Ukraine-Russia War – Updates and Analysis (18/03 – 24/03)

Chernobyl workers can’t get to work due to shelling – IAEA

23:45 – 24 Mar 2022

The UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), says Ukraine has told it that Russian forces are shelling checkpoints in the city of Slavutych.

The city of around 25,000 residents is where many workers from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant live.

Ukraine has told the IAEA that the shelling is endangering the homes and families of staff at Chernobyl and preventing the further rotation of personnel to and from the site

Ukraine striking ‘high-value’ Russian targets – UK MoD

23:30 – 24 Mar 2022

Ukrainian forces have launched strikes against high-value targets in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine, the UK’s Ministry of Defence has said in its latest intelligence update. 

Some of the targets include a landing ship and ammunition storage depots at Berdyansk – a port city in the southeast of the country. 

The MoD added that it is “likely” Ukraine will continue to “target logistical assets in Russian-held areas”. 

Russian spy agency linked to ‘global’ cyber incidents, UK and allies find

23:00 – 24 Mar 2022

The UK and western allies have linked Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) – the successor agency to the KGB – to “a historic global campaign targeting critical national infrastructure”.

The Foreign Office said the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) was “almost certain” that the FSB’s Centre 16 had targeted critical IT systems and national infrastructure in Europe, the US and Asia.

Pig’s head left at Moscow radio editor’s door

22:45 – 24 Mar 2022

The editor of Russia’s last independent radio station “Ekho Moskvy” – which was taken off air by the Russian authorities days into the war – says he will ask police to investigate how a pig’s head came to be dumped outside his apartment and an anti-Semitic slogan glued onto the front door.

Aleksei Venediktov – who had led Ekho Moskvy for decades – said he would not allow Russia to be turned into Nazi Germany.

Russia and Ukraine swap prisoners

22:30 – 24 Mar 2022

Russia and Ukraine say they have conducted the first exchange of captured soldiers since the war began a month ago.

10 Ukrainian soldiers were exchanged for 10 Russian soldiers, officials said.

In a separate exchange, 11 Russian civilian sailors who had been rescued from a ship that sank off Odesa were swapped for 19 Ukrainian seafarers from a ship captured by the Russians while they were trying to seize Snake Island in the Black Sea at the very start of the war.

The ship itself is being returned to Ukraine via a port in Turkey.

Rockets meant to launch European satellites will be used for Russian companies instead – space chief

21:45 – 24 Mar 2022

Europe has made cooperation with Russia’s space agency “impossible”, the country’s space chief has said.

Speaking in an interview with a Chinese television station, the head of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin added that rockets meant to be used the launch European satellites will not be used for Russian companies instead. 

He explained that this would apply to about 10 rockets. 

“At this moment, after the European Space Agency and the whole European Union have taken a frenzied position on the conduct of (Russia’s) special military operation in Ukraine and introduced sanctions against Roscosmos, we consider further cooperation impossible,” Mr Rogozin said. 

Macron says France is “stepping up” work to prevent escalation in Ukraine

21:15 – 24 Mar 2022

French President Emmanuel Macron said France was “stepping up” the work to prevent escalation of the war in Ukraine while ruling out again any direct participation of French troops in an address in Brussels Thursday.

“We have decided to step up the work to prevent escalation and organize ourselves in case it happens. We are acting on the need to continue adapting our posture to the new strategic circumstances caused by the war in Ukraine and its consequences,” the French President said as he highlighted the participation of 3200 French military personnel in NATO exercises.

However, Macron, echoing statements he’s repeatedly made in the past, drew a red line at becoming a “co-belligerent” in the war — ruling out any direct French military participation.

“We continue to stand by the side of the Ukrainian people with military, economic and humanitarian support,” he said.

“Our determination has led us to adopt with unity an unprecedented series of sanctions,” Macron said.

The French President also described “increasing isolation for Russia” and a unified response on the part of NATO allies and the EU.

“Russia has taken a historic responsibility by starting this war. Our strategy is to do everything to stop any escalation and stop as quickly as possible this conflict through our support to Ukraine, our sanctions and the discussions that continue between a few of us and [Russian] President Putin to find the ways and means to a negotiated solution,” he said.

WHO says it can’t get medical supplies into Mariupol

20:45 – 24 Mar 2022

The World Health Organization says it is still unable to get desperately needed medical supplies into the besieged southern town of Mariupol, and also Mykolaiv, which is further west on the Black Sea.

Tarik Jasarevic, of the WHO, has just arrived in the central-eastern city of Dnipro and told the BBC the UN health agency is setting up a staging post to move supplies but has not been able to reach the two areas.

The WHO says it has verified 64 attacks on healthcare up to 21 March. Jasarevic said these hospitals, medical centres and ambulances had been hit.

He said such attacks have “a devastating effect on everyone”.

Health workers don’t feel safe doing their jobs, patients are afraid to seek treatment, and immunisation programmes, care for chronic disease such as diabetes and cancer, and maternity care were all affected, he said.

If healthcare is not protected “the community will just basically be terrified, knowing that there are no more humanitarian boundaries to the war and there is no safe place,” he said.

‘The time when energy could be used to blackmail us is over’ – EU chief

20:15 – 24 Mar 2022

Russia cannot blackmail Europe with its energy resources, the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said. 

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has demanded that countries buy oil and gas using roubles. 

But EU countries remain divided on whether to sanction Russian oil and gas directly, a move already taken by the United States. 

“This would be a unilateral decision and a clear breach of contract,” Ms Von der Leyen said of Russia’s request to be paid in roubles. 

“It would be an attempt to circumvent the sanctions. We will not allow our sanctions to be circumvented. 

“The time when energy could be used to blackmail us is over.”

Statement by the candidate for President of the Commission – Statement by the candidate for President of the Commission

Nato wants war to continue – Russia foreign ministry

19:45 – 24 Mar 2022

Russia’s foreign ministry has been reacting to today’s NATO summit.

It says the decision to continue support to Kyiv shows that the Western alliance wants the conflict to continue, in a statement reported by Russia’s Ria news agency.

The West was “reaping a terrible harvest” from its decision to arm Ukraine, which had encouraged the Ukrainian government to use force against Russian-backed separatist enclaves in eastern Ukraine, the ministry said.

Russia has previously said that people in the separatist enclaves were facing “genocide”.

Biden: “Sanctions never deter” but the maintaining of them is “what will stop” Putin

19:15 – 24 Mar 2022

US President Joe Biden said that “sanctions never deter” during a news conference at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium following high stakes emergency meetings with world leaders.

“Sir, deterrence didn’t work. What makes you think Vladimir Putin will alter course based on the action you’ve taken today?” the US President was asked by a reporter.

“I did not say that,” Biden said. “Sanctions never deter. You keep talking about that. Sanctions never deter.”

The President continued: “The maintenance of sanctions — the maintenance of sanctions, the increasing the pain and the demonstration of why I asked for this NATO meeting today is to be sure that after a month, we will sustain what we’re doing, not just next month, the following month, but for the remainder of this entire year. That’s what will stop him.”

Biden says Western leaders discussed food shortages, which he says will be “real”

19:00 – 24 Mar 2022

US President Joe Biden said leaders discussed the possibilities of food shortages triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Biden said food shortages will be “real,” and he called Ukraine and Russia the “breadbasket” for Europe.

Supplies from the two countries together account for almost 30% of the global wheat trade.

“The price of the sanctions is not just imposed upon Russia. It’s imposed upon an awful lot of countries as well, including European countries and our country as well,” Biden said in remarks after an emergency NATO meeting in Brussels.

“We had a long discussion in the G7 with … both the United States, which has a significant — the third-largest producer of wheat in the world — as well as Canada, which is also a major, major producer. And we both talked about how we could increase and disseminate more rapidly food … In addition to that, we talked about urging all the European countries and everyone else to end trade restrictions on sending, limitations on sending food abroad. So we are in the process of working out with our European friends what it would be, what it would take to help alleviate the concerns relative to food shortages,” he said.

Biden also mentioned a “significant” US investment model for humanitarian assistance, which would include food.

‘NATO has never been more united than it is today’

18:30 – 24 Mar 2022

US President Joe Biden is delivering a news conference following a meeting of world leaders. 

A short time ago, UK PM Boris Johnson said Western powers are looking to “steadily ratchet up” the volume of military material they are supplying to Ukraine.

Mr Biden announced new sanctions on more than 400 individuals and entities that “fuel the Russian war machine”, including 300 members of Russia’s parliament. 

He said: “Putin was banking on NATO being split… it was clear to me that he didn’t think we could sustain this cohesion. 

“NATO has never, never been more united than it is today. Putin is getting exactly the opposite of what he intended to have as a consequence of going into Ukraine.” 

Asked about the threat of chemical weapons, the president said the US would respond if Mr Putin used them but the “nature of the response would depend on the nature of the use”. 

Mr Biden added that he believes Russia should be removed from the G20 – a topic that has been brought up in recent days. 

UN General Assembly votes in favour of resolution blaming Russia for humanitarian crisis in Ukraine

18:04 – 24 Mar 2022

The UN General Assembly has voted in favour of a resolution that makes clear that Russia is the sole cause of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, 

Almost three-quarters of the organisation demanded aid access and civilian protection in Ukraine and criticised Russia for creating a “dire” humanitarian situation. 

The resolution also demands an end to the siege of cities, in particular the port city of Mariupol. 

It is the second time the 193-member General Assembly has overwhelmingly isolated Russia over the invasion of its neighbour. 

The resolution, which was drafted by Ukraine and allies, received 140 votes in favour and five votes against from Russia, Syria, North Korea, Eritrea, and Belarus. 

A total of 38 countries, including China, abstained from the vote. 

Over 400,000 residents forcibly taken to Russia, Ukrainian official claims

17:45 – 24 Mar 2022

More than 400,000 people, including 84,000 children, in Ukraine, have been forcibly deported to Russia, a Ukrainian official has claimed.

Speaking at a briefing today, Ukrainian Ombudsman Lyudmyla Denisova said residents from Mariupol and other Ukrainian cities were being forced across the border by Russian forces.

Donetsk Region Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko went on to say that Ukrainians were being taken to filtration camps before being moved by Russian FSB counterintelligence agency officers.

Earlier we reported that Mariupol City Council had claimed 15,000 residents in the city’s Levoberezhny district had been illegally deported to date.

The council said in a statement: “Residents of the Left Bank district are beginning to be deported en masse to Russia. In total, about 15,000 Mariupol residents have been subjected to illegal deportation.”

Impose sanctions on energy imports from Russia – Latvian PM

16:56 – 24 Mar 2022

EU countries should consider imposing sanctions on energy imports from Russia to stop the war in Ukraine, according to Latvia’s prime minister.

Arturs Karins says he thinks energy sanctions would be a way to “stop money flowing into Putin’s war coffers”.

Karins, who is attending a summit with EU leaders in Brussels, adds: “The most logical place to move forward is in oil and coal. We have to stop Putin. Because if we do not stop Putin, Putin will not stop.”

China rejects claims it helped Russia spread disinformation on Ukraine

16:27 – 24 Mar 2022

China has rejected allegations of helping Russia spread disinformation on Ukraine.

Speaking at a daily briefing, foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said China had acted in “an objective and just manner” since 24 February.

He went on to claim the international community had “grave concerns” about US biolabs in Ukraine.

Mr Wenbin said: “Accusing China of spreading disinformation on Ukraine is disinformation in itself.”

Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China has continued to maintain its neutral position.

Earlier today, NATO head Jens Stoltenberg called on China to use its “significant influence” on Russia to press for an immediate peaceful resolution to the crisis.

In a joint statement, the alliance’s leaders, including Boris Johnson, also urged China to “cease amplifying the Kremlin’s false narratives” about the war and NATO.

Pope says increasing military budgets and imposing sanctions is not a solution to war

16:10 – 24 Mar 2022

Pope Francis has issued strong criticism against countries for increasing military spending as Russia’s onslaught of Ukraine continues, branding it “madness.”

Speaking on Thursday to an audience with the Italian Women’s Center in Rome, the Pope blamed the “shameful” war in Ukraine on the “old logic of power that still dominates the so-called geopolitics.”

He dismissed sanctions and weapons as a solution to the conflict and said the world should redesign its way of governing so that it is not subject to “economic-technocratic-military power.”

“It is now clear that good politics cannot come from the culture of power understood as domination and oppression, but only from a culture of care, care for the person and their dignity and care for our common home,” he said.

“The real answer…is not other weapons, other sanctions, other political-military alliances, but another approach, a different way of governing the now globalized world — not showing the teeth, as now — one way different than set international relations. The model of treatment is already in place, thank God, but unfortunately, it is still subject to that of the economic-technocratic-military power,” the Pope said.

Ukraine says Russia is deploying weapons to Belarus

15:49 – 24 Mar 2022

Ukraine’s Armed Forces say Russia is transferring weapons and other military equipment to Belarus.  

It says the deployments are part of renewed Russian plans to mount an offensive aimed at encircling the capital of Kyiv. 

Russian forces are also building-up equipment supplies in Crimea, the Ukrainian army added in a statement Thursday afternoon.

In an upbeat assessment of Ukraine’s success in withstanding Russia’s invading forces thus far, the statement went on:

“The Russian military leadership is beginning to realize that the available forces and means are not enough to maintain the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine and conduct defence operations.”

US President Joe Biden unveils $1bn in security aid to Ukraine

15:19 – 24 Mar 2022

President Joe Biden today announced the US would give $1bn in new security assistance to Ukraine as the country’s war with Russia entered its 29th day.

Speaking to NATO leaders in Brussels, Mr Biden reiterated his “strong support” for the Ukrainian people on the one-month anniversary of Russia’s “unprovoked and unjustified invasion” of the nation.

He said: “In the past few weeks, the United States has announced $1bn in new security assistance to Ukraine – anti-aircraft systems, anti-armour weapons, drones, and millions of rounds of ammunition.”

“I welcome the steps by many other allies to provide defensive support to Ukraine and together, we are committed to identifying additional equipment, including air defence systems, to help Ukraine.”

Mr Biden also said political leaders had discussed plans to “bolster NATO’s collective defence, particularly on the Eastern flank”.

He said four new battle groups had been established in Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Hungary and this was a “strong signal” that the alliance would “collectively defend and protect every inch of NATO territory”.

US looks to sanction gold-related transactions involving Russia

14:44 – 24 Mar 2022

The US treasury department has warned that gold-related transactions involving Russia may be sanctionable by the US authorities.

Further sanctions will also be imposed on dozens of Russian defence firms and 328 members of Russia’s Duma.

“Our purpose here is to methodically remove the benefits and privileges Russia once enjoyed as a participant in the international economic order,” a senior administration official said. 

NATO head Stoltenberg says bloc agreed on further defences for Ukraine

14:22 – 24 Mar 2022

Jens Stoltenberg is revealing what was discussed at today’s NATO leaders gathering in Brussels.

“NATO leaders agreed that we must and will provide further support to Ukraine,” he said.

“We will continue to impose unprecedented costs on Russia and we will reinforce allied deterrence and defence leaders approved our four new battle groups in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia.”

Mr Stoltenberg says NATO will provide more ground troops, anti-tank systems, drones, naval power and jets to the areas around Ukraine.

Talking about other threats, Mr Stoltenberg said: “We agreed to do more, including cyber security assistance and equipment to help Ukraine protect against biological, chemical, biological and nuclear threats.” 

“This could include detection, protection and medical supplies, as well as training for the community, contamination and crisis management. We are determined to do all we can to support Ukraine, and I welcome the concrete offers of assistance made by allies.”

Mr Stoltenberg also said there are worries that Russia is setting a pretext to blame Ukraine and its allies for preparing for a chemical attack.

There were also warnings for China, with NATO saying it must wield its influence to find a peaceful solution, rather than help and fund Russia.

Zelenskyy claims Russia has used phosphorous bombs

14:02 – 24 Mar 2022

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that Russia is using phosphorous bombs – banned under international law.

Russia has been warned against using chemical weapons in Ukraine.

US to send anti-ship missiles into Ukraine

13:38 – 24 Mar 2022

The US is working on getting anti-ship missiles to Ukraine, a White House official has said at the NATO summit.

It comes as the ports of Mariupol and Odesa continue to face threats from the sea.

“We have started consulting with allies on providing anti-ship missiles to Ukraine,” the official said.

“There may be some technical challenges with making that happen but that is something that we are consulting with allies and starting to work on.”

Earlier today, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged NATO leaders to provide “effective and unrestricted” support to his country.

He also called on people worldwide to gather in public to show their support for his embattled country.

Kremlin has ‘no interest’ in negotiating a ceasefire, EU diplomat says

12:56 – 24 Mar 2022

The Russian government “does not want to sit and negotiate anything” and “wants to isolate Ukraine from the sea”, the European Union’s diplomat Josep Borrell has said.

In an interview with Spanish TVE channel, Mr Borrell said: “Right now, Russia doesn’t want to sit and negotiate anything: what it wants is to occupy the ground.

“It wants to surround the coast to the border with Moldova and isolate Ukraine from the sea. It wants to negotiate in earnest only when it has secured a position of strength.” 

Yesterday, the Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin had spoken with Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett via telephone to discuss the war in Ukraine.

It came a day after Mr Putin talked with French President Emmanuel Macron about the terms of a potential ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine.

Ukraine deserves to be full EU member, Zelenskyy says

11:58 – 24 Mar 2022

President Zelenskyy has told the Swedish parliament this morning that Ukraine is deserving of a place in the European Union.

Continuing his virtual tour of the world’s political institutions, Mr Zelenskyy said: “We are not fighting just for the people of Ukraine, but for Europe’s security and we have shown that we deserve to be a fully-fledged member of the EU.”

Ukraine applied to be an EU member within days of Russia’s invasion, but it is unlikely to be granted a seat at the table for some time, given the rigorous process all countries must go through to join the bloc.

Thousands of Mariupol residents are being forcibly deported to Russia, city council claims

11:33 – 24 Mar 2022

Reports are emerging that thousands of residents in the Levoberezhny district of Mariupol are being forcibly taken to Russia, Mariupol City Council has claimed.

The council claims 15,000 residents in the city have been illegally deported to date as the war in Ukraine enters its 29th day.

Those who have been deported were first taken to a so-called filtration camp before they were forced to get on buses out of the region.

Mariupol, in southeastern Ukraine, has faced the brunt of Russian aggression since 24 February when Kremlin forces invaded.

Should Mariupol fall it would allow Moscow to form a land corridor between the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk and Crimea, which are already under Russian control.

Russia’s stock market reopens after month-long closure

10:58 – 24 Mar 2022

Russia’s stock market opened for the first time in a month on Thursday as investors took part in a highly restricted trading session.

The benchmark MOEX index gained as much as 10% in early trade in Moscow. Russia’s central bank has banned short sales, and foreign investors are not allowed to dump shares, prohibitions that could help support stocks.

Investors are able to trade 33 stocks during the limited session from 9:50 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in Moscow. Blue-chip stocks Gazprom, Lukoil, VTB Bank, Sberbank, Rusal and Rosneft are among the equities that are trading.

NATO meeting gets under way

10:36 – 24 Mar 2022

The NATO meeting is now underway, with discussions on Ukraine taking place behind closed doors.

The political leaders, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson,  France’s Emmanuel Macron and US President Joe Biden, are set to discuss the extent to which the alliance can do more to assist Ukraine in protecting its territory.

Russia claims control of Izyum, state media reports

10:11 – 24 Mar 2022

The Russian military claimed to have taken control of the Ukrainian city of Izyum on Thursday, state media outlet RIA-Novosti reported citing the Russian Ministry of Defense.

However, Ukraine denied the claim with Lyudmyla Dolhonovska, an adviser to Ukraine Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi, telling CNN that the battle for Izyum is “still going on.”

Izyum lies on the main road between Kharkiv and the Russian-backed separatist areas of Luhansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.

Russian ship destroyed in the Black Sea, Ukraine says

09:49 – 24 Mar 2022

The Ukrainian military has said that a Russian ship in the southern port has been destroyed.

Pictures and video circulated of the incident on social media earlier this morning. 

Sky News has located and verified these images to the port city of Berdyansk.

The deputy defence minister said the ship could carry up to 20 tanks, 45 armoured personnel carriers and 400 paratroopers.

Seven humanitarian corridors agreed for today

08:51 – 24 Mar 2022

There will be seven areas of Ukraine where humanitarian corridors will be opened up today, the country’s deputy prime minister has said.

However, there are worries about the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, where Russia is not allowing safe passage out for civilians.

Instead, residents are being advised to head to a nearby town where transport will be available for them should they want to take the risk.

Half of all Ukrainian kids displaced – UNICEF

08:22 – 24 Mar 2022

One in every two Ukrainian children has been displaced since Russia began its invasion, according to the UN Children’s Fund.

“It’s mind-boggling,” said UNICEF spokesperson James Elder. “Since the start of the war a month ago, out of every boy and girl in the country, one out of two now has had to flee their homes.”

Elder said UNICEF is trying to get blankets, water purification tablets, generators, medical supplies and obstetric kits for mothers giving birth into the country.

“Unless the war stops, unless the indiscriminate attacks stop, we’re going to see more children wrenched from their homes and the bombardments,” he said.

Berdyansk is on fire, state media reports

07:54 – 24 Mar 2022

The port of Berdyansk is burning, with Ukrainian media saying it is likely due to Russian forces attacking fuel tanks.

Video and images show fires and smoke billowing into the air. 

NATO set for critical day of summits as they ready the next phase of responses to war

06:04 – 24 Mar 2022

A slew of emergency summits Thursday could help determine the next phase of the Western response to Russia’s war in Ukraine, which US officials warn is entering an uncertain but bloody stretch.

Announcements on new sanctions, NATO force posture and military assistance are all expected as part of the diplomatic burst, according to US and European officials.

Representatives from the White House and European governments spent days leading up to the summit in intensive conversations finalizing steps for leaders to unveil following their talks.

What they won’t do is what embattled Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly asked: Enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

US and NATO officials have repeatedly said that such a move would risk provoking President Vladimir Putin and sparking a wider war with Russia.

Western allies have also found it difficult to take more aggressive steps, such as providing Russian-made fighter jets to Ukraine or deciding to cut themselves off from Russian energy supplies, which could potentially cripple Russia’s economy.

NATO to approve deployment of 4 additional battle groups to 4 countries

05:33 – 24 Mar 2022

NATO leaders will approve the deployment of four additional battle groups in Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Slovakia at their summit Thursday, US Ambassador to NATO Julie Smith said Wednesday.

She said they are “not just national forces,” saying additional details would be shared on Thursday.

Speaking at an Atlantic Council event, Smith said NATO is in discussions about its medium- and long-term force presence in its eastern flank.

“We’re going to have to make a series of ongoing assessment about our force posture that will take us weeks and months into the future,” she said, noting “it’s still an open question” of how the alliance takes the NATO-Russia Founding Act — which NATO allies believe Russia is “in clear violation of” — and moves to its longer-term posture.

“All options are on the table,” including permanent basing, she said.

Ukraine using facial recognition software to identify dead Russian soldiers and trace their families

03:46 – 24 Mar 2022

Ukraine is using facial recognition software to identify the bodies of Russian soldiers killed in combat, Ukraine’s vice prime minister has said. 

In an interview with Reuters, Mykhailo Fedorov said the country has been using Clearview AI software to find the social media accounts of dead Russian soldiers and to trace their families to inform them of their deaths. 

From there, authorities are messaging relatives to make arrangements to collect the body. 

“As a courtesy to the mothers of those soldiers, we are disseminating this information over social media to at least let families know that they’ve lost their sons and to then enable them to come to collect their bodies,” Mr Fedorov said,

He declined to specify the number of bodies identified through facial recognition but he said the percentage of recognized individuals claimed by families has been “high”. 

Australia’s PM says he has raised concerns about Putin’s plan to attend next G20 summit

02:34 – 24 Mar 2022

Australia’s prime minister has said he has raised concerns about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plans to attend the next G20 summit in Indonesia this year. 

“The idea of sitting around a table with Vladimir Putin, who the United States are already in the position of calling out (for) war crimes in Ukraine, for me is a step too far,” Scott Morrison said. 

On Wednesday, Russia’s ambassador to Indonesia said Putin intends to attend the G20 summit, dismissing suggestions by some members that Russia could be barred from the group. 

Russia’s United Nations aid resolution fails at security council vote

01:32 – 24 Mar 2022

A Russian-drafted call for aid access and civilian protection in Ukraine that does not mention Moscow’s role in the crisis failed at the UN Security Council 

“If Russia cared about the humanitarian situation, it would stop bombing children and end their siege tactics. But they haven’t,” Britain’s UN Ambassador Barbara Woodward told the council after the vote.

Russia has continuously denied attacking civilians since the start of its invasion of Ukraine.

A Security Council resolution needs at least nine votes in favour and no vetoes by Russia, China, Britain, France, or the United States to be adopted. 

Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia accused those who abstained on Wednesday of doing so “for political reasons.” 

Only Russia and China voted in favour of the resolution and the remaining 13 members abstained.

Toy company raises more than $145,000 for Ukraine by selling figures of Zelenskyy

23:58 – 23 Mar 2022

A toy company in Chicago has raised more than $145,000 for Ukraine by selling “action figures” of Volodymyr Zelenskyy. 

The unofficial ‘Lego’ figurines went on sale with a price tag of $100 along with a Ukrainian flag molotov cocktail ‘Lego’ toy listed for $20.

Both items sold out within hours.

Joe Trupia, who owns Naperville-based Citizen Brick, said: “We made every one we could.

“We understand that there’s more interest than supply. We hope that people will take that goodwill and turn it into direct donations for charities or some other organization that can help Ukraine.” 

He said he was hesitant to say exactly how many figurines they’ve sold, but confirm they raised over $145,000 for war-torn Ukraine before quickly selling out again. 

The funds from Citizen Brick’s sales will go to Direct Relief, a charity that claims to have deployed over 30 tons of medical aid to Ukraine since the Russian invasion began.

UK to send 6,000 more missiles to Ukrainie

23:32 – 23 Mar 2022

The UK is set to send 6,000 more missiles to Ukrainian armed forces to help in their fight against Russia. 

It is also providing £25 million from the Foreign Office’s conflict security and stabilisation fund to help pay the salaries of Ukrainian soldiers and pilots battling the Russians.

Russia’s UN aid resolution fails to pass

23:00 – 23 Mar 2022

A Russian-drafted resolution has failed to pass the UN Security Council. The resolution called for aid access in Ukraine, but made no mention of Moscow’s role in the war.

Russia and China were the only members to vote yes, while the remaining 13 members abstained.

A rival humanitarian resolution drafted by Ukraine is due to be voted on in the General Assembly in the coming days.

Renault suspends all operations in Russia after zelensky’s speech

22:00 – 23 Mar 2022

French car manufacturer Renault has suspended all operations in Russia. 

The multinational company said it is assessing the available options and is acting “responsibly towards its 45,000 employees in Russia”.

Yesterday we reported that Renault had resumed its operations in Russia a few days ago, despite how the controversial move looks on the company.

Google News blocked by Russia’s communications regulator – reports

21:00 – 23 Mar 2022

Russia’s communications regulator has reportedly blocked Google News across the country, according to Interfax news agency. 

It comes after Google announced it will pause all ads containing content that exploits, dismisses, or condones the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. 

The move follows many major social media platforms that have announced new content restrictions around the conflict, including blocking Russian state media RT and Sputnik in the European Union. 

‘Stop being sponsors of Russia’s war machine’ – Zelenskyy tells French companies to leave Russia

20:00 – 23 Mar 2022

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called on French companies based in Russia to stop indirectly supporting the war against Ukraine by leaving the country.

In a virtual speech to the French parliament, the leader name-checked several French companies such as carmaker Renault, supermarket chain Auchan, and home improvement giant Leroy Merlin.

As we reported yesterday, Renault had resumed its operations in Russia a few days ago, despite the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Up to 40,000 Russian troops killed, wounded or taken prisoner – NATO

19:30 – 23 Mar 2022

The alliance said between 7,000 to 15,000 Russian soldiers had lost their lives in the last four weeks of fighting, as fierce resistance denied Moscow the lightning victory it sought.

In comparison, Russia lost about 15,000 soldiers in Afghanistan over 10 years.

Russian central bank governor wanted to resign, Putin said no – reports

19:00 – 23 Mar 2022

A report has emerged today that suggests Russia’s central bank governor tried to resign from her post over the invasion of Ukraine – but that Vladimir Putin told her she had to stay.

Elvira Nabiullina was nominated for a new five-year term last week despite her request to leave, according to Bloomberg. 

Another Russian commander killed by Ukrainians – report

18:00 – 23 Mar 2022

Colonel Aleksey Sharov, commander of the 810th Black Sea Marines Brigade, is the latest notable fatality within Putin’s forces.

Historically high ranking officials have tended not to be located near the front lines of conflict, and instead positioned away from the most dangerous locations.

His death is said to have been confirmed to Russian media by officials in the country.

Sweden to provide 5,000 anti-tank weapons to Ukraine – reports

17:30 – 23 Mar 2022

Sweden is reportedly sending an additional 5,000 anti-tank weapons to Ukraine to help in its fight against Russian forces. 

TT news agency revealed the announcement, quoting Sweden’s defence minister. 

The country has already sent 5,000 anti-tank weapons to Ukraine along with other military equipment. 

Hackers targeting charity groups helping refugees – Ukrainian official

17:00 – 23 Mar 2022

Charity groups helping people flee the war in Ukraine are being targeted by hackers, a Ukrainian cybersecurity official has said.

Victor Zhora, the deputy chief of Ukraine’s State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection, said this was “another proof of the spread of cyberwar to NATO countries”.

He did not provide further details on the incidents.

Yesterday, businesses in the US were urged to increase their security amid fears the Russian government could be planning cyber attacks.

President Joe Biden said: “The magnitude of Russia’s cyber capability is fairly consequential and it’s coming.”

‘Unfriendly’ countries must pay for Russian gas in roubles – Putin

16:30 – 23 Mar 2022

“Unfriendly” countries will have to pay for Russian gas in roubles, Vladimir Putin has announced. 

Speaking at a meeting with government officials, Russia’s president said “a number of Western countries made illegitimate decisions on the so-called freezing of the Russian assets” and as a result had undermined the “trust for those currencies”. 

He added that “it makes no sense whatsoever” for Russia to supply its goods to the EU, the US, and “receive payment in dollars, euros and a number of other currencies”. 

NATO warns Russia over nuclear war talk and escalation of conflict

16:00 – 23 Mar 2022

Jens Stoltenberg has been warning against Russia’s war in Ukraine escalating into a nuclear confrontation between Moscow and the West.

“Russia should stop this dangerous irresponsible nuclear rhetoric,” NATO’s Secretary-General told a news conference.

“But let there be no doubt about our readiness to protect and defend allies against any threat anytime.

Moscow Stock Exchange will partially resume trading Thursday

15:49 – 23 Mar 2022

The Moscow Stock Exchange will partially reopen for trading in Russian stocks on Thursday, Russia’s Central Bank announced today.

The Central Bank of Russia said trading in 33 stocks will resume on March 24 between 9:50 a.m. and 2 p.m. local time. 

The Russian equities allowed to resume trading include big companies such as Gazprom, Lukoil, VTB Bank, Sberbank, Rusal and Rosneft.

The central bank said there will be a ban applied on short shelling for these shares. 

“The working hours of the Moscow Exchange for the following days will be announced later on the official website of the Bank of Russia,” it added.

The stock exchange has been closed for almost a month following a big sell-off due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Trading has been suspended since Feb. 28.

NATO to increase forces on eastern flank – as fears China grow could support Russia in war

15:08 – 23 Mar 2022

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has been speaking at a news conference in Brussels.

He said the alliance was worried China could support Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, adding that the 30 member nations would discuss Beijing’s role in the war on Thursday.

“China has provided Russia with political support, including by spreading blatant lies and misinformation,” Mr Stoltenberg said.

He also mentioned concerns that China could provide “material support” for Russia.

And in a renewed warning, he said: “Any use of chemical weapons would totally change the nature of the conflict, it would be a blatant violation of international law and would have far-reaching consequences.”

Mr Stoltenberg added that NATO nations’ leaders would agree at their summit tomorrow to bolstering forces on the alliance’s eastern flank, with the deployment of four new battle groups in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia.

“I expect leaders will agree to strengthen NATO’s posture in all domains, with major increases in the eastern part of the alliance on land, in the air and at sea,” he said.

He said that with the new battle groups and existing forces in the Baltic countries and Poland, NATO would have eight multinational groups along the alliance’s eastern flank.

Belarus orders some Ukrainian diplomats to leave the country

14:49 – 23 Mar 2022

Belarus is ordering some Ukrainian diplomats to leave the country and will shut down Ukraine’s consulate in the city of Brest, the nation’s Belta news agency has reported.

The move comes after the Belarusian security service, the KGB, accused eight diplomats of espionage.

Earlier today, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said  Belarus was still enabling Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

He told a news conference on the eve of a NATO summit in Brussels that Belarus had also allowed its military airfields to be used by Russian forces to launch attacks on Ukrainian cities and civilians.

Belarus is the only European country that has supported Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by allowing Russian troops to enter across its border. 

Putin adviser reportedly quits government and flees Russia

14:07 – 23 Mar 2022

An adviser to Vladimir Putin has left the Russian government and fled the country, according to Reuters.

Anatoly Chubais, a veteran reformer and climate envoy, is said to be against the invasion of Ukraine, and has no intention of returning to Russia.

One of the few reformers from the early 1990s to have remained in Mr Putin’s government, while still maintaining ties with the West, Mr Chubais would be the highest level official to have left Russia since the war began so far. 

The Kremlin now appears to have confirmed the story. A spokesman said he has stood down from his government post, suggesting he did so of his own accord.

Kyiv suburb Irpin now 80% under Ukrainian control, mayor says

13:40 – 23 Mar 2022

Oleksandr Markushyn, mayor of the Kyiv suburb of Irpin, said the Ukrainian armed forces, territorial defense and police “have 80% of our city under control.”

Speaking on Ukrainian television, Markushyn said, “Our city is being constantly shelled by GRAD systems. Very massively. They are pounding the residential area, multi-story buildings.”

Despite mass evacuations in recent weeks, Markushyn, who said his own house had been destroyed on Wednesday, estimated that up to 6,000 people are still in Irpin and that small groups are being evacuated each day.

“Around 4,000 people do not want to leave the city at all. We help them with food and medical supplies,” he added.

The national police on Wednesday said they are resuming work in Irpin, much of which was occupied by Russian forces. It was another possible sign that Ukrainian security forces are regaining territory around the capital of Kyiv.

Irpin, a suburb located to the northwest of Kyiv, has seen weeks of fierce fighting and heavy shelling since Russia’s invasion was launched nearly four weeks ago.

Zelenskyy calls for Japan to ramp up sanctions against Russia

13:18 – 23 Mar 2022

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called on Japan to increase sanctions on Moscow, including by introducing a trade embargo on Russian goods.

In a video address to the Japanese parliament in Tokyo, Zelenskyy praised Japan for leading the way in Asia by piling pressure on Russia.

Japan has joined other Western countries in imposing sanctions on Russian banks, businesses and individuals.

Without providing evidence, Ukraine’s president said Russian forces were preparing new attacks from the exclusion zone around the defunct Chernobyl nuclear power station. He also said he had received reports that Russia could be preparing to use chemical weapons.

Zelenksyy, who has also addressed other parliaments around the world virtually, including in the UK, received a standing ovation from the packed room after his speech.

Nestle to stop selling branded products in Russia

12:51 – 23 Mar 2022

KitKat bars and Nesquik will be among the products which will no longer be sold in Russia, Nestle has announced.

The confectionary maker will stop all sales in Russia, and says it won’t make a profit or pay in taxes in the country.

Nestle will continue to pay its staff in Russia, it added.

Russia has lost ‘15,600 personnel’ since the start of the war, Ukrainian authority claims

12:26 – 23 Mar 2022

Russia has lost 15,600 personnel since troops invaded Ukraine on 24 February, Ukraine’s government has claimed.

The authorities have also said that  Russian armed forces have now lost 517 tanks and 1,578 armoured vehicles.

The figures provided by Ukrainian officials cannot be verified by Sky News, and experts point out it is in the interests of countries at war to give higher estimates of enemy casualties.

This month, Russia’s Ministry of Defence claimed 498 of its troops had been killed in Ukraine and a further 1,597 wounded.

It was the first time the Kremlin had put a figure on its casualties since 24 February.

Full embargo on Russian energy would be devastating for Europe – Germany

12:02 – 23 Mar 2022

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz warned that suggestions of an instant embargo on Russian energy supplies should be dismissed as the impact on Europe would be devastating.

He said Germany was in the process of becoming independent from Russian energy sources, but “that doing this from one day to the next would push our country and the whole of Europe into a recession”.

He warned that “entire industries would be on the brink [of collapse]” and that existing anti-Russian sanctions were already hitting German citizens hard.

Sending peacekeeping forces to Ukraine would be ‘extremely dangerous’, Kremlin says

11:36 – 23 Mar 2022

Earlier this morning, Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, said that if a peacekeeping force was sent to Ukraine, it could trigger a conflict with NATO – something that Western nations desperately want to avoid.

The Kremlin has now reiterated that line, saying it would be “reckless” and “extremely dangerous” for NATO to send a peacekeeping force into Ukraine, adding any contact with a NATO force “could lead to consequences that would be hard to correct”.

Poland has suggested that peacekeeping forces could be sent into Ukraine, amid fears Russia could expand its invasion over the border.

Speaking in Kyiv last week, Poland’s ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski said: “I think that it is necessary to have a peace mission – NATO, possibly some wider international structure – but a mission that will be able to defend itself, which will operate on Ukrainian territory.”

Poland seeking to expel 45 Russian diplomats, official says

11:14 – 23 Mar 2022

Poland is looking to expel 45 Russian diplomats, spokesman Stanislaw Zaryn has said.

The country’s special services has asked the foreign ministry to expel the diplomats, some of whom it suspects of working for Russian intelligence, as the war in Ukraine enters its 28th day.

Mr Zaryn said: “The Internal Security Agency has identified 45 people – officers of Russian secret services and persons associated with them who had diplomatic status in Poland.”

“The list was forwarded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it includes officers of the special services of the Russian Federation and people cooperating with them… people who conducted intelligence activities against Poland, but also against our allies.”

A spokesperson for the Polish government confirmed the Russian ambassador to Warsaw had been summoned to the foreign ministry and decisions on further steps would be announced after the meeting.

United Nations is not helping Ukraine, Zelenskyy says

10:43 – 23 Mar 2022

Speaking to Japan’s parliament this morning, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said the international community is not helping enough, specifically citing the United Nations.

He also said Russian forces at the Chernobyl exclusion zone are using the area to prepare for new attacks, adding the fighting in some areas is so bad, people are unable to bury their dead relatives.

Mr Zelenskyy has been addressing a number of international politicians in the last few weeks, and will speak to the French National Assembly later today. 

Italian PM urges China to not support Russia

10:02 – 23 Mar 2022

Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi has urged China to not support longstanding ally Russia in its war against Ukraine.

In a speech to the Italian parliament, Mr Draghi also said Russian President Vladimir Putin did not appear to be interested in agreeing to a ceasefire or reaching a truce that could pave the way for successful peace negotiations.

He went on to say it was a priority for European countries to increase the production of computer chips in an effort to strengthen the bloc’s economy and protect its key industries.

“The shortage of semiconductors – essential for many strategic industries such as transport, industrial machinery, defence – has been particularly damaging,” Mr Draghi said.

Nine humanitarian corridors agreed

09:29 – 23 Mar 2022

Nine “humanitarian corridors” have been agreed to evacuate civilians trapped in Ukrainian towns and cities, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk says.

But in a Facebook post, she says a safe passage from Mariupol has not been agreed with Russia.

She says she hopes that people wishing to leave the city can make it to nearby Berdyansk, where humanitarian aid such as medicines are waiting. She adds that 24 buses are on standby to transport people.

Russia hits arms depot in Ukraine

08:44 – 23 Mar 2022

An arms depot in the western Ukrainian city of Rivne has been hit, Russia’s defence ministry has said.

It says it used high-precision weapons and fired from the sea in the attack.

Missile launchers on the outskirts of Kyiv have also been hit, officials added.

The West has acted in a ‘disgusting way’ towards Russia, deputy head of Moscow security council says

08:33 – 23 Mar 2022

Dmitry Medvedev, the former Russian leader and current deputy head of the country’s security council, has lashed out at “the West”, saying this morning it has acted in a “disgusting, criminal and amoral way” towards Russia.

He added that the US was becoming the “last refuge of those who are falling into senility”, and claims it has tried to “humiliate, limit, divide and destroy Russia”.

Ceasefire agreed in Luhansk region

07:59 – 23 Mar 2022

A ceasefire has been agreed in the Luhansk region of Ukraine – where Russian-backed separatists are in control, the local governor has said.

It’s in an effort to help civilians flee from the fighting in the area.

Luhansk, close to Ukraine’s eastern border, is under Russian control and was recognised as independent by Vladimir Putin in the days leading up to the invasion.

‘Demoralised’ Russia trying to replenish troops: Ukraine army

07:32 – 23 Mar 2022

The Ukrainian army has claimed in its morning update that Russia has resorted to getting former soldiers to join its war effort and make up for heavy losses.

Military officials have been actively recruiting former servicemen particularly “those who already have combat experience”, the Ukrainian military said in an operational update posted on Facebook.

It also claimed that Russian forces “in particular directions were demoralised”, while Ukraine continues to hold the line in various parts of the country, including the eastern and southern regions. It added that it was conducting a “circular defence” in Mariupol – a strategic port city where over 100,000 residents are said to be trapped without access to food and medicines.

Western intelligence agencies have said that the Russian advance in Ukraine is continuing to stall, with troops digging in and reinforcing defensive positions. According to the latest assessment from the Institute for the Study of War, Russian forces have not staged any large assaults this week.

The Ukrainian army also said there were active efforts to increase Russian and Belarussian military equipment along the Ukrainian border, but gave no details. Belarus is backing Russia in the war.

It added that it was verifying reports that in Belarus, opponents of the war had partially removed the railway connection between their country and Ukraine.

Russian official lays out plan of Crimea-Mariupol-Donbass corridor

06:44 – 23 Mar 2022

A Russian official has laid out their plans to connect the Crimea peninsula to the south-eastern Russian-occupied Donbas region “once the military takes control” of the key port city of Mariupol.

Kirill Stepanov is an adviser of Russia’s Southern Federal District which includes Crimea – the Ukrainian territory annexed by Russia in 2014.

He told Russian news outlet RIA Novosti in recent hours that “taking control of the highway from Crimea to Mariupol… will reliably connect the peninsula with the Donbas by a transport corridor”.

He added that this corridor and Crimea’s land bridge would form a “transit territory” connecting the Caucusus region, the seaports along the northern shores of the Black Sea, and the industrial centres of the Russian-occupied regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

This military goal has long been pointed to as the reason why Russia wants Mariupol so badly.

Russian forces have incessantly shelled the city for weeks. Civilians there have suffered one of the worst bombardments in the whole of Ukraine, and over 80% of homes are now damaged.

Ukraine has asked for help for the city, and has refused to surrender it to the Russians. It is their last holdout in that part of the country.

Russians have destroyed Chernobyl lab – Ukraine

05:35 – 23 Mar 2022

Russian troops occupying the Chernobyl nuclear power plant have “looted and destroyed” a laboratory at the site, Ukrainian officials claim.

The State Agency of Ukraine for Exclusion Zone Management said the Russians had damaged their Central Analytical Laboratory – which processed a lot of radioactive waste.

The state agency said in a Facebook post that the laboratory had “highly active samples and samples of radionuclides, which today are in the hands of the enemy”.

The lab, which cost about six million euros to set up, had also contained “valuable analytical equipment” that were not available elsewhere in Europe, the agency said.

Chernobyl – the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident in 1986 – is not a working power station but still requires constant management.

The Russians captured it in the first few days of the war last month and had kept workers there for weeks before some were released.

The former nuclear site remains a great concern, and earlier this week Ukraine’s parliament reported that forest fires had erupted in the vicinity of the plant, which was picked up in satellite images.

Russians trapped in Thailand

04:49 – 23 Mar 2022

Money is the biggest problem confronting some 7,000 Russians now trapped in Thailand.

Since the sanctions have been imposed on Russia they have been unable to withdraw cash from ATM machines or use their credit cards.

Most do not want to speak to journalists, but one couple did agree, if we did not identify them.

They worried about repercussions back home, where even calling the events in Ukraine a war can result in prosecution.

“We were going from bank to bank, from ATM to ATM. Nine times out of 10 it was declined, but we managed to get some cash.”

“There were some other means to get it, like Western Union or cryptocurrency, but it is closing every day. If something was working yesterday, it is not working today.”

Kremlin refusal to rule out nuclear option ‘dangerous’ – US

03:59 – 23 Mar 2022

The Pentagon has condemned a Kremlin spokesman’s refusal earlier on Tuesday to rule out the use of nuclear weapons during the Ukraine conflict.

Dmitry Peskov told CNN International that such arms could be used if Russia faced an “existential threat”. Russia has the world’s largest stockpile of nuclear warheads.

Department of Defense spokesman John Kirby said Moscow’s nuclear remarks were “dangerous”.

“It’s not the way a responsible nuclear power should act,” he told reporters.

But Kirby added that Pentagon officials “haven’t seen anything that would lead us to conclude that we need to change our strategic deterrent posture”.

“We monitor this as best we can every day,” he added.

Thousands of Starlink dishes reportedly sent to Ukraine

02:57 – 23 Mar 2022

Elon Musk’s space company has reportedly sent “thousands” of Starlink dishes – which support the supply of internet – to Ukraine.

SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell told CNBC the kits were largely being funded by private sources.

The firm sent a lorry-full of Starlink dishes to Ukraine shortly after Russia invaded.

They have been installed in locations including a rooftop in the southern port of Odesa.

