​Day 22nd 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
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Russia’s T-72B3 tank after attack by a Ukrainian military in the vicinity of Mykolaiv
Russia’s T-72B3 tank after attack by a Ukrainian military in the vicinity of Mykolaiv

After 21 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. It is also finally lost its place among civilized countries of the World. On the previous day the Russian Federation has been also excluded from the Council of Europe. That day also the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin as a war criminal. And finally US President Joe Biden calls Russia's Putin a 'war criminal' over invasion of 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:

23:58 Serhii Bratchuk, spokesman for the operational headquarters of the Odesa regional military administration, on his Facebook: An air defense unit of the Ukrainian Armed Forces has shot down an enemy drone near Odesa.

Read more: Chronicle of the Russian Federation Crimes in Ukraine (February-April)

"On March 17, Russian ships were spotted near Odesa. They suffered losses during a demonstrative line-up at a safe distance. The Operational Command South said on the evening of March 17 that during the demonstration of their inability to storm Odesa, rather than of their strength, the enemy lost an Orlan-10 drone," Bratchuk said.

Russian UAV Orlan-10
Russian UAV Orlan-10

According to him, in the afternoon, Russian ships lined up off the coast. "It was a kind of putting some psychological pressure on all of us in order for our defense systems to reveal their positions, but it was in vain," Bratchuk said.

23:35 U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that although the investigation is not finished, he agrees with President Joe Biden that Putin is a war criminal and that Russian military attacks on civilians in Ukraine are a war crime.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken

He said this at a press briefing in Washington on Thursday, according to an Ukrinform correspondent.

"Yesterday, President Biden said that in his opinion, war crimes have been committed in Ukraine. Personally, I agree. Intentionally targeting civilians is a war crime. After all the destruction of the past few weeks, I find it difficult to conclude that the Russians are doing otherwise," Blinken said.

He acknowledged reports on intentional attacks from the bombing of the Drama Theater in Mariupol housing children to opening fire at people waiting in line for bread

"These incidents join a long list of attacks on civilian non-military locations across Ukraine, including apartment buildings, public squares, and last week, a maternity hospital in Mariupol. I doubt that any of us who saw those images will ever forget," Blinken said.

Biden on Wednesday called Putin a "war criminal" for the first time. The U.S. State Department is currently in the process of investigating Russia's war crimes, which should establish official conclusions on Russian war crimes committed in Ukraine.

23:16 General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine released the photos of Russian helicopters that was shot down by the air defense force in Ukraine.

23:01 The Azov Regiment on Telegram: Soldiers of the Azov Regiment have destroyed four enemy tanks, two armored personnel carriers, hitting another armored personnel carrier.

"Soldiers of the Azov Regiment destroyed four tanks and two armored personnel carriers in one day, hitting one more armored personnel carrier of the Russians. A company of enemy infantry was destroyed. Fighting for the Ukrainian city of Mariupol continues, including in the streets of the city. Defenders of Mariupol are fighting selflessly with the occupiers who continue to attack the city from aircraft and artillery, giving them a decent rebuff," the statement said.

In Mariupol, the Russian aggressor destroyed 80% of residential houses, of which almost 30% cannot be restored.

Russian T-72 MBT

22:12 Suspilne: The Barabashovo market in Kharkiv was shelled by Russian troops and caught on fire as a result. According to available information, the fire engulfed the market stalls, with the black smoke rising over Kharkiv. Shells from the Grad volley fire system were found near the site of the fire.

The Barabashovo market is the largest open-air markets in Eastern Europe and one of the largest in the world. About 15,000 entrepreneurs work there.

21:58 The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine: The statement on Facebook: Russian troops used almost the entire set of Kalibr sea-based cruise missiles and Iskander tactical missile systems.

"The occupying forces lost their offensive potential and were stopped in all directions. The enemy has significant problems with logistics and continues to suffer losses. In some directions, it blocks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine units. Since the enemy used almost the entire set of Kalibr sea-based cruise missiles and Iskander tactical missile systems during the first 20 days of the operation, they continue to launch missile and bomb strikes on infrastructure and housing quarters of large cities, using indiscriminate weapons," the ministry said.

In violation of international humanitarian law, Russian aggressors continue to take hostage and kill civilians, fire on civilian cars, obstruct the movement of humanitarian convoys to evacuate the population via mutually agreed "green corridors," use civilian infrastructure to store weapons and equipment, and resort to looting.

"The enemy continues to keep the Ukrainian city of Mariupol under siege and has switched to the total destruction of civilian infrastructure, residential houses and critical infrastructure, creating the preconditions for deepening the humanitarian crisis in the city," the Defense Ministry added.

In order to intimidate the civilian population in the temporarily occupied territories, the invaders abducted and detained representatives of state authorities and local government agencies.

21:15 Kyiv Region Police on Facebook: Russian aggressors fired at residential houses in the village of Lychanka, the Bucha district of Kyiv region, from Grad multiple launch rocket systems, killing one person.

On March 17, the aggressors used Grad multiple rocket launchers to fire on a state-owned enterprise in Irpin and the destroyed Romanivka Bridge. The number of victims is being clarified.

In addition, the enemy fired on residential houses in Lychanka from Grad MLRS, killing one person.

