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Russia - Ukraine war news summary | 26 March 2022

The Russian invasion continues as President Biden travels to Poland for meetings on the refugee crisis. Follow our live blog for updates.

Russia - Ukraine war: Live updates


- Russia appears to withdraw troops from Kyiv to focus efforts on the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine

- Spotify announces that it is removing its service from Russia

- Ukrainian forces retake the city of Kherson from Russian control

- Biden says he will "welcome 100,000 Ukrainians to the United States" in European press conference

- EU signs gas deal with US to reduce reliance on Russian exports

- US secretary of state, Antony Blinken: "Members of Russia’s forces have committed war crimes"

- Ukrainian leaders accuse Russia of taking food delivery and aid workers hostage as they were entering Mariupol

- India is working on currency exchange with Russia so that the countries can continue trade

- President Zelenskyy reports that 100,000 people still remain trapped in Mariupol, drone footage captures the destruction

- Russia claims it used a hypersonic missile in Ukraine, what is it?

Russia-Ukraine: Conflict Background

- Foreign fighters like "Wali" are targets of the Russian army

- How many casualties has Russia suffered?

- Sanctions on Russia begin to impact the cost of living around the world

Related News


Russia tactics expected to cause continued civilian casualties - UK intelligence update

In its latest intelligence update on the war in Ukraine, the UK’s Ministry of Defence says Russia can be expected to focus on “indiscriminate use of air and artillery bombardments”, leading to more civilian fatalities, as it bids to minimise its own “considerable” number of casualties.

Russia continues to besiege a number of major Ukrainian cities including Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Mariupol,” the update says.

“Russian forces are proving reluctant to engage in large scale urban infantry operations, rather preferring to rely on the indiscriminate use of air and artillery bombardments in an attempt to demoralise defending forces.

“It is likely Russia will continue to use its heavy firepower on urban areas as it looks to limit its own already considerable losses, at the cost of further civilian casualties.”


The crystal clear wording of what a war crime is

The law of war literally uses the words 'Do not hit schools, do not hit hospitals, do not hit cultural sites.'

David Scheffer, Former US Ambassador at Large for War Crimes

Project to investigate Russian war crimes in Ukraine

Russian forces have been accused of committing numerous atrocities since invading neighboring Ukraine unprovoked. Their grinding seiges of cities have demolished vast amounts of civilian infrastructure in what can only be characterized as intentional.

Of the many horrific acts, the bombing of a theater where people were gathering to evacuate in Mariupol which had the word "children" written on both sides so that it could be seen from the air perhaps stands out the most. 300 people are thought to have died according to officials but continued attacks by the Russians have prevented rescue crews from searching the rubble.


A view of the Russian medieval seige on Mariupol with modern weapons

Mariupol, a strategic port city in southern Ukraine, lies between Russia and Crimea, which it illegally annexed in 2014. The city has been under seige since late February, bombarded without pause.

Russian forces began their attack on the city targeting civilian infrastructure that cut off electricity, communications, food and water, then trapped the city's 430,000 residents inside.


China appears to be getting on board with sanctions on Russia

The Biden administration has been worried that China would help Putin evade crippling sanctions that the West has imposed on Russia for invading Ukriane.

Those concerns have eased to some degree as Chinese businesses and officials have begun to make detailed inquiries into the scope of the sanctions.

However, US officials are also aware that it could be a ruse to poke around for loopholes.


Ukrainian MP praises the work of women in Ukraine's resistance

The defence of Ukraine is being waged by soldiers and civilians alike, with millions of normal people pitching in to help repel the Russian invasion of their nation. Ukrainian MP Lesia Vasylenko has given thanks to the women of the military for their work in defending Ukraine from Russia, describing them as "heroic mothers and their inspiring daughters."

What is the currency of Ukraine, how much is the hryvnia worth and how has its exchange rate changed?

Much of Ukrainian life has been devastated by the Russian invasion, with countless civilians killed and tens of millions of people affected by the fighting. The conflict has also decimated the Ukrainian economy, with the usual trading routes cut off. We take a look at how this has affected the Ukrianian currency. 

Read more


Spotify withdraws service from Russia

The latest Western company to withdraw from Russia is streaming service Spotify, which announced earlier today that the platform would no longer be operational in the country. Spotify had argued that the public service purposes of its platform made it essential for Russian hoping to stay informed about the conflict, but a spate of draconian 'fake news' laws passed in the past few weeks has made it impossible to continue. 


