LIVE Russia-Ukraine crisis:UN agencies condemn attacks on health care

35 dead in air strike on military base near Poland

By Team KT

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Published: Sun 13 Mar 2022, 6:23 AM

Last updated: Sun 13 Mar 2022, 11:16 PM

With Russia’s attack on Ukraine in its third week, a relentless assault on the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol continued Saturday, as Russian forces shelled the city’s downtown, including an area around a mosque that was sheltering more than 80 people — some children.

US President Joe Biden announced additional aid to Ukraine of up to $200 million for weapons, military services, education and training.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia would need to carpet-bomb Kyiv and kill its residents to take the city.

The war has forced more than 2.5 million people to flee Ukraine.

Here's the latest of all top developments on March 13:

11.10pm: Ukraine’s largest steel firm says shells hit Avdiivka coke plant

Ukraine’s largest steel company Metinvest said shells hit the territory of its Avdiivka coke plant on Sunday, damaging some of its facilities.

Earlier, the general prosecutor’s office said five rockets had hit the plant, which had already suspended operations in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Metinvest, majority-owned by Ukraine’s richest man and business magnate Rinat Akhmetov, said nobody was hurt in the shelling, which hit two coking shops and other areas.

10.41pm: UN agencies condemn attacks on health care in Ukraine

UN agencies on Sunday called for an immediate ceasefire and an end to attacks on healthcare professionals and facilities in Ukraine, describing such incidents as acts of “unconscionable cruelty”.

Since the start of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, 31 attacks on health care have been documented via the WHO’s Surveillance System for Attacks on Health Care (SSA), the heads of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Population Fund and the World Health Organization said in a joint statement.

“To attack the most vulnerable — babies, children, pregnant women and those already suffering from illness and disease, and health workers risking their own lives to save lives — is an act of unconscionable cruelty,” they said, calling for an immediate ceasefire.

10.07pm: Kremlin says next Russia-Ukraine talks to take place Monday

Talks between Russia and Ukraine are not taking place right now but will continue on Monday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying on Sunday by the RIA news agency.

Peskov made the comments after Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said Ukraine and Russia were actively conducting talks on Sunday, with the situation around the besieged city of Mariupol a particular focus.

9.31pm: Ukraine says Chernobyl power line restored

Ukraine says it has restored a broken power line to the Chernobyl power plant, the scene of a nuclear meltdown in 1986, which is held by Russian troops.

Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko said that “heroes” from the national power grid company managed to restore the connection. The power is used to run pumps which keep spent nuclear fuel cool to prevent radiation leaks.

Ukraine said Wednesday that power had been cut to the site and that there was enough diesel fuel to run on-site generators for 48 hours.

8.53pm Russia says it attacked Ukraine training facility, killed up to 180

Russia said on Sunday it had attacked the Yavoriv training facility in western Ukraine, adding the strike had killed “up to 180 foreign mercenaries” and destroyed a large amount of weapons supplied by outside nations.

Defence ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov told a briefing that Russia would continue its attacks against what he called foreign mercenaries.

8.42pm: Drone that crashed in Croatia carried a bomb, says official

A military drone that apparently flew all the way from the Ukrainian war zone over three European NATO-member states before crashing in an urban zone of the Croatian capital was armed with an explosive device, Croatia’s defense minister said Sunday.

The Soviet-made aircraft crossed Romania and Hungary before entering Croatia, slamming into a field near a student dormitory late Thursday. About 40 parked cars were damaged in the large explosion, but no one was injured.

More details here

7.18pm: Over 2,100 Mariupol residents killed since invasion began: official

More than 2,100 residents of Ukraine’s besieged city of Mariupol have been killed since hostilities began, the local authorities said Sunday.

“As of today, 2,187 Mariupol residents have died from attacks by Russia,” the city council posted on Telegram, raising the toll by almost 1,000 since Wednesday, when they said 1,207 civilians had died in the first nine days of the siege.

6.34pm: Ukraine’s Mariupol says city’s last reserves of food and water are running out

Ukraine’s besieged port city of Mariupol is running out of its last reserves of food and water, the city council said on Sunday, adding that Russian forces blockading the city continued to shell non-military targets.

“People have been in a difficult situation for 12 days. There is no electricity, water or heating in the city. There is almost no mobile communication. The last reserves of food and water are running out,” it said in an online statement.

6.15pm: Instagram users in Russia are told service will cease from midnight

Instagram users in Russia have been notified that the service will cease from midnight on Sunday after its owner Meta Platforms said last week it would allow social media users in Ukraine to post critical messages.

An email message from the state communications regulator told people to move their photos and videos from Instagram before it was shut down, and encouraged them to switch to Russia’s own “competitive internet platforms”.

5.32pm: Ukraine negotiator says Russia is being more constructive

Ukrainian negotiator and presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak on Sunday said he thought progress could be made at talks with Russia in the coming days as the Russian side had become more constructive.

“We will not concede in principle on any positions. Russia now understands this. Russia is already beginning to talk constructively. I think that we will achieve some results literally in a matter of days,” he said in a video posted online.

4.16pm: Nearly 125,000 people evacuated via humanitarian corridors in Ukraine, says president

Nearly 125,000 people have been evacuated via humanitarian corridors from conflict zones in Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a video address on Sunday.

“Today the key task is Mariupol,” he said, adding that a humanitarian supply convoy was now only 80 kilometres (50 miles) away from the besieged port city where more than 400,000 people are trapped.

3.55pm: Moscow accused of phosporous gas attacks in Donbas

A senior Ukrainian police officer has accused Russian forces of launching phosphorous bomb attacks in the eastern region of Lugansk.

International law prohibits the use of white phosphorous shells in heavily populated civilian areas, but allows them in open spaces to be used as cover for troops.

More details here

3.45pm: NATO Secretary General suspects Russia of plans to use chemical weapons

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, responding to allegations that the United States sponsored biological laboratories in Ukraine, has said that Russia may be the one planning chemical attacks.

Stoltenberg told German newspaper Welt that the accusations are false and stressed that the alliance must be vigilant, since Russia itself may be planning operations with chemical weapons. He added that this would be a war crime.

3.26pm: India to temporarily shift its embassy in Ukraine to Poland

India has decided to temporarily relocate its embassy in Ukraine to Poland, the government said on Sunday.

The Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement that the decision to move the embassy from Kyiv was being taken in view of the rapidly deteriorating security situation in Ukraine, including attacks in the western parts of the country.

More details here

2:44pm: At least 35 people killed in attack on Yavoriv military centre

Thirty-five people died and more than 130 were injured when Russian troops launched air strikes on a military training ground outside Ukraine’s western city of Lviv, near the border with Poland, local officials said Sunday.

Russia “launched an air strike on the International Centre for Peacekeeping and Security”, the head of the Lviv regional administration, Maksym Kozytsky, said on his verified Facebook page.

More details here

2:37pm: Ukraine says 85 children killed since attack

The office of Ukraine’s Prosecutor General says a total of 85 children have been killed since the start of the Russian offensive in Ukraine.

More than 100 more have been wounded, the office said. Officials also said that bombings and shelling have damaged 369 educational facilities in the country, 57 of which have been completely destroyed.

2:28pm: UK says looking at using sanctioned oligarch properties for refugees

Britain is looking at whether it can use properties owned by sanctioned individuals in the country for humanitarian purposes, housing minister Michael Gove said on Sunday.

“I want to explore an option which would allow us to use the homes and properties of sanctioned individuals for as long as they are sanctioned for humanitarian and other purposes,” Gove told BBC Television, when asked if the homes of sanctioned oligarchs could be used to house Ukrainian refugees.

“There is quite a high legal bar to cross and we’re not talking about permanent confiscation but we are saying, ‘you’re sanctioned, you’re supporting Putin, this home is here, you have no right to use or profit from it’ and ... if we can use it in order to help others let’s do that.”

12:44pm: Nine dead, 57 injured at Lviv military base

FILE. Ukrainian soldiers take part in military exercises at the Yavoriv shooting range not far from the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on September 15, 2017. Photo:AFP
FILE. Ukrainian soldiers take part in military exercises at the Yavoriv shooting range not far from the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on September 15, 2017. Photo:AFP

Nine people died and 57 were injured in Russian air strikes overnight on a Ukrainian military base close to the city of Lviv, the city’s mayor said Sunday.

“Unfortunately we have 9 dead. 57 people were injured,” Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadoviy wrote on Telegram.

More details here

12:40pm: Ukraine says foreign instructors present at Lviv military base

FILE. Ukrainian soldiers take part in military exercises at the Yavoriv shooting range not far from the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on September 15, 2017. Photo: AFP
FILE. Ukrainian soldiers take part in military exercises at the Yavoriv shooting range not far from the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on September 15, 2017. Photo: AFP

Foreign military instructors worked at the Yavoriv military facility near the Polish border that was hit by a Russian air strike on Sunday, Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov said, but it was not clear if any were present at the time.

A ministry representative told Reuters the ministry was still trying to establish if any of the instructors were at the centre at the time of the attack.

12:10pm: 19 ambulances seen on road from Ukraine’s Yavoriv military centre

Nineteen ambulances with sirens blaring were seen driving from the direction of Ukraine’s Yavoriv military base near the Polish border on Friday, a Reuters witness said, after local officials said the facility was hit by a Russian air strike.

A further seven ambulances were seen driving towards the facility after what appeared to be the westernmost attack of the war.

11:22am: 3,687 Ukrainian military infrastructure facilities destroyed

Russian troops have destroyed 3,687 Ukrainian military infrastructure facilities so far, Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying on Sunday.

It was not posssible to independently verify his statement.

9:53am: Air strike launched on Ukraine military base

An air strike was launched on a Ukrainian military base Yavoriv in the west of the country near the Polish border, the Lviv regional military administration said on Sunday.

“The occupiers launched an air strike on the International Center for Peacekeeping and Security. According to preliminary data, they fired eight missiles,” the administration said in a statement.

The centre, less than 25 km (15 miles) from the Polish border, did not say whether it had been hit. It said it would release details later.

More details here:

9:32am: 8 missiles fired at Ukraine's centre for International peacekeeping and security

Eight missiles fired at Ukraine's centre for international peacekeeping and security, according to preliminary information - Lviv regional military administration.

9:20am: Ukraine readies for ‘relentless defence’ of Kyiv

Firefighters extinguish a fire on a house after shelling on the 17th day of the Russian attack on Ukraine in Kyiv on March 12, 2022.  Photo: AFP
Firefighters extinguish a fire on a house after shelling on the 17th day of the Russian attack on Ukraine in Kyiv on March 12, 2022. Photo: AFP

Ukraine prepared Sunday for a “relentless defence” of Kyiv as the capital faced possible encirclement by advancing Russian forces who have also kept up a bombardment of the besieged southern port city of Mariupol.

In a video address posted on social media late Saturday night, President Volodymyr Zelensky said nevertheless the Russians did not have the strength or spirit to conquer Ukraine.

“The Russian invaders cannot conquer us. They do not have such strength. They do not have such spirit. They are holding only on violence. Only on terror. Only on weapons, which they have a lot."

7:09am: Zelenskyy warns against ‘pseudo-republics’

Russia is trying to create new “pseudo-republics” in Ukraine to break his country apart, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address to the nation Saturday.

Zelenskyy called on Ukraine’s regions, including Kherson, which was captured by Russian forces, not to repeat the experience of Donetsk and Luhansk. Pro-Russian separatists began fighting Ukrainian forces in those eastern regions in 2014.

“The occupiers on the territory of the Kherson region are trying to repeat the sad experience of the formation of pseudo-republics. They are blackmailing local leaders, putting pressure on deputies, looking for someone to bribe.”

Russia recognised the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic before attacking Ukraine in February. Moscow said it had to protect the separatist regions, and is demanding that Ukraine recognize their independence too.

6:19am: Russians strike near Kyiv, block aid convoy

This Maxar satellite image taken and released on March 12, 2022, shows a multispectral view of fires in an industrial area of the Primorskyi district in western Mariupol, Ukraine. Photo: AFP
This Maxar satellite image taken and released on March 12, 2022, shows a multispectral view of fires in an industrial area of the Primorskyi district in western Mariupol, Ukraine. Photo: AFP

Russian forces pounded the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol on Saturday, shelling its downtown as residents hid in an iconic mosque and elsewhere to avoid the explosions. Fighting also raged in the outskirts of the capital, Kyiv, as Russia kept up its bombardment of other cities throughout the country.

Mariupol has endured some of Ukraine’s worst punishment since Russia attacked. Unceasing barrages have thwarted repeated attempts to bring food, water and medicine into the city of 430,000 and to evacuate its trapped civilians. More than 1,500 people have died in Mariupol during the siege, according to the mayor’s office, and the shelling has even interrupted efforts to bury the dead in mass graves.


6:12am: On eastern front, Ukrainians hold off Russian tanks

Firing a constant barrage of artillery at the Russians, a troop of Ukrainian soldiers are keeping up morale: their shelling has so far stopped Moscow’s tanks entering Kyiv from the east.

And they hope that the enemy forces, which have struggled to take large cities, will eventually get bogged down.

Wearing camouflage uniform and carrying a Kalashnikov, a soldier nicknamed Topaz watches the motorway running north from Kyiv’s eastern suburbs.

With his companions, he is keeping up a barrage of artillery from behind the front line, as regular explosions of heavy weaponry echo across the plain and an icy wind blows.

6:05am: Ukraine says Russian forces kill seven civilians in evacuation convoy

Ukraine accused Russian forces on Saturday of killing seven civilians in an attack on women and children trying to flee fighting near Kyiv, and France said Russian President Vladimir Putin had shown he was not ready to make peace.

With Russia’s attack in its third week, the Ukrainian intelligence service said the seven, including one child, were killed as they fled the village of Peremoha and that “the occupiers forced the remnants of the column to turn back.”

Ukrainian officials later said the convoy was not traveling along a “green corridor” agreed with Russia when it was struck on Friday, correcting their earlier assertion that it was on such a designated route.

Reuters was unable immediately to verify the report and Russia offered no immediate comment.

6am: US authorises $200 million for additional arms, equipment to Ukraine

US President Joe Biden authorized USD 200 million for additional arms and equipment to Ukraine, White House said on Saturday (local time).

“Today, President Biden authorized $200 million for additional arms and equipment to Ukraine. This unprecedented fourth drawdown in less than one year brings the total U.S. security assistance to Ukraine to over $1.2 billion since January 2021,” White House said in a Tweet.

Biden’s decision brings total US security aid provided to Ukraine to $1.2 billion since January 2021.

More details here


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