Residential houses in the village of Petrushky were also hit. There is currently no information on casualties.

Russian forces used Smerch multiple rocket launchers to shell the village of Sytniaky near Makariv. One civilian was reported injured.

Fighting continues near Bucha, Irpin, Makariv and Borodianka.

20:20 Ukrainian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Oleh Nikolenko: Ignoring the decision of the UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ), which ordered Russia to immediately halt its invasion of Ukraine, Russia must give up all the rights granted under the UN Charter, primarily its right of veto in the UN Security Council.

UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ)
UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ)

“Russia wants to sit on two chairs at the same time. On the one hand, it does not want to implement the mandatory order of the UN’s International Court of Justice. On the other hand, it wants to continue using the privileges of the international law. But the international law cannot be wagged like a dog’s tail,” Nikolenko told.

In his words, the court order is binding and, in accordance with the norms of the international law, creates legal obligations for the Russian Federation.

“Russia’s statement that the court has no jurisdiction to consider the claim of Ukraine, and, accordingly, to execute it, is void. During the hearing, the court rejected Russia’s objections and confirmed the powers to issue its order,” Nikolenko added.

According to him, despite Russia’s attempt to freely interpret the order of the UN’s International Court of Justice, Russia will not be able to avoid responsibility for its crimes against the Ukrainian people.

19:55 General Staff: operational information as of 18:00 17.03.2022. Key points:

The occupiers' forces lost their offensive potential and were stopped in all directions. The enemy has significant problems with logistics, continues to suffer losses. In some areas, it blocks units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Russians have used almost the entire set of "Kalibr" sea-launched cruise missiles and "Iskander" tactical missiles during the first twenty days of the operation. Due to that, they continue to launch missile and bomb strikes on infrastructure and housing neighborhoods of large cities using indiscriminate weapons.

Violating the international humanitarian law, the Russian occupiers continue to kill civilians and take them hostage, open fire on civilian transport, obstruct the movement of humanitarian convoys which evacuate people through defined and mutually agreed "green corridors", use civilian infrastructure for weapons and vehicles placement, and loot.

The enemy continues to keep the Ukrainian city Mariupol under siege and proceeded to the total destruction of civilian infrastructure, housing and life support facilities, creating the preconditions for deepening the humanitarian crisis in the city.

In order to intimidate the civilian population in the temporarily occupied territories, the invaders abducted and detained representatives of state authority and local governments.

In addition to units of the Russian armed forces, police officers from the [Russian] Krasnodar region and the Russian-occupied Crimea were noticed in the Kherson region. FSB task forces perform punitive functions. The enemy is conducting a campaign to involve the local population in the so-called "police".

According to the available information, due to the impossibility of high-quality staffing of the occupying forces, the next wave of mobilization to the ranks of the 1st Army Corps will start on March 20 this year in the temporarily occupied territories of the Donetsk region.

Air Force units of the 960th Ground Attack Aviation Regiment of the 4th Army of the Russian Armed Forces suffered significant losses. The moral and psychological condition of the flight crew is extremely discontent. Due to unwillingness to engage in hostilities on the territory of Ukraine, cases of dismissal reports continue to occur.

Ukrainian defenders inflicted significant losses on units of the 252nd Motorized Rifle Regiment of the Western Military District, which are fighting in the areas of Kharkiv and Izyum cities. Up to 30% of personnel, weaponry and military equipment was lost. Besides, divisions of forces of defense have eliminated the commander of the 3rd Motorized Infantry Division, Colonel Igor Nikolaev.

19:25 Verkhovna Rada: Latvian Parliament called NATO to close the skies over Ukraine, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Ruslan Stefanchuk informs.

"The Parliament of the Republic of Latvia was among the three first ones who called to close the skies over Ukraine. With this statement, Lithuanian parliamentarians express their support for Ukraine, its Defenders, and the People of Ukraine in the fight against Russia."

Defense Express reminds, that earlier this week Estonia adopted a resolution calling on UN member states to close the sky over Ukraine and was the first country to officially support the establishment of the no-fly zone over Ukraine's territory. Lithuania also expressed support.

19:11 Public broadcast media "Suspilne": a local market was shelled by Russians in Kharkiv

Update: Suspilne reports, that several facilities caught fire. The "Barabashovo" market is the biggest in Eastern Europe and one of the biggest in the world. It accommodates about 15 thousand entrepreneurs.

Defense Express / A local market was shelled by Russians in Kharkiv / Day 22nd of Ukraine's Defense Against Russian Invasion (Live Updates)
A local market was shelled by Russians in Kharkiv / Photo credit: Suspilne Kharkiv
18:48

Mariupol city Council via Verkhovna Rada: about 80% of the city's housing stock in Mariupol is destroyed, almost 30% of it cannot be restored.

"The situation in Mariupol is critical. The city has been under blockade for 16 days; more than 350,000 Mariupol residents continue to hide in shelters and basements from continuous shelling by Russian occupation forces. From 50 to 100 air bombs are dropped on the city per day. The destruction is enormous, and according to preliminary estimates, about 80% of the city's housing stock is destroyed, of which almost 30% - can not be restored."

According to the statement, over the last two days, about 6,500 cars escaped from Mariupol, which is currently in Russian blockade. Some of the evacuated people have already reached Zaporizhia city, where they received the necessary first aid in support centers. In total, about 30,000 people left Mariupol in their vehicles. Read the full statement here.

