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Ukraine: Russian strikes wound several in Lviv

March 26, 2022

Ukrainian officials said Russian airstrikes have hit the western city of Lviv. Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock defended sending arms to Ukraine. DW has the latest.

A woman watches as smoke rises behind buildings following explosions in Lviv, western Ukraine
Officials have reported airstrikes in Lviv, the western city that has so far been largely spared from the violenceImage: Nariman El-Mofty/AP Photo/picture alliance
  • Germany defends arms deliveries to Ukraine
  • Lviv hit by airstrikes
  • Chernihiv mayor says city "devastated" by Russian attacks  
  • Zelenskyy reiterates his call for peace talks with Russia
  • Biden calls for removal of Putin from power

We have now closed these live updates. Please head to our new article for all the latest developments.

Ukraine says Russia fired at nuclear research facility in Kharkiv

Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, tweeted that Russian forces were firing at a nuclear research facility in Kharkiv.

The State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate said, "It is currently impossible to estimate the extent of damage due to hostilities that do not stop in the area of the nuclear installation." 

Russia focusing on Donbas to 'save face'

Phillips O'Brien, a professor of strategic studies at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, said that the airstrikes on Saturday that hit the western Ukrainian city of Lviv are not incompatible with the recently proclaimed new strategy of the Kremlin to focus on eastern Ukraine.

"The attacks on Lviv would be going on if they have a limited war in the East simply to try and slow down the movement of goods and supplies and reinforcements from western Ukraine to eastern Ukraine," O'Brien told DW.

He said that the decision to focus on eastern Ukraine "would be to save face."

US pledges $100 million to Ukraine for civilian security

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on Saturday that the US intends to send $100 million (€91 million) to Ukraine in civilian security assistance. 

This money is earmarked for the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs to "provide essential border security, sustain civil law enforcement functions, and safeguard critical governmental infrastructure in the face of President Putin’s premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustified attack."

The statement added that "Ukrainian law enforcement officers are playing a key role in rescuing victims of the Russian government’s brutal assault."

Biden says Putin 'cannot remain in power'

US President Joe Biden told the world to prepare for a "long fight ahead" on Saturday from Warsaw's Royal Castle during his visit to Poland.

He said the fight is not with the Russian people, but with Russian President Vladimir Putin who has "strangled democracy and sought to do so elsewhere."

He went on to tell Ukraine: "We stand with you. Period." And warned the Kremlin: "Don't even think about moving onto one single inch of NATO territory"

Biden ended his speech by calling for Putin's removal, saying: "For God's sake, this man cannot remain in power." The White House later said Biden was not calling for regime change in Russia.

Biden: 'For God's sake, this man cannot remain in power'

Chernihiv 'completely devastated'

Vladyslav Atroshenko, the mayor of the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv that lies close to the border with Russia and Belarus, said on Saturday that the city "has been completely devastated."

He warned that the city has been surrounded by Russian troops and it is no longer possible to set up escape corridors for civilians. The city is also without power and the major bridge connecting Chernihiv with Kyiv has been destroyed, the mayor said.

Atroshenko added that some 200 civilians had been killed in the past weeks and that half of the city's 285,000-strong population had already left. But he vowed that the city would not give up.

Amien Essif reports on air raids on Lviv

Explosions reported in Lviv city

Ukrainian officials reported that airstrikes had hit the western city of Lviv on Saturday afternoon after explosions were heard earlier outside the city.

At least five people were wounded.

"There have been two rocket strikes within the limits of Lviv," regional Governor Maksym Kozytskyy said. The city's mayor, Andriy Sadovyi, also said the city had been targeted by airstrikes in a post on Telegram.

The mayor later said that "an industrial facility where fuel is stored caught fire" as a result of the attack, but that "no residential buildings were damaged."

"All relevant departments are working on site," he wrote on Telegram.

Fanny Facsar reports from Lviv

Ukrainian authorities had previously reported three large explosions near the western Ukrainian city of Lviv and urged residents to take shelter.

"There were three powerful explosions near Lviv in direction of Kryvchytsy, now there is an air raid warning, so "keep calm and take shelter," Kozytskyy said in an online post, referring to an to the east of the city.

Located in the far west of Ukraine near the border with Poland, Lviv so far has been spared from major Russian attacks and is a destination for refugees. It is the largest city in western Ukraine.

Smoke rises from an explosion
Smoke rises from an explosion outside LvivImage: REUTERS

German foreign minister says Russian invasion justifies shift on arms deliveries

Weeks after Germany announced a major policy shift on delivering arms to conflict zones, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said that "when the world changes, policy has to change."

"We are supporting the Ukrainians so that they can defend themselves and fight for their security and their peace," Baerbock told a Green Party conference Saturday.

Baerbock's Green Party has its roots in the German peace movement and many members are skeptical of German military involvement abroad.

She said Russian President Vladimir has broken international law with his war of aggression, which was an attack on 40 million Ukrainians and peace in Europe as a whole.

German arms delivered to Ukraine have included anti-tank weapons and anti-aircraft systems. 

"It is important for us to condemn this war in the strongest terms and to name clearly who can end this war — and that is the Russian president," Baerbock said.

Along with breaking from a long-held policy on arms delivery, Germany has also said it would commit €100 billion ($111 billion) to a new "armed forces fund."

In introducing Germany's national security strategy last week, Baerbock said "in the light of Russia's massive breach of our peace order, we need to implement the principles that guide us even more clearly into practical politics."

DW talks to international politics expert Aglaya Snetkov

Ex-US general says Russia will try and conceal 'colossal failure' in Ukraine

After a statement from Sergei Rudskoi, a senior Russian general, suggested that Russia would reduce its war aims to controlling Donbas, an eastern region already partly held by Russian proxies, former US General Ben Hodges told DW it indicated a "colossal failure" of the Russian military to reach its stated objectives in Ukraine.

"They're going to try and dress it up as something else, that they've accomplished everything they meant to, but they haven't accomplished anything except to demonstrate that their military has suffered from decades of corruption," he said.

"They've demonstrated that Ukrainians have something to fight for where Russian soldiers don't. Unfortunately, they still have the ability to murder innocent Ukrainians," he added.

Hodges said he expects Russian forces around Kyiv to harden their positions outside the city and make it difficult for the Ukrainians to push them out while buying more time for negotiations.

"This will be done [in an attempt to] create new facts on the ground for negotiation, to create a new sort of frozen conflict. And this is what we cannot afford. We should not allow Russia to be rewarded for their attack on Ukraine," he said.

The former commander of US forces in Europe also said the West needs to do more to help Ukraine fight the Russians.

"I'm sure they won't take any more territory, but they will continue to destroy Ukraine and that's why we have got to do a lot more," he said.

Retired US Lieutenant General Ben Hodges talks to DW

Poland taking 'significant' responsibility, says Biden

US President Joe Biden said the world should help lessen the burden of the Russia-Ukraine war on Poland, which has received some 2 million Ukrainians over the past month.  

Poland is taking a "significant" responsibility in the humanitarian crisis caused by the conflict, Biden said during a visit to Warsaw. He also told his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda that he views NATO's Article 5 guarantee of mutual defense between member states as a "sacred" commitment. 

Later on Saturday, the US president is due to visit a reception center for refugees and deliver a major speech on the conflict at Warsaw's Royal Castle. 

Finland: NATO bid would risk tensions with Russia

Finland's president fears his country would be targeted by Russian cyberattacks and other violations if it decides to apply for NATO membership.

Opinion polls in recent weeks have shown that a majority of Finns now support NATO membership, up from about a quarter before Russia's invasion of Ukraine last month. 

Moscow has said it would see moves by EU members Finland and Sweden to join NATO as hostile and that they would come with military and political consequences.

In an interview with public broadcaster YLE, President Sauli Niinisto said the biggest advantage in joining the military alliance would be "gaining a preventive effect."

But he also highlighted the potential threat of disruptive behavior by Russia during
a lengthy accession process.

"We don't even know all the possibilities for hybrid influencing that someone may invent," Niinisto said. "The entire world of information technology is vulnerable. Even some important society functions can be disrupted.''

After a month, Ukraine war enters new phase

Biden meets Ukrainian ministers in Poland

US President Joe Biden met Saturday with Ukraine's foreign and defense ministers at the Marriott Hotel in central Warsaw. 

The gathering marks his first talks with top Kyiv officials since Russia's invasion began on February 24.

According to a White House pool report, Biden was seated at a long white table alongside US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, facing Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov.

Kuleba told reporters after the meeting that Ukraine had received "additional promises from the United States on how our defense co-operation will evolve."

President Joe Biden participates in a meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, third from left, and Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, second from left
Biden met with Ukraine's foreign and defense ministers on day two of his trip to PolandImage: Evan Vucci/AP/picture alliance

Russia occupies Chernobyl workers' town

Russian troops have seized control of the town of Slavutych, home to workers of the defunct Chernobyl nuclear site, the governor of the Kyiv region said.

The town is close to Ukraine's border with Belarus and sits just outside the exclusion zone that was established around Chernobyl after the 1986 nuclear disaster. Ukrainian staff have continued to work there even after the plant was seized by Russian forces last month.

	An infographic showing the territory controlled by Russian forces

Governor of the Kyiv region Oleksandr Pavlyuk said troops had occupied the town's hospital and kidnapped the mayor. Media reports later said the mayor had been released. Neither account could be independently verified.

Pavlyuk said Slavutych's residents took to the streets with Ukrainian flags to protest against Russia's assault. 

Japan, US condemn Moscow over nuclear weapons threat

Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and the country's US envoy Rahm Emanuel appeared at the Hiroshima memorial park on Saturday and said Russia's refusal to rule out deploying its nuclear arsenal was "unconscionable."

Earlier this week, Moscow said nuclear weapons could be used in the Ukraine war if Russia were to face an "existential threat."

Emanuel condemned Moscow's position in statement: "We live in unprecedented times as Russia threatens the use of nuclear weapons, something that was once unthinkable, even unspeakable."

Kishida said "the horrors of nuclear weapons must never be repeated."

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced he had placed Moscow's strategic nuclear forces on high alert just days after Russia's invasion of Ukraine began last month.

Ukraine ministers meet US counterparts in Warsaw

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba have held a joint meeting with their US counterparts for the first time. 

"We discuss current issues & cooperation in political and defense directions between Ukraine and the United States," Reznikov said on Twitter. He posted a photograph of the meeting in the Polish capital with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

The White House said US President Joe Biden was also expected to "drop by" the meeting. 

Biden is on the second day of a visit to Poland following summits with EU and NATO leaders in Brussels earlier in the week.

Turkey finds 'mine-like object' floating in Bosporus

Turkish authorities say they have discovered a mine-like object floating in the Bosporus near the Black Sea, days after Russia warned that several mines had drifted away from Ukrainian ports.

Turkey's Defense Ministry said on Twitter that a dive team had initiated an intervention to "neutralize" the object.

Reuters news agency reported that authorities had warned vessels to keep away from the area while the team carried out their work.

Russia's main intelligence agency warned earlier this week that a number of mines had drifted out to sea after breaking away from cables near Ukrainian ports. That claim was dismissed by Kyiv as disinformation.

Russia, Turkey and Ukraine all border the Black Sea, a major shipping artery for grain, oil and oil products.

How the Ukraine war is impacting global trade

Fresh curfew imposed in Kyiv

The mayor of Ukraine's capital says an extended curfew will go into force from 8 p.m. local time (1800 UTC/GMT) on Saturday until 8 a.m. on Monday.

Mayor Vitali Klitschko said in an online post that the decision was made by the Ukrainian military. No further details were available. 

Ukraine says 10 humanitarian corridors agreed

Ukraine’s deputy prime minister says an agreement has been reached to set up 10 humanitarian corridors on Saturday to evacuate civilians from front-line areas.

Speaking on live television, Iryna Vereshchuk said civilians trying to get out of the southern port of Mariupol would have to leave in private cars as Russian forces were not letting buses through their checkpoints.

This information could not independently verify this information.

Zelenskyy asks energy producers to boost output

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called on energy-rich countries to increase their output to prevent Moscow from using its oil and gas supplies to "blackmail" other nations. 

Zelenskyy made the comments during a surprise video appearance at the Doha Forum in Qatar, a leading exporter of natural gas.

He told the international conference that no country was safeguarded from the shocks triggered by disruptions to food supply as a result of Russia's invasion.

"They are destroying our ports,'' Zelenskyy said. "The absence of exports from Ukraine will deal a blow to countries worldwide.''

"The future of Europe rests with your efforts,'' he added.

Zelenskyy asks Middle East to step up energy supply

Zelenskyy also noted that Muslims in Ukraine would have to fight during the upcoming holy fasting month of Ramadan.

"We have to ensure this sacred month of Ramadan is not overshadowed by the misery of people in Ukraine,'' he said.

UK intelligence: Russia to continue assault on urban areas

The latest intelligence report from the UK's Ministry of Defense has warned that Russia will likely continue to "use its heavy firepower on urban areas as it looks to limit its own already considerable losses."

In over a month of fighting, Russian troops have failed to capture and hold onto any major Ukrainian city, although a number of major centers, including Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Mariupol remain under siege

The intelligence report said Russian forces were mainly relying on the indiscriminate use of air and artillery bombardments "in an attempt to demoralize defending forces," rather than large-scale infantry operations inside cities.

This strategy would come "at the cost of further civilian casualties," the report added.

Ukraine's civilians pay heavy price

Ukraine says 136 children killed since start of war

The office of Ukraine's prosecutor general says the war in Ukraine has killed 136 children since Russia invaded its neighbor a little over a month ago.

The death toll was posted in a message on the Telegram app and on Facebook.

It said 64 of those children were killed in the Kyiv region. A further 50 died in the Donetsk region in the country's east, it added.

Around 200 children have been injured, the prosecutor's office said. The figures have not been independently verified.

Refugees from Ukraine flee to Germany

Biden to call on 'free world' to stand against Putin

On the second day of his visit to Poland, US President Joe Biden is expected to address the Polish people in a speech in Warsaw.

The White House said he would "deliver remarks on the united efforts of the free world to support the people of Ukraine, hold Russia accountable for its brutal war, and defend a future that is rooted in democratic principles.''

According to the US Embassy in the Polish capital, he will appear at Warsaw's Royal Castle between 5 and 6 p.m. local time (1600 and 1700 UTC/GMT).

Earlier in the day, Biden is due to meet Polish President Andrzej Duda at the presidential palace. He is also expected to accompany Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski to Warsaw's National Stadium, where Ukrainian refugees are being registered and provided with aid.

Almost 2.24 million refugees from Ukraine have entered Poland since the Russian invasion began more than a month ago.

German minister rejects allegations of sluggish arms deliveries to Ukraine

German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht denied her ministry had been slow in making good on its promises of weapons deliveries to Ukraine.

"Before we deliver something, we look to see if it is functional," Lambrecht told RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland,

"But I can assure them: Just because we are silent doesn't mean nothing is happening — quite the opposite," she added.

American teacher detained in Ukraine freed

The office of Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota announced that Tyler Jacob, a 28-year-old American teaching English in Ukraine who had been detained at a checkpoint while trying to exit the country, has been freed.

He was detained by Russian forces while trying to flee the Ukrainian city of Kherson and held for 10 days.

Klobuchar's office specifically thanked "his parents Tina & John for never giving up & our State Dept & U.S. Ambassador in Moscow Sullivan who spoke with me & directly helped."

UK to fund 2 million pounds in food aid

The UK said it planned to fund 2 million pounds ($2.6 million; €2.3 million) worth of food aid for critically cut off areas of Ukraine after a direct request was made by the Ukrainian government.

One month into Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Russian troops have not captured any major Ukrainian cities.

The UK said around 25 truckloads of dried food and water were being sent by road and rail from warehouses in both Poland and Slovakia to the most vulnerable Ukrainian cities.

ESC winner Jamala and her escape from Ukraine

Alice Hooper, a humanitarian adviser to the Foreign Office, said, "The need on the ground in Ukraine is clear, with so many people in encircled areas trapped in basements without access to food or water."

Summary of events in Ukraine-Russia crisis on Friday

On Friday, US President Joe Biden traveled to Rzeszow, a city in southeastern Poland that's located about 65 kilometers (40 miles) from the border with Ukraine. Biden addressed US troops who are stationed there as part of a NATO mission to protect its eastern flank.

'NATO is rethinking its own security': DW's Teri Schultz in Brussels

Russia has said its invasion of Ukraine has entered a new phase, one signal it may be scaling back its ambitions. Moscow has suffered a series of setbacks and defeats at the hands of the Ukrainian army and Ukrainians fighting against the Russian invasion.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reiterated his call for peace talks with Russia to end the war, but he stressed that Ukraine would not give up territory.

In his nightly video address to the Ukrainian people, Zelenskyy may have been responding to Russian Colonel General Sergei Rudskoi, the deputy chief of the Russian general staff. Rudskoi said Russian forces would focus on "the main goal, the liberation of Donbas."

Dozens of Ukrainian officials, journalists and activists have been detained or kidnapped by Russian forces, the United Nations has warned. Matilda Bogner, the head of the UN rights team in Ukraine, said human rights monitors have been receiving ever more information on mass graves in the besieged port city of Mariupol.

UK intelligence reports Russian forces have been pushed back to 35 kilometers east of Kyiv. The Pentagon said the city of Kherson was again "contested" as Ukrainian forces launched a counteroffensive.

However, Ukraine's air force said the headquarters in Vinnytsia in the western part of the country was hit by numerous Russian cruise missiles Friday afternoon.

Western officials said a seventh Russian general has been killed since the war in Ukraine began. Lt. Gen. Yakov Rezanstev, commander of Russia's 49th Combined Arms Army in the southern military district, was killed most recently.

ar/sri,kb (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)