- One person was killed and three injured when debris from a downed rocket hit a Kyiv apartment block, as Russian forces press in on the capital.
- Ukraine says Russia attacked a theatre and a pool facility in Mariupol where “hundreds” of civilians were sheltering. Moscow denies the claim.
- US President Joe Biden calls his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, a “war criminal”, announces an additional $800m in security assistance to Ukraine.
- Putin says Moscow will achieve its goals in Ukraine as Kremlin slams Biden’s comments about the Russian president as “unacceptable”.
Here are the latest updates:
China rejects US accusation it is not acting in line with UN charter
The Chinese foreign ministry says it firmly rejects US State Secretary Antony Blinken’s comment that China’s unwillingness to condemn Russia is inconsistent with China’s position on the UN charter.
China always believes the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states should be upheld, said Zhao Lijian, spokesperson at the Chinese foreign ministry, at a regular press conference.
In an interview with NPR on Wednesday, Blinken said the fact that China “has not stood strongly against” Russia’s aggression in Ukraine flies in the face of China’s commitments as a permanent member of the UN Security Council responsible for maintaining peace and security.
“It’s totally inconsistent with what China says and repeats over and over again about the sanctity of the United Nations charter and the basic principles, including the sovereignty of nations,” Blinken said.
Ukraine says it downed Russian planes, helicopters and a drone
Ukraine’s Air Force says in a statement posted on Facebook it has shot down three Russian Su-30M bombers, one Su-34 bomber and one plane that yet has to be identified.
It also said that two helicopters and one drone were shot down, while air defense forces shot down one more Su-34 bomber and one more helicopter.
Russia will put its enemies in their place: Medvedev
Russia has the might to put enemies led by the United States in their place and Moscow will foil the West’s Russophobic plot to tear Russia apart, Dmitry Medvedev said.
Medvedev, who served as president from 2008 to 2012 and is now deputy secretary of Russia’s security council, said the United States had stoked “disgusting” Russophobia in an attempt to force Russia on its knees and then rip it apart.
“It will not work – Russia has the might to put all of our brash enemies in their place,” Medvedev said.
Losses mount in Chernihiv: Governor
The bodies of 53 residents of Chernihiv have been delivered to the embattled city’s morgue after heavy bombardment and shelling, according to a Ukrainian defense official.
“We suffer great losses,” Vyacheslav Chaus said in a video posted on Facebook. “We will avenge and kill for every citizen we lost.”
The northern Ukrainian city of 280,000 lies close to the border with Moscow-friendly Belarus that was used as a springboard for the Russian invasion that began on February 24. The city has a sizable ethnic Russian minority.
Ukraine hopes 9 safe routes will open
Ukraine hopes to evacuate civilians through nine “humanitarian corridors” on Thursday from cities including the encircled port city of Mariupol, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.
Russian gov’t sites facing ‘unprecedented’ cyber attacks
Russian government websites are facing unprecedented cyber attacks and efforts are being made to filter foreign web traffic, the TASS news agency cited the digital ministry as saying.
Russian government entities and state-owned companies have been targeted over events in Ukraine, with the websites of the Kremlin, flagship carrier Aeroflot and major lender Sberbank among those to have seen outages or temporary access issues in recent weeks.
Interior Minister: ‘No safe place in Ukraine’
Ukraine’s Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky has said that Russian spies and diversion groups are omnipresent throughout Ukraine.
“Unfortunately, there are no places in Ukraine without an obvious military threat. We can’t name a region where there has been no shelling or where we haven’t found diversion groups,” he was quoted by the Unian news agency as saying.
He said that such groups or fire spotters are detained almost daily in Kyiv and are present even in the western Ukrainian regions where hostilities have been limited to rare cruise missile strikes on strategic sites such as military bases or airports.
“The problem is everywhere,” Monastyrsky said.
Polish PM calls on EU, US leaders to visit Kyiv
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has urged the leaders of European Union countries, the United States and Britain to visit the Ukrainian capital to show solidarity.
He told German tabloid Bild’s Thursday edition German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other EU government leaders should travel to Kyiv, look into the eyes of the women and children there and help them to save their lives and their independence.
He said Ukrainians were fighting for the values of Europe and the western world.
UK military intelligence says Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has largely stalled
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has largely stalled on all fronts, with Russian forces suffering heavy losses and making minimal progress on land, sea or air in recent days, British military intelligence said.
“Ukrainian resistance remains staunch and well-coordinated,” The Ministry of Defence said. “The vast majority of Ukrainian territory, including all major cities, remains in Ukrainian hands.”
Downed missile hits Kyiv apartment block, kills one
At least one person was killed and three others wounded after remains of a downed missile hit a residential building in the Ukranian capital, Kyiv, Ukraine’s emergency service said.
The 16-storey building was struck at 5:02 a.m. local time, it said in a statement, adding that 30 people have been evacuated so far and a fire has been put out.
Hungary PM flags arrival of “bigger wave” of Ukraine refugees next week
Hungary expects a “bigger wave” of refugees to arrive from Ukraine next week, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on a video posted on his Facebook page.
Visiting a border crossing point near Hungary’s border with Romania and Ukraine, Orban said more border guards would be posted there next week to handle an increased number of refugees.
Orban, who faces elections on April 3, did not say why he expected more refugees next week. Over the past week the number of Ukrainian refugees arriving to Hungary has fallen substantially.
Russia’s military lost 7,000 soldiers in three weeks: NYT
US officials have told the New York Times that Russia’s military has lost more than 7,000 soldiers in its three-week invasion of Ukraine.
The officials cautioned that the number is inexact, and compiled through analysis of news media, Ukrainian figures, Russian figures, satellite imagery and perusal of video images of Russian tanks and troops that have come under fire.
Ukraine says 13,500 Russian personnel have been killed while Russia put the death toll at 498.
Ukraine publishes list of museums, churches destroyed in Russian invasion
Ukraine’s ministry of culture has published a preliminary list of sites destroyed or damaged in the Russian invasion.
It includes the Museum of Ukrainian Antiquities in Chernihiv, the Kharkiv National University, as well as the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Zhytomyr.
Putin’s “real goal is to destroy the Ukrainian nation, culture, history and identity,” the ministry said.
Ukraine official says peace talks now focusing on Russian presence in separatist regions
An official in Zelenskyy’s office has told The Associated Press that the main subject under discussion at the Russia-Ukraine peace talks was whether Russian troops would remain in separatist regions in eastern Ukraine after the war and where the borders would be.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive talks, said Ukraine was insisting on the inclusion of one or more Western nuclear powers in the negotiations and on a legally binding document with security guarantees for Ukraine.
In exchange, the official said, Ukraine was ready to discuss a neutral status.
Ukraine urged to respect the rights of prisoners of war
Human Rights Watch says Ukrainian authorities should stop posting on social media and messaging apps videos of captured Russian soldiers that expose them to public curiosity, “in particular those that show them being humiliated or intimidated”.
Three Panama-flagged ships hit by Russian missiles in Black Sea
Panama’s Maritime Authority says three Panamanian-flagged ships have been hit by Russian missiles in the Black Sea since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
One ship sank, the maritime authority said in a statement, but there were no casualties reported.
The two others remain afloat with damages.
Combined they have about 150 crew members of various nationalities who have not been allowed to leave, said Noriel Arauz, director of the maritime authority.
Bombed Mariupol theatre sheltering at least 500 civilians: HRW
Human Rights Watch says the Mariupol theatre hit during an alleged Russian attack was sheltering at least 500 civilians.
“Until we know more, we cannot rule out the possibility of a Ukrainian military target in the area of the theatre, but we do know that the theatre had been housing at least 500 civilians,” said Belkis Wille, senior crisis and conflict researcher at Human Rights Watch.
“This raises serious concerns about what the intended target was in a city where civilians have already been under siege for days and telecommunications, power, water and heating have been almost completely cut off.”
