Day 29th 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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A "mindblowing" picture from the Chernihiv refion, delivered by the Special Operations Forces Command & the Territorial Defense of the Armed Forces of Ukraine / Photo credit: General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine
A "mindblowing" picture from the Chernihiv refion, delivered by the Special Operations Forces Command & the Territorial Defense of the Armed Forces of Ukraine / Photo credit: General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

After 28 days of unsuccessful military operation in Ukraine, Russia is suffering the problems of bad preparations: lack of food due to bad logistics, low morale due to heavy losses and lack of advance, cases of frostbite among the troops. The blitzkrieg has failed, so the invaders changed their tactics towards intimidation of civilians in order to try and get some advantage during negotiations. There is still a threat of Belarussian forces joining the war on the Russian side, the Ukrainian intelligence reports, while the Pentagon doesn't see indications of that

Brief facts:

  • Ukrainian military launched tenth attack on enemy forces in Chornobaivka.
  • UN High Commissioner for Human Rights stated that war in Ukraine killed at least 1,035 civilians, 1,650 injured.
  • US President Joe Biden called for Russia to be expelled from the G20 group of nations due to its ongoing war against Ukraine.
  • Leaders of G7 in their joint statement warns Russia against using chemical, biological, nuclear arms.
  • The USA in cooperation with the EU and G7 has imposed new sanctions on Russia – more than 600 individuals and entities have joined the sanctions lists (including 328 deputies of State Duma, the Russian parliament).
  • The leaders of states and governments of NATO member states after the extraordinary NATO summit called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to immediately end the war against Ukraine, assuring that those responsible for committing war crimes would be brought to justice.
  • The Prosecutor General's Office stated that 128 children were killed and more than 172 were injured as a result of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, as of the morning of March 24.
  • Ukrainian troops made a missile strike at the enemy's base in temporarily occupied Berdiansk - as a result a large landing ship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet "Orsk" (project 1171) was destroyed.
  • A Russian-drafted UN Security Council proposal calling for humanitarian aid access in Ukraine has been defeated with two "yes" votes and 13 abstentions.
  • The US government officially recognized that Russian forces had committed war crimes in Ukraine.
  • The UK, and later the USA in coordination with the EU and G7 announced new sanctions against oligarchs, deputies and industries supporting the war in Ukraine.

Sources:

Latest news:

00:40 Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine, Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov: Ukraine uses facial recognition software to identify Russian soldiers killed in combat.

Read more: Russia is Preparing to block the Crimean Bridge

Ukraine is using facial recognition software to help identify the bodies of Russian soldiers killed in combat and track down their families to inform them of their deaths, Ukraine’s vice-prime minister told the Reuters news service – The Guardian reports.

Ukraine is using facial recognition software to help identify the bodies of Russian soldiers killed in combat, Defense Express
Ukraine is using facial recognition software to help identify the bodies of Russian soldiers killed in combat

Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Digital Transformation who also runs the ministry of digital transformation, told Reuters his country had been using software facial recognition provider Clearview AI to find the social media accounts of dead Russian soldiers.

“As a courtesy to the mothers of those soldiers, we are disseminating this information over social media to at least let families know that they’ve lost their sons and to then enable them to come to collect their bodies,” Fedorov said in an interview, speaking via a translator.

Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine, Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov, Defense Express
Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine, Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov / Photo credit: Dubetskyi-Ph

Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense this month began using technology from Clearview, which scrapes images on the web to match with faces featured in uploaded photos. Reuters first reported Ukraine’s use of Clearview earlier this month, but it was not clear at that time how the technology would be used.

Clearview offered its service free of charge to Ukraine after the Russian invasion and has said its search engine includes more than 2bn images from VKontakte, a popular Russian social media service. VKontakte did not respond to a request for comment.

As a reminder: A New York based software company, Clearview AI has sparked criticism over its privacy practices from users and authorities around the world.

Ukraine uses facial recognition software to identify Russian soldiers killed in combat, Clearview AI, Defense Express

00:20 Ukrainian military launches tenth attack on enemy forces in Chornobaivka

The Armed Forces of Ukraine attacked Russian forces stationed at the airfield in Chornobaivka, the Kherson region, for the tenth time.

Vitaliy Kim, the head of the Mykolaiv regional military administration, said this on Telegram, Ukrinform reports.

