Day 21st of Ukraine's Defense Against Russian Invasion (Live Updates)

Defense Express collects operative information on Russia's invasion of Ukraine – official sources and senior Ukrainian authorities' announcements
1097
Screenshot image: civilian volunteers in Odesa fill the sacks with sand for the fortifications of their freedom-loving Southern city on the Black Sea shore / Image credit: TV and radio studio "Briz" ("Breeze") of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry
Screenshot image: civilian volunteers in Odesa fill the sacks with sand for the fortifications of their freedom-loving Southern city on the Black Sea shore / Image credit: TV and radio studio "Briz" ("Breeze") of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry

After 20 days of unprovoked aggression, Russia suffers heavy losses: not only in military personnel and machinery but also economical losses. Russia is currently the most sanctioned country in the world. On the previous day, the EU adopted the fourth package of severe sanctions, the UK put restrictions on 370 individuals in Russia and Belarus, its accomplice. Soon, PACE is to officially exclude Russia from the Council of Europe. On the other hand, Ukraine is supported by the rest of the world. Recently, the US decided to provide a 'historical' $13B in funding to Ukraine

Brief facts:

  • 3 million refugees have fled Ukraine
  • Russia has lost up to 40% of its forces involved in the invasion of Ukraine
  • Russia has been officially excluded from the Council of Europe
  • ICC Prosecutor, Karim A.A. Khan QC has arrived in Ukraine to start the investigation of Russian war crimes in Ukraine
  • The International Court of Justice has ordered Russia to suspend the military operations in Ukraine
  • The US announced an additional $800 million package in security assistance to Ukraine, including air defense and anti-armor systems, drones, munitions etc.

Sources:

Latest news:

00:40 The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky Zelensky tells Erdogan about Ukraine's struggle against Russian aggression

Read more: Ukraine’s Military Captured Classified Battle Maps of russia’s 90th Tank Division

Volodymyr Zelensky informed President of Turkey Erdoğan about Ukraine's struggle against the ongoing Russian aggression.

“Held talks with a friend of Ukraine, President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Reported on the progress of the Ukrainian people's struggle against the ongoing aggression. Thankful for the important support. Ways to intensify peaceful dialogue were also discussed,” Zelensky posted on Twitter.

In a phone call on Wednesday, the Turkish president told his Ukrainian counterpart that Ankara will continue efforts to bring together leaders of Ukraine and Russia, authorities said.

According to a statement by Turkiye's Communications Directorate, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Volodymyr Zelenskyy discussed the latest developments in the Russia-Ukraine war.

Erdogan said Turkiye exerts diplomatic effort to restore peace between Russia and Ukraine and aims to achieve a permanent cease-fire as soon as possible.

Turkish, Ukrainian president discuss latest developments as Russia-Ukraine war continues to unfold, Defense Express
Turkish, Ukrainian president discuss latest developments as Russia-Ukraine war continues to unfold

"Pointing out that Turkiye continued to its delivery of humanitarian aid to the Ukrainians both in Ukraine and in neighboring countries, President Erdogan emphasized the importance of the effective functioning of humanitarian corridors," the statement read.

23:50 Poland proposes NATO peacekeeping mission in Ukraine. Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak presented the proposal during a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels on March 16. U.S State Department spokesperson Ned Price later dismissed the proposal, stating that American presence in Ukraine would prolong the war.

22:30 The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine works around the clock at the NATO and EU levels to strengthen Ukraine's defense capabilities.

Currently, information on the supply of international aid to the Armed Forces is not made public, but the enemy is the first to learn about this aid on the front line, said Oleksiy Reznikov, Ukraine’s Defense Minister.

The Minister of Defense of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov, Day 21st of Ukraine's Defense Against Russian Invasion, Defense Express
The Minister of Defense of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov

"These days we are working around the clock with NATO, the EU and on the bilateral level to strengthen our defense. It is hard to name a Minister of Defence of a partner country with whom I haven`t spoken in the last couple of days by phone or videocall. The world has indeed changed. The Rubicon is crossed. Today the free world is Ukraine-centric. And we are doing everything possible to make our army and people feel it. We agreed not to report on specific results. I just want to say that there is positive news. The enemy will get to hear them first from our soldiers on the front line," Reznikov wrote on Facebook, delivering the statement in Ukrainian and English.

23:10 CinC of Armed Forces of Ukraine Valeriy Zaluzhny: Ukrainian artillerymen eliminated combat command elements of russia’s 35th Combined Arms Army.

In the Kyiv direction, our artillerymen paved HIGHWAY TO HELL for the command post and support point of the 35th Army of the Eastern Military District of the RF Armed Forces – noted CinC AF of Ukraine general Valeriy Zaluzhny to video posted on his official page on Facebook.

This video is accompanied by the legendary Highway to Hell song by Australian hard rock band AC/DC.

22:40 US President Joe Biden calls Russia's Putin a 'war criminal' over invasion of Ukraine. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden was speaking "from the heart."

President Joe Biden on Wednesday called Russian President Vladimir Putin a "war criminal" for his violent invasion Ukraine, including attacks on civilians, - ABCnews reports.

The US President initially told a reporter "no," when asked if he was ready to label Putin a war criminal "after everything we've seen," but moments later Biden circled back, asking her to repeat the question, which he appeared to have initially misunderstood.

"I think he is a war criminal," Biden said of Putin.

US President Joe Biden calls Russia's Putin a 'war criminal' over invasion of Ukraine, Defense Express
President Joe Biden answers a reporters question as he departs after speaking at an event to celebrate the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in the East Room of the White House, March 16, 2022 / Photo credit: Patrick Semansky/AP

A short time later, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at an afternoon press briefing Biden was speaking "from the heart" after he made the comment, while carefully noting there is still a State Department review of whether it considers Russia's attacks on Ukrainian civilians a war crime.

"The president's remarks speak for themselves. He was speaking from his heart and speaking from what you've seen on television, which is barbaric actions by a brutal dictator, through his invasion of a foreign country," Psaki said. "There is a legal process that continues to – is underway, continues to be underway at the State Department."

22:15 The World Health Organization: 43 attacks on health care carried out since Russia-Ukraine war began.

Since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war on February 24, the World Health Organization has verified 43 attacks on health care, the WHO chief said Wednesday - Anadolu Agency reports.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Day 21st of Ukraine's Defense Against Russian Invasion, Defense Express
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

"WHO condemns all attacks on health care, wherever they occur. It is against international humanitarian law," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a webinar on the war in Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We continue to call for attacks on health care to stop."

His condemnation came as the UN Human Rights Office announced that it had recorded 1,900 civilian casualties, including 726 deaths, in Ukraine since the start of the war, saying that the actual figures were "considerably higher."

Mike Ryan, WHO's executive director for health emergencies, said the attacks flouted international humanitarian law.

"Health is becoming a target in these situations.

"It is not only against humanitarian and international humanitarian law to carry out attacks like this, but also the responsibility of all parties in conflicts" to avoid carrying them out, he said.

Dr Mike Ryan, WHO Executive Director of Health Emergencies Programme, Day 21st of Ukraine's Defense Against Russian Invasion, Defense Express
Dr Mike Ryan, WHO Executive Director of Health Emergencies Programme

Tedros underlined that in its appeal for Ukraine, WHO had received just $8 million of the $57.5 million it sought.

"Huge amounts of money are being spent on weapons. We ask donors to invest in ensuring that civilians in Ukraine and refugees receive the care they need," said the WHO chief.

More than 3 million refugees have fled to neighboring countries since the Russia-Ukraine war started, according to the UN.

More than 300 health facilities are along conflict lines or in areas that Russia now controls, and an additional 600 facilities are within 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) of the conflict line.

"Tragically, Ukraine is not the only place where patients, health workers, facilities, infrastructure, and supply are under attack," said Tedros.

Maternity Hospital in Mariupol after airstrike, Day 21st of Ukraine's Defense Against Russian Invasion, Defense Express
Maternity Hospital in Mariupol after airstrike

He added: "2022 is only 75 days old, but already WHO has verified 89 attacks on health care around the world, in Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya, Nigeria, the occupied Palestinian territory, Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic, and of course, Ukraine."

21:10 NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg: Decision on NATO membership remains Ukraine's sovereign right.

The decision on whether to apply for membership in NATO is a sovereign right of Ukraine, which NATO allies will respect, but Russia has no right to veto such a process.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said this at a press conference following the extraordinary meeting of NATO defense ministers, - Ukrinform reports.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Day 21st of Ukraine's Defense Against Russian Invasion,Decision on NATO membership remains Ukraine's sovereign right, Defense Express
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg: Decision on NATO membership remains Ukraine's sovereign right

"Ukraine is a sovereign, independent nation. It has its own right to choose its own path, and we respect the decisions made by the democratically elected government by Ukraine. So it's up to them to decide whether they aspire for NATO membership or not. And then it's for 30 Allies to decide on that issue, not for Russia to try to veto such a process," Stoltenberg said.

He stressed that President Putin has to stop the war, withdraw his forces and engage in diplomacy in good faith.

20:01 The White House: [the United States] President Biden today announced an additional $800 million in security assistance to Ukraine, bringing the total U.S. security assistance committed to Ukraine to $1 billion in just the past week, and a total of $2 billion since the start of the Biden Administration. The assistance will take the form of direct transfers of equipment from the Department of Defense to the Ukrainian military to help them defend their country against Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion.

In addition to the U.S.-produced short-range air defense systems, the United States is helping Ukrainians acquire additional, longer-range systems on which Ukraine’s forces are already trained, as well as additional munitions for those systems.

The new $800 million assistance package includes:

  • 800 Stinger anti-aircraft systems;
  • 2,000 Javelin, 1,000 light anti-armor weapons, and 6,000 AT-4 anti-armor systems;
  • 100 Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems;
  • 100 grenade launchers, 5,000 rifles, 1,000 pistols, 400 machine guns, and 400 shotguns;
  • over 20 million rounds of small arms ammunition and grenade launcher and mortar rounds;
  • 25,000 sets of body armor;
  • 25,000 helmets
Defense Express / President Biden today announced an additional $800 million in security assistance to Ukraine, including air defense and anti-armor systems, drones, munitions etc. / Day 21st of Ukraine's Defense Against Russian Invasion (Live Updates)
President Biden today announced an additional $800 million in security assistance to Ukraine, including air defense and anti-armor systems, drones, munitions etc. / Photo credit: Screenshot from the video announcement posted on Twitter, President Biden

19:30 Operational information as of 18:00, 16.03.2022 regarding the Russian invasion. Key points:

Since the beginning of the day, anti-aircraft missile units of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine have destroyed two Su-30SM aircraft in the Odesa region, a Ka-52 helicopter near Mykolayiv city and a Su-34 aircraft in the Chernihiv region. Data on enemy losses are being clarified.

Due to the forced mobilization of men in the temporarily occupied territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, a critical situation has developed. The region is brought closer to a humanitarian catastrophe. For instance, in the village of Makiivka, the situation in local hospitals is catastrophic. The lack of qualified medical personnel makes them, in fact, unable to provide medical care to civilians.

The Armed Forces of Ukraine continue to successfully fulfill the tasks of repelling the armed aggression against Ukraine. In some directions, Ukrainian units regrouped and launched a counter-offensive.

