Russia-Ukraine live news: Deaths as several cities bombarded | Russia-Ukraine war News

  • Russian strikes hit the capital Kyiv, and Kharkiv and Kramatorsk in the east, causing casualties, Ukrainian officials say.
  • Missiles destroy an aircraft repair plant near the airport in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, Mayor Andriy Sadovy says.
  • Russian troops and separatist allies are fighting in the centre of Mariupol “against nationalists”, according to the Russian defence ministry.
  • The UK’s media regulator revokes Russian channel RT’s licence, citing links to Kremlin.
  • US President Joe Biden is expected to warn Chinese President Xi Jinping against supporting Russia during a phone call on Friday.


Here are the latest updates:

Table of Contents

Putin discusses military operation with Russian security council: RIA

Putin has discussed Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine with his security council, RIA news agency has cited the Kremlin as saying.

Ukraine says 130 people have been rescued so far from bombed Mariupol theatre

Ukrainian human rights ombudswoman Lyudmyla Denisova has said 130 people have been rescued so far from the rubble of a theatre hit by an air strike on Wednesday in the besieged eastern city of Mariupol.

In a televised address, Denisova said rescue work was ongoing at the site, where many people were sheltering underground before the building was hit, according to the Ukrainian authorities.

Bulgaria expels 10 Russian diplomats: TASS

Bulgaria has decided to expel 10 Russian diplomats after they were accused of allegedly carrying out “activities incompatible with their diplomatic status”, Russia’s TASS news agency has cited the Russian ambassador to the country as saying.

“We take this as an extremely unfriendly act and reserve the right to retaliate,” Ambassador Eleonora Mitrofanova told TASS.

Kremlin says UK decision to revoke RT’s broadcast licence is ‘madness’

The Kremlin has described the UK’s decision to revoke the broadcast licence of Russian state-backed television channel RT as “madness”.

The UK’s media regulator, Ofcom, said in a statement that RT received funding from the Russian state and was not satisfied that RT could be a responsible broadcaster, revoking its licence with immediate effect.

UN refugee agency says fewer Ukrainians fleeing

A UN refugee agency official has said that daily crossings by people fleeing violence in Ukraine have slowed in recent days, saying warmer weather might be a factor.

“We have seen a slowdown, a general slowdown,” said Matthew Saltmarsh via videolink from Poland, adding that warmer weather might be a factor.

However, he warned that any escalation of violence in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv might cause crossings to rise again.

Russian finance ministry says it has met coupon payment obligations in full

Russia’s finance ministry has said it has fully met its obligations on paying coupons on dollar-denominated Eurobonds due in 2023 and 2043, and said payment agent Citibank had received the funds.

Russia was due to pay $117m in coupon payments in what was seen as a test of its willingness and ability to repay international debt after being hit with sanctions over events in Ukraine.

World Food Programme says supply chains ‘falling apart’ in Ukraine

A World Food Programme (WFP) official has said that food supply chains in Ukraine were collapsing, with a portion of infrastructure destroyed and many grocery stores and warehouses now empty.

Jakob Kern, WFP Emergency Coordinator for the Ukraine crisis, also expressed concern about the situation in “encircled cities” such as Mariupol, saying that supplies were running out and that its convoys had not yet been able to enter the city.

Pope calls Ukraine war a ‘perverse abuse of power’ for partisan interests

Pope Francis has called the war in Ukraine a “perverse abuse of power” waged for partisan interests which has condemned defenceless people to brutal violence.

Since the war began, the pope has not used the word “Russia” in his condemnations but has used phrases such as “unacceptable armed aggression” to get his point across.

His latest condemnation came in a message to a Catholic Church conference in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia.

Ukraine FM says he discussed further Russian sanctions with EU’s Borrell

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said he has spoken with the EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell about a further package of sanctions against Russia.

“We discussed the preparation of the 5th EU sanctions package on Russia. Pressure will keep mounting as long as it is needed to stop Russian barbarism.  We also discussed protection and help for Ukrainians who fled from Russian bombs to the EU,” he said on Twitter.

Poland to propose Ukraine peacekeeping mission at NATO summit: PM

Poland will formally submit a proposal for a peacekeeping mission in Ukraine at the next NATO summit, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has said.

Poland’s ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski announced the idea of a peacekeeping mission during a trip to the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on Tuesday.