"Chornobaivka)))," Kim wrote.

Oleksiy Arestovych, a freelance adviser to the head of the President's Office, confirmed the report. "That's the tenth time [Russian forces come under attack] in Chornobaivka. The mass movement of Russian troops across the Antonov Bridge is currently observed - they are fleeing!" he wrote on Facebook.

Arestovych suggested that the Ukrainian Armed Forces had eliminated "someone from the [Russian military] leadership."

23:40 Almost 130 invaders, nine enemy tanks, six IFVs destroyed in Ukraine’s east.

Over the past day, in the zone of responsibility of the East Operational and Tactical Grouping, Ukrainian soldiers repulsed five attacks by Russian fascist troops and destroyed enemy equipment.

According to Ukrinform, this was reported on Facebook by the press service of the Operational Tactical Grouping.

"Ukrainian soldiers repulsed five attacks by Russian fascist troops. As a result of battles the following was destroyed: up to 130 personnel, 9 tanks, 1 armored personnel carrier, 6 infantry fighting vehicles, 5 self-propelled howitzers and artillery guns, 8 ATs (grenade launchers- ed.), and 1 UR-77 (Soviet self-propelled jet installation). Another batch of Russian fascist evil is already burning in hell. You will not be forgiven, and all crimes will be punished," the statement said.

22:50 The head of the Kharkiv Regional Military State Administration Oleh Synehubov: Russian attack helicopter strikes own forces’ positions in Kharkiv region.

In the village of Mala Rohan, Kharkiv region, the positions of russian invaders came under friendly fire from a russian attack helicopter.

This was announced by the head of the Kharkiv Regional Military State Administration Oleh Synehubov, on Telegram – Ukrinform reports.

Kharkiv Regional Military State Administration Oleh Synehubov, Russian attack helicopter strikes own forces’ positions in Kharkiv region, Defense Express
As the head of the Kharkiv Regional Military State Administration Oleh Synehubov states, russian attack helicopter strikes own forces’ positions in Mala Rohan, Kharkiv region / Illustrative photo

"The Russian occupiers in Kharkiv region suffered yet another fiasco. It was friendly fire. In the morning, the Russian helicopter engaged their own positions, annihilating a huge number of personnel and military equipment of the occupying forces in Mala Rohan," the official wrote.

According to Synehubov, it was these affected Russian units who had been constantly shelling the city of Kharkiv using artillery and multiple rocket launchers.

22:25 The UN General Assembly passes resolution demanding aid access, by large majority.

The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly demanded civilian protection and humanitarian access in Ukraine on Thursday, March 24, while also criticizing Russia for creating a “dire” humanitarian situation resulting from its invasion exactly one month ago.

The UN General Assembly passes resolution demanding aid access, by large majority, Defense Express
Sergiy Kyslytsya (at podium), Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the UN, addresses the UN General Assembly Emergency Special Session on Ukraine / Photo credit: UN Photo/Mark Garten

During its 11th Emergency Special Session, 193 Member States adopted a resolution – drafted by Ukraine and 90 co-sponsors entitled Humanitarian consequences of the aggression against Ukraine – with 140 votes in favour, five against – Russia, Syria, The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (more commonly known as North Korea), Eritrea and Belarus – and 38 others abstaining.

The UN General Assembly passes resolution demanding aid access, by large majority, Defense Express
Tally of General Assembly vote adopting the resolution on "Humanitarian consequences of the aggression against Ukraine." / UN Web TV

21:55 UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: War in Ukraine kills at least 1,035 civilians, 1,650 injured.

From February 24, 2022, when Russia started the war against Ukraine, until 24:00 on March 23, 2022, civilian casualties amounted to 2,685 people (in the report a day earlier - 2,571), including 1,035 dead (977), reports the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Wednesday, March 23.

"UNHCHR believes that the real numbers are much higher, especially in government-controlled territory, and especially in recent days, as information from some places where there has been intense fighting has been delayed, and many reports are still awaiting confirmation," it said.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: War in Ukraine kills at least 1,035 civilians, 1,650 injured, Defense Express
Modola Ukrainian refugees, some with children, arrive at the Palanca border crossing in Moldova / Photo credit: UNICEF/Siegfried

According to him, this applies, for example, to Mariupol and Volnovakha (Donetsk region), Izium (Kharkiv region), Severodonetsk and Rubizhne (Luhansk region), Trostianets (Sumy region), where there are reports of numerous civilian casualties. They are subject to further verification and are not included in the above statistics.

