Russia is continuing its offensive across Ukraine, pounding populated areas with artillery and air strikes and deploying siege tactics on the 18th day of the attack.

A service member of pro-Russian troops in uniform without insignia jumps off a damaged tank in separatist-held Donetsk region, Ukraine on March 11, 2022.
A service member of pro-Russian troops in uniform without insignia jumps off a damaged tank in separatist-held Donetsk region, Ukraine on March 11, 2022. (Reuters)

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Russia seeks military equipment from China after Ukraine assault – reports

Russia has asked China for military equipment since its February 24 assault on Ukraine, the Financial Times and Washington Post has reported, citing US officials.

The Washington Post said the unidentified US officials did not state the kind of weaponry that had been requested or how China had responded.

Responding to media reports, Chinese embassy in the United States said: "The current situation in Ukraine is indeed disconcerting. The high priority now is to prevent the tense situation from escalating or even getting out of control."

Stop attacks on Ukrainian health facilities, UN urges Russia

Three UN agencies are calling for an immediate end to attacks on health care facilities in Ukraine, calling them “an act of unconscionable cruelty.” 

In a joint statement, the UN Children’s Fund, the World Health Organization, and the UN Population Fund said that “horrific attacks are killing and causing serious injuries to patients and health workers, destroying vital health infrastructure and forcing thousands to forgo accessing health services despite catastrophic needs.” 

“To attack the most vulnerable — babies, children, pregnant women, and those already suffering from illness and disease, and health workers risking their own lives to save lives — is an act of unconscionable cruelty,” they said.

Chernobyl power line restored: Ukraine

Ukraine has restored a broken power line to the Chernobyl power plant, the scene of a nuclear meltdown in 1986, which is held by Russian troops. 

Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko said that “heroes” from the national power grid company managed to restore the connection. The power is used to run pumps which keep spent nuclear fuel cool to prevent radiation leaks. 

Ukraine said Wednesday that power had been cut to the site and that there was enough diesel fuel to run on-site generators for 48 hours. 

Tens of thousands attend pro-Ukraine rally in Berlin 

Up to 30,000 men, women and children have joined pro-Ukraine demonstration in central Berlin, with many waving Ukrainian flags or holding banners with slogans opposing the Russian offensive.

Gathering near the Brandenburg Gate, symbol of a divided Germany during the Cold War, protesters - including people in wheelchairs and toddlers in pushchairs - walked through the streets of Berlin, at times chanting and singing. 

It’s extremely important for Ukrainians to see that we will not forget them, not in two weeks and not after that," said protester Helene Krass.

Slogans on posters and banners included
Slogans on posters and banners included "Stop Putin", "Stop War", "Russian soldiers go home" and "Solidarity with Ukraine!" (AP)

Putin supporters demonstrate in Belgrade

Dozens of cars have driven through the Serbian capital of Belgrade in support of Russia’s incursion of Ukraine. 

The occupants waved Russian and Serbian flags, honked horns and chanted pro-Putin slogans. Some cars had the letter Z painted on them — a symbol of support for the Russian president.  

Serbia has refused to join international sanctions against its ally Russia despite formally seeking EU membership and voting in favour of the UN resolution condemning Moscow’s aggression.

Over 2,100 Mariupol residents killed: official 

At least 2,187 residents of Ukraine's besieged city of Mariupol have been killed since hostilities began, the local authorities have said.

"As of today, 2,187 Mariupol residents have died from attacks by Russia," the city council posted on Telegram, raising the toll by almost 1,000 since Wednesday, when they said 1,207 civilians had died in the first nine days of the siege.

Guterres thanks Erdogan over efforts for peace 

In a phone call, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres discussed regional and global developments, particularly the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

"Türkiye is making great efforts to achieve a cease-fire in the Russia-Ukraine war and to re-establish peace. It is also working hard on the issues of humanitarian aid and evacuations," Erdogan told Guterres, according to a Turkish Presidential Communications Directorate statement.

The UN chief thanked Erdogan for his initiation to mediate between Russia and Ukraine, his efforts to contribute to peace, and his diplomatic push.

