Ukraine on March 24, 2022 accused the Kremlin of forcibly removing hundreds of thousands of civilians from Ukrainian cities to Russia, as Russia’s invasion into Ukranian territories continued. Ukraine’s navy said it sank a large Russian landing ship near the port city of Berdyansk that had been used to bring in armored vehicles. Russia claimed to have taken the eastern town of Izyum after fierce fighting.
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden who is currently on a visit to Poland, is set to travel to a town near the Polish-Ukrainian border.
The UNGA held a vote on two resolutions, one of which was a draft version of Ukraine’s resolution saying the UNGA “demands an immediate cessation of hostilities by the Russian Federation against Ukraine, in particular of any attacks against civilians and civilian objects.”
India abstained from voting on either of the resolutions.
The conflict began escalating on February 21, 2022, after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized separatist regions in eastern Ukraine and deployed troops in a peacekeeping role.
Here are the latest updates:
Ukraine claims another Russian general killed
Kyiv announced Friday its forces had killed a high-ranking Russian military official, the latest in a series of claims against the leadership of Moscow’s forces one month into their invasion of Ukraine.
In a video statement, presidential advisor Oleksiy Arestovych said Ukraine forces had killed the senior Russian military official during fighting in the south of the country, near Kherson.
Ukrainian forces “killed the commander of the 49th Russian Southern District Army, General Yakov Ryazantsev, in a strike on Chornobayivka near Kherson,” he said. – AFP
Ukraine makes a new effort to evacuate Mariupol civilians
Ukraine hopes some civilians who have been trapped in the besieged city of Mariupol will be able to leave in private cars on Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.
Repeated attempts to arrange a safe passage out of the southern port city, which is surrounded by Russian forces, have failed.
Mariupol, which is normally home to about 400,000 people, has been under heavy bombardment for weeks. Civilians trapped there have been sheltering in basements with little food, power or running water.- Reuters
US, EU announce new partnership to undercut Russian energy
The United States and European Union on Friday announced a new partnership to reduce the continent’s reliance on Russian energy, the start of a years-long initiative to further isolate Moscow after its invasion of Ukraine.
As part of the plan, the US and other nations will increase liquified natural gas exports to Europe by 15 billion cubic meters this year, the White House said. Even larger shipments would be delivered in the future.
At the same time, they will try to keep their climate goals on track by powering gas infrastructure with clean energy and reducing methane leaks that can worsen global warming.- AP
Russia says it destroyed Ukraine’s largest military fuel storage site
Russia said Friday it had destroyed the largest remaining military fuel storage site in Ukraine, attacking it with Kalibr cruise missiles.
“On the evening of March 24, Kalibr high-precision sea-based cruise missiles attacked a fuel base in the village of Kalynivka near Kyiv,” the Russian defense ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said it was Ukraine’s largest remaining military fuel storage facility, supplying troops in the central part of the pro-Western country.
The announcement came on the 29th day of what Moscow has termed a “special military operation” in Ukraine, with thousands killed and more than 10 million displaced.- AFP
Hungary rejects Zelensky’s appeal for weapons
Hungary’s prime minister on Friday rejected an emotional appeal from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to supply Ukraine with weapons and support sanctions on Russia’s energy sector.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in a video posted to social media that Zelenskyy’s requests were “against Hungary’s interests,” and that sanctions on Russian energy “would mean that the Hungarian economy would slow down and then stop within moments.”
The rejection came after Zelenskyy on Thursday addressed a meeting of European Union leaders in Brussels where he specifically addressed Orban, who is widely considered Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest ally in the EU.- AP
Half the population of Kharkiv has fled
About half the population of the eastern city of Kharkiv has left, and food and other essentials are dwindling for those who stay behind. A line formed Thursday at an apartment block as neighbors waited for aid from the Red Cross.
“Among those who stayed, there are people who can walk on their own, but many who can’t walk, the elderly,” said Hanna Spitsyna, who distributed the food to the sound of explosions behind her.
Kharkiv has been under siege by Russian forces since the start of the invasion, with relentless shelling that has forced people to sleep in metro stations and in basements.- Reuters
Russian ex-president says Western sanctions won’t sway the Kremlin
It is “foolish” to believe that Western sanctions against Russian businesses could have any effect on the Moscow government, Russian ex-president and deputy head of security council Dmitry Medvedev was quoted as saying on Friday.
The sanctions will only consolidate the Russian society and not cause popular discontent with the authorities, Mr. Medvedev told Russia’s RIA news agency in an interview.
Biden to visit near Ukraine border in show of solidarity
US President Joe Biden will travel to a town near the Polish-Ukrainian border Friday, trying to signal Western resolve against a Russian invasion that has increasingly turned to a grinding war of attrition.
Air Force One will jet into the eastern Polish town of Rzeszow – bringing the US president less than 80 kilometers (50 miles) from a war-torn nation still struggling to repel a brutal Russian invasion.
The trip is designed to underscore Washington’s willingness to defend NATO allies, as fears rise that the month-old war in Ukraine could spill westward sparking what the US president has called “World War III.” AFP
Zelenskyy reassures Ukraine in nightly address
With the war headed into its second month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke of hope and determination in his nighttime video address to the nation late Thursday.
“It is already night. But we are working, ”he said in a quiet voice. “The country must move towards peace, move forward. With every day of our defense, we are getting closer to the peace that we need so much. We are getting closer to victory. … We can’t stop even for a minute. For every minute determines our fate, our future, whether we will live. ”
He reported on his conversations that day with leaders of NATO and European Union countries gathered in Brussels, and their promises of even more sanctions on Russia.- AP
Ukraine says Moscow is forcibly taking civilians to Russia
Ukraine accused Moscow on Thursday of forcibly taking hundreds of thousands of civilians from shattered Ukrainian cities to Russia, where some may be used as “hostages” to pressure Kyiv to give up.
Lyudmyla Denisova, Ukraine’s ombudsperson, said 402,000 people, including 84,000 children, had been taken to Russia.
The Kremlin gave nearly identical numbers for those who have been relocated, but said they wanted to go to Russia. Ukraine’s rebel-controlled eastern regions are predominantly Russian-speaking, and many people there have supported close ties to Moscow.- AP
Joe Biden says he wants Russia out of the G20
United States President Joe Biden says he wants Russia out of the G-20.
Mr. Biden made the comments during a press conference on Thursday in Brussels following a series of urgent NATO meetings on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The G-20, or Group of Twenty, is an intergovernmental forum of 19 countries and the European Union that works on major global issues. He said he raised the issue on Thursday with other world leaders.
India abstains in two UNGA votes on Ukraine humanitarian crisis
India abstained on two resolutions at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Thursday related to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine following the Russian invasion. The first abstention was on a draft resolution proposed by Ukraine that held Russia responsible for the crisis.
The second was a procedural vote – on whether the UNGA ought to take up a second resolution, proposed by South Africa, for action at all.
Government steps in to tackle Russian trade hurdles
The government has convened a multi-Ministerial group to look into how to overcome challenges in trade with Russia, including managing payments for exporters and importers, External Affairs Minister (EAM) S. Jaishankar said in Parliament on Thursday, in comments that indicate a possible revival of “Rupee-Rouble trade” in the wake of economic sanctions against Russian banks and entities by more than 40 US and European allies.