Ukraine news – Latest: Zelenskyy says ‘mighty blows’ have hit Russia as Moscow signals to scale back war

Biden says NATO will “react in kind” if Putin uses chemical weapons

Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukrainian defense forces “delivered powerful blows to the enemy” and inflicted “significant casualties” on Russian troops.

The Ukrainian president praised his country’s armed forces as “heroic” in a video speech shared on social media.

Meanwhile, Russia has indicated that it is trimming down its invasion ambitions to focus only on territory claimed by Moscow-backed separatists to the east.

A month after Vladimir Putin launched the invasion, the Russian Defense Ministry said the completion of their “first phase” of operations means they would now focus on the Donbass region.

It suggests that the Russian president had to reconsider his goals in the face of Ukrainian resistance and the huge casualties of his troops, who are also beset by logistical problems.

Western officials said it could mean a “pause” in operations around Kyiv and elsewhere as the Russians shift resources to the east of the country.

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Ukraine says Russia’s war has killed 136 children so far

The war in Ukraine has killed 136 children so far, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office just said in a message on the Telegram app, adding that the number of wounded children stands at 199.

Earlier in Ukraine, authorities said about 300 people were killed by the Russian airstrike that blew up a Mariupol theater used as a shelter last week, fueling allegations that Moscow is committing war crimes by killing civilians, be it intentionally or by indiscriminate fire.

(AP)

Stuti MishraMarch 26, 2022 07:15

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Zelenskyy claims Russia faces “mighty blows” with 16,000 soldiers killed

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has claimed the country has dealt “mighty blows” to the Russians and killed 16,000 soldiers.

“Over the past week, our heroic forces have dealt mighty blows to the enemy. Significant losses,” Mr Zelensky said in his address on Friday, adding that 16,000 Russian soldiers had been killed, but Russia says 1,351 died.

“They say that the Russian Defense Minister has disappeared somewhere,” says Zelenskyy, alluding to the alleged disappearance of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who has only been seen publicly once since March 11.

“The armed forces continue to repel enemy attacks in the south of the country, in Donbass, towards Kharkiv and in the Kyiv region,” he said.

“I am grateful to our defenders who showed the occupiers that the sea will not be calm for them even if there is no storm. Because there will be fire,” Mr. Zelensky said.

“By restraining Russia’s actions, our defenders lead the Russian leadership to a simple and logical idea: talking is necessary. Sensible. Urgently. Industrial fair. Because of the result, not because of the delay.”

(AP)

Stuti MishraMarch 26, 2022 6:53 am

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Not just Ukraine: how the fate of Belarus is linked to the war between two of its neighbors

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February, Belarus has played a Judas-like role, sacrificing what little sovereignty it had left to use as a staging post for the Russian attack on Kyiv, writes Amanda Coakley.

Belarusian border guards have let Russian troops pass through the border, the country’s air defense and traffic control systems have aided Moscow’s campaign, and Russia’s dead and wounded have filled hospitals in southern Belarusian cities.

Stuti MishraMarch 26, 2022 06:22

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Biden calls on ‘free world’ to oppose Putin in Poland speech

US President Joe Biden will argue in a speech in Poland on Saturday that the “free world” opposes Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and that there is unity among major economies to stop Vladimir Putin, the White House said.

After three days of emergency meetings with G7, European Council and NATO allies, as well as a visit to US troops in Poland, Mr Biden will meet Polish President Andrzej Duda.

In what US officials are calling the keynote address in Poland, Mr. Biden will “make remarks on the free world’s united efforts to support the people of Ukraine, to hold Russia accountable for its brutal war, and to defend a future that… It is rooted in democratic principles,” the White House said in a statement.

Stuti MishraMarch 26, 2022 5:34 am

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“Stupid” to think Western sanctions could affect the Kremlin, says Russia’s former president

It is “foolish” to believe that Western sanctions against Russian companies could have an impact on the Moscow government, Russian ex-president and deputy head of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev was quoted as saying on Friday.

