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Russia Ukraine War (Putin's War) - Page 7

Matthew Chapman

On Thursday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling outlined how Vladimir Putin is accomplishing none of his objectives in the invasion of Ukraine. "President Biden says 'NATO has never been as united,'" said anchor Wolf Blitzer. "How much of a message does that summit here in Brussels actually send to Putin?" "It's a very big message, Wolf, because we're talking about what were Mr. Putin's strategic and operational objectives," said Hertling. "He is currently stalemated on the battlefields in the east and south of Ukraine and ... the battle in the north, around Kyiv, was Mr. Putin's primary objective. Take the capital city, replace the government. He has not been able to do that in four weeks when he planned for it in three days."

Joe Biden appears to call for regime change in Russia, in comments quickly walked back by the White House
Helen Livingstone

Joe Biden has condemned Vladimir Putin as a “butcher” who could no longer stay in power in a historic speech in Poland. The US president appeared to urge those around the Russian president to oust him from the Kremlin, although US officials later said he had been talking about the need for Putin to lose power over Ukrainian territory and in the wider region. As Biden spoke, Russian missiles rained down on Ukraine’s most pro-western city, Lviv, 40 miles from the Polish border. The timing of the attacks, only the third on west Ukrainian targets since the war began, and the closest to Lviv’s city centre and its residential areas, was clearly designed to send a message to the White House. The Kremlin has again raised the spectre of the use of nuclear weapons in the war with Ukraine. Dmitry Medvedev, the previous president of Russia and deputy chairman of its security council, said Moscow could use them to strike an enemy that only used conventional weapons.

By Nathan Hodge, Julia Kesaieva and Lauren Said-Moorhouse, CNN

(CNN) At least five people were reportedly injured Saturday after at least two missiles struck Lviv, a city in western Ukraine that had been previously spared the worst of Russia's brutal onslaught, local officials said.
One of the strikes hit a fuel storage facility, causing it to catch fire, and a later strike caused "significant damage" to the city's infrastructure facilities, according to the city's mayor, Andriy Sadovyi. Three powerful blasts were heard in the center of the city earlier, and plumes of thick black smoke could be seen rising in the distance. Air raid sirens rang out prior to the explosions. Maksym Kozytsky, the head of the Lviv regional military administration, later on his Telegram account reported three more explosions following the strike on the fuel depot, saying, "The air alarm remains."

Newsroom

CNN's Sam Kiley visits a hospital in Brovary, Ukraine, and speaks to victims of Russia's military invasion.

By Lexi Lonas

NATO Deputy-General Secretary Mircea Geoana said in an interview with The Associated Press that the group would respond if Russia used chemical or nuclear weapons in its war against Ukraine. “NATO is a defensive alliance, but also it’s a nuclear alliance,” said Geoana, who is also the former Romanian foreign minister and ambassador to the United States. “If they will be using chemical weapons or other kinds of higher-end systems against Ukraine, this will be changing fundamentally the nature of the war that Mr. Putin has waged against Ukraine." “I can guarantee that NATO is ready to respond proportionately,” Geoana added.

By Alexander Downes, opinion contributor

Russia’s armored offensive in Ukraine, which Russian President Vladimir Putin clearly believed would be over in a few days, has been stymied by fierce Ukrainian resistance and is bogged down without having taken any major cities. The world has watched in horror as Russian forces have turned their guns, bombs, and missiles on civilian areas of these cities. This is not collateral damage. Russian ordnance is being lobbed into neighborhoods, hitting apartment buildings, schools, hospitals, and even a theater specifically marked as sheltering children. This is intentional targeting of civilians.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called on energy-rich nations to increase their production of oil and natural gas to counteract the loss of Russian supplies amid sanctions over Moscow’s war on his country
By LUJAIN JO Associated Press

DOHA, Qatar -- Ukraine's president called Saturday on energy-rich nations to increase their production of oil and natural gas to counteract the loss of Russian supplies amid sanctions over Moscow's war on his country. Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a surprise video appearance at Qatar’s Doha Forum, an annual summit in the gas-rich nation that will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup later this year. It's part of a rhetorical offensive of addresses he's given around the world since the start of the war Feb. 24. Zelenskyy asked countries to increase their energy exports — something particularly important as Qatar is a world leader in the export of natural gas. Western sanctions have deeply cut into Russian exports, which are crucial for European nations.

By Natalia Zinets and Mari Saito

LVIV, Ukraine, March 26 (Reuters) - The mayor of Lviv said another rocket had hit the city in western Ukraine on Saturday, not long after two rockets struck its outskirts in what appeared to be the first attacks within the city's limits since the start of the war with Russia. Lviv, some 60 kilometres (40 miles) from the Polish border, has so far escaped the bombardment and fighting that has devastated some Ukrainian cities closer to Russia since Moscow launched its invasion on Feb. 24. But on Saturday Governor Maksym Kozytskyy said two rockets had struck the city's eastern outskirts in the mid-afternoon and ordered residents to take shelter.

