Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now


Flames rise from a destroyed building following a missile attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Tuesday. Russia is beefing up its forces Wednesday for a new assault on Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. (Alkis Konstantinidis, Reuters)

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

KYIV, Ukraine – Russia is beefing up its forces for a new assault on Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, setting the stage for a protracted battle that is certain to inflict heavy losses on both sides as the Russians try to encircle Ukraine’s fighters.

Fighting

  • Russia’s defense ministry said that 1,026 soldiers of Ukraine’s 36th Marine Brigade, including 162 officers, had surrendered in the besieged port city of Mariupol. Ukraine’s defense ministry spokesman said he had no information on such a surrender.
  • The mayor of Mariupol, Vadym Boichenko, said in televised remarks that more than 100,000 people remained in the city awaiting evacuation. He said earlier that some 21,000 civilian residents had been killed during the siege.
  • At least seven people were killed and 22 wounded by shelling in Ukraine’s northeastern region of Kharkiv over the past 24 hours, Governor Oleh Synegubov said.
  • Russia will view US and NATO vehicles transporting weapons on Ukrainian territory as legitimate military targets, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the TASS news agency in an interview.

Diplomacy

  • US President Biden said for the first time that Russia’s invasion amounts to genocide. The Kremlin said it categorically disagreed with Biden’s description, which was unacceptable.
  • The presidents of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia arrived in Kyiv on Wednesday to meet Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Polish leader’s office said.
  • An initial report by a mission of experts set up by the Organization for Security and Cooperation and Europe nations documents a “catalog of inhumanity” by Russian troops in Ukraine including war crimes, the US ambassador to the OSCE said. Russia has repeatedly denied targeting civilians.
  • Russia said that claims by the United States and Ukraine that its forces could use chemical weapons were disinformation because Moscow destroyed its last chemical stockpiles in 2017.

Economy and business

  • Russia can easily redirect exports of its vast energy resources away from the West to countries that really need them while increasing domestic consumption of oil, gas and coal, President Vladimir Putin said.
  • Countries that are seeking advantage by failing to condemn Russia’s “heinous war” against Ukraine are being short-sighted and will face consequences if they undermine Western sanctions, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said.
  • Britain said it was imposing new sanctions on 206 individuals in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including 178 who it said were involved in propping up Russian-backed breakaway regions of Ukraine.
  • Reckitt Benckiser Group said it had begun a process aimed at transferring ownership of its Russian business, becoming the first major personal goods maker to do so following the invasion.

Quotes

  • “The United States is ready to fight with Russia until the last Ukrainian – that’s the way it is.” – Putin
  • The Russian army is using all types of artillery, all types of missiles, air bombs, in particular phosphorous bombs against residential districts and civilian infrastructure, … this is clear terror against the civilian population. “- Zelenskyy

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