Although internet access in Ukraine is fairly good, it has reportedly deteriorated as the conflict worsens.

White House ‘to unveil plan to take in vulnerable refugees’

02:31 – 23 Mar 2022

The White House will announce a plan to help some of Ukraine’s most vulnerable refugees get to the US, according to NBC News, which reports that the announcement could come as soon as this week.

According to the US network, the plan includes the expedited processing of Ukrainian activists, journalists and members of the LGBT community.

The move will also speed entry for Ukrainians with family members in the US, unnamed officials told NBC.

Russian Nobel winner donates to Ukraine refugees

01:44 – 23 Mar 2022

The editor-in-chief of Russia’s Novaya Gazeta newspaper – an outlet critical of the Kremlin – has pledged to donate his Nobel Peace Prize medal to raise funds for Ukrainian refugees.

Dmitry Muratov said in an article on Tuesday that his decision was prompted by the displacement of 10 million Ukrainians from their homes amid the Russian invasion.

“I ask the auction houses to respond and put up for auction this world-famous award,” he wrote of the gong he won last year.

German chancellor calls for energy embargo

00:05 – 23 Mar 2022

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said Europe’s sanctions on Russia could be “not a short-term measure but a longer conflict”.

He emphasised the need for Germany to stop its dependency on Russian coal, gas and oil imports “as quickly as possible” and “in the greatest intensity” during a press conference in Berlin.

“Europe, together with its friends, has launched the harshest sanctions ever seen against such a big country. And they show that they have an impact,” he said.

“A part of this is also thinking about tools that have this effect on the aggressor but at the same time have minimal repercussions on economic development opportunities at home and that we can uphold these sanctions.”

100,000 people in Mariupol living without food, claims Ukraine’s president

23:34 – 22 Mar 2022

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said 100,000 people are living in the port city of Mariupol without food, water, or medicine. 

The southern city, which is a key target for Russian forces, has come under a barrage of daily attacks since the war began.

Mr Zelenskyy added that talks with Russia about the invasion are difficult and sometimes confrontational  but added “step by step we are moving forward.”

US aware of Russia using hypersonic missiles “at least in one instance,” Pentagon says

23:04 – 22 Mar 2022

Russian forces used hypersonic missiles “at least in one instance,” that the US is aware of, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said during a news briefing on Tuesday.

Russian forces used the hypersonic missile “against a fixed building,” at a “relatively close range,” Kirby said.

“It’s hard to know what exactly the justification was for that, but it could very well be tied to inventory problems and performance problems that they’re having with respect to precision guided munitions, so we’ll just have to see where that goes,” Kirby said.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said Sunday that he does not view “the use of this type of weapon as some sort of game changer here,” Kirby added.

“It is not exactly clear what their intentions were,” Kirby said.

Man on Russian state TV calls for nuclear strike on Europe and invasion of Poland

22:37 – 22 Mar 2022

Pentagon: Ukraine’s airspace remains “contested,” partially because “the Ukrainians are making it that way”

22:39 – 22 Mar 2022

The airspace over Ukraine remains “contested,” as the Russian invasion of the country is in its fourth week of conflict, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said during a briefing at the Pentagon on Monday.

The airspace is contested partially because “the Ukrainians are making it that way.”

Ukrainians still have fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, Kirby said.

Russian forces are dominant in some areas of the airspace, he added.

“It’s contested because the Ukrainians are making it that way, and they’re being, they’re being very smart about how they’re marshaling and using their air defense resources which includes fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, which they continue to fly,” Kirby said.

France says there is no agreement in sight for a ceasefire in Ukraine

21:33 – 22 Mar 2022

There is no agreement in sight for a ceasefire in Ukraine, the Élysée Palace said in a statement after French President Emmanuel Macron spoke with his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts separately on Tuesday.

“For the time being there is no agreement, but the President [Macron] remains convinced of the need to continue his efforts,” the statement read. 

“There is no other way out than a ceasefire and good faith negotiations between Russia and Ukraine,” it added.

The call between Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin lasted for one hour, according to the Élysée Palace.

Discussions underway about whether Russia can be kicked out of G20

20:53 – 22 Mar 2022

Western allies are considering whether Russia should remain in the G20 group of major economies, sources have told Reuters news agency.

However, it is likely any bid to exclude Russia outright would be vetoed by others such as China, India or Saudi Arabia.

Countries are therefore assessing whether to skip G20 meetings this year in protest against Russia’s invasion.

The G20 is a key platform for coordinating responses to issues including climate change and cross-border debt.

“There have been discussions about whether it’s appropriate for Russia to be part of the G20,” a senior G7 source said. “If Russia remains a member, it will become a less useful organisation.”

Asked whether the US could move to push Russia out of the G20, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said earlier: “We believe that it cannot be business as usual for Russia in international institutions and in the international community.”

But he said the US would consult with allies first before a move is made. 

FBI says hackers scanned networks of US energy firms ahead of Biden’s Russia cyberattack warning

20:23- 22 Mar 2022

A Kremlin spokesperson has said the aim of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is not to occupy the country, a Russian state-owned news agency has reported.  

Dmitry Peskov was also reported by Tass as saying no one has ever thought the “special military operation” in Ukraine would only take a couple of days and the campaign is still going to plan. 

On the issue of nuclear weapons, which has been raised continuously since the war began, he said Russia would only use them if its very existence was threatened.

Russia will only use nuclear weapons if its existence is threatened, says Kremlin spokesman

20:11 – 22 Mar 2022

A Kremlin spokesperson has said the aim of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is not to occupy the country, a Russian state-owned news agency has reported.  

Dmitry Peskov was also reported by Tass as saying no one has ever thought the “special military operation” in Ukraine would only take a couple of days and the campaign is still going to plan. 

On the issue of nuclear weapons, which has been raised continuously since the war began, he said Russia would only use them if its very existence was threatened. 

Criminal case launched against Russian journalist who used to be a confidant of Putin

19:33 – 22 Mar 2022

 A criminal case has been launched against a Russian journalist who used to be a confidant of Vladimir Putin, according to the organisation Reporters without Borders. 

Alexander Nevzorov was previously a journalist for Channel One Russia but now hosts a YouTube channel. 

The case has been opened under a new law brought in by the Kremlin meaning people who spread “fake” information about Russia’s armed forces could be jailed for up to 15 years. 

Introduced earlier this month, the law appears to be designed to give Russia even stronger powers to suppress information about its invasion of Ukraine. 

‘Kidnapped’ mayor says he was surprised ‘the whole world’ took notice

19:06 – 22 Mar 2022

The mayor of Melitopol has said he was released in exchange for nine Russian soldiers after being kidnapped on 11 March.

Ivan Fedorov was detained for six days by Russian forces after they captured the Ukrainian city.

“I am a mayor of a small provincial town in Ukraine, but it made the whole world worried,” he told Reuters, speaking from the town of Zaporizhzhia.

Mr Fedorov said it was too dangerous for him to return to his city.

I was exchanged for nine soldiers of the Russian Federation whom I saw with my own eyes during the exchange,” he said.

“I cannot tell if they were professional military or conscripts. But they were soldiers aged between 18 and 20 years who came to Ukraine to kill civilians.”

Describing the situation in Melitopol, he said people are being “grabbed in the streets” and detained.

“Yesterday we had an unprecedented situation when a whole family of journalists and the whole staff of a local media company were kidnapped,” he said.

“And after that the media company declared that they ceased their operations.”

Russia ‘still picking up’ deconfliction line with US

18:45 – 22 Mar 2022

The US senior defence official (mentioned before on our last update) said America’s deconfliction line with Russia was being tested every day “and the Russians are picking up”.

He said this was a “good thing”, although the line has narrow goals: “It’s a deconfliction line. It’s not a complaint line.”

The hotline is intended to avoid the possibility of a close encounter which could lead to a miscalculation or escalation.

Ukrainian forces ‘now able and willing to take back territory from Russia’ – us official

18:15 – 22 Mar 2022

A senior US defence official has shared anecdotal evidence that Ukrainian forces are “making efforts to take back territory that the Russians have taken”, according to a Reuters correspondent. 

Washington Post quoted the official as saying the US is “starting to see indications” that Ukraine is “now able and willing to take back territory”.

Unconfirmed reports suggest Russian troops are surrounded by the Ukrainian forces in Bucha, Irpin and Hostomel – areas near the capital city of Kyiv which have been fiercely fought over. 

Experts say this would be a major victory for Ukraine, and it would likely hamper Russian efforts to take Kyiv. 

It should be noted that these reports have yet to be verified independently. Do not take anything you see online to be the full truth.

Renault resumes production at Moscow plant

18:00 – 22 Mar 2022

French car maker Renault resumed its production in Moscow yesterday, Reuters reports.

Renault is the largest maker and seller of cars in Russia, with close to 30% of the market. It owns two-thirds of Avtovaz, the maker of Lada cars, and operates its two plants. The company also makes cars under its own brands in a Moscow factory.

Some of Russia’s nationalist newspapers have questioned why Renault, which is 15% owned by the French state, should be allowed to operate in the country. In the rest of the world, the company’s brand could suffer from its associations with the Russian military.

The Russian government is also threatening to take over companies more than 25% owned by “foreigners from unfriendly states” if they threaten to close their local operations.

Journalist kidnapped by Russian spies is released – Ukrainian publication

17:45 – 22 Mar 2022

A Ukrainian journalist who was kidnapped by Russian spies last week has been released, according to a Ukrainian publication. 

Victoria Roshchyna was reportedly snatched by members of the Federal Security Service (FSB) after her car was shot at earlier this month.

The Ukrainian publication Hromadske, which Ms Roshchyna works for, was informed of her detention by the FSB on 16 March – a day after she was captured.

Russian Telegram channels posted a video with her claiming that she doesn’t blame Russians. It is likely that they forced her to do so, in exchange for her release.

school and children’s hospital targeted by russian strikes

17:30 – 22 Mar 2022

A children’s hospital in the Luhansk region has been targeted by Russian forces, according to Ukraine’s State Emergency Service.

7 children and 15 adults, including doctors, were evacuated from the building after the roof caught fire. The hospital is in the city of Severodonetsk, in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine.

Footage has emerged of a charred school destroyed by Russian shelling in Ukraine’s second-largest city of Kharkiv.

The clip, which was shared by Ukrainian government official Emine Dzheppar, comes after Russian rockets hit the region earlier this month.

Russian soldier handed over his tank to Ukrainian forces, awarded $10,000 – Ukraine

16:45 – 22 Mar 2022

Victor Andrusiv detailed the account – accompanied with an image – of a Russian soldier he claims turned over his tank to Ukrainian forces.

The serviceman, he said, would now receive a $10,000 (£7,550) reward. 

Mr Andrusiv suggested the man had been using one of the phones with Ukrainian numbers which the National Police had identified were being used by Russian troops – and to which “we regularly send SMS [explaining] how to surrender and hand over the equipment”.

“He pulled up. From the drone they made sure that it was him and was not an ambush. After that, the special forces detained him. It turned out he was the only one left from the tank crew, the rest escaped home.

“He didn’t see the point of war. Couldn’t return home as the commander said he was shooting and rushing for combat losses. Misha said that there was almost no food left, military management is chaotic and practically absent. Demoralisation is a colossal.”

Russian forces only have 3 days of food and ammunition stockpiled – Ukraine military

16:30 – 22 Mar 2022

Russia’s stockpiles of ammunition and food will last for “no more than three days”, according to the Ukrainian military.

In its latest operational report, it said Russian forces are suffering with fuel shortages and are being mobilised “chaotically”.

Russian forces using white phosphorus – Kyiv deputy head of police

16:15 – 22 Mar 2022

Kyiv’s deputy head of police has accused Russian forces of using white phosphorus in the city of Kramatorsk, which sits in the northern part of Donetsk.

Oleksiy Biloshytskiy took to social media to share a clip of a substance releasing white smoke into the air as it burned on the ground.

White phosphorus is a toxic substance that is self-igniting when it interacts with oxygen.

300,000 people in Kherson running out of food and medical supplies – Ukrainian foreign ministry

14:30 – 22 Mar 2022

Hundreds of thousands of people in occupied Kherson are reportedly struggling to access food and medical supplies.

The southern city – once an economic centre – has been under Russian occupation since near the start of the invasion.

Yesterday, footage emerged of Russian troops firing on Ukrainian protesters in the streets.

Train carrying 800 people from Mariupol due to arrive in Lviv – reports

13:45 – 22 Mar 2022

A train carrying hundreds of people from the besieged city of Mariupol is due to arrive at Lviv railway station in western Ukraine, the Guardian reports.

According to the newspaper, the train was expected to arrive at 12.40pm.

There has yet to be an update, and at the time of the report the transit was already 30 minutes behind schedule.

The situation in Mariupol has been described as “apocalyptic”.

Navalny sentenced to 9 years in prison

13:45 – 22 Mar 2022

As reported earlier (check our 09:30 update), Alexei Navalny was previously found guilty of fraud by a Russian court.

He has now been sentenced to 9 years of imprisonment.

The ruling will keep Vladimir Putin’s most prominent opponent out of active politics for years ahead.

The 45-year-old, who the court also fined 1.2 million roubles (£8,713), had dismissed the latest criminal case against him as politically motivated and pleaded not guilty. 

WHO CONFIRMS 62 attacks on Ukrainian healthcare facilities

12:45 – 22 Mar 2022

The World Health Organization (WHO) said it has verified 62 separate attacks on healthcare facilities in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began almost four weeks ago.

The organisation said 15 people had died in the attacks, and at least 37 others had been injured.

WHO officials in Poland also stated that a rapid assessment suggests that about 500,000 refugees who have arrived there are suffering from mental health problems, primarily due to trauma.

Health workers at the Polish borders have reported children and mothers suffering from exhaustion and dehydration, while many older people arrive without medicines for their conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

Zelenskyy speaks to Pope, calls for vatican to mediate

12:30 – 22 Mar 2022

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he had spoken to Pope Francis, and that the Holy See’s mediating role with Russia would be welcome. 

Pope Francis has previously criticised Russia and called the conflict in Ukraine an unjustified “senseless massacre”. 

Wildfires break out near Chernobyl, prompting radiation fears

12:00 – 22 Mar 2022

Multiple wildfires have emerged near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, according to the Ukrainian parliament.

Ukraine says they were likely caused by artillery shelling or arson, and have been “burning unchecked” in an area controlled by Russian forces.

This is “raising worries that the radiation smoke could spread”, according to Ukraine’s State Service of Special Communications.

Kremlin rejects cyber attack plans, accuses US of ‘banditry’

11:45 – 22 Mar 2022

The Kremlin has refuted claims that it is planning a cyber attack after it was hit with a wave of sanctions by countries in the West.

Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that “unlike many Western countries, including the United States, Russia does not engage in state-level banditry”.

The comments come after the White House yesterday warned there was “evolving intelligence” that the Russian government was exploring options for a potential cyberattack.

Ukraine urges Russia to allow humanitarian aid into Mariupol

11:30 – 22 Mar 2022

 Ukraine’s deputy PM has appealed to Russia to allow humanitarian aid to reach the besieged southern port city on Mariupol.

Iryna Vereshchuk demanded the opening of evacuation routes, having earlier confirmed Ukraine would attempt convoys from three regions on Tuesday, all leading to Zaporizhzhia.

Yesterday, 3,000 people were able to flee Mariupol through humanitarian corridors, while 5,000 left several other bombarded Ukrainian regions.

