The war in Ukraine enters its 20th day today. Ukraine extended its state of war by 30 days.
(UPDATED, 19:00) The governor of the Donetsk region, Pavlo Kyrylenko, claimed that Russian troops had occupied a regional hospital in Mariupol and taken doctors and patients there hostage. The Russian-language server of the BBC station and the Ukrainian agency Interfax-Ukraine informed it today. Kyrylenko refers to one of the employees of the medical facility. The BBC noted that they had not been able to verify the report.
“We have been informed that the Russian army has occupied our largest hospital … and they are using our patients and doctors as hostages,” said Mariupol Deputy Mayor Serhiy Orlov, who said there were about 400 people in hospital.
“It was impossible to leave the hospital,” Kyrylenko was quoted as saying by the BBC in Russian. “They shot hard, we sat in the basement. Cars couldn’t go to the hospital for two days. Tall buildings burned all around … Russia drove 400 people from nearby houses to our hospital. We didn’t can get out,” said the official, according to the governor.
According to the Interfax-Ukraine agency, the governor said that Russian troops recently almost destroyed the hospital, but staff continued to treat patients in the basement.
More than 2,500 people have lost their lives in besieged Mariupol since the start of the Russian invasion, local authorities say. More than 430,000 people lived in this strategic port city before the war. Many residents are trying to survive in underground shelters, the BBC says.
Hundreds of thousands of people in Mariupol, which has long been hit by intense Russian attacks, suffer from shortages of water, food, medicine, electricity and heat.
(UPDATED, 15:56) Ukraine’s parliament today approved a bill proposed by President Volodymyr Zelensky, which would extend the state of war by 30 days. Reuters reports. Ukraine declared a state of war on the day of the Russian invasion on February 24, for 30 days, originally until March 26.
“The duration of the war in Ukraine was extended from 5:30 (4:30 CET) on March 26 to 30 days,” Interfax-Ukraine said citing the agreed standard. So now the state of war will last until April 25th.
Russian troops launched an attack on Ukraine on the morning of February 24. Moscow does not use the word “war” and claims it is a “special military operation” aimed at the “demilitarization and denazification” of Ukraine.
(10:19, original) The European Union will launch the fourth package of anti-Russian sanctions agreed by member states on Monday, according to the French presidency.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will then speak in the afternoon in the Canadian Parliament and may seek wider support from his country in the war against Russia. Ukraine-Russia talks will also continue today, Zelensky said, according to Reuters.
The fourth package of European sanctions includes a ban on the export of luxury goods to Russia, investments in Russia’s energy sector, or imports of Russian steel and iron. The European Union also wants the World Trade Organization (WTO) to revoke Russia’s most favored country status, which would pave the way for the imposition of tariffs on Russian goods.
Ukraine and Russia will return today to talks, which Ukrainian party representative Mykhailo Podoljak said was interrupted by the party on Monday to clarify some definitions.
According to the media, Monday’s talks took place via video conference, and in recent days the delegations of the two countries met several times on the Belarusian-Ukrainian border. Previous talks had not led to a major breakthrough, the AP said, although both sides talked about some progress over the weekend.
Ukraine will be affected by other events today. The extraordinary session of the Council of Europe (CoE) Parliamentary Assembly dedicated to the Russian invasion continues. Among other things, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amirrabdollahyan, will discuss the conflict.
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