"The majority of civilian deaths or injuries were caused by the use of explosive devices with a wide area of effect, including shelling from heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems, as well as rocket and air strikes," the report says.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: War in Ukraine kills at least 1,035 civilians, 1,650 injured, Defense Express
Refugees from Ukraine enter Poland at the Medyka border crossing / Photo credit: UNHCR/Chris Melzer

According to confirmed UN data, 214 men, 160 women, 28 boys and 14 girls died, while the sex of 48 children and 571 adults has not yet been determined.

Among the 1,650 injured, there are 28 girls and 23 boys, as well as 67 children, whose sex has not yet been determined.

Compared to the previous day, nine children were killed and ten were injured, according to the UN.

The office indicates that in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, as of midnight on March 24, there were 255 (224) dead and 646 (621) injured in government-controlled territory, and 56 (55) dead and 211 (202) injured in the non-controlled territory.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: War in Ukraine kills at least 1,035 civilians, 1,650 injured, Defense Express
Families arrive in Berdyszcze, Poland, after crossing the border from Ukraine, fleeing escalating conflict / Photo credit: UNICEF/Tom Remp

In other regions of Ukraine under government control (in Kyiv, as well as in Zhytomyr, Zaporizhia, Kyiv, Sumy, Odesa, Mykolaiv, Kharkiv, Kherson, Dnipropetrovsk, Cherkasy and Chernihiv regions), the UN recorded 724 (698) dead and 793 (771) injured.

21:30 The U.S. President Joe Biden: Russia should be expelled from G20 amid war on Ukraine.

US President Joe Biden called for Russia to be expelled from the G20 group of nations on Thursday, March 24, due to its ongoing war against Ukraine.

Biden, however, acknowledged that any action "depends on the G20," but said it was discussed during his meetings with NATO and allied nations in Brussels. Biden said he proposed an alternative if there is no agreement within the body for Russia's removal.

In that event, Biden said Ukraine should be allowed to attend G20 meetings as an observer.

The President of the United States of America Joe Biden says Russia should be expelled from G20 amid war on Ukraine, Defense Express
The President of the United States of America Joe Biden says Russia should be expelled from G20 amid war on Ukraine

Biden continued to warn Russia against any potential use of chemical weapons in Ukraine, saying "we would respond if" Russian President Vladimir Putin uses the weapons of mass destruction. He continued to remain vague on the nature of the response, after previously warning of "severe consequences."

"The nature of the response would depend on the nature of the use," Biden said during a press conference at NATO headquarters.

The US president hailed the transatlantic alliance's unity in the face of Russia's war, saying it "has never, never been more united than it is today."

"Putin is getting exactly the opposite of what he intended to have as a consequence of going into Ukraine. We built that same unity with the European Union, and with the leading democracies in the G7," Biden said.

As reminder: The G20 includes some of the world's largest economies. Russia was removed from what was then known as the G8 in 2014 after it unilaterally annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, and began its support for separatists rebels in eastern Ukraine.

The G8 is now the G7, and includes the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom.

21.10 Leaders of G7 in their joint statement warns Russia against using chemical, biological, nuclear arms.

The G7 group of the world's major economic powers on Thursday warned Russia against the use of weapons of mass destruction in Ukraine, - Anadolu Agency reports.

"We warn against any threat of the use of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons or related materials," the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US said in a joint statement following a meeting in Brussels.

Leaders of G7 in their joint statement warns Russia against using chemical, biological, nuclear arms, Defense Express
Leaders of G7 in their joint statement warns Russia against using chemical, biological, nuclear arms

"We recall Russia's obligations under the international treaties to which it is a signatory," they stressed.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the current chair of the G7 group, told reporters after the meeting that Western nations are concerned that Russia could stage "false flag" operations using such weapons.

"Russia is repeatedly claiming that Ukraine is developing biological and chemical weapons, or saying others are doing it there. None of these are true," he said.

"But, one has to take them into consideration, make preparations against potential false flag operations," he added.

In their joint statement, the leaders of the G7 countries called on Russia to suspend military operations without any further delay and withdraw its forces from the entire territory of Ukraine.