19:19 General Staff: today, at around 03:30 PM, a column of civilians evacuating from the Mariupol city to Zaporizhia was shelled by the Russians from the BM-21 "Grad" MLRS. According to preliminary information, there are dead. Among the injured and wounded are children. The number of victims is being clarified.

19:15 Ukrainian Land Forces: another Rusian Ka-52 helicopter was destroyed near Mykolaiv city. General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine noted that such a vehicle costs over $15 million.

19:06 Presidential Office: the Mayor of Melitopol Ivan Fedorov has been released from the Russian captivity – Andriy Yermak, the Head of the Presidential Office, wrote on his Telegram channel.

Defense Express / The Drama Theater in Mariupol after Russians dropped a highly explosive bomb on it. Many people were hiding from the shelling there / Day 21st of Ukraine's Defense Against Russian Invasion (Live Updates)
The Drama Theater in Mariupol after Russians dropped a highly explosive bomb on it. Many people were hiding from the shelling there / Photo credit: Telegram, MariupolNow

18:53 Sergiy Taruta, the Member of Parliament: the Russians dropped a highly explosive bomb just in the heart of Mariupol – the Drama Theatre.

“There were a lot of citizens in there hiding from the shelling, the number of the dead under the rubble remains unknown,” the deputy wrote on his Facebook page. He said the rescuers couldn't get to the ruins because of the intensive hostilities. The bomb shelter was buried under the rubble.

18:04 The International Court of Justice has ordered to implement provisional measures submitted by Ukraine

According to the Order on provisional measures, "the Russian Federation must, pending the final decision in the case, suspend the military operations that it commenced on 24 February 2022 in the territory of Ukraine."

In addition, Russia must ensure that "any military or irregular armed units" of the so-called "Donetsk People's Republic" and "Luhansk People's Republic" also stop any military operations.

The Order was adopted under the case of Allegations of Genocide under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Ukraine v. Russian Federation.)" This Order has a binding effect, the ICJ noted in a press release.

The full text of the order is available here.

President Zelenskyy: "Ukraine gained a complete victory in its case against Russia at the International Court of Justice. The ICJ ordered to immediately stop the invasion. The order is binding under international law. Russia must comply immediately. Ignoring the order will isolate Russia even further," the Ukrainian President wrote on Twitter.

17:31 Council of Europe: the Russian Federation has been excluded from the Council of Europe

"In an extraordinary meeting this morning, the Committee of Ministers decided, in the context of the procedure launched under Article 8 of the Statute of the Council of Europe, that the Russian Federation ceases to be a member of the Council of Europe as from today, after 26 years of membership," the CoE said in a statement. "Russia joined the Council of Europe on 28 February 1996."

17:28 Ukraine NOW: in more than three weeks of the large-scale war, the Crypto Fund of Ukraine has raised more than $54 million in cryptocurrencies. Since the beginning of the war, cryptocurrencies have become a powerful tool for attracting additional funding to support the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Ukraine NOW wrote on Telegram.

Also, today, President Zelenskyy signed the law "On Virtual Assets", that was adopted by the parliament a month ago. By this a legal market for virtual assets was launched in Ukraine and the cryptosector was brought out of the shadows.

16:59 Mykhailo Podoliak on the current state of events on the diplomatic front (namely the Ukraine-Russia negotiations):

"What's going on right now. 1. Counteroffensive of the AFU in several operational areas. This radically changes the parties’ dispositions. 2. Russian journalists start quitting TV channels. 3. RF leaders are trying to find allies whose soldiers will be ready to die in Ukrainian fields," the Adviser to the Presidential Office wrote on Twitter.

The official stressed that Ukraine needs rigid security guarantees from other countries if Russia wants Ukraine to implement neutral status and abandon the idea of joining NATO. Ukraine is working on the "Ukrainian model of security guarantees".

"What does this mean? A rigid agreement with a number of guarantor states undertaking clear legal obligations to actively prevent attacks on Ukraine," Podoliak noted.

16:52 Yevheniya Kravchuk, Member of Parliament (Verkhovna Rada):

"Friends, in today's conclusion of the PACE, in addition to the exclusion of Russia, there is another crucial paragraph! Recommendation to the Council of Europe countries to consider increasing assistance to Ukraine to protect the territory, including in the air! It can be regarded as another argument for establishing a no-fly zone." Source.

16:45 Verkhovna Rada: Russian occupiers kidnapped volunteers in Bucha, according to the Bucha City Council.

On March 15, the occupiers broke into the administrative building of the Bucha City Council and captured employees and volunteers who helped the city's residents survive the invaders' shelling. The occupiers threw away their passports and other documents.

16:30 President Zelenskyy on Twitter: Ukraine has become a member of the EU Energy Union. The unification of the Ukrainian and European energy systems has been completed. Now Ukrainian electricity flows in the EU & vice versa

Statement of the ENTSO-E regarding the Continental Europe successful synchronization with Ukraine and Moldova power systems:

Continental Europe transmission system operators (TSOs) are now supporting the stability of the Ukrainian-Moldovan power system following a positive analysis which confirmed that an emergency synchronization is technically feasible with a number of measures to ensure safe and secure power systems.

"This is a significant milestone for the Continental Europe TSOs working in collaboration with Ukrenergo and Moldelectrica that are operating their respective power systems under extremely difficult circumstances," written in the statement.

ENTSO-E is the European association for the cooperation of transmission system operators (TSOs) for electricity

15:40 The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy: Russia conducting brutal attack on our values.

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, addressing U.S. congressmen, said that Russia is conducting a brutal attack on the values of Ukraine and the whole world, freedom and free choice of the future.

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy: Russia conducting brutal attack on our values, Defense Express
The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy

"Currently, the fate of our country, the fate of our people, whether the Ukrainians will be free, whether they will be able to maintain their democracy, is being decided. Russia has dealt a blow not only to us, not only to our cities, to our land. It is conducting a brutal attack on our values. On the main human values. It throws its tanks and planes against our right to live freely in our own country, to choose our own future," the President said.

