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Cities under the attack. As Russian occupants do not manage to obtain significant military gains, attacks on the civilian infrastructure continue daily. Russia undertakes regular shelling of the cities and civilians as one of the ways to hold power in the shelled and occupied cities.
Mariupol. Over the weekend Russian occupiers dropped bombs at Mariupol Art School, where around 400 residents were hiding in a shelter, the building was destroyed, and people are trapped. Check the drone video of Mariupol these days. The Russian army called Ukrainian authorities to surrender Mariupol to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe. Ukraine rejected a demand to surrender the city of Mariupol by 5 a.m. Monday, as Russian forces broadened their bombardment of the strategic port and forcibly deported thousands of residents, according to city officials and witnesses. Active shelling continued in the Luhansk region as Russian troops fired at Severodonetsk, Lysychansk, Hirske, Kreminna, Pryvilla and Zolote. More than 19 residential apartment blocks have been damaged, 19 private houses, 2 objects of health care infrastructure. 56 people died in the shelling of a nursing home in Kreminna in Luhansk region. Fifteen people survived but were forcibly taken to the occupied territory in Svatovo to the regional geriatric center. In Kharkiv since the beginning of the invasion, Russian troops damaged or destroyed more than 600 houses. These are residential buildings, as well as buildings of the regional administration, city council, police, secret services bureau and historic buildings. During the weekend, 5 people died including a 9-year old child who was killed during the shelling of Kharkiv neighborhoods. In the Ivano-Frankivsk region, the Russian army claims to use hypersonic weapons to destroy weapons depots. The information is not verified yet. Kyiv region. Missile strikes hit Kyiv, over the weekend, setting on fire residential apartment blocks, as well as a shopping mall. After the airstrike at the village Makariv, seven people were killed and five were injured. On the very first days of the war, Russian troops demolished a part of the dam upon the Kyiv water reservoir and the Irpinka river. Though the situation prevents Russia from transferring its troops closer to the capital, as the water slowly floods the area on their way, it also floods nearby villages, like Demydiv, and prevents delivery of humanitarian aid and evacuation of the people in the region. In Mykolayiv, more than 40 marines were killed after the Friday airstrike on the barracks. In Rivne, two missile strikes hit proving ground in Monday morning. In Sumy region, Russian troops fired at “Sumyhimprom”, a power and chemical plant. Ammonia leakage has been reported at the 2.5 kilometers area radius. However, in two hours the situation has been taken under control.
Follow Bellingcat’s real map of the documented damages and losses due to the Russian war against Ukraine.
Abduction of the activists. Russian troops keep targeting local activists. In the city of Energodar, Zaporizhzhya region, the Russian occupiers kidnapped the First Deputy Mayor Ivan Samoidiuk. In Volnovakha, more than 20 Ukrainian activists were “arrested” by Russian troops. Numerous Western media outlets reported them to be “killed or sent to camps” after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Deportations. Vadym Boychenko, Mayor of Mariupol has informed that Russian troops were forcing people to leave Ukraine for Russia. Over the past week, several thousand Mariupol residents were taken to filtration camps, where people’s phones and documents were checked. After the inspection, some Mariupol residents were redirected to remote cities in Russia, the fate of others remains unknown.
Humanitarian crises. The Russian troops do not allow humanitarian aid to reach civilians. Residents of Mangush and Melekino , nearby Mariupol, are starving to death due to lack of food supplies. The city of Chernihiv for weeks remains with no electricity, no heat, no water and humanitarian corridors have not worked out yet. The Russian troops did not let 14 trucks with humanitarian aid enter the Kherson region. 14 trucks with food and medicine left the Dnipro region for the Kherson region, carrying insulin, which patients in the Kherson region need. But the occupiers did not let the aid go through. Also, humanitarian aid cannot reach the settlements where hostilities continue in Luhansk, Donetsk and Kyiv regions. Depriving civilians of food and medicine is nothing but torture and a direct violation of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights.
International community. US President Biden will travel to Europe this week. Before leaving on a trip to Europe, he plans to hold a call on Monday with the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, and Britain. He will head to Brussels on Thursday and then to Warsaw to meet with Poland’s president on Friday. No visit to Ukraine is expected. The United Nations has denied Russia’s allegations of the alleged existence of so-called biological weapons programs in Ukraine. This was stated at a meeting of the UN Security Council by United Nations Under-Secretary-General of Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu. Switzerland is ready to act as a mediator in the negotiations between Ukraine and Russia according to the statement of its President. Iryna Venediktova, Ukraine’s General Prosecutor, has informed that already 6 countries have opened criminal cases in relation to Russian war crimes: Estonia, Lithuania, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden. Russian Elites, Proxies, and Oligarchs (REPO) multilateral task force. Australia, Canada, the European Commission, Germany, Italy, France, Japan, the UK, and US, agreed to Increased Cooperation to Target Russian Assets. The US Department of Justice’s newly launched Task Force KleptoCapture, which the Attorney General established on March 2, will help support this international effort. The Secretary of the Treasury has statutory authority to offer rewards up to a maximum of $5,000,000 for information. Ukraine is calling Greece to provide air defense systems following the experience of Slovakia.