The leaders vowed to fully implement the economic and financial measures already imposed on Moscow, but did not announce new sanctions on Russian oil and gas.

20:50 General Staff: operational information as of 18:00, 24.03.2022 regarding the Russian invasion. Key points:

  • Despite significant losses and demoralised personnel, the military-political leadership of the russian federation does not refuse to continue its war against Ukraine.
  • The vast majority of the russian federation's medical institutions in settlements located near the territory of Ukraine, are occupied by wounded enemy’s servicemen.
  • Funerall ceremony with approximately 100 dead members of 126th separate coast guard brigade heldin the temporarily occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
  • Similar funeral ceremony for the marines of the Black Sea fleet who was eliminated by defenders of Ukraine took place recently at the sailors' club in the city of Sevastopol.

20:36 Air Force: Ukrainian air defense has taken down one UAV and one Su-34 fighter-bomber jet. The occupiers' aircraft was shot in the Kharkiv direction, Air Command "East" reports.

20:15 Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has adopted "vital laws" in the field of national security and defense. These include:

  • Minister of Defense and the Vice-Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine were added to the list of officials who are provided with state bodyguards. Note: currently, Oleksii Reznikov is the MoD, and Olena Kondratiuk is the Deputy Chair of the Ukrainian Parliament.
  • some regulations concerned criminal responsibility for cyber-crimes, collaboration with the enemy, illegal sharing of information on the location of the Ukrainian armed forces and unlawful use of humanitarian aid;
  • persons who willingly hand over their weapons were released from criminal responsibility
  • some rules on holding prisoners of war were prescribed, including the separate maintenance of the detained and the convicted POWs, as well as regulation where they should be kept before being sent to specialized сamps
  • another law improves the functioning of the Territorial Defense Forces of the AF of Ukraine

19:55 Oleh Synyehubov, the Head of the Kharkiv state administration: Russian forces have attacked their own positions.

"In the morning [of March 24], a Russian helicopter 'accurately worked out' friendly positions, destroyed a large amount of manpower and military equipment of the occupation forces in Mala Rohan. These were the occupiers who shelled Kharkiv city from artillery and MLRS," Synyehubov wrote on his Telegram channel and encouraged Russians to do more of such "friendly fire" attacks.

19:48 Operational Command "North" reported about the destruction of a column of Russian vehicles. At least two "Tigr" infantry mobility vehicles, a tank and a truck of the Russian army "got lost" in the woods of Chernihiv region. After Ukrainian military strikes, some of the Russian troops began to flee "but they won't run far away," the North Command said on Facebook.

19:17 Ukrainian Navy: the commanders of the two Russian landing ships, that were damaged in Berdyansk today, turned out to be traitors of Ukraine.

The commanders of "Saratov" and "Novocherkassk" landing ships of the Russian armed forces are the ones who betrayed Ukraine in 2014 during the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.

"Today, we all have seen how the ships took to their heels and fled from the Berdyansk port. There is a fire on 'Saratov', the ammunition detonated. On the 'Novocherkassk', there are 3 people killed and 3 injured. This is what happens when you take traitors on service. They are weak, in 2014 they took 30 pieces of silver, and today thanks to their 'professionalism' the ruscists have lost two more Dock Landing Ships," the Ukrainian Marines wrote on Facebook.

They also offered to the traitors to "sink their ships themselves" in order to redeem their conscience and even earn a reward.

17:35 New sanctions:

Stratcom Centre: the USA in cooperation with the EU and G7 has imposed new sanctions on Russia. RF parliament deputies and 48 defense industry companies are on the list.

More than 600 individuals and entities have joined the sanctions lists (including 328 deputies of State Duma, the Russian parliament)

Also, the US Ministry of Finance announced that all the previous sanctions now also apply to any transaction involving gold.

Defense Express: British Foreign Affairs Secretary Liz Truss announced new UK sanctions on Russia. New 65 sanctions are targeting strategic industries, banks, and business elites. This was announced by the UK government.

The list includes Russian Railways and defense company Kronshtadt, the main producer of Russian drones. The Wagner Group – the organization of Russian mercenaries that reportedly tasked with assassinating Ukrainian President Zelenskyy – has also been sanctioned.

Six more banks were targeted, including Alfa Bank, ALROSA, Gazprombank etc.