18:20 Ministry of Defense of Ukraine: Ukrainian Defense Minister Olekii Reznikov addressed to the foreign partners and suppliers of weapons, ammunition and other products required by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. In his address, he warned of scammers who pretend to be Ukrainian defense authorities to make money.

"Unfortunately, as in any war, there are those who seek to profit from human suffering. Such characters introduce themselves as 'advisers', 'assistants', 'heads of departments', and even present fake 'documents' to prove their 'official positions'. As the Minister, I responsibly declare: all such persons are scum, looters and traitors who have nothing to do with the defense of Ukraine but work for their own and/or the enemy’s pockets," Oleksii Reznikov said.

"With this in mind, I call on the international community to be vigilant and urge you to seek clarification of the powers of all 'authorized persons' in the Embassies and offices of military attachés of Ukraine and to turn all these 'lords of war' with fake documents over to law enforcement agencies."

17:53 Special Operations Forces have published a video instruction on how to use Stinger MANPADS. Also, the whole "course" on the usage of a diversity of missile launchers is available on the Land Forces' Facebook. Note: the video is in Ukrainian.

Defense Express memo: the video is released shortly after the United States decided to provide additional 800 Stingers to Ukraine.

17:34 Operational Command "North": another group of Russian occupiers was destroyed by the Ukrainian Resistance Forces of Siveria (Northern Ukraine). Ukrainian defenders seized an "Uragan" MLRS as a trophy and eliminated another one near Pryluky city (Chernihiv region). More photos.

Defense Express / Ukrainian defenders seized an
Ukrainian defenders seized an "Uragan" MLRS as a trophy after a successful combat against Russian occupiers near Chernihiv / Photo credit: Operational Command "North"

17:21 MIA of Ukraine: Russian tanks shelled an evacuation column near Kyiv, two policemen were killed. It was reported by the Chief of Kyiv Region Police Andriy Nebytov during a briefing at Ukraine Media Center.

The occupiers use "green corridors", which are originally meant for the evacuation of civilians, to redeploy their forces and equipment. All rescue operations in the Kyiv region were conducted under Russian fire.

"There is a large number of hospitals, schools and kindergartens in the Kyiv region, which is temporarily occupied. To save the people from the hell of war, all public authorities tried to evacuate as many citizens as possible. But the Russian occupiers did not provide such an opportunity During the evacuation of people in the Bucha district, the occupiers fired at the evacuation columns with their tanks," the police chief said. He reported one policeman being killed and another one injured. Also, a similar situation occurred in Irpin, where a "Grad" MLRS missile hit a police car, one policeman died.

16:48 Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal: Ukrainian railway is now involved in creating strategic food suppiles for the whole Ukraine.

"We are talking about the purchase of the most important products, and the delivery of these products to the regions. Our goal is to create at least a monthly food supply, as well as to provide such a supply to every Ukrainian in the war zone," the official said on his Telegram channel.

16:32 Adviser to the Presidential Office Mykhailo Podolyak in his interview to the American Public Broadcasting Service (PBS): Zelenskyy and Putin might meet for negotiations.

"The only option to end this war is direct talks between the two presidents, and that is what we are working on with these peace talks. We are working on documents that the presidents will be able to discuss further and sign."

He said, these talks are 'coming some time soon'.

15:55 Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valeriy Zaluzhny: The Armed Forces of Ukraine destroy unit Russian tank division in Kharkiv region.

The Armed Forces of Ukraine stopped the columns of equipment of the 437th Training Regiment and the battalion-tactical group of the 26th Tank Regiment of the 47th Tank Division of the Russian Army in Kharkiv region.

“Columns of equipment of the new 437th Training Regiment and the battalion-tactical group of the 26th Tank Regiment of the 47th Tank Division of the Russian Armed Forces were moving towards Kamyanka, Kharkiv region. However, the enemy was skillfully stopped by our soldiers," Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valeriy Zaluzhny posted on Facebook.

15:40 Uzbekistan would not recognise Moscow-backed separatists in the self-proclaimed republics in Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

Uzbekistan has called for a diplomatic resolution of the conflict in Ukraine and said it would not recognise Moscow-backed separatists in the self-proclaimed republics in Luhansk and Donetsk, The Guardian reports citing Reuters.

The Uzbek foreign minister, Abdulaziz Kamilov, told parliament that while Uzbekistan wanted to maintain good relations with both Russia and Ukraine, it opposed the war. His remarks signal the strongest anti-war statement to come from Russia’s former Soviet allies so far.

The Uzbek foreign minister, Abdulaziz Kamilov, Day 22nd of Ukraine's Defense Against Russian Invasion, Defense Express
The Uzbek foreign minister, Abdulaziz Kamilov

Kamilov said:

First, Uzbekistan is seriously concerned by the situation around Ukraine.

Second, we are the proponents of finding a peaceful solution to this situation and resolving the conflict through political and diplomatic means.

But in order to do that, first of all, hostilities and violence must stop immediately.

Uzbekistan’s economy is heavily dependent on exports to Russia as well as remittances from its citizens working in Russia.

15:30 The White House: The US president, Joe Biden, will speak with the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, on Friday, March 18, to discuss Russia’s war against Ukraine “and other issues of mutual concern”.

The call comes after US officials warned China may have already decided to provide Russia with economic and financial support during its war on Ukraine – The Guardian reports.

The US national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, met his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi, in an “intense seven-hour session” earlier this week to present the US case against Russia’s invasion.

Joe Biden speaking with Xi Jinping on 15 November 2021, Day 22nd of Ukraine's Defense Against Russian Invasion, Defense Express
Joe Biden speaking with Xi Jinping on 15 November 2021 / Photo credit: Susan Walsh/AP

A US official familiar with the discussion said the Chinese had “already decided that they’re going to provide economic and financial support” before the Rome meeting. “The question really is whether they will go further,” they added.

Earlier today, a Chinese official criticised the Nato secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, for his comments that China had an obligation as a member of the UN security council to help bring an end to the war in Ukraine.

Speaking after a meeting of Nato defence ministers yesterday, Stoltenberg called on China to “clearly condemn the invasion and not to support Russia”, adding that China had an obligation to condemn the invasion.

14:55 Defense Intelligence of Ukraine has names of rocket brigade servicemen committing war crimes.

Defense Intelligence of the Ministry Defense of Ukraine has obtained a list of military personnel with the 448th Rocket Brigade of the Russian Ground Forces, based in the village of Klyukva, Kursk Oblast, who are known to have been committing war crimes against the Ukrainian civilians.

The relevant statement was posted by the press service of Defense Intelligence of the Ministry Defense of Ukraine.

“Defense Intelligence of Ukraine has obtained a list of the servicemen with the 448th Rocket Brigade (Military Base 35525), Klyukva village, Kursk Oblast, who have been committing war crimes against the people of Ukraine. From its very foundation and until 2019, the brigade had been armed with OTR-21 Tochka tactical ballistic missile systems. As of 2018, this brigade remains the only artillery unit in the Russian Armed Forces manning OTR-21 Tochka launchers. That's why we know exactly who to hunt for!” said the intelligence agency.

The names of war criminals can be found here.

14:37 Pentagon: USA actively sharing intelligence with Ukraine

The United States is actively sharing intelligence information with Ukraine – Interfax-Ukraine reports citing the words of a senior Pentagon official at a press briefing in Brussels.

US giving Ukraine ‘real time’ intelligence, Day 22nd of Ukraine's Defense Against Russian Invasion, Defense Express
US giving Ukraine ‘real time’ intelligence. Ilustrative photo: Russian staging point was hit by Ukrainian Indirect fire in Chernihiv. As can be observed, approximately 10 transport vehicles were totally destroyed

"We absolutely are sharing, we are actively sharing information and intelligence with Ukrainians that we believe can be helpful to them in their fight every day," he said, answering a question from journalists.

"And by helpful I mean helpful, and I think I really," he added, without going into details.

The name of the high-ranking Pentagon official was not indicated under the terms of the briefing. The text of the briefing is published on the website of the U.S. Department of Defense.

14.10 General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine: Operational information on 12.00 17.03.2022 regarding the russian invasion to Ukraine:

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

russian terrorist forces continue strategic offensive operation against Ukraine.

The enemy does not stop trying to reach the administrative borders of Luhansk and Donetsk regions. It is not successful.

In order to restrain the actions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the enemy is trying to blockade settlements north of the capital.

At the same time, the enemy does not refuse to launch missile and bomb strikes on civilian infrastructure in Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Dnipropetrovsk and other oblasts where there is no active hostilities.

Intensive use of the territory and infrastructure of the Republic of Belarus by a group of troops of the russian federation to strike at the territory of Ukraine and provide logistical support to a group of occupation troops operating in the Polissya direction is recorded in the Volyn direction.

The possibility of participation of certain units of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus in hostilities on the side of the russian federation remains.

In the Polissya direction, the enemy made attempts to capture the previously occupied frontiers, which were lost as a result of successful actions of units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. He has no success in this direction, he suffers losses. It is trying to regroup troops and establish logistics.

The enemy did not conduct active offensive operations in the Seversky direction, and is continuing preparations for the resumption of the offensive in order to further blockade the city of Kyiv from the northeastern direction. Carries out chaotic shelling of positions of units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, tries to conduct reconnaissance.

In the Slobozhansky direction, the occupiers tried to carry out offensive operations from the area of the city of Izyum, but were unsuccessful. Attempts are being made to gain a foothold in the occupied frontiers and to improve the logistics system.

russian invaders strengthen the group at the expense of additional units of the 1st Tank Army and the coastal units of the Baltic Fleet.

The enemy carried out offensive operations in the Donetsk and Tavriya directions. It had partial success in the Rubizhne area (fixed on the western and north-western outskirts of the city, moving to the southern part of the city).

He carried out unsuccessful assault operations in the Popasna and Volnovakha areas in the areas of Verkhnotoretsk and Mariinka. He suffered losses. Carries out regrouping of troops, carries out replenishment of stocks.

The storming of the city continues in the Mariupol direction.

The occupiers did not carry out active offensive operations in the Zaporizhia direction.

In the South Bug direction, the enemy conducted reconnaissance and carried out engineering equipment for the positions held.