Germany’s Scholz urges ceasefire in call with Putin

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has called for a ceasefire in Ukraine during a phone call with Putin, a German government spokesperson has said.

In their nearly hour-long conversation, Scholz also stressed that the humanitarian situation needed to be improved and progress needed to be made in finding a diplomatic solution as soon as possible, the spokesperson said.

Kremlin accuses Ukraine of trying to drag out peace talks

The Kremlin has accused Ukraine of trying to drag out peace talks, saying that Russia’s delegation was showing readiness to work faster than the Ukrainian side.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov also criticised Biden’s characterisations of Putin as “personal insults”. He said Biden’s comments were fuelled by irritation, fatigue and forgetfulness.

Putin tells Scholz that Kyiv is stalling peace talks

Putin has told German Chancellor Olaf Scholz during a phone call that Kyiv is attempting to stall peace talks with Russia but that Moscow was still keen to continue negotiations.

“It was noted that the Kyiv regime is attempting in every possible way to delay the negotiation process, putting forward more and more unrealistic proposals,” the Kremlin said in a readout of the call.

“Nonetheless the Russian side is ready to continue searching for a solution in line with its well-known principled approaches.”

Poland to ‘de-Russify’ economy, says PM

Poland will act to ‘de-Russify’ its economy, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has said, removing dependence on Russia with plans to build new gas pipelines and subsidise farmers for rising fertiliser prices in order to keep food prices down.

High-profile Russian journalist accuses Moscow of ‘terrorism’

Alexander Nevzorov, a renowned television anchor and former politician, has said that Russia’s actions in the besieged southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol amount to “terrorism”.

“I can’t be silent any more. What’s happening in Mariupol is terrorism,” he wrote on his Telegram channel, referring to two weeks of bombardment and shelling of the Sea of Azov port city.

Kremlin-controlled media say that Russian troops are “liberating” Ukraine from ultra-nationalists and “neo-Nazis”.

They have also claimed that the Azov battalion whose members include ultra-nationalists and neo-Nazis are holding civilians in Mariupol “hostage”.

“Is this liberation when we kill hundreds of civilians to liquidate a dozen soldiers?” Nevzorov wrote, adding that he would have to leave Russia after his post.

Russia’s illusions about the West are over, Lavrov says

Russia has lost all illusions about relying on the West and Moscow will never accept a view of the world dominated by a United States that wants to act like a global sheriff, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said.

More than two million refugees have entered Poland: Border guard

More than two million refugees have entered Poland from Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24, the Polish border guard has said.

“Today, March 18 at 09:00 (local time) the number of refugees from Ukraine exceeded 2 million. Mainly women and children,” the border guard wrote on Twitter.

INTERACTIVE_RefugeesDAY23 - March18

Russia’s RT says British media regulator is just a tool of the government

Russia’s state-funded RT television channel has said that the UK’s media regulator had unfairly revoked its broadcasting licence due to the conflict in Ukraine and accused it of being nothing but a tool of the British government.

“Ofcom has shown the UK public, and the regulatory community internationally, that despite a well-constructed facade of independence, it is nothing more than a tool of government, bending to its media-suppressing will,” Anna Belkina, RT’s deputy editor in chief, told Reuters.

“By ignoring RT’s completely clean record of four consecutive years and stating purely political reasons tied directly to the situation in Ukraine and yet completely unassociated to RT’s operations, structure, management or editorial output, Ofcom has falsely judged RT to not be ‘fit and proper’ and in doing so robbed the UK public of access to information.”

Ukraine says at least three killed in shelling of eastern cities

Ukraine’s state emergency service said a multi-storey teaching building has been shelled in the eastern city of Kharkiv, killing one person, wounding 11 and trapping one person in the rubble.

Shells also hit the eastern city of Kramatorsk, killing two people and wounding six, Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said in an online post.

UK revokes licence of Russian TV channel

The UK has revoked the broadcasting license of Russian state-funded television channel RT.

“Ofcom has today revoked RT’s licence to broadcast in the UK, with immediate effect,” the UK’s media regulator said in a statement, adding it did not consider it “fit and proper” for RT to operate in the country.

Ukraine: Russia lost 14,200 servicemen

Ukraine’s defence ministry has said that Russia lost some 14,200 servicemen since the invasion began on February 24, including about 200 in the past 24 hours.

It also said that Ukrainian forces destroyed 450 Russian tanks, 1,448 armoured vehicles, 93 planes, 112 helicopters and 12 drones.