The list of sanctioned individuals includes the billionaire oil tycoon Eugene Shvidler, founder of Tinkoff bank Oleg Tinkov, Herman Gref, the CEO of Russia’s largest bank Sberbank.

For the first time, an individual has been sanctioned for collaboration with Russian forces currently in Ukraine. Galina Danilchenko, who was installed by Russia as the 'mayor' of Melitopol is also sanctioned.

17:27 Verkhovna Rada: the first exchange of war hostages occurred on President Zelenskyy's order. 10 captured Russian occupiers were exchanged for 10 Ukrainian servicemen, Iryna Vereshchuk from the Presidential Office informed.

"Additionally, today, we exchanged 11 Russian sailors we rescued from a sunken ship near Odesa for 19 Ukrainian sailors. Our sailors will return home from the rescue ship 'Sapphire,' which was captured by the Russian occupiers while trying to withdraw Ukrainian troops from the Zmiiny island. Under the exchange terms, the lifeboat will also be returned to Ukraine and sent to a Turkish port," the official wrote on her Telegram channel.

Defense Express / The speakers of the parliaments of Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania signed a joint statement on the Russian war in Ukraine / Day 29th of Ukraine's Defense Against Russian Invasion (Live Updates)
The speakers of the parliaments of Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania signed a joint statement on the Russian war in Ukraine / Photo credit: Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine

17:15 Verkhovna Rada: the speakers of the parliaments of Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania signed a joint statement on the Russian war in Ukraine. The joint statement, signed on March 24, is aimed to combine their efforts to end the aggression and restore security in Europe.

Among the other points, the Statement :

  • stresses the necessity to give Ukraine the EU candidate country status;
  • full-heartedly endorses the continuation of the NATO open-door policy;
  • calls International Community to immediately establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine in order to prevent massive civilian casualties;
  • proposes International Community impose a full trade embargo against Russia;
  • calls on the countries to enlarge the provision of all necessary weaponry that Ukraine needs to win the war;
  • states that the war crimes of the Kremlin regime must not remain unpunished by the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court;
  • emphasizes the need to initiate the talks on the reconstruction of Ukraine right now and as well on advocating a comprehensive aid plan for Ukraine's economic recovery.

17:04 Special Operations Regiment "Azov" has published another video of elimination of a Russian armored personnel carrier in the streets of Mariupol

17:01 Oleh Synyehubov, Head of the Kharkiv region state administration: Russians fired long-range weapons at the postal office where Kharkiv residents were receiving humanitarian aid.

According to preliminary data, the occupiers have killed six civilians. Another 15 people were injured and later hospitalized. The number of victims is being clarified.

16:00 British Prime Minister Boris Johnson: GB to send additional military help.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson: GB to send additional military help, Defense Express
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

The measures announced today include 6,000 missiles, consisting of anti-tank and high explosive weapons, and £25 million in financial backing for the Ukrainian military. This more than doubles the defensive lethal aid provided to date to more than 10,000 missiles, and comes on top of the £400 million the UK has committed in humanitarian and economic aid for the crisis. The Prime Minister will set out the UK’s intention to work with partners to bolster Ukraine’s defence capabilities, including longer-range targeting and intelligence, as the Ukrainian people face down an unprovoked invasion.

15:55 Extraordinary NATO summit statement: NATO leaders urge Putin to end war, assuring those responsible for war crimes to be punished.

The leaders of states and governments of NATO member states called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to immediately end the war against Ukraine, assuring that those responsible for committing war crimes would be brought to justice.

Extraordinary NATO summit statement: NATO leaders urge Putin to end war, assuring those responsible for war crimes to be punished, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war

This is discussed in the statement of the extraordinary summit, which took place in Brussels on Thursday. "We condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine in the strongest possible terms. We call on President Putin to immediately stop this war and withdraw military forces from Ukraine, and call on Belarus to end its complicity, in line with the Aggression Against Ukraine Resolution adopted at the UN General Assembly of 2 March 2022," the NATO member states leaders said in the statement.

15:30 Operational Command “North” informs that Ukrainian resistance forces have destroyed russia’s tank, KamAZ and at least two armored vehicles “Tigr”.

15:10 The Wall Street Journal: Western officials' strategy initially envisaged equipping a nascent Ukrainian insurgency that would employ guerrilla tactics against Russian occupiers.

