Ukraine: Zelenskyy says Russia blocking Mariupol aid efforts

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Ukraine: Zelenskyy says Russia blocking Mariupol aid efforts — live updates

Ukraine’s president has accused Russian forces of “simply capturing” refugees trying to make their way out of the besieged city of Mariupol where 100,000 people remain trapped. Follow DW for the latest.

    

Soldiers observe civilians evacuating Mariupol on March 20Thousands of people are attempting to flee besieged Mariupol via ‘humanitarian corridors’

  • President Zelenskyy has described attempts to negotiate with Russia as ‘very difficult’
  • The Ukrainian president has also accused Russia of ‘capturing’ refugees
  • Germany again rejects no-fly zone over Ukraine

This article was last updated at 13:49 UTC/GMT

NATO chief says alliance to deploy new battle groups to eastern Europe

NATO nations will agree on “major increases” in troops stationed in the eastern part of the alliance, with the deployment of four new battle groups in Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia, NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said.

“I expect leaders will agree to strengthen NATO’s posture in all domains, with major increases in the eastern part of the alliance on land, in the air and at sea,” he said.

NATO leaders are gathering in Brussels on Thursday for a summit to discuss the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the way forward for the alliance.

Saying that NATO has a responsibility to ensure that the war doesn’t escalate beyond Ukraine, Stoltenberg also warned Moscow against using weapons of mass destruction in Ukraine.

“Any use of chemical weapons would totally change the nature of the conflict, it would be a blatant violation of international law and would have far-reaching consequences,” Stoltenberg said.

Israeli mayor invites Ukrainian refugees to his city

Germany says more Strela missiles on their way to Ukraine

Further supplies of Strela missiles taken from the inventories of the former East German army are to be delivered to Ukraine after a delay, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock says.

The Strela system is a shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile designed to hit low-flying aircraft. The missiles are fitted with passive infrared homing guidance and a high-explosive warhead.

So far, Ukraine has received 500 Strela missiles, but a delivery of up to 2,700 of the weapons has been discussed.

“We are one of the biggest weapons suppliers in this situation; it doesn’t make us proud but it’s what we must do to help Ukraine,” Baerbock told the Bundestag.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused Germany to change its longstanding policy of not sending weapons to conflict zones.

Zelenskyy urges Japan to step up sanctions on Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has praised Japan as “the first nation in Asia that started piling pressure on Russia,” following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. “I ask you to continue to impose sanctions,” he told the Japanese parliament via videolink on Wednesday.

No Ukrainian politician will compromise on territorial integrity: Ukrainian MP

“Let’s make efforts to ensure Russia will want and seek peace. Trade embargoes on Russia must be introduced to stop the tsunami of the invasion against Ukraine.”

During the speech, Zelenskyy also warned of the dangers his country faced from Russian attacks on nuclear plants and the site of the Chernobyl meltdown.

Furthermore, he criticized the ineffectiveness of the United Nations system to stop the invasion. “Neither the United Nations nor the UN Security Council have functioned. Reforms are needed,” the Ukrainian leader said.

Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said he planned to unveil more support measures for Ukraine and strengthen Tokyo’s sanctions against Russia at a G7 meeting in Brussels this week.

Ukraine MP says no compromise with Putin on ‘territorial integrity’

Ukrainians will not step back from the war, no matter the destruction wrought upon them, said Andrii Osadchuk, member of the Ukrainian parliament for the opposition party.

“Ukraine is resisting … we know how to fight. We burned Russians on the ground extremely well almost a month of war.  Russians are stuck almost in all points of the front line,” he told DW.

Describing it as a “full-scale, terrible war,” the MP said it’s not correct to blame Vladimir Putin alone because “thousands and thousands of Russian soldiers” are also involved in attacks on Ukraine.

“All of them are committing crimes against humanity, war crimes,” he said.

Osadchuk also stressed the need for a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

“We will fight until the end … Our big problem for today is protecting of Ukrainians from Russians in the sky. They are not able to move on the ground. They are not able to kill Ukrainian soldiers. They are killing civilians and they are taking us by cruise missiles and jet fighters.”

“That’s why we need more help from the West to protect our sky. We are repeating this for four weeks already. That’s the only option.”

Scholz again rejects no-fly zone over Ukraine

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has reiterated that Berlin will not support a no-fly zone over Ukraine or send troops to intervene in the war launched by Russia. “NATO will not become a party to the war. We are in agreement on this with our European allies and the United States,” he told German lawmakers.

Scholz said Germany would also not impose an embargo on Russian oil, coal and gas.

He stressed that Europe will end its energy dependence on Russia but to do so from one day to the next would plunge it into an economic recession, risking mass unemployment and entire industrial sectors. “Sanctions should not hurt European states harder than the Russian leadership,” Scholz said.

The German chancellor also underlined that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has stalled.

“Putin’s offensive is stuck despite all the destruction that it is bringing day after day,” Scholz said, adding that the Russian leader “must hear the truth” that not only is the war destro

Scholz again nixes no-fly zone and boycott of Russian oil, gas

UN taking up 3 resolutions on Ukraine humanitarian crisis

The United Nations will face three resolutions on Wednesday on the worsening humanitarian situation in Ukraine.