He tried to carry out offensive operations in the Kryvyi Rih direction, took control of settlement Mala Shisternyia, but had no general success, is fixed in the positions held.

In the Tavriya direction, the enemy continued to increase the system of logistics of the group of troops. A collection point for damaged equipment has been deployed at Dzhankoi airfield.

The enemy is trying to spread disinformation through all available channels of communication, both to the population of the temporarily occupied territories and to its own population in order to form a myth about the "invincibility" of the armed forces of the russian federation.

The Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine appeals to the media community to limit as much as possible the coverage of personal data, photographs containing the faces of officers (unit commanders), geolocation, visual, address reference to the places where they perform tasks.

Eliminate photo and video recording, the spread of accurate territorial coverage of bomb shelters (shelters for civilians) in the media, in order to make it more difficult for the enemy to obtain current information from open sources for rocket and bomb attacks on civilian infrastructure.

13:45 Adviser to the head of the Ukrainian President’s Office Oleksiy Arestovych: Ukrainian military destroyed one of Russian armies’ command post in Ukraine.

The Armed Forces of Ukraine have destroyed a command post of one of the Russian armies. Oleksiy Arestovych, Adviser to the head of the Ukrainian President’s Office, broke the news during a briefing on Thursday, March 17, - Ukrinform reports.

Adviser to the head of the Ukrainian President’s Office Oleksiy Arestovych: Ukrainian military destroyed one of Russian armies’ command post in Ukraine, Day 22nd of Ukraine's Defense Against Russian Invasion, Defense Express
Adviser to the head of the Ukrainian President’s Office Oleksiy Arestovych: Ukrainian military destroyed one of Russian armies’ command post in Ukraine

"Our troops destroyed a command post of one of the Russian armies. This is a huge military achievement. Perhaps it means that several generals were killed and, accordingly, this will bring a pause and disorganization in the enemy’s efforts to run their military operation," said Arestovych.

As Defense Express reported, earlier CinC of Armed Forces of Ukraine Valeriy Zaluzhny stated that Ukrainian artillerymen had 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 – had noted CinC AF of Ukraine general Valeriy Zaluzhny to video posted on his official page on Facebook.

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

12:59 Polish Border Guard Service: Since February 24, 1.9 million people have left Ukraine for Poland.

"Since February 24, some 1.95 million people have arrived from Ukraine to Poland. Yesterday, March 16, border guards registered 60,000 people, a decrease of 11%," the border guard said in a statement on Thursday.

Polish Border
Polish Border

12:10 Adviser to the Head of the President's Office, Mykhailo Podoliak, has revealed the current tactics applied by Russian invaders in Ukraine.

This was reported by Ukrinform with reference to Podoliak's Twitter page.

"RF tactics. Viscous positional battles on all frontlines. Creation of local traps for civilians. Targeted strikes on objects where civilians are hiding. Maximum delay in decisions on humanitarian corridors. Informational attempts to provoke internal conflicts in our country," Podoliak tweeted.

On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a massive invasion of Ukraine. Russian troops have been shelling and destroying key infrastructure and residential areas of Ukrainian cities and towns, using artillery, multiple rocket launchers, and ballistic missiles.

11:55 The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has rebuked Germany for realizing too late who Russia is.

Addressing the Bundestag via video link, Zelensky thanked Germany for assistance, but stressed that "many steps to support [Ukraine] were late and insufficient," - Ukrinform reports.

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky Addressing the Bundestag has rebuked Germany for realizing too late who Russia is, Defense Express
The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky was welcomed with a standing ovation

Zelensky recalled close ties between German and Russian businesses, adding that Ukraine had long warned that the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline was part of preparation for war, "but in response, it heard only: economy, economy, economy." Zelensky also recalled that German politicians constantly said that Ukraine's membership in NATO was "not on the table and not in the foreseeable future." Currently, according to him, the situation is similar with the issue of Ukraine's EU membership. "For many, it's politics, but it's the stone for a new wall," he warned.

At the same time, he thanked ordinary Germans who help refugees, journalists who tell the truth about the war, German companies that "put morale above profit."

"We need help from Europe," Zelensky said.

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky Addressing the Bundestag has rebuked Germany for realizing too late who Russia is, Defense Express
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has today urged Germany to tear down the new 'Wall' in Europe that 'is growing bigger with every Russian bomb' in an emotional speech given to the country's parliament. Pictured: Zelensky is welcomed with a standing invasion in Berlin

Zelensky said that Russian troops do not distinguish between military and civilian objects, for them everything is a target. He also mentioned the tragedy in Mariupol and other cities. "You'll see it all if you look through the wall."

He stressed that "every year they repeat in Germany: Never again. But these words are worthless today."

Zelensky concluded his speech with words by U.S. President Ronald Reagan to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev: Mr. President, tear down this wall. "And I ask you, dear Chancellor, to tear down this wall, to give Germany the leading role it deserves. Support Ukraine, stop this war, help us stop this war!"

10:55 MP from the Batkivshchyna faction Serhiy Taruta: In Mariupol drama theater began to dismantle debris, people are alive.

The bomb shelter in the building of the drama theater in the city of Mariupol, Donetsk region, withstood and people remained alive, MP from the Batkivshchyna faction Serhiy Taruta has said.

