Ukraine BrieflyMarch 18, 2022
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- Russia rejected an order by the United Nations’ highest court to cease its attack on Ukraine, saying both sides had to agree to end the hostilities for the ruling to be implemented, Radio Free Europe reported. The International Court of Justice said in its decision that it was “profoundly concerned” by Moscow’s unprovoked invasion and that both parties must “refrain from any action which might aggravate or extend the dispute before the court or make it more difficult to resolve.”
- Rescuers began extracting survivors from the debris of a theater in the besieged coastal city of Mariupol on Thursday, a day after an airstrike demolished the structure where hundreds of people were said to be seeking refuge, the New York Times wrote. The number of casualties was unknown, according to Ukrainian officials, as Russian forces continued to shell the region – the city is being hit by up to 100 bombs a day, local officials said – delaying rescue attempts. More than 4,000 people were evacuated from Ukrainian cities Thursday. Meanwhile, the United Nations’ refugee agency said that more than 3 million refugees have left Ukraine since Russia started its invasion of the country on Feb. 24, according to the Hill. The UN also said at least 2,000 Ukrainians have died in the war, a number that is likely a vast undercount.
- Chinese officials vowed to “never attack Ukraine,” adding that China was a “friendly country for the Ukrainian people,” in what has been considered Beijing’s most supportive comments toward the war-torn country, Bloomberg wrote. US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart will speak Friday morning about the war in Ukraine. Meanwhile, India, another friend of Russia, agreed to buy Russian oil and weapons as Russia remains economically isolated by international sanctions, the Washington Post reported. At the same time, India’s central bank is in preliminary talks with Moscow over a rupee-ruble trading arrangement that would allow shipments to Russia to continue after Western sanctions hindered international payment methods, according to the Financial Times. The Russian government made a $117 million interest payment to foreign bondholders on Wednesday, averting what would have been its first foreign debt default since 1918.
- A fourth Russian general was killed during the fighting in Ukraine, according to Ukrainian officials, the BBC noted. Officials said that Major General Oleg Mityaev was killed near Mariupol. His death has prompted questions about why senior members of the Russian military are so close to the front line.
- Ukraine joined the European electricity grid, which will allow the country to separate its power system from Russia, the Associated Press reported.
- Russia has called for an emergency meeting at the United Nations Security Council on Friday to discuss American biological labs in Ukraine they say are manufacturing bioweapons, a move denounced by the US as promoting “disinformation,” and by Russian scientists who say the accusation is false.
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