US spymaster reports on putin

10:30 – 22 Mar 2022

US spymaster Gen James Clapper who oversaw the CIA, FBI, NSA and served as one of President Barack Obama’s principal advisers has offered some insights into what intelligence work might be going on to establish what Russian President Vladimir Putin’s state of mind is.

“Putin has been largely isolated, particularly so in the last two years with the pandemic, and compounding that is the fact that he has very few people that really have access to him – that makes gathering intelligence you have faith and trust in very difficult, so a lot is read into what he does and says publicly,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“The argument about should we have a no-fly zone, and the issue is of course of provoking the bear, and I think there is a sensitivity, the fact that the Russians have a lower threshold on the use of tactical nuclear weapons than we do – and there is understandable concern about how far do we push before the Russians first use chemical weapons or even consider the use of nuclear weapons.

“There’s all kinds of things we can do – but Ukraine is not a Nato member – that’s at play.

“Having said all that, if the humanitarian crisis deepens, and we continue to see these images of these mindless, brutal attacks against the civilian population and civilian infrastructure, the calculus could change.

Taking Kyiv would be ‘suicide’ for Russia – Ukraine

10:15 – 22 Mar 2022

A Ukrainian presidential adviser today said taking control of Kyiv is still clearly a priority for Russia, but trying to do so would be “suicide” for Moscow.

Oleksiy Arestovych added that the conflict could end within 3 weeks.

Vladimir Putin still hasn’t breached the Ukrainian capital, despite heavy bombardment noted in and around the city since the start of the conflict almost four weeks ago.

Earlier, British intelligence said Russian movements appeared to have stalled across Ukraine.

navalny found guilty of fraud by Russian court

09:30 – 22 Mar 2022

Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has been found guilty of large-scale fraud by a Russian court, it said on Tuesday.

Russian prosecutors are seeking to move Navalny to a maximum security penal colony for 13 years on charges of fraud and contempt of court.

Mr Navalny was arrested in January 2021 after returning to Russia from Germany, where he had been recovering from nerve agent poisoning – something he blames on the Kremlin and which Russian authorities deny.

Evacuation attempts to continue today

08:45 – 22 Mar 2022

Ukraine’s deputy prime minister this morning said evacuations will continue to focus on those trapped inside Mariupol.

Iryna Vereshchuk said attempts will be made to evacuate civilians from southern Ukraine through three routes: Berdyansk to Zaporizhzhia, Mangushska hromada to Zaporizhzhia and Nikolske to Zaporizhzhia.

She said buses will arrive between 9am and 10am local time (7am and 8am GMT).

It was unclear whether these evacuation routes had been agreed with Russia.

Russian tank factory ‘suspends operations’ – Ukrainian intelligence

08:30 – 22 Mar 2022

Ukrainian military are reporting that a company that produces and repairs Russian tanks has suspended work at its plant in the central Russian region of Chelyabinsk due to a shortage of imported parts.

In a statement posted to Facebook, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reports that manufacturer Uralvagonzavod has had to pause production at the facility “due to the lack of receipts of foreign-made components”.

This information has not yet been independently verified.

Russia making limited progress in Ukraine – UK intelligence

08:00 – 22 Mar 2022

The British Ministry of Defence says Ukrainian troops have continued to “repulse Russian attempts to occupy the southern city of Mariupol”.

Elsewhere, Russian forces have “largely stalled in place”, the MoD claimed.

Ukraine says 117 children killed in war

07:30 – 22 Mar 2022

The Ukrainian parliament has this morning provided an estimate on the number of children it believes have been killed since the war with Russia began on 24 February.

The Verkhovna Rada claims 117 children have died and 155 have been injured as of 22 March.

Earlier, the United Nations said at least 925 civilians have been killed in Ukraine, including 75 children.

This number is likely to be much higher in reality.

Moscow seizes ‘land corridor’ with Crimea – Ukraine

06:45 – 22 Mar 2022

The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said in a recent update that Russian troops have seized a “land corridor” with the Crimean peninsula, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.

This has allegedly blocked Ukraine’s access to the Sea of Azov.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian military said Moscow had lost “offensive potential” and is now being forced to call in reinforcements from Russia. It claimed that in the past 24 hours, the Ukrainian Air Force dealt “devastating blows” to Russian equipment and manpower, conducted air battles and “intercepted air targets”.

Ukraine also claims it has retaken the key town of Makariv, around 60km west of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.

Biden: Putin’s back is against the wall

06:30 – 22 Mar 2022

US President Joe Biden last night said Vladimir Putin’s “back is against the wall” in Ukraine, as the war with Russia nears a fourth week.

Speaking in Washington DC, Biden said he believes Russia is preparing for “false flag” operations – an act committed with the intent of pinning the blame on another party.

“Putin’s back is against the wall. He wasn’t anticipating the extent or the strength of our unity. And the more his back is against the wall, the greater the severity of the tactics he may employ.

“We’ve seen it before. He’s run a lot of false-flag operations. Whenever he starts talking about something he thinks Nato, Ukraine, or the United States is about to do, it means he’s getting ready to do it.”

Biden added that Putin may be preparing to use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine. 

Russia withdraws from peace treaty talks with Japan due to its sanctions

03:00 – 22 Mar 2022

Russia has withdrawn from peace treaty talks with Japan and frozen joint economic projects related to the disputed Kuril islands due to sanctions imposed by Tokyo over Ukraine. 

Russia and Japan have still not formally ended World War Two hostilities because of the standoff over islands just off Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido, known in Russia as the Kurils and in Japan as the Northern Territories. 

“Under the current conditions Russia does not intend to continue negotiations with Japan on a peace treaty,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, citing Japan’s “openly unfriendly positions and attempts to damage the interests of our country”. 

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said he strongly opposed Russia’s decision, terming it “unfair” and “completely unacceptable”. 

Meeting with Putin is necessary to determine Russian position in ending war – zelenskyy

23:30 – 21 Mar 2022

Ukraine’s President  Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said a meeting with Vladimir Putin is necessary to determine Russia’s position on ending the war, according to Interfax news agency. 

Citing a television interview with the Ukrainian leader, the organisation also reported that Mr Zelenskyy said it would not be possible to determine what should be done with occupied territories in his country during such a meeting. 

Earlier today, he told a Ukrainian broadcaster that any compromises with Russia to end the war will need to be put to a referendum in Ukraine. 

His comment may signal that the country’s leaders are looking at the practicalities of any sort of peace settlement with Russia. 

US ambassador summoned over Biden’s remarks

22:30 – 21 Mar 2022

Russia’s foreign ministry has summoned the US ambassador John Sullivan in to protest about recent statements by President Biden, who labelled President Putin a “war criminal” over the conflict in Ukraine.

In a statement, the ministry said the comments were unworthy of a statesman of such a high rank and pushed Russian-American relations to breaking point.

Hostile actions taken against Russia would receive a “decisive and firm response,” it warned.

The State Department confirmed that the meeting between Sullivan and Russian officials took place, adding that Sullivan demanded that US citizens in custody be given access to consular services.

The department says that one US citizen, basketball player Brittany Griner, has still not been given access to consular services after being detained for possession of vape cartridges last month.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said it is “awfully rich” for Russia to “speak about ‘inappropriate comments’ when that same country is engaged in mass slaughter”.

Donations being collected for Russian soldiers by local officials

22:00 – 21 Mar 2022

Donations are being collected in Russia’s Belgorod region for the country’s soldiers in Ukraine, Reuters has reported. 

Citing messages from local officials, the news agency said collection points had been set up in the area, which borders Ukraine, where citizens can drop off donated socks, medicines and tinned food.

Officials told local residents that Russian troops already had everything they needed, but that since people had expressed a desire to help, the local administrations had decided to accommodate those wishes.

A notice attached with Scotch tape to the door of a grocery store in the Korochansky district of Belgorod region said that aid collection points had been set up in the local administration building in the nearby village of Shlyakhovo.

The notice, which was unsigned, said: “Friends, right now for our military the most important thing is medicine: strong pain relief, cold medicine, cough tablets, bandages, syringes, insulin, Novocaine, Lidocaine.”

“We are also accepting personal hygiene items, socks, hats, gloves, thermal underwear, cigarettes, head torches.”

Western leaders discuss ‘serious concerns’ over Russia’s ‘brutal tactics’ in Ukraine

21:30 – 21 Mar 2022

Western leaders have discussed Russia’s “brutal tactics” in Ukraine, the White House has said.

The leaders of the US, Germany, France, Britain and Italy have spoken to each other by telephone and agreed on the importance of remaining united over Ukraine.

They also pledged to continue coordinating efforts to help Ukrainian refugees

Russian tabloid admits 10,000 troops have been killed – before quickly deleting story

21:15 – 21 Mar 2022

In an unusual admission, a pro-Russian tabloid newspaper has reported that 9,861 Russian soldiers have died in Ukraine. 

The last figure published by Russian officials, which was back in February, was 498. 

why Russia’s invasion seems so disorganised: report

20:00 – 21 Mar 2022

American officials cannot tell if Russia has designated a military commander to lead the invasion of Ukraine, multiple sources have told CNN.

They said this is likely why Russia’s assault appears to be clumsy and disorganised, and failing to meet its objectives.

Two US defence officials told CNN that units from different Russian military districts are competing for resources and have failed to connect.

Any compromises with Russia will need to be put to referendum in Ukraine – Zelenskyy

19:45 – 21 Mar 2022

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said any compromises with Russia to end the war will need to be put to a referendum in Ukraine. 

“The people will have to speak up and respond to this or that form of compromise. And what they (the compromises) will be is the subject of our talks and understanding between Ukraine and Russia,” he said.

Some issues that could be raised in any referendum could concern territories occupied by Russian forces or security guarantees offered to Ukraine by other countries in lieu of membership to NATO, the president added.

‘Evolving intelligence’ suggests Russia is exploring options for cyber attacks against US – Biden

19:30 – 21 Mar 2022

There is “evolving evidence” that suggests Russia is exploring options to carry out potential cyber attacks against the United States, President Joe Biden has said. 

In a statement, he has also urged the private sector to harden its cyber defences immediately. 

9 hospitals destroyed by Russia since start of invasion – Ukraine

19:00 – 21 Mar 2022

Nine hospitals have been destroyed since the start of Russia’s invasion, Ukraine has claimed. 

The State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection of Ukraine (SSSCIP) said Russia had attacked 135 hospitals across the country and 43 ambulances. 

These claims have not yet been independently verified.

4 children taken to hospital after coming ‘under fire’ – Ukrainian governor

18:45 – 21 Mar 2022

Four children have been taken to hospital after coming under fire while trying to evacuate, a Ukrainian governor has claimed.

Oleksandr Starukh, who is the governor of the southeastern Ukrainian region of Zaporizhzhia, said buses trying to reach humanitarian corridors came under attack.

Ukrainian orphans stuck in Poland after paperwork delays flight to London

18:30 – 21 Mar 2022

52 Ukrainian orphans trying to reach the UK after fleeing their homes are stuck in Poland due to a key piece of paperwork not being provided in time. 

The group, which includes children aged from one to 18, was due to fly from Warsaw to London today before heading to Scotland later this week. 

However, before the plane left Heathrow Airport, a form that should have been sent by the Ukrainian government to the Polish Ministry of Family and Social Policy, needed to release the group, was not sent in time. 

It is now said that the Virgin flight will not take place before Wednesday, with organisers looking at alternative options.

Russia has lost roughly half of its aircraft – US official

17:00 – 21 Mar 2022

Speaking to Foreign Policy’s national security reporter Jack Detsch, the US official implied that Russia’s fixed wing and rotary wing aircrafts have lost around 40% of their capability.

He also said that while the Kremlin had launched more than 300 sorties into Ukraine in the last 24 hours, they were not “venturing very far and very long” into airspace.

A sortie is the deployment or dispatch of a military unit, including an aircraft.

Radiation levels around Chernobyl power plant ‘risk rising’ – nuclear company

16:45 – 21 Mar 2022

Ukraine’s state-run nuclear company Energoatom has warned that radiation levels around the Chernobyl power plant “risk rising” as the systems in place to monitor radiation are not working.

“There is no data on the current state of radiation pollution of the exclusion zone’s environment, which makes it impossible to adequately respond to threats,” the company said in a statement.

Almost 6.5 million people displaced in Ukraine

16:30 – 21 Mar 2022

Millions of people have been displaced in Ukraine due to the war, the UN’s migration agency has said. 

“The scale of human suffering and forced displacement due to the war far exceeds any worst-case scenario planning,” said Antonio Vitorino, director-general of the International Organization for Migration. 

Aid is being provided to thousands of people but those in the most severely affected areas remain out of reach, he said. 

Separate figures from the UNHCR suggest 3.3 million children are displaced within Ukraine, while 1.6 million have fled outside the country – in total, the equivalent of one in five Ukrainian children. 

Russia bans ‘extremist’ Facebook and Instagram

16:15 – 21 Mar 2022

A court in Moscow has ruled the activities of Instagram and Facebook are “extremist” and has banned their operations in Russia, reports say.

“We are granting the prosecution’s request to ban the activities of [Instagram and Facebook’s parent company] Meta,” Judge Olga Solopova said, according to Russian state news agency Tass.

Earlier this month, prosecutors called for a criminal investigation into Meta, citing Russian propaganda and extremism laws.

Access to Facebook and Instagram had already been restricted in the country over what Moscow had described as “fake news” about its invasion of Ukraine.

Ukrainian MP says Russian troops are shooting civilians ‘point blank’

16:00 – 21 Mar 2022

Lesia Vasylenko has said Russian troops are “running rogue shooting civilians point blank” in Ukraine’s capital city. 

Ms Vasylenko, who had gone to the UK briefly to meet with British politicians, added: “What a time I chose to come back…” 

Russia-US relations close to ‘collapse’ over Biden’s remark

15:30 – 21 Mar 2022

The US ambassador was summoned by Russia’s foreign ministry today and told that ties between the US and Russia are on the verge of being severed.

They cited “unacceptable” comments by US President Joe Biden about Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

Last week, Mr Biden went a step further in his rhetoric and called his Russian counterpart a “war criminal”.

The Kremlin had not taken well to the comments, describing them as “unacceptable and unforgivable rhetoric”.

Holocaust survivor, 96, ‘killed in Russian bombing of apartment block’

14:45 – 21 Mar 2022

Reports are now emerging that a 96-year-old man who had survived a number of Nazi concentration camps has been killed in Kharkiv.

Boris Romanchenko was killed when a bomb hit the block of apartments where he lived, according to the Foundation for Memorials in Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora.

“It is with horror that we report the violent death of Boris Romanchenko in the war in Ukraine,” a statement said.

“A bomb hit the multi-storey building in which he lived. His apartment burned down.”

The statement said Mr Romachenko had survived captivity at Buchenwald, Mittelbau-Dora and Bergen Belsen concentration camps.

925 civilians killed in Ukraine since conflict began – UN

14:30 – 21 Mar 2022

The UN human rights office (OHCHR) said it had recorded 2,421 civilian casualties in Ukraine – 925 killed and 1,496 injured – as of midnight on 20 March. 

However, with local officials in Mariupol reporting the deaths of at least 2,400 people in the city since the start of the war, this OHCHR figure is likely to be an underestimate.

Reports of Russian troops firing on Kherson protesters

14:15 – 21 Mar 2022

Videos are being shared on Twitter showing what appears to be Russian troops opening fire on a peaceful protest in the main square in Kherson.

Russia seized the southern port city early on in the nearly month-long war and Moscow claims it controls the Kherson region.

The videos have not yet been independently verified.

