Russia-Ukraine crisis updates | March 13, 2022

Here are the latest developments from the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict

Updated - March 14, 2022 10:10 am IST

Published - March 13, 2022 09:24 am IST

People cross the Irpin river near a destroyed bridge as they evacuate from Irpin town outside of Kyiv, Ukraine on March 12, 2022.

People cross the Irpin river near a destroyed bridge as they evacuate from Irpin town outside of Kyiv, Ukraine on March 12, 2022. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine entered its 18th day, Russia intesnfied its offensive on the capital city of Kyiv, and the port city of Mariupol, where a Mosque was shelled.

A Russian missile strike targeted a military training centre located near Ukraine’s western border with Poland, killing 35 people. This came after Russia’s warning that it may target arms shipments coming to Ukraine from the West and European Union allies.

Ukrainians also informed that seven people, including a child, were killed after Russians fired at an evacuation convoy earlier in the dat

Meanwhile, the United States increased its defence of NATO regions and moved 12,000 troops along the borders with Russia, in regions of Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and Romania.

The conflict began escalating on February 21, 2022, after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised separatist regions in eastern Ukraine and deployed troops in a peacekeeping role.

Here are the latest updates:

Ukraine

Zelensky calls on software giants to stop supporting their products in Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Sunday called on U.S. software firms Microsoft Corp and Oracle Corp and German business software group SAP to halt support services for their products in Russia.

“Stop supporting your products in Russia, stop the war!,” he said on Twitter.

United Nations

UN says 596 civilians killed since war began

The U.N. human rights office says at least 596 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since the start of the war, and at least 1,067 have been injured. The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said Sunday that 43 of those killed were children, while 57 were injured.

The Geneva-based office had documented 579 civilian deaths and 1,002 injured a day earlier.

It said most recorded civilian casualties were caused “by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area,” such as shelling from heavy artillery and missile strikes. U.N. officials said they believe the actual number of casualties is “considerably higher” than so far recorded because the receipt of information has been delayed and many reports still need to be corroborated. - AP

India

India relocates embassy in Ukraine to Poland

With the Russian forces stepping up their attacks on Ukrainian cities and closing in on capital Kyiv, the government has decided to relocate its embassy, moving all officials across the border to Poland. The decision to move out of Ukraine came after the Russian attacks on the western Ukrainian town of Lviv near the Polish border, where the Indian embassy had set up a camp office for the past few weeks to facilitate the movement of Indian students fleeing the country.

Ukraine

Ukraine says power has been restored to Chernobyl power station

Ukraine’s atomic energy ministry on Sunday said power had been restored to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, which meant cooling systems would operate normally and not have to use backup power.

The ministry made the announcement in an online post. Ukraine had earlier warned of an increased risk of a radiation leak if a high-voltage power line to the plant were not repaired. It had been damaged in fighting. - Reuters

Ukraine

Russia says it attacked Ukraine training facility, killed up to 180

Russia said on Sunday it had attacked the Yavoriv training facility in western Ukraine, adding the strike had killed “up to 180 foreign mercenaries” and destroyed a large amount of weapons supplied by outside nations.

Defence ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov told a briefing that Russia would continue its attacks against what he called foreign mercenaries.

Reuters could not independently verify the statements.

Ukrainian regional governor Maksym Kozytskyy said 35 people were killed and 134 wounded in the attack.- Reuters

Cyprus

Russians join anti-war protest in Cyprus

Dozens of Russian nationals joined Ukrainians in the coastal resort town of Limassol, home to a sizeable Russian expatriate community, to protest the war in Ukraine.

About 50 Russians converged on Limassol’s promenade prior to joining with other protesters Sunday to chant slogans including “Stop the war, stop Putin” and “Russia without Putin.” They waved blue and white flags that they said were the Russian national flag without the red stripe that represented “blood and violence.”

Protester Evgeniya Shlikava, who has been living and working in Cyprus for five years, told The Associated Press that despite Russian propaganda, Ukraine “didn’t deserve this action from our government” and that protesters are demanding an immediate end to the war “that we don’t support.”

