Russia - Ukraine war summary: 27 March 2022
- The so-called Luhansk People’s Republic plans to hold referendum to join Russia
- President Biden says that Putin "cannot remain in power"
- Anthony Blinken clarifies that the US has no intention of regime change in Russia or anywhere
- One month into the war, reports show that Russia will withdraw troops from Kyiv to boost fighting in the Donbas region.
- Negotiations between Russia and Ukraine continue, no agreements made on a ceasefire, security guarantees, no compromises on territorial integrity reports, says Ukraine''s Minster of Foreign Affairs
- Ukrainian forces retake the city of Kherson from Russian control
- EU signs gas deal with US to reduce reliance on Russian exports
- India is working on currency exchange with Russia so that the countries can continue trade
Russia-Ukraine: Conflict Background
- Foreign fighters like "Wali" are targets of the Russian army
- How many casualties has Russia suffered?
Ukraine says Russian forces near Chernobyl could pose new radiation threat
A senior Ukrainian official accused Russia of "irresponsible" acts around the occupied Chernobyl power station that could send radiation across much of Europe, and urged the United Nations to dispatch a mission to assess the risks.
Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said Russian forces were "militarizing" the exclusion zone around the station.
Russian forces, she said, were transporting large amounts of old and badly maintained weapons, creating a risk of damaging the containment vessel constructed around the station's wrecked fourth reactor.
And Russian forces were preventing firefighters from bringing under control large numbers of fires in the zone.
"In the context of nuclear safety, the irresponsible and unprofessional actions of Russian servicemen present a very serious threat not only to Ukraine but to hundreds of millions of Europeans," Vereshchuk said.
"We therefore demand that the UN Security Council adopt immediate measures to demilitarize the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl station as well as dispatching a special mission to eliminate the risks of any repeat of the Chernobyl accident resulting from the actions of Russian occupying forces," she said.
Russian tankers concealing their movements
Russian tankers ferrying products are going dark and there are fears they are trying to evade sanctions that have been put in place because of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Greenpeace is using ship traffic data to track the movements of Russian oil tankers. The organization's tracker gives the public a tool for making sure that the US and other governments which have committed to banning Russian oil and gas would be held accountable for their promises.
The project makes use of a bot that updates automatically, using data from Marine Traffic API services.
Ukraine will insist on sovereignty and territorial integrity at the next round of peace negotiations with Russia that are to take place in Turkey, according to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
"Our priorities in the negotiations are known: sovereignty, territorial integrity of Ukraine are beyond doubt," Zelensky said in his nightly video address.
"Effective guarantees of security are a must. Obviously, our goal is peace and return to normal life in our country as soon as possible."
French retailer Auchan says it plans to remain in Russia, Ukraine calls for boycott
Privately-owned French retailer Auchan plans to maintain its presence in Russia, its CEO said in an interview published in the French newspaper Journal du Dimanche on Sunday, prompting Ukraine to call for a boycott of the international chain.
Auchan, which has around 30,000 staff, 231 stores and e-commerce activities in Russia, has already been criticised by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for remaining operational in Russia after the invasion of Ukraine.
In the interview published on Sunday, Auchan's chief executive Yves Claude said he feared the company risked losing assets or exposing local managers to potential legal troubles if it pulled out of Russia.
The firm would also remain in Ukraine, Claude said, where its 43 supermarkets and around 6,000 staff, including in regions hit by the war, were operating under "extreme conditions".
"The most important in our eyes is to maintain our employees and ensure our primary mission, which is to continue feeding the populations of these two countries," Claude said.
Responding to the report, Ukraine's foreign minister called for a boycott of Auchan and all of its products.
"Apparently, job losses in Russia are more important than the loss of life in Ukraine," Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter.
Germany doing everything possible to help Ukraine, Scholz says
Germany is doing everything it can to help Ukraine, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Sunday. "We are doing everything in our power that's possible and that makes sense, including delivering weapons," Scholz told public broadcaster ARD.
