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Russia - Ukraine war | News summary for 21 March

Update:
All the latest news and information on the Russian invasion as Kremlin-ordered military strikes continue to bombard the Ukrainian cities of Kyiv and Mariupol.

Russia-Ukraine conflict: live updates

Russian invasion of Ukraine headlines

- Brussels begins consideration of Ukraine's emergency EU application

- President Biden will set off for his European tour later this week

- White House says that Russia could be planning a cyber attack on US critical infrastructure.

- Authorities in Mariupol rejectthe Russian order of surrender

- Military experts believe that Russia and Ukraine will enter a stalemate which could lead to more aerial strikes on the part of the Russians.

- In speech to Israeli Knesset, President Zelensky urges lawmakers to take a stronger stand against Russia’s actions

- Eight people killed in Monday morning attack on Kyiv shopping center

- 10 million Ukrainians have fled their homes since the conflict began, says UN

- Russia reportedly bombs Mariupol art school sheltering 400 civilians and confirms the use of hypersonic missiles

Russia - Ukraine conflict information

- Putin and many others who support the war in Ukraine have made accusations that the country is full of Nazis. Where do these accusations stem from?

- Can families in the US sponsor Ukrainian refugees?

- Internet access has dropped by 15 percnet in Ukraine. How has Starlink helped?

- What are the key dates for Russia to pay its state bonds?

Related News

Russian forces making "limited progress" - UK intelligence update

In its latest intelligence update on the war in Ukraine, the UK’s Ministry of Defence says Russian forces continue to make “limited progress”.

“Despite heavy fighting, Ukrainian forces continue to repulse Russian attempts to occupy the southern city of Mariupol,” the update says.

“Russian forces elsewhere in Ukraine have endured yet another day of limited progress with most forces largely stalled in place."

It added: “Several Ukrainian cities continue to suffer heavy Russian air and artillery bombardment with the UN reporting that more than 10 million Ukrainians are now internally displaced as a result of Russia’s invasion."

WORLD NEWS

Can the Russian economic crisis and sanctions affect the US living cost?

Russia has been under sanctions for more than three weeks after their botched invasion of Ukraine. Videos have emerged of desperate Russians scrambling for packets of sugar, as commodities that feel like basics for many have become the latest battleground for a government intent on war.

The sanctions are there to force the Russian government to back own, or at least come to the negotiating table. There has reportedly been good progress in talks between Russia and Ukraine in the last week, but large differences still remain between the two parties.

Read more

Ukrainian holocaust survivor killed in Russian attack

A Ukrainian man who survived the Nazi Holocaust during World War Two has been killed during a Russian attack on the eastern city of Kharkiv. Boris Romantschenko, 96, died during Russian shelling of his apartment block on Friday.

"We mourn the loss of a close friend. We wish his son and granddaughter, who brought us the sad news, a lot of strength in these difficult times," The Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation, of which Romantschenko was vice-president, said in a statement.

GLOBAL NEWS

How are Elon Musk's "Starlink" satellites connecting Ukrainians?

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Internet Society Pulse, an online group that tracks global internet usage has seen a fifteen percent decrease in usage across the country. Russian cyber attacks as well as those on physical infrastructure have severely limited the ability of Ukrainians to access the internet.

Elon Musk has stepped in and provided Starlink terminals to Ukraine to help people connect. Read our full coverage for more on how Starlink works and what Elon Musk has said about the invasion.

President Biden spoke to European leaders just before he prepares for his trip across the Atlantic

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke today with President Emmanuel Macron of France, Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany, Prime Minister Mario Draghi of Italy, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom.  The leaders discussed their serious concerns about Russia’s brutal tactics in Ukraine, including its attacks on civilians. They underscored their continued support for Ukraine, including by providing security assistance to the brave Ukrainians who are defending their country from Russian aggression, and humanitarian assistance to the millions of Ukrainians who have fled the violence. The leaders also reviewed recent diplomatic efforts in support of Ukraine’s effort to reach a ceasefire.

White House , Readout of President Joe Biden’s Call with President Macron of France, Chancellor Scholz of Germany, Prime Minister Draghi of Italy, Prime Minister Johnson of the United Kingdom

Does the public support the actions taken by the federal government in Ukraine?

Morning Consult is conducting weekly polling to gauge how the public sees the actions taken by the United States to support Ukrainians and combat Russian aggression. This week they found that around a third of voters believed that the US was not doing enough. This rate was around forty-one percent for Republicans which is interesting because they also had the lowest rate of concern for the invasion.

Additionally only around half of Republicans said that they supported sanctions against Russia, which is ten points lower than the rate captured by Democrats.