The members of the battalion took an oath and became part of Ukraine’s armed forces.

Foreign fighters from Belarus have officially joined Ukraine’s military to take on the Russian counterparts as Moscow's invasion has entered into its 31st day on Saturday, according to a report. In a video, shared by The Kyiv Independent, the battalion can be seen taking an oath to Belarus. The Belarusian language is endangered as the regime of dictator Alexander Lukashenko allegedly favours Russian and discriminates against Belarusian speakers, who are already a minority, the report claimed.

By Kyle Blaine

Warsaw, Poland (CNN) President Joe Biden on Saturday called Russian President Vladimir Putin a "butcher" after visiting with refugees in Warsaw, Poland, in an intense criticism of the Russian leader's actions in Ukraine that have seen millions of refugees flee to neighboring countries. During the visit, Biden was asked by reporters what seeing the Ukrainian refugees at Stadion Narodowy made him think of as he deals with Putin every day. Biden responded: "He's a butcher." After initially looking to downplay a personal rivalry between himself and Putin, Biden has ramped up his rhetoric against Putin over the last 10 days. Last week, Biden for the first time called Putin a "war criminal" and then later referred to him as a "murderous dictator, a pure thug who is waging an immoral war against the people of Ukraine." He's also called the Russian invasion of Ukraine "inhumane."

Reuters

DOHA, March 26 (Reuters) - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called on energy producing countries on Saturday to increase output so that Russia cannot use its oil and gas wealth to "blackmail" other nations. Addressing the Doha Forum international conference via video link, Zelenskiy said countries such as Qatar could make a contribution to the stabilisation of Europe. "They can do much to restore justice. The future of Europe depends on your effort. I ask you to increase the output of energy to ensure that everyone in Russia understands that no country can use energy as a weapon and blackmail the world," he said in translated comments.

Azmi Haroun

New satellite images provided by Maxar Technologies show an amphibious Russian landing ship burning and flooding in the Ukrainian port of Berdyansk in southern Ukraine on Friday. The Russian ship is an Alligator-class landing ship that was hit by Ukrainian forces on March 24. The Pentagon on Friday said that the ship was offloading supplies for Russian troops currently besieging the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, according to The New York Times. "The destroyed ship in Berdyansk could carry up to 20 tanks, 45 armored personnel carriers, and 400 paratroopers," Anna Malyar, Ukraine's deputy defense minister said on Thursday, according to The Times. "This is a huge target that was hit by our military."

By Arnaud Siad, Nathan Hodge and Toyin Owoseje, CNN

(CNN) J.K. Rowling has hit back at Vladimir Putin after the Russian President compared the West's treatment of his country to a public backlash faced by the Harry Potter author. In a message shared on her Twitter account on Friday, the writer said critiques of cancel culture are "not best made" by those "slaughtering civilians." Rowling also posted a link to a 2021 BBC News article about jailed anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny and denounced the invasion of Ukraine. "Critiques of Western cancel culture are possibly not best made by those currently slaughtering civilians for the crime of resistance, or who jail and poison their critics," she told her 13.9 million followers on Twitter, along with the hashtag #IStandWithUkraine

Brad Reed

American defense officials claimed on Friday that the Russian military is starting to lose control of one of the few Ukrainian cities that it actually managed to capture. The New York Times reports that Pentagon officials believe that "Russian forces no longer have full control of Kherson," which is one of the few cities in Ukraine that fell to Russia early in the war. According to the official, Ukrainian forces are working to push out the Russian occupiers and have made the city "contested territory." The Kremlin is denying this, however, and is insisting the Kherson remains under full Russian control.

Brad Reed

The Russian military is reportedly losing an average of more than a general per week, and The Daily Beast's Julia Davis reports that tensions over the war are now boiling over on the country's state-run TV news stations and are even resulting in "screaming matches." One particularly fraught debate came when analyst Vitaly Tretyakov gave a blunt assessment of the state of the war, which the Kremlin has insisted on calling a "special military operation." "The situation is serious," he said. "We have to admit that there was no psychological breakthrough in our operation, where the opposing side would lose their will to resist... The resistance from the Ukrainian side is neither stopping nor weakening." This drew an angry response from host Olga Skabeeva, who grilled Tretyakov about what he would do.

Ukrainian officials claimed to have gained ground around their capital city, but military experts and U.S. officials have warned of a long road ahead.
By Richard Engel, Lauren Egan and Phil McCausland

KYIV, Ukraine — As Russian missile strikes continued to cause fires, terrorize residents and turn buildings to rubble here Wednesday, Ukrainian forces seemingly managed to push back Vladimir Putin's invading army from the capital's outer edges. Inside a city administration building, two Ukrainian generals helping to lead the counterattack pored over a map detailing the movement of their country's forces and the areas they had apparently recaptured. This is where officials from the city’s police, military and local government are meeting, planning and monitoring the war.