Ukraine deputy PM says 1,100 people evacuated on Sunday
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said 1,100 people were evacuated from frontline areas on Sunday.
Russian aluminium billionaire Deripaska warns of long war in Ukraine
Russian aluminium tycoon Oleg Deripaska said on Sunday that U.S. President Joe Biden's speech in Warsaw indicated that some sort of "hellish ideological mobilisation" was underway that may usher in a long conflict in Ukraine.
Deripaska, the founder of Russian aluminium giant Rusal who has previously called for peace, said his personal opinion was that the conflict in Ukraine was "madness" which would bring shame on generations to come.
Deripaska, who has been sanctioned by the United States and Britain, did not assign explicit blame for the conflict but said both the United States and Russia had sharpened their rhetoric.
Deripaska said he had hoped that the conflict could have ended weeks ago but that Biden's speech - in which the U.S. president spoke about a much broader conflict between democracy and autocracy - indicated it could last much longer.
"Now some sort of hellish ideological mobilisation is underway from all sides," Deripaska said on Telegram. "That's it: these people are preparing to fight for a few years more." "It appears all sides are recklessly gearing for a long-term war that will have tragic consequences for the entire world."
The United States in 2018 imposed sanctions on Deripaska and other influential Russians because it said they were profiting from a Russian state engaged in "malign activities" around the world.
Ukrainian mourners ignore missile risks to attend military funerals
The clouds of black smoke hanging over Lviv's skyline had scarcely cleared overnight when mourners began gathering in Lviv on Sunday to bury Ukrainian soldiers killed in the war against Russia.
Even as firefighters hosed down an oil depot struck by rockets the day before, a crowd assembled at Saints Peter and Paul Garrison Church in Ukraine's western capital, just 60km from the border with Poland.
“I knew that the churches would be very crowded today. I was so worried about today,” said 70-year old retiree Liubov Odnorih.
She was one of many crammed into the ornate Ukrainian Greek Catholic church for the funeral of two soldiers killed in other parts of the country.
It was the youth of those dying in battle that struck the priest, Roman Vysochanskii, “I came and looked at the burial plots for so many of them, I saw that the children for whom I cry are younger than my own.”
Ukrainian 'Fight Club' craft beer brewed in Lviv
Pravda beer restaurant in Lviv have started brewing a new craft beer with a specially-designed can featuring illustrations of prominent Ukrainians: Oleksiy Reznikov, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, Dmytro Kuleba, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Oleksiy Arestovych, Andriy Yermak and Vitaliy Kim as "Fight Club" members.
The advertising slogan reads: "Fights will go on as long as they have to".
(Photo: Yuriy Dyachyshyn / AFP)
Turkey's Erdogan stresses need for ceasefire in telephone call with Putin
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in a telephone call on Sunday that a ceasefire and better humanitarian conditions were needed following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, his office said in a statement.
"Erdogan noted the importance of a ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine, the implementation of peace and the improvement of humanitarian conditions in the region," his office said in a readout of the call. It added they agreed the next round of peace committee talks between Ukraine and Russia would be held in Istanbul.
Earlier on Sunday, Ukrainian negotiator David Arakhamia said the next round of face to face talks between Ukraine and Russia will take place in Turkey on 28-30 March.
Zelenskyy: Ukraine prepared to discuss neutrality status
Ukraine is prepared to discuss adopting a neutral status as part of a peace deal with Russia but it would have to be guaranteed by third parties and put to a referendum, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in an interview aired on Sunday.
Speaking to a group of Russian journalists via video call, Zelenskyy said Russia's invasion had caused the destruction of Russian-speaking cities in Ukraine, and said the damage was worse than the Russian wars in Chechnya.
Humanitarian aid for Ukraine is dwindling, says health official
The amount of humanitarian aid arriving in Ukraine is beginning to wane even as the Russian bombardment persists, Ukrainian Deputy Health Minister Oleksii Iaremenko said on Sunday.