More than 10,000 Ukrainains have fled their homes since the invasion began

Staff rotation completed at Chernobyl nuclear power plant after more than three weeks

When fighting broke out around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant on 24 February, the staff at the site became effectively stuck. The UN International Atomic Energy Agency have reported that the staff of around 200 have been able to rotate and receive some much needed rest.

Stress has been extreamly high at the facility especially after the plant lost a connection to electricity for multiple days.  In a press release the UN organization said that they continue to be worried "about the well-being of the Ukrainian staff at the Chornobyl NPP" and "welcomed the completion of the staff rotation and again praised them for their courage and tireless efforts in carrying out their vital work tasks during extremely difficult and stressful conditions in the presence of foreign military forces."

WORLD NEWS

Will Biden go to Russia and Ukraine on his European trip?

Meeting with NATO members will take place in Europe this week. President Biden will be traveling to Brussels to attend and then make a stop in Poland. This comes as a stalemate between Russian and Ukrainian forces is being predicted by NATO military intelligence specialists.

Read our full coverage for more on the trip and any potential plans to travel to Ukraine or Russia.

Eight people have been confirmed dead after a Russian airstrike targeted a shopping center in Ukraine earlier today.

Q) We are receiving reports that Ukrainians are being arrested and deported to remote places in Russia. Has the US seen tehse reports.

Jen Psaki: The reports have been seen but not confirmed by US intelligence.

Q) Will President Biden go to Ukraine?

Jen Psaki: This option has not been explored. There was confusion on this point. Any President of the United States traveling to a war zone requires a large security apparatus and at this point that is not through to be available. The President believes that he will be able to accomplish his goals without a stop in Kiev.

The United States is looking into how they can adjust immigration laws to see if more can be done beyond the humanitarian assisstance that has been provided. One option would be to allow resettlement of refugees who would not be safe to remain in Europe.

White House Press Conference on Ukraine & Cyber Security

Russia's Foreign Ministry has said that the diplomatic relations are on the verse of fracture... Ambassador Sullivan did meet with Russian officials today and during that meeting he asked for consular access to US detainees. 

Russia has said that comments from President Biden that President Putin is a war criminal were unaccetable. The White House stands by this assertion.

White House Press Conference on Ukraine & Cyber Security

Q) The EU is looking into sanctions on energy, what would the US do to back fill if the EU bans Russian energy resources?

Jen Psaki: The US is talking with global energy companies to see if they can increase production. These conversations are also taking place with domestic producers as well.

White House Press Conference on Ukraine & Cyber Security

Q) Is there any money to provide diesel fuel to Ukrainian farmers?

Jen Psaki: We are not expecting a food shortage in the US but shortages of wheat, fuel, and fertilizers, could increase the price across the world. This could have damaging impacts for Africa, South East Asian, and the Middle East and the White House is working with allies to prevent shortages in these parts of the world.

Q) What is the timeline to take action?

Actions are being taken now, and while they may not be showing an impact on the market, we expect a lag.

White House Press Conference on Ukraine & Cyber Security

Q) Domestic oil producers could ramp up production, is there any thought about the defense production act when it comes to energy?

Jen Psaki: This would mean that the US would have to give money to these companies and it is the belief of the White House that these companies have money to increase production themselves.

White House Press Conference on Ukraine & Cyber Security

Q) Does the US believe that the military situation is reaching a stalemate?

Jen Psaki: There could be Russian moral issues. Things can change rapidly. The US sees the military sitution, outside of Mariupol, as static, but this could change.

White House Press Conference on Ukraine & Cyber Security

Q) Would condemnation from China on Russia's invasion make a difference?

Jen Psaki: The President does believe vocal condemnation would be helpful.

White House Press Conference on Ukraine & Cyber Security

Q) Does the US want soft veto power during their negociations with Russia?

Jen Psaki: If it relates to the US or NATO, then the US would like to be made aware.

White House Press Conference on Ukraine & Cyber Security

Q) If diplomatic talks do not work out, this could lead to World War III?

Jen Psaki: The best way to avoid World War III is to ensure that the US does not enter into direct confrontation with Russia. This includes NATO too.

White House Press Conference on Ukraine & Cyber Security

The White House is in touch with Ukrainian officials every day. During those calls, the administration says that they support any diplomatic negotiations they hold with Russian officials.

White House Press Conference on Ukraine & Cyber Security

President Biden held a call with EU allies including leaders from France. Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom. The allies agreed to continue their support to the Ukrainian military and humanitarian assistance to countries that have accepted those fleeing the conflict.

The leaders have agreed to keep doors of communication open and consistent calls will happen going forward.

White House Press Conference on Ukraine & Cyber Security

Russia has conducted cyber attacks in Ukraine.

White House Press Conference on Ukraine & Cyber Security

Q) What industries are being targeted?

