Ukraine Daily Summary - Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Ukrainian forces ‘continue to maintain circular defense’ of Mariupol. -- Russian occupiers kidnap another Melitopol official -- Russian forces pushed back 40-60 km from Kryvyi Rih -- Irpin liberated from Russian forces -- and more

Ukraine Daily

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

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Russia’s war against Ukraine

Peskov: No plans for Putin-Zelensky meeting. Dmitry Peskov, spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin, says that Putin isn’t planning on meeting President Volodymyr Zelensky following the fourth round of Ukraine-Russian negotiations on March 29 in Istanbul.

Russia deploys Wagner Group to eastern Ukraine amid ‘heavy losses.’ The U.K. Ministry of Defense said on March 28 via Twitter that Russia is expected to send over 1,000 mercenaries to Ukraine to “undertake combat operations.”

Kharkiv Oblast governor: Mayor of Balakliia collaborates with Russian forces. According to governor Oleh Synehubov, Ivan Stolbovyi, the mayor of Balakliia, a city in Kharkiv Oblast, “betrayed the interests of the country.” In a video allegedly showing Stolbovyi, the mayor announces humanitarian aid centers arranged along with the Russian army.

Biden: ‘I make no apologies.’ Referring to his comment during a recent speech in Poland that Putin “cannot remain in power,” U.S. President Joe Biden says that it was driven by moral outrage and he will not rescind the statement.

Ukrainian forces ‘continue to maintain circular defense’ of Mariupol. The Ukrainian general staff said its forces “continue to maintain the circular defense” inside the port city of Mariupol, even as Russian forces consolidate control around the city.

Russian occupiers kidnap another Melitopol official. According to Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov, who was released from Russian captivity on March 16, Russians abducted Iryna Shcherbak, Melitopol City Council’s head of the education department. Russian occupiers previously tried to force teachers and educators to resume school classes, Fedorov said.

Russian forces have been pushed back 40-60 km from Kryvyi Rih. Oleksandr Vilkul, head of the Kryvyi Rih Regional State Administration, said that the Ukrainian army stopped the Russians’ advance and pushed the Russians out towards Kherson Oblast.

Irpin liberated from Russian forces, according to mayor. According to Irpin Mayor Oleksandr Markushyn, civilians aren’t yet allowed to return to the city, which is located just northwest of Kyiv. There is a high risk of Russia’s further attacks.

Half a million Ukrainians, mostly men, have returned since beginning of Russian full-scale invasion. According to Ukrinform news agency, the Spokesman of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine Andriy Demchenko said on March 29 that 510,000 citizens have returned to Ukraine, 75 to 80 percent of them men.

Podoliak dismisses allegations about poisoning of Ukraine’s negotiators. The Wall Street Journal reported that three participants of the Ukraine-Russia talks on March 3 in Belarus had experienced symptoms of suspected poisoning. They include two Ukrainians and Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich. In a comment to Hromadske news outlet, Mykhailo Podoliak, an advisor to presidential administration, dismissed the allegation as “speculation,” adding that all Ukrainian negotiators “are working as usual.”

Prosecutor General: Russia used cluster munitions in Kherson, Odesa oblasts. Iryna Venediktova said on March 28 that Ukraine had evidence Russia had used cluster munitions in those two regions. The use of cluster bombs targeting civilians may constitute a war crime, according to Amnesty International.

Ukrgasbank offers 100,000 rubles to Russian troops that surrender weapons, equipment. Ukraine’s Ukrgasbank made the announcement on March 28 and promised Russian soldiers payment in cash. 100,000 rubles is equivalent to just over $1,000. “We appeal to the Russian military: surrender and lay down your weapons, because this is your chance to do at least one worthy thing in your life and earn money for your family to buy sugar!”

The Times: Putin tells he will ‘thrash’ Ukraine after receiving note from Zelensky. According to the sources of the Times, Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich presented Russia’s dictator Vladimir Putin with a handwritten note from President Volodymyr Zelensky, outlining the terms Ukraine would consider to end the war. “Tell him I will thrash them,” Putin allegedly said in response.

Chill Ukrainian cat Stepan raises $10,000 for animals suffering from Russia’s war in Ukraine. According to the Instagram post of the popular cat from Kharkiv, the money will be transferred to several Ukrainian charities supporting animals and to the Mykolaiv Zoo.

Read our exclusive, on the ground stories.

Kherson, a regional capital in southern Ukraine, is the only major city that the Russians managed to take control of. Despite the recent crackdowns, locals have continued to gather downtown to protest the occupation and express support for Ukraine. Russian forces have attacked the protesters with flashbang grenades, tear gas and truncheons, according to the Kyiv Independent’s sources in the area.

The human cost of Russia’s war

Russian occupiers torture a man to death in Trostyanets, Sumy Oblast. According to Prosecutor General’s Office, Ukrainian military found the body of an unidentified man severely mutilated in a garage on March 28, two days after they recaptured the city in northeastern Ukraine from Russian forces.

Mariupol authorities estimate Russia killed nearly 5,000 residents. Out of them, 210 were children. Some 150,000 people fled or have been evacuated from the war-torn southeastern port city that has been under siege and constant shelling by Russian occupiers on March 1.

International response

UN to propose humanitarian ceasefire between Ukraine, Russia. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on March 28 that he has requested the UN Humanitarian Affairs chief, Martin Griffiths, “to explore with the parties involved” a means to secure a humanitarian ceasefire in Ukraine. The proposed ceasefire will allow for the delivery of humanitarian assistance and the safe passage of civilians.

Turkey: Russia’s Donbas and Crimea demands ‘not realistic.’ Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said in an interview with CNN on March 27 that Russia’s request to recognize the annexation of Crimea and independence of Donbas is “very maximalist.” Kalin emphasized that the subject is off the table and that Russia “should really come up with some other ideas.”

EBRD to close offices in Russia, Belarus. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development wrote that the decision was “the inevitable outcome” of Russia’s war in Ukraine with the help of Belarus. On March 9, the EBRD announced a 2 billion euros package in aid for Ukraine.

German energy minister: G7 won’t pay for Russian gas in rubles. Robert Habeck said on March 28 that the Group of Seven (G7) countries agreed to reject Russia’s demand to pay for switch its payments for Russian gas from dollars to rubles, the Washington Post reports.

Banksy art piece sale raises $106,000 for children’s hospital in Kyiv. An anonymous donor sold the piece by U.K. street artist Banksy depicting two soldiers painting the symbol of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament on a wall. The sum will go to Okhmatdyt, Ukraine’s largest children’s hospital, which treats critically ill patients.

MoMA exhibits Ukrainian artists ‘as a statement of solidarity with, and in tribute to, the people of Ukraine.’ The Museum of Modern Art in New York is holding an art exhibition called “In Solidarity,” displaying works by Ukrainian-born artists such as Kazimir Malevich, Sonia Delaunay-Terk, Louise Nevelson, along with an excerpt from a poem by contemporary writer Serhiy Zhadan, and more.

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Today’s Ukraine Daily was brought to you by Daria Shulzhenko, Dylan Carter, Igor Kossov, Sergiy Slipchenko, Teah Pelechaty, Olena Goncharova, Oleksiy Sorokin, Olga Rudenko, Toma Istomina, and Brad LaFoy.

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