Russia-Ukraine crisis live updates | Ukraine retakes key Kyiv suburb; battle for Mariupol rages

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

March 22, 2022 10:52 am | Updated 05:25 pm IST

People examine the damage after shelling of a shopping center, in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 21, 2022.

People examine the damage after shelling of a shopping center, in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 21, 2022. | Photo Credit: AP

Russia’s attack on Ukraine continued with the Pentagon saying Russia is boosting air and sea military operations in Ukraine, flying more than 300 missions in the past 24 hours.

At least eight people are killed in the bombing of a shopping centre in northwest Kyiv. Russia claims the mall was used to store rocket systems.

Meanwhile, Russia abandoned talks with Japan aimed at signing a formal World War II peace treaty, due to Tokyo's tough response on Moscow's military action in Ukraine.

Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky renewed an offer of direct peace talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin late Monday, declaring the status of disputed territories could be up for debate and a possible referendum.

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:

Rome

Zelensky warns Russia war could lead to famine in other nations

Russia's attack on Ukraine risks causing famine in countries around the world, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told the Italian parliament on Tuesday, urging greater help to defeat the invaders.

In his latest address to Western lawmakers, Mr Zelenskiy said via a video link that his people were clinging to survival, with the Russian military devastating Ukrainian cities and slaughtering civilians.

"For Russian troops, Ukraine is the gates of Europe, where they want to break in, but barbarism must not be allowed to pass," he said, adding that the consequences of the war were already being felt in many parts of the world.

"The most terrible thing will be the famine that is approaching for some countries. Ukraine has always been one of the largest food exporters, but how can we sow (crops) under the strikes of Russian artillery?

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Ukraine

Ukraine retakes key Kyiv suburb; battle for Mariupol rages

Ukrainian forces said they retook a strategically important suburb of the capital early Tuesday, while Russia’s attack on the embattled southern port of Mariupol raged unabated, with fleeing civilians describing relentless bombardments and corpses lying in the streets.

While Russian forces carried on with the siege of Mariupol after the southern port city’s defenders refused demands to surrender, the Kremlin’s ground offensive in other parts of the country advanced slowly or not at all, knocked back by lethal hit-and-run attacks by the Ukrainians.

Early Tuesday, Ukrainian troops forced Russian forces out of the Kyiv suburb of Makariv after a fierce battle, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said. The regained territory allowed Ukrainian forces to retake control of a key highway and block Russian troops from surrounding Kyiv from the northwest.-AP

Poland

OYO to offer free accommodation to Ukraine refugees

Homegrown hospitality technology platform OYO on Tuesday said it will offer free accommodation to refugees fleeing Ukraine.

Starting with Poland, the company has initiated concerted efforts to appeal to its 600-plus Belvilla homeowners on its platform in Poland to open their holiday homes to refugees.

“These stays will be free for refugees who cannot pay for them, and the costs will be borne by the company and its homeowners, who volunteer to host refugees. The company will support administratively, and help cover operational expenses incurred by the homeowners,” OYO said in a statement.

Commenting on the move, OYO founder and Group CEO Ritesh Agarwal said, “We are deeply inspired by our homeowners who are opening their homes and hearts to people in dire need. We are committed to supporting them and driving this effort in every way we can. We will continue to explore every avenue to ensure all possible support for refugees in European countries”.-PTI

Ukraine

Ukraine announces no new agreements with Russia on corridors to evacuate civilians

 Ukraine said on Tuesday its efforts to evacuate civilians from besieged towns and cities were focused on the city of Mariupol but did not announce any new agreement with Russia to allow safe passage for trapped residents.

“We are focusing on evacuations from Mariupol,” Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.

She listed a number of places from where buses would try to evacuate civilians but Mariupol was not among them. She also made no mention of any new agreements with Russia on establishing “humanitarian corridors” to evacuate civilians. -Reuters

Mariupol, Ukraine

Civilians fleeing Mariupol describe street-to-street battles

Civilians making the dangerous escape from Ukraine’s embattled southern port of Mariupol described fleeing through street-to-street gun battles and past unburied corpses as a steady Russian bombardment tried to pound the city into submission.

While Russian forces carried on with the siege after the city’s defenders refused demands to surrender, the Kremlin’s ground offensive in other parts of the country advanced slowly or not at all, knocked back by lethal hit-and-run attacks by the Ukrainians.

The Ukrainian army said early Tuesday that it had forced Russian troops out of a strategically important Kyiv suburb following a fierce battle. The regained territory allowed Ukrainian forces to retake control of a key highway to the west and block Russian troops from surrounding Kyiv from the northwest.-AP

Ukraine

Zelensky renews offer of Putin talks

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky renewed an offer of direct peace talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin late Monday, declaring the status of disputed territories could be up for debate and a possible referendum.

Zelensky told local media that he was ready to meet Putin “in any format” to discuss ending the almost one-month-old war that has shattered several Ukrainian cities.

Zelensky said even the status of Russian-occupied Crimea and Russian-backed statelets in Donbas was up for debate.-AFP

Kyiv

Russian troops forced out of Kyiv suburb: Ukrainian army

The Ukrainian army said it forced Russian troops out of Makariv, a strategically important Kyiv suburb, after a fierce battle.

That prevents Russian forces from encircling the capital from the northwest, the Defence Ministry said.-AP

U.S.A.

Biden says Putin considering using chemical, biological weapons in Ukraine

US President Joe Biden said Monday that it’s “clear” Russia is considering the use of chemical and biological weapons in Ukraine and warned of a “severe” Western response if it chose to do so.

“His back is against the wall,” said Biden of Russian President Vladimir Putin, noting that Russia has recently accused the United States of holding chemical and biological weapons in Europe.

“Simply not true. I guarantee you,” he told a gathering of US business leaders in Washington.

“They are also suggesting that Ukraine has biological and chemical weapons in Ukraine. That’s a clear sign he’s considering using both of those,” he said.-AFP

Russia

Telegram surpasses WhatsApp to become Russia’s top messenger

Telegram has overtaken WhatsApp to become Russia's most popular messaging tool, the mobile operator Megafon said on Monday, with Russians flocking to the service as Moscow restricts some digital services.

WhatsApp owner Meta Platforms Inc is embroiled in a Russian court case, with prosecutors seeking to label it an "extremist organisation", and authorities have actively promoted Telegram as they have banned other foreign platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

U.S.A.

Biden calls India 'shaky' in Russia confrontation

U.S. President Joe Biden said Monday that India was an exception among Washington's allies with its "shaky" response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Mr. Biden lauded the U.S.-led alliance, including NATO, the European Union and key Asian partners, for its united front against President Vladimir Putin.

Russia

Russia drops peace talks with Japan over Ukraine

Russia said on Monday it was abandoning talks with Japan aimed at signing a formal World War II peace treaty, due to Tokyo's tough response on Moscow's military action in Ukraine.

Russia responded after Japan acted with Group of Seven partners to pressure Moscow over its actions in Ukraine with a series of sanctions on Russian financial institutions and chip exports.

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