The sanctions, which also target Russian billionaires close to Vladimir Putin, would only consolidate Russian society and not cause popular dissatisfaction with the authorities, Medvedev said in an interview with the Russian news agency RIA.

“Let’s ask ourselves: Can any of these big businessmen have even the smallest amount of influence on the position of the country’s leadership?” said Mr. Medvedev.

“I’ll tell you frankly: no, absolutely not.”

Mr Medvedev said opinion polls showed that three quarters of Russians supported the Kremlin’s decision to launch a military operation in Ukraine, and even more backed President Putin.

While downplaying the economic impact of sanctions, Mr Medvedev said the Russian government must find “reasonable solutions” on its own to boost the development of the aircraft, automobile and IT industries, among others.

“Now it’s getting harder to address these issues, but on the other hand, we don’t have anyone to rely on,” he said. “In that case, we have to solve these problems ourselves.”

(AP)

Stuti MishraMarch 26, 2022 5:05 am

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Russian attack killed 300 at Mariupol Theater, Ukraine says

About 300 people were killed last week by the Russian airstrike that blew up a Mariupol theater used as a shelter, Ukrainian authorities said, marking the war’s deadliest known attack on civilians so far. The death toll released on Friday fueled allegations that Moscow is committing war crimes by killing civilians, either intentionally or through indiscriminate fire.

For days, the Mariupol government has been unable to provide casualty figures for the March 16 pillar bombardment of the Mariupol Grand Theater, where hundreds of people are said to have taken cover. To deter such an attack, the word “CHILDREN” in Russian was printed on the ground outside in huge white letters. The city government cited eyewitnesses when announcing the death toll on its Telegram channel. However, it was not immediately clear how witnesses got to the figure or if rescue workers had finished excavating the ruins.

Donetsk Regional Theater of Drama destroyed by Russian air raid in Mariupol

(via REUTERS)

Stuti MishraMarch 26, 2022 4:32 am

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What are the newspapers saying today?

The nation’s newspapers are spearheaded by Russia “reducing” its presence in Ukraine.

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Stuti MishraMarch 26, 2022 3:59 am

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Briton welcomes Ukrainian refugee to his home after ‘agonizing’ wait

A Brit described the “relief” he felt after welcoming a Ukrainian refugee into his home after an “agonizing” wait.

Max Fox, 32, who lives in Poulton-le-Fylde with his partner, greeted Vlad, 26, in Britain as he landed at Manchester Airport on Friday as part of the Homes for Ukraine programme.

Mr Fox met Vlad while he was helping with humanitarian efforts in Poland – he submitted an application to bring him back to the UK on March 18 and put the Ukrainian up in a hotel until the application was successful.

“Well it was just a definite relief,” Mr Fox

“The last week has been pretty agonizing. Actually bringing him here and sort of closing that chapter and moving on to the new chapter, that was nice.”

Stuti MishraMarch 26, 2022 3:19 am

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Russia has attacked at least 34 medical facilities in Ukraine, according to the report

According to the Associated Press, Russian forces have attacked at least 34 medical facilities across Ukraine since invading the country.

The attacks included attacks on hospitals, ambulances, medics, patients and even newborns in a maternity hospital.

Joe Biden and the State Department have said they believe war crimes were committed in the months-long Kremlin campaign, and such attacks could form the basis of future international criminal prosecutions against Russia’s leaders.

FILE – Mariana Vishegirskaya stands outside a maternity hospital damaged by shelling Wednesday, March 9, 2022, in Mariupol, Ukraine.

(AP)

Graem MassieMarch 26, 2022 1:58 am

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Zelenskyy claims that Russia has lost more than 16,000 soldiers

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia has so far lost more than 16,000 troops in Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked attack on the country.

“The number of Russian casualties has exceeded 16,000 victims,” ​​Zelenskyy said in a video message on Friday.

“Below them are the senior commanders. So far no reports of killed Russian generals or admirals. However, in this number we have a commander of one of the occupying armies and a second commander of the Black Sea Fleet.”

(AP)

Graem MassieMarch 26, 2022 1:28 am

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