15:20 The Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba: Eventually, Russia must be responsible for crimes committed in Ukraine.

Sooner or later, Russia will have to be responsible for the crimes committed in Ukraine, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba has said.

Eventually, Russia must be responsible for crimes committed in Ukraine, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war, Defense Express
The Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba

"When it comes to international courts, the position is the same: yes, it will take some time, but in the end it is our truth that will win. Now the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court is in Ukraine, I had contact with him. The Prosecutor General's Office is working perfectly, collecting evidence about war crimes, crimes against humanity committed by Russia. We are grateful to all Russian officials for the fact that they publicly, on camera, admit the commission of war crimes, in particular Minister Lavrov, who said they deliberately bombed a hospital and a maternity hospital in Mariupol, this is all evidence of their crimes, for which they will have to sooner or later to answer," Kuleba said live on Facebook on Wednesday.

He said that it is a matter of principle that Russia's responsibility comes.

15:00 The Ground Forces of Ukraine: Ukrainian artillery destroys enemy's pontoon crossing.

An artillery unit of the 128th Separate Mountain Assault Zakarpattia Brigade destroyed a pontoon crossing of the Russian army in the combat zone.

The Ground Forces of Ukraine posted the relevant update on Facebook and published a video of fire damage to the enemy.

First, the drone shows the positions of Russian equipment for a pontoon crossing, which was trying to disguise itself among the trees on the edge of the forest. Then a command to open fire is heard, after which the artillery fires Grad systems on the enemy. After the volleys, the command to leave the firing positions, which could be noticed by the Russians, sounds. Then the drone shows the consequences of the defeat – Russian equipment on fire. The column was destroyed beyond restoration, most of the crew members were killed.

14:40 The adviser to the Head of the President's Office Oleksiy Arestovych: Russia’s attempts to redeploy mercenaries from Syria and Libya to Ukraine unsuccessful so far.

Russia’s attempts to redeploy mercenaries from Syria and Libya and parts of its units in the Far East to the war against Ukraine have been unsuccessful so far.

The adviser to the Head of the President's Office Oleksiy Arestovych: Russia’s attempts to redeploy mercenaries from Syria and Libya to Ukraine unsuccessful so far, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
The adviser to the Head of the President's Office Oleksiy Arestovych

"As for the overall situation around Ukraine and the hottest spots on the front line, they have not changed over the past day and have no chance of change because the Russian Federation has exhausted its resources. Its attempts to redeploy mercenaries from Syria and Libya and their units in the Far East have been unsuccessful so far. That is, they [Russians] have no reserves, both in our opinion and in the opinion of leading Western experts," Oleksiy Arestovych, a non-staff adviser to the Head of the President's Office, said at a briefing, Ukrinform reports.

14:35 Suspilne media outlet: 10 killed as Russians fire on people standing in queue for bread in Chernihiv.

Russian troops fired on people standing in queue for bread in a residential district in Chernihiv city, north Ukraine.

10 killed as Russians fire on people standing in queue for bread in Chernihiv, Defense Express, war in Ukraine
Illustrative photo

According to Supilne, the shelling took place at around 10:00 on March 16. At least 10 civilians were killed. The link to the consequences is here.

14:30 The State Emergency Service of Ukraine: Russian troops try to capture Severodonetsk, Rubizhne and Lysychansk. Dozens of houses on fire.

In the towns of Severodonetsk, Rubizhne, and Lysychansk in Luhansk region, dozens of residential buildings caught on fire at night as a result of the actions of Russian invaders.

"Russian invaders once again wanted to capture Rubizhne, Severodonetsk, and Lysychansk in Luhansk region. The enemy continues to cynically fire on civilians. The occupiers strike both at night and during the day ... dozens of houses caught on fire during the night," the State Emergency Service posted on Telegram.

Russian troops try to capture Severodonetsk, Rubizhne and Lysychansk, Defene Express, war in Ukraine, Ukrainian-Russian war
Results of enemy shelling

Many civilians have been killed and injured in Severodonetsk, Rubizhne, and Lysychansk, the rescuers added.

14:10 General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine posted more destroyed enemy vehicles for today.

14:05 General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine: Operational information on 12.00, 16.03.2022 regarding the Russian invasion.

The twenty-first day of the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people to the russian military invasion continues.

russian occupation forces continue strategic offensive operation against Ukraine. The tasks of defeating the groups of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, reaching the administrative borders of Donetsk and Luhansk regions and establishing control over the left-bank part of Ukraine have not been fulfilled. Partially reached the goal in the Donetsk direction, stopped in the Mykolayiv direction.

The enemy is trying to move additional reserves of the Eastern Military District.

Due to heavy losses in the south, the command of the aggressor country's armed forces refused to strengthen the grouping of troops in Polissya with additional reserve units from the 5th Combined Arms Red Banner Army.

The enemy did not carry out offensive operations in the Volyn direction. Air reconnaissance with the use of the Orlan-10 UAV was noted.

The Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus plan to rotate units that cover the Belarusian-Ukrainian border.

The enemy is trying to resume offensive operations in the direction of Vyshgorod. During the day the enemy tried to advance towards Kyiv. He was unsuccessful and moved on to defense.

The enemy was stopped in the northern direction.

The occupiers are trying to gain a foothold on the achieved frontiers, are regrouping troops and trying to restore the combat effectiveness of their units.

The enemy does not abandon attempts to capture the city of Chernihiv, however, does not conduct active offensive operations. He regroups troops and tries to organize logistical support, but has no success.

In the direction of Brovary there is a movement of small groups of occupiers' equipment within the occupied area of the settlements Bohdanivka and Velyka Dymerka.

Air reconnaissance of the positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is carried out with the use of UAVs "Orlan-10".

In the Slobozhansky direction, the occupiers are trying to gain a foothold on the occupied frontiers, regrouping troops and replenishing stocks of ammunition and fuel and lubricants.

The enemy continues to blockade the cities of Sumy, Lebedyn and Okhtyrka. The enemy does not carry out active offensive actions. The occupiers continue unsuccessful attempts to block Kharkiv.

In the Donetsk and Tavriya directions, as a result of assaults in the Popasna area, the enemy suffered losses and was forced to withdraw for regrouping.

In the area of Severodonetsk, the occupiers conducted reconnaissance by fighting, had no success, trying to gain a foothold on the eastern and western outskirts of the city of Rubizhne. At the same time, according to available information, on March 15, enemy aircraft fired on the positions of their troops near the village of Smolyaninovo.

In the Volnovakha direction, the occupiers are trying to develop an offensive in the direction of the settlement of Velyka Novosilka.

In the Kryvyi Rih direction, the enemy is trying to resume the offensive in the direction of the settlements of Velyka Kostroma, Mala Kostroma and Kryvyi Rih. As a result of the fire damage inflicted by units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the enemy was stopped, suffered losses and retreated to unfavorable borders.

Enemy aircraft continue to launch missile and bomb strikes on military and civilian infrastructure in Kyiv, Chernihiv, Zhytomyr, Vinnytsia, Sumy and Donetsk oblasts, actively using the airfield network of the Republic of Belarus and the occupied Crimea.

In the Black Sea operational zone, warships shelled the coast in the areas of the settlements of Lebedivka, Sanzheika, Zatoka and Bilenke.

The Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine draws the attention of military experts, bloggers and active users of social networks to the inexpediency of IMMEDIATE demonstration of the consequences of hostilities, trophies, and other information that may be used in future defense operations.

Let's win together! Glory to Ukraine!

14:00 The Head of the Kharkiv Regional Military Administration Oleh Synegubov: More than 50 attacks launched on Kharkiv over past day.

Russian invaders launched more than 50 attacks on Kharkiv over the past day.

More than 50 attacks launched on Kharkiv over past day
Consequences of missile attacks in Kharkiv

"Over the past day, Russian troops launched more than 50 attacks on Kharkiv. At night, a missile attack was launched on one of the city squares. In general, since the beginning of active hostilities, the enemy has already fired cluster, vacuum bombs, cruise and Iskander missiles," The Head of the Kharkiv Regional Military Administration Oleh Synegubov posted on Telegram.

13:50 ThePresident of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy: Russia's invasion "born" from occupation of Crimea in 2014.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky believes that the current Russian invasion was "born" from the occupation of Crimea in 2014.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine 'born' from occupation of Crimea in 2014, Defense Express, war in Ukraine
The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Eight years ago on this day the Russian state organized a fake "referendum" on the territory of the Crimea, which was later used to justify the seizure of our territory… All this evil was born from the occupation of Crimea. From our weakness, the aggressive actions of Russia, for which it should have felt punished back in 2014" he said in a video message on Wednesday.

13:40 The Prosecutor General of Ukraine Iryna Venediktova: Russia already kills 103 children in Ukraine.

As of the morning of March 16, 103 children have been killed since the start of Russia's war against Ukraine.

Russia already kills 103 children in Ukraine, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war, Defense Express
Illustrative photo

"As of the morning, 103 children have been killed. Of course, we document the cases 24/7, death toll changes every hour,” the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Iryna Venediktova said on the air of nationwide telethon, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

13:20 The Minister of Healthcare of Ukraine Viktor Liashko: Invaders damage 117 Ukrainian hospitals, seven beyond repair.

The occupiers have damaged 117 hospitals, seven of which are beyond repair. Forty-three ambulances came under fire.

"21st day of war. The occupiers damaged 117 hospitals. Seven of them are beyond repair. Forty-three ambulances came under fire. The Ministry of Health continues its work together with doctors and partners," Minister of Health of Ukraine Viktor Liashko posted on Facebook.

Russians damage 117 Ukrainian hospitals, seven beyond repair
The Minister of Healthcare of Ukraine Viktor Liashko

According to the minister, despite the hostilities, the Ministry of Health has supplied seven new angiographs to hospitals, preparations are underway to launch the equipment.

13.00Adviser to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Oleksiy Arestovych: Ukraine’s armed forces are conducting small-scale counter attacks on several fronts and Russian troops have not been able to gain ground because of a lack of resources.

“The situation ... in the main hotspots has not changed, and has no chance of changing as Russia has used up its resources,” Oleksiy Arestovych, told a video briefing on Wednesday, March 16.

Adviser to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Oleksiy Arestovych, Day 21st of Ukraine's Defense Against Russian Invasion,Defense Express
Adviser to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Oleksiy Arestovych

Arestovych said Russia continued to fire missiles at Ukrainian targets, with approximately two-thirds of rockets hitting civilian buildings and infrastructure.

The information could not immediately be verified by Reuters. Russia has denied targeting civilians.

12:10 Operational Command "North": Ukraine’s military shot down Russian plane firing missiles on Chernihiv

On the night of March 16, defenders of Chernihiv shot down a Russian Su-type bomber in the sky over the city.

"The situation in the area of responsibility of the Operational Command ‘North’ remains under control as of the morning of March 16. At night, air defense specialists downed an enemy Su-type plane, which was throwing missiles on Chernihiv. The ‘bird’ fell," the Operational Command "North" posted on Facebook.

The defenders also successfully repulsed an attack by Russian troops, who were trying to enter the Novoselivka area under cover of armored vehicles. Enemy losses are being clarified.

11:50 The Head of the Chernihiv Regional Military Administration Viacheslav Chaus: Ukrainian troops engage Russian invaders with Stingers, NLAWs outside Chernihiv.

The Russians are suffering losses near Chernihiv, having a hard time holding their ground.

Ukrainian troops engage Russian invaders with Stingers, NLAWs outside Chernihiv, Day 21st of Ukraine's Defense Against Russian Invasion, Defense Express

“The Ukrainian Army is beating the enemy, inflating blows every hour. Russian invaders aren’t happy at all these days. Don’t believe those sowing panic across social media, who claim there’s no army. Our Army is out there. They’ve got all kinds of weapons – Stingers, NLAW anti-tank systems, inflicting losses on the enemy," Chaus said on his page on Facebook, Ukrinform reports.

According to the head of the Chernihiv RMA, the city still has major issues with power supplies, but local emergency crews are working 24/7 to restore the damaged grid.

11:30 The Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine: In Ukraine’s south, Ukrainian forces shot down two Russian Su-30 fighter jets.

At 5:00 am on Wednesday, March 16, in the south of Ukraine, the anti-aircraft missile unit of the Air Command South shot down two Russian Su-30SM supermaneuverable fighter jets.

The Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine broke the news on Facebook, Ukrinform reports.

Two Russian Su-30 fighter jets were shot down by Ukraine's military on the South of the country on Wednesday, March 16, Day 21st of Ukraine's Defense Against Russian Invasion, Defense Express
Two Russian Su-30 fighter jets were shot down by Ukraine's military on the South of the country on Wednesday, March 16

"A pair of fighter jets manned by the occupation forces attempted to attack a village in Odess region. The anti-aircraft missile unit of the Air Command South destroyed both warplanes. The pilots ejected and followed the aircraft into the Ukrainian Black Sea," the statement said.

11:15 A spokesman for the operational defense headquarters of the Odesa Regional Military Administration Serhiy Bratchuk: Russians trying to destroy Ukraine’s air defense units in Odesa region.

The enemy forces are attempting to locate and destroy the air defense systems operating in Odesa region, in the south of Ukraine.

That’s according to Serhiy Bratchuk, a spokesperson for the HQ of the Odesa Regional Military Administration.

“Recently, there was an attempt by enemy forces to detect our air defense system. The enemy is working to locate and destroy it. Preparations are underway for a possible landing (of Russian assault forces - ed.). It is difficult here, but we are holding our ground,” Bratchuk stressed.

Russian warships never withdrew from the Black Sea, the official stressed. They are maneuvering, regrouping, and exerting psychological pressure.

The pissibility of missile strikes remains high in Odesa region.

11:00 Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine, Iryna Vereshchuk: Ukraine gets no response from ICRC on humanitarian corridors on March 16.

Ukraine has received no response from the International Committee of the Red Cross on humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of civilians on March 16.

Ukraine gets no response from ICRC on humanitarian corridors, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Ukrainian-Russian war
Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine, Iryna Vereshchuk

The issue of setting up such corridors remains unresolved for Izium and Mariupol, said Iryna Vereshchuk, Vice Prime Minister, Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine, who spoke at a briefing on Wednesday.

10:40 an adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs Vadym Denysenko: Russian invaders could be mining agricultural lands.

In a number of regions of Ukraine there is a threat of Russian occupiers planting mines on agricultural lands.

That's according to Vadym Denysenko, an adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs, who spoke during a national telethon.

Russian invaders could be mining agricultural lands, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
Illustrative photo

"In fact, unfortunately, there is a huge threat to agriculture in a number of regions as well, because not only industrial facilities are being mined, not only infrastructure facilities, not only cities but, unfortunately, agricultural lands, too," Denysenko said.

According to the official, "the active phase of demining will in fact last at least a few years."

10:37 Vadym Denysenko, adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs: Over the night, the Ukrainian Army ran offensive operations outside the country’s capital, having destroyed a sufficient number of the enemy’s military equipment and manpower.

"This night, there were artillery battles as all night the Ukrainian Army conducted offensive operations. Throughout the night, those living in Kyiv, in its western part, especially in nearby towns, could not help but hear this. As of now, from what I can say, in general, everything is going well. That’s in general. I will be speaking very carefully – we have destroyed a lot of military equipment, plenty of manpower. More accurate data will be released a bit later by the General Staff, but as of now, I’d say that the operation is generally going well,” Denysenko said.

10:12 The head of the Luhansk Regional Military Administration Serhiy HaidaiIn: Russian troops suffered heavy losses and retreated in Luhansk region.

"The Russians once again wanted to capture Rubizhne, Severodonetsk, Lysychansk, but suffered heavy losses and retreated. In the area of Popasna the enemy is trying to keep the occupied position… In Severodonetsk, Rubizhne and Lysychansk dozens of houses were on fire during the night. In Rubizhne, one person was killed, eight adults were injured and a child," the head of the region wrote.

He explained that the enemy was cynically wreaking havoc on the civilian people and continued shelling all night. Now the Russian military is wandering around the cities of Luhansk region.

09.45 The Army of the Armed Forces of Ukraine: The Ukrainian military managed to eliminate the 2S19 "Msta-S" howitzer division of the russian occupiers by high-precision strike at night.

The Army of the Armed Forces of Ukraine posted a video of the strike on its official page on Facebook.

The enemy placed the position and stockpiles of ammunition on the area of the railway station in the temporarily occupied town of Trostyanets in the Sumy region (Ukraine). It was a difficult task to hit the occupier's equipment and not to cause serious damage to the civilian infrastructure - however, the Ukrainian military of the 93rd Independent Kholodnyi Yar Mechanized Brigade succeeded.

