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20,000 civilians flee Ukrainie's Mariupol — as it happened

March 15, 2022

The EU has increased the scope of its sanctions against Russia while thousands flee besieged cities along humanitarian corridors. Follow DW for the latest.

Ukrainian servicemen and volunteers carry a man injured during a shelling attack into hospital number 3 in Mariupol, Ukraine
Russian attacks against Ukrainian cities have continued as negotiators from both sides discuss a possible cease-fireImage: Evgeniy Maloletka/AP Photo/picture alliance
  • The PMs of Poland, Czech Republic and Slovenia arrive in Kyiv
  • US President to travel to Brussels for 'extraordinary NATO summit' next week
  • Four residential buildings have been hit in several Kyiv districts, killing at least two people
  • Fourth round of Russia-Ukraine talks has resumed
  • More than 3 million people have fled Ukraine
  • EU has announced further sanctions against Russia

This live updates article is now closed. For the March 16 edition, please go here. 

Germany's Scholz: 'Nobody can want' NATO to clash militarily with Russia

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz again spoke against NATO wading into the war in Ukraine with military means on Tuesday.

"We will not establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine," Scholz said at an event organized by newspaper die Welt. He said such a step would amount to a "direct military confrontation" with Russia.

"Along with US President Joe Biden, with France's President Emmanuel Macron and with other allies, I agree that there can be no military confrontation between NATO and Russia. Nobody can want that," Scholz said.

Scholz said the western alliance would continue to rely on the effectiveness of economic sanctions and other measures designed to ensure Russia's invasion of Ukraine carried a cost closer to home.  

"President Vladimir Putin may have planned this war for a year and prepared himself for economic reaction from the international community, but he has underestimated our determination: the sanctions are having a tougher impact than Russia ever imagined," Scholz said.

The German chancellor also warned that these steps would have an economic impact for Germany and its citizens too, amid record petroleum and gas prices caused in no small part by the conflict.

Zelenskyy salutes Polish, Slovenian and Czech PMs' visit

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy hailed a visit by the prime ministers of Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovenia to Kiyv.

"[They are] not afraid of anything and are more afraid of our fate," he told reporters after meeting the three European leaders.

They traveled to the capital by train in solidarity with Ukraine and are the first western leaders to Kyiv since the war began.

"Your visit to Kyiv at this difficult time for Ukraine is a strong sign of support. We really appreciate it," Zelenskyy told them.

"Europe must understand that if it loses Ukraine, it will never be the same again. It will no longer be Europe. Rather it will be a defeated, humiliated and pathetic version of its former self," Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on social media after their meeting.

His deputy, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who accompanied Morawiecki, said a NATO-led peacekeeping force should deploy in Ukraine.

"I think that it is necessary to have a peace mission - NATO, possibly some wider international structure - but a mission that will be able to defend itself, which will operate on Ukrainian territory," Kaczynski said.

"This cannot be an unarmed mission," he said.

NATO itself and various western leaders, including US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, have so far ruled out sending Alliance troops to Ukraine in any capacity.

Ukrainian lawmaker Kira Rudik: 'We are ready for the siege'

Ukrainian Member of Parliament Kira Rudik told DW that Ukraine was "ready" for a siege of Kyiv, while urging for the establishment of a no-fly zone over the country.

Rudik said that both civilians and the Ukrainian government had been preparing for a siege of Kyiv "for a while."

"We are ready for the siege," Rudik said, adding that Kyiv was becoming a "fortress."

"What we are not ready for is the shelling and missiles that are coming from the air."

Rudik called for NATO countries to enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine or provide the country with jets to counter Russian airpower. Both these steps have so far been dismissed by the US and NATO, among others.

"If [Russian forces] try to bombard this city and bring it to the ground," Rudik said, there won't be much Ukraine will be able to do to mount a defense.

Rudik said that she had a machine gun and had been training with her resistance team for 20 days.

"So I'm ready to give them a good fight if necessary," she said.

I plead with our NATO partners to provide us with a no-fly zone: Ukrainian MP Kira Rudik

Senior Republicans urge Biden admin to rethink transfer of Polish fighter jets

Six senior Republicans lawmakers urged President Joe Biden's administration to help provide the Ukrainian Air Force with MiG-29 fighter planes from Poland.

