Ukraine war: First survivors begin emerging after Mariupol theatre bombing

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A volunteer of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces stands next to his APC in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 16, 2022.

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Thursday marks the start of the third week of war in Ukraine, after the invasion launched by Moscow on 24 February.

The fighting has forced more than three million Ukrainians to flee their homes, with thousands of people killed or wounded and widespread damage in the wake of shelling and aerial bombardments.

Follow our live updates below or tune into Euronews in the video player, above.

06:56

Here are the latest key developments to know: 

    The first survivors are beginning to emerge from a shelter underneath a Mariupol theatre which was bombed by Russian forces on Wednesday.It is still not known if there were any deaths or injuries in the attack, which the city’s mayor called a “genocide”.The Ukrainian city of Chernihiv ‘has suffered colossal losses and destruction’.An artillery strike on a school and community centre near Kharkiv ‘kills 21 people’.France, the UK and US have called for a United Nations Security Council meeting on Thursday to discuss Ukraine, ahead of a vote on a Russian resolution demanding protection for Ukrainian civilians in “vulnerable situations”. Britain is sending more anti-aircraft weapons and military personnel to Poland, as the UK’s UN mission says “Russia is committing war crimes and targeting civilians.” President Putin has spoken out on television to condemn Russians who don’t support his war efforts. “We will always be able to distinguish true patriots from scum and traitors and will simply spit them out,” he said. Kremlin hits out after Joe Biden calls Vladimir Putin a ‘war criminal’ It’s now three weeks since the war began.

19:02

Refugee train routes delayed by technical issues in Italy and Poland

Major malfunctions in electronic control systems have caused significant delays to Polish and Italian trains.

The technical glitches have halted a number of train routes that are being used to transport Ukrainian refugees to other European countries.

Polish government cybersecurity chief Janusz Cieszynski said an investigation had been launched into the malfunction.

The director of Poland’s PKP PLK railway company said that the sudden outage took place at 04:00 (CET) on Thursday and affected 19 out of Poland’s 33 control centres.

Some scheduled trains were cancelled while other traffic was left standing idly on Poland’s 820 kilometres of railroads.

Read the full story here.

18:52

Those responsible for war crimes will be held accountable, G7 presidency says

G7 foreign ministers spoke today by video conference on the situation in Ukraine, a statement released by the German foreign ministry said.

The ministers called on Russia to immediately comply with the International Court of Justice’s order to stop its hostilities in Ukraine and to withdraw its forces.

They called the siege on the southern port city of Mariupol and other cities as well as the denial of humanitarian aid “unacceptable.”

“Ministers stressed that those responsible for war crimes, including the indiscriminate use of weapons against civilians, will be held accountable,” the German G7 presidency said in a statement.

They also “reiterated the need for increased international assistance to Ukraine’s neighbouring countries, which have seen an unprecedented influx of refugees.” More than three million Ukrainians have fled the country since the beginning of the war, according to the UN refugee agency.

The G7 is a group of the world’s largest advanced economies and wealthiest liberal democracies and includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

18:33

Hearing-impaired Ukrainians fleeing the war find help in Romania

As the war in Ukraine rages on, these Ukrainian refugees have found safety in a shelter in Romania. While they may not hear the war, they are living it.

Euronews Romania discovered entire communities of hearing-impaired Ukrainians that fled the war and entered Romania via the Siret border point. For them, the danger came unannounced, without sirens, without the sound of explosions.

At the border, Romanian volunteers, some deaf themselves, are working tirelessly to help them.

Read the full story.

18:12

Ukraine wants security guarantees from Turkey as part of any Russian peace deal

Ukraine wants Turkey to be among countries offering security guarantees to Ukraine as part of any deal with Russia to end the war, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba announces after meeting Turkey’s foreign minister.

“Turkey is a respected country which is a factor of stability in the Black Sea region,” he said.

(AFP)

 

17:44

US President Joe Biden to speak with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Russia war

President Joe Biden will speak with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday in an effort to maintain dialogue between the two countries.

“The two Leaders will discuss managing the competition between our two countries as well as Russia’s war against Ukraine and other issues of mutual concern,” said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki in a statement.

17:41

British defence secretary contacted by ‘Ukrainian PM imposter’

The British defence secretary Ben Wallace said “an attempt was made by an imposter claiming to be Ukrainian PM” to speak with him.

“He posed several misleading questions and after becoming suspicious I terminated the call,” Wallace wrote on Twitter.

Wallace blamed Russian disinformation for the attempt, stating that it would not distract from “Russia’s human rights abuses and illegal invasion of Ukraine”.

17:35

350,000 residents sheltering in Mariupol, death toll still unknown for theatre bombing

More than 350,000 Mariupol residents continue to shelter from Russian bombing, which has destroyed about 80% of the city, Mariupol’s city council said.

Around 30,000 people have left the city in private vehicles, the city council added.

Yesterday, a theatre where hundreds of people were sheltering was bombed, but the death toll is still unknown, it added in a statement posted to Telegram.

17:14

US earmarks $180M for Baltic NATO allies

Estonia’s defence ministry says the United States has earmarked $180 million in military assistance to the Baltic NATO members of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

The ministry said on Thursday that a budget package approved by the U.S. Congress represents an increase of more than $10 million from last year in security assistance to the three former Soviet republics which all border Russia and have assisted Ukraine with arms and material help after the start of Moscow’s invasion.
 

“The United States has demonstrated clear initiative in the current security crisis, both in supporting its NATO Allies in the East, as well as Ukraine, and in bringing the actions of Russia to the attention of the international community,” Estonian Defense Minister Kalle Laanet said.

“The decision by Congress shows that the United States is committed to the defence of our region and clearly understands that the defence of their own country is connected with the Baltic countries,” Laanet said.

(AP)

16:05

Strike on school and community centre ‘kills 21’

Twenty-one people have been killed by Russian artillery that destroyed a school and a community centre in Merefa, near the northeast city of Kharkiv, officials said.

Merefa Mayor Veniamin Sitov said the attack occurred just before dawn on Thursday.

The Kharkiv region has seen heavy bombardment as stalled Russian forces try to advance in the area.

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