Russian forces appear to shift to Donbas region

After more than one month of the invasion, reports from Ukraine suggest that Russian forces are focusing on taking the Donbas region in the east of the country. The Donbas includes the two break-away regions of Luhansk and Donetsk which were recognised as independent by Russia last month, signalling the start of the invasion. Russia's switch to focus on this area could be an attempt by President Putin to consolidate control of this territory. 


Scale of Russian atrocities in Ukraine become increasingly apparent

There are deeply concerning reports of mass graves being dug in Mariupol, the southeastern city which has suffered relentless attacks from Russian forces in the past few weeks. CNN reports that NATO now has received data suggesting that mass graves have been used to dispose of civilian corpses killed by Russian attacks. 

The official UN count of civilian casualties in the conflict is 1,082, but the real number is thought to be magnitudes higher. 

Has Russia lost military capacity since the beginning of the invasion?

At the start of the war many experts predicted that the numerical advantage of the Russian military would be too great for Ukraine to withstand, with some suggesting that Kyiv could fall in a matter of days. However that has been far from the case and earlier today it was reported that Ukrainian forces had retaken the important city of Kherson, which had fell to Russia at the start of the invasion. 

Ukraine has inflicted serious losses on the Russian military, both in terms of the soldiers killed, and the weapons and vehicles captured or destroyed. We take a look at how the war is going for Russia...

Read more


Protesters in Poland show support for Ukraine

President Biden has been in Poland today, speaking with officials in the NATO country on the border with Ukraine. He has promised to impose tough new sanctions of Russia and offer greater support for the Ukrainian people. There is currently a huge pro-Ukraine demonstration going on in the Polish capital city of Warsaw, reiterating the bond. 


US and Europe unites to reduce dependence on Russian energy

Throughout the Russian invasion of Ukraine the importance of Russia oil and natural gas, which supplies around a third of Europe's total demand, has curbed the effectiveness of sanctions. The United States has been able to implement a ban on all Russian fossil fuel imports, but such a step is not currently possible for many European nations. 

However after talks with the European Union today, President Biden has announced a new partnership to reduce Europe's reliance on Russian fuel and to hurt the Russian economy. 


Ukrainian forces claim Kherson

The New York Times reports that the city of Kherson, the first major city to have fallen to Russia's invasion forces, has been retaken by Ukraine in what could be a telling point in the war. In the early days the Russian forces made relatively quick progress but over the past few weeks Ukrainian resistance has been resolute, even pushing the invaders back in places. 

This is the most significant military movement made so far by Ukraine and would be a major setback for the Kremlin. 


Biden outlines next steps to combat Russian aggression

I’m announcing the United States have prepared to commit more than $1 billion in humanitarian assistance to help get relief to millions of Ukrainians affected by the war in Ukraine.

Many Ukrainian refugees will wish to stay in Europe, closer to their homes.  But we’ve also — will welcome 100,000 Ukrainians to the United States with a focus on reuniting families. 

And we will invest $320 million to bolster democratic resilience and defend human rights in Ukraine and neighboring countries.

We’re also coordinating with the G7 and the European Union on food security, as well as energy security, and I’ll have more to say about that tomorrow.

We’re also announcing new sanctions of more than 400 individuals and entities aligned with — in alignment with the European Union: more than 300 members of the Duma, oligarchs, and Russian defense companies that fuel the Russian war machine.

President Joe Biden, Press conference in Belgium
Does India support Russia's invasion of Ukraine?

As of Friday 25 March, India had not imposed sanctions on the Kremlin or Russian business leaders. CNBC has reported that according to one Indian export association, Russia and India are currently planning to exchange currencies. This move will allow Russia to bypass US and EU sanctions, to some extent. Much of global trade is conducted in US dollars and this move will allow trade between the two nations to continue.

India thus far has taken a much more neutral stance that the United States and its European allies. The country has not sent weapons to Ukraine but rather provided humanitarian assistance and has called for a ceasefire. On March 24,  the Ministry of External Affairs "expressed deep concern at the worsening situation and called for immediate cessation of violence and end to all hostilities."

Read more.


Why are Russian casualties so high?

Some analysts are pointing to overestimates of Russian technological power and neglected to consider logistics. Videos throughout the war have shown Russian vehicles abandoned in mud, as well as tanks fighting alone in streets, a recipe for disaster for crews who become easy targets in urban combat.

The strength of Ukrainian resolve has also been greater than expected, and with the wealth of weapons supplied by NATO they seem to be holding their own.


Civilians continue to take brunt of the fighting in modern war

BBC's correspondent in Ukraine, James Waterhouse, has reported that there have been at least 135 children killed in Ukraine in the one month of fighting so far. This is up from a reported 90 from ten days ago.

Furthermore, 184 have been wounded. As one Twitter user pointed out in their reply, wounded, for many of these children, will mean lost limbs and serious wounds.


US and EU have agreed a major deal on liquefied natural gas

(Reuters) - The United States will supply the European Union with more liquefied natural gas (LNG) to help curb its reliance on Russian fossil fuels, US President Joe Biden said on Friday, as EU leaders met to deal with an energy crunch triggered by the war.

The pact, announced during a visit by Biden to Brussels, follows a day of three summits in the city where leaders lambasted Russia's invasion of Ukraine and offered fresh support to Kyiv.

Drone footage shows colossal damage as explosions hit factories in Mariupol

The port city of Mariupol, has been a large barrier to the Russian invasion. Mariupol has been surrounded by Russian forces and as many as 300,000 civilians are still trapped within the city. Russia demanded that Ukraine surrender the city, promising that they would create safe corridors for civilians to leave the city, but Ukraine refused.

Attempts at rescue for the trapped civilians have failed due to the complete loss of social services in the city.

Read more

Has Russia lost military capacity since the beginning of the invasion?

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is a month old and the expectation of a war over "within 72 hours," the Russians have yet to conquer Kyiv. Much of the east is under huge bombardment, as well as the siege of Mariupol in the south which has harkened minds back to some of the most vicious sieges in modern history.

Read more


First footage inside Mariupol theatre released

The footage, which was shared on social media site Telegram, has been verified by various news outlets.

 part of the three-storey building, which was being used as a bomb shelter by civilians in the encircled port, had completely collapsed after being struck by Russian missiles. As many as 300 people are feared dead after the attack.

Ukraine's Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba called the assault "another horrendous war crime", which targeted "hundreds of innocent civilians" in hiding.


Mariupol bombing kills at least 300

When the Mariupol theatre was struck March 16, an enormous inscription reading “CHILDREN” was posted outside in Russian, intended to be visible from the skies above. More than 1,000 people were though to be sheltering from bombardment inside.

The latest drone footage released Tuesday, March 22, shows huge explosions at factories and industrial buildings, showing that the ruthless bombardment is not letting up.

What are hypersonic missiles, how do they work and why has Russia used them in Ukraine?

With the backdrop of discussions around chemical weapons, Russia has been using other special weapons in its invasion.

Russia’s Ministry of Defence confirmed last Saturday that the Kremlin had approved the use of Kinzhal hypersonic missiles against military targets in Ukraine. The Defence Ministry said the hypersonic weapons had been used to destroy a “large underground warehouse of missiles and aviation ammunition” in Deliatyn, in eastern Ukraine.

Read more


More high level EU politicians visit Kyiv despite danger

The Speakers of the Parliaments of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia traveled to Kyiv to meet face to face with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Although the Ukrainian forces have made advances in pushing the invading Russian forces back from the capital city the trip to and from is still risky. 

The four signed a joint statement on the need to urgently modernize Ukraine's air defense system. 


Use of chemical weapons "would trigger a response in kind"

As the humanitarian crisis deepens in Ukraine and the war goes badly for President Putin's forces their are fears he may use chemical weapons to terrorize Ukraine into submission. President Biden said that such a move by the Russians "would trigger a response in kind." He added that response would be made by the alliance at that time.

Biden refused to elaborate on what measures would be taken.


Hello and welcome to AS USA coverage of the Russia-Ukraine for March 25. Ukrainian forces continue to stall the progress of Russian troops.

It is now one month since the beginning of the invasion, as Ukrainian forces continue to stall the progress of Russian troops. Foreign leaders have negotiated a deal to wean Europe of off reliance on Russian gas.