In a letter to the Secretaries of Defense and State, the Republicans called the US decision to reject the proposal from Poland "flawed."
Separately, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell told reporters the idea of arming Ukraine with warplanes transferred from Poland was still under discussion.

"I haven't met anybody in the Senate who's not in favor of seeing those MiGs get into Ukraine. Exactly how to make that happen is still under discussion," McConnell told reporters."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was scheduled to speak to members of Congress on Wednesday in a virtual address.

Biden wrote on Twitter he would give more details about US assistance to Ukraine after Zelenskyy's speech.

It was unlikely to include the jet transfer as the Defense Department warned it would be a "high risk" step that could lead to open conflict between NATO and Russia.

NATO and Germany also rejected the transfer of the jets, which Poland initially said should be transferred via the US Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

Ukraine-Russia talks to continue talks Wednesday

Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podoliak described talks with Russia as "difficult and vicious."

He wrote on Twitter the negotiations would continue on Wednesday but added, "there are fundamental contradictions."

This week's talks between the two countries via video link follow three rounds of negotiations in Belarus that have failed to produce any visible progress.

Russia previously said it wanted guarantees of Ukraine's neutrality, meaning that it would not join NATO. 

Ukraine was demanding an end to the war and the withdrawal of Russian forces. 

Earlier in the day, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's presidential adviser Ihor Zhovkva said talks had been growing "more constructive." 

20,000 civilians escape besieged Mariupol

Civilians fleeing from the heavily besieged south-eastern coastal city of Mariupol were able to escape through a humanitarian corridor on Tuesday, the Ukrainian president's Chief of Staff Kyrylo Tymoshenko said on Telegram.

"Today around 20,000 people drove out of Mariupol in private cars along the humanitarian corridor," he wrote.

Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said that in total almost 29,000 people were able to flee several war-torn cities on Tuesday, using humanitarian routes.

A reported 4,000 vehicles made their way along damaged and mined roads, and past various checkpoints. Of these, 570 were reported to have already reached the city of Zaporizhzhia to the northwest. The remaining cars will spend the night on the route, Tymoshenko said.

Monday saw 4,000 people leave the city along similar routes.

'My heart breaks when I see the destruction': evacuated Mariupol resident Maria Sirychenko

The escape was made possible by a cease-fire agreed between Ukrainian and Russian forces. Previous attempts had failed, leaving the 400,000 strong population without access to food, water and electricity.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) warned that the situation in Mariupol "remained dire" and that they were unable to provide the people still stuck there with necessary aid. According to city authorities, some 2,100 residents of the city have been killed already.

Biden approves 'historic' $13.6 Ukraine aid package

US President Joe Biden signed a bill providing $13.6 billion (€12.4 billion) in humanitarian, military, and economic assistance to Ukraine.

The money will allow the US to provide Ukraine with more weapons and military equipment. Some of it would also be used to provide emergency food assistance, health care, and other humanitarian support.

Lawmakers put up a rare united front when they agreed on the bipartisan deal last week to aid Ukraine.

Democratic and Republican backing for the Ukraine aid package was so staunch it is substantially more than the $10 billion the White House initially requested.

Chernobyl reconnected to the electricity grid

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Ukraine had reconnected the Chernobyl nuclear power plant to the electricity grid.

A Russian attack hit a high-voltage power line last week that disconnected the site from the electricity grid.

Since then, Chernobyl, captured by Russian forces in February, has been running on diesel generators.

"Ukrainian specialist teams succeeded on the weekend to repair one of two damaged lines linking the plant to the power network," an IAEA statement said.

The plant has been shut down since 2000 but spent fuel rods stored on the site need constant cooling.

Turkish Foreign Minister to visit Moscow and Kyiv

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that his Foreign Minister Mevlut Cevasoglu will fly to Moscow for further cease-fire talks.

Cevasoglu will arrive in the Russian capital later on Tuesday and hold talks on Wednesday before heading to Kyiv for talks on Thursday.