Second Ukraine mayor abducted by Russian troops

A Ukraine mayor was abducted by Russian forces, the second such kidnapping in days, bringing strong condemnation from the European Union.

"The army of the Russian Federation captured the mayor of the city of Dniprorudne," in the Zaporizhzhia Oblast region of southeast Ukraine, the regional administration head Oleksandr Starukh said on Facebook.

On Friday the mayor of southern Ukraine's Melitopol was kidnapped by Russian soldiers occupying the city, because "he refused to cooperate with the enemy", according to the Ukraine parliament.

US: NATO will act if Russia hits alliance

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan has said Russia will face a response from NATO should any of its attacks in Ukraine cross borders and hit members of the security alliance.

Russian missiles have struck a military training base close to Ukraine’s western border with NATO member Poland and killed 35 people.

Sullivan tells CBS News' "Face the Nation" that President Joe Biden “has been clear repeatedly that the United States will work with our allies to defend every inch of NATO territory and that means every inch.”

Russia showing signs of interest in Ukraine talks

Russia is showing signs of a willingness to engage in substantive negotiations over Ukraine, even as Moscow currently is intent on "destroying" its neighbour, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman has said.

Sherman, in an interview with "Fox News Sunday", said the United States is putting "enormous pressure" on Russian President Vladimir Putin to agree to a ceasefire and to allow the creation of humanitarian corridors to allow civilians to escape.

"That pressure is beginning to have some effect.

Russia, Ukraine report progress in talks

Russian and Ukrainian officials gave their most upbeat assessments yet of progress in their talks, suggesting there could be positive results within days.

"We will not concede in principle on any positions. Russia now understands this. Russia is already beginning to talk constructively," Ukrainian negotiator and presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said in a video posted online. "I think that we will achieve some results literally in a matter of days, " he said.

RIA news agency quoted a Russian delegate, Leonid Slutsky, as saying the talks had made substantial progress.

Russia accused of using phosphorus munitions 

Ukraine’s human rights ombudswoman has accused Russia of using banned phosphorus munitions in an overnight attack on the town of Popasna in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region. 

The ombudswoman, Liudmila Denisova, shared a photograph purporting to show the alleged attack, but did not say if Ukraine had concrete evidence. 

"The bombing of a civilian city by the Russian attackers with these weapons is a war crime and a crime against humanity according to the Rome convention,” she said in an online statement. There was no reaction from Russia.

Nearly 125,000 people evacuated via humanitarian corridors 

Nearly 125,000 people have been evacuated via humanitarian corridors from conflict zones in Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said in a video address.

"Today the key task is Mariupol," he said, adding that a humanitarian supply convoy was now only 80 kilometres (50 miles) away from the besieged port city where more than 400,000 people are trapped.

US journalist shot dead near Kiev

One US video journalist has been killed and another wounded by Russian forces in Irpin town near the Ukrainian capital Kiev, head of regional police has said.

The Ukrainian police said that Russian troops opened fire on the car of Brent Renaud and another journalist.

A New York Times spokesperson said Renaud, 50, was a “talented filmmaker who had contributed to The New York Times over the years.” It said he was not working for the publication at the time of his death.

Hundreds arrested in pro-Ukraine rallies

Russia detained more than 250 people for protesting Moscow's "military operation" in Ukraine. 

OVD-Info, which monitors arrests during protests, said police had detained 268 people during demonstrations in 23 Russian cities. 

An AFP journalist present at a protest in the capital Moscow witnessed at least a dozen arrests and said police were taking away anybody without press papers.

Pope Francis says 'massacre' in Ukraine must stop 

Pope Francis has issued a heartfelt plea for an end to the "massacre" and the "unacceptable armed attack" in Ukraine.

Speaking after his weekly Angelus prayers on Sunday, he condemned the "barbarity" of killing children and civilians, adding: "In the name of God... stop this massacre."