WH -- No, because the White House would like to see a variety of sectors should take the steps necessary. Those who the White House believes need to know, have been made aware of the situation.

White House Press Conference on Ukraine & Cyber Security

Q) Is a cyber attack imminent?

WH -- At this point, there is an evolving threat to critical infrastructure and the administration is working with companies to encourage them to their duty to protect the country.

White House Press Conference on Ukraine & Cyber Security

"The majority of our critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector." says Neuberger. This is why encouraging those companies to take action is of critical interest in securing national secutiry.

White House Press Conference on Ukraine & Cyber Security

President Biden has taken steps to protect the US against a cyber attack from Russia. The White House believes that the Russian government is preparing a cyber attack on critical infrastructure, but at that point this cannot be confirmed.

At this point the White House is encouraging businesses to bolster their cyber security in light of this increased threat. Additionally, the NSA and FBI have released guidance for how busiesses can protect themselves.

More info on the steps that are being taken can be found here.

White House Press Conference will begin shortly

Throughout the press conference which will be hosted by Press Secretary Jen Psaki and Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology Anne Neuberger, we will be brining you live updates related to the ongoing war in Ukraine.

UN: More than 6.5 million people have been internally displacement by the Russian invasion

The United Nations is reporting that of the ten million people who have had to flee their homes during the fighting, 6.5 million are internally dispalced. This means that while they cannot return to their home, they haven't left the country.

What will a stalemate between Russia and Ukraine mean for the war?

Many military experts now believe that the Russia and Ukraine war is headed towards a stalemate where neither side is able to advance further. This is largely due to the stregth and determination of Ukrainian forces who have mandaged to defend Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, since the invasion began in late Februray. Some worry that this could lead Russia to increase their aereal attacks on cities across the country to demoralize Ukrainian troops and increase the ability of ground troops to cease cities.

WORLD NEWS

Who will President Biden meet on his trip to Europe?

Tensions in Eastern Europe have reached levels not seen since the Soviet after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in the early hours of 24 February. Ukraine has so-far managed to repel the invading forces but the Russian military actions have become increasingly desperate and civilians are now being actively targeted.

In a White House statement, Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed: “On Friday, March 25, President Biden will travel to Warsaw, Poland, where he will hold a bilateral meeting with President Andrzej Duda.”

Read our full coverage for more information on who President Biden will meet with.

WORLD NEWS

What has happened to the residents of Mariupol? Where have they moved to?

The situation on the ground in Mariupol appears to be worsening by the day as residents look to withstand a sustained bombardment from the vast Russian military. The Kremlin has mercilessly attacked the city, causing damage to around 80% of Mariupol's infrastructure, and has been increasingly willing to hit civilian targets like apartment blocks and even hospitals. 

Read more

David Beckham gives social media accounts to Ukrainian doctor

To raise awareness of the amazing work being done by healthcare workers in Ukraine in the midst of an invasion, soccer icon David Beckham has handed his social media accounts to a Ukrainian doctor to highlight the struggles. In recent weeks Russian military strikes on civilian targets have sadly become more common and their are numerous confirmed instances of bombs hitting hospitals in the country's major cities. 

Footage shows heroic rescue efforts in Mariupol

For the past week the southeastern city of Mariupol has faced a bombard of shelling from Russian forces with bombs and artillery hitting civilian target all across the city. Recent estimates from local authorities suggest that 80% of the city's infrastructure has been damaged in the ongoing attacks. 

This news report shows incredible footage of the rescue efforts on the ground as firefighters and other emergency response teams battle to save civilians caught up in the relentless attack from the Russian military. 

Zelenskyy addresses German citizens

"We have warned your politicians that it is dangerous when Moscow decides whether you have gas and how much it costs. We said that sanctions were needed to prevent this war from the start."

"And when Russian missiles hit 20 km from the NATO borders, when Russian tanks fired directly at our nuclear power plant, then it finally became clear to everyone that you must listen to Ukraine."

"You must support us because your life depends on it, too. Do not sponsor Russia's military machine, not a single euro for the occupiers. Close all your ports for them, do not supply goods, give up Russian energy resources. Press Russia to leave Ukraine."

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine

Footage shows strike on Kyiv shopping centre

Footage obtained by Kyiv Independent purportedly shows a missile strikehitting a shopping mall in a civilian area of Kyiv, the Ukrianian capital which has been bombarded for weeks. Local authorities have confirmed that eight people died in the attack and city Mayor Vitali Klitschko tweeted that their had been a number of attacks on Sunday. 

On Monday rescue workers sifted through the rubble in the hope of finding survivors and firefighters have been working around the clock to extinguish a fire that broke out in the aftermath of the strike. 

WORLD NEWS

Why is Mariupol an important place for Russia in the invasion?