By Mark Trevelyan and Alexander Winning

LONDON, March 25 (Reuters) - In a scaled-back formulation of its war goals, Russia said on Friday that the first phase of its military operation was mostly complete and it would focus on completely "liberating" Ukraine's breakaway eastern Donbass region.

Bill Chappell

Russia and Ukraine exchanged 10 prisoners of war each on Thursday in what Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk called the first full-fledged swap of the month-old conflict. The exchange also freed 19 Ukrainian civilian sailors who were captured as their ship tried to take Ukrainian troops off of Snake Island in late February. Ukraine released 11 Russian civilian sailors as part of the deal, Vereshchuk said as she announced the transfer. The civilians had been rescued from a ship that sank near Odesa, she said.

By Emily Crane

The Ukrainian Snake Island sailors who told a Russian warship to “go f–k yourself” before they were captured a month ago have been freed in a prisoner swap with Moscow. The 19 sailors were released from Russian captivity on Thursday, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereschuk revealed. In exchange, Ukraine freed 11 Russian civilian sailors they had rescued from a sunken ship near Odessa, Vereschuk said. It wasn’t immediately clear when the Russian sailors were captured.

Ned Simons

Russian troops killed one of their own commanders due to the losses being suffered during the invasion of Ukraine, Western officials have said. It is also believed Vladimir Putin has decided to “pause” his attempt to take Kyiv in order to concentrate his forces on the Donbas region in the east of the country.

Caroline Vakil

Ukraine's Armed Forces revised earlier comments they had made about which Russian landing ship they claimed Ukrainian forces had destroyed. "In the Azov operational zone, according to updated information, a large landing ship 'Saratov' was destroyed during the attack on the occupied Berdyansk port. Large landing ships 'Caesar Kunikov' and 'Novocherkassk' were damaged. Other losses of the enemy are being clarified," the Ukrainian military said on Friday in a statement on Facebook. Previously, the Ukrainian military claimed it had destroyed the Orsk in Russian-occupied Berdyansk, which sits in the southern region of Ukraine, The Washington Post reported.

By Gleb Garanich and Natalia Zinets

BUCHA/LVIV, Ukraine, March 25 (Reuters) - Ukrainian troops are recapturing towns east of Kyiv and Russian forces who had been trying to seize the capital are falling back on overextended supply lines, Britain said on Friday, one of the strongest indications yet of a shift in momentum in the war. The mayor of a suburb east of Kyiv said Ukrainian troops had recaptured a nearby village and thousands of civilians were leaving the area in response to a call from the authorities to get out of the way of the counter-attack.

By Phil Stewart

WASHINGTON, March 25 (Reuters) - Russian precision-guided missiles are failing up to 60% of the time in Ukraine, three U.S. officials with knowledge of intelligence on the issue told Reuters, a possible explanation for the poor progress of Russia's invasion. Since President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, Russia has failed to achieve basic objectives such as neutralizing Ukraine's air force despite a vastly larger armed forces. The U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the information, did not provide evidence to support the assessment and did not disclose what precisely was driving high Russian missile failure rates.

By Andrew Carey, Olga Voitovych and Celine Alkhaldi, CNN

Lviv, Ukraine (CNN)About 300 people are believed to have died in a Russian attack on a theater in Mariupol nine days ago, the city council has said, citing eyewitness reports. The March 16 bombing of Mariupol's Drama Theater, where Ukrainian officials say up to 1,300 had sought refuge, was among the most brazen of Russia's attacks on civilians since its invasion began in late February. Painted on the ground outside the building -- in giant Russian letters -- was the word "CHILDREN." The message -- large enough to be viewed from the sky -- was scrawled near a public square. Russia has denied its forces hit the theater, claiming instead that the Azov battalion, the Ukrainian army's main presence in Mariupol, blew it up.

The Russian president’s obsession with World War II is hindering his invasion of Ukraine.
By Antony Beevor

Otto von Bismarck once said that only a fool learns from his own mistakes. “I learn from other people’s,” the 19th-century German chancellor said. Astonishingly, the Russian army is repeating the past mistakes of its Soviet predecessor. In April 1945, Marshal Georgy Zhukov, under intense pressure from Stalin, sent his tank armies into Berlin without infantry support. Vladimir Putin’s forces not only made the same error; they even copied the way their forebears had attached odd bits of iron—including bed frames—to their tanks’ turrets in the hopes that the added metal would detonate anti-tank weapons prematurely. This did not save the Russian tanks. It simply increased their profile and attracted Ukrainian tank-hunting parties, just as the Soviet tanks in Berlin had drawn groups of Hitler Youth and SS, who attacked them with Panzerfausts.

By NEBI QENA and CARA ANNA

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine accused Moscow on Thursday of forcibly taking hundreds of thousands of civilians from shattered Ukrainian cities to Russia, where some may be used as “hostages” to pressure Kyiv to give up. Lyudmyla Denisova, Ukraine’s ombudsperson, said 402,000 people, including 84,000 children, have been taken against their will to Russia, and some have reported shortages of food and water there. The Kremlin has said that the people relocated from Ukraine wanted to go to Russia. The country’s rebel-controlled eastern regions, for example, are predominantly Russian-speaking, and many people there have supported close ties to Moscow.