In Mariupol drama theater began to dismantle debris, people are alive, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Ukrainian-Russian war
MP from the Batkivshchyna faction Serhiy Taruta

"After a terrible night of uncertainty, by the morning of the 22nd day of the war, finally, good news from Mariupol. The bomb shelter withstood. The rubble began to be dismantled, people are coming out alive," Taruta said on his Facebook page.

10:45 The Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office: Russian troops killed 108 children in Ukraine.

Russia's armed forces have already killed 108 children in Ukraine.

Russian troops killed 108 children in Ukraine, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war

As of the morning of March 17, 108 children were killed and more than 120 were injured, according to the statement on Telegram. Children suffered the most in Kyiv region - 52, Kharkiv region - 34, Donetsk region - 25, Chernihiv region - 24, Mykolaiv region - 20, Zhytomyr region - 15 Sumy region – 14, and Kherson region - 10.

The bombings and shelling damaged more than 411 educational institutions, 63 of which were completely destroyed. The greatest number of damaged educational institutions was recorded in Donetsk region - 119, Kharkiv region - 77, Mykolaiv region - 30, Sumy region - 28, Kyiv region - 35, Kherson region – 21, and in Kyiv - 24.

More than 11 medical institutions and three rehabilitation centers were shelled, including centers for children with disabilities.

10:30 The Head of Chernihiv Regional State Administration Viacheslav Chaus: 53 civilians killed in Chernihiv on March 16.

Fifty-three civilians have been killed in Russian shelling in Chernihiv over the past 24 hours.

53 civilians killed in Chernihiv on March 16, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
Chernihiv after shelling

Viacheslav Chaus, the Head of Chernihiv Regional State Administration, said this in a statement posted on Facebook, Ukrinform reports.

"The enemy is exposing the city to systemic artillery and air strikes, destroying the civilian infrastructure of Chernihiv. Over the past 24 hours, 53 bodies of victims killed by the Russians have been brought to the morgue. The Armed Forces of Ukraine retaliate with devastating blows. The enemy is panicking and incurring losses," Chaus said.

10:25 IAEA: Zaporizhia NPP loses connection to third power line, no safety concern.

Ukraine informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today that the country’s Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) had lost connection to a third power line but that two others remained available and there was no safety concern, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said.

Ukraine’s largest nuclear power plant has four high voltage (750 kV) offsite power lines plus one on standby. Two of the four were damaged earlier. The Ukrainian regulator said it was not clear what had caused today’s loss of a third line. It said the remaining power line and the one on standby were sufficient to ensure that all safety systems remained fully functional without limitations. Like other NPPs in Ukraine and elsewhere, the plant also has back-up diesel generators in case they are needed.

10:45 General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has posted the new summary of total combat losses of the enemy from 24.02 to 17.03. Find them in an infographic by Defense Express:

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

Personnel - more 14 000,

Tanks ‒ 444 units,

APV ‒ 1435 units,

Artillery systems – 201 units,

MLRS – 72 units,

Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 43 units,

Aircraft – 86 units,

Helicopters – 108 units,

Vehicles – 864 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.

10:10 General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine: Important information for Ukrainian military and journalists.

General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine posted important information for Ukrainian military and journalists working at temporarily occupied territories.

The link to the full post is here.

09:40 Reuters: Japan spots four Russian amphibious warships off its coast.

Japan's military on Thursday spotted four large Russian amphibious warfare ships sailing close to its islands as they traveled west, possibly towards Europe.

Japan spots four Russian amphibious warships off its coast. Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
Illustrative photo: The Russian Navy's landing ship. / Photo credits: Reuters

When asked whether these ships could be bound for Ukraine, a ministry spokesman said: "We don't know where they are heading, but their heading suggest it is possible."

A Japanese Self Defense Force maritime patrol first detected the Russian vessels, which can carry dozens of tanks, other military vehicles and hundreds of troops, on Tuesday and monitored them as they passed West from the Pacific Ocean to the Sea of Japan through the narrow Tsuruga Strait separating Japan's main Honshu island from Hokkaido island on Wednesday.

09:30 Texas Rep. Mike McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee: U.S. sending Switchblade drones to Ukraine in $800 million package.

The U.S. will send 100 Switchblade drones to Ukraine as part of the Biden administration’s new $800 million weapons package.

U.S. sending Switchblade drones to Ukraine in $800 million package, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Ukrainian-Russian war

The inclusion of the “tactical” drones, which crash into their targets, represents a new phase of weaponry being sent to Ukraine by the U.S., which so far has shipped mostly anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. An administration official confirmed McCaul’s account that the U.S. is sending the Switchblade.

09:15 The head of the Luhansk regional military administration Serhii Haidai: Russians shelled Rubizhne all night, damaging at least 27 houses.

Russian invaders shelled the town of Rubizhne in the Luhansk region all night on March 17, damaging at least 27 homes.

Russians shelled Rubizhne all night, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
Illustrative photo: Rubizhne

Serhii Haidai, head of the Luhansk regional military administration, said this in a statement released on Telegram.

"On the night of March 16-17, the Russians staged a hell in Rubizhne, with shelling lasting all night. At least 27 houses caught fire in the city after Russian shelling, and even whole streets were burning in some areas. At least five houses caught fire in Popasna and one in Sieviedonetsk. Information on victims is being clarified," Haidai wrote.

