiv, Ukraine, and have not “made any significant advances” towards the city from the north, northwest or east of the city, a senior US defence official told reporters.

Russian forces to the east of Kyiv are still about 30kms away from the city’s centre, the official said.

“The bottom line is they haven’t made any appreciable progress coming to the east,” the official continued.

Ukrainians are still in control of Brovary. Chernihiv remains isolated, but the US is seeing Ukrainians “trying to develop lines of communication to the south and with some success,” the official said.

There has been no “apparent progress in or around Kharkiv” by Russian forces, the official said.


“Increased naval activity” from Russian ships in Black Sea near Odesa

20:58 – 16 Mar 2022

The US has observed “increased naval activity” in the northern Black Sea from Russian forces there, a senior US defence official told reporters on Wednesday.

“We also have observed on our own the shelling of some cities, some towns outside Odesa, near Odesa,” the official said.

The shelling is not in Odesa, but near Odesa, the official said. The shelling, the US believes, is coming from Russian warships in the Black Sea, the official added.

“We believe these are again from Russian warships in the Black Sea,” the official added. “There does appear to be naval shelling in places near Odesa.”


Biden calls Putin ‘a war criminal’

20:44 – 16 Mar 2022

US President Joe Biden has called Vladimir Putin a “war criminal” for the first time.

Speaking to reporters after an event at the White House on Wednesday, Biden said: “I think he is a war criminal”.

Until now, the administration had avoided using the phrase, including when asked directly.


Slovakia preliminarily agrees to send key Soviet-era air defense system to Ukraine

20:26 – 16 Mar 2022

Slovakia has preliminarily agreed to provide Ukraine with a key Soviet-era air defence system to help defend against Russian airstrikes, according to three sources familiar with the matter, but the US and NATO are still grappling with how to backfill that country’s own defensive capabilities and the transfer is not yet assured. 

According to two of the sources, Slovakia, one of three NATO allies that have the defence systems in question, wants assurances that the systems will be replaced immediately. 


BBC blocked in Russia

20:06 – 16 Mar 2022

The BBC’s main news website has been blocked by Russian authorities.

Russia’s media watchdog Roskomnadzor said access to the BBC’s main news website had been stopped, while Moscow’s foreign ministry warned of more retaliatory measures against the media.

“I think this is only the beginning of retaliatory measures to the information war unleashed by the West against Russia,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Telegram.


Mayor kidnapped by Russian forces is freed

19:52 – 16 Mar 2022

The mayor of the city of Melitopol, who was detained last week, is now free from captivity.

“The mayor of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov, has been released from Russian captivity,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s chief of staff Andriy Yermak said in an online post.

The Ukrainian government says it has staged a rescue of the mayor of the southern city of Melitopol, who was detained by armed men in the Russian-occupied city on March 11.

“A special operation to release the mayor of Melitopol Ivan Fedorov has just been successfully completed. Vanya is safe. We just talked to him together with the president and the head of the Office. I would like to say only one thing – we never leave our people. Ivan will return to his duties as mayor of Ukrainian Melitopol very soon,” Kyrylo Tymoshenko, a senior official in President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office, said in a message on his Telegram channel.


Biden announced $800 million more in aid to Ukrain

19:27 – 16 Mar 2022

President Biden announced $800 million in additional security assistance to Ukraine during remarks from the White House on Wednesday. This brings the total to $1 billion in aid announced in just the last week.

“The world is united in our support for Ukraine and our determination to make Putin pay a very heavy price,” Biden said as he made the announcement. “America is leading this effort, together with our allies and partners, providing an enormous level of security and humanitarian assistance that we’re adding to today and we’re going to continue to do more in the days and weeks ahead.”

The package of military assistance will include anti-tank missiles and more of the defensive weapons that the US has already been providing, including Javelin anti-tank and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, officials familiar with the plans said. The assistance, however, will stop short of the no-fly zone or fighter jets that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said are necessary to sustain Ukraine’s fight against Russia.

“These are direct transfers of equipment from our Department of Defense to the Ukrainian military to help them as they fight against this invasion. I thank Congress for appropriating these funds,” Biden said.


International Court of Justice orders Russia to immediately halt its invasion of Ukraine

18:56 – 16 Mar 2022

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague has ordered Moscow to immediately stop its invasion of Ukraine, saying there is no evidence to support its justification of the war.

During a hearing today, the court ruled there was no evidence to support Russian claims that Ukraine was committing genocide in the Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts, whereby Moscow has justified its invasion of Ukraine.

“The Russian Federation shall immediately suspend the military operations commenced on 24 February, 2022, that have as their stated purpose and objective the prevention and punishment of a claimed genocide in the Luhansk and Donetskoblasts of Ukraine,” it said.

The Court also called for other forces supported or controlled by Moscow to cease their military operations, and for Russia to refrain from aggravating or extending the dispute.


US Justice and Treasury Departments launch multilateral Russian oligarch task force

18:22 – 16 Mar 2022

US Attorney General Merrick Garland and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen met with counterparts in Europe and Asia today to formally launch a multilateral task force that seeks to take action against the assets of Russian oligarchs.

The task force, which will draw upon the ministries of justice, home or finance in member jurisdiction, will work to “collect and share information to take concrete actions, including sanctions, asset freezing, civil and criminal asset seizure, and criminal prosecution,” the Justice Department said in a release.


Russia’s Patriarch Kirill discusses Ukraine conflict with Pope Francis

18:01 – 16 Mar 2022

Russia’s Patriarch Kirill discussed the situation in Ukraine with Pope Francis today, according to a statement from the Russian Orthodox Church

“A detailed discussion of the situation in Ukraine took place. Particular attention was paid to the humanitarian aspects of the current crisis and the actions of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church to overcome its consequences. The parties stressed the exceptional importance of the ongoing negotiation process, expressing their hope for the soonest achievement of a just peace,” the statement read.

“Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill also discussed a number of issues of bilateral cooperation.”


‘NATO will not tolerate an attack’

17:25 – 16 Mar 2022

NATO’s secretary general has warned Moscow that an attack against a single member state would “not be tolerated”.

His comments come after a Russian strike on a military base close to Ukraine’s border with NATO member Poland last weekend.

If a NATO country comes under direct attack, all members are obliged to come to its defence.


‘zero tolerance’ of crimes against children – ICC

17:15 – 16 Mar 2022

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has said he insisted on “zero tolerance” of sexual and gender-based crimes and crimes against children on a visit to Ukraine.

The ICC started a formal investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine after Russia invaded its smaller neighbour on 24 February.

Neither Russia nor Ukraine is a member of the ICC and Moscow does not recognise the tribunal. 


‘No sign on the ground’ of Russia’s compliance to peace talks

17:10 – 16 Mar 2022

NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg was asked if the alliance saw “any signs on the ground that the Russians are genuine in their approach to these peace talks or that they may well just be using them as a distraction for resupply and for restructuring their approach”.

He replied: “On the ground, we don’t see any sign. And that’s the reason why we also call on Russia to engage in these talks in good faith. 


Ukraine and Russia draw up provisional peace plan including ceasefire and Russian withdrawal

17:00 – 16 Mar 2022

A report this afternoon from the Financial Times says Ukraine and Russia have made “significant progress on a tentative 15-point peace plan” that would involve a ceasefire and Russian withdrawal of troops if Kyiv agrees to neutral status and accepts limits on its armed forces.

The newspaper cites 3 people, who were involved in the talks, who said that the proposed deal, which Ukrainian and Russian negotiators discussed in full for the first time yesterday, would involve Kyiv renouncing its ambitions to join NATO and promising not to host foreign military bases or weaponry in exchange for protection from allies such as the US, UK and Turkey.

However, it said the details of western guarantees for Ukrainian security — and how acceptable they might be to the Kremlin — “could yet prove to be a big obstacle to any deal, as could the status of Ukrainian territories seized by Russia and its proxies in 2014”. 

And, the report added, Ukrainian officials remain sceptical Russian president Vladimir Putin is fully committed to peace and fear that Moscow could be buying time to regroup its forces and resume its offensive.


US position on no-fly zone has not changed – White House

16:40 – 16 Mar 2022

US President Joe Biden is due to offer remarks on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s speech to Congress earlier.

President Zelesnkyy echoed Martin Luther King when he told US politicians they would all know the phrase “I have a dream”.

The White House has said despite repeated calls from Ukraine for it to enforce a no-fly zone, its position has not changed.


Putin admits of pain inflicted by Western sanctions

16:30 – 16 Mar 2022

Putin went further than before in acknowledging the pain that Western sanctions were inflicting on the economy, but insisted that Russia could withstand the blow.

He said it would “not be simple for us in Russia” and admitted the measures would demand “structural changes to our economy” which could cause “inflation and unemployment”.

While Mr Putin said Russia was ready to discuss neutral status for Ukraine, there was no sign of any softening in his bitter invective against the country and the West.

He said Western countries wanted to turn Russia into a “weak dependent country; violate its territorial integrity; to dismember Russia in a way that suits them”.


german media posts footage of ukrainian man getting shot by russian soldiers

16:00 – 16 Mar 2022

ZDF Heute, one of Germany’s largest broadcasters, has published video footage of what it says is evidence of Russian troops opening fire on an unarmed Ukrainian civilian near the capital city of Kyiv.

It appears to show an unarmed civilian exiting his car on a road a few kilometres west of the capital, before being shot and instantly killed by Russian troops positioned off screen.

In the following scene, several Russian soldiers emerge and surround the man’s body, which lies motionless on the highway.

ZDF Heute says the man’s car was subsequently towed away by Moscow’s forces.

ZDF Heute also says that it has tracked down the owner of the footage and verified the veracity of the images.