“I do believe that the person who did the most to make Russia weak and not united is Putin himself,” said Shlikava, who faulted the Russian president and his supporters for bringing the world’s wrath on Russia that is proud of its humanistic values and culture. “But now Russia is the aggressor for the whole world, and we protest it,” Shlikava said. - AP

Threat of chemical weapons

Russia will face consequences if it uses chemical weapons- US

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan warned Russia of "severe” consequences if it launched a chemical weapon attack on Ukraine. He also mentioned that any attack on the territory of NATO countries would set in motion a full response by the Western alliance.- Reuters

Sullivan said in a television interview that the US and its allies were closely consulting about the looming threat of a chemical weapons attack, and were directly talking to Moscow to warn against such actions.

"The use of weapons of mass destruction would be a shocking additional line that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin is crossing in terms of his assault on international law and international norms," Mr. Sullivan said.- Reuters

Economic sanctions

Russia counts on China to help reduce impact of Western sanctions

Moscow says it is counting on Beijing to help as sanctions imposed by the US and European allies are dealing a blow to the Russian economy. The United States, meanwhile, warned China to not extend a hand.- Reuters

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said sanctions had prevented Moscow’s access to $300 billion of its $640 billion in gold and foreign exchange reserves, adding that there was pressure on China to shut off more.

Mr. Siluanov pointed out that Russia has part of its gold and foreign exchange reserves in the Chinese yuan, adding that China was facing pressure for Russian access to those reserves. He said that Western countries were also threatening China that they would limit mutual trade with it.

"But I think that our partnership with China will still allow us to maintain the cooperation that we have achieved, and not only maintain, but also increase it in an environment where Western markets are closing,” the Russian Foreign Minister added.

Meanwhile, U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said America was warning China not to provide help to Russia.

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

PEACE TALKS

Talks could soon yield positive result- Russian and Ukrainian officials

Diplomatic representatives of both Russia and Ukraine indicated that talks between the two countries could soon yield a constructive outcome.- Reuters

Ukrainian negotiator and presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said: “We will not concede in principle on any positions. Russia now understands this. Russia is already beginning to talk constructively.”

“I think that we will achieve some results literally in a matter of days,” he added. 

Meanwhile, a Russian news agency quoted the country’s delegate, Leonid Slutsky, as saying the talks had made significant progress.

“According to my personal expectations, this progress may grow in the coming days into a joint position of both delegations, into documents for signing,” said Mr. Slutsky. 

Neither Russia nor Ukraine delved into discussing the scope of any potential agreement, but the delegates of both countries issued the public statements at almost the same time. 

Mr. Podolyak said Russia was attentive in listening to Ukraine’s proposals. “Our demands are - the end of the war and the withdrawal of (Russian) troops. I see the understanding and there is a dialogue,”  he stated. 

This was the fourth round of talks between the officials of the two countries in Belarus.

WASHINGTON

American and Chinese officials to hold talks over Russia-Ukraine situation

The White House said on Sunday that United States national security adviser Jake Sullivan and senior Chinese foreign policy adviser Yang Jiechi will meet in Rome on Monday, where America will raise concerns about China’s role in amplifying Russian misinformation amid the Ukraine invasion and the possibility of Beijing helping Moscow evade the impact of economic sanctions. - AP

White House spokesperson Emily Horne said the talks will  be focused on “efforts to manage the competition between our two countries and discuss the impact of Russia’s war against Ukraine on regional and global security.” 

The US has accused China of propagating false claims made by Russia that Ukraine was operating chemical and biological weapon labs, with help from the U.S. support. American officials alleged that China was trying to cover up a potential biological or chemical weapons attack on Ukrainians by Russian forces.

Maria Zakharova, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, alleged without evidential backing  that the U.S. was financing Ukrainian chemical and biological weapons labs  without evidential backing. This claim was then repeated by the Chinese foreign ministry. 

The United Nations has said it has not got any information that backs up such accusations.