Ukraine has accused Russia of forcibly deporting residents of the besieged city.
By Morgan Winsor, Emily Shapiro, Nadine El-Bawab, Ivan Pereira, Julia Jacobo, Meredith Deliso, Bill Hutchinson, Kevin Shalvey, Celia Darrough, and Mary Kekatos

Russian forces are continuing their attempted push through Ukraine from multiple directions, while Ukrainians, led by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, are putting up "stiff resistance," according to U.S. officials. The attack began Feb. 24, when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a "special military operation." Russian forces moving from neighboring Belarus toward Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, have advanced closer to the city center in recent days despite the resistance. Heavy shelling and missile attacks, many on civilian buildings, continue in Kyiv, as well as major cities like Kharkiv and Mariupol. Russia also bombed western cities for the first time last week, targeting Lviv and a military base near the Poland border.

By Ellen Mitchell

The devastating images from the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol are a grim bellwether of what’s to come the longer Russia’s attack on the country drags on, experts and officials say. Heavy shelling in the city has caused most remaining residents to hide in basements and foreign journalists to flee from what’s been called an “absolute hellscape” of bombing and rubble. But with fierce fighting that has reached a stalemate across most of the eastern part of the country, officials and experts fear Mariupol could be an indicator of what’s to come for other major Ukrainian cities.  

By Tim Lister, Celine Alkhaldi, Olga Voitovych and Gianluca Mezzofiore, CNN

Lviv, Ukraine (CNN) Ukrainian armed forces said they destroyed a large Russian landing ship at the port of Berdyansk in southern Ukraine on Thursday. The port, which had recently been occupied by Russian forces with several Russian warships in dock, was rocked by a series of heavy explosions soon after dawn. Social media videos showed fires raging at the dockside, with a series of secondary explosions reverberating across the city. The Armed Forces of Ukraine said they had "destroyed a large landing ship," which they named as the "Orsk" in a post on Facebook. Several Russian ships had been unloading military equipment at Berdyansk in recent days, according to reports from the port by Russian media outlets.

The dour trooper said conditions had become so bad that "50 percent" of his squadron were suffering from frostbite.
The US Sun

A RUSSIAN soldier has complained about his troops getting frostbite and meeting fierce Ukrainian resistance in an intercepted phone call. The dour trooper said conditions had become so bad that "50 percent" of his squadron were suffering from frostbite. Speaking to a commander in a three-minute telephone call intercepted and released by Ukrainian intelligence, the soldier said troops were being forced to "ride around" with the dead because they couldn't be transported out. He also said troops had been bogged down by Ukrainian resistance and lacked proper amenities and medical supplies. "We expected to arrive with four M-30 tents - and we've ended up with only one... And even that one tent ended up being 'not for us'," he said. "They didn't even give us and heat stoves."

“Even in Chechnya, there was nothing like this,” a soldier tells friend in an intercepted call, as reports emerge of another getting so fed up he ran over his colonel with a tank.
Allison Quinn

Two Russian soldiers have been caught venting about Putin’s “bullshit” war against Ukraine in an intercepted phone call as devastating losses reportedly led one soldier to drive over his colonel with a tank. “Basically, it’s a shitshow here, I’ll put it that way,” an unnamed soldier near Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine can be heard telling a colleague in a recording released by Ukraine’s Security Service late Tuesday. After telling his friend that Ukrainian forces “tore apart” a column of Russian forces sent along with his own unit, he described complete disarray among the Russian military, with 50 percent of the unit suffering from frostbite on their feet. “But they don’t plan to treat them in the [field] hospital,” he said. On the fourth day of their deployment, he said, the general commanding the unit, General-Lieutenant Yakov Rezantsev, told them it’d be over quickly.

With nearly 10,000 dead soldiers in less than a month of war, the Russian military is resorting to drastic new methods, according to Ukrainian intelligence.
Allison Quinn

After weeks of devastating losses and plummeting morale, the Russian military has devised a new way to bolster its ranks of soldiers being sent to kill civilians in Ukraine: preying on men who’ve fallen behind on alimony or credit card payments. That’s according to the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, which reports that those in debt are offered the chance to have their obligations erased in exchange for signing a contract with the Russian military. Russian prosecutors are also said to be seeking out those who’ve run afoul of the law and offering similar proposals.

By Katherine Fung

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged French companies to leave the Russian market in his Wednesday address to the French National Assembly, naming large retailers and automobile manufacturers as "sponsors" of the war in his home country. "French companies must leave the Russian market," Zelensky said to French lawmakers via Zoom. "Renault, Auchan, Leroy Merlin and others. They must cease to be sponsors of Russia's military machine, sponsors of the killing of children and women, sponsors of rape, robbery and looting by the Russian army." "All companies must remember once and for all that values are worth more than profit, especially profit on blood," he continued. "We must already think about the future. About how we will live after this war."

From CNN's Andrew Carey, Yulia Presniakova and Hande Atay Alam

A convoy of 11 empty buses — driving towards Mariupol to rescue fleeing Ukrainians — has been commandeered by Russian forces, according to the Ukrainian government. The Russians have driven the buses, along with the original bus drivers and several emergency services workers, to an undisclosed location the government says.

John Bacon, Tom Vanden Brook and Joel Shannon | USA TODAY

As many as 15,000 Russian troops have been killed since the invasion of Ukraine began four weeks ago, according to NATO's first estimate since the war began. Russia has suffered 30,000 to 40,000 battlefield casualties, including 7,000 to 15,000 killed, a senior NATO military officer said in a briefing Wednesday from the alliance’s military headquarters in Belgium. The officer, speaking on condition of anonymity under ground rules set by NATO, said the estimated deaths are based on information from the Ukrainian government, indications from Russia and open-source information. The officer said the number of casualties came from a calculation of three wounded soldiers for every soldier killed. Casualties include killed, wounded or missing in action as well as those taken prisoner.

By Phil Stewart

WASHINGTON, March 22 (Reuters) - Russia's combat power in Ukraine has declined below 90 percent of its pre-invasion levels for the first time since its attack began, a senior U.S. defense official said on Tuesday, suggesting heavy losses of weaponry and growing casualties. The United States has estimated Russia assembled more than 150,000 troops around Ukraine before the Feb. 24 invasion, along with enough aircraft, artillery, tanks and other firepower for its full-scale attack. "For the first time they may be just a little bit below 90 percent," the U.S. defense official told reporters on condition of anonymity. The official did not provide evidence. Nearly a month into the war, Russian troops have failed to capture a single major city and their advance has been halted on nearly all fronts by Ukrainian forces. Moscow has instead turned to bombarding cities with artillery, missiles and bombs. read more Russia denies targeting civilians.

WCNC

Ukrainian leaders accused Russia of seizing 15 rescue workers and drivers from a humanitarian convoy trying to get desperately needed food and other supplies into the bloodied port city of Mariupol, which also came under naval attack after weeks of air and land strikes.

By Andrew Carey, Kostan Nechyporenko and Jack Guy, CNN

(CNN) Russian forces have looted and destroyed a laboratory near the abandoned Chernobyl nuclear power plant that was used to monitor radioactive waste, the Ukrainian government said Wednesday. The site of the world's worst nuclear disaster fell into Russian hands in the first week of Russia's invasion, triggering fears that safety standards inside the exclusion zone could be compromised. According to a Ukrainian government agency, the laboratory was part of a European Union-funded attempt to improve radioactive waste management -- through on-site analysis of waste samples, as well as the packaging used to dispose of waste. The government agency also reported that samples of radionuclides -- unstable atoms that can emit high levels of radiation -- had been removed from the lab. It said it hoped Russia would use the samples to "harm itself, and not the civilized world."  

Ukraine president says conditions are ‘inhumane’ in devastated southern city, and accuses Russian forces of seizing convoy on humanitarian corridor
Daniel Boffey in Lviv, Samantha Lock , and Jon Henley

Almost 100,000 people remain trapped in the ruined city of Mariupol, facing starvation amid “constant” Russian bombardment, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said, as he appealed for the release of a convoy he said had been captured by Russian forces. In a video address late on Tuesday, he renewed his calls for Russia to allow safe humanitarian corridors, and said civilians faced “inhumane conditions. In a total siege. Without food, water, medication, under constant shelling and under constant bombing.”

Ukrainian authorities say Russian control of plant is hampering efforts to control the blazes
Oliver Milman

Forest fires have erupted in the vicinity of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, with Ukraine claiming that Russian control of the abandoned power plant is hampering efforts to control the flames. At least seven fires have been spotted within Chernobyl’s exclusion zone via satellite imagery taken by the European Space Agency, according to a statement by Ukraine’s parliament. The fires were probably ignited by the “armed aggression of the Russian federation”, the parliament said, although it’s not clear whether it was shelling, arson or some other factor that caused the outbreak. Fires like these within 10km of the plant are “particularly dangerous”, the statement added, with Ukraine claiming its firefighters are unable to tackle the blazes due to Russia’s presence. Russian forces captured the Chernobyl plant in the opening days of the invasion of Ukraine in February. The site is known for a 1986 explosion and resulting fire that caused a major nuclear disaster, spreading radioactive contamination across Europe. The plant and surrounding area have largely been sealed off since then. more...

By Lee Brown

Russian troops “looted and destroyed” a specialist laboratory containing “highly active” radioactive samples from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, Ukrainian officials claimed Wednesday. Invading forces had made the now-decommissioned main plant — site of the world’s worst nuclear meltdown in 1986 — an early target, storming and taking control of it on the first day of the war last month. This week they also “illegally seized” a new $6.5 million laboratory that was opened in 2015 with support from the European Commission to improve management of radioactive waste there, according to the Ukrainian agency responsible for the Chernobyl exclusion zone.

AJ McDougall Breaking News Reporter

A spokesman for the Kremlin said in a Tuesday interview that Russia would use nuclear weapons if faced with an “existential threat.” Dmitry Peskov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s chief spokesman, explained in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that any violations of his nation’s “concept of domestic security” would justify the use of nuclear arms. Peskov also insisted that the Ukraine invasion was going “strictly” to plan and said Russian forces were only attacking military targets, a claim contradicted by numerous reports. Speaking in February, Putin had previously warned other countries against interfering with his invasion, saying efforts against Russia would be met with consequences “such as you have never seen in your entire history.” Around that time, he ordered Russia’s nuclear forces be put on high alert. Last week, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres cautioned that “the prospect of nuclear conflict, once unthinkable, is now back within the realm of possibility.”

By Yaron Steinbuch

Russian soldiers are shooting innocent civilians and raping locals in a campaign of terror in the Ukrainian city of Irpin, according to a report. Anastasia Taran, a 30-year-old waitress who escaped Irpin, described how the invasion by the Russian forces has turned the city into “hell,” Euromaidan Press reported. “There are plenty of Russian soldiers out there who just shoot people, who enter private homes and, at best, just kick people out of their homes,” said Taran, who now provides tips on Instagram on how to get out of the city. “They rape women and the dead are just being dumped. They open the basements where people are hiding and shoot them.” The young woman’s harrowing account follows that of 27-year-old Svetlana Zorina, a resident of Kherson who recently claimed that the occupying troops have sexually assuaulted women.

Reuters

LONDON, March 23 (Reuters) - Anatoly Chubais, the architect of Russia's post-Soviet economic reforms, has quit his post as a Kremlin special envoy and left the country due to the war in Ukraine, two sources told Reuters, the highest profile protest by a Russian figure against the invasion. Chubais, who once served as former President Boris Yeltsin's chief of staff, left his post as Vladimir Putin's special representative for ties with international organisations, one of the sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. He was appointed to the post, which was charged with "achieving goals of sustainable development", in 2020, days after resigning as the head of state technology firm RUSNANO, which he had run since 2008.

Reuters

March 23 (Reuters) - Russia on Wednesday condemned what it called a "reckless" Polish proposal to send international peacekeepers into Ukraine and warned that it could lead to a direct clash between Russian and NATO forces. Poland said last Friday it would formally submit a proposal for a peacekeeping mission in Ukraine at the next NATO summit. Asked about the initiative, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: "It would be a very reckless and extremely dangerous decision."

"In our isolation, we knew nothing about a growing Russian disinformation campaign to discredit our work," the author writes.
By Associated Press

MARIUPOL, Ukraine — The Russians were hunting us down. They had a list of names, including ours, and they were closing in. We were the only international journalists left in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, and we had been documenting its siege by Russian troops for more than two weeks. We were reporting inside the hospital when gunmen began stalking the corridors. Surgeons gave us white scrubs to wear as camouflage. Suddenly at dawn, a dozen soldiers burst in: “Where are the journalists, for fuck’s sake?”

By Haley Ott

London — A local journalist working for a French radio station in Ukraine was kidnapped and tortured by Russian soldiers earlier this month, according to the non-profit group Reporters Without Borders (RSF). Nikita, 32, whose name has been changed for his security, was held for nine days and subjected to electric shocks, beatings with an iron bar and mock execution, he told the group. "Nikita has given us a chilling testimony that confirms the intensity of the war crimes perpetrated by the Russian army against journalists," the secretary-general of Reporters Without Borders, Christophe Deloire, said in a statement. "Passing his testimony on to the ICC [International Criminal Court] prosecutor is the least we can do for this courageous young fixer."

Maria Varenikova and Andrew E. Kramer

LVIV, Ukraine — Each night, Ukrainian pilots such as Andriy loiter in an undisclosed aircraft hangar, waiting, waiting, until the tension is broken with a shouted, one-word command: “Air!” Andriy hustles into his Su-27 supersonic jet and hastily taxis toward the runway, getting airborne as quickly as possible. He takes off so fast that he doesn’t yet know his mission for the night, although the big picture is always the same — to bring the fight to a Russian air force that is vastly superior in numbers but has failed to win control of the skies above Ukraine. “I don’t do any checks,” said Andriy, a Ukrainian air force pilot who as a condition of granting an interview was not permitted to give his surname or rank. “I just take off.”

By NEBI QENA and CARA ANNA

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian forces fought off continuing Russian efforts to occupy Mariupol and claimed to have retaken a strategic suburb of Kyiv on Tuesday, mounting a defense so dogged that it is stoking fears Russia’s Vladimir Putin will escalate the war to new heights. “Putin’s back is against the wall,” said U.S. President Joe Biden, who is heading to Europe this week to meet with allies. “And the more his back is against the wall, the greater the severity of the tactics he may employ.” Biden reiterated accusations that Putin is considering resorting to using chemical or biological weapons, though Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. has seen no evidence to suggest that such an escalation is imminent. The warnings came as attacks continued in and around Kyiv and Mariupol, and people escaped the battered and besieged port city. The hands of one exhausted Mariupol survivor were shaking as she arrived by train in the western city of Lviv.