Russia’s defence ministry reported the death toll only once, on March 2, saying that 498 servicemen had been killed in Ukraine.

The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Russia lost some 7,000 soldiers in Ukraine.

There is no way to verify the claims of both sides.

One killed, 11 wounded in Kharkiv shelling: Emergency service

Ukraine’s emergency service has reported one person killed and 11 wounded in shelling of a multi-storey teaching building in Kharkiv city.

Biden calls Putin a ‘murderous dictator’

Biden has called Putin a “murderous dictator” and a “pure thug”, The Hill news website has reported.

The US president made the comments at the Friends of Ireland luncheon on St Patrick’s Day at the Capitol.

“My generic point is that, you know, now you have Ireland and Great Britain … standing together against a murderous dictator, a pure thug who is waging an immoral war against the people of Ukraine,” Biden said.

Russian bombardment preventing evacuations from Luhansk region: Governor

The governor of Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region has said frequent and widespread shelling by Russian forces is preventing the safe evacuation of civilians from towns and villages on the front line.

Luhansk governor Serhiy Gaidai said 59 civilians had been killed in the region since the start of the war, which he said had entirely destroyed some residential areas.

“There is not one community that hasn’t been under fire,” he said on national television, naming the towns of Severodonetsk, Rubizhne and Popasna as particular hotspots.

Fighting in Mariupol city centre: Russian ministry

Russian troops and their separatist allies have been fighting in the centre of Mariupol, a strategic port city in the southeast of Ukraine, the Russian defence ministry has said.

“In Mariupol, units of the Donetsk People’s Republic, with the support of the Russian armed forces, are squeezing the encirclement and fighting against nationalists in the city centre,” the ministry said in Moscow.

France says sanctions starting to affect Russia

French government spokesman Gabriel Attal has said sanctions imposed by Western countries on Russia were starting to have a “real impact”.

“We hope these sanctions will force [Russian President] Vladimir Putin to change his plans,” Attal told BFM TV.

Earlier this week, European Union member states agreed on a fourth package of sanctions against Russia.

One killed, 4 wounded after parts of missile fall in northern Kyiv

One person has been killed and four wounded after parts of a Russian missile fell on a residential building in the northern part of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, emergency services have said.

The services said in a statement that 12 people were rescued and 98 were evacuated from the five-storey building.

Russia says separatists ‘tightening the noose’ around Mariupol: RIA

Russia’s defence ministry has said that separatists in eastern Ukraine with help from Russia’s armed forces were “tightening the noose” around the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency has reported.

The defence ministry added that fighting was continuing in the centre of Mariupol.

Strike in Lviv hit area close to the city: Correspondent

Al Jazeera’s Zein Basravi, reporting from Lviv, said ambulances and water trucks were heading to put out fires following an early morning attack close to the city.

“This is an area close to the city, with lots of old industrial buildings and plants.

“The mayor of Lviv said the area that was hit was completely levelled by multiple Russian missiles but there were no injuries and deaths,” he added.

“We’ve seen a few other attacks in the west of the country so far in this conflict but this is the closest one to Lviv.”

Ukraine hopes nine humanitarian corridors will operate on Friday

Ukraine hopes to evacuate civilians through nine humanitarian corridors from cities and towns on the front line of fighting with Russian forces, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has said.

Plant in Lviv struck by missiles launched from Black Sea: Military

Ukraine’s military has said the aircraft repair plant in Lviv was struck by cruise missiles launched from the direction of the Black Sea.

The type of the missile was likely Kh-555, the military said, which are launched from heavy strategic bombers.

Similar missiles struck the Yavoriv military base in western Ukraine on Sunday.

Saudi Arabia extends Ukrainians’ visas on humanitarian grounds: SPA

Saudi Arabia has issued a royal directive extending tourist and business visas of Ukrainian citizens without fees or fines for humanitarian considerations, state news agency SPA has said.

The extension will be automatic without the need to visit the migration authorities.

Russia lost 7 planes, ‘exhausted’ human resources

Ukrainian servicemen downed seven Russian planes, one helicopter, three drones and three cruise missiles, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces has said in a Facebook post.

In an earlier post, it showed the debris of a downed Russian helicopter. It also claimed that Moscow is running out of servicemen and has to mobilise civilians and hire Syrian “mercenaries”.