Speaking in a cargo warehouse near Warsaw's Chopin airport during a delivery of medical equipment facilitated by charity Direct Relief, Iaremenko said he was grateful to the international community for the relief provided so far. The shipment bound for Ukraine included everything from metal beds to gauze to asthma inhalers and oxygen concentrators. But more support was desperately needed, Iaremenko added, calling on other organisations to send aid.
"For the last week what we see that the level of humanitarian support is a little bit down. We hope that it will be some pause to find new resources and because Russian aggression are increasing and they are bombing civilians," he told Reuters. "What we are asking, if you can support, please support right now. Don't wait for weeks and months, because we need the support right now."
Next round of Ukraine-Russia talks will take place in Turkey
The next round of face-to-face peace talks between Ukraine and Russia will take place in Turkey on 28-30 March, Ukrainian negotiator David Arakhamia said on social media on Sunday. Ukraine described previous talks with Russia, launched after Russia unleashed an invasion last month, as "very difficult".
Macron calls for restraint in words and actions regarding Ukraine conflict
French President Emmanuel Macron called for restraint in both words and actions in dealing with the Ukraine conflict, after US President Joe Biden described Russian President Vladimir Putin as a 'butcher' and said he should not remain in power.
"I wouldn't use this type of wording because I continue to hold discussions with President Putin," Macron said on France 3 TV channel.
Biden, speaking in Warsaw yesterday, had said that Putin 'cannot remain in power'. A White House official later said Biden's remarks did not represent a shift in Washington's policy and were meant to prepare the world's democracies for an extended conflict, not back regime change in Russia.
"We want to stop the war that Russia has launched in Ukraine without escalation -- that's the objective," Macron said on France 3 TV, noting the objective was to obtain a cease fire and the withdrawal of troops through diplomatic means. "If this is what we want to do, we should not escalate things -- neither with words nor actions," he said.
On Friday, the French president had said he was seeking to hold more talks with President Putin in the coming days regarding the situation in Ukraine as well as an initiative to help people leave the besieged city of Mariupol.
Far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said she backed Macron's approach. "Obviously, those are words that add oil to the fire," she said, when asked about Biden's comment. "The fact that the president of the Republic is not entering into this escalation is a good thing".
Russia trying to encircle Ukrainian forces in east
Ukraine is mounting small counter-offensive actions as Russia's military tries to encircle its forces in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said this afternoon.
US does not have policy of regime change in Russia - US envoy to NATO
The US envoy to NATO said on Sunday that the United States does not have a policy of regime change in Russia, in the latest effort to clarify President Joe Biden's statement that Russian President Vladimir Putin "cannot remain in power".
"The US does not have a policy of regime change in Russia. Full stop," Julianne Smith told CNN's State of the Union program.
Smith said Biden's remarks sought to underscore that the international community cannot empower Putin to wage war in Ukraine or pursue more acts of aggression following Russia's invasion of the country.
The leader of the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic, Leonid Pasechnik, said that the Moscow-backed separatist region would hold a referendum on joining the Russian Federation in the near future. A similar referendum was held in Crimea shortly after "little green men" which were actually Russian soldiers took control of the autonomous region of Ukraine in March 2014.
That result was recognized by Russia and a few other countries. No observers were there to witness numerous reports of irregularities. Pasechnik expects the vote to join Russia be favorable...
Russian military losses 27 March, Ukraine Defense estimates
Although it is hard to independently verify to calculate the losses that the Russian military has incurred, they have been enough to make Russian command reconsider their objectives in the invasion of Ukraine. According to their propoganda Russian forces have acheived their objective of not taking Kyiv, nor the cities in northeast Ukraine, it was merely a distraction and not due to far more fierce resistance to subjugation.
Moscow has announced that the "special military operation" will now focus on the Donbas region where the city of Mariupol has been beseiged for weeks with food and water exhausted. Capturing the city would give Russia a land bridge to Crimea.
Ukraine and Russia have reached an agreement to let civilians leave in private cars from the ravaged city.
