Russian-Ukrainian War: What You Need to Know About Russia’s War in Ukraine
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has entered its 12th day following what Ukrainian authorities have described as an increase in shelling of encircled towns and another failed attempt to begin evacuating hundreds of thousands of civilians from the beleaguered southern port of Mariupol.
Russian and Ukrainian forces had agreed to an 11 a.m. ceasefire on Sunday, but Ukrainian officials said Russian attacks quickly closed the safe passage corridor. Another ceasefire was to begin Monday morning.
A third round of talks between Russian and Ukrainian leaders was scheduled for Monday.
More than 1.5 million Ukrainians have been driven out of the country. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged his people to continue resisting, and Ukraine’s Foreign Minister said more than 20,000 people from 52 countries had volunteered to fight in Ukraine’s new international legion.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has compared Western sanctions against Russia to a “declaration of war”.
Here is an overview of the key things to know about the conflict:
VIOLENCE AGAIN STOPS PLANNED CIVILIAN EVACUATIONS
Russia announces ceasefire from Monday morning and the opening of humanitarian corridors in several areas to allow hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian civilians to flee the fighting, even as its armed forces continued to shell Ukrainian cities.
Ukrainian Interior Ministry adviser Anton Gerashchenko blamed Russian artillery fire for halting a second attempt in as many days to evacuate around 200,000 civilians from Mariupol, where food, water and drugs are rare.
A day earlier, Ukrainian officials also said Russian artillery fire and airstrikes had prevented residents from leaving. Putin accused Ukraine of sabotaging the effort.
Russia has sought to cut off Ukraine’s access to the Sea of Azov to the south. Capturing Mariupol could allow Russia to establish a land corridor to Crimea, which it annexed in 2014.
WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING ON THE PITCH?
Russian forces launched hundreds of missile and artillery attacks across the country, including powerful bombs dropped on residential areas in Chernihiv, a city north of the capital Kiev, Ukrainian officials said. But a kilometer-long Russian armored column threatening the capital remained stuck outside Kiev.
On Sunday evening, heavy shelling also hit Mykolaiv in the south and Kharkiv, the country’s second city. Efforts to evacuate residents of the Kyiv suburbs of Bucha, Hostomel and Irpin on Sunday were mostly unsuccessful.
A senior US defense official said on Sunday that the United States believes about 95% of Russian forces that had been deployed around Ukraine are now inside the country. Ukraine’s air and missile defenses remain effective and utilized, and the Ukrainian military continues to fly aircraft and employ air defense assets, the official said.
Ukrainian forces were also defending Odessa, Ukraine’s largest port city, against Russian ships, Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovich said.
The Russian Defense Ministry on Sunday announced plans to strike Ukraine’s military-industrial complex and alleged that Ukrainian forces were plotting to blow up an experimental nuclear reactor in Kharkiv and blame Russia for it. The ministry provided no evidence to support its claims, which could not be independently verified.
ZELENSKYY CALLS A NO-FLY ZONE
Zelenskyy pushed his call for foreign countries to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine. Establishing a no-fly zone would risk aggravating the conflict by directly involving foreign military personnel. Although the United States and many Western countries supported Ukraine with arms shipments, they did not send any troops.
Zelenskyy said in a video address on Sunday that “the world is strong enough to close the skies to us” and over the weekend he urged US officials to help his country get fighter jets. fight the invasion and retain control of its airspace.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Sunday that some Ukrainian warplanes had redeployed to Romania and other Ukrainian neighbors he did not identify. He warned that an attack by aircraft operating from these countries could be seen as an engagement on their part in the conflict.
DIRECTLY WITNESSED OR CONFIRMED BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Onlookers in Chernihiv cheered as a Russian military plane fell from the sky and crashed, according to video released by the Ukrainian government. In Kherson, hundreds of protesters waved blue and yellow Ukrainian flags and shouted, “Go home.”
In Mariupol, Associated Press reporters witnessed medics making futile attempts to save injured children. Pharmacies were empty and hundreds of thousands of people faced food and water shortages in the freezing weather.
In Irpin, near Kiev, a sea of people on foot and even in wheelbarrows trudged over the remains of a destroyed bridge to cross a river and leave the city. Aided by Ukrainian soldiers, they carried pets, infants, purses and flimsy bags filled with minimal goods. Some of the weak and elderly were carried along the way in blankets and carts.
Kiev’s central station remained crowded with people desperate to leave, and frequent bombardments could be heard from the center of the capital.
Intense diplomatic efforts continued. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has landed in Vilnius, Lithuania, for a whirlwind trip to three increasingly nervous Baltic states as they watch Russia continue its invasion of Ukraine.
Blinken said on Sunday that the United States and its allies were having a “very active discussion” on banning the import of Russian oil and natural gas, while the New Zealand government plans to rush legislation that will allow him to impose economic sanctions on Russia.
Chinese foreign minister calls Beijing Russia’s ‘most important strategic partner’ and continued to refuse to condemn the invasion of Ukraine.
International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said on Sunday that Ukrainian personnel at the country’s largest nuclear power plant are now required to seek Russian approval for any operation, even maintenance. . The Zaporizhzhya factory was seized by the Russians last week.
Putin continued to blame the war on Ukraine’s leadership, saying, “They question the future of the Ukrainian state.” In a call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday, Putin said the invasion could only be stopped “if Kiev ceases hostilities”, according to a Kremlin account.
The Israeli prime minister spoke with Putin on Sunday, a day after their direct meeting in Russia. Israel is one of the few countries that has good working relations with Russia and Ukraine.
THE HUMANITARIAN SITUATION
The death toll from the conflict has been difficult to measure. The UN human rights office said at least 364 civilians have been killed since the February 24 invasion, but the true number is likely much higher.
The World Health Organization said it verified at least six attacks that killed six healthcare workers and injured 11 others.
According to the United Nations World Food Programme, millions of people live in Ukraine, one of the world’s main suppliers of wheatneed food aid “immediately”.
Ukrainian refugees continued to flow into neighboring countries, including Poland, Romania and Moldova. The number of people who have left since the fighting began has now reached 1.5 million, according to the UN refugee agency.
BUSINESS IN RUSSIA
A growing number of multinational companies have cut Russia off from vital financial servicestechnology and a variety of consumer products in response to Western economic sanctions and global outrage over the war.
Two of the so-called big accounting firms – KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers – said on Sunday they were pulling out of Russia, ending relationships with member firms based in the country.
TikTok said users won’t be able to post new videos in Russia in response to the government’s crackdown on what people may say on social media about the invasion, and American Express announced it was suspending all operations in Russia and Belarus.
Netflix also announced that it was suspending its service in Russia.
Follow AP coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine