Ukraine’s military has just released its operational report as of 6am this morning, claiming its forced have no suffered any significant changes over the past day.
Officials said bombing and storming aviation caused “crushing blows” to clusters of Russian equipment and personnel.
“Occupiers continue terrorising locals and looting in temporarily occupied territories,” the report published by the ministry of defence said.
Biden to travel to Poland to impose more costs on Russia
US president Joe Biden will travel to Poland this week to discuss international efforts to support Ukraine and “impose severe and unprecedented costs on Russia” for its invasion, the White House has said.
The discussions will follow Biden’s meetings in Brussels, Belgium with Nato allies, G7 leaders, and European Union leaders.
A White House press statement reads:
On Friday, March 25, President Biden will travel to Warsaw, Poland, where he will hold a bilateral meeting with president Andrzej Duda. The president will discuss how the United States, alongside our allies and partners, is responding to the humanitarian and human rights crisis that Russia’s unjustified and unprovoked war on Ukraine has created.”
Ahead of Friday’s meeting, Biden will also hold a call with French president Emmanuel Macron, German chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian prime minister Mario Draghi, and UK prime minister Boris Johnson on Monday.
On Thursday he will attend a summit of Nato leaders, who will use the meeting to look at strengthening the bloc’s own deterrence and defence, immediately and in the long term, to deal with the now openly confrontational Putin.
That gathering is intended not just to show Nato’s “support to Ukraine, but also our readiness to protect and defend all Nato allies,” Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg told CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday.
“And by sending that message, we are preventing an escalation of the conflict to a full-fledged war between Nato and Russia,” Stoltenberg said.
For many, daily life continues in Ukraine. Street scenes across the western city of Lviv show a tense preparation for Russian attacks, while pro-Ukraine and anti-Putin posters line some bus shelters.
Ukraine rejects deadline to surrender Mariupol
Russia’s ministry of defence earlier set a 5am deadline for the embattled city of Mariupol to surrender.
“Lay down your arms,” Col-Gen Mikhail Mizintsev, the director of the Russian national defence management centre, said on Sunday in a briefing. “A terrible humanitarian catastrophe has developed. All who lay down their arms are guaranteed safe passage out of Mariupol.”
Mizintsev added that local officials would face a “military tribunal” if they didn’t agree to the surrender terms.
However Ukraine has rejected the proposal with deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk saying that there can be “no question” of surrender.
Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk was quoted as saying by Ukrainska Pravda:
There can be no talk of any surrenders, laying down of arms. We have already informed the Russian side about this.
Instead of wasting time on 8 pages of letters, just open a [humanitarian] corridor.”
Ammonia leak reported at Sumy chemical plant
In case you missed this earlier report, an ammonia leak at a chemical plant in the north-eastern Ukrainian city of Sumy is believed to be affecting an area within a 2.5km radius of the spill, the city’s mayor said.
Dmytro Zhyvytskyiy said the leak was reported at 4.30am local time at the Sumykhimprom plant in an update posted to his official Telegram this morning.
He said the area within a 2.5km radius around the plant was hazardous, adding that residents should seek refuge in shelters and basements for protection while describing ammonia as a “colourless gas with a pungent suffocating odour”.
Ammonia is lighter than air, therefore shelters, basements and lower floors should be used for protection,” he said.
Zhyvytskyiy added that emergency crews were at the scene and prevailing winds meant the nearby city of Sumy – about 350km east of Kyiv and with a pre-war population of around 250,000 – was not under immediate threat.
According to Sumykhimprom’s website the facility produces a range of chemical fertilisers.
The leak comes just days after the Russian government intensified its disinformation efforts alleging Ukraine is preparing to use improvised chemical weapons and has been developing a clandestine WMD programme.
The Russian ministry of defence claimed late Sunday that “nationalists” had “mined” ammonia and chlorine storage facilities at Sumykhimprom “with the aim of mass poisoning of residents of the Sumy region, in case of entry into the city of units of the Russian armed forces”.
Hello it’s Samantha Lock with you and we unpack all the latest developments in Ukraine.
Russia’s war on its neighbour is well into its fourth week. Casualties are in the thousands and millions have fled the country seeking refuge abroad.
Here is where the crisis currently stands:
- Russia’s ministry of defence set a 5am deadline for the embattled city of Mariupol to surrender. “Lay down your arms,” Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev, director of the Russian national defence management centre, said on Sunday. Mizintsev added that all those who lay down their arms would be “guaranteed safe passage out of Mariupol” with humanitarian corridors opened from 10am Moscow time on Monday.
- Ukraine quickly rejected the proposal with deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk saying that there can be “no question” of surrender. “Instead of wasting time on 8 pages of letters, just open a [humanitarian] corridor,” she told the Ukrainska Pravda newspaper. The deadline has now passed.
- A shopping centre in Kyiv was shelled late last night with rescuers still battling to control the blaze in the Podilskyi district of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv. Ukraine’s state emergency services said it received a call at 10.48pm that a fire had broken out at several homes and floors of a shopping mall in an update on its official Telegram account. Mayor Vitali Klitschko said the attack claimed one victim but information is still being clarified.
- An ammonia leak at a chemical plant in the north-eastern Ukrainian city of Sumy is affecting an area within a 2.5km radius of the spill, the city’s mayor said early this morning. Dmytro Zhyvytskyiy said the leak was reported at 4.30am local time at the Sumykhimprom plant in an update posted to his official Telegram.
- US President Joe Biden will travel to Poland on Friday to discuss international efforts to support Ukraine and “impose severe and unprecedented costs on Russia” for its invasion, the White House said. The discussions will follow Biden’s meetings in Brussels, Belgium with Nato allies, G7 leaders, and European Union leaders.
- The Chinese ambassador to the United States has denied China had sent weapons and ammunition to support Russia’s war in Ukraine and that Beijing would “do everything to de-escalate the crisis” in an interview with CBS. Qin Gang said reports Beijing may provide military assistance to Russia was “disinformation” and China was sending humanitarian aid to help those affected by the conflict.
- The UK’s ministry of defence believes Russian forces are advancing from Crimea and are still attempting to circumvent Mykolaiv as they look to drive west towards Odesa. “These forces have made little progress over the past week,” the report adds.
- Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he believes a failure to negotiate the end of Russia’s invasion will mean “a third world war”. In an interview with CNN on Sunday, Zelenskiy said that he’s “ready for negotiations” with Russian president Vladimir Putin but warned that if they fail “that would mean that this is a third World War.”
- Zelenskiy drew links between Putin’s “final solution” for Ukraine and the Nazi extermination of the Jews as he challenged Israel over its failure to impose sanctions on Russia in an address to the Knesset.
- Mariupol’s city council said Russia bombed an art school where 400 civilians including children were sheltering.
- Slovenia will send its diplomats back to Kyiv soon, according to prime minister Janez Janša.
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