Belarus. The last group of 11 Belarusian diplomats left Ukraine on Saturday. Tense working environment and threat for security were named as the reasons for leaving. Though officially Belarus says they will not engage in the war, Ukraine’s security services say that the risk of Belarusian intervention remains high. Meanwhile, partisan movement destroys railway connections preventing trains with military supplies to reach troops located at the borders with Ukraine. At the Kozlovychi-Kukuryky checkpoint on the Polish-Belarusian border, activists renewed a blockade of trucks returning from Europe to Belarus and Russia during the weekend. This is not the first day of the «blockade». If during last weekend there were up to two dozen activists, now there are from about one hundred to several hundred people.
Hidden mobilization. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has issued the order “On the organization of the involvement of members of the military-patriotic public movement «Unarmiya» in conducting a special operation in Ukraine.” Unarmiya is a radical military organization under the Russian Defense Ministry. Its members are children from 8 years old. The order calls to engage teenagers at the age of 17-18 y.o. As the occupiers lack manpower, the Kremlin is considering involving minors in the war, as well as making proposals for their training. Gennady Zhidko, the head of the main military-political department of the Russian Armed Forces, controls the issue.
Farewell to pro-Russian parties. The National Security and Defense Council suspended all activities of a number of political parties during martial law. These include the Opposition Block for Life, Sharii Party, Nashi, the Opposition Bloc, and the socialist parties. These marginalized parties for years performed pro-Russia activities in Ukraine and advocated for Ukraine’s integration with Russia.
Digital security. Ukraine experienced more than 3,000 DDoS attacks in a month that were aimed at critical information infrastructure. Hackers primarily attack the information resources of state bodies, institutions and companies in the financial and telecommunications sectors. Despite this, all services work and are available to users.
Energy security. Part of the Chornobyl NPP personnel managed finally to rotate after more than 25 days of captivity. In relation to safeguards, the Agency said that the situation remained unchanged from that reported previously. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was still not receiving remote data transmission from its monitoring systems installed at the Chornobyl NPP, but such data was being transferred to IAEA headquarters from the other NPPs in Ukraine.
Vatican news. Pope Francis visited Ukrainian children at the Vatican Pediatric Hospital. Currently, 19 children who arrived from Ukraine after the start of a large-scale Russian invasion are hospitalized there. They are treated for cancer and neurological diseases, as well as severe injuries from explosions. Also, Pope Francis posted a message on Twitter in three languages to express his support for Ukraine.
CNN interview. President Zelenskyi spoke with CNN’s Fareed Zaharia about the current situation in Ukraine on Sunday. “I am ready to negotiate. Without the negotiations, we will not be able to end this war. We must use any format, any chance to be able to talk to Putin. If these attempts fail, then that would mean that this is a Third World War.” In discussing negotiations, Zelenskyy said that his nation was willing to make only limited compromises, but not the handing over of territory his citizens are fighting so hard to retain. Read Politico for an overview of the main points that were discussed.
Culture. The European film industry reacts to the Russian attack on Ukraine. Here is an overview of the reactions from film professionals that have been pouring in since the beginning of the invasion. Read about Kyiv urban spaces that are in danger.
Since the beginning of the war, the Russian occupiers have conducted 1,403 air raids on Ukraine.
Since the invasion, the enemy has made 291 missile strikes, as well as used 459 surface-to-surface, naval surface-to-air missiles.
Over 12 million people are estimated to be stranded in affected areas or unable to leave due to heightened security risks, destruction of bridges and roads, as well as lack of resources or information on where to find safety and accommodations.
General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced the total estimated losses of the Russian military as of 6 a.m., March 21, 2022: personnel – around 15,000, tanks ‒ 498, APV ‒ 1.535, artillery systems – 240, MLRS – 80, anti-aircraft warfare systems – 45, fixed-wing aircraft – 97, helicopters – 121, soft-skinned vehicles – 969, light speed boats – 3, fuel tankers – 60, operational-tactical level UAV – 24, special equipment – 13.
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