It says “Children” pic.twitter.com/qRenUhnXLw
— Belkis Wille (@belkiswille) March 16, 2022
Satellite images show damage in Kharkiv, Chernihiv
EU official calls for evacuation of babies from surrogate mothers in Ukraine
Ylva Johansson, the EU commissioner for home affairs, has called for the evacuation of babies from surrogate mothers in Ukraine as their intended parents cannot travel to Ukraine.
“Surrogate mothers that gave birth to babies right now, these babies cannot be picked up […] and they are a bit in a limbo,” the commissioner said.
“From my point of view, there is a huge need of evacuations for these children,” she said.
Toll from attack on Chernihiv bread line rises to 13
The number of civilians killed in an alleged Russian attack on a bread shop in the city of Chernihiv has risen to 13, according to Ukrainian state news agency Ukrinform.
The outlet quoted a local police official, Volodymyr Nidzelsky, saying that “13 civilians and dozens of people were injured” in the attack.
Nidzelsky also said police investigators were working “at the scene of the war crime”.
Ukraine says Russians bombed a second Mariupol facility sheltering pregnant women and children
Authorities in Ukraine say the Russian military launched an air raid on a second Mariupol facility where women and children were sheltering on Wednesday.
Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk Regional Military Administration, said “only civilians” were sheltering at the Neptune Pool.
“Now there are pregnant women and women with children under the rubble. This is pure terrorism!”
Top auction houses cancel Russian art sales in London
Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Bonhams have cancelled sales of Russian art in London in June, due to Western sanctions on Russia.
“We are absolutely rigorous about following the present sanctions, and are monitoring closely for any updates to the lists,” Sotheby’s said in a statement.
Christie’s also said it had cancelled its June sale of Russian art, citing factors including the uncertainty of the war and complex logistical and legal requirements related to sanctions.
Bonhams did not provide a reason for its decision.
Zelenskyy says he wants ‘real guarantees’ for Ukraine
Ukraine’s president says his priorities at the continuing peace talks with Russia “are crystal clear”.
They are “end of the war, security guarantees, sovereignty, restoring territorial integrity, real guarantees for our country, real protection of our country”, Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address.
The president also warned that Russian forces faced losses that would exceed those in Afghanistan and Chechnya combined.
UK warns Russia ‘likely resorting to less precise weapons’
The British Ministry of Defence says Russia’s failure to control Ukrainian airspace means it has probably expended far more stand-off air-launched weapons than originally planned.
“As a result, it is likely Russia is resorting to the use of older, less precise weapons, which are less militarily effective and more likely to result in civilian casualties,” the ministry said in its latest intelligence update.
Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 16 March 2022
Find out more about the UK government’s response: https://t.co/UPQE4x2Bzi
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) March 16, 2022
What weapons is the US sending to Ukraine?
The new arms and equipment Biden announced for Ukraine earlier includes S-300 long-range missile defence systems that can strike fighter jets that are much further away, according to AFP.
The US is also giving Ukraine 100 Switchblade drones, which are essentially camera-equipped, remote-controlled flying bombs that can be directed by an operator.
Other arms include 800 Stingers, which are shoulder-mounted infrared anti-aircraft missiles and 2,000 Javelins, also shoulder-mounted weapons that have proven particularly effective at defeating Russian tanks’ anti-missile defences.
➕ 1,000 pistols, 400 machine guns and 400 rifles;
➕More than 20 million rounds of ammunition for small arms and grenade launchers and mortars;
➕25,000 sets of bulletproof vests and 25,000 helmets
— SSSCIP Ukraine (@dsszzi) March 16, 2022
‘Thank you for not abandoning me’: Freed Melitopol mayor
Ivan Fedorov, the mayor of Ukraine’s Melitopol who was freed in a swap deal for nine captured Russian soldiers, has thanked Zelenskky for securing his release.
A video posted on social media showed Zelensky speaking to Fedorov on the phone and telling him he was “happy to hear the voice of a man alive”.
Fedorov replies he is “much better”.
