Kyiv mayor Klitschko calls Russian invasion a ‘war against civilians’
Witnesses reported seeing dozens of bodies pulled from the rubble as one serviceman told AFP at least 200 soldiers were sleeping in the facility in the southern city of Mykolaiv when it was hit.
Russian forces pushed deeper into Mariupol, where a local police officer said the city “is destroyed and it is wiped off the face of the earth.”
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson said the west must never “renormalise” ties with Vladimir Putin as it did after the 2014 invasion of Crimea, saying the war was as a “turning point for the world” on relations with Moscow.
He also said the Russian president was “panicking” at the prospect of being overthrown by his people.
Ukraine accuses Russia of halting Mariupol buses
Russian forces have reportedly halted buses travelling to evacuate citizens from the besieged city of Mariupol.
The Berdyansk City Council posted on Facebook that a bus convoy headed from the region of Zaporizhzhia was stopped by Russian troops 3km from the city.
The bus convoy was reportedly not allowed to enter the city limits and its drivers were not permitted to spend the night.
“In this regard, all previously announced evacuation plans remain in question,” the city council noted.
Vishwam Sankaran20 March 2022 02:26
US floats missile plan to Turkey
The United States has informally raised with Turkey the unlikely possibility of sending its Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems to Ukraine to help it fight invading Russian forces, according to three sources familiar with the matter.
US officials have floated the suggestion over the past month with their Turkish counterparts but no specific or formal request was made, the sources told Reuters. They said it also came up briefly during Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman’s visit to Turkey earlier this month.
The Biden administration has been asking allies who have been using Russian made equipment and systems including S-300s and S-400s to consider transferring them to Ukraine as it tries to fend off a Russian invasion that began on 24 February.
The idea, which analysts said was sure to be shot down by Turkey, was part of a wider discussion between Sherman and Turkish officials about how the United States and its allies can do more to support Ukraine and on how to improve bilateral ties.
The Turkish authorities have not commented on any US suggestion or proposal relating to the transfer to Ukraine of Ankara’s S-400 systems, which have been a point of long-standing contention between the two Nato allies.
Turkish foreign ministry officials were not immediately available for comment.
Liam James20 March 2022 02:15
Watch: The civilians defending Ukraine
As war rages on in Ukraine, a soaring number of men and women are signing up to support the country’s war effort by training for combat, defending territory, and providing protection for those fleeing Russia’s advance.
Bel Trew reports from the heart of the conflict, talking to the people who make up Ukraine’s civilian army.
The civilians defending Ukraine | On The Ground
Liam James20 March 2022 01:45
Ukraine has ‘defeated initial Russian campaign’, says ISW
Russia has failed in its initial invasion plan, according to independent observers.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said Russia’s first plan was to take several cities around the country including Kyiv, Kharkiv and Odesa to force a regime change in Ukraine.
It is now very unlikely to be successful in this aim though Moscow will continue to send reinforcements to troops around the major cities in order to support this strategy, the ISW said.
Liam James20 March 2022 01:15
Ukraine: 562 Russian prisoners of war detained
A total of 562 Russian prisoners of war are detained by Ukraine, according to its government.
The number was announced by deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk.
She said: “At present, we officially have 562 war prisoners of Russia.”
All prisoners of war are treated according to the Geneva convention, Ukrainian prosecutor general Irina Venediktova said earlier today.
The captured Russian troops are being held in camps where medical care is available, she said.
Liam James20 March 2022 00:30
Boris Johnson urges China to condemn Putin
Boris Johnson has urged China to get off the fence and join in global condemnation of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
The prime minister said he believed some in Xi Jinping’s administration were having “second thoughts” about the neutral stance adopted by Beijing following Russia’s actions against its neighbour.
Despite Mr Johnson’s suggestion of a possible shift in attitude, there was fresh criticism of Nato on Saturday from China as Russian forces continued their bombardment of Ukrainian towns and cities.
Mr Johnson used a Sunday Times interview to urge China and other neutral nations to line up against Russia.
He said: “As time goes on, and as the number of Russian atrocities mounts up, I think it becomes steadily more difficult and politically embarrassing for people either actively or passively to condone Putin’s invasion.
“There are considerable dilemmas now for people who thought they could sit this one out, who thought they could sit on the fence.
“And, yes, I think that in Beijing you are starting to see some second thoughts.”
Liam James19 March 2022 23:16
Kyiv residents defiant amid destruction and death
Latest dispatch from Kim Sengupta in Ukraine:
The attack was one of the latest barrages Kyiv has suffered daily since Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine began on 24 February. And residential areas have been hit with increasing frequency, resulting in mounting civilian casualties.
Five apartment blocks suffered substantial damage in an attack in the district of Podil on Friday morning. Waves from the blast shattered windows in homes and shops three streets along. One body has been found so far, say the authorities, while several people were injured. Residents claim the death count is much higher and that some residents suffered such severe injuries that they were unlikely to survive.
“I saw four bodies being taken out with my own eyes,” said Viochoslav Shmerkechuk. “And a lot of people wounded. Every one of these buildings has been affected, so it should not come as a surprise that the casualties would be high.”
Mr Shmerkechuk said his apartment suffered some damage, pointing to broken windows and scorched walls. But the five members of his family were all safe. “That is the most important thing now, to stay alive until this is all over,” he said. “We have lived here for 33 years and intend to continue living here.”
Full story here:
Liam James19 March 2022 22:57
Boris Johnson a ‘national embarrassment’ for comparing Brexit with Ukraine
Boris Johnson has sparked outrage by comparing the struggle of Ukrainians fighting the Russian invasion to British people voting for Brexit.
In his speech to the Conservative spring conference in Blackpool, Mr Johnson said it is the “instinct of the people of this country, like the people of Ukraine, to choose freedom”, with the Brexit vote a “famous recent example”.
The comparison was criticised by Tory peer Lord Barwell, who pointed out Ukraine is seeking to join the European Union.
Former European Council president, Donald Tusk, said the prime minister’s words “offend Ukrainians, the British and common sense”.
Guy Verhofstadt, former Belgian prime minister and EU Brexit negotiator, said the comparison was “insane”.
Liberal Democrat leader, Sir Ed Davey, said Mr Johnson “is a national embarrassment”, adding: “To compare a referendum to women and children fleeing Putin’s bombs is an insult to every Ukrainian.
“He is no Churchill. He is Basil Fawlty.”
Boris Johnson compares Ukraine conflict to Brexit in party conference speech
Liam James19 March 2022 22:38
Punk trio revise London Calling for Ukraine war
Ukrainian punk band Beton have reimagined The Clash’s hit single London Calling as an “anthem” of “solidarity and hope” during the Russian invasion.
The trio – Bohdan Hrynko, Oleg Hula and Andriy Zholob – recorded the new version, titled Kyiv Calling, on Thursday and Friday this week in a music studio in the city of Lviv.
The song features the lines “come out of neutrality, you boys and girls” and “phony Putinmania has bitten the dust.”
The track was mixed and mastered by producer Danny Saber, one of the last people to work with Joe Strummer, lead singer of The Clash before his death in 2002.
Proceeds from the song will go to the Free Ukraine Resistance Movement (Furm) – a citizen-led network bringing together 30 non-governmental organisations from across the country.
Ostap Kryvdyk, international secretary of Furm, said: “Furm calls on the world to listen to the call from Kyiv. For us the music of the Clash is the music of freedom. We must stop the new iron curtain falling.
“London Calling was the call sign of the resistance of Britain when it stood alone against the Nazis.
“We want Kyiv Calling to be the symbol of resistance to the new aggressor in Europe. No surrender. No compromise peace.”
Liam James19 March 2022 22:19
Pope visits Ukrainian children escaped from Russian invasion at Rome hospital
Pope Francis has paid a visit to some of the Ukrainian children who escaped the Russian invasion and are currently being treated at the Vatican’s pediatric hospital in Rome.
The Vatican says the Bambino Gesu hospital is currently tending to 19 Ukrainian refugees, and that overall some 50 have passed through in recent weeks.
Some were suffering oncological, neurological and other problems before the war and fled in the early days. Others are being treated for wounds incurred as a result of the invasion.
Pope visits Ukrainian children escaped from Russian invasion at Rome hospital
Liam James19 March 2022 22:00