"There's probably nothing more scary, when a tank shoots at your house"
According to the United Nations Humans Rights Council (UNHRC), over 3.8 million Ukrainians have fled there country due to the Russian invasion. Poland has taking the bulk of those escaping the violence and destruction. Romania has taken in almost 590,000 refugees from Ukraine.
Russia strikes Lviv, evacuations planned
Russia struck military targets in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv with high-precision cruise missiles, the Russian defence ministry said on Sunday.
Photo from State Emergency Service of Ukra via Reuters of first responders working at a site of fuel storage facilities hit by cruise missiles, in Lviv.
Ukraine and Russia have agreed two 'humanitarian corridors' to evacuate civilians from frontline areas on Sunday, including allowing people to leave by private car from the southern city of Mariupol, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.
Ukraine leader demands Western nations give arms
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, visibly irritated, demanded on Saturday that Western nations provide a fraction of the military hardware in their stock piles and asked whether they were afraid of Moscow.
Several countries have promised to send anti-armor and anti-aircraft missiles as well as small arms but Zelenskyy said Kyiv needed tanks, planes and anti-ship systems. "That is what our partners have, that is what is just gathering dust there. This is all for not only the freedom of Ukraine, but for the freedom of Europe," he said in a late night video address.
Ukraine needed just 1% of NATO's aircraft and 1% of its tanks and would not ask for more, he said. "We've already been waiting 31 days. Who is in charge of the Euro-Atlantic community? Is it really still Moscow, because of intimidation?" he said.
Zelenskyy has repeatedly insisted that Russia will seek to expand further into Europe if Ukraine falls. NATO though does not back his request for a no-fly zone over Ukraine on the grounds this could provoke a wider war. Earlier in the day Zelenskyy talked to Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda and expressed disappointment that Russian-made fighter aircraft in Eastern Europe had not yet been transferred to Ukraine, Zelenskyy's office said in a statement.
"The price of procrastination with planes is thousands of lives of Ukrainians," the office quoted him as saying. Earlier this month, Washington rejected a surprise offer by Poland to transfer MiG-29 fighter jets to a US base in Germany to be used to replenish Ukraine's air force.
Sean Penn vows to smelt his Oscar in public over Zelenskyy snub
Actor Sean Penn says that officials in charge of Sunday's Oscars have decided against broadcasting a link-up with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy during the ceremony. If that is the case, Penn says artists should boycott the Academy Awards.
"It is my understanding that a decision has been made not to do it. If the Academy has elected not to do it, if presenters have elected not to pursue the leadership in Ukraine who are taking bullets and bombs for us, along with the Ukrainian children that they are trying to protect, then I think every single one of those people,and every bit of that decision will be the most obscene moment in all of Hollywood history".
Penn added that he would "smelt his Oscar in public" if it turns out that Zelenskyy has been snubbed by the Academy.
French President Macron distances himself from Biden
I would not use those words
Blinken clarifies Biden's off-the-cuff words on Putin
I think the president, the White House, made the point last night that, quite simply, President Putin cannot be empowered to wage war or engage in aggression against Ukraine or anyone else
As you know, and as you have heard us say repeatedly, we do not have a strategy of regime change in Russia - or anywhere else, for that matter
Biden "not calling for a regime change in Russia"
A US government official has clarified president Joe Biden's words during his visit to Poland, stressing that he did not mean that he was advocating a change of regime in Moscow. Earlier on Saturday, Biden had told a crowd in Warsaw that Putin is a "butcher" and he "cannot remain in power" adding that his war against Ukraine has been a strategic failure.
Hello and welcome to AS USA coverage of the Russia-Ukraine for March 28. Ukrainian forces continue to stall the progress of Russian troops and have begun counter-offensives to reclaim territory.
It is now over four weeks since the beginning of the invasion, Russia has changed its war objectives to focus invasion on Moscow-occupied separatist areas of Ukraine.
Biden traveled to Europe to shore up the NATO alliance resolve for what he says will be "a long fight ahead." Foreign leaders have negotiated a deal to wean Europe off reliance on Russian gas.