Graphic warning to readers. Viewer discretion is advised.

panic as Russia’s supermarkets ration goods

14:00 – 21 Mar 2022

In the far eastern Maritime Region, supermarkets have imposed limits of 2kg per customer for sugar, flour, rice, buckwheat, salt and macaroni; 2L of vegetable oil and three jars of baby food. The rationing was reported by Russia’s business daily Kommersant.

In Khabarovsk, a city in that region, there has been panic-buying of sugar, and it has disappeared from many supermarket shelves, a local news agency reports.

However, deputy industry and trade minister Viktor Yevtukhov insists “there is no problem with sugar”, as Russia produces enough for itself and has banned sugar exports.

The St Petersburg supermarket chain Vkuster told Kommersant that it was also limiting sugar sales to 2kg per customer. “When one customer fills a whole basket with bags of sugar, others look at him and think about stockpiling too,” said Vkuster director Sergei Plis.

Last week the national statistics service Rosstat said sugar prices had jumped nearly 13%.

Ukrainian and Russian negotiators enter another round of peace talks

13:30 – 21 Mar 2022

Ukraine and Russia engaged in another round of peace talks today.

Peace negotiators held a 90-minute video call, with working groups expected to continue meeting throughout the day.

The two countries have entered several rounds of talks; however they are yet to reach an agreement on a ceasefire or a withdrawal.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy previously said he was adamant that Ukraine will accept no peace terms that compromise its territorial integrity.

Refugee accommodation running out in Polish region

13:15 – 21 Mar 2022

More than 2.1 million people have fled Ukraine for Poland over the past three weeks, since the Russian invasion began.

Numbers crossing the border are beginning to ease, with some refugees moving on to other parts of Europe, such as Germany.

However Krakow, the transport hub city, is struggling to find space for everyone, with accommodation in the city running out.

Russia has lost 15,000 personnel since war began – Ukraine

13:00 – 21 Mar 2022

Russia has reportedly lost 15,000 personnel since troops invaded Ukraine on 24 February, according to Ukraine’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

The ministry also said Russian armed forces had lost 1,500 armoured vehicles.

It should be noted that it is in the interests of countries at war to give higher estimates of enemy casualties, and the amount has yet to be verified, so take this statistic with a grain of salt.

However, conservative US estimates last week suggested more than 7,000 Russian troops had been killed in less than three weeks of fighting.

destruction after attack in Kyiv

12:30 – 21 Mar 2022

Kyiv was hit by a number of Russian attacks in the industrial district of Podil. It was reported there were strikes on several houses and a shopping centre in the north-west of the city.

First residential strike on Odesa

11:45 – 21 Mar 2022

Authorities in Odesa have accused Russian forces of carrying out a strike on residential buildings in the outskirts of the Ukrainian city early this morning, the first such attack on the Black Sea port city.

The city council said there were no casualties, although the strike caused a fire. 

“These are residential buildings where peaceful people live,” Mayor Gennadiy Trukhanov was quoted as saying. 

Russia denies targeting civilians. 

Odesa has long been speculated it will be the next key strategic target for Putin’s forces, as it accounts for the majority of maritime trade into Ukraine.

Curfew announced for Kyiv

11:00 – 21 Mar 2022

A new curfew has been announced for the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.

The curfew will be in place from 20:00 (18:00 GMT) today until 07:00 (05:00 GMT) on Wednesday, the city’s mayor, Vitali Klitschko, wrote on the messaging app Telegram.

“I ask everyone to stay at home – or in shelters when the alarm sounds,” he said.


10:30 – 21 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.

Meta asks Russian court to dismiss proceedings in ‘extremism’ case

10:00 – 21 Mar 2022

Meta Platforms Inc has reportedly asked a Russian court to dismiss proceedings in a case brought by state prosecutors demanding that the US tech giant be labelled an “extremist organisation”, Russian news agencies reported. 

The TASS news agency reported from the courtroom that Meta had asked for more time to prepare its position and had also questioned the court’s authority to implement a ban on its activities. 

Russia says it has hit a military facility in Rivne region

09:30 – 21 Mar 2022

Russian air forces hit a Ukrainian army military facility in Rivne region in the west of the country with cruise missiles, Russia’s Defence Ministry have said. 

“High-precision air-launched cruise missiles have struck a training centre for foreign mercenaries and Ukrainian nationalist formations,” defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.

China to give 10 million yuan in aid to Ukraine

08:45 – 21 Mar 2022

The Chinese foreign ministry has said its Red Cross will offer an additional 10 million yuan (€1.4 million) of humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.

This comes after US President Joe Biden’s warning of “consequences” for any aid China may give to Russia’s Ukraine war effort.

This could force Chinese President Xi Jinping to choose between a longstanding lucrative trade relationship with the West or a growing strategic partnership with Moscow.

Ammonia leak now contained

08:00 – 21 Mar 2022

Emergency officials have now said that an ammonia leak at a chemical plant in the eastern Ukrainian city of Sumy has been contained.

Russia strikes training ground

07:30 – 21 Mar 2022

Russia fired two missiles at a military training ground in Rivne, in west Ukraine, Vitaliy Koval, the head of the regional administration has said.

In a video statement, he said the strikes happened earlier this morning.

New Zealand to provide non-lethal military aid to Ukraine

06:30 – 21 Mar 2022

New Zealand will provide “non-lethal military assistance” to Ukraine, according to a statement from the government Monday.

“New Zealand will provide a further €3 million contribution of non-lethal military assistance to support Ukraine and are making available a range of surplus defence equipment to share with Ukraine at their request,” the statement said.

The military package will include 1,066 body armour plates, 473 helmets, and 571 camouflage vests and harness webbing.

“This is the first time New Zealand has provided direct funding to a third-party organization for non-lethal military assistance of this kind and underscores the importance of rejecting any actions which have adverse consequences for state sovereignty, and that we must defend in every way we can, the democratic institutions and principles that New Zealand so deeply believes in,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

New Zealand’s Defense Force is now “working urgently on the details of how this much-needed equipment will be swiftly delivered to Ukraine,” Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta said.

Russian shelling hit 50-ton tank of ammonia

05:15 – 21 Mar 2022

Officials have said that the 50-ton tank of the poison gas was damaged when the Sumykhimprom facility was hit by Russian shelling, which created an ammonia cloud.

The leak at a chemical plant in the eastern Ukrainian city of Sumy has contaminated an area with a radius of more than 2 kilometers.

People have been told to breathe through gauze bandages soaked in citric acid.

The Sumykhimprom plant is on the outskirts of Sumy, which has a population of about 263,000. It has been regularly shelled by Russian troops in recent weeks.

Biden to visit Poland for talks on Ukraine

03:15 – 21 Mar 2022

The White House has said US President Joe Biden will visit Poland this week for a discussion about Ukraine.

Mr Biden will travel to Warsaw on Friday, where he will hold a bilateral meeting with President Andrzej Duda.

Russia demand for Mariupol surrender rejected

01:30 – 21 Mar 2022

Very early this morning, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said that there can be “no question” of surrender.

“We have already informed the Russian side about this,” she was quoted as saying by Ukrainska Pravda.

Russian Ministry of Defense calls on Mariupol to surrender by 5 a.m. local Monday

00:30 – 21 Mar 2022

The Russian Ministry of Defense has called on Mariupol local authorities to surrender the city to Russian forces by 5 a.m. local time Monday (11 p.m. ET Sunday), according to a Russian state-owned RIA Novosti news agency report.

The news agency said the Ministry of Defense would open humanitarian corridors to the city by 10 a.m. local time Monday (4 a.m. ET Monday) and “wants to receive a written response from Kyiv to these proposals before 5:00.”

RIA Novosti attributed its reporting to comments made by the head of the National Center for Defense Management of the Russian Federation, Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev.

“From 10 a.m. to 12 o’clock — for all armed units of Ukraine and foreign mercenaries is a temporary suspension of fighting along the route agreed with Ukraine. From 12 o’clock, there will be a simultaneous passage of humanitarian convoys with food, medicine and basic necessities,” Mizintsev said.

Kyiv houses and shopping district shelled – Klitschko

23:40 – 20 Mar 2022

Residential houses and a shopping district were shelled in Kyiv late on Sunday, mayor Vitali Klitschko said.

“Several explosions in the capital’s Podil district,” Klitschko said on his Telegram channel.

“According to the information we have at the moment, several homes and one of the shopping centres [were hit]. Rescue teams, medics and the police are already on site.”

Russia offers humanitarian corridors from Mariupol

23:30 – 20 Mar 2022

Russia’s defence ministry has offered to open humanitarian corridors on Monday morning from Mariupol, going east and west out of the besieged city.

In a statement, Gen Mikhail Mizintsev proposed opening the corridors from 10:00 Moscow time (07:00 GMT), initially for Ukrainian troops and “foreign mercenaries” to lay down their arms and leave.

Then from 12:00 humanitarian convoys with food, medicine and other supplies would be granted safe passage into the city from both directions, he said, after de-mining of the roads. He said up to 130,000 civilians were being “held hostage” there, and would be able to go east or west, if Kyiv responded positively by 05:00 Moscow time.

Ukraine evacuates more than 7,000 via humanitarian corridors

22:30 – 20 Mar 2022

A total of 7,295 people were evacuated from Ukrainian cities through humanitarian corridors on Sunday, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.

Four out of seven planned safe routes are working, she said.

Of the total, 3,985 people were evacuated from the besieged city of Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia, she said, adding that the government plans to send about 50 buses to pick up evacuees from Mariupol on Monday.

Ukrainian politician asks for ‘direct NATO assistance’

22:00 – 20 Mar 2022

Ahead of a NATO summit on 24 March, a Ukrainian MP is repeating calls for the alliance to assist Ukraine with – if not a peace-keeping mission or a no fly zone – the equipment Ukraine needs to defend itself.

Russia demands surrender of Mariupol

21:00 – 20 Mar 2022

Russia’s defence ministry says Ukraine has until the early hours of 21 March to give its answer on surrendering Mariupol, according to Russia news agency RIA.

President Zelenskyy has been adamant that Ukraine will accept no peace terms that compromise its territorial integrity.

Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev, the director of the Russian National Centre for Defence Management, has called on the Ukrainian resistance in Mariupol to lay down their arms.

boris Johnson pledges more military support in call with Zelensky

20:15 – 20 Mar 2022

Boris Johnson pledged to continue military support for Ukraine in a call with Volodymyr Zelensky this afternoon. According to a report by Downing Street:

“The prime minister outlined the UK’s ongoing commitment to work alongside international partners to coordinate support to strengthen Ukraine’s self defence. The leaders also discussed the ongoing negotiations and the prime minister reaffirmed his staunch support for Ukraine’s position.

“The Prime Minister expressed his admiration for the bravery of Ukraine and was clear that the UK was committed to stepping up military, economic and diplomatic support in order to help bring an end to this terrible conflict.

No let-up in bombardment of Mariupol – governor

20:00 – 20 Mar 2022

The intense Russian bombardment of Mariupol is continuing, regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko says.

“They keep attacking. [The] bombardment, air strikes, and shooting in the city are constant. Now there is fighting, shooting, going on right in the city,” he told the BBC. He heads the Donetsk region where the port city lies.

Backlash in Russia against anti-war musicians

19:45 – 20 Mar 2022

Top musicians in Russia opposed to the invasion of Ukraine are coming under increasing pressure.

Soon after the invasion began one of Russia’s largest media companies, Russian Media Group (RMG), explained why it would no longer be playing certain artists on its popular radio stations or music TV channel.

“The reason for this decision was the harsh statements these musicians made towards Russia in the context of the difficult situation between Russia and Ukraine,” the statement read.

The list included several Ukrainian musicians and three Russian acts, including legendary rock group Aquarium, whose lead singer, Boris Grebenshchikov, had called the war “madness” in a post on Instagram.

Cyber attempts were made to disrupt Zelenskyy’s speech to the israel

19:15 – 20 Mar 2022

During President Zelensky’s speech earlier today to Israel’s parliament, a number of attempts were made to disrupt the live broadcast.

According to reports by the Israeli Public Broadcasting Company all of the attempts were stopped by the Knesset and the Israel National Cyber Directorate.

People watching Zelensky’s speech outside Israel’s parliament

pictures from the kyiv frontline

19:00 – 20 Mar 2022

Reuters photographer Gleb Garanich has been on the frontline in Kyiv, taking photos of Ukrainian servicemen and women. Below are a few of his photographs.

Warnings as places full with Ukrainian refugees

18:50 – 20 Mar 2022

Officials in some European countries are warning they are reaching capacity to comfortably house refugees from Ukraine.

Some Chernobyl workers finally allowed to leave

18:45 – 20 Mar 2022

After being held hostage by Russian troops for nearly a month, 64 workers at the decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine have finally been able to leave.

They have been replaced by 46 employees who volunteered to travel to the plant.

Roughly 200 workers and members of the Ukrainian National Guard were stuck at the power plant since 24 February when Russian troops seized it.

The workers were trapped with food and medicines in short supply. They were forced to sleep on the floor, tables, and a few small camp beds.

Russia confirms senior naval officer killed in Mariupol

18:30 – 20 Mar 2022

Russian officials have confirmed that the deputy commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, Captain 1st Rank Andrei Paly, died in combat in Mariupol.

Paly’s death was initially confirmed by the secretary of the Nakhimov naval college, Konstantin Tsarenko, on social network Vkontakte (VK).

Russia says it has launched another ‘hypersonic missile’

18:15 – 20 Mar 2022

Russian authorities claimed to have launched another hypersonic missile attack on Ukraine for the second consecutive day.

The weapon hit a Ukrainian fuel depot near the Black Sea port of Mykolaiv, a Russian defence ministry official said.

It is the second day in a row that Russia says it has used the missile, which is capable of striking targets 1,250 miles away at a speed 10 times the speed of sound.

Russian invasion ‘like final solution’ – Zelenskyy

17:44 – 20 Mar 2022

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky told Israeli MPs that the Nazi Party, known as the NSDAP, had been launched in Germany 102 years ago on 24 February – the date this year that Russia invaded Ukraine.

“They are saying these words again – ‘the final solution’ – in relation to us, the Ukrainian nation… it was said at a meeting in Moscow,” said Mr Zelenskyy, who is Jewish. Some of his relatives died in the Holocaust.

He urged Israel to help the Ukrainian people’s resistance against the Russian military.

Speed of refugees fleeing Ukraine is unprecedented – UNHCR

17:09 – 20 Mar 2022

The speed of refugees fleeing Ukraine is “unprecedented” in recent history, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says.

“My colleagues I speak to, who have worked in crises for decades, say they have never seen this number of people moving so fast,” said Matt Saltmarsh, head of news and media for the UNHCR.

Numbers are not yet on the levels of conflicts such as Syria yet, but “Syria has been at war for many years now”, he adds.

The UNHCR doesn’t have a presence in the besieged city of Mariupol, but the UN and other groups are trying to negotiate a safe passage from the city to ensure that civilians can leave safely, he says.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, earlier said that 10 million people have now fled their homes in Ukraine.

Asked how much aid this could look like, Saltmarsh says it is “hard to quantify”.

I think the primary need now is for shelter. Make sure people have somewhere to stay, ensuring they have a blanket, food and water,” he says.

White House says Biden has “no plans” to visit Ukraine

16:37 – 20 Mar 2022

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said there are “no plans,” for US President Joe Biden to travel to Ukraine this week as he heads to Europe for snap emergency summits.

“The trip will be focused on continuing to rally the world in support of the Ukrainian people and against President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, but there are no plans to travel into Ukraine,” she said in a tweet.