The southeastern city of Mariupol has been under sustained attack from Russian forces in recent weeks, but why is it such a target for the invading military? 

Located in the Donetsk Oblast, Mariupol is home to nearly 450,000 people and it boasts a strong industrial economy on the coast of the Black Sea. This location, combined with its fifty industrial sites, makes it a strategic target for Russia. 

Read more

Mariupol has been destroyed by continued Russian bombardment

The city of Mariupol in southeastern Ukraine has been the target of sustained Russian shelling for weeks, facing the brunt of the Kremlin's advances from the coast. Ukrainian authorities rejected Russian demands for a surrender by 5am Monday morning, but the cost of the prolonged attacks is clear to see. It is estimated that 80% of the city's buildings have been destroyed or damaged in the past four weeks. 

How is the Russian invasion of Ukraine going?

In a word, badly. Despite their vas military superiority the Russian forces invading Ukraine have failed to capture any major cities and have suffered huge losses. Loca media outlet Kyiv Independent estimates that around 15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed as part of the invasion which began four weeks ago. 

Along with that shocking number, it is thought that Ukrainian forces have managed to destroy, or even capture, a lot of equipment and vehicles from the invading forces. 

White House announces Biden visit to Eastern Europe

This week, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. will travel to Poland following his meetings in Brussels, Belgium with our NATO Allies, G7 Leaders, and European Union Leaders to discuss international efforts to support Ukraine and impose severe and unprecedented costs on Russia for its invasion.

On Friday, March 25, President Biden will travel to Warsaw, Poland, where he will hold a bilateral meeting with President Andrzej Duda. The President will discuss how the United States, alongside our Allies and partners, is responding to the humanitarian and human rights crisis that Russia’s unjustified and unprovoked war on Ukraine has created.

Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary

Russian tanks slowed in boggy terrain

Many had expected the Russian invasion of Ukraine to bring a swift victory for the Kremlin but the vast Russian military has failed to capture any major cities and a huge convoy has struggled to cover much ground. There are suspicions that the boggy conditions on the ground are frustrating the movement of tanks. 

Biden to visit Eastern Europe to discuss situation in Ukraine

The White house has confirmed that President Joseph Biden will travel to Poland on Friday to discuss the international response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The continued invasion and attacks on civilians constitute a "humanitarian and human rights crisis," said White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

Biden will travel to Warsaw where he will hold a bilateral meeting with President Andrzej Duda. Over 2 million refugees have entered Poland from Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion on Feb. 24.

Biden's Poland trip will come a day after he meets in Brussels with NATO Allies, G7 Leaders and European Union Leaders to discuss international efforts to support Ukraine after Russia's invasion.

Biden will host a call Monday at 11am EST with President Emmanuel Macron of France, Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany, Prime Minister Mario Draghi of Italy, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom to discuss their coordinated responses to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

New Zealand to provide more assistance to Ukraine

New Zealand said it will provide Ukraine with a further $3.46 million in funds and non-lethal military assistance including some surplus equipment. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the money would be primarily directed to a NATO Trust Fund that provides fuel, rations, communication equipment and first aid kits to support Ukraine as its battles Russian forces.

"We consider what is happening in Ukraine as a massive disruption to the international rules-based order and because of that it impacts all of us and that's why we have taken these extraordinary measures," said Ardern.

The New Zealand Defense Force will provide tactical equipment such as body armor, helmets and vests.

New Zealand has also imposed sanctions on Russia and arranged a special visa for Ukrainians with New Zealand connections.

Ukainian chemical plant reports ammonia leak

There is an ammonia leak at a chemical plant in the northeastern Ukrainian city of Sumy besieged by Russian troops, according to Sumy regional governor Dmytro Zhyvytskyy.

Zhyvytskyy did not say what had caused the leak at the Sumykhimprom plant but it is thought to have been the result of sustained Russian shelling in the area. He said a five-kilometer radius around the plant was hazardous.

Neighbouring countries approach caacity for Ukrainian refugees

Central European officials have voiced their concern that they are nearing full capacity to house Ukrainian refugees who are now taking shelter in temporary accommodation. With Ukrainian men being obliged to stay and help fight the Russian invaders, most of the refugees are women and children.

Most of those seeking refuge arrived in Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia. As the crisis in Ukraine continues there will now have to be greater onus for countries further afield and in Western Europe to offer shelter to those dispolaced by the invasion. 

Hello and welcome to AS USA

Nearly four weeks after Russian forces first launched a full-scale invasion, the Ukrainian people continue to mount a fierce defence of their homeland. The Kremlin has issued a deadline of 5am (Moscow Time) on Monday for the beseiged city of Mariupol to surrender, but Ukraine has flatly refused to engage. 

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