While the 193-member General Assembly is scheduled to start considering two rival resolutions on Wednesday morning, the Security Council will vote on the third resolution, which is sponsored by Russia and widely slammed for not referring to its invasion of Ukraine.

The two resolutions being taken up by the General Assembly demand humanitarian aid access and the protection of civilians, medical personnel, and aid workers in Ukraine.

But only one text, written by Ukraine and its allies, criticizes Russia’s role in creating the crisis. The second draft from South Africa makes no mention of Russia

Watch video02:13

Russian military struggles despite superior size

Nine ‘humanitarian corridors’ for refugees agreed

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said Wednesday that agreements have been made to evacuate trapped civilians from Ukrainian towns through nine “humanitarian corridors.”

In the besieged city of Mariupol, Vereshchuk said evacuees would find transport in the city of Berdyansk, which is more than 80 kilometers (50 miles) to the southwest.

About two dozen buses were also ready to be sent to the southern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia, she said.

Furthermore, humanitarian corridors are planned from the towns of Polohy and Huljajpole to Zaporizhzhia.

Three routes are planned near the capital Kyiv: From Velyka Dymerka, neighboring Bohdanivka, and Svitylnya, people are to be brought to the capital’s suburb of Browary, while people from Borodyanka, located northwest of Kyiv, are to be evacuated to Bila Tserkva, a city in the center of Ukraine.

And two corridors are planned in the region of Luhansk in eastern Ukraine: from Rubishne and Nyshnye to Bachmut.

Ukraine: Nine humanitarian corridors agreed – Fanny Facsar reports

Vietnam Airlines to suspend flights to Moscow

The national carrier of Vietnam is to suspend flights from Hanoi to Moscow from March 25, according to state run Vietnam News Agency (VNA).

The agency reported that the temporary suspension was due to review procedures, requirements and regulations for operations in Russia.

The countries have close links which date back to the Soviet era and Hanoi has not condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Zelenskyy accuses Russian forces of ‘capturing’ Mariupol refugees

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has accused Russian forces of “simply capturing” refugees trying to make their way out of the besieged city of Mariupol, on a previously agreed route. Zelenskyy said 7,000 people were able to escape over the past 24 hours, but claimed one group traveling the route was taken captive.

Zelenskyy said in a video message that there 100,000 people remain in the port city on the Sea of Azov “without food, without water, without, medicine, under constant shelling.” Tens of thousands of people have already escaped the city.

He also accused Russian forces of blocking a  humanitarian convoy trying to reach the city on Tuesday and taking rescue workers and drivers captive There were around 450,000 people living in the city before Russia invaded.

“We are trying to organize stable humanitarian corridors for Mariupol residents, but almost all of our attempts, unfortunately, are foiled by the Russian occupiers, by shelling or deliberate terror,” Zelenskyy said.

Human Rights Watch described the city as a “freezing hellscape riddled with dead bodies and destroyed buildings.” The United States military says Russia is bombing the city with artillery and long-range missiles fired from naval ships.

A burned out car riddled with bullet holes A destroyed civilian vehicle seen on a route between Mariupol and Zaporizhzhia, a city to the northwest

Peace negotiations are ‘difficult,’ says Zelenskyy

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy has described attempts to negotiate peace with Russia as “very difficult.”

Zelenskyy made the comments in a video address released early on Wednesday.

“They are very difficult, sometimes scandalous, but we are moving forward step by step,” Zelenskyy said and added that Ukrainian officials were negotiating on a daily basis.

“We will work, we will fight as much as possible. Until the end. Brave and open,” Zelenskyy said.

The Ukrainian leader has indicated a willingness to hold direct talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin but there has been no response to his requests for dialogue.

Russians accused of destroying Chernobyl laboratory

The agency responsible for managing the Chernobyl exclusion zone has accused Russian forces of destroying a new laboratory at the nuclear power plant.

Ukraine’s State Agency for Exclusion Zone Management said that Russian troops had “illegally seized” the laboratory and then said they “robbed and destroyed the November Central Analytical Laboratory.”

The agency said the laboratory contained “highly active samples and samples of radionuclides that are now in the hands of the enemy, which we hope will harm itself and not the civilized world.”

The facility was built at a cost of €6 million ($6.6 million) with the help of the European Union. It had been in operation since 2015.

Summary of events in Ukraine-Russia crisis on Tuesday

After weeks of bombardment by Russian forces, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the Italian parliament there is “nothing left” of the post city of Mariupol.

The UK’s Ministry of Defense said Ukrainian forces continued to “repulse” Russian attempts to take over the southern port city of Mariupol.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said 300,000 people in the Russian-occupied city of Kherson are running out of food and medical supplies.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukraine was willing to consider dropping its demands for full NATO membership in exchange for security guarantees.

The UN refugee agency said more than 3.3 million Ukrainian refugees have poured into neighboring countries since Russia’s invasion on February 24.

Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag, paid tribute to Boris Romanchenko, who survived several Nazi concentration camps but was killed last week in a Russian strike on Kharkiv.

A senior US defense official said Russia’s combat power in Ukraine has dipped below 90% of its pre-invasion level, pointing to the possibility of heavy losses and rising casualties

kb, sri/wmr(AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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