On CNN’s “State of the Union,” US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield cast major doubt on the possibility for President Joe Biden to visit Ukraine this week when he heads to Europe, saying “as far as I know, it’s not on the table.”

Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine’s former president, told CNN’s Jim Acosta on Saturday that a Biden visit to Ukraine would be a “symbol of our solidarity.”

He continued, saying that Biden was a “very good friend of mine and a very good friend of Ukraine,” adding that a visit by the US president would be “an extremely right step to demonstrate that the whole world is together with us against Russia.”

Putin’s claims of neo-Nazis in Ukraine show he “might be capable of very horrendous steps,” Zelensky says

16:02 – 20 Mar 2022

President Zelensky was asked about Vladimir Putin’s claims that the Ukrainian government is full of neo-Nazis. He said that he cannot take these statements by Putin “seriously” and called it “laughable.”

Zelensky added that Putin is in an information bubble but he noted that remarks like this from the Russian president worry him about what he is capable of.

“I’m not afraid of anything except for people, but the fact — the fact is that if he is serious about this statement he might be capable of very horrendous steps because that would mean that this is not a game for him. If he really believes in this, if it’s not a game, then we will just continue fighting against it. If it’s a game. But if it’s not a game, if he’s serious about it, if he thinks that this is his mission to conquer our territory and if he sees signs of neo-Nazis in our country, then many questions emerge about what else he is capable of doing for the sake of his ambitions, for the sake of his mission.”

Zelensky called Putin’s remarks “very frightening, very hazardous.”

More than 900 civilians killed in Ukraine as of Saturday – UN

15:21 – 20 Mar 2022

The United Nations’ Human Rights Office has said at least 902 civilians have been killed in Ukraine as of Saturday 19 March, following Russia’s invasion of the country.

The UN adds that the real death toll is probably much higher.

Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office said 112 children had been killed.

10 million have fled their homes in Ukraine – UN

14:26 – 20 Mar 2022

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, said on Twitter that 10 million people have now fled their homes in Ukraine as a result of Russia’s invasion – more than a quarter of its population.

Russia’s war in Ukraine started on 24 February and since then millions of people have fled to neighbouring countries. Poland has welcomed more than two million refugees and more than half a million Ukrainians have fled to Romania.

Pope urges leaders to end ‘this repugnant war’

14:02 – 20 Mar 2022

Pope Francis used his Sunday blessing and address in Vatican City to say the conflict in Ukraine was an unjustified “senseless massacre” and called on leaders to stop “this repugnant war”.

“The violent aggression against Ukraine is unfortunately not slowing down,” the Pope said to the thousands of people who had gathered in St Peter’s Square.

“It is a senseless massacre where every day slaughters and atrocities are being repeated,” he added.

Ukraine: Russia has lost almost 15,000 troops

13:10 – 20 Mar 2022

The Ukrainian armed forces regularly shares estimates of perceived Russian losses since the invasion of Ukraine began on 24 February.

In the latest update, it says approximately 14,700 Russian soldiers have been killed in action, far more than the 498 noted by Moscow in early March.

Additionally, Ukraine says 476 Russian tanks, 96 aircraft and 118 helicopters have been destroyed so far in the conflict.

Numbers on lost Russian personnel have been widely conflicting throughout the war, with the US estimating that at least 7,000 have been killed.

56 killed after Russian troops open fire on home for elderly, Ukraine says

12:31 – 20 Mar 2022

Russian troops have allegedly opened fire on a home for the elderly in the eastern city of Kreminna, killing 56 people.

The Ukrainian government says occupiers shot at the building in the Luhansk region “from a tank…  cynically and deliberately”.

The State Service of Special Communications said there were 15 survivors, who were “abducted by the occupiers and taken to the occupied territory in Svatove (Luhansk region) to the regional geriatric boarding school”.

Turkish diplomat: Russia and Ukraine nearing agreement on ‘critical’ issues

11:17 – 20 Mar 2022

Moscow and Kyiv are coming close to an agreement on “critical” issues regarding the invasion of Ukraine, according to the Turkish foreign minister.

Mevlut Cavusoglu, who attended Ukraine-Russia talks in Antalya, added he was hopeful for a ceasefire if the two sides do not backtrack on this progress.

Sergei Lavrov and Dmytro Kuelba met in the Turkish town earlier this month for talks on the conflict, but a resolution was not agreed upon.

Previous rounds of peace talks had taken place on the Belarusian border.

Mr Cavusoglu told Turkish newspaper Hurriyet that there had been “rapprochement in the positions of both sides on important subjects, critical subjects”.

“We can say we are hopeful for a ceasefire if the sides do not take a step back from the current positions,” he said, without elaborating on the issues.

Russia launches second hypersonic missile strike – officials

10:41 – 20 Mar 2022

Russian forces have conducted a second hypersonic missile strike against Ukrainian targets, Moscow’s defense ministry has said.

Officials said the strike, using Russia’s new Kinzhal missile system, destroyed a fuel storage site in the south of the country.

“Kinzhal… hypersonic ballistic missiles destroyed a large storage site for fuels and lubricants of the Ukrainian armed forces near the settlement of Kostyantynivka in the Mykolaiv region,” officials said.

Russia launches missiles from ships in the Black Sea and Caspian Sea

09:43 – 20 Mar 2022

The Russian defence ministry claims to have launched cruise missiles at Ukraine from ships in the Black Sea and the Caspian sea this weekend.

Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov added Russia had launched hypersonic missiles, which travel at five times the speed of sound, from Crimean airspace.

He claimed these strikes had targeted Ukraine’s military infrastructure.

“Kalibr cruise missiles were launched from the waters of the Black Sea against the Nizhyn plant that repairs Ukrainian armoured vehicles damaged in fighting,” Mr Konashenkov said.

Don’t sit on the fence, UK PM urges China

08:40 – 20 Mar 2022

In an interview with the Sunday Times newspaper, Johnson said supporting Russia was akin to choosing the wrong side in World War Two, describing it as a battle between good and evil.

“As time goes on, and as the number of Russian atrocities mounts up, I think it becomes steadily more difficult and politically embarrassing for people either actively or passively to condone Putin’s invasion,” he told the paper.

But he said he believed Beijing was starting to have “second thoughts” about its neutral position.

China is yet to condemn Russia’s actions and there have been reports that Moscow has asked it for help. On Friday, US President Joe Biden warned China there would be “consequences” if it provided assistance.

On Saturday Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi called the country’s position “objective and fair”, adding that it would not respond to external pressure on the issue.

“Time will tell that the Chinese stance is on the right side of history,” he said.

Art school in Mariupol bombed, says Ukraine

08:16 – 20 Mar 2022

Mariupol city council claims Russian troops have bombed an art school in the besieged southern city, where 400 people were taking refuge from the war.

Officials say the building was destroyed on Saturday night and people are stuck underneath the debris. It is understood women, children and the elderly were sheltering inside.

Information on casualties was not immediately available.

Ukraine says Russia is blocking humanitarian aid

07:54 – 20 Mar 2022

In its morning update, the Ukrainian armed forces has accused Russia of “deliberately creating conditions for a humanitarian crisis” in occupied areas.

It says Russia “did not give access to the humanitarian convoy for moving without reason” as it tried to make its way to the southern region of Kherson, which has been under Russian occupation for days.

Ukraine added that Moscow did not conduct “active offensive operations” on Saturday, instead “focusing on replenishing current losses” and restoring damaged equipment.

‘Stalemate in most of Ukraine’

07:10 – 20 Mar 2022

The Institute for the Study of War, a US research organisation, said Ukrainian forces have defeated Russia’s initial campaign and a stalemate now persists.

Zelenskyy announces ban on 11 pro-Russian parties

06:40 – 20 Mar 2022

Ukraine’s president has announced restrictions on the activities of 11 political parties in the country, including some allegedly tied to the Russian state.

In a video address, Volodymyr Zelenskyy said those targeted include Opposition Platform – For Life, one of the largest pro-Russian parties which are represented in Ukraine’s parliament.

Other restricted parties he named were Opposition Bloc, Party of Shariy, Ours, Left Opposition, Union of Left Forces, State, Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine, Socialist party Ukraine, Socialists, and Vladimir Saldo Bloc.

Europe’s biggest steelworks factory

05:53 – 20 Mar 2022

Russia’s siege of Mariupol will ‘go down in the history of war crimes’ – Zelenskyy

05:05 – 20 Mar 2022

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said Russia’s siege of Mariupol will “go down in the history of responsibility for war crimes”.

In his daily nighttime address to the Ukrainian people, he said: “To do this to a peaceful city, what the occupiers did, is an act of terror that will be remembered for centuries to come.”

He told Ukrainians the ongoing negotiations with Russia were “not simple or pleasant, but they are necessary”.

“Ukraine has always sought a peaceful solution,” he said.  “Moreover, we are interested in peace now.”

He said Russia has kept “sending their people to slaughter” as he described a battle near Chornobayivka in the south, where Ukrainian forces held their positions and six times beat back the Russians.

“In places where there were especially fierce battles, the bodies of Russian soldiers simply pile up along our line of defense,” he said. “And no one is collecting these bodies.”

1,500 Russian media outlets blocked in Ukraine

04:19 – 20 Mar 2022

Some 1,500 media outlets spreading Russian propaganda have been blocked in Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion, the Interfax-Ukraine news agency said over the weekend.

It quoted the National Police saying: “We have managed to block a total of 1,500 outlets of the aggressor.

“The blocked channels had an estimated audience of 15 million people.”

“In addition, 3,178 publications justifying war crimes and the deaths of Ukrainian civilians have been taken down.”

Pope meets with Ukrainian child refugees in hospital

03:39 – 20 Mar 2022

Pope Francis has made a surprise visit to Ukrainian war refugees being treated at the Vatican’s children’s hospital in Rome.

About 50 children from Ukraine have been treated at the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital since the war began.

There are currently 19 patients there. Some had fled Ukraine in the early days of the war and had neurological conditions or cancer, while others were being treated for “serious blast wounds” the Vatican said.

“Let us pray for them… the children at the Bambino Gesu wounded by war,” Pope Francis said earlier on Saturday as he addressed a children’s choir.

Australia bans alumina exports to Russia

02:37 – 20 Mar 2022

Australia has imposed an immediate ban on exports of alumina and aluminium ores, including bauxite, to Russia.

“Russia relies on Australia for nearly 20% of its alumina needs,” the Australian government said in a joint statement from several ministries, including the prime minister’s office.

It said the new sanctions will limit Russia’s ability to produce aluminium, one of its key exports.

“The government will work closely with exporters and peak bodies that will be affected by the ban to find new and expand existing markets,” the statement said.

US suggests Turkey transfers missile systems to Ukraine

01:43 – 20 Mar 2022

The US has informally suggested to Turkey that it send its S-400 missile defense systems to Ukraine to help it fight Russian forces, according to three sources familiar with the matter.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has appealed for countries to send these types of Russian-made air defence systems, which former Soviet states are able to better trained to handle.

US officials have floated the idea with their Turkish counterparts in the past month, the sources said.

The matter also came up briefly during Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman’s visit to Turkey earlier this month.

Analysts said the idea is sure to be shot down by Turkey, citing issues ranging from technical hurdles related to installing and operating the S-400s in Ukraine, to political concerns such as the blowback Ankara would likely face from Moscow.

Nestle responds to Zelensky criticism

01:16 – 20 Mar 2022

In a video message screened outside the Swiss parliament, Zelenskyy singled out the food giant Nestle.

The company’s slogan is “good food, good life”, he said.

“Business works in Russia even though our children are dying and our cities are being destroyed,” he said, while people in Mariupol were “without food, without water, without electricity, under bombardment”.

In response, a Nestle spokesperson told the BBC that the company has “taken unprecedented steps to significantly scale back our operations in Russia, including stopping all imports and exports from the country except for essential food items”.

“In line with the actions of other international food companies, we have taken the difficult decision to continue to provide essential food and beverages to the Russian people and we will continue to support our employees in Russia,” the statement continues.

“Continuing to supply essential items to people in Russia does not mean we continue doing business as usual in the country,” it said, adding that Nestle is making no investments in the country and is taking no actions to promote the sale of its products.

“Our operations are not generating any profit in the country,” it added.

Russia is failing to gain control of Ukraine airspace, UK says

01:04 – 20 Mar 2022

Russia is failing to gain control of Ukraine’s airspace – one of Moscow’s principal objectives, the UK defence ministry says.

The ministry’s latest intelligence update says Russia “has failed to gain control of the air and is largely relying on stand-off weapons” launched from Russian airspace.

“Gaining control of the air was one of Russia’s principal objectives for the opening days of the conflict and their continued failure to do so has significantly blunted their operational progress,” the ministry says.

Mariupol residents who escaped to other cities ‘starving to death’, according to report

00:41 – 20 Mar 2022

The Kyiv independent is reporting the head of Donetsk Military-Civil Administration, Pavlo Kyrylenko, as saying that thousands of Mariupol residents who managed to escape from Russian bombs are starving to death in occupied Manhushi and Melekin.

Russian occupying forces refuse to provide food, water and safe passage, they added.

Dozens of residential buildings damaged

23:45 – 19 Mar 2022

The photos below show damage in the city of Kramatorsk, in the northern part of Donetsk Oblast in eastern Ukraine.

Earlier today, Ukraine’s National Police said that at least 37 residential buildings and infrastructure facilities had been damaged as a result of attacks on Saturday.

Ukraine’s child refugees at risk of trafficking – Unicef

22:50 – 19 Mar 2022

The UN children’s agency has warned that children fleeing the war in Ukraine face a heightened risk of human trafficking and exploitation.

Unicef says that children make up 1.5 million of those who have fled the country since the Russian invasion began on 24 February, 500 of them being unaccompanied.

“The war in Ukraine is leading to massive displacement and refugee flows – conditions that could lead to a significant spike in human trafficking and an acute child protection crisis,” UNICEF’s Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia said.

More than 4,000 civilians escape Mariupol via humanitarian corridors

22:15 – 19 Mar 2022

They were among more than 6,000 civilians who managed to get out of Ukraine’s cities through humanitarian corridors on Saturday.

Railway links between Ukraine and Belarus suspended

22:01 – 19 Mar 2022

There are no longer railway links between Ukraine and Belarus, according to Oleksandr Kamyshin, chairman of Ukraine’s railway network.

Kamyshin made the announcement after apparently having failed in his appeal to Belarusian railway workers not to carry Russian military trains towards Ukraine.

Mariupol residents sent to Russia – mayor

21:24 – 19 Mar 2022

The mayor of Mariupol says several thousand residents from the besieged city have been sent to Russia.

In a message on Telegram, Vadym Boychenko, said that some were redirected to remote cities in Russia, while the fate of others remained unknown.

“What the occupiers are doing today is familiar to the older generation, who saw the horrific events of World War II, when the Nazis forcibly captured people,” Boychenko said.

“It is hard to imagine that in the 21st Century people will be forcibly deported to another country.

global outcry against russian invasion in pictures

21:00 – 19 Mar 2022

Below is compilation of photographs taken all around the globe showing people expressing their solidarity for Ukraine:

‘morale of Russian forces appalling, but they have huge force on their side’ – former UN commander

20:30 – 19 Mar 2022

Former UN commander Colonel Bob Stewart said: “Once they use chemical weapons, in a way, it will be largely game over in defending cities, because putting chlorine around…it’s awful.

“Russia should never ever be forgiven for doing it – they shouldn’t be forgiven for doing it in Aleppo (Syria), and they must not do it now.”

