March 26, 2023


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Ukraine’s Zelensky defied as Russian forces, despite setbacks, regroup near Kyiv

Ukraine's Zelensky defied as Russian forces, despite setbacks, regroup near Kyiv
  • The European Union imposes new sanctions on Russia
  • Biden calls for an end to normal trade
  • Satellite images show the Russians redeploying north of Kyiv
  • Civilians gather underground while Russia bombs cities

Lviv, Ukraine (March 11) (Reuters) – President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday that Ukraine was at a “strategic turning point” in the war as Russian forces bombed cities across the country and appeared to be regrouping for a possible attack on Kyiv using satellites. industrial. Pictures show them firing artillery as they approach the capital.

The governor of the Kharkiv region, on the Russian border, said a psychiatric hospital was hit, and the mayor of the city of Kharkiv said about 50 schools had been destroyed there.

Russia has also launched air strikes deep into western Ukraine, far from the battlefields in the north, east and south where ground battles have raged.

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In the besieged southern city of Mariupol, the city council said at least 1,582 civilians were killed as a result of Russian bombing and a 12-day siege that left hundreds of thousands trapped without food, water, heat or electricity.

The Russian Defense Ministry said the Black Sea port was now completely encircled, and Ukrainian officials accused Russia of deliberately preventing civilians from leaving and entering humanitarian convoys.

A new attempt to evacuate civilians along a humanitarian corridor from Mariupol appears to have failed, with Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Irina Verychuk saying Russian bombing prevented them from leaving.

“The situation is critical,” said Vadim Denisenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s Interior Ministry.

Meanwhile, Western countries have taken more economic steps to try to force Russian President Vladimir Putin to end his offensive.

President Joe Biden, who this week banned US imports of Russian oil, said the G7 would rescind Russia’s “most favored nation” trade status. He also announced a US ban on imports of Russian seafood, alcohol and diamonds. Washington later sanctioned more elites and oligarchs, including members of Russian bank boards, as well as dozens of lawmakers. Read more

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European Union leaders have said they are ready to impose tougher sanctions on Russia and may give Ukraine more money to buy weapons. But they rejected Ukraine’s request to join the bloc.

In a meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Putin said there were “some positive shifts” in talks with Kyiv, but did not elaborate.


With the Russian offensive in its third week, Zelensky, who rallied his people with a series of speeches from Kyiv, said Ukraine had “already reached a strategic turning point”.

“It is impossible to say how many days we still have to liberate Ukrainian lands. But we can say that we will,” he said. “We are already moving toward our goal, our victory.”

The main Russian force stumbled north of Kyiv after it failed in what Western analysts described as an initial plan for a misguided attack.

But images taken on Friday and released by the US private satellite company Maxar showed Russian forces continuing to deploy near Kyiv and fire artillery toward residential areas, according to the company’s analysis.

Many homes and buildings were on fire and extensive damage was seen across the town of Moshon, northwest of Kyiv, Maksar said. Reuters could not independently verify the photos.

The British Ministry of Defense said that Russia appeared to be preparing for a new attack in the coming days, likely to include Kyiv.

However, it said in an intelligence update that Russian ground forces were still making limited progress, hampered by logistical problems and Ukrainian resistance.

The Ukrainian General Staff said that the Russian forces had regrouped after incurring heavy losses. She added that Ukrainian forces had pushed some back to “unfavorable positions” near the Belarus border.

The mayor of Kyiv, former heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, said the capital had enough basic supplies to last two weeks. Supply lines remain open.

wrong assumptions

Ukrainian authorities said a psychiatric hospital near the eastern town of Izyum was hit. Emergency services said no one was hurt, but Kharkiv Governor Ole Senegubov called the attack a war crime. Reuters was unable to verify the authenticity of the news.

Moscow denies it was targeting civilians in what it calls a “special operation” to disarm Ukraine and “de-Nazification”. Ukraine and its allies say this was a baseless excuse for Russia’s invasion of a democratic country of 44 million people.

Air strikes near a kindergarten in the central city of Dnipro killed at least one person on Friday, emergency services said.

The mayor of Lutsk said four people were killed and six wounded in an attack on an airport, a rare blow so far in western Ukraine. A US official said such attacks were aimed at preventing the Ukrainian air force from using Western bases. Read more

The British Ministry of Defense Intelligence said that the Russian air and missile forces had bombed the western city of Ivano-Frankivsk in the past 24 hours.

In Kharkiv, hundreds took shelter in metro stations.

Nastya, a young girl lying on a makeshift bed on the floor of a train carriage, said she had been there for more than a week, unable to move much and sick with a virus.

“I’m afraid for my house, for my friends’ houses, and I’m very afraid for the whole country, and of course I’m afraid for myself,” she said. Read more

Moscow said its separatist allies in the southeast had captured the town of Volnovakha, north of Mariupol.

But Matthew Poleg, an expert at London think tank Chatham House, said Moscow may not have enough forces to achieve its goals.

“You can’t invade a country on a one-to-one ratio (of troops). Nobody did it, which means either something was wrong or they have very wrong assumptions,” he told Reuters.

Zelensky, in a nightly video speech, accused Russia of kidnapping the mayor of Melitopol, the captured city in southeastern Ukraine, calling it a “new phase of terrorism.” Russia has not commented on the fate of Mayor Ivan Fedorov.

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Zelensky said 7,144 people were evacuated from four cities on Friday, a number much lower than the previous two days. He accused Russian forces of refusing to let civilians out of Mariupol and vowed to try to deliver food and medicine there on Saturday.

Ukraine also raised the possibility of Belarus, an ally of Moscow, entering the war, accusing Russia of launching air attacks on Belarus from Ukraine to provide a pretext.

Belarus served as a staging post for Russian forces before and after the invasion on February 24. The Kremlin did not respond to a request for comment.

The official Belta news agency said Putin and Lukashenko had agreed that Moscow would supply its smaller neighbor with the latest military equipment.

No EU membership

Away from the battlefields, European Union leaders meeting near Paris agreed to spend more on defense and reduce dependence on Russian energy supplies by 2027. But they rejected Ukraine’s call for speedy accession to the European Union.

Western countries moved to isolate Russia from the global financial system. The Russian ruble ended its third week of heavy losses, being stripped of a third of its value in Moscow’s exchanges since Russia invaded Ukraine. Read more

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the US economy is strong – although inflation is a problem – and acknowledged that there will be spillovers from sanctions against Russia. Read more

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the bloc will on Saturday suspend Moscow’s privileged trade and economic treatment; suppression of the use of crypto-assets; And banning the import of iron and steel products from Russia, as well as the export of luxury goods in the other direction. Read more

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Reporting by Reuters offices. Written by Peter Graf, Angus McSwan, and Matt Spitalnick; Editing by Tomasz Janowski, Kevin Levy and Daniel Wallis

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.