09:37 General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has posted the new summary of total combat losses of the enemy from 24.02 to 16.03. Find them in an infographics by Defense Express:

So far, the list of enemy's combat losses is the following:

Personnel - more 13 800,

Tanks ‒ 430 units,

APV ‒ 1375 units,

Artillery systems – 190 units,

MLRS – 70 units,

Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 43 units,

Aircraft – 84 units,

Helicopters – 108 units,

Vehicles – 819 units,

Boats / cutters - 3 units,

Fuel tanks - 60,

UAV operational-tactical level - 11 units,

Special equipment - 10.

Data are being updated. The calculation is complicated by the high intensity of hostilities.

09:01 Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a video address: It will take time for talks with Russia to end in Ukraine's interests. According to Volodymyr Zelensky said: "The meetings continue. As I am informed, the positions in the negotiations sound more realistic. However, time is still needed for the decisions to be in Ukraine's interests".

Zelensky added that Ukraine's defenders give this time to the Ukrainian delegation, defending Ukraine everywhere. "Wherever the enemy wants to break through," the head of state said.

The fourth round of talks between Ukraine and Russia began on March 14. After discussions, the talks were paused March 15. Negotiations resumed on Tuesday.

08:08 The Directorate of State Emergency Service of Ukraine in Kyiv: In the morning of March 16, a 12-storey residential building in the Shevchenkivskyi district collapsed due to enemy shelling in Kyiv.

07:40 General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine: Ukrainian Armed Forces launched a counter-attack in some areas and carried out nine air attacks on enemy military convoys and groups of invading troops.

"The state, situation and nature of the actions of defense forces have not changed significantly over the past 24 hours. The Armed Forces of Ukraine managed to deliver a devastating blow to groups of occupiers' troops in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine and launched a counter-attack in some areas," the statement reads.

The General Staff recalled that the air defense units of the Ukrainian Air Force have destroyed three aircraft (including two Su-34s) over the past 24 hours. In addition, one helicopter, three tactical UAVs and two cruise missiles were shot down. Additional information is currently being clarified.

Ukrainian Air Force aircraft continued to launch missile and bomb strikes on ground targets. Nine air attacks were carried out on military convoys and groups of invading troops.

Invading Russian forces continue to launch missile and bomb strikes on the infrastructure and densely populated areas of Ukrainian cities.

The enemy continues to suffer losses and retreats in certain areas. The main efforts of the occupiers are focused on fortifying and holding previously occupied positions and defense areas.

07:14 Anatolii Kurtiev, secretary at the Zaporizhia City Council: An explosion was heard in Zaporizhia early on Wednesday. "Concerned services are working on the spot," he wrote on Telegram

Kurtiev asked residents of the city not to panic and not to share videos or photos on social media.

At the same time, locals say that the explosion could be heard in different parts of the city, but air raid sirens did not go off.

05:35 Maxar Technologies: The Ukrainian military destroyed a number of Russian military helicopters at the Kherson International Airport Tuesday, new satellite images from Planet Labs show.

A large black plume of smoke is een rising from the airport in the satellite image, with a number of helicopters on fire.

Smoke rising from the Kherson International Airport on Tuesday, March 15
A satellite image shows a plume of smoke rising from the Kherson International Airport on Tuesday, March 15. When zoomed in, the images show a number of helicopters on fire. (Planet Labs, PBC)

It's the most destructive known strike the Ukrainian military has conducted against Russian helicopters during the war, with at least three Russian helicopters seen on fire, or destroyed, at the airport.

Military vehicles seen near the airport have also been hit.

In a zoomed-in portion of the image, helicopters can be seen burning. (Planet Labs, PBC)

Another image, taken by a drone hovering above the nearby village of Komyshany, also shows the large plume of smoke rising from the airport.

CNN has geolocated and verified the authenticity of the image.

The military strike at the airport was picked up by NASA's Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS), which tracks large fires around the world.

According to the sensory data collected by FIRMS, the military strike occurred around 1:42 p.m. local time.

04:15 U.S. officials for WSJ: President Biden is expected to announce a total of more than $1 billion in new military assistance to Ukraine’s government as early as Wednesday, according to , as Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky is expected to make a plea to Congress for more aid to defend his country against Russia’s invasion.

President Biden and Vice President Harris
President Biden at the White House on Tuesday, with Vice President Kamala Harris. Photo: Samuel Corum/BLOOMBERG NEWS

The $1.01 billion is expected to include more of the same kinds of military equipment the U.S. says the Ukrainians need the most: antiarmor and antiair systems, including portable air defenses such as Javelins and Stingers. The money would come from the roughly $13.6 billion allotted for Ukraine in the omnibus budget bill Mr. Biden signed Tuesday. The package Mr. Biden will announce includes the more than $200 million in support sent over the weekend and about another $800 million in new funding, for a total of more $1 billion.

03:40 Reuters: The U.S. Senate on March 16 unanimously passed a resolution condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin as a war criminal, a rare show of unity in the deeply divided Congress.

The resolution, introduced by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and backed by senators of both parties, encouraged the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague and other nations to target the Russian military in any investigation of war crimes committed during Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

U.S. Senate unanimously condemns V. Putin as war criminal
American Senate unanimously condemns V.Putin as war criminal

"All of us in this chamber joined together, with Democrats and Republicans, to say that Vladimir Putin cannot escape accountability for the atrocities committed against the Ukrainian people," Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a speech on the Senate floor ahead of the vote.

02:50 Nikopol Mayor Oleksandr Sayuk on Facebook: “Enemy shelling has just occurred between Nikopol and Oleksiivka. Firefighters are working there at the moment. No shelling has been recorded in Nikopol,” Sayuk told.

02:24 General Staff: operational information as of 00:00, March 16. Key points: An offensive operation against Ukraine continues. Russians have not fulfilled the tasks of defeating the groups of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, reaching the administrative borders of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts and other tasks. At the same time, occupiers are stopped in the Mykolayiv direction.