Ukrainian commanders say fuel, food and ammunition in short supply after breakdown in Russian supply chains
Daniel Boffey

Russian forces have only three further days of fuel, food and ammunition left to conduct the war after a breakdown in their supply chains, Ukrainian military commanders have alleged. The claims of major shortages were described as “plausible” by western officials although they said they were unable to corroborate the analysis. The report from the Ukrainian armed forces general command was said to be consistent with evidence that the Russian advance had stalled, and that they had reverted to using “indiscriminate and attritional” artillery attacks on civilians. “We do think that the Russian forces have used a lot of material including particular categories of weapons and we have seen isolated reports of particular units that have lacked supplies of one sort or another,” the official said.

By Natalia Zinets and Pa vel Polityuk

LVIV/KYIV, Ukraine, March 22 (Reuters) - Intense Russian air strikes hit the besieged Ukrainian port city of Mariupol and street fighting ragedon Tuesday, a day after it rejected Moscow's demand to surrender, Ukrainian officials said. The city council said the bombardments were turning Mariupol into the "ashes of a dead land". Russia's RIA news agency said Russian forces and units of Russian-backed separatists had taken about half of the city, citing a separatist leader.

By NEBI QENA and CARA ANNA

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian forces fought off continuing Russian efforts to occupy Mariupol and claimed to have retaken a strategic suburb of Kyiv on Tuesday, mounting a defense so dogged that it is stoking fears Russia’s Vladimir Putin will escalate the war to new heights. “Putin’s back is against the wall,” said U.S. President Joe Biden, who is heading to Europe this week to meet with allies. “And the more his back is against the wall, the greater the severity of the tactics he may employ.” Biden reiterated accusations that Putin is considering resorting to using chemical or biological weapons, though Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. has seen no evidence to suggest that such an escalation is imminent.

By Olafimihan Oshin

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Monday that the city of Mariupol is being “reduced to ashes” by Russian airstrikes, but that it will "survive." Zelensky also urged Ukrainian citizens in his recorded video address to “do everything you can to defend our country, to save our people,” CNN reported. “We are seeing more and more heroes. Once ordinary Ukrainians, and now true fighters,” he said.

Rachel Treisman

Among the victims of Russia's war in Ukraine is a Holocaust survivor who devoted his life to preserving its history. Boris Romantschenko survived four concentration camps including Buchenwald, Dora and Bergen Belsen. The 96-year-old was killed last week when Russian forces shelled his apartment building in Kharkiv, the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation said in a tweet. "Now he has been killed by a bullet that hit his house," they wrote. "We are stunned."

VLADIMIR Putin has apparently ordered his army to move thousands of Mariupol residents to "concentration" camps in Russia, according to latest reports.
By John Varga

The besieged port city in Ukraine's south has been under horrendous Russian bombardment for weeks. Mariupol is an important prize for Putin, as it would allow the Russians to create a land corridor from Luhansk to Donetsk and down to Crimea. For Moscow, the land corridor would also secure control of the Ukrainian coast on the Sea of Azov.Mariupol's city council claimed that thousands of its residents had been rounded up by Russian forces and taken to Russia. The Kyiv Independent newspaper tweeted: "Mariupol council: Russian occupiers forcibly move thousands of Mariupol residents to Russia. "The civilians were allegedly taken to camps where Russians checked their phones and documents and then forcibly moved some of them to remote cities in Russia."

By: Stefan Boscia

Vladimir Putin was accused of committing a “real act of genocide” in Ukraine today as Russian troops fired on peaceful protesters and reports swirled of forced deportations from the port city of Mariupol. Ukrainian defence minister Oleksii Reznikov said during a trip to London that some cities had been “wiped off the face of the Earth” and accused the Kremlin of “state terrorism”. Video emerged today of Russian troops firing on peaceful Ukrainian protesters in the occupied city of Kherson, with several people reported injured.

By MSTYSLAV CHERNOV

MARIUPOL, Ukraine (AP) — The Russians were hunting us down. They had a list of names, including ours, and they were closing in. We were the only international journalists left in the Ukrainian city, and we had been documenting its siege by Russian troops for more than two weeks. We were reporting inside the hospital when gunmen began stalking the corridors. Surgeons gave us white scrubs to wear as camouflage. Suddenly at dawn, a dozen soldiers burst in: “Where are the journalists, for fuck’s sake?” I looked at their armbands, blue for Ukraine, and tried to calculate the odds that they were Russians in disguise. I stepped forward to identify myself. “We’re here to get you out,” they said. The walls of the surgery shook from artillery and machine gun fire outside, and it seemed safer to stay inside. But the Ukrainian soldiers were under orders to take us with them.