“Because the occupants have significantly exhausted human resources,” Russian top brass resorts to “extreme measures” such as mobilisation of civilians and volunteers, conscripts and cadets, as well as mercenaries from Syria, it said.

Missiles destroy aircraft repair plant in Lviv: Mayor

Several missiles have hit an aircraft repair plant in Lviv, destroying its building, Mayor Andriy Sadovy has said.

The plant had been stopped and there were no casualties from the attack, he said.

Abducted mayor says he was swapped for 9 Russian POWs

The mayor of the southern town of Melitopol who was abducted by separatists and charged with “terrorism”, has reportedly said he was swapped for nine captured Russian servicemen.

Ivan Fyodorov, 33, who was released on Wednesday, told the Nastoyashchee Vremya broadcaster on Friday that Russians threw him in a cell and pressured him for hours, while he heard people being tortured in neighbouring cells.

He said they wanted him to resign so that a Russian-appointed “mayor” could take over his duties.

Russians tried to create puppet administrations in a handful of Ukrainian towns and the city of Kherson, but their efforts were thwarted by massive pro-Ukrainian rallies.

Russia sets up no-fly zone over Donbas: Interfax

Russia has established a no-fly zone over Ukraine’s Donbas region, according to a separatist official from the Donetsk People’s Republic, the Interfax news agency has said.

Russian gas transit via Ukraine at maximum contractual volumes: RIA

The Ukrainian gas transmission system operator has seen Russian gas transit via Ukraine at maximum contractual volumes after two days of lower volumes, RIA news agency has reported.

Russian missiles hit area near airport in Lviv: Mayor

Russian missiles have struck an area near the airport of Lviv, its mayor Andriy Sadovy has said, though he added that the airport itself had not been attacked.

Writing on messaging app Telegram, Sadovy said he could not give a precise address of the targeted area ” but it’s definitely not an airport”.

Smoke rises from a factory building near Lviv airport, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in Lviv, Ukraine
Smoke rises from a factory building near the airport in Lviv, Ukraine [Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters]

Clouds of smoke rising from area of Lviv airport: AFP

A thick pall of grey smoke streamed across clear blue sky over Lviv’s airport in western Ukraine at 7:30am, an AFP reporter has witnessed.

Armed checkpoints turned motorists back from roads into the airport.

Explosions heard in Lviv: Report

At least three explosions have been heard in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, according to the Ukraine 24 television station.

It posted a short video on Telegram in which a mushroom-shaped plume of smoke could be seen rising on the horizon.

Ukraine military rules out Russian ground offensive on Kyiv in ‘near future’

Ukraine’s military says a Russian ground offensive on the Ukrainian capital in the “near future” is “improbable”, citing a lack of experienced commanders as well as heavy casualties and low morale among Russian forces.

It also said Russia is trying to replenish their losses with mercenaries from Syria and have already recruited 1,000 volunteers.

Dozens of Turkish citizens evacuate Mariupol, many more remain

Turkey’s Anadolu Agency is reporting that at least 65 Turkish citizens and their relatives have managed to evacuate Mariupol.

Ismail Hacioglu, who heads Mariupol’s main mosque, told the state-run agency that the Turks who left on Thursday were people who had access to their own vehicles.

Some 87 Turkish citizens and their families remain in the city, he said, but the evacuation buses that were supposed to pick them up were unable to enter Mariupol on Thursday due to Russian attacks.

“The Turkish Foreign Ministry notified the Russian Foreign Ministry about the evacuation of Turkish nationals. That’s why the area where our mosque is located was not bombed,” he said.

US citizen killed in Ukraine identified; he died while ‘trying to find food’

US media have identified the American citizen killed in Ukraine as 68-year-old Jimmy Hill.

Citing Hill’s family members, Fox News said the social worker was killed while trying to find food in the city of Chernihiv.

Hill’s sister, Cheryl Hill Gordon, wrote on Facebook that he was waiting “in a bread line with several other people when they were gunned down by Russian military snipers”.

She added, “His body was found in the street by the local police.”

Biden to speak with Xi

The presidents of the United State and China will speak at 9am Eastern time (13:00 GMT) on Friday, the White House says.

“This is part of ongoing efforts to maintain open lines of communication between the US and the PRC [People’s Republic of China],” it said in a statement.

“The two leaders will discuss managing the competition between the two countries as well as Russia’s war against Ukraine and other issues of mutual concern.”