He noted that the Russian army continues to purposefully fire on civilians who are not even allowed to flee to safety.

08:40 An advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Vadym Denysenko: Situation in Mariupol is catastrophic.

The situation in the city of Mariupol is catastrophic and extremely difficult.

Situation in Mariupol is catastrophic, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
Mariupol right now

The relevant statement was made by Advisor to Ukrainian Internal Affairs Minister Vadym Denysenko on Ukrainian TV channels, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

“The situation is catastrophic, the situation is horrible there. So far, we do not have any more or less stable information, which could be reported to the country. Unfortunately, the situation is extremely difficult there,” Denysenko told.

08:00 Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace: UK to hand over Starstreak MANPADS to Ukraine.

Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace confirmed the UK’s intention to supply Ukraine with a batch of Starstreak MANPADS.

UK to hand over Starstreak MANPADS to Ukraine, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
Illustrative photo

“We are supplying them. They will go into theatre,” Wallace said.

07:35 The Ukrainian State Emergency Service: Enemy missile fragments damage apartment block in Kyiv.

An enemy missile has been shot down in Kyiv’s Darnytskyi District, causing damage to an apartment block with its fragments.

The relevant statement was made by the Ukrainian State Emergency Service on Telegram, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

“On March 17, 2022, Emergency Service 101 received a report about a fire and destruction of a residential house in the capital city’s Darnytskyi District. Firefighters from the closest fire and rescue units immediately arrived at the scene,” the report states.

07:15 The Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Denys Monastyrskyi: enemy SRGs and fire spotters pose threat across all regions.

Enemy sabotage and reconnaissance groups (SRGs) and fire spotters can be found all over Ukraine at the moment.

The Minister of Internal Affairs Denys Monastyrskyi: enemy SRGs and fire spotters pose threat across all regions, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
The Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Denys Monastyrskyi

The relevant statement was made by Ukrainian Internal Affairs Minister Denys Monastyrskyi, an Ukrinform correspondent reports, referring to the Government portal.

According to Monastyrkyi, there are no places in Ukraine at the moment, which would not have an obvious military threat. The ministry can no longer name the regions, which are free of shelling and SRGs.

“Unfortunately, this has become a common phenomenon for us. For example, in Kyiv, I receive information about the enemy SRG representatives and fire spotters detained every day. They can be also found in Lviv Region, Ivano-Frankivsk Region and Rivne Region. Today it is a problem all over the country,” Monastyrskyi noted.

06:50 General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine:Operational information on 06.00, 17.03.2022 regarding the Russian aggression.

The twenty-second day of the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people to the russian military invasion began.

The state, position and nature of the actions of the defense forces have not changed significantly during the last day. The Armed Forces of Ukraine continued to inflict devastating kicks on groups of enemy troops trying to consolidate and hold the defense of the captured frontiers.

During the past 24hrs, Ukrainian defenders destroyed the command post and support units of the 35th All-Military Army of the Eastern Military District of the Armed Forces of the russian federation, and the enemy's losses are being clarified.

In addition, for the previous day, thanks to the skill of Anti-aircraft missile forces of the Air Force and Air defense of the Land Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine destroyed ten enemy air targets: two Su-34 fighter-bomber, three Su-34SM fighters, three helicopters and UAVs. Information on the type of another downed plane and the deaths of pilots is being clarified. Units of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine continue to work actively to deprive the occupiers of aircraft of the ability to dominate the air.

The enemy, unsuccessful in conducting a ground operation, continues to launch missile and bomb strikes on the infrastructure and densely populated areas of Ukrainian cities.

The Russian occupiers continue to act insidiously in the information space - carrying out cyber attacks, physically destroying broadcast relay station of television and radio signals, continuing a mass information campaign to discredit the top military and political leadership of Ukraine and the Defense Forces.

At the same time, the enemy continues to actively spread misinformation about the course of the so-called "special operation" among its own population.

The occupying forces continue to suffer losses. They have big problems with the staffing of combat units and support units. The enemy's personnel were demoralized, which led to an increase in the number of desertions and the refusal of servicemen of the armed forces of the russian federation to take part in the war on the territory of Ukraine.

Let's keep the system! Let's win together! Glory to Ukraine!

06:00 Human Rights Watch: At least 500 civilians were taking shelter in bombed Mariupol theater.

Belkis Wille, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, said on March 16 that “this raises serious concerns about what the intended target was in a city where civilians have already been under siege for days.” The number of casualties is yet unknown.

The full article is here.

05:30 A video of the Ukrainian partisan at work has been recentlypublished (drone + POV):

05:00 The Governor of Sumy Oblast: Dmytro Zhyvytsky: Russian forces in Sumy Oblast evicting civilians from homes, stealing food.

Sumy governor Dmytro Zhyvytsky detailed the looting via Telegram on March 16.

The area has sustained heavy fighting since the start of Russia’s all-out invasion on Feb. 24.

04:30 Beautiful drone footage of Russian tank being destroyed by the Azov detachment in Mariupol:

04:00 A spokesperson to the Head of the President’s Office Darya Zarivna: The Mayor of Melitopol exchanged for nine Russian POWs.

Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov has been released from captivity in exchange for nine captured Russian servicemen.

The Mayor of Melitopol exchanged for nine Russian POWs, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
The Mayor of Melitopol Ivan Fedorov

"Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov was released from Russian captivity. For more than five days, the kidnappers detained the mayor, forcing him to cooperate, but Fedorov did not surrender. Russia received nine of its captive soldiers born in 2002-2003 in exchange for him. They are actually children," spokesperson to the Head of the President’s Office Darya Zarivna said on the air of the nationwide telethon, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

03:20 The Chief of the Chernihiv Region Police Department Volodymyr Nidzelsky: Death toll in attack on bread queue in Chernihiv rises to 13.

The number of civilians killed as a result of enemy shelling near a bread shop in Chernihiv has risen to 13.

"Russian troops launched insidious heavy artillery strikes on one of Chernihiv's residential neighborhoods. The shells hit a high-rise building and fell near a shop. There were a lot of people standing there, in a queue for bread. As a result of the enemy attack, 13 civilians were killed and dozens of people were injured," the Chief of the Chernihiv Region Police Department Volodymyr Nidzelsky posted on Facebook.

2:40 The Minister of Defense of Ukraine Oleksii Reznikov: Kremlin is collective Hitler of the 21st cetury.

The Minister of Defense of Ukraine Oleksii Reznikov spoke at an extraordinary meeting of the North Atlantic Council (NAC) at the level of Defence Ministers, noting that the Kremlin switched to terror tactics with mass killings of civilians, destruction, and brutality after the failure of the blitzkrieg tactics. According to the minister, the Kremlin is the collective Hitler of 21st century.

Kremlin is collective Hitler, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
The Minister of Defense of Ukraine Oleksii Reznikov spoke at an extraordinary meeting of the North Atlantic Council (NAC)

Addressing NATO Defence Ministers, Reznikov informed that the Russian occupiers had already killed 103 Ukrainian children, maimed more than 100, and killed about 3,000 civilians over three weeks of the active phase of the war. The full post of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine is available on Facebook.

2:20 The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy: Russian mothers could lose more children in this war than in Afghanistan and Chechnya combined.

If Russia's war against the Ukrainian people continues, Russia's mothers will lose more children than in the Afghan and Chechen wars combined.

Russian mothers could lose more children in this war than in Afghanistan and Chechnya combined, Defense Express
The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy

President Volodymyr Zelensky said this in his latest address, mentioning successful release of the Mayor of Melitopol, protests in temporary occupied Berdyansk. Moreover, Zelenskyy calls on world to officially recognize Russia as terrorist state. The full President's address is here.

1:50 Sarny Mayor Ruslan Serpeninov: Invaders fire missiles on Sarny, Rivne region.

Russian aggressors launched a missile strike on the town of Sarny in Rivne region. No casualties have been reported so far and no further information given.

"Missiles hit Sarny. No casualties have been reported so far," Sarny Mayor Ruslan Serpeninov posted on Facebook.

According to Head of the Rivne Regional Military Administration Vitaliy Koval, a military infrastructure facility was hit.

01.20 Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valeriy Zaluzhny: A Russian Su-25 aircraft was destroyed and another one, Su-35, was shot down in the sky over Kyiv region

"Just in the sky over Kyiv oblast enemy's SU-25 was destroyed and the enemy's SU-35 was shot down. In total, minus more than 10 russian air targets per day." - Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine General Valerii Zaluzhnyi posted on Facebook.

00.45 General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine unveiled current operational information on 24.00, 16.03.2022 regarding the russian invasion to Ukraine:

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

The enemy continues the offensive operation against our State. As of March 16, the enemy had not fully achieved any of the strategic goals of the offensive.

General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine unveiled current operational information, Defense Express

In the Volyn direction, the russian occupation forces, with the full support of the military and political leadership of the Republic of Belarus, continue to actively use its territory to deploy missile systems, launch missile strikes on Ukraine and organize all types of troops. Also, the armed forces of the Russian Federation are actively using the airfield network and transport infrastructure of the Republic of Belarus.

The State Border Committee of the Republic of Belarus constantly monitors the situation in the areas bordering Ukraine. In order to obtain intelligence information, Belarusian intelligence agencies are interviewing citizens crossing the Ukrainian-Belarusian border.

In the Polissya direction, the enemy continues to focus its main efforts on conducting reconnaissance and trying to organize a counter-battery fight. Has no significant success. During the fighting, units of the 36th All-Military Army of the Eastern Military District suffered significant losses in personnel and equipment and were forced to mobilize reserves prematurely.

There are no active offensive actions by the enemy in the Siversky and Slobozhansky directions. The occupiers are trying to gain a foothold on the previously captured borders, regroup troops and replenish supplies.

The enemy did not stop trying to advance south of the city of Izyum, probably in order to continue the offensive in the direction of Slovyansk. It is not successful.

In the South Buh area, the enemy continues to try to gain a foothold. After the attack on the Kherson airfield by units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which is temporarily under enemy control, the occupiers are trying to relocate the surviving equipment.

General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine unveiled current operational information, russia's forces bear heavy losses in Ukraine Defense Express
russia's forces bear heavy losses in Ukraine

The naval group of the Black Sea Fleet of the russian federation continues to block shipping in the northwestern part of the Black Sea.

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

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.

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