By Patrick J. McDonnell, Marcus Yam, Kate Linthicum

LVIV, Ukraine — Amid a growing consensus that Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine is morphing into a bloody stalemate that could last months, the embattled strategic city of Mariupol rejected a Russian demand to surrender Monday even after the bombing of a local art school where officials said hundreds of people had taken shelter. Russia said Ukrainian troops would be allowed safe passage out of the city in two designated corridors if Mariupol surrendered by 5 a.m. Monday. But the mayor quickly poured scorn on the offer, the news agency Interfax Ukraine reported, despite the intense suffering that the port city has experienced under enemy blockade.

By George Ramsay, CNN

(CNN) At least 10 million people have been forced to flee their homes in Ukraine following Russia's invasion less than a month ago, the head of the United Nations' refugee agency said Sunday. That figure accounts for almost a quarter of the country's population, which was calculated at 44 million by the World Bank in 2020. Of those who have left their homes, the majority -- 6.48 million as of March 16, according to figures provided by the International Organization for Migration on Friday -- have been internally displaced since the conflict began on February 24. Others have sought refuge in neighboring countries, including Poland, Romania, Moldova, Hungary, Slovakia, Russia and Belarus.

Chloe Taylor, Amanda Macias, Christina Wilkie

Ukraine has rejected an ultimatum to surrender its besieged port city of Mariupol to Russian forces. Ukrainian authorities said overnight that Moscow had demanded Mariupol be handed over by 5 a.m. Russian forces said they would spare the lives of those who complied with their surrender ultimatum and would allow civilians to leave if their demands were met. Thousands of civilians are trapped in the city, which is running dangerously low on vital supplies like food, water and medicines.

Holly Ellyatt

With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine now approaching its fourth week, President Vladimir Putin’s forces have exerted brutal force and destruction on the Eastern European nation, forcing people to flee and making millions homeless. Russia’s economy is now creaking under the immense weight of international sanctions and the costs of war, having largely failed to achieve major military victories in Ukraine. Close watchers of Moscow, and Putin, say there are increasing signs of desperation in Russia’s military campaign and siege tactics. “I don’t think Russia can win,” Kurt Volker, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO, told CNBC.

Ella Lee and McKenzie Sadeghi, USA TODAY

False and misleading information about the Russian invasion of Ukraine has spread rapidly on social media since Russian forces launched a military assault in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 24. Here’s a roundup of claims related to the Ukraine-Russia conflict analyzed by the USA TODAY Fact Check team:


From Khrystyna Bondarenko, Ivan Watson and AnneClaire Stapleton in Dnipro

Mariupol came under further heavy bombardment overnight, according to a Ukrainian officer inside the city. “Bombs are falling every 10 minutes; Russian navy warships are shelling. Yesterday the soldiers defused four tanks, [as well as] armored vehicles and troops. We still need ammunition, anti-tank weapons and air defense," Captain Svyatoslav Palamar of the National Guard Azov Regiment in Mariupol told CNN. Palamar said he and his fellow fighters would not surrender in Mariupol.

Some background: The Russian-issued deadline for Mariupol authorities to surrender the city passed at 5 a.m. Moscow (10 p.m. ET Sunday), with Ukrainians rejecting the ultimatum.

Ukrainians bravely waved their flags and raised slogans against Vladimir Putin's and refused to be intimidated by Russian guns going off.

Russian troops 'open fire on Ukrainian protesters':
One hurt after gunfire and stun grenade explosions ring out at Kherson demonstration - while Putin steps up his war of attrition by ordering navy to bombard port of Odesa

By Chris Pleasance for MailOnline

Russian soldiers have opened fire on civilian protesters in the captured Ukrainian city of Kherson and wounded at least one person, local media has reported, as Vladimir Putin's troops stepped up their war of attrition against civilians by shelling the city of Odessa. Footage taken in Kherson and shared by media with links to the Ukrainian military, showed one man bleeding heavily from the leg after being shot during a demonstration. Russian forces used firearms as well as stun grenades to try and disperse the protesters, the Interfax news agency reported. It came as Vladimir Putin's warships opened fire on civilian areas in the Black Sea port city of Odesa today, marking the first time residents have been targeted. Officials said several houses were destroyed and a fire sparked, but there was no immediate word on casualties.

By CARA ANNA and RENATA BRITO

LVIV, Ukraine (AP) — The heat on the train was as thick as the anxiety. Ukrainian survivors of one of the most brutal sieges in modern history were in the final minutes of their ride to relative safety. Some carried only what they had at hand when they seized the chance to escape the port of Mariupol amid relentless Russian bombardment. Some fled so quickly that relatives who were still in the starving, freezing Ukrainian city on the Sea of Azov aren’t aware that they have gone. “There is no city anymore,” Marina Galla said. She wept in the doorway of a crowded train compartment that was pulling into the western Ukrainian city of Lviv. The relief of being free from weeks of threats and deprivation, of seeing bodies in the streets and drinking melted snow because there was no water, was crushed by sadness as she thought of family members left behind.

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