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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Russia-Ukraine War Highlights: At least 902 civilians killed in Ukraine since conflict began, UN says

Russia-Ukraine War Highlights: Meanwhile, Mariupol authorities have said that the Russian military has bombed an art school where about 400 people had taken refuge

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: March 21, 2022 8:56:58 am
KyivRescuers work at the site where a residential building has been damaged by an airstrike, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv (Reuters)

Russia Ukraine War Crisis Live: At least 902 civilians have been killed and 1,459 injured in Ukraine as of midnight local time on March 19, the U.N. human rights office (OHCHR) said on Sunday, news agency Reuters reported. Most of the casualties were from explosive weapons such as shelling from heavy artillery and multiple-launch rocket systems, and missile and air strikes, OHCHR said. The actual toll is thought to be considerably higher since OHCHR, which has a large monitoring team in the country, has not yet been able to receive or verify casualty reports from several badly hit cities including Mariupol, it said.

Click here to move to our new blog which has updates from today on the ensuing crisis.

Meanwhile, Mariupol authorities have said that the Russian military has bombed an art school where about 400 people had taken refuge, AP reported. Local authorities said Sunday that the school building was destroyed and people could still be under the rubble. Meanwhile, Slovakia’s Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad says the first multinational NATO units with the Patriot air defense systems have been moving to his country. Nad said on Sunday the transfers will continue in the next days.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has signed a decree that combines all national TV channels into one platform, citing the importance of a “unified information policy” under martial law. Ukrainian privately-owned media channels have so far continued to operate since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

Live Blog

Russia-Ukraine crisis Highlights: At least 902 civilians killed in Ukraine since conflict began, UN says; Mariupol authorities have said that the Russian military has bombed an art school where about 400 people had taken refuge; Follow this space for the latest updates.

22:28 (IST)20 Mar 2022
Ukraine accuses Russian forces of killing 56 elderly people in Luhansk

Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman Ludmila Denisova has accused Russian forces of shooting 56 elderly people in Luhansk, The Guardian reported.

In a post on Telegram, she wrote, “Today it became known about another terrible crime against humanity committed by the racist occupation forces—the shooting of 56 elderly people in Luhansk region. In the town of Kreminna on March 11, the Russian occupiers cynically and purposefully fired from a tank at a home for the elderly. 56 residents who lived to their old age in the house died on the spot. The survivors, 15 people, were abducted by the occupiers and taken to the occupied territory in Svatove to the regional geriatric boarding school.”

“It is still impossible to get to the site of the tragedy to bury the dead old people. This is another act of horrific genocide - the extermination of the civilian population of Ukraine. For every such crime, for every innocent life taken, the leadership of the aggressor state must be held accountable in all the severity of international criminal law.”

21:45 (IST)20 Mar 2022
Shell explodes outside Kyiv apartment, five injured

A shell exploded outside an apartment block in Kyiv, wounding five people, the mayor said Sunday, the latest bombardment as Russian forces try to encircle the Ukranian capital. (AFP)

21:43 (IST)20 Mar 2022
Ukraine's Zelenskyy condemns 'terror' in besieged Mariupol as fighting rages

Russian and Ukrainian forces fought for control of Mariupol on Sunday, local authorities said, while President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia's siege of the southern port city was "a terror that will be remembered for centuries to come".

Mariupol has suffered some of the heaviest bombardment since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, and many of its 400,000 residents remain trapped in the city with little if any food, water and power. The U.N. refugee agency said 10 million people had now been displaced across Ukraine, including some 3.4 million who have fled to neighbouring countries such as Poland. Officials in the region said they were reaching capacity to comfortably house refugees.

19:24 (IST)20 Mar 2022
At least 902 civilians killed in Ukraine since conflict began, UN says

At least 902 civilians have been killed and 1,459 injured in Ukraine as of midnight local time on March 19, the U.N. human rights office (OHCHR) said on Sunday. Most of the casualties were from explosive weapons such as shelling from heavy artillery and multiple-launch rocket systems, and missile and air strikes, OHCHR said.