"We are sending our foreign minister to Russia today. He will hold talks in Moscow tomorrow. He will travel to Ukraine on Thursday," Erdogan said following a cabinet meeting.

The Turkish foreign minister "will continue our efforts to achieve a ceasefire and peace through talks with both sides," Erdogan added.

Turkey hosted the first high-level wartime talks between the Ukrainian and Russian foreign ministers last Thursday, but these failed to reach a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

Leaders of Germany, Turkey press for ceasefire: Hans Brandt reports

Polish, Czech and Slovenian leaders arrive in Kyiv

The prime ministers of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia arrived in Kyiv on Tuesday to express European Union solidarity as Russia continues its assault on Ukraine's capital city.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki shared a photo from Kyiv on social media, saying "It is here, in war-torn Kyiv, that history is being made. It is here, that freedom fights against the world of tyranny. It is here that the future of us all hangs in the balance."

The leaders are set to meet with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and are going in their capacity as representatives of the European Council.

Biden to travel to Europe for NATO and EU Summit 

US President Joe Biden will travel to Brussels next week to attend a  an extraordinary NATO summit, the White House said.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the trip would focus on the war in Ukraine and "reaffirm our ironclad commitment" to America's allies in the region.

Biden will meet with NATO and European leaders in Brussels on 24 March. 

The trip follows after Vice President Kamala Harris' visit to Poland and Romania last week.

EU announces fourth package of sanctions against Russia

The European Council has announced a fourth wave of sanctions against 15 individuals and nine entities connected to the Kremlin and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"Sanctioned entities include companies in the aviation, military and dual use, shipbuilding and machine building sectors," the EU said in a statement.

The newly sanctioned individuals include Chealsea FC owner Roman Abramovich as well as Konstantin Ernst, the CEO of Channel One Russia that has helped push "the Kremlin's narrative on the situation in Ukraine."

"We are adding to our sanctions list even more oligarchs and regime-affiliated elites, their families and prominent business people, which are involved in economic sectors providing a substantial source of revenue to the regime," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borell said.

"These sanctions also target those who have a leading role in disinformation and propaganda that accompany President Putin’s war against Ukrainian people. Our message is clear: Those who enable the invasion of Ukraine pay a price for their actions," he added.

The package includes a series of measures aimed at "ramping up economic pressure on the Kremlin," these include:

  • Ban on transactions with Russia's military-industrial complex
  • Ban on imports of Russian steel under EU safeguard measures
  • Ban on investments in Russian energy sector
  • Ban on exporting luxury goods to Russian elites
  • Ban on rating Russia and Russian companies by EU credit rating agencies
  • Extension of sanctions against further individuals close to the Kremlin and companies connected to Russia's military and defense sectors

Russia quits Council of Europe

Moscow has launched "the procedure to exit the Council of Europe," avoiding a possible expulsion provoked by its invasion of Ukraine, the Russian foreign ministry wrote on Telegram.

The head of Russia's delegation to the European human rights body, Pyotr Tolstoy, handed a letter from Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to the council's secretary general announcing Moscow's decision to formally leave.

The move comes amid calls from Ukraine to kick Russia out of the council.

Ukrainian refugees surpass 3 million

The head of the UN's High Commission for Refugees Filippo Grandi said on Tuesday that the number of people who have fled Ukraine since the invasion began on February 24 has now passed the 3 million mark.

"This war has to stop. Now," he wrote on Twitter.

Spanish police impound second oligarch yacht

Police on the Spanish island of Mallorca have impounded a yacht that they believe belongs to Russian arms tycoon Alexander Mikheev.

Mikheev runs Rosoboronexport, a weapons exporting group that is part of the Russian defense company Rostec, which is owned by Putin ally Sergei Chemezov.

The 48-meter-long yacht, Lady Anastasia, is being held while police determine if it "belongs or is under the control of" anyone on the EU sanctions list, the Spanish transport ministry said.

Both Chemezov and Mikheev are on the sanctions list. The Lady Anastasia made headlines last month after a Ukrainian crew member was arrested after trying to sink the yacht in revenge for Russia's invasion.