Spain detains mega-yacht possibly belonging to sanctioned Russian oligarch

15:45 – 16 Mar 2022

Spanish authorities have detained a mega-yacht called “Crescent” docked in Catalonia as part of an investigation into whether it belongs to a Russian oligarch targeted by sanctions, Spain’s transport ministry has said.

A police source told Reuters the €550m vessel is thought to belong to Igor Sechin, the sanctioned chief executive of Russian oil giant Rosneft.


Russia ready to “seriously discuss” Ukraine’s ‘neutral status’ – Putin

15:15 – 16 Mar 2022

Putin has said Russia is ready to discuss Ukraine’s neutral status in talks aimed at ending hostilities – but that Moscow would still achieve the goals of its military operation, which was “going to plan”.

He said the West had effectively declared Russia in default as part of its sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine, and that the conflict had merely been a pretext for the West to impose sanctions.

“The West doesn’t even bother to hide the fact that its aim is to damage the entire Russian economy, every Russian,” he said.

Mr Putin’s statement come after Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said neutral status for Ukraine was being “seriously discussed” and that specific wordings were “close to agreement”.


Zelenskyy makes historic address to US Congress

14:15 – 16 Mar 2022

The US representatives gathered to hear the address gave Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy a round of applause before his speech.

Zelenskyy told US politicians to remember the 9/11 terror attacks when they think of Ukraine.

Speaking in Ukrainian, Mr Zelenskyy had earlier told Congress: “The destiny of our country is being decided, the destiny of our people, whether Ukrainians will be free… Russia has attacked not just us, not just our land, not just our cities, it went on a brutal offensive against our values.

“Basic human values.”

He also echoed Martin Luther King Jr. as he said “I have a dream”. He continued: “I have a need – I need to protect our skies.”

Finishing his speech to Congress, Mr Zelenskyy pressures Biden by addressing him specfically: “You are the leader of the nation, of your great nation.

“I wish you to be the leader of the world (sic). Being the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace.”


Russians kill 10 Ukrainians lining up for bread

14:11 – 16 Mar 2022


Italy seizes Sardinian property belonging to EU-sanctioned Russian oligarch

13:49 – 16 Mar 2022

Italy has seized a building complex on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia owned by Russian businessman Petr Olegovich Aven, Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s office said on Wednesday.

Aven owned one-third of the property and his holding was worth around €4 million.

An oil investor who built a European business empire with an estimated net worth of £3.6bn, Aven was placed on an EU sanctions list following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.


Additional air defence systems are being sent to Ukraine

13:18 – 16 Mar 2022

As Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky prepares to ask Congress for further military aid to his country, the US and its NATO allies are already sending several surface-to-air missiles systems to Ukraine to aid in its defense.

According to a senior US official, these additional systems include the Soviet-era SA-8, SA-10, SA-12 and SA-14 mobile air defense systems. 

These systems have a lower altitude range than the S-300 system, which Ukraine has requested. However, they have a range higher than the Stinger shoulder-fired missiles previously supplied to Ukraine, giving them the capability to hit cruise missiles.

The systems have been sourced from NATO partner nations and are “on the way,” according to this senior US official. It is not clear at this time how these systems will be backfilled to the providing country. 


Japan to revoke Russia’s “most favored nation” status

12:53 – 16 Mar 2022

Japan will revoke Russia’s “most favoured nation” (MFN) trade status in response to its invasion of Ukraine, the country’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in a news conference on Wednesday.

As a member of the World Trade Organization, Russia is treated as a MFN, which gives it equal access to all the WTO members’ markets and guarantees equal tariffs.

Japan’s latest move follows President Joe Biden’s announcement Friday that the US, along with G7 nations and the European Union, intended to revoke Russia’s MFN status. 

During the news conference, Kishida called the Russian invasion of Ukraine a “historic atrocity” and said that Japan would continue to work closely with G7 nations to strengthen financial sanctions against Russia.  

Kishida said Tokyo would further expand the scope of asset freezes against Russian oligarchs close to the Putin administration, prevent Russia from using digital currencies to avert sanctions and ban imports of specific products from the country. 

Tokyo will also work with G7 nations to prevent Moscow from tapping loans from the International Monetary Fund, Kishida said.

Japan will also collaborate with international aid agencies to deliver food and medicine to Ukrainians, he continued, adding that the country had started accepting evacuees from Ukraine and called on the public’s support.


Oil industry faces “what could turn into the biggest supply crisis in decades,” IEA warns

12:39 – 16 Mar 2022

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is warning that potential large-scale disruptions to Russian oil production is “threatening to create a global oil supply shock.”

This comes in light of tough sanctions imposed on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine and as buyers increasingly avoid Russian oil purchases.

“We estimate that from April, 3 mb/d (million barrels per day) of Russian oil output could be shut in as sanctions take hold and buyers shun exports,” the IEA said in its oil market report.

“OPEC+ [the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries] is, for now, sticking to its agreement to increase supply by modest monthly amounts. Only Saudi Arabia and the UAE hold substantial spare capacity that could immediately help to offset a Russian shortfall.”

OPEC has been facing calls to ramp up production amid soaring energy prices. In its last meeting, the organization agreed to stick to their current plan of gradually increasing output by just 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) per month. It meets again on March 31.

“Surging commodity prices and international sanctions levied against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine are expected to appreciably depress global economic growth,” the IEA said, which cut its 2022 global oil demand outlook by 1.3 million barrels per day.

It warned that the industry is faced “with what could turn into the biggest supply crisis in decades.”


Ukrainian mayor and his deputy ‘abducted’

12:21 – 16 Mar 2022

The mayor of Skadovsk – a port city in the Kherson region of Ukraine – has been abducted, according to Ukraine’s foreign minister. 

Oleksandr Yakovlyev and his deputy Yurii Palyukh were allegedly taken today. 

Russia has claimed it is in control of the entire Kherson region now, after taking the city near the beginning of the invasion. 

This is not the first time Ukrainian officials have reportedly been abducted since the war began.

The mayor of the southern town of Dniprorudne, Yevheniy Matvieyev, and the mayor of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov, are also said to have been kidnapped. 


Czech crowdfunding campaign raises $30 million for weapons for Ukraine

12:12 – 16 Mar 2022

A crowdfunding campaign aiming to raise money for weapons for Ukraine has raised over $30 million from more than 100,000 supporters since it was launched last month, according to the Czech Ministry of Defense.

The campaign is coordinated by the Czech government with the money going to the Embassy of Ukraine in Prague.

The proceeds are being used to buy weapons and other military supplies that Ukraine needs to defend itself from the Russian invasion, according to a statement from the Czech Ministry of Defence.

The Czech government said it has made available $185 million worth of military supplies that can be purchased with the money from the crowdfunding campaign.

“Arms, military equipment and ammunitions urgently needed by the Ukrainian military and the Territorial Defense Force to fill depleted stockpiles are part of the offer,” the ministry said.

“Heavy military systems and ammunitions of ‘Eastern’ design are under consideration for delivery to Ukraine as well.”


Portugal to change nationality law that gave Abramovich citizenship

12:04 – 16 Mar 2022

Portugal will introduce changes to its nationality law that gave citizenship to Roman Abramovich, the country’s foreign minister has said.

The Russian oligarch and Chelsea owner, who has been hit with a raft of sanctions by the UK and the EU, received Portuguese citizenship in April 2021.


Zaporizhzhia shelled by for the first time

11:52 – 16 Mar 2022

The central Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia has come under Russian fire for the first time, according to officials in the regional administration.

Oleksandr Starukh, the head of Zaporizhzhia regional administration, said on his Telegram channel that the railway station and the area around the botanical garden were struck. No casualties had been recorded.

Separately, the southern command of the Ukrainian armed forces said the damage had probably been done by two missiles, but one had not exploded.

Zaporizhzhia is the destination for thousands of people leaving Mariupol, the besieged city on Ukraine’s southern coast.

As of 2 a.m. local time on Wednesday, regional authorities said 3,207 vehicles had reached Zaporizhzhia from Mariupol. Shelter had been provided for more than 3,000 people.


Russian spy chief warns country’s fate to be decided in coming days

11:38 – 16 Mar 2022

The head of Russia’s foreign intelligence agency has said the country’s fate will be decided in the coming days.

Sergei Naryshkin, who heads up the SVR, told a panel event in Moscow that Russia “is now experiencing a truly historic moment”.

The fate of Russia is being decided, its future place in the world,” Naryshkin said.

The spy chief’s speech focused on the importance of sovereignty and he told delegates “sovereignty is a guarantee of the well-being and dignity of our citizens, this is the future of our children”.

“In such matters, Russia has never retreated and will not retreat, because otherwise it will cease to be Russia”.

Prior to the invasion of Ukraine Naryshkin was dressed down by President Vladimir Putin on state TV during a heavily choreographed national security meeting. Putin challenged the one-time KGB officer, who seemed to fluff his lines when invited to voice support for the recognition of separatist regions in Ukraine.


Ukraine becoming ‘demilitarised’ like Austria could be seen as a compromise – Kremlin says

11:23 – 16 Mar 2022

The Kremlin has said the idea of creating a demilitarised Ukraine like Austria could be seen as a compromise to bring about the end of the war, the Russian state-owned news agency RIA has said.

The terms of the demilitarisation Russia would expect are not yet clear, but Ukraine would still have its own armed forces.

The development comes after a senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said talks with Russia have been “very difficult” but there is “definitely room for compromise”.


‘Hope for compromise’ but peace talks ‘not easy’ – Lavrov

10:47 – 16 Mar 2022

Peace talks between Russia and Ukraine are “not easy” but there is “hope for compromise”, Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov says.

“I am guided by the assessments given by our negotiators,” he says.

“They say that the negotiations are not easy for obvious reasons. But nevertheless, there is some hope of reaching a compromise,” Reuters quotes Lavrov as saying during an interview with the RBC news outlet.

