Ukraine BrieflyMarch 21, 2022
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- Russia claims to have fired its newest Kinzhal hypersonic missiles in Ukraine for the first time in an attack on a weapons storage facility in the country’s west. According to the defense ministry, the aeroballistic missiles destroyed a large subterranean storehouse holding missiles and aircraft ammo, Al Jazeera reported.
- The Russian military destroyed an art school where 400 people had taken sanctuary in the besieged Ukrainian coastal city of Mariupol, Radio Free Europe wrote. Local officials said that the school’s structure had been damaged and that individuals may have been buried beneath the rubble. No casualties have been reported. The attack came just days after another one on a theater in the city where hundreds took refuge. Russian troops are all over the city and the fighting is going “street by street,” said the Washington Post. Meanwhile, city authorities warned that “several thousand Mairupol residents” are being taken to Russia against their will by Russian forces, CNN added.
- The United Nations reported that close to 900 civilians have died in Ukraine since the start of Russia’s invasion but warned that it believes the true death toll is “considerably higher,” the Hill reported. At the same time, Ukraine accused Russia’s military of purposefully opening fire into a nursing care facility, killing 56 elderly people in the eastern Luhansk area, the Telegraph added.
- Ukraine opened seven humanitarian corridors on Sunday to allow civilians to leave, according to the Hill. Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said the humanitarian corridors would allow people of villages targeted by the Russian assault to be evacuated as well as aid to be sent into areas close to the frontlines.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed a pro-government rally to mark the eighth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Moscow Times reported. During the rally, Putin defended Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, saying they were protecting people in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region from a so-called “genocide.” The event was beset by “technical difficulties” and reports of people being forced to attend.
- Turkey’s foreign minister signaled Sunday that talks between Ukraine and Russia are making progress. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reiterated Sunday that he is ready to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin, CNN reported. “I was ready for the last two years,” he said. “And I think that without negotiations, we cannot end this war.” He ruled out abandoning Ukraine’s efforts to join NATO or giving up any territory or sovereignty.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the government will ban 11 Ukrainian political parties over their “ties” with Russia. The parties share some positions with Moscow or have Russian-leaning platforms. One party, Opposition Platform-For Life, is led by Viktor Medvedchuk, a businessman with personal ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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