The actual toll is thought to be considerably higher since OHCHR, which has a large monitoring team in the country, has not yet been able to receive or verify casualty reports from several badly hit cities including Mariupol, it said. (Reuters)

19:09 (IST)20 Mar 2022
Family of Indian student killed in Ukraine to donate his body to medical college

The family of Naveen S G, a medical student who was killed in Ukraine, has decided to donate his body to a medical college.

“My son wanted to contribute to the field of medicine. Now, we can only ensure that his body helps other students. After the rituals are completed, we will donate his body to SS Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre in Davanagere,” Naveen’s father Shekarappa Goudar told the media. Read more

18:13 (IST)20 Mar 2022
Pope says ‘slaughters and atrocities’ committed daily in Ukraine

Pope Francis, continuing his implicit criticism of Russia, on Sunday calling the conflict in Ukraine an unjustified “senseless massacre” and urged leaders to stop “this repugnant war”.

“The violent aggression against Ukraine is unfortunately not slowing down,” he told about 30,0000 people in St. Peter’s Square for his weekly Sunday address and blessing.

“It is a senseless massacre where every day slaughters and atrocities are being repeated,” Francis said in his latest strong condemnation of the war, which has so far avoided mentioning Russia by name. Read more

17:37 (IST)20 Mar 2022
Russia lost 14,700 troops, says Ukraine

Ukraine says that Russia lost 14,700 troops since the war began.

17:34 (IST)20 Mar 2022
Ukraine accuses Russian forces of forcibly deporting Mariupol citizens to Russia

Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman Ludmila Denisova has accused Russian forces of forcibly transporting Ukrainian citizens to Russia, reports The Guardian.

According to the report, in a post on Telegram, she said: “In recent days, several thousand Mariupol residents have been deported to Russia. These are people from the Left Bank district of the city and the bomb shelter in the building of the sports club, where more than a thousand people (mostly women and children) hid from the constant bombing ...”

“It is known that the captured Mariupol residents were taken to filtration camps, where the occupiers checked people’s phones and documents. After the inspection, some Mariupol residents were transported to Taganrog and from there sent by rail to various economically depressed cities in Russia.”

“Our citizens have been issued papers that require them to be in a certain city. They have no right to leave it for at least two years with the obligation to work at the specified place of work. The fate of others remains unknown.”

16:53 (IST)20 Mar 2022
Patriot air defense systems move into Slovakia

Slovakia's Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad says the first multinational NATO units with the Patriot air defense systems have been moving to his country. Nad said on Sunday the transfers will continue in the next days.

Germany and the Netherlands have agreed to send their troops armed with the Patriots to Slovakia.

The troops are some of the 2,100 soldiers from several NATO members, including the United States, who will form a battlegroup on Slovak territory as the alliance boosts its defenses in its eastern flank following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Nad says the Patriots will be initially deployed at the armed forces base of Sliac in central Slovakia before they will be stationed at various places to protect the largest possible Slovak territory. AP

15:15 (IST)20 Mar 2022
Russia says it has again fired hypersonic missiles in Ukraine

Russia said Sunday it has again fired its newest Kinzhal hypersonic missiles in Ukraine, destroying a fuel storage site in the country's south.

The Russian defence ministry also said it killed more than 100 members of Ukrainian special forces and "foreign mercenaries" when it targeted a training centre in the town of Ovruch in northern Ukraine with sea-based missiles. 

"Kinzhal aviation missile systems with hypersonic ballistic missiles destroyed a large storage site for fuels and lubricants of the Ukrainian armed forces near the settlement of Kostyantynivka in the Mykolaiv region," the defence ministry said. (AFP)

13:46 (IST)20 Mar 2022
Citing martial law, Ukraine president signs decree to combine national TV channels into one platform

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has signed a decree that combines all national TV channels into one platform, citing the importance of a "unified information policy" under martial law, his office said in a statement on Sunday.

Ukrainian privately owned media channels have hitherto continued to operate since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. (Reuters)

13:45 (IST)20 Mar 2022
Officials say art school used as shelter bombed by Russians

Authorities in the besieged Ukrainian port city of Mariupol say that the Russian military has bombed an art school where about 400 people had taken refuge.Local authorities said Sunday that the school building was destroyed and people could remain under the rubble.

There was no immediate word on casualties.Russian forces on Wednesday also bombed a theater in Mariupol where civilians took shelter. The authorities said 130 people were rescued but many more could remain under the debris. (AP)

13:28 (IST)20 Mar 2022
Russia strikes Ukraine with cruise missiles from Black Sea and Caspian Sea

Russia struck Ukraine on Sunday with cruise missiles from ships in the Black Sea and Caspian Sea, the Interfax news agency reported.

Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 in what it called a special operation to degrade its southern neighbour's military capabilities and root out people it called dangerous nationalists.

Ukrainian forces have mounted stiff resistance and the West has imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia in an effort to force it to withdraw its forces. (Reuters)

12:51 (IST)20 Mar 2022
American lost in Ukraine flew into war to help sick partner

Katya Hill tried to talk her brother out of it. She urged Jimmy Hill to postpone his trip to Ukraine as she saw reports of Russian tanks lining up at the border. But he needed to help his longtime partner, who has been suffering from progressive multiple sclerosis.

"He said, I don't know what I would do if I lost her, I have to try to do everything I can to try to stop the progression of MS,'" Katya said. "My brother sacrificed his life for her."

James 'Jimmy' Hill, 68, was killed in a Russian attack on the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv that was reported Thursday, as his partner Irina Teslenko received treatment at a local hospital. (AP)

12:00 (IST)20 Mar 2022
Zelenskyy says siege of Mariupol involved war crimes

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said early Sunday the siege of the port city of Mariupol would go down in history for what he said were war crimes committed by Russian troops.

"To do this to a peaceful city what the occupiers did is a terror that will be remembered for centuries to come," Zelenskyy said in a video address to the nation. Russian forces have pushed deeper into the besieged and battered city where heavy fighting shut down a major steel plant and local authorities pleaded for more Western help.

In the capital Kyiv at least 20 babies carried by Ukrainian surrogate mothers are stuck in a makeshift bomb shelter waiting for parents to travel into the war zone to pick them up. Some just days old, the babies are being cared for by nurses who cannot leave the shelter because of constant shelling by Russian troops who are trying to encircle the city.

The fall of Mariupol, the scene of some of the war's worst suffering, would mark a major battlefield advance for the Russians who are largely bogged down outside major cities more than three weeks into the biggest land invasion in Europe since World War II. (AP)

10:16 (IST)20 Mar 2022
Russians push deeper into Mariupol as locals plead for help

Russian forces pushed deeper into Ukraine's besieged and battered port city of Mariupol on Saturday, where heavy fighting shut down a major steel plant and local authorities pleaded for more Western help.

The fall of Mariupol, the scene of some of the war's worst suffering, would mark a major battlefield advance for the Russians, who are largely bogged down outside major cities more than three weeks into the biggest land invasion in Europe since World War II.

"Children, elderly people are dying. The city is destroyed and it is wiped off the face of the earth," Mariupol police officer Michail Vershnin said from a rubble-strewn street in a video addressed to Western leaders that was authenticated by The Associated Press. (AP)

08:53 (IST)20 Mar 2022
Ukraine's Mariupol says Russia forcefully deported thousands of its people

The city council of Ukraine's Mariupol said Russian forces forcefully deported several thousand people from the besieged city last week, after Russia had spoken of "refugees" arriving from the strategic port.

"Over the past week, several thousand Mariupol residents were deported onto the Russian territory," the council said in a statement on its Telegram channel late on Saturday.

People use carts to transport belongings near a building, which was destroyed during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine March 17, 2022. (Reuters Photo)

"The occupiers illegally took people from the Livoberezhniy district and from the shelter in the sports club building, where more than a thousand people (mostly women and children) were hiding from the constant bombing. (Reuters)

08:38 (IST)20 Mar 2022
US lawmakers visit Poland, urge help for Ukraine military

A bipartisan delegation of U.S. lawmakers visiting Poland said Saturday that the most urgent need in Ukraine's fight against a Russian invasion is to equip and support the country in every way that will help it defend its independence.

The seven-member delegation led by Rep. Stephen Lynch, a Democrat from Massachusetts, has visited reception centers for refugees from Ukraine in eastern Poland. They noted Poland's openness in accepting refugees from Ukraine, including in private homes. More than 2 million people fleeing war have come to Poland since Feb. 24, when Russia's troops invaded Ukraine. (AP)

08:37 (IST)20 Mar 2022
Russian cosmonauts: suits are not inspired by Ukrainian flag

When three Russian cosmonauts arrived at the International Space Station wearing yellow flight suits with blue accents, some saw a message in them wearing the colors of the Ukrainian flag. They shot that down on Saturday.

Cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev said each crew picks the color of the flight suits about six months before launch because they need to be individually sewn. And since all three of them were graduates of Bauman Moscow State Technical University, they chose the colors of their prestigious alma mater. (AP)

08:37 (IST)20 Mar 2022
Thousands flee Mariupol as Russians advance

Evacuations from Ukraine’s besieged cities proceeded on Saturday along eight of 10 humanitarian corridors, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said, with a total of 6,623 people were evacuated, including 4,128 from Mariupol who were taken northwest to Zaporizhzhia. Russian forces intensified their attack in the battered port city of Mariupol, with heavy fighting on Saturday leading to the closure of a major steel plant, AP reported. Local authorities pleaded for more Western help. (AP)

Evacuations from Ukraine's besieged cities proceeded on Saturday along eight of 10 humanitarian corridors, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said, with a total of 6,623 people were evacuated, including 4,128 from Mariupol who were taken northwest to Zaporizhzhia. Russian forces intensified their attack in the battered port city of Mariupol, with heavy fighting on Saturday leading to the closure of a major steel plant, AP reported. Local authorities pleaded for more Western help. Meanwhile, the city council of Ukraine's Mariupol said Russian forces forcefully deported several thousand people from the besieged city last week, after Russia had spoken of "refugees" arriving from the strategic port.

Russian President Vladimir Putin praised his country's troops at a huge flag-waving rally in Moscow as Russian forces strike Ukrainian cities from a distance again, pounding the capital of Kyiv and the country's west. The war is now in its fourth week. Russian troops have failed to take Kyiv — a major objective in their hopes of forcing a settlement or dictating Ukraine's future political alignments — but have wreaked havoc and devastation.

Ukrainian firefighters extinguish a blaze at a warehouse after a bombing in Kyiv, Ukraine, March 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

The UN migration agency says the fighting has displaced nearly 6.5 million people inside Ukraine, on top of the 3.2 million refugees who have already fled the country. Ukraine says thousands have been killed.

The head of the Russian delegation in talks with Ukrainian officials says the parties have come closer to an agreement on a neutral status for Ukraine — one of the key Russian demands as its offensive continues. Vladimir Medinsky said Friday that the sides also have narrowed their differences on the issue of Ukraine dropping its bid to join NATO.

But Mikhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, tweeted: "Our positions are unchanged. Ceasefire, withdrawal of troops & strong security guarantees with concrete formulas."

The United States and its allies have put a slew of sanctions in place aimed at crippling the Russian economy. Hundreds of international companies have announced that they are curtailing operations in Russia, and those who remain are under pressure to pull out.

Pope Francis on Friday denounced what he called the "perverse abuse of power'' in Russia's war in Ukraine and called for aid for Ukrainians whose identity, history and tradition are under attack. Francis' comments were some of his strongest yet in asserting Ukraine's right to exist as a sovereign state.

Aid agencies are ramping up their efforts to deliver relief supplies to civilians affected by the fighting and refugees who have fled Ukraine. The Polish city of Rzeszow, about 100 km from the Ukrainian border, has become a humanitarian hub for the region.

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