He says problems are not just over Ukraine’s neutrality and demilitarisation but also over security for people in eastern Ukraine – where the rebel-held areas of Donetsk and Luhansk are.


Polish, Slovenian and Czech delegations have safely returned to Poland

10:28 – 16 Mar 2022

Delegations from the Polish, Slovenian and Czech governments have arrived safely in Poland, a Polish government spokesperson has said. 

The leaders of the three countries had made an extraordinary trip to Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, yesterday to show their support. 

The trip was made despite Russian forces launching airstrikes on the capital.


Ukraine’s armed forces launch counter-offensives against Russian troops

09:46 – 16 Mar 2022

Ukrainian forces are carrying out the counter-offensives in “several operational areas”, presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak has said.

He did not give any further details on what this will entail. 


RUSSIA’S ADVANCEMENT INTO UKRAINE

09:34 – 16 Mar 2022

The Institute for the Study of War has released the following map showing an approximation of what areas of Ukraine are, as of yesterday afternoon, under Russian occupation.


Poland’s deputy PM calls for international peacekeeping missions

09:21 – 16 Mar 2022

Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski has called for an international peacekeeping mission to be sent to Ukraine following a meeting Tuesday with the leaders of Poland, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Ukraine in Kyiv.

“I believe that a NATO peace mission or a wider international treaty mission is needed, which will be able to defend itself and which will operate in Ukraine,” Kaczynski said, according to the Polish Prime Minister’s office. “I would like to refer to the consciences of European leaders, to the principles they proclaim, because Ukraine needs help.”


Russian forces shooting from captured Mariupol hospital

09:06 – 16 Mar 2022

Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Olha Stefanishyna has said that Russian forces are now shooting from a captured hospital, threatening the humanitarian corridor.

So far, about 20,000 civilians have managed to leave the besieged city in private cars.

Mariupol residents have been trapped in the southern port city by Russian shelling and are struggling without heating, electricity and running water.

Official Ukrainian estimates last week suggested at least 200,000 people were in urgent need of evacuation.  

Ms Stefanishyna said efforts are being made to open a humanitarian corridor again today, but it is still an open question. 


Video: missile strikes Kyiv

08:39 – 16 Mar 2022


Russia’s bombardment of Kyiv edges closer to the centre

07:08 – 16 Mar 2022

Shelling of the capital city of Kyiv appears to be becoming more systematic and moving closer to the centre, targeting apartments, an underground station and other civilian sites yesterday.

In a speech overnight, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the barrages hit four multi-story buildings and killed dozens.

However, a senior US defence official has said while Russian forces are using long-range missiles to hit Kyiv their ground forces have made little to no progress around the country.

Russian troops remain about nine miles from the centre of the capital – little to no movement from yesterday.

The official added the US has seen indications Russia believes it may need more troops and supplies than it has on hand in Ukraine and is considering how to get more resources in.


Zelensky: Peace talks ‘sound more realistic’

02:03 – 16 Mar 2022

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says peace talks with Russia are beginning to “sound more realistic, but time is still needed” to reach a breakthrough.

In his latest Facebook video address, he said that victory over Russia would require the work of all Ukrainian citizens, including the negotiating team currently holding ongoing talks via Zoom.

Russia has continued to press Ukraine to formally renounce any intention of ever joining NATO, and formally recognise the breakaway provinces of Donetsk, Luhansk and Crimea.

The talks are due to continue today.

As we reported earlier, Zelensky on Tuesday appeared to concede Ukraine would not join Nato.

Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak said there were “fundamental contradictions” during the talks, but “certainly room for compromise”.


Russian troops seize Mariupol hospital and take 500 hostage

01:43 – 16 Mar 2022

Russian troops have seized a hospital in Mariupol and taken around 500 people hostage, regional leader Pavlo Kyrylenko has said.

He said Russian forces drove 400 people from neighbouring houses into Regional Intensive Care Hospital, where they joined around 100 doctors and patients inside.

The troops are using those inside the hospital as human shields and not allowing anyone to leave, he said.

“It’s impossible to leave the hospital, they are shooting hard,” Mr Kyrylenko said.

He said the main building of the hospital has been heavily damaged by shelling, but medical staff were continuing to treat patients in makeshift wards set up in the basement.

He called on the world to respond to these “gross violations of the norms and customs of war, these egregious crimes against humanity.” 


US lawmakers still discussing how to revoke Russia’s PNTR status

01:01 – 16 Mar 2022

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are still negotiating how to revoke Russia’s permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status, after a provision that would do as much was scrapped from the bill that banned Russian energy imports last week. 

A plan to revoke Russia’s PNTR status was included in the bipartisan deal negotiated by the four corners of Congress but was pulled out of the legislation at the last minute when the White House asked Congress to narrow the scope of the legislation.

Ways and Means Ranking Member Kevin Brady, a Republican from Texas, told CNN on Tuesday, “there’s still discussions ongoing on Congress’ role.”

Brady said the discussions revolve around what role Congress will play in making trade decisions going forward and maintaining the stake Congress has in those decisions.

“So, since this is a legislative change, the disapproval resolution is important to keep Congress’s role in the decision on when to you know, restore those permanent normal trade relations,” Brady said.

“I’m hopeful we can conclude that but right now, we don’t have the final text yet,” he said.

But Brady was still hopeful that a conclusion could be reached by the end of the week.


Slovakia approves NATO plan to deploy more troops

00:26 – 16 Mar 2022

Slovakia’s parliament has approved a NATO plan to deploy up to 2,100 troops on Slovak territory in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The plan is part of the NATO initiative to reassure member countries on the alliance’s eastern flank by sending forces to protect them.

Germany is supposed to contribute up to 700 soldiers, while the Czech Republic will send 600 and the US 400. The Netherlands, Poland and Slovenia will also send troops.


3 million Ukrainians have fled after 3 weeks of war

00:07 – 16 Mar 2022

Three million Ukrainians have fled the country after three weeks since the start of the invasion, the United Nations has said.

Some 3,000,381 have fled so far, according to data from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

It said it was basing its aid plans on 4 million refugees, but warned the figure will likely increase.


UK moves to cut links with Russian science projects

23:58 – 15 Mar 2022

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is threatening scientific collaborations across the world, from the polar regions to the edge of space.

Collaborations on space exploration and cross-border science projects are unravelling – and, according to one professor, Russia risks being scientifically isolated.

Some UK universities have announced they are cutting ties with Russian research institutions, with the government expected to release formal guidance this week.

Prof Robin Grimes, a nuclear physicist who is the foreign secretary at the Royal Society, says the damage to science will take a long time for Russia to repair.


Navalny facing 13-year sentence

23:43 – 15 Mar 2022

Russian prosecutors have called for jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny to serve 13 years in prison for the new fraud charges he is facing.

The opposition politician is currently on trial at the prison colony outside Moscow where he is already serving a two-and-a-half year sentence.

Navalny was jailed last year after surviving a nerve agent attack that he blames on the Russian government.

In this latest trial, prosecutors have requested that the Putin critic be sent to a “strict regime” prison which would mean harsher conditions than he is in currently.

“You can’t put everyone in prison. Even if you ask for 113 years, you won’t scare me or others like me,” Navalny said in court according to his team.


US is supporting Europe’s efforts to transition off Russian gas

23:18 – 15 Mar 2022

Europe’s efforts to transition off Russian natural gas are underway and they are being supported by deliveries of liquefied natural gas from the United States, EU Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson.

“LNG deliveries have already increased significantly, and particularly from the United States,” she said.

This has helped us this winter and we do have also good contacts with other reliable partners,” she added.


Sanctions could ‘severely impact’ EU economy

23:07 – 15 Mar 2022

Economic growth in Europe will be “severely impacted” in the wake of sanctions against Russia, the EU’s trade chief has warned.

Valdis Dombrovskis, the European Commissioner for Trade, warned of higher inflation, pressure on energy and food prices, market volatility and disruption to supply chains.

But, speaking after a meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels, Dombrovskis added it was “impossible” to assess the exact economic impact at this stage.

Finance ministers today discussed proposals to help the worst-hit businesses, including grants and loans.

But Dombrovskis insisted that the fundamentals of the EU economy were “solid” – and that the bloc can “withstand” the crisis.

“We have already several tools at our disposal,” he said, pointing to financial flexibilities handed to member states during the pandemic.


European leaders’ visit to Kyiv is risky but worth it – Polish minister

22:45 – 15 Mar 2022

It is “risky” for the Polish, Czech and Slovenian prime ministers to visit Kyiv, a Polish deputy foreign minister has said – but the trip is “worth taking for the sake of values”.

The leaders, along with the head of Poland’s governing Law and Justice party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, took a train to Kyiv for talks with the Ukrainian president and prime minister.

They are said to be representing the European Union.

Polish deputy foreign minister, Marcin Przydacz, pointed out that the leaders of Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic states flew to Tbilisi in 2008 in a show of support after Russia’s invasion of Georgia.

The Polish president at the time was Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s late twin brother, Lech – and Jaroslaw accompanied him on the trip.

“At that time neither the Polish president nor his Ukrainian colleague lacked the courage to stand on the side of the attacked nation,” Przydacz told Polish TV.

He said the trip “is obviously risky”, describing the Russian leadership as “barbarians”. But he said Poland had flagged the visit to both Belarus and Russia beforehand.

“Nevertheless, the prime ministers decided that this risk is worth taking for the sake of values, for the sake of our common security and for the sake of solidarity with the (Ukrainian) nation,” he said.


Zelensky hails European leaders’ visit to Kyiv as a “strong sign of support”

22:13 – 15 Mar 2022

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has welcomed the Prime Ministers of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia to a meeting in Kyiv.