Since Russia launched its military assault on Ukraine, China has been one of few countries that have avoided criticising Moscow. It also abstained on U.N. voting on the UN resolution to censure Russia, and has also objected to economic sanctions against Moscow.

HUMANITARIAN CORRIDORS

Over 100,000 civilians evacuated through safe-passages

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says 125,000 people have been evacuated via humanitarian corridors established for the safe-passage of civilians so far. He added that a convoy with humanitarian aid was headed to the city of Mariupol, which is under siege. - AP

Mr. Zelenskiy said this in a video address on Sunday, stating, “the main task for today is Mariupol…our convoy with humanitarian aid is two hours away from Mariupol. Only 80km (left).”

DONBAS

Strike on civilian shelter in Donbas wounds 30 people- Ukrainian officials 

Ukrainian officials have said that bombs struck Donetsk region’s Sviatoguirsk monastery- a civilian shelter hosting nearly 1,000 people, on Saturday. The strike reportedly wounded 30 people.- AFP

In a separate incident on Saturday night, Donetsk military commander Pavlo Kirilenko said a train evacuating people from Donetsk to Lviv was shelled. 

Another Ukrainian official, Oleksi Biloshytsky, head of police in Popasna, located 100 kms away from the Luhansk region, said meanwhile, that the Russian military had used phosphorus chemical bombs in his region. - AFP

According to international law, the use of white phosphorus shells is prohibited in densely populated civilian areas but is permitted in open spaces if used as cover for troops.

The Luhansk and Donetsk regions are together referred to as the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, which was partially controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces even before the Russian military assault began.

KYIV

Russian military fires warning shots during Kherson protests

Russian troops have fired warning shots at a crowd of peaceful protesters, as thousands were  demonstrating against the incursion in the southern city of Kherson, which was captured by the Russian forces earlier this month, local Ukrainian broadcaster Suspilne Kherson reported.- AFP

Protesters marched down a central boulevard waving Ukrainian flags and shouting slogans, walking past a line of Russian armoured vehicles. The road was manned by armed Russian troops wearing face coverings. 

According to Suspline Kherson, thousands of protesters were gathered at the central Freedom Square. At one point, Russian armed personnel fired several volleys, which the broadcaster described as “warning shots”. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky posted on Telegram, a video of the protests taking place in Kherson and wrote:  “I am grateful to each person... who does not surrender. Who protests. Who demonstrates to the occupiers that Ukraine is our land.”- AFP

Refugee crisis

UN says 2.7 million people have fled Ukraine

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has said that the number of people fleeing the crisis in Ukraine since Russia launched its military assault on February 24, is now nearly 2.7 million. - AFP

The number increased significantly, by more than 100,000 from last Saturday’s count given by the UNHCR. 

The chief of the refugee agency,  Filippo Grandi, said that this is the largest exodus of refugees in Europe since World War II. 

The UN has estimated that about 4 million people could flee Ukraine to escape from the Russian incursion, and the estimate could be revised upwards. 

The agency added that neighbouring Poland is hosting half of the refugees fleeing Ukraine, with over 1,650,000 people crossing into the country since the invasion. Meanwhile, Hungary had taken in over 200,000 refugees by March 12.- AFP

KYIV

American video journalist dies in Ukraine

Brent Renaud, 51-year-old American video journalist was killed in the city of Irpin in the Kyiv Oblast (province). 

Medics and witnesses said a US journalist was shot and killed while another was injured in Irpin on Sunday.- AFP

While initial reports indicated that Mr. Renaud worked for The New York Times, the Newspaper’s deputy managing editor Cliff Levy clarified in a tweet that the video journalist and filmmaker was not in Ukraine on an assignment for the paper this time but has contributed to the publication in the past. Mr. Levy offered his condolences for the death of the American journalist and also put out an official statement about his death by The New York Times.

