Ukraine war live updates: Makariv liberated, Kyiv says, as shelling of cities continues

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Serhii Volosovets, a commander in the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces, fires a pistol during a training camp for volunteers in Brovary, 22 March


War in Ukraine enters its 26th day after the invasion was launched by Moscow on 24 February.

The fighting has forced more than ten 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.


Tuesday’s key points:

    The Ukrainian army said it forced Russian troops out of Makariv, a strategically important Kyiv suburb, preventing Moscow forces from encircling the capital from the northwest.

    President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Monday night he is ready to consider committing Ukraine not to join NATO in exchange for a ceasefire and withdrawal of Russian armed forces from the country.

    Russian air forces increased their activity, flying over 300 sorties in 24 hours by early Tuesday. However, they are not believed to have established air dominance, Western intelligence sources claim.

    The United Nations says 10 million people in Ukraine have now fled their homes since the Russian invasion began at the end of February.

    EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson is warning of a “huge risk” that Ukrainian children and women fleeing the war may fall victim to human trafficking.

    Radiation monitors at Chernobyl ‘have stopped working’, Ukraine’s nuclear regulatory agency said on Monday.


WWII death camps survivor killed in Kharkiv bombardment

Germany’s Buchenwald concentration camp memorial says Boris Romanchenko, 96 — who survived camps at Buchenwald, Peenemuende, Dora and Bergen-Belsen during World War II — was killed on Friday when his home in Kharkiv was hit by a projectile.

Romanchenko was vice president of the International Buchenwald-Dora Committee.


Russian military ups number of aircraft sorties, mostly for air-to-ground strikes

A senior US defence official says the Russians have increased the number of military aircraft sorties over Ukraine over the past two days, doing as many as 300 in the last 24 hours. 

The official said that most of the military flights involve air-to-ground strikes, mainly on stationary targets, and that the Russian aircraft are not spending a lot of time in Ukrainian airspace.

The Ukraine military has continued to use its short and long-range air defence systems and drones to target Russian aircraft.


Ukraine might consider not joining NATO, Zelenskyy says

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said late Monday he was prepared to discuss a commitment from Ukraine not to seek NATO membership in exchange for a ceasefire, the withdrawal of Russian troops and a guarantee of the country’s security.

“It’s a compromise for everyone: for the West, which doesn’t know what to do with us with regard to NATO, for Ukraine, which wants security guarantees, and for Russia, which doesn’t want further NATO expansion,” Zelenskyy said late Monday in an interview with domestic television channels.

He also repeated his call for direct talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Unless he meets with Putin, it is impossible to understand whether Russia even wants to stop the war, Zelenskyy said.

Zelenskyy said that Kyiv will be ready to discuss the status of Crimea and the eastern Donbas region held by Russian-backed separatists after a ceasefire and steps toward providing security guarantees.


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