On Monday evening, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said that police had impounded an 85-meter-long yacht worth $140 million (€128 million) in Barcelona. Spanish newspaper El Pais reported that this yacht belonged to Chemezov.

Anti-war protester who interrupted live broadcast fined and released

Marina Ovsyannikova, a Russian journalist who protested against the war on Ukraine on the state-controlled Channel 1 has been fined and released.

A judge ordered Ovsyannikova to pay a fine of 30,000 rubles ($280, €247) for flouting protest legislation.

She pleaded not guilty, "I am still convinced that Russia is committing a crime."

Earlier, her whereabouts were unknown, but a photo of Ovsyannikova alongside a lawyer at Moscow's Ostankinsky district court has been posted on Twitter.

During a news briefing, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed Ovsyannikova's actions as "hooliganism."

Russia hit with new sanctions as it unveils countersanctions on US

Canada announced on Tuesday it will sanction 15 Russian officials who facilitated and aided President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine to apply more pressure on the Kremlin to end the war.

"President Putin made the choice to further his illegal and unjustifiable invasion, and he can also make the choice to end it by immediately ending the senseless violence and withdrawing his forces," Canada's Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said.

The announcement came ahead of President Zelenskiy addressing the Canadian parliament this afternoon in a virtual call.

The US Treasury also announced new sanctions against top Russian defense officials on Tuesday, including eight deputy ministers of defense and the head of Moscow's National Guard, Viktor Zolotov.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Zolotov "has cracked down on Russian citizens who have taken to the streets to protest their government's brutal campaign in Ukraine" and also is "responsible for suppressing dissent in occupied areas of" Russia's neighbor.

Washington also renewed sanctions against Belarus' Lukashenko as part of plans to punish countries and individuals supporting Russia in the Ukraine war.

The US Treasury dubbed Lukashenko, whose wife Halina Lukashenka was also sanctioned, as "the head of a corrupt government in Belarus whose patronage network benefits his inner circle and regime."

Meanwhile Russia has banned Trudeau, Joly and Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand from entering the countr.

The Kremlin is also imposing entry bans on US President Joe Biden, Blinken and other top officials added to a "stop list," the Kremlin said on Tuesday. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has also been named as one of the 13 on the list.

The sanction comes in response to similar restrictions imposed on Russian officials by the White House.

Red Cross aid unable to enter Mariupol

The Ukrainian Red Cross told DW on Tuesday it is unable to deliver aid into besieged city of Mariupol.

Deputy director, Olena Stokoz, said that there are large stockpiles of supplies in the besieged city of Mariupol but distributing it inside the city is not possible, due to the dire security situation.

"We have a big supply of everything, in fact, because of the major support of our partners in the business. But we cannot get into the city in order to get into the city and to deliver humanitarian aid," she said.

"We need to add the humanitarian corridor, which hasn't been successful for almost two weeks. That is why we cannot replenish our supply from other parts of Ukraine."

Olena Stokoz of the Ukrainian Red Cross speaks to DW

Ukraine accepts it cannot join NATO

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the northern European representatives of the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) that Kyiv has come to accept that it will not join NATO.

"We heard for years about the allegedly open doors" of the NATO alliance, but "we have already heard that we won't be able to join."

"It's the truth we must recognize, and I'm glad that our people are starting to realize that and count on themselves and our partners who are helping us," Zelenskyy said.

The possibility of Ukraine joining NATO is seen as one of the main reasons behind Russia's invasion and removing the option of membership is on Moscow's list of demands.

While NATO had refused to deny membership to Ukraine ahead of Russia's invasion, it was made clear that there was on ongoing procedure regarding Ukraine's admission to the alliance.

NATO forces on heightened alert in Eastern Europe

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg gave a press conference on Tuesday ahead of an emergency meeting of NATO member ministers on Wednesday amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine which "has shaken the international order"

He warned of Russian claims that could be seen as a pretext to launching chemical attacks in Ukraine.

"For months we have expose Russia's long list of lies. They claimed they did not plan to invade Ukraine, but they did. They claimed they were withdrawing their troops, but they sent in even more. They claim to be protecting civilians, but they are killing civilians," Stoltenberg said.