Russian attack kills 35

Russian airstrike in western Ukraine kills 35

Waves of Russian missiles pounded a military training base close to Ukraine’s western border with NATO member Poland, killing 35 people. The strike followed Russian threats to target foreign weapon shipments that are helping Ukrainian fighters defend their country against Russia’s grinding invasion.

More than 30 Russian cruise missiles targeted the sprawling training facility that is less than 25 kilometers (15 miles) from the closest border point with Poland, according to the governor of Ukraine’s western Lviv region. Poland is a key location for routing Western military aid to Ukraine. - AP

Israel condemns Russia

Israeli foreign minister condemns Russia

Israel’s foreign minister condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, calling on Moscow to halt its attacks and end the conflict.

Yair Lapid’s criticism Sunday is among the strongest that has come from Israeli officials since the war began. His remarks set him apart from Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who has stopped short of condemning Russia.

Israel has walked a fine line in its response to the crisis. Bennett has voiced support for the Ukrainian people and the country has sent humanitarian aid to Ukraine. But Israel relies on Russia for security coordination in Syria, where Russia has a military presence and where Israeli aircraft have frequently struck enemy targets over recent years. Bennett has been attempting to mediate between the Kremlin and Ukraine.

Lapid made his remarks in Bucharest, Romania, where he met his Romanian counterpart. - AP

85 children killed

Ukraine says 85 children killed since Russian invasion

The office of Ukraine's Prosecutor General says a total of 85 children have been killed since the start of the Russian offensive in Ukraine.

More than 100 more have been wounded, the office said. Officials also said that bombings and shelling have damaged 369 educational facilities in the country, 57 of which have been completely destroyed. - AP

Indian embassy moves to Poland

India moves embassy in Ukraine to Poland

Due to the prevailing situation in Ukraine, the Indian embassy in Ukraine will be relocated to Poland, the ministry of external affairs said. Earlier, Indian diplomats from Kyiv had set up camp office in Lviv, an Ukrainian city close to the border with Poland.

Refugee barely escapes siege

Refugee says she barely escaped siege, bombing

A widow fleeing the war in Ukraine with her teenage son has described the harrowing scenes they witnessed during their days-long journey from their bombed hometown of Chernihiv in north Ukraine.

The 44-year-old Elena Yurchuk worked as a nurse at a local hospital she says no longer exists. She says, “Our city is under siege and we barely escaped.”

Ms. Yurchuk described Chernihiv as a “ghost town” with no electricity when they left. After reaching Suceava in north Romania, she's unsure where they will go next. They have earmarked Germany as a final destination, where she hopes to find work caring for the elderly.

She says her house was in the center next to a hotel that was bombed in an airstrike. - AP

Italy bus accident

Bus carrying Ukrainian refugees overturns in Italy, 1 dead

Italian state radio says a bus carrying about 50 refugees from Ukraine has overturned on a major highway in northern Italy, killing a passenger and injuring several others, none of them seriously.

RAI radio said one woman died and the rest of those aboard the bus were safely evacuated after the accident early Sunday near the town of Forli’. It wasn’t immediately clear where the bus was headed.

Some 35,000 Ukrainians refugees who fled the war have entered Italy, most of them through its northeastern border with Slovenia. Forli’ is in the region of Emilia-Romagna, which borders the Adriatic Sea and which so far has taken in some 7,000 refugees.

The accident is under investigation. - AP

Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s warning

Ukraine’s Zelenskyy warns against Russian efforts to form ‘pseudo-republics’

Russia is trying to create new “pseudo-republics” in Ukraine to break his country apart, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his address to the nation.

Zelenskyy called on Ukraine’s regions, including Kherson, which was captured by Russian forces, not to repeat the experience of Donetsk and Luhansk. Pro-Russian separatists began fighting Ukrainian forces in those eastern regions in 2014.

City council members in Kherson, a southern city of 290,000, on Saturday rejected plans for a new pseudo-republic, Zelenskyy said.

Russia recognized the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic before invading Ukraine in February. Moscow said it had to protect the separatist regions, and is demanding that Ukraine recognize their independence too. - AP

Attack at Lviv military base

9 dead, 57 injured at Lviv military base after Russian attack

At least nine people were killed and 57 were injured following a Russian airstrike on a military training base in western Ukraine, near the border with Poland.

Maksym Kozytskyi, governor of the Lviv region, said Russian forces fired more than 30 cruise missiles at the Yavoriv military range, located 30kms (19 miles) northwest of the city of Lviv and 35kms (22 miles) from Ukraine’s border with Poland.

The attack came after a senior Russian diplomat warned that Moscow considered foreign shipments of military equipment to Ukraine “legitimate targets.” - AP

Ukraine

Air strike launched on Ukraine military base near Polish border - Lviv authorities

An air strike was launched on a Ukrainian military base Yavoriv in the west of the country near the Polish border, the Lviv regional military administration said on Sunday.

“The occupiers launched an air strike on the International Center for Peacekeeping and Security. According to preliminary data, they fired eight missiles,” the administration said in a statement.

The centre, less than 25 km (15 miles) from the Polish border, did not say whether it had been hit. It said it would release details later.- Reuters

United Nations

UN to hold more meetings this week on Ukraine war

The United Nations will have multiple meetings this week about Russia’s war in Ukraine, though it is unclear if they will lead to the adoption of an official text, diplomats said.

On Monday, the Security Council will discuss the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Polish foreign minister Zbigniew Rau is expected to speak during the session, one of the diplomatic sources told AFP Saturday.

Although this is an annual meeting, it will place special focus on the war in Ukraine and will likely see fresh calls for peace.-AFP

United Kingdom

Brits to get 350 pounds a month to open homes to Ukraine refugees

 Britain will pay people to open their homes to Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion as the government moves to deflect anger over its response to the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War Two.

The new scheme called “Homes for Ukraine” will let refugees from the war come to Britain even if they do not have family ties, the government said on Sunday.

Britain will pay people 350 pounds ($456) a month if they can offer refugees a spare room or property for a minimum period of six months.-Reuters

Ukraine

Ukraine says seven killed, including a child, after Russia fired at evacuation convoy

Ukraine’s intelligence service accused Russia on Saturday of firing at a convoy that was evacuating women and children from the village of Peremoha in the Kyiv region, killing seven people including one child.

The service - part of the defence ministry - initially said the convoy left the village in a “green corridor” which had previously been agreed with Russia.

But in a statement released late on Saturday, the service said this was not in fact the case and the convoy had left the village independently.

“This is very dangerous, because the occupying forces are ruthlessly destroying the civilian population,” it said. “We urge all citizens who are in danger to follow the official information on evacuation routes and use only safe routes.”-Reuters

Premier League

Premier League disqualifies Roman Abramovich from running Chelsea

In an unprecedented ruling against a club owner, the Premier League ordered Roman Abramovich on Saturday to stop running Chelsea and sell up after he was sanctioned by the British government over Russia's war on Ukraine and his close links to President Vladimir Putin.

Mariupol, Ukraine

Ukraine says Moscow shelled Mariupol mosque

The Ukrainian government said on Saturday a Mariupol mosque in which about 80 civilians, including Turks, had taken refuge, was shelled by Russia, a claim denied by one of those sheltering at the site.

"The mosque of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and his wife Roxolana (Hurrem Sultan) in Mariupol was shelled by Russian invaders," the ministry wrote on its Twitter account.

Kyiv, Ukraine

Russians push toward Kyiv, keep up siege of other cities

Russian forces appeared to make progress from northeast Ukraine in their slow fight to reach the capital, Kyiv, while tanks and artillery pounded places already under siege with shelling so heavy it prevented residents of one city from burying the growing number of dead.

Russia

Sanctions could cause space station to crash: Roscosmos

According to Dmitry Rogozin, the sanctions, some of which predate Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, could disrupt the operation of Russian spacecraft servicing the ISS. Western sanctions against Russia could cause the International Space Station to crash, the head of Russian space agency Roscosmos warned on Saturday, calling for the punitive measures to be lifted.

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