The enemy is trying to strengthen the grouping of troops by additionally transferring to the territory of Ukraine battalion tactical groups formed of consolidated units that suffered losses during the first ten days of the operation, military mercenaries from among foreign nationals. In addition, according to available information, the Russian military leadership has decided to release early cadets of higher military educational institutions in the Russian Federation with their subsequent involvement in hostilities against Ukraine.

In the Donetsk direction, the enemy made an unsuccessful attempt to advance in the directions of the settlements of Rubizhne, Severodonetsk, Lysychansk. As a result, the occupiers suffered significant losses and were forced to retreat.

The worst situation remains in the Mariupol area, where the enemy is trying to block the city on the western and eastern outskirts of the city. Has significant losses, forced to introduce reserves from the 810th Separate Marine Brigade.

In the South Buh direction, the enemy concentrated its efforts on maintaining the occupied frontiers and improving the engineering equipment of the existing positions. He does not abandon the idea of continuing the offensive in the direction of Kryvyi Rih. As a result of the effective work of units of the Defense Forces of Ukraine in the area of Chornobaivka, the enemy lost seven combat helicopters.

In general, as of March 15, 2022, the enemy lost (destroyed completely, or lost combat capability) up to 40% of units involved in the so-called. "Operations" on the territory of Ukraine.

Defense Express / The killed Russian serviceman with Major General shoulder straps (left) and Major General Oleg Mityaev, the alleged deceased (right) / Day 21st of Ukraine's Defense Against Russian Invasion (Live Updates)
The killed Russian serviceman with Major General shoulder straps (left) and Major General Oleg Mityaev, the alleged deceased (right) / Photo credit: Anton Gerashchenko, the Adviser to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine

01:58 Yurii Butusov, editor at Censor.Net media informs that a Russian Major general was killed in Ukraine.

"Yesterday, a regiment of the National Guard [of Ukraine] in besieged Mariupol posted a photo of a murdered Russian serviceman with the shoulder straps of a Major General. The face in the photo was not completely visible. No documents were found on the corpse. But it is unlikely that in the Russian army on the front line any soldier can afford to wear a general's shoulder straps for fun. However, anything happens," the journalist wrote on Facebook.

He stressed, that days after, no Russian media has denied the news of the general's liquidation. Although usually Russians comment and try to refute the information from Ukrainian social networks.

Yurii Butusov said, there is a reasonable assumption that the deceased is Major General Oleg Mityaev, commander of the 150th Motorized Rifle Division, which is really taking an active part in the storming of Mariupol. And added, that Mityaev's liquidation is a significant event, as he is "one of the most promising and significant Russian military leaders".

01:21 General Staff: as of March 15, 2022, Russia had lost (was destroyed completely, or lost combat capability) up to 40% of units involved in the invasion of the territory of Ukraine.

01:08 Air Force: over the last day, March 15, the air defense of the Air Force of the Ukrainian Armed Forces destroyed 3 jets. One has not been identified yet, the other two are Su-34 fighter-bombers. 1 enemy helicopter, 3 tactical UAVs and 2 cruise missiles were also shot down.

Air Force aircraft inflicted missile and bomb attacks on land targets. A tactical unit of Su-24M bombers, Su-25 fighter jets, and Mi-24 helicopters of the military aircraft, covered by fighters, made nine air raids on columns of enemy equipment and clusters of Russian troops.

01:02 Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian parliament recognized the Territorial Defense Force volunteers as war veterans; defined a category of 'family members of the Defenders of Ukraine that died'.

00:44 UN Refugee Agency: 3M refugees have already left Ukraine

00:25 Ministry of Defense citing Airborne assault troops Command: in Luhansk region (Eastern Ukraine) Ukrainian Airborne Assault Troops repelled the offensive of Russian invaders and launched a counter-offensive. As a result, they successfully broke through the defense of the Russians and destroyed their positions. Despite the overwhelming forces of the invaders.

Trigger warning: the following video features depictions of violence.

Background:

February, 24: Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized a "special military operation" against Ukraine. A number of cities of Ukraine suffered a missile attack. Missiles hit several military facilities in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro cities. In a few hours, martial law was imposed in Ukraine.

The war lasts for two weeks now. An impressive rundown of the first days of war was provided by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy in his address to the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

Key points regarding the current state of warfare:

  • Ukraine managed to establish the defense, Russian offense has stalled
  • Belarus provides its lands to Russian troops and equipment; still hasn't joined the war directly
  • Russia uses terroristic methods of war, shelling civilian facilities where there are no military facilities nearby, keeping cities in a full blockade, and sabotaging humanitarian corridors
  • Humanitarian corridors: despite repetitive violations of ceasefire and shelling of evacuation transport, some of the humanitarian corridors work. Finally, the humanitarian corridor in Mariupol city worked out. Mariupol is currently in Russian blockade
  • Russian army targets nuclear power plants; Chernobyl NPP and Zaporizhzhia NPP are seized by occupiers; military activities by Russian forces near the power plants were described by Ukraine as nuclear terrorism
  • Ukraine urges NATO to close the sky over Ukraine or at least provide air defense equipment
  • Ukraine appealed for EU membership via an accelerated procedure. The EU Council summit concluded that such a fast-track application process is impossible, yet they stated that "Ukraine belongs to the European Union"
  • Ukrainian citizens in the occupied cities rally against Russians; thousands of civilian volunteers join the Territorial Defense of the Armed Forces of Ukraine; the fighting has become a national struggle for survival
  • Ukraine has had four rounds of negotiations with Russia; still, no significant progress towards ceasefire and peace, the main question, for now, is establishing humanitarian corridors for the supply of aid and evacuation of civilians; the direct talks of presidents Zelenskyy and Putin are being considered
Read more: Day 20th of Ukraine's Defense Against Russian Invasion (Live Updates)
TAGS War