"Now they are making absurd claims about biological labs and chemical weapons in Ukraine. This is just another lie. And we are concerned that Moscow could stage a false flag operation, possibly including chemical weapons."

He went on to lay out NATO's response, including mobilizations and the deployment of key weapons on NATO's eastern border.

"There are now hundreds of thousands of NATO forces on heightened alert across the alliance, 100,000 US troops in Europe, and around 40,000 troops under direct NATO command, mostly in the Eastern part of the alliance," Stoltenberg said.

He also pointed out that the US, Germany and the Netherlands are deploying long-range air-defense Patriot missiles in Eastern Europe.

"All of this sends an unmistakable message: An attack on one ally will be met with a decisive response from the whole alliance," the NATO chief said.

Three EU prime ministers travel to war zone: Bernd Riegert reports

At least three journalists killed during war — Kyiv

Besides the US journalist Brent Renaud, whose death made headlines over the weekend, at least two other journalists have also been killed since the start of the war, Ukrainian lawmaker Lyudmyla Denisova said on Tuesday.

Denisova wrote on Telegram that the two, both Ukrainian, were killed by Russian troops. Victor Dudar was killed near the southern city of Mykolaiv and cameraman Yevhen Sakun was killed in a missile attack in Kyiv.

US channel Fox News said on Tuesday that their Irish cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski and Ukrainian producer Oleksandra Kuvshynova were also killed in the same attack that injured Fox News correspondent Benjamin Hall on Monday.

Denisova added that over 30 journalists had been injured, claiming that international reporters had been targeted. British, Swiss and Danish reporters were among those listed as injured.

Russian forces have also targeted media infrastructure in Ukraine while cracking down on independent reporting of the invasion at home.

'Climate of fear' in Russia: Emily Sherwin

France to offer diplomatic help to Russian state TV protester

President Emmanuel Macron said France will support the woman who interrupted a live news bulletin on Russia's state TV Channel One to denounce the war in Ukraine.

"We're obviously taking diplomatic steps to offer help, either through our embassy or in a different form," Macron told journalists.

He also added that he will raise the issue in his next phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The protester, Marina Ovsyannikova, was heard shouting "stop the war. No to war," as the news anchor continued to read from her teleprompter.

The Kremlin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov earlier called the incident "an act of hooliganism."

Russian journalist protests war on live TV

Ukraine-Russia talks resume

Ukrainian negotiator and presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak said on Twitter that the fourth round of talks between Ukraine and Russia, which were paused yesterday, resumed on Tuesday afternoon.

The talks are being held over a video conference. Podolyak reiterated on Tuesday that, for Kyiv, the meeting would focus on "general regulation matters, ceasefire [and] withdrawal of troops."

Previous rounds of talks had focused on establishing local cease-fires to set up humanitarian corridors, but these quickly fell apart several times.

Higher-level talks between the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Turkey last Thursday failed to produce any diplomatic solutions to the conflict.

Kremlin: Military operation going to plan

Russia's Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev says Moscow's military operation in Ukraine is going to plan.

He also claimed US advisers in Ukraine were helping Kyiv develop biological weapons, RIA Novosti, a Russian state-owned domestic news agency, reported.

DW religious affairs analyst Martin Gak.

UK adds 350 more Russia sanctions

The British government has announced an additional 350 listings under its Russia sanctions regime and nine new listings under its cyber sanctions regime.

Among those sanctioned were Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov and foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova, the foreign office said.

Andrey Melnichenko, an oil investor who built a European business empire with an estimated net worth of $4.7 billion (€4.27 billion), and Russia's defense minister Sergei Shoigu, were also among those hit in the new listings.

"We are going further and faster than ever in hitting those closest to Putin — from major oligarchs, to his prime minister, and the propagandists who peddle his lies and disinformation,"
Foreign Minister Liz Truss said in a statement.

The latest round of sanctions on Tuesday included elites with a net worth of £100 billion pounds  (€119 billion, $130.63 billion).

Kyiv death toll rises from overnight strikes

The death toll has risen to four in Kyiv following overnight and early morning strikes in the Ukrainian capital, mayor Vitali Klitschko said.

"Rescuers are still extinguishing the flames from early morning," he said on the Telegram messaging app.

"Today is a difficult and dangerous moment," he continued. "The capital is the heart of Ukraine, and it will be defended. Kyiv, which is currently the symbol and forward operating base of Europe's freedom and security, will not be given up by us."

Kyiv mayor: 'Today is a difficult and dangerous moment'

Scholz: All avenues of diplomacy open for cease-fire

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Tuesday all diplomatic channels should remain open as Europe seeks to end the conflict.

"It is a question of using all the formats of dialogue and maintaining them ... and of pressing for a cease-fire to come soon, so that it comes immediately," he told reporters after meeting Jordan's King Abdullah in Berlin.

Scholz also welcomed the news of the leaders of Poland, Czech Republic and Slovenia visiting Kyiv.

Zelenskyy: Aiding Ukraine will help all of Europe stay safe

In helping Ukraine, Europe will also be protecting itself as "we are all targets of Russia," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told a meeting of Joint Expeditionary Force leaders via video link on Tuesday.

"You know the kind of weapon we need ... without your support it would be very difficult I'm very grateful but I want to say that we need more ... I do hope that you will be able to enhance that scope and you will see how this will protect your security, your safety," Zelenskyy told British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Nordic and Baltic leaders who are meeting in London to discuss security.

New Zealand announces new measures to support Ukraine

New Zealand introduced a new policy on Tuesday that will allow close to 4,000 family members of Ukrainian-born citizens to move to the country and announced another 4 million New Zealand dollars ($2.7 million, €2.4 million) in humanitarian aid.

Three million flee Ukraine, nearly half of whom have been children

In less than three weeks, around 1.5 million children have fled Ukraine, meaning nearly one child has become a refugee every second, the United Nations said Tuesday. 

In the latest figures from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), more than three million people have now fled Ukraine since Russia invaded on February 24.

"On average, every day over the last 20 days in Ukraine, more than 70,000 children have become refugees," James Elder, spokesman for the UN children's agency UNICEF, told reporters in Geneva. 

That amounts to around "55 every minute, so almost one per second," he said, stressing that "this crisis in terms of speed and scale is unprecedented since World War II."

Hundreds manage to flee Mariupol: Mathias Bölinger reports

Elder warned that "like all children driven from their homes by war and conflicts, Ukrainian children arriving in those border countries are at significant risk of family separation, of violence, of sexual exploitation and trafficking. They're in desperate need of safety, stability and child protection services," he said.

Kyiv brings in curfew as onslaught increases

Kyiv has imposed a curfew from 8 p.m. (1800 GMT) Tuesday to 5 a.m. on Thursday.

Most residents will only be allowed to leave their homes to seek refuge in shelters and bunkers, the Ukrainian capital's mayor, Vitali Klitschko, wrote on Telegram.

"Therefore, I call on all Kyivis to prepare for the fact that they will have to stay at home for two days or in the shelter in case of an alarm," Klitschko said.

The move comes as Kyiv comes under increased attacks from Russian troops, with residential buildings being hit, and fatalities reported by officials.

Kremlin: Anti-war protest was 'hooliganism'

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday that the actions of a woman who interrupted a live news bulletin on Russian state television to denounce the war in Ukraine amounted to "hooliganism."

The protester, in an extraordinary act of dissent on Monday, held up a placard behind the presenter which read: "Stop the war. Don’t believe the propaganda. They’re lying to you" while shouting "Stop the war. No to war."

But Peskov told reporters: "As far as this woman is concerned, this is hooliganism. He also praised Channel One for objective reporting.

'Massive destruction' at Dnipro airport

Rocket strikes have caused "massive destruction" at the airport in the eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipro, regional governor Valentin Reznichenko said on Tuesday.

"During the night the enemy attacked the Dnipro airport. Two strikes. The runway was destroyed. The terminal is damaged. Massive destruction," Reznichenko said on Telegram.

"It will take a lot of time to recover. We will win!" he added.

EU adds more Russia sanctions

The European Union formally gave the green light on Tuesday to a new raft of sanctions against Russia, which include bans on investments in the Russian energy sector, luxury goods exports and imports of steel products from the country.

The sanctions, which will take effect on Tuesday, will hit Russia's major oil outlets Rosneft, Transneft and Gazprom Neft, according to Reuters.

The ban on Russian steel imports is estimated to affect €3.3 billion ($3.6 billion) worth of products, the European Commission said.

EU not fast-tracking Ukraine membership

The sanctions will also freeze the assets of more business leaders who support the Kremlin, including Roman Abramovich, the billionaire owner of Chelsea Football Club who was subjected to sanctions by the UK government last week.

A jet linked to Abramovich landed in Moscow early on Tuesday, after a brief stop in Istanbul, plane tracking data showed. Prior to that the jet was in Israel.

Roman Abramovich sits in a VIP lounge before a jet linked to him took off for Istanbul from Ben Gurion international airport in Lod near Tel Aviv, Israel
The UK government has sanctioned Abramovich, seen here at Ben-Gurion International Airport in Lod near Tel AvivImage: Stringer/REUTERS

Polish, Czech, Slovenian PMs head for Kyiv

The prime ministers of Poland, Czech Republic and Slovenia will meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kiev on Tuesday.

"The purpose of the visit is to confirm the unequivocal support of the entire European Union for the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine and to present a broad package of support for the Ukrainian state and society," the Polish government said in a statement.

The visit — which was organised "in agreement with" European Council chief Charles Michel and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen — comes amid deadly Russian strikes on the Ukrainian capital.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala tweeted: "Today, we are going together with PM of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki, deputy PM Jaroslaw Kaczynski and PM of Slovenia Janez Jansa to Kiev as representatives of the European Council to meet with President Zelenskyy and PM Shmyhal."

Russian attacks on Kyiv intensify

Strikes on residential areas in Kyiv killed at least two people early on Tuesday morning, emergency services said, as Russian troops intensified their attacks on the Ukrainian capital.

The casualties came after a strike hit a 16-storey building in the Sviatoshynsky district, the emergency service said in a Facebook post, adding that 27 people had been rescued from the construction. 

Another residential building in the Podilsk area also came under attack, the emergency service said, causing "a fire" that "started on the first five floors of a ten-storey residential building on Mostytska street as a result of ammunition fire."

Ukrainians homeless after shelling in Kyiv

Zelenskyy adviser: Peace agreement likely by May

The war is likely to be over by May when Russia runs out of resources to continue its onslaught, according to an adviser to the Ukrainian president's chief of staff.

"I think that no later than in May, early May, we should have a peace agreement, maybe much earlier, we will see, I am talking about the latest possible dates," Oleksiy Arestovich said.

"We are at a fork in the road now: there will either be a peace deal struck very quickly, within a week or two, with troop withdrawal and everything, or there will be an attempt to scrape together some, say, Syrians for a round two and, when we grind them too, an agreement by mid-April or late April."

Even once peace is agreed, skirmishes could continue for a year, according to Arestovich, although Kyiv insists on the complete removal of Moscow troops from Ukraine.

Russia's demands have changed little: Nick Connolly

China denies that Russia asked for help

China has refuted claims by US officials that Russia had sought military assistance from Beijing.

"The US has repeatedly spread malicious disinformation against China on the Ukraine issue," the Chinese embassy in London told news agency Reuters in a statement.

"China has been playing a constructive role in promoting peace talks," the statement continued.

"The top priority now is to ease the situation, instead of adding fuel to the fire, and work for diplomatic settlement rather than further escalate the situation."

Russia has also denied making such a request. 

NATO insider: ‘One of the most critical points of the war so far’

Met opera holds special Ukraine benefit

The Metropolitan Opera in New York, known as the "Met," held a special benefit concert for Ukraine on Monday night.

The 90-minute program started with a rendition of Ukraine's national anthem led by Ukrainian bass-baritone Vladyslav Buialskyi.

Last week, the Met dropped Russian soprano Anna Netrebko from future performances as she declined to condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Members of the Metropolitan Opera company stand in solidarity with the proud Ukrainian people, so strong in the face of such injustice, destruction and death," Met general manager Peter Gelb said while speaking from the stage.

The concert was broadcast on Ukrainian public radio.

Zelenskyy: Russia didn't expect such resistance

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video address late on Monday that Russia "didn't expect such resistance" in Ukraine.

Zelenskyy said that the Russian military was responsible for war crimes and vowed to hold Russian leadership accountable.

"We are working with our partners on new punitive measures against the Russian state," Zelenskyy said.

Zelenskyy confirmed that negotiations between Ukraine and Russia would resume on Tuesday.

Giving birth in bomb shelters

UK to host Joint Expeditionary Force meeting

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will on Tuesday host leaders from a number of European countries belonging to the Joint Expeditionary Force.

Besides the United Kingdom, the force includes Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Sweden.

Leaders of the group will meet in London, where they are expected to discuss measures to be taken against Russia.

Press monitor: Ukraine becoming more dangerous every day for journalists

Oil prices dropping sharply again after spike

Crude oil prices dived sharply in early trading in Asia on Tuesday, with the West Texas Intermediate price dipping back below $100 per barrel. 

The other major oil price indicator, Brent Crude, sank to $100.54 but remained in three-figure territory.

Oil prices have risen sharply during the conflict in Ukraine, amid concerns over shortages and supply amid sanctions against Russia. Both prices peaked above $120 per barrel, near 14-year highs.

Possible falling demand in China, as the government shuts down the tech hub of Shenzen in a bid to control COVID cases, was attributed to the reduction in price. 

Continued talks between Russia and Ukraine also led to cautious optimism among some investors.

Brazil's government also said late on Monday that, after talks with the US, it was willing to increase its oil production in a bid to compensate for any missing Russian stock.

Slovakia expels three Russian diplomats

The Foreign Ministry in Bratislava said late on Monday that Slovakia had given three Russian embassy staff 72 hours to leave the country. 

The ministry said they had broken diplomatic rules, without disclosing their identities or their roles at the Russian Embassy. 

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Jaoslav Nad told news site Pravda.sk that Slovakia had detained three of its citizens suspected of spying for Russia. He said, "This is just the beginning."

Police confirmed they were investigating suspected espionage but did not comment on domestic media reports on the individuals' identities. Reportedly, they included an officer from the Defense Ministry, an employee at domestic intelligence service SIS, and an employee for pro-Russian media. The SIS said nobody detained was a current employee at the agency.

Russia said it would take retaliatory steps in response to Slovakia's expulsions. 

The Day with Phil Gayle

Summary of events in Ukraine-Russia crisis on Monday

Another round of direct talks between Russia and Ukraine closed with little meaningful progress, save a plan for another round later on Tuesday. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asked Ukrainian lawmakers to extend martial law for another 30 days.

Russian authorities were halting grain exports to the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union, which includes Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan in addition to Russia itself. The Russian government was also temporarily stopping the exports of white sugar and raw sugar to countries outside the bloc.

The move comes amid fears that the war in Ukraine would disrupt the food supply in Europe.

Over 4,000 civilians were transported away from the fighting on Monday, according to Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk, including a convoy of vehicles that left the besieged city of Mariupol.

Guterres: Further escalation of the war threatens all of humanity

Jake Sullivan, security adviser to US President Joe Biden, met with Chinese Foreign Policy Advisor Yang Jiechi in Rome for the seven-hour negotiations concerning Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

During talks, Sullivan warned China against supporting Russia.

The World Bank said it was making nearly $200 million (€183 million) in additional and reprogrammed financing to bolster Ukraine's social services for vulnerable people.

Marina Ovsyannikova, an editor at Channel One interrupted a live broadcast on Russian state TV waving a placard reading: "No war, stop the war."

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz made a renewed call for a cease-fire during a visit to Turkey, speaking alongside President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. 

At least nine people were killed and nine more wounded in an airstrike on a television tower in Ukraine's northern Rivne region, Governor Vitaliy Koval said. Meanwhile, Russia said a Ukrainian strike killed 20 civilians in the rebel-held city of Donetsk, which Ukraine later disputed.

lo, fh, ab, jsi, si/aw (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)