Latest Western arms supplies for Ukraine ‘not escalatory’: Analyst

Richard Weitz, a defence and military analyst with Wikistrat in Washington, DC, says the latest weapons supplies pledged for Ukraine by the US and other Western countries do not amount to an escalation.

“The weapons under discussion are the same that Western powers have been providing the Ukrainian armed forces for months, anti-air missiles, anti-tank and armour missiles, other types of light weapons. The S-300 systems that the Slovaks may provide are already in the Ukrainian inventory, and Russia has more advanced S-400 and S-500 systems,” he told Al Jazeera.

“So it seems to me, this is in line with what the alliance has been doing, providing the Ukrainians with the weapons and the munitions they need to replenish the stocks they have lost and take advantage of Russian tactical errors. But it’s not an escalatory move.”

Japan to sanction Russian defence officials, arms exporter

Japan says it will freeze the assets of 15 Russian individuals and nine organisations, including deputy defence ministers and head of Russia’s military intelligence (GRU), Igor Kostyukov.

The Japanese finance ministry said it will also sanction state-owned arms exporter, Rosoboronexport.

The latest measures mean Japan has now slapped sanctions on 76 individuals, seven banks and 12 other organisations in Russia.

‘We are different now’: Zelenskyy tells Russia

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says his country is different from the one Russia found in 2014 when it seized Crimea without a fight and backed separatists as they took control of the eastern Donbas region.

“The occupants thought they were going to Ukraine which they had seen before, in 2014-2015, which they corrupted and were not afraid of. But we are different now,” he said. “And it allows us to defend ourselves against a full-scale attack for 22 days.”

‘Worst decision of your life’: Zelenskyy warns Russian war volunteers

Ukraine’s president has warned people considering joining the Russian war effort not to do so, saying “it will be the worst decision of your life”.

“Long life is better than the money they offer for a short one,” he said in his nightly video address.

Russia’s invasion ‘faltering’ amid logistical problems: UK

The British Ministry of Defence says logistical problems are continuing to beset Russia’s “faltering invasion of Ukraine”.

“Reluctance to manoeuvre cross-country, lack of control of the air and limited bridging capabilities are preventing Russia from effectively resupplying their forward troops with even basic essentials such as food and fuel,” the ministry said in its latest intelligence update.

“Incessant Ukrainian counterattacks are forcing Russia to divert large number of troops to defend their own supply lines. This is severely limiting Russia’s offensive potential,” it added.

Australia imposes new sanctions on Russian banks, billionaires

Australia has placed sanctions on 11 additional Russian banks and government organisations, covering the majority of the country’s banking assets along with all entities that handle Russia’s sovereign debt.

“With our recent inclusion of the Central Bank of Russia, Australia has now targeted all Russian government entities responsible for issuing and managing Russia’s sovereign debt,” Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne said in a statement.

She said Australia is also placing sanctions on two more Russian billionaires with links to business interests in the country – Oleg Deripaska and Viktor Vekselberg.

Huge fire at Kharkiv market; rescue worker reported dead

Russian shelling has caused a fire at Kharkiv’s Barabashovo market, among the largest in Eastern Europe, according to Ukraine’s public broadcaster, Suspilne.

Within five hours, the fire “engulfed almost the entire area” and spread to private homes nearby, it said.

“As emergency workers were extinguishing the fire, Russian troops struck the market again with missiles: one rescuer was killed and another was hospitalized with multiple injuries,” it added.

Rescue effort at Mariupol theatre hampered by ‘continuous shelling’

Mariupol city council says rescuers are continuing to clear rubble at the drama theatre and searching for survivors despite “continuous shelling”.

It said information about the victims “is still being clarified”.

More than a day after the air raid, there are no reports of deaths, and it is not clear how many people have emerged from the rubble.

One woman who said she had been preparing food for the people sheltering in the theatre said nearly 800 civilians were in the building when it was hit.

“I’d say only a hundred or so managed to disperse,” she said in a video circulated by Ukraine’s far-right Azov Battalion. The rest “are likely under rubble because there were a lot of people in the basement under the stage. And it’s the stage that got hit.”

Russian forces accused of dropping 50-100 bombs on Mariupol everyday

Authorities in besieged Mariupol say Russian forces are dropping 50-100 bombs on the city every day, causing “enormous destruction”.

The Mariupol council, in a Telegram post, said the situation in the city is “critical” and that preliminary estimates show that about 80 percent of the city’s residential buildings have been destroyed.

