Russia-Ukraine crisis updates | March 24, 2022

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

March 24, 2022 08:32 am | Updated March 25, 2022 10:11 am IST

People sit in a hall, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, at the train station in Przemysl, Poland March 23, 2022.

People sit in a hall, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, at the train station in Przemysl, Poland March 23, 2022. | Photo Credit: Reuters

NATO is estimating that 7,000 15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in a month of fighting in Ukraine.

The Russian rouble briefly leapt to a three-week high past 95 against the dollar on Wednesday in Moscow, before settling close to 100, after President Vladimir Putin said Russia would start selling its gas to “unfriendly countries” in roubles.

President Vladimir Putin announced Wednesday that Russia will demand that “unfriendly’‘ countries pay for Russian natural gas exports only in rubles from now on.

India, along with 12 other UN Security Council members, abstained on a resolution by Russia on the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. The UN Security Council defeated a Russian resolution that would have acknowledged Ukraine’s growing humanitarian needs -- but without mentioning the Russian invasion that caused the escalating crisis.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urges citizens around the world to take to the streets to stop Russia’s invasion of his country.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has reiterated that his country will not support a no-fly zone over Ukraine or send troops to intervene in the war launched by Russia.

The UN’s International Labour Organization said Wednesday it was halting all technical cooperation with Russia until it stops its war in Ukraine, further isolating Moscow on the world stage.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday called on China to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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 developments


Zelenskyy pleads for aid as Biden, allies begin summits

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for “military assistance without limitations” as he addressed an emergency NATO summit on Thursday, the first of three urgent meetings U.S. President Joe Biden and world leaders are holding in response to the Russian invasion.

Mr. Zelenskyy pleaded for anti-air and anti-ship weapons, asking “is it possible to survive in such a war without this?” “It feels like we’re in a gray area, between the West and Russia, defending our common values,” Mr. Zelenskyy said in his video address to the summit. “This is the scariest thing during a war — not to have clear answers to requests for help!”

A Biden administration official, who requested anonymity to discuss the closed summit, said Mr. Zelenskyy did not repeat his demand for a no-fly zone, a demand NATO already has rejected. Western officials fear such a step would lead to direct conflict between NATO and Russia, which Biden described as a potential World War III. - AP


Putin made ‘big mistake’ invading Ukraine: NATO chief

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of making a “big mistake” by invading Ukraine, as leaders gathered to discuss overhauling the alliance’s eastern defences.

“President Putin has made a big mistake and that is to launch a war against an independent sovereign nation. He has underestimated the strength of the Ukrainian people, the bravery of the Ukrainian people and their armed forces,” Stoltenberg said ahead of a NATO summit in Brussels. -AFP


Moscow stock exchange partially reopens after one-month closure

The Moscow Stock Exchange resumed trading of some shares Thursday, as it continued re-opening after a month-long suspension over Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.

Trading resumed for only around 30 of the largest companies that make up the ruble-denominated MOEX Russia Index, which saw early gains of up to 10 percent. -AFP


Ukraine says Russian landing ship destroyed

Ukraine’s navy on Thursday reported destroying Russia’s large landing ship, Orsk, near the port city of Berdyansk.

A short Facebook statement about the ship was accompanied by photos and videos of fire and thick plumes of smoke in the port.

The Russian military has not commented on what happened to the ship. -AP


Ukraine president pleads for worldwide show of support

Ukraine President Volodymr Zelenskyy called on people worldwide to gather in public on March 24 to show support for his embattled country on the one-month anniversary of the Russian invasion that he said breaks the heart of “every free person on the planet.”

Mr. Zelenskyy — whose video messages have repeatedly riveted the world’s attention — also said he would speak to NATO members by video to ask the alliance to provide “effective and unrestricted” support to Ukraine, including any weapons the country needs to fend off the Russian onslaught.

“Come to your squares, your streets. Make yourselves visible and heard,” Mr. Zelenskyy said in English during an emotional video address late Wednesday that was recorded in the dark near the presidential offices in Kyiv. “Say that people matter. Freedom matters. Peace matters. Ukraine matters.” - AP


Oil sees further gains on sanctions talk, while equities slip

Oil prices extended their gains Thursday on growing fears of further Russia sanctions that could hit already thin supplies, while most equity markets retreated owing to surging inflation and central bank plans to sharply hike interest rates.

The recent rally across equities over the past week appears to have run its course for now as investors nervously track developments in the Ukraine war, with efforts to reach a diplomatic solution crawling along. -AFP


Russian investigative website says reporter killed in Kyiv shelling

Russian investigative website The Insider said on Wednesday that one of its reporters had been killed in Kyiv when Russian forces shelled a suburb where she had been filming damage from an earlier attack.

“Insider journalist Oksana Baulina died during a bombardment in Kyiv while carrying out an editorial assignment ... another civilian died with her,” the outlet, whose editorial offices are based in Latvia, said on its website.

At least five journalists have now died since Russian forces invaded Ukraine last month. -Reuters


Ukraine uses facial recognition to identify dead Russian soldiers, minister says

Ukraine is using facial recognition software to identify the bodies of Russian soldiers killed in combat and to trace their families to inform them of their deaths, Ukraine’s vice prime minister told Reuters.

Reuters exclusively reported that Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense this month began using technology from Clearview AI, a New York-based facial recognition provider that finds images on the web that match faces from uploaded photos. It was not clear at that time how the technology would be used. -Reuters


Zelenskyy calls for ‘unrestricted’ NATO aid

Speaking on the eve of the NATO summit, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on the alliance to provide “effective and unrestricted” support to Ukraine, including any weapons the country needs to fend off the Russian invasion.

“We ask that the alliance declare that it will fully assist Ukraine to win this war, clear our territory of the invaders and restore peace in Ukraine,” he said late Wednesday during his nightly video address to the nation. -AP


U.S. considers freezing Russia’s gold reserves

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen was set to meet with US lawmakers Wednesday to discuss a possible freeze on Russian reserves of gold.

The move comes after several lawmakers introduced the Stop Russian GOLD Act, meant to target Russia’s ability to sell its gold reserves to avoid the impact of sanctions. -AP


Russia expels several American diplomats, declares them ‘persona non grata’: State Department

Russia has expelled several American diplomats from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and declared them “persona non grata”, a State Department spokesperson has said, days after the U.S. ousted Russian staff at the United Nations.

Earlier this month, the U.S. expelled 12 diplomats from Russia’s mission to the UN, saying they engaged in “espionage activities”. The move was described by Russia as a “hostile action” and gross violation of the commitments by the U.S. as the host country of the United Nations headquarters. -PTI


Britain giving Ukraine thousands more missiles

Britain will send thousands more missiles to Ukraine’s government as Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged Western allies to boost the supply of military aid to Ukraine.

Johnson is travelling to Brussels on Thursday for talks with NATO and the leaders of the Group of Seven. He is expected to provide further details of the new British aid during the visit, including the donation of 6,000 more missiles comprising anti-tank and high-explosive weaponry. -AP


Russia setting up defences outside Kyiv

A senior U.S. defence official said Wednesday that Russian ground forces appear to be digging in and setting up defensive positions between 15-20 kilometres (9-12 miles) outside Kyiv, as they continue to make little to no progress moving toward the city center.

The official said it appears the forces are no longer trying to advance into the city and, in some cases east of Kyiv, Ukrainian troops have been able to push Russian soldiers further away. The official said Russian forces had been 20-30 kilometres (12-19 miles) away to the east and northeast and are now about 55 kilometers (34 miles) away. -AP

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