“Thank you for not abandoning me. I will need one or two days to recover and then I will be at your disposal to contribute to our victory,” he says.
— SSSCIP Ukraine (@dsszzi) March 16, 2022
France warns Russia against use of chemical weapons
French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian says Paris would consider Russia responsible for any use of chemical or biological weapons in the war in Ukraine.
“If chemical or bacteriological attacks took place in Ukraine, we’d know who would be solely responsible for them. It would be Russia,” Le Drian told French newspaper Le Parisien in an interview.
“The use of unconventional means would constitute an intolerable escalation and would lead in response to absolutely massive and radical economic sanctions, without taboos,” he added.
US says Russian troops still stalled outside Kyiv
Russia continues to make little tangible progress across most of Ukraine, and Russian forces are still stalled outside Kyiv while continuing to bombard the capital city with missiles, a senior US defence official has said.
One key development has been increased Russian naval activity in the northern Black Sea, where ships were shelling suburbs of Odesa, the Associated Press cited the official as saying.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it is not clear what the Russians intend to do, but the shelling could be the start of preparations to launch a ground assault on Odesa.
Ukraine swapped nine Russian soldiers to free detained mayor: Interfax
Ukraine has handed over nine captured Russian soldiers to secure the freedom of the mayor of the southeastern city of Melitopol, who was detained last week, the Interfax Ukraine news agency has reported.
The office of President Zelenskyy earlier said mayor Ivan Fedorov had been released but gave no details.
“Ivan Fedorov was released from Russian captivity … For him, Russia received nine captured soldiers who were born in 2002 and 2003. These are actually children,” Interfax Ukraine quoted Zelenskyy’s press aide Darya Zarivnaya as saying.
Western countries call for UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine
The United Kingdom, United States, France, Albania, Norway and Ireland have called for a United Nations Security Council meeting on the situation in Ukraine, Britain’s mission to the UN has announced.
“Russia is committing war crimes and targeting civilians,” the mission wrote on Twitter. “Russia’s illegal war on Ukraine is a threat to us all.”
The AFP and Reuters news agencies, citing diplomatic sources, reported that the emergency session will take place on Thursday.
🚨 #BREAKING 🚨
The UK and 🇦🇱🇫🇷🇮🇪🇳🇴🇺🇸 have called for a Security Council meeting on #Ukraine.
Russia is committing war crimes and targeting civilians.
Russia’s illegal war on Ukraine is a threat to us all. pic.twitter.com/SRi76OAszm
— UK at the UN 🇬🇧 (@UKUN_NewYork) March 16, 2022
UN urges advanced countries to offer protection to all refugees
The UN refugee agency has welcomed the response by advanced countries to the Ukrainian refugee crisis and urged them to act in a similar way towards refugees from other war zones, regardless of nationality, race or religion.
“We welcome this tremendous reception and solidarity exhibited towards refugees in recent days and hope this might inspire some reflection and a shift from some of the toxic narratives and policies we have seen in a number of contexts,” the Reuters news agency quoted Kathryn Mahoney, a spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, as saying.
Ukraine says Russia attacked Mariupol theatre sheltering civilians
Russian forces have bombed a theatre in the besieged city of Mariupol where hundreds of civilians were sheltering, Ukrainian officials have said, even as the sides signalled optimism over continuing talks to end the war in Ukraine.
There was no immediate word on deaths or injuries in what the Mariupol city council said was an air strike on the theatre. The Ukrainian foreign ministry said many people were trapped in the building and accused Russia of committing a war crime.
Russia, Belarus banned from multi-sport European Championships
Athletes from Russia and Belarus have been formally banned from the multi-sport European Championships in August.
Organisers of the August 11-21 championships in Munich said they supported decisions by officials from the nine individual sports not to invite Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials. They have followed guidance from the International Olympic Committee.
“We are united in our condemnation of Russia’s war on Ukraine,” organising committee chairman Libor Varhanik said.
Canada formally removes Russia’s RT from Canadian television
Canada has banned TV service providers in the country from distributing Russian state-owned television channels RT and RT France, saying the programming was not consistent with Canadian standards.
Major Canadian cable operators had already dropped RT from their channel lineup shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Timeline: Week three of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
The third week of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has seen Russian forces continue to bombard several cities including Mariupol, Kharkiv and the capital, Kyiv, as Washington and its allies imposed further sanctions on Moscow.
For a summary of the major events of the third week of the war in Ukraine, click here.
UN Security Council to vote Friday on Russian proposal
The UN Security Council will vote on Friday on a Russian-drafted call for aid access and civilian protection in Ukraine, but diplomats say the measure is set to fail because it does not push for an end to the fighting or a withdrawal of Russian troops.
The draft resolution also does not address accountability or acknowledge Russia’s invasion of its neighbour, the Reuters news agency reported.
“Their resolution calls for parties to respect international humanitarian law, but leaves out the fact that Russia is committing war crimes,” said Britain’s UN ambassador Barbara Woodward.
Kremlin slams Biden for calling Putin a ‘war criminal’
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has called Biden’s characterisation of Putin as a war criminal “unacceptable and unforgivable rhetoric”, the Tass news agency said.
“He is a war criminal,” Biden told reporters in Washington, referring to the Russian leader.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki later said the US president was simply answering a “direct question”.
“We have all seen barbaric acts, horrific acts by a foreign dictator in a country that is threatening and taking the lives of civilians, impacting hospitals, women who are pregnant, journalists, others,” she told reporters.
War going according to plan, Putin says
Despite US assertions that Russia is facing major military and logistic setbacks in its invasion of Ukraine, Putin has said the operation was unfolding “successfully, in strict accordance with pre-approved plans”.
Putin said the West’s “economic blitzkrieg” against Moscow has failed, while admitting the situation is “not easy” for Russians.
France opens probe into Fox News journalist’s death
French prosecutors have opened a war crimes probe into the death of Franco-Irish Fox News cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski, the country has announced, after Zakrzewski was fatally shot near the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.
France’s specialised anti-terror prosecutors will investigate possible charges of causing “deliberate harm to a person protected by international law” and a “deliberate attack against a civilian who was not taking part in hostilities”.
French prosecutors routinely open cases into the violent deaths of citizens overseas.
Photos: Russian bombardment leaves Ukraine’s Kharkiv in ruins
At least 500 people have been killed in the city of Kharkiv since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24, the regional emergency service has said.
Ukraine’s second-largest city, located in the country’s northeast, has been subjected to relentless bombardment by Russian forces for weeks.
See photos of the devastation in Kharkiv here.
Ukraine negotiator says reported draft peace plan reflects Russian requests
Ukraine’s top negotiator Mikhailo Podolyak has said a draft 15-point peace plan described by the Financial Times reflects the requests of the Russian side.
Podolyak said on Twitter that Ukraine has its own positions, including “a ceasefire, withdrawal of Russian troops and security guarantees from a number of countries”.
Talks between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators to end the war in Ukraine are continuing, as leaders in both countries said on Wednesday that there appeared to be room for compromise to reach an agreement.
Briefly. FT published a draft, which represents the requesting position of the Russian side. Nothing more. The 🇺🇦 side has its own positions. The only thing we confirm at this stage is a ceasefire, withdrawal of Russian troops and security guarantees from a number of countries
— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) March 16, 2022
On Moscow visit, Turkey’s top diplomat says war must stop
Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who will visit Ukraine on Thursday, has said the war must stop and offered to pursue diplomatic efforts to arrange a lasting ceasefire.
Speaking alongside his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow, Cavusoglu said, “The war must stop, people must not die. I came here to Moscow with this understanding today.
“We have shared our concerns in a sincere way and done our part to ease tensions and open the stage for diplomacy,” he said. “We would like to host this [Putin-Zelenskyy] meeting when the situation comes to that point … for a lasting ceasefire.”
Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the Ukraine-Russia crisis.
Read all the updates from Wednesday, March 16 here.