Ukraine urges FATF to blacklist Russia

Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian foreign minister, has called on member states of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global financial crimes watchdog, to exclude Russia from the consortium.

Kuleba said the member states must also designate Russia on “FATF’s blacklist without delay”.

Zelenskyy thanks Italy for offer to rebuild Mariupol theatre

Ukraine’s Zelenskyy has thanked the Italian government for offering to rebuild the theatre in the southern city of Mariupol that Kyiv says was bombed by Russian forces.

Italy’s Culture Minister Dario Franceschini had said his country is ready to reconstruct the building, adding that “theatres of all countries belong to the whole [of] humanity”.

“You set a good example to follow. Together we will rebuild the country to the last brick,” Zelenskyy responded on Twitter.

A no-fly zone is a ‘military operation’: Analyst

A US-enforced no-fly zone over Ukraine would effectively be a “military operation” that risks escalating the conflict, Alyssa Demus, a senior policy analyst at the RAND Corporation think-tank, has said.

“In theory, it sounds like a good idea,” Demus told Al Jazeera. “But then when you get into the nitty-gritty of what a no-fly zone means in practice, it really is a military operation. So I think Russia would perceive that as a pretty significant escalation, and they’re a nuclear state.”

Former Russian foreign minister condemns Kremlin’s diplomats

A former Russian foreign minister who served under Boris Yeltsin has condemned the Kremlin’s diplomats, calling their conduct during the country’s invasion of Ukraine “disgusting”.

Speaking to United Kingdom broadcaster Sky, Andrei Kozyrev said that Russian diplomats should resign, accusing them of having “disgraced themselves” by defending the invasion.

“They just spread the propaganda, and it’s not for decent diplomats to spread propaganda,” he said.

“They’ve disgraced themselves and listening to them or kind of negotiating with them under the circumstances is just a waste of time and waste of your own self-respect,” Kozyrev added.

UN Security Council meeting concludes

The UN Security Council meeting that discussed the situation in Ukraine has adjourned. Representatives of Ukraine, the US and the UK, among others, accused Russia of targeting civilian areas and medical facilities in Ukrainian towns and cities.

Moscow’s envoy dismissed reports of Russian atrocities as “propaganda”.

US pushing China to pressure Russia to end war: AJE correspondent

Al Jazeera’s Rosiland Jordan has said the Biden administration is ramping up its public pressure campaign on China, urging the country to exert influence on Putin to end the invasion.

So far, China has taken what it describes as a neutral stance on the war, as it largely shies away from intervening in the affairs of other nations, Jordan reported from Washington.

“They have this ‘don’t meddle’ policy,” she said. “But the US is trying to pressure Beijing into actually taking a stand – not just a legal stand, but a moral stand, as well.”

5,000 children born into Ukraine conflict: UNICEF official

A spokesperson for the UN’s child agency, UNICEF, has said at least 5,000 children have been born into the conflict raging in Ukraine.

“Each one of these [children] is an individual story, it’s a child who’s had their life turned upside down. It’s a family who have had their family torn apart,” Joe English told Al Jazeera from the western Ukrainian city of Lviv.

“The children of Ukraine need peace urgently and they need it now,” English added.

Why Security Council will not vote on Russia’s ‘humanitarian’ draft resolution

Al Jazeera’s Kristen Saloomey, reporting from the UN, said Ukraine’s ambassador delivered “an impassioned response” at the Security Council to Russia’s denial that it is the aggressor in the conflict.

Russia had put forward a humanitarian resolution that was expected to come up for a vote on Friday, Saloomey explained, but Moscow said it would no longer bring that measure to a vote.

“It was clear the US was not going to back that without wording in that resolution acknowledging that the reason for the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding there is the Russians’ aggression,” she said.

Friday’s meeting will still take place, she said, but the focus will be on Russia’s allegation of US-backed biological laboratories in Ukraine – a claim the US, Ukraine and other allies have rejected.

Zelenskyy says he spoke to Macron, focused on ‘peaceful dialogue’

The Ukrainian president has said he spoke with France’s Emmanuel Macron, and the two leaders emphasised the “continuation of peaceful dialogue”.

“We must strengthen the anti-war coalition,” Zelenskyy wrote on Twitter.

Ukraine says 3,810 people evacuated from cities: Interfax agency

A total of 3,810 people have been evacuated from Ukrainian cities through humanitarian corridors on Thursday, the Interfax Ukraine news agency cited a senior official as saying, a far smaller number than on Wednesday.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk told a briefing that approximately 2,000 people managed to leave the besieged city of Mariupol. President Zelenskyy said more than 60,000 people had been evacuated on Wednesday.

Moscow rejects reports of Russian atrocities as ‘propaganda’

Russian Ambassador to the UN Vasily Nebenzya has rejected reports of atrocities in Ukraine as “propaganda”.

Nebenzya described allegations that Russia is targeting hospitals and residential areas, including recent accusations that Russian forces bombed a theatre sheltering civilians in the besieged southern city of Mariupol, as “fakes”.

“The hyped-up campaign of lies and disinformation in Ukraine is reaching new and new heights,” Nebenzya told the Security Council.

US Congress moves to revoke Russia’s ‘most favoured nation’ trade status

The US House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved legislation to revoke Russia’s “most favoured nation” trading status, bringing the US closer to imposing higher tariffs and restrictions on Russian imports.

The House’s 428-8 vote sends the bill, requested by President Biden, to the Senate for likely approval as soon as next week.

The bill also would allow Biden to impose more penalties on Russian officials under the US’s Global Magnitsky Sanctions law.

‘War is causing suffering well beyond Ukraine’s borders,’ says UK envoy

British Ambassador to the UN Barbara Woodward has called on Russia to end the war, saying that the conflict is causing suffering worldwide, not just in Ukraine.

“President Putin’s war is causing suffering well beyond Ukraine’s borders,” Woodward told the UN Security Council.

“Thousands of students – many from nations around this table – have been caught up in the violence. The war is spiking food and energy prices, bringing further pain to countries in the developing world already suffering from the impact of COVID and famine and conflict and climate. Millions of refugees have been taken in by countries across Europe.”

UN Security Council
UK’s Woodward (left) says the war’s effects are being felt across the world [David ‘Dee’ Delgado/Reuters]

More than 700 civilians killed so far in Ukraine, UN says

More than 700 civilians – including 52 children – have been killed in Ukraine since Russia invaded but the “actual number is likely much higher”, UN political affairs chief Rosemary DiCarlo told the Security Council.

“Hundreds of residential buildings have been damaged or destroyed, as have hospitals and schools,” DiCarlo said.

She added that the UN human rights agency has recorded 726 deaths, as well as 1,174 people injured, including 63 children, between February 24 and March 15. DiCarlo did not specify who was to blame. “This demands a thorough investigation and accountability,” she said.

US envoy to UN calls on Putin to ‘end this madness’

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US envoy to the UN, has said the only way to end the war is for Putin to stop the invasion and withdraw Russian troops from Ukraine.

“There’s only one way, one way to end this madness,” Thomas-Greenfield told the UN Security Council.

“President Putin, stop the killing; withdraw your forces; leave Ukraine once and for all.”

12 dead in dozens of attacks on Ukrainian health care: WHO

The World Health Organization has verified 43 attacks on health care in Ukraine, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the UN Security Council.

The attacks have resulted in the deaths of 12 people and injured dozens more.

“In any conflict, attacks on health care are a violation of international humanitarian law,” Tedros told the 15-member council, without specifying who was to blame for the attacks.

Canada unveils new pathway to temporary residency for Ukrainians

Canada has unveiled details of a new immigration scheme that will allow Ukrainians to stay in the country for up to three years as temporary residents.

The government said overseas applicants must apply for a Canadian visitor visa online and provide fingerprints and a photo, and it also encouraged applicants to apply for a three-year work permit at the same time.

Ukrainian workers, students and visitors and their relatives already in Canada can also apply to extend their stay for up to three years, Ottawa said.

INTERACTIVE_RefugeesDAY22 - March17_ 3 million
(Al Jazeera)

Blinken accuses Russia of committing ‘war crimes’

The US Secretary of State has accused Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine, echoing Biden, who on Wednesday called Putin a “war criminal”.

“Intentionally targeting civilians is a war crime. After all the destruction of the past three weeks I find it difficult to conclude that the Russians are doing otherwise,” Blinken told reporters.

Still, Blinken said US State Department experts are in the process of documenting and evaluating potential war crimes to help international efforts towards accountability.

Read more here.

Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the Ukraine-Russia crisis.

Read all the updates from Thursday, March 17 here.