Dozens dead in air strike on Ukraine military base near Poland

At least thirty-five people have died and more than 130 injured when Russian troops launched air strikes on the International Centre for Peacekeeping and Security outside Ukraine's western city of Lviv, near the border with Poland, local officials said.

"I have to announce that, unfortunately, we have lost more heroes: 35 people died as a result of the shelling of the International Peacekeeping and Security Centre," the head of the Lviv regional administration, Maksym Kozytsky, wrote on Telegram, updating an initial toll of nine.

"134 more with injuries of varying severity are in a military hospital," he added, saying the information on the toll was still being updated.

Poland: NATO will have to think seriously if Putin uses chemical weapons

Poland's President Andrzej Duda has said in an interview that the use of chemical weapons in Ukraine by Russia would be a game changer and NATO would have to think seriously about how to respond.

Asked if the use of chemical weapons by Putin would be a red line for NATO at which point it has to get involved, Duda told BBC television: "If he uses any weapons of mass destruction then this will be a game changer in the whole thing."

"For sure, the North Atlantic Alliance and its leaders led by the United States will have to sit at the table and they will really have to think seriously what to do because then it starts to be dangerous."

Qatar calls on all parties to 'exercise restraint' over Ukraine

Qatar's foreign minister has called on all parties to "exercise restraint" and to avoid further escalation over Ukraine in a phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart, a Qatari foreign ministry statement said.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told Ukraine's Dmytro Kuleba that Qatar urged "all parties to exercise restraint, resolve disputes through constructive dialogue and diplomatic methods, and to settle international disputes by peaceful means," the statement said. 

Turkish mosque in Mariupol not damaged

Türkiye's foreign minister has confirmed that a Turkish mosque in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol remains intact after reports of a rocket landing 700 metres (2,300 feet) from the building.

Mevlut Cavusoglu further informed that at least 14,480 Turkish citizens were evacuated from Ukraine since the start of Russia's operation on February 24.

Israeli foreign minister condemns Russia

Israel’s foreign minister has condemned Russia’s operation in Ukraine, calling on Moscow to halt its attacks and end the conflict.

Yair Lapid’s criticism is among the strongest that has come from Israeli officials since the operation began. His remarks set him apart from Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who has stopped short of condemning Russia.

Israel has walked a fine line in its response to the crisis. Bennett has voiced support for the Ukrainian people and the country has sent humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

85 children killed since beginning of Russian operation

A total of 85 children have been killed since the start of the Russian offensive in Ukraine, the office of Ukraine's Prosecutor General said.

More than 100 more have been wounded, the office added. 

Officials also said that bombings and shelling have damaged 369 educational facilities in the country, 57 of which have been completely destroyed.

Nine people killed in air strikes on Ukraine's Mykolayiv city

Air strikes on the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolayiv have killed nine people, regional Governor Vitaliy Kim said in an online statement.

UK looking at using sanctioned oligarch properties for refugees

Britain is looking at whether it can use properties owned by sanctioned individuals in the country for humanitarian purposes, housing minister Michael Gove said.

"I want to explore an option which would allow us to use the homes and properties of sanctioned individuals for as long as they are sanctioned for humanitarian and other purposes," Gove told BBC Television.

"There is quite a high legal bar to cross and we're not talking about permanent confiscation but we are saying, 'you're sanctioned, you're supporting Putin, this home is here, you have no right to use or profit from it and ... if we can use it in order to help others let's do that."

Kiev sets aside two-week supply of food in case of blockade

Kiev's city administration has said it had set aside a two-week reserve of essential food items in case the city is blockaded by Russian forces.

"The city has prepared for possible actions in the event of a blockade. The two million Kiev residents who have not left their homes will not be without support if the situation worsens," it said in an online statement.

UK's Sunak urges firms to leave Russia

British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak has called on more British companies to wind down their existing investments in Russia and said new investments should be halted after President Vladimir Putin's decision to attack Ukraine.

"While I recognise it may be challenging to wind down existing investments, I believe there is no argument for new investment in the Russian economy," Sunak said in a video message on Twitter.

"I am urging asset owners and managers to think very carefully about any investment that would in any sense support Putin and his regime."

Russian air strike on military range kills 9, injures dozens

The Russian air strike on the the International Center for Peacekeeping and Security military range has killed nine people and wounded 57, the mayor of Ukraine's Lviv region said.

"Unfortunately we have 9 dead. 57 people were injured," Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadoviy wrote on Telegram.

The governor added that Russia had fired 30 rockets at the military facility.

Ukraine: Foreign military instructors worked at attacked facility

Foreign military instructors worked at the Yavoriv military facility near the Polish border that was hit by a Russian air strike, Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov said.

A ministry representative said that the ministry was still trying to establish if any of the instructors were at the centre at the time of the attack.

"Russia has attacked the International Center for Peacekeeping & Security near Lviv. Foreign instructors work here. Information about the victims is being clarified," Reznikov said in an online post.

Russia 'destroyed' 3,687 Ukrainian military infrastructure facilities

Russian troops have destroyed 3,687 Ukrainian military infrastructure facilities so far, Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov has been quoted by Russian news agencies as saying.

It was not possible to independently verify his statement.

Qatari foreign minister to visit Moscow

Qatar's foreign minister is set to travel to Moscow for discussions on the Iran nuclear talks and Russia's operation in Ukraine, a source familiar with the visit said.

The source said Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, whose gas producing country is a US ally, would meet with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.

Russia wants guarantees that its trade with Iran will not be affected by sanctions imposed on Moscow over its incursion in Ukraine - a demand Western powers say is unacceptable and Washington has insisted it will not agree to.

Bus with Ukrainian refugees overturns in Italy

Italian state radio has said a bus carrying about 50 refugees from Ukraine has overturned on a major highway in northern Italy, killing a passenger and injuring several others, none of them seriously.

RAI radio said one woman died and the rest of those aboard the bus were safely evacuated after the accident near the town of Forli’. It wasn’t immediately clear where the bus was headed.

Gazprom continues gas shipments at same volume

Russian natural gas company Gazprom has said it was continuing gas shipments via Ukraine, with volumes at 109.6 million cubic metres, up from 109.5 million a day earlier.

Ukraine to support crop sowing campaign: PM

Ukraine's government will introduce a plan to support the crop sowing campaign in an effort to safeguard food supplies amid Russia's incursion, Prime Minister Denys Shmygal has said.

He said Ukraine had sufficient volumes of basic food products for the next few months. 

"But we must also think about the future. Therefore the government is implementing a plan to support the sowing campaign, which should start soon where possible," he said in a statement.

Russia attempts to surround Ukrainian forces in east - UK

Russian forces have been attempting to surround Ukrainian forces in the east of the country as they advance from the direction of Kharkiv in the north and Mariupol in the south, Britain's defence ministry has said.

"Russian forces advancing from Crimea are attempting to circumvent Mykolaiv as they look to drive west towards Odessa", the ministry said in an intelligence update posted on Twitter.

Air strike launched on Ukraine military base

An air strike has been launched on a Ukrainian military base in Yavoriv in the west of the country near the Polish border, the Lviv regional military administration said.

Russia "launched an air strike on the International Centre for Peacekeeping and Security", head of the Lviv regional administration, Maxim Kozitsky, said on his verified Facebook page, adding that eight missiles were fired.

The centre, less than 25 kilometres (15 miles) from the Polish border, did not say whether it had been hit. It said it would release details later.

Ukraine readies for 'relentless defence' of Kiev

Ukraine has prepared for a "relentless defence" of Kiev as the capital faced possible encirclement by advancing Russian forces who have also kept up a bombardment of the besieged southern port city of Mariupol.

Only the roads to the south remain open in Kiev and the city was preparing to mount a "relentless defence", according to the Ukrainian presidency.

Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko said the capital, described by a senior Ukrainian official as a "city under siege", was reinforcing defences and stockpiling food and medicine.

Russia claims Ukraine is not letting people flee fighting

Russian National Defence Command Centre head Mikhail Mizintsev has blamed Ukraine for the failure of humanitarian corridors for civilians trying to leave the country.

