Ukraine, Briefly

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  • Russia continued its bombardment of Ukrainian cities over the weekend, while an aid convoy carrying food and medicine was unable to reach Mariupol, under siege by Russian forces, where hundreds of thousands are running out of basic supplies including water, said President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. To date, more than 2,000 of the city’s residents have died, city leaders said. Satellite photographs obtained on Saturday showed tremendous damage to residential structures as well as a hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine, according to Fox News.
  • Zelenksyy also said around 1,300 Ukrainian troops have been killed since Russia attacked Ukraine, Agence France-Presse noted. And up to 6,000 Russian troops may have died, CBS reported. The true number of casualties, both civilian and military, is not known. Meanwhile, Ukrainian authorities accused Russia of abducting the mayor of the southern town of Dniprorudne, the second kidnapping of a city leader since the invasion began last month, the Hill said. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned that Russia might use chemical weapons in Ukraine and that such a move would be a war crime, Reuters noted.
  • A Russian airstrike killed at least 35 people in a Ukrainian base near the Polish border, Al Jazeera reported. Western Ukraine had mostly been spared by attacks since the invasion began in late February but Russia has stepped up airstrikes there in recent days. The facility has been used by NATO troops for yearsfor training alongside Ukrainian troops, with Americans on-site as recently as February, the Washington Post said.
  • The United States and its allies moved to further isolate Russia, planning to suspend trade relations and other measures to cut the nation off from the global economy, the New York Times reported. European Union leaders have yet to determine a date to phase out Russian gas, oil and coal imports, following a summit in Versailles, France on Friday, Politico added. Meanwhile, a new round of proposed EU sanctions targets more than a dozen people and seeks to ban the export of European luxury goods exceeding a certain price from the bloc to Russia.
  • The British government offered to pay people roughly $460 a month to house Ukrainian refugees, according to Reuters. Poland said it is unable to take more refugees without help – it has already accepted more than 1.5 million. Meanwhile, more than 200,000 Ukrainians are returning home, some to fight, others because they can’t afford accommodations abroad. At the same time, thousands of Russians are fleeing their country, fearing a crackdown or closed borders, or angry over the invasion of Ukraine, the NYT said. Russia fears a brain drain, the BBC reported.
  • Russia has asked China for military equipment and aid in the past few weeks, US officials said, adding that it isn’t known what kind of weaponry was requested or whether it was approved. Top White House officials said there would be “consequences” for Chinese efforts to help Russia evade sanctions. US and Chinese officials meet.
  • About 80 million Russians lost their access to Instagram at midnight Sunday after being told by Russian officials to remove their content off of the social media platform, Reuters reported. The move by the Russian regulator to shut off access comes after Meta, Instagram’s parent company, announced last week that it would temporarily allow in Ukraine “forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules like violent speech such as ‘death to the Russian invaders.'” In response, Russian prosecutors asked a court to designate Meta as an “extremist organization.” Russia has already blocked other social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter.

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