Zelensky posted a two-minute video of the meeting on his Telegram channel, saying: “Your visit to Kyiv at this difficult time for Ukraine is a strong sign of support. We really appreciate it.”

The three European leaders, who said they were representing the European Council at the Kyiv meeting, travelled to the Ukrainian capital by train.


Fox News issues statement on death of second journalist

21:43 – 15 Mar 2022

The CEO of Fox News has issued a statement on the death of journalist Oleksandra “Sasha” Kuvshynova, who died with cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski while reporting in Ukraine on Monday.

Suzanne Scott said the pair died when their vehicle was struck by incoming fire. Reporter Benjamin Hall was left hospitalised after the attack in Horenka.

“Sasha was just 24 years old and was serving as a consultant for us in Ukraine,” the statement said.

She was helping our crews navigate Kyiv and the surrounding area while gathering information and speaking to sources. She was incredibly talented and spent weeks working directly with our entire team there, operating around the clock to make sure the world knew what was happening in her country.”

The statement said Ms Kuvshynova was “a joy to work with” and was “hard-working, funny, kind and brave”.

It added: “We held off on delivering this devastating news earlier today out of respect for her family whom we have been in touch with throughout and we extend our deepest condolences to them.”


Leaders of Poland, Slovenia and Czech Republic in Kyiv

21:27 – 15 Mar 2022

In a frankly remarkable development given the bombardment the city is facing, the heads of state of Poland, Slovenia and Czechia have been in Kyiv today.

Alongside a picture of the men together around a table, Poland President Mateusz Morawiecki said they visited with a message that Ukraine can “count on the help of its friends”.


29,000 evacuated from Ukrainian cities

21:05 – 15 Mar 2022

Around 29,000 civilians have been evacuated from Ukrainian cities through humanitarian corridors today, a senior government official has said.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko said around 20,000 had left the besieged Mariupol in private cars.


Live news Protester: ‘It was my own anti-war decision’

20:43 – 15 Mar 2022

On Monday night, Marina Ovsyannikova staged an anti-war protest during a live news bulletin in Moscow.

As she was leaving the courtroom, the state TV employee – who claims she was questioned about the incident for over 14 hours – told reporters the protest was entirely her own decision.

“I made this decision by myself because I don’t like that Russia started this invasion,” she said.


Russia says it has helped evacuate civilians

20:29 – 15 Mar 2022

The Russian Ministry of Defence says Russian troops have helped evacuate thousands of civilians trapped in the fighting in Ukraine to western parts of the country in the past 24 hours.

Mikhail Mizintsev, head of Russia’s National Defence Control Centre, said more than 36,000 were evacuated “thanks to the unprecedented security measures taken by the Russian Armed Forces”.

He added that an evacuation of Ukrainian citizens to Russia was also ongoing.

The official reiterated claims that Ukrainian forces were hampering evacuation efforts.


Putin claims Ukraine ‘not showing serious commitment’ to finding solutions

20:13 – 15 Mar 2022

The Kremlin has just released a statement about a telephone conversation Vladimir Putin had today with President of the European Council Charles Michel.

It made a number of claims, but probably the most significant surrounded the ongoing peace talks – and would appear to puncture a least some of the optimism around their prospects of imminent success.

“Vladimir Putin laid out his principled assessments of the ongoing talks between Russian and Ukrainian representatives on an agreement that would take into account Russia’s earlier demands,” the statement said.

“He stressed that Kiev is not showing a serious commitment to finding mutually acceptable solutions.”


Biden signs bill authorising €12.6bn Ukraine funding

19:58 – 15 Mar 2022


Chernobyl nuclear power plant reconnected to electricity grid

19:23 – 15 Mar 2022

 International Atomic Energy Agency says that Ukraine has informed it that Chernobyl’s nuclear power plant has been reconnected to the electricity grid.

The site of the 1986 disaster had been relying on emergency diesel generators for power since 9 March after its power supply lines were damaged in the fighting.

“Ukrainian specialist teams succeeded on the weekend to repair one of two damaged lines linking the plant to the power network,” an IAEA statement said.

It said the diesel generators had now been switched off, but that it remained unclear “whether it will be possible to repair the second high-voltage power line”.

However, it added that Ukraine’s nuclear regulator had told it that Russia’s control of radioactive waste facilities at Chernobyl was limiting the flow of information, meaning it could fully answer all the IAEA’s questions.

“The regulator said for the first time today that information it received regarding Chornobyl was ‘controlled by the Russian military forces’ and therefore it could not ‘always provide detailed answers to all’ of the IAEA’s questions,” the IAEA said, adding that was also the case at the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. 


7 bodies found after air strike on school

19:07 – 15 Mar 2022

Seven bodies have been found in the rubble of a school in southern Ukraine after it was hit by a Russian airstrike, the Ukrainian emergencies service has said.

Three people had been pulled out of the rubble of the school in the Kykolayiv region after it was hit yesterday, it said.

It said rescue and recovery work at the site is now finished.


Russia officially leaves Council of Europe

18:34 – 15 Mar 2022

Russia has formally left the Council of Europe, a human rights watchdog based in Strasbourg, pre-empting the country’s possible expulsion over its attack on its neighbour Ukraine.

A letter initiating the exit procedure was forwarded to the general secretary of the organisation by foreign minister Sergiy Lavrov.

While the measure will not come into effect for some time, it will mean that Russia may no longer have to observe the European Convention on Human Rights – which, among other things, had prompted the country to introduce a moratorium on the death penalty.


Biden may attend European Council next week

18:15 – 15 Mar 2022

US President Joe Biden is expected to join next week’s meeting of the European Council, an EU official has said.

The meeting of EU leaders will likely focus in large part on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with the agenda set to include issues like “security and defence” and “external relations”.


human rights fears as Russia officially leaves Council of Europe

17:50 – 15 Mar 2022

Russia has formally left the Council of Europe, a human rights watchdog based in Strasbourg, pre-empting the country’s possible expulsion over its attack on its neighbour Ukraine.

A letter initiating the exit procedure was forwarded to the general secretary of the organisation by foreign minister Sergiy Lavrov.

While the measure will not come into effect immediately, it will mean that Russia will no longer need to observe the European Convention on Human Rights – which, among other things, had prompted the country to introduce a moratorium on the death penalty.


Ukrainian journalist killed

17:45 – 15 Mar 2022

It has emerged that a Ukrainian journalist working alongside Fox News was also killed on the outskirts of Kyiv on Monday.

Oleksandra Kuvshinova, 24, had been working with the American broadcaster throughout the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The young woman was described as “funny and kind” by a Fox News field producer who had worked with her during the conflict.


Russian woman fined $280 for live TV protest

17:30 – 15 Mar 2022

The Russian journalist who interrupted a live state television broadcast in Russia yesterday with an anti-war protest sign has been fined $280 (£213).

Marina Ovsyannikova, a Channel One employee, had appeared at Ostankino District Court in Moscow earlier today.

Yesterday, she held up a sign behind a studio presenter reading the news on Channel One – and shouted slogans condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 


At least 100 buses carrying civilians leave Sumy

17:00 – 15 Mar 2022

The International Committee of the Red Cross has confirmed that more than 100 buses carrying Ukrainian civilians have now left the city of Sumy.

They are heading towards Poltava in central Ukraine, but it was said they might not be able to take a direct route.


NATO fears Russia could launch chemical weapons ‘false flag’ attack

16:45 – 15 Mar 2022

NATO fear Russia may use chemical weapons in a “false flag” attack as part of its invasion of Ukraine, the alliance’s secretary-general has said.

Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference that Russia’s “absurd claims” about biological labs and chemical weapons in Ukraine were “an absolute lie”.

Mr Stoltenberg said any use of chemical weapons by Russia would be a violation of international law – but refused to say whether it would be a red line that might draw a military response from NATO.


Fox News cameraman killed in Ukraine

16:30 – 15 Mar 2022

Fox News has confirmed that cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski was killed in Ukraine yesterday when a vehicle he was travelling in was “struck by incoming fire”.

Mr Zakrzewski was with British journalist Benjamin Hall in Horenka, outside of Kyiv, at the time. Mr Hall was seriously injured and remains in hospital in Ukraine.


Russia to propose ‘humanitarian’ resolution for Ukraine in UN Security Council vote

15:15 – 15 Mar 2022

Russia has reportedly called for a UN Security Council vote on what it describes as a “humanitarian” resolution for Ukraine.

Moscow’s ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, also said Russia would stop its invasion when the goals of what he described as its “special military operation” were achieved in Ukraine, including demilitarisation.


Russia announces sanctions on Biden and Blinken

14:50 – 15 Mar 2022

Russia has imposed sanctions Joe Biden and US secretary of state Antony Blinken this afternoon.

Russia’s foreign ministry said they had all been banned from entering the country as a response to the US sanctions, adding that the measure was “the consequence of the extremely Russophobic policy pursued by the current US administration”.


Zelenskyy hints he may accept Putin’s NATO demand after saying negotiations going ‘pretty good’

14:45 – 15 Mar 2022

Having said before Russia’s invasion that he wanted his country to become part of the alliance, he was quoted last week as saying he had “cooled” on the idea.

While the prospects of Ukraine joining NATO have always seemed remote, one of Vladimir Putin’s key demands ahead of the invasion was a ban on this ever happening.

And in a further shift, Mr Zelenskyy has said this afternoon that his country must recognise there “is not an open door” to NATO membership.


Peace talks between Russia and Ukraine have started again

14:32 – 15 Mar 2022

Negotiators from both sides are sitting down for talks currently, a spokesperson for Ukraine has said.

Ukraine is hoping to secure a ceasefire and Russian withdrawal, but so far Russia has only agreed to humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians. 


UK announces 370 new Russia sanctions targets

14:24 – 15 Mar 2022

A further 370 Russian individuals and entities have been hit by UK sanctions that include asset freezes and travel bans.

New names in the list include:

  • Dmitry Medvedev – Russia’s president (2008-2012), prime minister (2012-2020) and chairman of the Security Council of Russia (since 2020)
  • Dmitry Peskov – Putin’s spokesman
  • Sergei Shoigu – minister of defence
  • Maria Zakharova – spokeswoman for Russia’s foreign ministry
  • Margarita Simonyan – editor-in-chief of Russian-backed news channel RT
  • Pyotr Aven – co-founder of Russia’s biggest investment bank, Alfa-Bank
  • MIkhail Fridman – London-based oligarch who co-founded Alfa-Bank with Aven

Earlier, the UK hit Russia with trade restrictions, including an additional 35% tariff on vodka.


2,000 cars leave Mariupol – but aid convoy still stuck

13:58 – 15 Mar 2022

A total of 2,000 cars have been able to leave the besieged city of Mariupol today as part of a humanitarian corridor, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister has said. 

It comes after only 160 civilian cars managed to leave yesterday. 

However, an aid convoy is still stuck at nearby Berdyansk as residents struggle to access food, electricity and running water. 

At least 200,000 civilians need to be evacuated, it is thought, as the Red Cross earlier warned the southern port city is being “suffocated”. 


Kharkiv struck 65 times on Monday and 600 residence buildings destroyed 

13:41 – 15 Mar 2022

One person was killed and another seriously injured after multiple strikes hit the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv today, said Oleh Syniehubov, the head of Kharkiv regional administration.  

Syniehubov said there were 65 instances of shelling against the city only today. He said fighting was going on in Izium, Balaklia and Dergachi, three towns in the region of Kharkiv. 

Meanwhile, 600 residential buildings in the city had been destroyed in Russian attacks since the start of the war, Kharkiv’s mayor Ihor Terekhov said Monday, adding that the houses cannot be repaired.   

“People actually lost their homes,” he said. “Fifty schools and a number of medical institutions, including maternity hospitals, were also bombed in Kharkiv.”


RUSSIA’S ADVANCEMENT INTO UKRAINE

13:28 – 15 Mar 2022

The Institute for the Study of War has released the following map showing an approximation of what areas of Ukraine are, as of yesterday afternoon, under Russian occupation.


China says G20 not a “proper place” to discuss political and security issues “such as Ukraine”

13:12 – 15 Mar 2022

The Group of Twenty (G20) forum is “not a proper place to discuss political and security issues such as Ukraine,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters today.

“The G20 is the main forum for international economic cooperation, and it is not a proper place to discuss political and security issues such as Ukraine,” Zhao said, responding to a question about the Indonesian government’s alleged plans to leave the Ukraine crisis off the G20 summit’s agenda.


4 people killed in kyiv airstrikes

12:45 – 15 Mar 2022

It has now been confirmed that 4 people died in the airstrikes carried out on Kyiv early this morning.

Several of these struck residential areas in the Svyatoshynskyi and Podilskyi districts, setting a 15-storey building on fire, and the Lukyanivska metro station.


Mariupol ‘essentially being suffocated’ – Red Cross

12:45 – 15 Mar 2022

The situation in the southern port city of Mariupol has continued to deteriorate, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Numerous humanitarian convoys have failed to reach the besieged city in recent days, with those trapped inside warning that food supplies are running dangerously low.

The Red Cross today reiterated that the situation in Mariupol is extreme, saying “people are facing impossible choices” when trying to feed their families.


Russia claims it has taken control of southern ukraine

12:30 – 15 Mar 2022

The Russian defence ministry said it has taken full control of the southern region, after the city of Kherson fell into the hands of Russian troops on 24 February.

Kherson, a city of about 250,000 people, was the first key urban centre to come under Russian control but its outer regions were still contested.

This claim has not yet been independently verified.


Russia will target other European countries, warns Zelenskyy

12:00 – 15 Mar 2022

In a live address to Western leaders this morning, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called for more support – and warned Russia could target other parts of Europe.

“We can still stop the Russian war machine, we can still stop the killing of people,” he said, arguing it would be “easier to do it together”. 

“Because else, they will come to you.” 


 

journalist who protested on russian tv gone missing

11:45 – 15 Mar 2022

 The Kremlin has responded to a Russian journalist interrupting a live broadcast to denounce the war in Ukraine. 

Marina Ovsyannikova held up a sign behind the studio presenter of Russia’s state TV Channel One and shouted slogans, before the broadcast was cut. 

She has been recently been reported missing overnight. Her whereabouts are now unknown.

Ms Ovsyannikova’s lawyer, Pavel Chikov, posted on Twitter that he was unable find his client.

Ukraine’s President Zelensky also praised her for “telling the truth”.

Russia has imposed strict controls on news reporting, forbidding the use of the words “war” or “invasion” and instead referring to the conflict as a “special military operation”. 

Those who break the laws – which came into force during the invasion – face up to 15 years in prison. 


Evacuations of Sumy to continue today

11:30 – 15 Mar 2022

Humanitarian corridors from 4 cities in the northeastern Sumy region will take place today, as desperate attempts to remove civilians from conflict zones continue.

Dmytro Zhyvytsky, the head of the Sumy regional administration, has confirmed evacuation routes from Sumy, Konotop, Trostianets and Lebedyn will be in place from 9am to 9pm local time (7am to 7pm GMT).

The International Committee of Red Cross said in the last hour that the evacuations have not yet begun, adding they will be carried out under an agreement reached by Kyiv and Moscow.

It added that two civilian convoys of 30 buses will depart Sumy shortly.


73,000 Ukrainian children becoming refugees every single day

11:20 – 15 Mar 2022

Unicef has confirmed 73,000 Ukrainian children have become refugees on average each day since the conflict started – equating to 55 children every minute.


War in Ukraine ‘at a crossroad’ – adviser to Zelenskyy

10:45 – 15 Mar 2022

Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy, said “We are at a crossroads. Either we will agree at the current talks or the Russians will make a second attempt (at an offensive) and then there will be talks again.”



UK bans exports to Russia of high-end luxury goods

10:40 – 15 Mar 2022

The UK government has said it will ban exports of high-end goods to Russia, while also imposing new import tariffs on key products.

Luxury vehicles, high-end fashion and works of art are likely to be affected by the export ban.


Runway destroyed at main civilian airport in Dnipro

10:20 – 15 Mar 2022

Russian forces fired at the main civilian regional airport in Dnipro overnight, the region’s governor has said. The runway was destroyed in the attack.

Commercial airlines have been avoiding Ukraine’s airspace over safety fears following Russia’s invasion.


Ukraine conflict could ‘seriously escalate food insecurity globally’, UN warns

10:15 – 15 Mar 2022

The United Nations has warned that the war – and the restrictions on Russian imports – could now have “have significant food security repercussions” worldwide.

Russia is the world’s largest exporter of wheat, and Ukraine is the fifth largest. Together, they provide 19% of the world’s barley supplies, 14% of wheat and 4% of maize.

Countries in Northern Africa, Asia and the Near East depend on Russia and Ukraine for at least 30% of their wheat supply.

Many European and Central Asian countries rely on Russia for half of their fertilizer supply, and the UN warns shortages could persist into 2023.


35-hour curfew announced in Kyiv

10:00 – 15 Mar 2022

A curfew will be imposed from this evening until Thursday morning, Kyiv’s mayor Vitali Klitschko has said. 

The city has seen shelling in its outer regions overnight, with two residential buildings hit with missiles. 

“It is prohibited to move around the city without special permission, except to go to bomb shelters,” Mr Klitschko said. 


Ukraine says 13,500 Russian troops killed so far

09:00 – 15 Mar 2022

The Ukrainian armed forces have this morning estimated that 13,500 Russian soldiers have been killed so far in the conflict.

This is far higher than the only number to be confirmed by Moscow, who put the death toll below 500 at the start of March.

Meanwhile, Ukraine says it has shot down four Russian helicopters, one plane and a fighter jet in the last 24 hours.

In total, it claims to have destroyed 95 Russian helicopters and 81 aircraft.


Leaders of Poland, Czech Republic and Slovenia to travel to Kyiv

09:45 – 15 Mar 2022

The leaders will be heading to the Ukrainian capital – which is the target of Russian airstrikes – as part of a European Union mission to show support.

The Polish prime minister’s top aide also said the leaders would present an aid package for Ukraine during the trip.


Ukraine planning to open 9 humanitarian corridors today

08:00 – 15 Mar 2022

Ukraine is aiming to open nine humanitarian corridors, although previous attempts to evacuate people have at times been targeted by Russian forces.


US sceptical of Putin’s plans to stop conflict

06:00 – 15 Mar 2022

As peace talks between Russia and Ukraine are set to continue today, the US has signalled it remains sceptical of any resolution. 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said while the Biden administration supports Ukraine’s participation in the talks, Russian President Vladimir Putin would have to show signs of de-escalating. 


Russian advance remains stalled, US says

05:45 – 15 Mar 2022

Russian military offensives remained stalled after making little progress over the weekend, according to a senior US defence official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The large convoy of Russian troops remains about nine miles from the centre of Kyiv, the official said. 


Power supply restored to Chernobyl plant – local media

05:30 – 15 Mar 2022

The nuclear plant has had its power supply renewed, according to Ukraine 24. 

Yesterday, the state-owned grid operator said the Chernobyl plant was relying on electricity from diesel generators after its external power supply had been damaged. 


Zelenskyy says Ukraine-Russia negotiations will continue

01:30 – 15 Mar 2022

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said negotiations with Russia will continue on Tuesday.

“Our delegation also worked on this in negotiations with the Russian party,” Mr Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address.


Ukrainian military says it has repelled Russian attempt to take control of Mariupol

01:00 – 15 Mar 2022

The Ukrainian military has said it has repelled a Russian attempt to take control of the port city of Mariupol.

The General Staff said in a statement that Russian forces retreated after suffering losses.

The Azov Sea port city has been under siege for a week and a half, leaving its residents in need of power, water and food.


Spain seizes Russian oligarch’s yacht

00:45 – 15 Mar 2022

Spain has temporarily seized a Russian oligarch’s Eur130m yacht in Barcelona.

Two sources told Reuters the vessel belonged to Sergei Chemezov, a former KGB officer who heads Rostec, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.


EU approves fourth set of sanctions on Moscow

23:15 – 14 Mar 2022

The European Union has approved a fourth set of sanctions to punish Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, the bloc has announced.


Ukraine says 4,000 evacuated from front-line cities

22:15 – 14 Mar 2022

Ukraine was able to evacuate more than 4,000 people from front-line cities today via seven humanitarian corridors, the Ukrainian deputy prime minister has said.


Ukraine’s economy could shrink by a third due to Russia invasion – IMF

16:45 – 14 Mar 2022

Ukraine’s economy is expected to contract by 10% in 2022 as a result of Russia’s invasion, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The outlook could be a lot worse if the conflict lasts longer, however.

The IMF also said Ukraine’s economic output could shrink by 25% to 35% based on real wartime gross domestic (GDP) data from Iraq, Lebanon, and other countries affected by conflict.

The country’s public debt is expected to hit 60% of GDP in 2022 from around 50% in 2021, the report said.


footage from ukrainian tank fighting russian infantry

16:30 – 14 Mar 2022

Footage from the far right branch of the Ukrainian Military, Azov battalion shows onboard video of their troops in a BTR-4 infantry fighting vehicle closing with Russian mechanized infantry at extremely short ranges


Red Cross struggling to get aid in

15:50 – 14 Mar 2022

Florian Seriex tells Sky News that access to many Ukrainian cities is difficult for aid workers.

“If people are not able to get out, it is also extremely complicated to get anything in.

“Agreement (on humanitarian corridors) is absolutely necessary from both parties in the conflict.”

He said the needs are “tremendous”, and these include water, food, shelter, heat, and medicines.


Ukraine denies Russian claim it fired a missile at Donetsk

15:30 – 14 Mar 2022

Russia has claimed 20 civilians were killed and 28 were wounded after a Ukrainian missile with a cluster charge exploded in the separatist-controlled city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.

Russia’s defence ministry has provided no evidence and Ukraine has denied launching an attack.

“It is unmistakably a Russian rocket or another munition, there’s not even any point talking about it,” Ukrainian military spokesman Leonid Matyukhin told a televised briefing.


slight decline of Oil prices due to peace talks

14:30 – 14 Mar 2022

Brent crude, the global benchmark, fell below $110 a barrel, just a week after it scaled as much as $139 due to the Ukraine crisis.

European gas prices were at 120 euros per megawatt hour, almost 100 euros below recent peaks.

Gold, which is considered as a safe haven in uncertain times, eased slightly as Ukraine said it had started “hard” talks on a ceasefire, immediate withdrawal of troops and security guarantees with Russia (despite attacks continuing inside Ukraine).

The rouble gained 12% in thin-volume offshore trade, to 118 to the dollar. That comes after its plunge in the early days of the conflict.


More than 150 cars have left besieged city of Mariupol

14:00 – 14 Mar 2022

A total of 160 private cars carrying Ukrainian civilians managed to leave the southern port city of Mariupol on Monday – after days of failed attempts.

This is positive news for the Black Sea port, which has faced heavy bombardment since the Russian invasion began, with water and power supplies cut off.

Several attempts for civilian evacuation have failed, but it appears movement has now been possible from the encircled city.

However, the Mariupol city council says dozens of private cars are now en route to the Russian-occupied town of Berdyansk.


UK considering whether homes of Russian oligarchs could be used to house Ukrainian refugees

14:00 – 14 Mar 2022

Downing Street is examining whether the properties of sanctioned oligarchs could be used to house Ukrainian refugees, although it is thought new legislation would be required.

The PM’s official spokesman said: “Certainly that’s something we are looking at.

In response to squatters taking over Oleg Deripaska’s London mansion, the spokesman said: “Squatting in residential buildings is illegal.

“But we are working to identify the appropriate use for seized properties while owners are subject to sanctions.”


Police break into Russian oligarch’s mansion being occupied by protesters

13:45 – 14 Mar 2022

Police have used a drill to break open the front door of a sanctioned Russian oligarch’s London mansion which has been occupied by squatters opposed to the invasion of Ukraine.

The protesters shouted “criminal damage” from the balcony above as police gained access to the property in Belgrave Square.

The squatters said the mansion would “serve as a centre for refugee support” and that other properties would also be targeted.


Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine is ‘braced for siege’

13:30 – 14 Mar 2022

Sky News’ Nick Martin says people there are “really worried” as they watch the siege that has raged on in the nearby port city of Mariupol for much of the war with Russia.


Updates on Russian strikes in Kyiv

13:05 – 14 Mar 2022

  • In the Kurenivka district, one person died when a Russian missile struck a tram on a residential street. The debris destroyed a bus and set fire to a residential building, according to the State Emergency Service. The bus was not carrying any passengers;
  • In the Obolon district, one person was killed when a nine-storey apartment building was hit by an artillery shell. Three people were taken to hospital and nine others were treated at the scene. Officials say 15 residents were rescued and 63 evacuated;
  • The Antonov aircraft plant was struck by three Russian rockets early on Monday morning. Firefighters were able to “localise” a blaze at the site. There were no immediate reports of any deaths.

Putin asked defence ministry not to storm major population centres – Kremlin

13:00 – 14 Mar 2022

Vladimir Putin asked his defence ministry at the start of the invasion not to storm major population centres, the Kremlin has said.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also called an attack by the Ukrainian armed forces on the Russian-backed rebel region of Donetsk a tragedy.

He added that it was an attack on civilians.

Mr Peskov added that it appears “the bosses of Ukraine across the ocean are giving orders to the Ukrainian army”.

The Kremlin spokesman also said Russia’s IT sector is being supported after reports an estimated 200,000 Russians have left the country to seek refuge abroad – robbing the country of brains and talent.


Russia denies asking China for military support

12:40 – 14 Mar 2022

Russia has not asked China for military assistance and is able to achieve its goals in Ukraine on its own, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, had said that Russia asked China for military equipment.

The Kremlin has also said the US and the EU are trying to tempt Russia into attacking major population centres in Ukraine, adding that they consider such behaviours to be a “provocation”.


Missile strike in Donetsk causes multiple casualties

12:36 – 14 Mar 2022

Images and video uploaded from the city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine Monday morning show multiple casualties from what appears to have been a missile strike on the city.

Donetsk is held by Russian-backed separatist forces and is the capital of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR). 

Remnants of the missile can be seen at the scene. Where it came from and who fired it are still unclear. 

“At the moment, we can talk about the largest number of civilian casualties as a result of a single strike,” the leader of the DPR, Denis Pushilin, told Russian state television.

“Around 20 people [died], but the number is being updated,” he told Russian state news Russia 24, calling it a “war crime.”

A local news agency quoted the Headquarters of the Territorial Defense of the DPR as giving the same figure.

The People’s Militia of the DPR accused the Ukrainian side of launching the missile, saying, “The Ukrainian armed formations once again used the tactical missile system ‘Tochka-U’ in the residential areas of Donetsk, in order to [cause] genocide [to] civilians and destroy important civilian infrastructure in the capital of the Republic.”

The Ukrainian armed forces have the Tochka missile but it has also been used by Russian and separatist forces in the past.

Pushilin separately told the Russian state television network Russia-1, “We managed to shoot down the tactical missile system Tochka-U , but even the wreckage did so much damage.”

“The worst is the loss of civilian lives. People were standing in line for the ATM, at the bus stop,” he added.

Separately, the health ministry of the DPR spoke of 23 injured being admitted to a hospital.


US national security adviser and top Chinese diplomat meet in Rome

12:12 – 14 Mar 2022

Top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi has met with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in Rome, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported.

It gave no other details, including whether the meeting had concluded.

The meeting comes after reports in the US and UK said Moscow has asked Beijing for weapons and financial aid following its invasion of Ukraine.

It is understood the White House is concerned that China may undermine Western efforts to help Ukraine, according to sources cited by The Washington Post and the Financial Times.

China is seen by world leaders as having a crucial role in helping to end the war, with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison calling on the country to end its “chilling silence”.


Power line to Chernobyl nuclear plant ‘damaged by Russian forces’ again

12:02 – 14 Mar 2022

The operator of Ukraine’s power grid has said Vladimir Putin’s forces have once again damaged a power line to the Chernobyl nuclear plant.

The warning comes three days after Ukraine told the United Nations nuclear watchdog that all contact with the power plant has been lost.

The plant, the scene of the world’s worst nuclear accident in 1986, was taken over by Russian forces last week as part of their invasion of Ukraine.

Both of the site’s power lines were damaged when the Russians took over, effectively disconnecting them from the grid.


Talks between Russia and Ukraine are ‘hard’ due to ‘different political systems’

11:43 – 14 Mar 2022

Talks between Russia and Ukraine are “hard” due to the countries having “different political systems”, Ukrainian presidential adviser and negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak has said.

Tweeting a photo of the talks which are being held by video conference, Mr Podolyak said Ukraine allows “free dialogue”  among its people while Russia displays “the ultimate suppression of its own society”.


Towns near Kyiv being successfully evacuated as ceasefire holds

11:16 – 14 Mar 2022

Frontline towns near the Ukrainian capital Kyiv are being successfully evacuated for the fifth day in a row, regional governor Oleksiy Kuleba has said.

“The ceasefire in our region is holding, albeit it is very conditional,” he said, adding that occasional explosions could be heard in the distance from the place he was stationed.

Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Iryna Vereschuk confirmed earlier that teams will attempt to evacuate trapped civilians through 10 humanitarian corridors today.

She added these corridors will include routes out of towns near Kyiv and the eastern region of Luhansk.


India could buy discount oil from Russia

11:04 – 14 Mar 2022

India is considering taking up a Russian offer to buy its crude oil and other commodities at discounted prices, Reuters reports two Indian officials as saying.

Russia is facing heavy Western sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine, including several banks being banned from the Swift international payments system.

India, which imports 80% of its oil, usually buys about 2% to 3% of its supplies from Russia but with oil prices on the rise, Reuters says the Indian government is looking to reduce its energy costs.

One official tells the news agency they were happy to take the discounted goods and says India is not concerned about getting entangled in sanctions.


Russian embassy denies reported threats to seize Western assets

10:59 – 14 Mar 2022

The Russian embassy in the US dismissed as “pure fiction” a report that Western companies operating in Russia who are critical of the government received threats from prosecutors.

“The Wall Street Journal published an article accusing Russian prosecutors of intimidating representatives of the American business community and threatening to nationalize their assets in Russia,” the embassy said yesterday in a Facebook post.

“Once again, we urge local media to abandon the vicious practice of spreading fake news.”

The statement went on to say that “the decision whether to continue entrepreneurial activity in our country is entirely up to the Americans. As well as the right to ignore the Russophobic hysteria that encourages foreign businesses to suffer huge losses in order to hit Russia.”


Ukraine hints at progress in Russia ceasefire talks

10:33 – 14 Mar 2022

As peace talks between Moscow and Kyiv begin this morning, senior Ukrainian officials have been outlining the shape that negotiations are taking.

Ihor Zhovka, who is deputy head of office for President Zelensky, told the BBC he believes that Moscow’s position is more constructive now than it had been previously.

“Instead of giving us an ultimatum or red lines or asking Ukraine to capitulate, they now seem to start the constructive negotiations”, he told Radio 4’s Today.

In separate comments posted on Twitter, Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak says the fourth round of talks will focus on establishing a ceasefire, the withdrawal of Russian troops, and security guarantees for Ukraine.

Podolyak repeated Ukraine’s position that its negotiators will refuse to begin discussing the shape of future relations with Russia until Moscow agrees to an immediate ceasefire first.


Russian finance minister accusing allies of wanting to force Russia into an “artificial default”

10:14 – 14 Mar 2022

Russia’s finance minister has accused foreign countries of wanting to force Russia into an “artificial default” through sanctions.

In a statement, finance minister Anton Siluanov said that “the freezing of foreign currency accounts of the Bank of Russia and of the Russian government can be regarded as the desire of a number of foreign countries to organise an artificial default that has no real economic grounds.”

Several Russian banks have been banned from the Swift international payment system among other sanctions in response to the invasion of Ukraine.


More Russian equipment stolen by Ukrainian farmers

10:03 – 14 Mar 2022


3,000 Ukrainians granted British visas so far

09:56 – 14 Mar 2022

UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid told the BBC that at least 3,000 visas have been granted as of Saturday, but this is likely to be higher now.

These were all approved under the family scheme, which allows Ukrainians who have immediate or extended relatives in Britain to apply.

His comments come ahead of an announcement by Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove on a second scheme, designed to allow Britons to host Ukrainian refugees.

Mr Javid said: “It’s important that anyone that becomes a host that can fulfil the obligations of a host, that they can spend time with these families and help, but there are many ways that we can all help.

“Whatever I do at a personal level, I will most certainly be helping.”


China says claim Russia asked it for help is ‘disinformation’

09:46 – 14 Mar 2022

China has called assertions by US officials that Russia asked Beijing to provide it with military assistance in Ukraine as “disinformation”.

Unnamed officials told multiple US news outlets that Russia requested China aid its invasion.

That prompted the US to warn Beijing it would face harsh “consequences” should it support Moscow.

But speaking at a press briefing in Beijing, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman accused Washington of spreading “malicious” falsehoods about China’s role in the war.

The spokesman insisted China had “played a constructive role in urging peace and calling for negotiations”.


10 humanitarian corridors will open today

08:49 – 14 Mar 2022

Ukraine has confirmed it will attempt to evacuate trapped civilians through 10 humanitarian corridors on Monday.

Deputy prime minister Iryna Vereschuk said these evacuation routes will include movements from towns near the capital Kyiv and the eastern region of Luhansk.

Ms Vereschuk said Ukraine will “once again” attempt to deliver a humanitarian convoy to the besieged southern port city of Mariupol.

Those in the region have been without water and electricity supplies for days, with the latest reports from Mariupol saying food supplies are dangerously low.

She added: “We will, once again, try to unblock the movement of the humanitarian convoy carrying food and medicine to (Mariupol) from Berdiansk.”


Russia fires on Antonov aircraft plant

08:23 – 14 Mar 2022

Unverified videos shared on social media show a thick plume of dark smoke above the factory.

The city administration says emergency services are at the scene of the explosion.


Fresh round of talks to begin shortly

07:28 – 14 Mar 2022

The fourth round of talks between Russia and Ukraine are due to start at 10:30 local time this morning according to Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister.

Hopes of diplomatic progress have been raised after Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak had earlier said weekend negotiations were “constructive” – the most upbeat assessment yet.

“Russia is already beginning to talk constructively,” Podolyak said in a video online. “I think that we will achieve some results literally in a matter of days.”

Separate talks between the US and China will also be held today, as concerns grow over the possibility of Beijing sending aid to Russia.


140,000 civilians evacuated from war zones in Ukraine

06:42 – 14 Mar 2022

Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk last night provided an update on the number of civilians who have been able to flee the front line.

She said a total of 140,000 have been evacuated from conflict zones, despite multiple failed attempts to move citizens away from the besieged southern city of Mariupol.

Yesterday, a humanitarian convoy once again failed to reach the Black Sea port as Russian shelling continued. It is understood 2,187 people have died in Mariupol since the war began.

Ms Vereshchuk said: “The column has stayed in Berdiansk, and will tomorrow again attempt to reach Mariupol.”

Meanwhile, several thousand people have managed to flee towns in the Kyiv region. Some 5,000 people have been evacuated from the eastern Luhansk region.


Russian planes to defy suspension of airworthiness certificates

05:56 – 14 Mar 2022

The Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA) announced on Sunday that it would suspend the airworthiness certificates of Russian-operated planes on the Bermuda Aircraft Registry from 13th March onwards.

An airworthiness certificate is a permit for both commercial and cargo aeroplanes. The permit is issued by the civil aviation authority of the country in which an aircraft is registered. Under most circumstances, an aircraft cannot fly without an airworthiness certificate.

However, according to the Kommersant newspaper, Russian airlines are expecting the Federal Air Transport Agency to allow them to fly without valid airworthiness certificates, before re-registration with the Russian air transport authority.

According to Interfax, 745 of Russia’s 1367 aircraft are registered in Bermuda.

BCAA said that international sanctions on the aviation sector have had a significant impact on the aviation authority’s ability to carry out safety checks on Russian-operated aircraft on the Bermuda Aircraft Registry.


No civilian evacuations in Sumy today

04:43 – 14 Mar 2022

The head of Sumy’s regional government says that there will be no civilian evacuations from the area today.

Sumy, a city in northeastern Ukraine, has been the scene of heavy fighting since 24 February. On 8 March, more than 20 civilians were reported killed by an airstrike that hit a residential area in the town.

On his Telegram channel, Dmytro Zhyvytskyi said that “none of the routes have been agreed upon today,” referring to corridors created by Russia to allow civilians to safely evacuate.

Zhivitsky added that “negotiations are ongoing”.


Australia sanctions Abramovich and 32 other Russian billionaires

03:54 – 14 Mar 2022

The Australian government has joined the UK and the US in announcing “fresh sanctions on 33 Russian oligarchs, prominent businesspeople and their immediate family members”.

Roman Abramovich, Chelsea FC owner, is one of the people sanctioned, alongside Alexey Miller, Dmitri Lebedev, Sergey Chemezov, Nikolay Tokarev, Igor Shuvalov, Kirill Dmitriev and several others.

Australia said the sanctions announced today reinforce the country’s “commitment to sanction those people who have amassed vast personal wealth and are of economic and strategic significance to Russia”.


China will ‘absolutely’ face consequences if it helps Russia dodge sanctions, US warns

02:32 – 14 Mar 2022

China will “absolutely” face consequences if it helps Russia evade sanctions, US national security adviser Jake Sullivan says.

We are communicating directly, privately to Beijing, that there will absolutely be consequences for large-scale sanctions evasion efforts or support to Russia to backfill them.”

“We will not allow that to go forward and allow there to be a lifeline to Russia from these economic sanctions from any country, anywhere in the world.”

US officials believe Russia asked China for military equipment and support after the invasion started, but a spokesperson for the country’s embassy in Washington, said: “I’ve never heard of that.”

“We support and encourage all efforts that are conducive to a peaceful settlement of the crisis,” said Liu Pengyu.

Mr Sullivan is due to meet with China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, in Rome later on Monday.


Ukrainian president says “it is only a matter of time before Russian missiles fall” on NATO territory

00:43 – 14 Mar 2022

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday it is only a matter of time before Russia’s military assault on Ukraine expands to members of NATO unless the alliance installs a no-fly zone over his country.

“Last year, I made a clear warning to NATO leaders that if there were no tough preventive sanctions against Russia, it would start a war,” Zelensky said in a video address Sunday posted to his Facebook page.

He added, “We were right … now I repeat again — if you do not close our sky, it is only a matter of time before Russian missiles fall on your territory. NATO territory. On the homes of citizens of NATO countries.”


Russia blocks access to Instagram

00:19 – 14 Mar 2022

Russia appears to have banned Instagram from operating in the country.

In a tweet, NetBlocks confirmed that real-time data shows that Instagram is now restricted in Russia across multiple providers.


‘We must hold on. We must fight’

23:54 – 13 Mar 2022

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has delivered another speech tonight, on what he describes as “the 18th day of our war for life, for Ukraine, for independence”.

He spoke about the attack near the Polish border, saying: “Nothing was happening there that could threaten the territory of the Russian Federation”.

“Last year, I made a clear warning to NATO leaders that if there were no tough preventive sanctions against Russia, it would start a war. We were right.”

“I have been saying for a long time that Nord Stream is a weapon that will hit Europe. Now it’s obvious.”

And now I repeat again – if you do not close our sky, it is only a matter of time before Russian missiles fall on your territory. NATO territory. On the homes of citizens of NATO countries.”

He spoke about the death of American journalist Brent Renaud, describing it as a “deliberate attack by the Russian military”.

He spoke about an earlier visit to a Ukrainian hospital, where injured soldiers are being looked after, saying: “By the way, the Russian military from Ryazan is being treated in the same hospital.”

“He is in the same ward with our defenders, gets the same aid from the same doctors. Despite what this guy was doing. Against us, against Ukraine. But Ukrainian doctors saved him. And this is obvious. Because they are people. Not savages. And we have to go through this war so that we all remain human.”


Russia in ‘distant blockade’ of Black Sea coast

23:16 – 13 Mar 2022

The UK’s Ministry of Defence says Russian naval forces have established a distant blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea coast, effectively isolating Ukraine from international maritime trade.


Staff fatigue at Chernobyl

22:56 – 13 Mar 022

Staff at Ukraine’s Chernobyl Nuclear Power plant are no longer carrying out some tasks because of “physical and mental fatigue”, the UN’s nuclear watchdog says.

In a tweet, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that staff at the plant had been working “non-stop” for nearly three weeks.

Additionally, IAEA director general Rafael Grossi said the “increasingly dire situation” facing Chernobyl staff added “further urgency” to efforts aimed at ensuring the safety of Ukrainian nuclear facilities.

Authorities have expressed concern about the potential consequences of damage to Ukraine’s nuclear facilities during the fighting.


More than 5,000 people used humanitarian corridors today

22:41 – 13 Mar 2022

Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said that 9 of the 14 humanitarian corridors were used to allow more than 5000 Ukrainians to escape from the ongoing fighting within their area.

The city of Mariupol was subjected to shelling and aerial bombardment all day long,” Vereshchuk said. “The humanitarian cargo remained blocked in the city of Berdyansk halfway to the occupied city.”


Ukraine confirms next round of talks with Russia to be held tomorrow

22:36 – 13 Mar 2022

Ukrainian Presidential adviser Mykhailo Podoliak on Sunday confirmed talks will take place with Russia Monday via video link.


Poland’s deputy foreign minister says Russian attack near Polish border ‘highly provocative’

22:17 – 13 Mar 2022

Marcin Przydacz, Poland’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, said: “This step taken by Russia we consider as highly provocative as it is so close to our borders.”

This follows a Russian attack earlier today on a training facility in Yavoriv, Ukraine, just 15 miles from the border with Poland. At least 35 people were killed in the attack.

“It is also very close to a border crossing point, where thousands of refugees are fleeing Ukraine in order to find shelter in Poland.”

“I do believe that the Russian army knows very well where the border is, and this is not only the border between Poland and Ukraine, but between NATO and a non-NATO country.”

Mr Przydacz called for more support from NATO allies in the form of equipment and troop deployments to Poland “to show we are ready to defend and we are ready to deter Russia, and they shouldn’t even try to think about putting anything on our NATO soil”.

He added: “We don’t want any war. What we need to do is support Ukraine now to stop this massacre being conducted by Russia on civilians.”


Moscow asking Beijing for military help

21:58 – 13 Mar 2022

Russia is asking China for both military and economic assistance, according to reports in the Financial Times and New York Times newspapers.

Moscow wants Beijing to provide military supplies to use in Ukraine, the FT says.

Citing unnamed US officials, the FT reported that Russia had been requesting Chinese equipment since the start of the invasion. The officials declined to specify what kind of equipment Russia is seeking.

The report added that there were indications that China may be preparing to help.

A separate report in the New York Times – again citing US officials – alleges Russia is also asking for economic assistance to mitigate the impact of sanctions.

China has so far sought to portray itself as neutral in the Russia-Ukraine conflict and has not condemned the invasion.


Russian chains himself to McDonald’s to protest closures

21:52 – 13 Mar 2022


TIME releases statement on death of American journalist killed in Ukraine

21:43 – 13 Mar 2022

Time Magazine has paid tribute to the American journalist and filmmaker Brent Renaud, who was killed earlier by gunfire in the Ukrainian town of Irpin.

Renaud, 50, was in Ukraine working on a Time Studios project focused on refugees, the company confirmed on Sunday.

In a statement Time editor-in-chief and CEO Edward Felsenthal and Ian Orefice, the president and chief operating officer of Time and Time Studios, said they were “devastated by the loss”.

“As an award-winning filmmaker and journalist, Brent tackled the toughest stories around the world often alongside his brother Craig Renaud,” the statement said. “Our hearts are with all of Brent’s loved ones.”

Felsenthal and Orefice added that it is “essential that journalists are able to safely cover this ongoing invasion and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine”.

Earlier on Sunday US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan accused Russia of “targeting journalists” and said the US would impose “appropriate consequences”.


RUSSIA’S ADVANCEMENT INTO UKRAINE

21:23 – 13 Mar 2022

The Institute for the Study of War has released the following map showing an approximation of what areas of Ukraine are, as of yesterday afternoon, under Russian occupation.


Ukrainian refugee numbers continue to get higher

21:12 – 13 Mar 2022


Mayor of Irpin: ‘We are doing everything to liberate 100% of our city’

21:02 – 13 Mar 2022

The city’s mayor says about 10,000 people are left in the city and that roughly 30% of it is under Russian control, “but we are doing everything to liberate 100% of our city”.


Russians try to sell Big Macs for €33

20:49 – 13 Mar 2022

Russians are attempting to sell McDonald’s menu items online at highly inflated prices, following the closure of more than 800 restaurants in the country.

One Moscow-based seller advertised a Big Mac for the equivalent of €33. In Russia, the burger would usually cost 135 roubles, or around €0.92, according to The Economist’s Big Mac index.

Another seller recently posted a “McDonald’s Breakfast,” including McMuffins, potato pancakes, and sauces for around €16.50.


800 detained at Russia anti-war protests

20:41 – 13 Mar 2022

Only today, more than 800 people have been anti-war protests in Russia.

The OVD-Info NGO, which monitors arrests during protests, said police had detained 817 people during demonstrations in 37 cities in Russia.

Law enforcement in the Russian capital city of Moscow said they had detained approximately 300 people in the city centre for “breaches of public order.”


‘Time is running out’ in Mariupol

20:28 – 13 Mar 2022

The Red Cross has urged all parties in the Ukraine conflict to come to an agreement over humanitarian aid, warning “time is running out” in Mariupol.

“We call on all parties involved in the fighting to place humanitarian imperatives first,” said Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

“People in Mariupol have endured a weeks-long life-and-death nightmare. This needs to stop now. Their safety and their access to food, water and shelter must be guaranteed.”


UK to continue helping Ukraine’s self-defense

20:17 – 13 Mar 2022

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky today in which he condemned “Putin’s barbaric actions” and said that Britain will continue to pursue options for bolstering Ukraine’s self-defense.

“The Prime Minister said Putin’s barbaric actions were testing not just Ukraine but all of humanity,” according to the readout.

“The Prime Minister outlined the support the UK continues to deliver to Ukraine. He said the UK would continue to pursue more options for bolstering Ukraine’s self-defense, working with partners including at Tuesday’s meeting of the Joint Expeditionary Force in London,” according to Downing Street. “The Prime Minister said the UK would continue to stand behind Ukraine in all their efforts to bring an end to this disastrous conflict.”


Russia soon to face brain drain

20:01 – 13 Mar 2022

An estimated 200,000 Russians have left already to seek refuge abroad, robbing Russia of brains and talent.


power supply resumed to Chernobyl nuclear plant

19:34 – 13 Mar 2022

Ukraine’s National Energy Company Ukrenergo has completed the necessary repair work and resumed power supply to the Chernobyl, the company announced today.

“Ukrainian specialists of NEC “Ukrenergo” completed repair works on the 330 kV line… and resumed power supply to the Chernobyl NPP and town of Slavutych,” Ukrenergo posted on its Telegram channel.


Russia-Ukraine talks ‘continuing right now’

19:10 – 13 Mar 2022

Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych has told national television that talks with Russia are ongoing, with the situation in Mariupol being the main focus of the talks.

This is because the humanitarian convoy again failed to reach the city, where thousands of people are trapped in squalid conditions and unrelenting Russian shelling.

“Talks are continuing right now”, Mr Arestovych said, adding that Ukraine has enough troops deployed in Mariupol to prevent its capture by Russian forces. 

This was contradicted by the Russian state news agency RIA citing Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying that, while talks are planned for Monday, they are not going on right now.


UKRAINE-RUSSIA CONFLICT

19:00 – 13 March 2022

Hello, and welcome back to our rolling coverage of the Ukrainian crisis. Having been unable to provide updates in the past 72 hours due to a couple technical issues, we’re back on the ball.

Refer to this article if you’d like to revise the events from the very start of this invasion.

2 thoughts on “Ukraine-Russia War – Updates and Analysis (13/03 – 18/03)

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