He said that lack of morale is one reason the Russian army’s generals might be having to come to the frontline – “maybe because the normal soldiers are saying ‘we don’t want to do it’.

“The morale of the Russian forces seems to be appalling, but they have huge force on their side.

“But I wonder if they can keep doing it, because if you don’t get the combat supplies, you run out of steam.”

Sanctions on Russia increasingly ‘outrageous’ – chinese official

19:30 – 19 Mar 2022

Speaking at a security forum in Beijing, Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng said: “The sanctions against Russia are getting more and more outrageous.”

He added that Russian citizens were being deprived of overseas assets “for no reason”.

“History has proven time and again that sanctions cannot solve problems.

“Sanctions will only harm ordinary people, impact the economic and financial system… and worsen the global economy.”

Dozens of Ukrainian soldiers feared dead after attack on military base

18:15 – 19 Mar 2022

Dozens of Ukrainian soldiers are feared dead after a military base was attacked in the southern city of Mykolaiv.

Up to 200 troops were thought to have been inside the barracks when they were targeted on Friday.

At least 50 bodies have been recovered, a Ukrainian serviceman told the AFP news agency.

“We do not know how many others are in the rubble,” he added.

Zelenskyy tells Swiss banks to take stronger action against Russian oligarchs

18:00 – 19 Mar 2022

Zelenskyy has called on Switzerland to crack down on Russian oligarchs who he says are helping to wage war on his country from the safety of “beautiful Swiss towns”.

His speech was given by video to thousands of people at an anti-war protest in Switzerland’s capital Bern.

He thanked Switzerland for its support since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but called for more action from the financial sector.

“Your banks are where the money of the people who unleashed this war lies. That is painful. That is also a fight against evil, that their accounts are frozen. That would also be a fight, and you can do this.

“Ukrainians feel what it is when cities are destroyed. They are being destroyed on the orders of people who live in European, in beautiful Swiss towns, who enjoy property in your cities. It would really be good to strip them of this privilege.”

Ukraine has evacuated 190,000 civilians through humanitarian corridors – deputy PM

17:45 – 19 Mar 2022

Ukraine has evacuated 190,000 civilians from frontline areas through humanitarian corridors since the start of Russia’s invasion, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has said.

In a televised interview on Saturday, she said corridors in the Kyiv and Luhansk regions were open, but a planned corridor to Mariupol is only partially operating.

She blamed Russian troops for not letting buses through to the eastern port city. Mariupol has been one of the most difficult areas to access for humanitarian aid and evacuation.

‘Sometimes yellow is just yellow’

17:00 – 19 Mar 2022

Russia’s space agency has dismissed reports suggesting its cosmonauts had worn yellow in support of Ukraine.

“The flight suits of the new crew are made in the colours of the emblem of the Bauman Moscow State Technical University, which all three cosmonauts graduated from… To see the Ukrainian flag everywhere and in everything is crazy.”

The cosmonauts had been joining the International Space Station.

Ukraine might not produce enough crops to export in 2022

17:15 – 19 Mar 2022

An adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned that Ukraine may not be able to produce enough crops to meet export quotas this year.

Oleh Ustenko said this would be the case if Ukraine’s sowing campaigns are disrupted by the Russian invasion, which has entered a 24th day.

“Ukraine has enough grain and food reserves to survive for a year, but if the war continues … it will not be able to export grain to the world, and there will be problems,” he said.

Ukraine is the world’s fifth-largest wheat exporter, and it has been suggested that the conflict could create a global food security crisis. 

This is a particular worry for the Middle East and North Africa, who consume the highest amount of wheat per capita – around twice the world average.

UNICEF estimates 1.5 million children have fled Ukraine

16:50 – 19 Mar 2022

Approximately 1.5 million children have fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began and are at risk of being trafficked, according to UNICEF, the United Nations’ children’s agency.

“Countless others” are displaced inside the country as the war wages on, the agency said in a Saturday news release.

“The war in Ukraine is leading to massive displacement and refugee flows – conditions that could lead to a significant spike in human trafficking and an acute child protection crisis,” said Afshan Khan, UNICEF’s regional director for Europe and Central Asia.

“Displaced children are extremely vulnerable to being separated from their families, exploited, and trafficked,” Khan continued. “They need governments in the region to step up and put measures in place to keep them safe.”

Lviv mayor says his city has more than 200,000 Ukrainian refugees

16:26 – 19 Mar 2022

The mayor of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, Andriy Sadovyi, said the number of refugees in his city is now more than 200,000, which is double his previous expectations.

“The population of city of Lviv is one million. And today we host one more city. We spent $1 million per day for Ukrainian refugees in Lviv,” said Sadovyi.

He said international organizations have helped with the refugee situation, plus the city has opened up schools, theaters and its arena to house refugees. Many residents of the city have also welcomed refugees into their homes.

Humanitarian aid is also being sent from Lviv to cities in eastern Ukraine, he added.

Putin lays out demands of Ukraine prior to any ceasefire negotiations

15:22 – 19 Mar 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin laid out several issues to achieve a ceasefire with Ukraine in a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Thursday, according to a Turkish presidential spokesperson.

Erdoğan offered to bring both Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to Turkey to facilitate negotiations to end the war, Turkish presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalin said in an interview with the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet published Saturday.

Kalin said while Zelensky was ready to meet, Putin laid out issues to be resolved before any leadership-level negotiations could take place.

“The first is Ukraine’s neutrality, that is, its renounce from NATO membership. Second, disarmament and mutual security guarantees in the context of the Austrian model. Third, the process that the Russian side refers to as ‘de-Nazification’. Fourth, removing obstacles to the widespread use of Russian language in Ukraine. It is understood that some progress has been made in the first four articles of the ongoing negotiations. It is too early to say that there is full agreement or that an agreement is about to be signed,” Kalin told the newspaper.

Putin and other government officials have repeatedly made false accusations toward Ukraine as their motivations for the invasion, baselessly saying the country must “denazify.”

Kalin added Putin made two more demands that were “the most difficult issues,” one being the recognition of the annexation of Crimea and the two “so-called” republics in Donbas. Kalin said these final two issues “are not acceptable demands for Ukraine and the international community.”

“If a point is reached in the first four articles and an agreement is reached, there can be a discussion at the leaders’ level regarding the fifth and sixth articles,” Kalin said in the interview, adding if the negotiations take place, “it may be possible to reach an agreement and end the war.”

Kalin said Erdoğan urged to Putin that the ceasefire must be made permanent. Turkey’s Directorate of Communications said Thursday that Erdoğan offered to host both presidents in either Istanbul or Ankara, saying “consensus on some issues may require talks at leadership level.”

Russia says relationship with China ‘will get stronger’

15:02 – 19 Mar 2022

Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, has warned that Russia’s relationship with China will only get stronger in the current global circumstances.

“This co-operation will get stronger, because at a time when the West is blatantly undermining all the foundations on which the international system is based, of course we – as two great powers – need to think how to carry on in this world,” Mr Lavrov said, according to Russian news agency Interfax.

He went on to claim that the US is preventing Ukraine from agreeing to Russia’s demands during negotiations that have taken place in recent days.

Mr Lavrov said “it is constantly felt that the Ukrainian delegation is being held by the hand, most likely by the Americans, not allowing them to agree to the demands that I think are absolutely minimal.”

Ukraine arrests 127 saboteurs in Kyiv

14:39 – 19 Mar 2022

A total of 127 pro-Russian saboteurs have been detained in the Ukrainian capital since the start of the war, according to sources cited by the Unian news agency.

This includes 14 infiltration groups, the head of Kyiv’s military administration Mykola Zhyrnov said.

He said installing roadblocks around the capital was vital when locating and detaining these saboteurs, who are accused of infiltrating Kyiv.

Mr Zhyrnov added: “They are the basis of fortifications, engineering barriers, checkpoints for vehicles and people, and of the construction of other systems, including those for live fire.”

Russia says it has destroyed Ukrainian radio and electronic intelligence centers

14:13 – 19 Mar 2022

Russia’s Ministry of Defence said Saturday that the “Bastion” coastal missile system destroyed the centers of radio and electronic intelligence of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the settlements of Veliky Dalnyk and Velikodolinskoe of the Odesa region along the Black Sea.

“On the night of March 19, Russian operational-tactical, army and unmanned aircraft hit 69 military facilities in Ukraine,” the ministry said.

The ministry claims that in total, “since the beginning of the special military operation, 196 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles, 1438 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 145 multiple rocket launchers, 556 field artillery pieces and mortars, as well as 1237 units of special military vehicles have been destroyed.”

Poland calls for total trade ban on Russia

13:36 – 19 Mar 2022

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateus Morawiecki has urged the EU to impose a total ban on trade with Russia.

Morawiecki says he wants to sea a “trade blockade” by sea and land “as soon as possible”, Reuters news agency reports.

“Fully cutting off Russia’s trade would further force Russia to consider whether it would be better to stop this cruel war,” he says.

The EU has already imposed trade restrictions on Russia in some key sectors, including luxury goods, steel and energy. But Poland – which shares a 535km border with Ukraine – has been among those pushing for tougher sanctions on Russia.

Ukrainian journalist ‘kidnapped by Russian forces’

13:11 – 19 Mar 2022

Russia has been accused of kidnapping a Ukrainian journalist who was covering the ongoing war in the east and south of the country.

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s office alleged that Russia’s Federal Security Service, or FSB, and the Russian military abducted the journalist of Ukrainian news outlet Hromadske on Tuesday in Berdyansk, an occupied port city in the south-eastern Zaporizhzhia region.

The statement did not identify the journalist but went on to say that the reporter’s whereabouts are unknown and a criminal investigation has been launched.

Battle rages for control of huge steel plant in Mariupol

12:06 – 19 Mar 2022

There are conflicting reports over the status of one of Ukraine’s key industrial facilities – the Azov Steel plant in Mariupol.

Yesterday a government advisor reported the plant was in Russian hands after ongoing battles with Ukrainian troops for control of the seafront site.

But in an update Saturday, the Azov battalion, which has a large presence in Mariupol, said the plant remained in their hands.

“The enemy has not reached this far into the city. The [Ukrainian] navy, along with the Azov battalion, along with the police, continue defending the city and its civilians,” battalion member Vladislav Sobolievskyi told Ukrainian television.

“Today the Azov Steel plant is under our control. Air strikes hit the whole city, including the plant, but the enemy has not laid his hands on our plant.”

The giant steelworks lies immediately to the east of Mariupol city centre. Losing control of the facility to Russian forces would be a huge setback to Ukrainian efforts to hang on to the city.

Norway’s prime minister says four US soldiers have died in a plane crash

11:34 – 19 Mar 2022

Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre today that four US soldiers have died in a plane crash.

“It is with great sadness we have received the message that four American soldiers died in a plane crash last night,” he said on his official Twitter account.

“The soldiers participated in the NATO exercise Cold Response. Our deepest sympathies go to the soldiers’ families, relatives and fellow soldiers in their unit,” he added.

Ukraine claims over 14,000 Russian troops killed

11:11 – 19 Mar 2022

Ukraine’s general staff has claimed that over 14,000 Russian troops have been killed in the first three weeks of Moscow’s invasion of the country.

In an operational update posted to Facebook, Ukrainian officials said that approximately 14,400 Russian soldiers have been killed.

The update also said that Moscow has lost a huge amount of military equipment, including around 1,470 armoured troop carriers, 60 tanks and over 100 fighter jets and helicopters.

Western intelligence sources have suggested that around 7,000 troops have been killed and between 14,000 and 21,000 more have been injured.

Conditions in Mariupol ‘medieval’, MP says

10:42 – 19 Mar 2022

A Ukrainian MP has described conditions in the besieged city of Mariupol as “medieval”.

Dmytro Gurin, an MP whose parents are trapped in the south-eastern city, told the BBC’s Today programme that supplies of food and water in the city are reaching dangerously low levels.

“People are out of food, and more importantly out of water,” Gurin said. “And several of days ago, tanks started to shoot nine-storey buildings, so people cannot get out. Everybody is sitting in their apartments and basements thinking whether they will die in the next hour”.

“The shelling never stops and the shooting never stops,” he added. “Airplanes, they drop hundreds of bombs over 24 hours.”

Gurin also expressed pessimism over the prospect of additional humanitarian corridors from the city being established, saying “the Ukrainian side are trying to have an agreement and open it, but Russia, almost always its only words”.

He added that the bombardment unleashed on the city by Russian forces has rendered it unrecognisable.

“From photos, I have seen, there is no city anymore. By the estimate of the mayor’s office, 30% of buildings are totally destroyed and 50% are heavily damaged. My house is burned to the ground.”

Russia continues to make “incremental gains” in Ukraine’s south, using “savage techniques”

10:11 – 19 Mar 2022

Russia continues to make “incremental gains” in Ukraine’s south and has used “brutal, savage techniques” in the way it has targeted civilians, said US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

“In terms of Russians’ progress in the south, I would say that they continue to make incremental gains. I would also say that they’ve used some brutal, savage techniques in terms of the way that they’ve been targeting civilian populations,” Austin said during a joint press conference with Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Kiril Petkov in Sofia. 

“And again, we would hope that they [Russia] would choose a different path,” Austin added. The amount of pain that the civilians have endured “has been hard to watch,” he said. 


09:47 – 19 Mar 2022

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has called for negotiations on peace “without delay” and warned that otherwise, Russia’s losses would be “huge.”

Speaking this morning, Zelensky said that “negotiations on peace, on security for us, for Ukraine — meaningful, fair and without delay — are the only chance for Russia to reduce the damage from its own mistakes,” in his latest video message.

“We have always insisted on negotiations. We have always offered dialogue, offered solutions for peace,” he said. “And I want everyone to hear me now, especially in Moscow. It’s time to meet. Time to talk. It is time to restore territorial integrity and justice for Ukraine.”

“Otherwise, Russia’s losses will be so huge, that several generations won’t be enough to rebound,” Zelensky added.

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09:32 – 19 Mar 2022

Attempts will be made to open humanitarian corridors from towns and cities on the front line of the conflict with Russia today, according to Ukraine.

Deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk said it is hoped 10 evacuation routes will be active, but it was unclear whether these have been agreed.

However, she did confirm a route has been agreed from the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, which has faced relentless bombardment from Russian missiles for weeks.

Last week, several thousand people were finally able to flee the Black Sea port following numerous failed ceasefire attempts.


08:49 – 19 Mar 2022

The Russian defence ministry claims to have destroyed an underground warehouse in western Ukraine using hypersonic missiles.

It says the depot in the Ivano-Frankivsk region had contained missiles and aircraft ammunition, though this has not been independently verified by Sky News.

Hypersonic missiles are able to travel five times faster than the speed of sound, at speeds of Mach 5 (1055 km/hr) and higher.

This is the first time Russia has admitted to using weapons of this type.


07:23 – 18 Mar 2022

Fighting has erupted in the centre of the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, where residents have faced heavy bombardment for weeks.

The Russian defence ministry said it was “tightening the noose” around the city, adding that “fighting against the nationalists” was taking place inside Mariupol.

Several thousand people managed to escape Mariupol last week following weeks of devastating bombardment, which left the city with little food or water.

However, it was said at the time that 200,000 people were still in desperate need of rescue.

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00:00 – 18 March 2022

Hello, and welcome back to our rolling coverage of the Ukrainian crisis.

Refer to this article if you’d like to revise the events from the very start of this invasion.

One thought on “Ukraine-Russia War – Updates and Analysis (18/03 – 24/03)

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