According to Mizintsev, "the Russian Federation for the eighth time provided humanitarian corridors in the Kiev, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv and Mariupol directions, one humanitarian corridor to the Russian Federation, and another one - through the territories controlled by the Kiev authorities towards the western borders of Ukraine."

"There are already 2,638,989 of them (people wishing to evacuate to Russia) with specific names and addresses from almost two thousand settlements in Ukraine," but this data is being used by the Security Service of Ukraine units "to detect all calls, conduct mass total checks, detentions and arrests, searches, and interrogations," he said.

Russia's operation in Ukraine could lead to World War III: Trump

Former US President Donald Trump has said that the situation in Ukraine will get worse, claiming Russian President Vladimir Putin would not stop.

"This could lead to World War III," Trump said during a rally in the state of South Carolina. "I see what’s happening. Because if you think Putin is going to stop, it’s going to get worse and worse. He’s not going to accept it and we don’t have anybody to talk to him."

"You had somebody to talk to him with me," he then told the crowd. "Nobody was ever tougher on Russia than me," he added.

UN to hold more meetings this week on Ukraine

The United Nations is set to have multiple meetings this week about Russia's military operation in Ukraine, though it is unclear if they will lead to the adoption of an official text, diplomats said.

On Monday, the Security Council will discuss the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Although this is an annual meeting, it will place special focus on the operation in Ukraine and will likely see fresh calls for peace.

In addition, the Security Council may finally meet on human rights violations, according to diplomats.

Humanitarian 'catastrophe' widens as Russia advances its assault

Russian forces upped the pressure on Kiev and pummelled civilian areas in other Ukrainian cities, amid fresh efforts to deliver aid to the devastated port city of Mariupol.

Both Ukrainian and Russian officials described the quickly worsening humanitarian situation as "catastrophic."

In Moscow, the defence ministry described an unrelenting push on the ground, reporting that Russian forces had advanced 12 kilometers (7 miles) over "a broad front" during the day, without specifying exactly where.

This multispectral satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows a close up view of apartment buildings and fires with damage in the area of the Zhovtnevyi district in western Mariupol, Ukraine, during the Russian assault, Saturday, March 12, 2022.
This multispectral satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows a close up view of apartment buildings and fires with damage in the area of the Zhovtnevyi district in western Mariupol, Ukraine, during the Russian assault, Saturday, March 12, 2022. (AP)

Zelenskyy warns against 'pseudo-republics'

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a message said, "the occupiers in the Kherson region are trying to repeat the sad experience of the formation of pseudo-republics."

"Ukraine will withstand this challenge."

Ukraine's gas reserves at 9.5 bcm - PM

Ukraine's gas reserves amount to 9.5 billion cubic meters (bcm) with production continuing at all facilities except at plants in areas where fighting is taking place, Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmygal has said.

Before Russia's assault, Ukraine consumed around 30 bcm of gas per year, producing 20 bcm and importing the remaining volumes from Europe (Hungary, Slovakia, Poland).

Ukraine used to import Russian gas but switched to European energy in November 2015 after Russia's annexation of the Crimea peninsula in 2014 and the outbreak of conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine fixes statement: Ten civilians killed outside of agreed area

The seven women and children who Ukraine says died when Russian forces attacked a convoy escaping a village in the Kiev region were not as previously stated in an agreed evacuation corridor, the defence ministry said.

Ukraine's intelligence service initially said those who died outside Peremoha on Friday had been in a "green corridor" agreed with Russia.

A defence ministry statement later said people had in fact tried to escape by themselves, "so they began evacuating without the 'green corridor' agreed by the parties."

Satellite images show fire in residential areas of Mariupol

Satellite images taken on Saturday morning showed extensive damage to civilian infrastructure and residential buildings throughout the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, a private US company said.

Maxar Technologies said fires were seen in the western section of the Black Sea port city and dozens of high-rise apartment buildings had been severely damaged. TRT World could not independently verify the images.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies