Ukraine and Russia: what you need to know now
Russia’s war in Ukraine entered its third week on Thursday with none of its main goals achieved despite thousands killed, more than two million refugees and thousands forced to cower in cities besieged under incessant bombardment. Ukrainian forces, including citizen-soldiers who until last month had never dreamed of firing a weapon in anger, resisted in Kyiv and other front lines, while troops, tanks and Russian artillery was advancing slowly from the north, south and east.
HOSPITAL HIT HIT * Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has accused Russia of genocide after Ukrainian officials said Russian planes bombed a children’s hospital on Wednesday, burying patients under the rubble despite a ceasefire agreement for that people are fleeing the city of Mariupol. * Local authorities say the hospital was repeatedly hit, causing “colossal” destruction, and that 17 people were injured. * The White House condemned the hospital bombing as “a barbaric use of military force to target innocent civilians”. * Russia said claims that the bombing of a children’s hospital in the city of Mariupol were “fake news” because the building was a former maternity hospital that had long been taken over by troops. * A Kremlin spokesman said “Russian forces are not firing at civilian targets” and blamed Ukraine for the failure of a planned evacuation from Mariupol. EVACUATION ROUTES * Local officials said some civilians left Sumy in the east and Enerhodar in the south through safe corridors promised by Russia. But Russian forces were blocking buses from evacuating civilians from Bucha, a town outside the capital Kiev, they said.
DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS * The foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine will meet in Turkey on Thursday in the first high-level talks between the two countries since Moscow invaded its neighbor Ankara, hoping they could mark a turning point in the raging conflict. ECONOMIC BENEFIT * Rio Tinto on Thursday became the first major mining company to announce it was cutting all ties with Russian companies, joining a series of leading Western companies in a pullout following the invasion of Ukraine by Moscow. * European Union leaders will gradually stop buying Russian oil, gas and coal as Moscow’s war on Ukraine makes them realize they need to be less dependent on Russia, a draft by statement, but they are unlikely to offer Ukraine quick EU membership. NUCLEAR POWER CONCERNS * Ukraine’s nuclear power plant operator said it was concerned about the safety of Chernobyl, the mothballed site of the 1986 nuclear disaster after a fighting-caused power cut. He warned of a potential radiation leak if the outage continues, although the UN’s nuclear watchdog saw no critical safety impact. * The watchdog said it lost contact with remote monitoring systems at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, where there were clashes and fires last week. Both factories are held by Russian forces. SANCTIONS * The Kremlin accused the United States of declaring an economic war on Russia which was wreaking havoc on energy markets, and said it was considering its response to a U.S. ban on imports of fuel. Russian energy. * The European Union has announced more sanctions against oligarchs and moneylenders in Russia and Belarus. HUMANITARIAN TOLL * The United Nations said it had verified 516 civilian deaths and 908 injured since the conflict began, but the true toll was likely “considerably higher”. * More than 2 million people have fled Ukraine since the start of the invasion, according to the UN. According to EU officials, up to 5 million people could leave if the conflict continues. * Ukraine says its forces have killed more than 11,000 Russian soldiers. Russia has confirmed around 500 casualties. Neither side disclosed any Ukrainian casualties. AID * The US Congress has agreed to allocate $13.6 billion in emergency aid to Ukraine, alongside a separate program for pandemic relief. * The International Monetary Fund approved $1.4 billion in emergency funding for Ukraine. * The United States is quickly processing requests for American firearms and ammunition exports to Ukraine, the U.S. Commerce Department said on Wednesday.
(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)