Western security officials recall the transfer of weapons to mujahedeen fighters who defeated the Soviet Union in Afghanistan and intended to act the same during Russian-Ukrainian war.

The Wall Street Journal: Western officials' strategy initially envisaged equipping a nascent Ukrainian insurgency that would employ guerrilla tactics against Russian occupiers, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Ukrainian-Russian war
Illustrative photo

Instead, because Ukraine’s military has managed to keep Moscow’s forces at bay in much of the country, the task has become equipping a regular army engaged in a large-scale conventional war, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The Ukrainians are expending a lot of ordnance, and this is more than we anticipated,” said a Western security official. “We are trying to step up the flow of weapons to meet that new requirement and there are constant shortages.”

14:25 Commissioner for Human Rights of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Liudmyla Denisova: Drinking water cut off to more than ten Ukrainian cities.

Millions of Ukrainians in more than ten cities are deprived of access to drinking water due to the aggression of the Russian military, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Liudmyla Denisova has said.

Commissioner for Human Rights of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Liudmyla Denisova: Drinking water cut off to more than ten Ukrainian cities, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
Commissioner for Human Rights of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Liudmyla Denisova

"Due to the actions of the Russian occupiers, the right of millions of Ukrainians to access to drinking water is being violated. The war partially or completely deprived residents of Mariupol, Mykolaiv, Kharkiv, Okhtyrka, Izium, Makariv, Polohy, Vasylivka, Orikhiv, Huliaipole, Chernihiv, Trostianets and many other settlements," the ombudsman said on Telegram channel on Thursday.

According to Denisova, 200,000 people in Donetsk region alone do not have access to drinking water.

"With the increase in the scale of the clashes, there is a threat that in the coming weeks the Donetsk region may be completely disconnected from the water supply," her message said.

14:00 The Mariupol City Council: Invaders deporting thousands of Mariupol residents to Russia.

Russian invaders are deporting thousands of Mariupol residents to Russia.

The Mariupol City Council: Invaders deporting thousands of Mariupol residents to Russia, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
Mariupol, Illustrative photo

According to Ukrinform, the Mariupol City Council said this in a statement posted on Telegram.

"They are beginning to deport residents of the Livoberezhny district en masse to Russian territory. In total, about 15,000 Mariupol residents were illegally deported. This is about half of all residents who still stay in the Livoberezhny district. It is known that the occupiers issue ultimatums and force people, already exhausted by the war, to get on buses. There are also reports that the Russian occupiers are confiscating people's passports and other Ukrainian identity documents," the statement said.

The city council said the deported people are first taken to "filtration camps" from where they are sent to various remote cities in Russia.

Today it is known that about 6,000 Mariupol residents have already been forcibly deported to the territory of the invaders.

"Despite the fact that the Russian side regularly announces the possible evacuation of people to the territory controlled by Ukraine, in reality this is not the case. For the past 20 days, the occupiers have been blocking evacuation columns and preventing the safe rescue of people. Now the buses that left Zaporizhia for Berdiansk to evacuate Mariupol residents have been blocked. Obviously, this is done only to prevent people from returning to Ukrainian-controlled territory, despite the fact that this is exactly what the residents of the Ukrainian city want," the city council said.

Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko said the city authorities are currently forming a database of deported Mariupol residents and will be working on their return to Ukraine.

"What the Russian occupiers are doing cannot be explained in any way. First, they blockade a peaceful city, deliberately start killing people and then forcibly deport them to their territory. Ukraine experienced this only during the Second World War. Unfortunately, history repeats itself. But now these are not the Nazis but the Russian fascists," Boichenko said.

13:50 The State Emergency Service of Ukraine: Over 10 houses damaged in Zhytomyr region in occupant's rocket strikes on Thursday, one person injured.

On Thursday, Russian forces launched rocket attacks on the villages of Kyrdany and Rakivschyna in Korosten district of Zhytomyr region, the building of a lyceum, residential buildings were damaged, one person was injured, the State Emergency Service has said.

"On March 24, at about 9:00, as a result of rocket attacks, the building of the lyceum, the boiler room and the house of culture in the village of Kyrdany, Korosten district, were damaged without subsequent burning. No deaths or injuries are reported," the State Emergency Service said on its Telegram channel on Thursday.

13:30 Operational information as of 12.00 24.03.2022 regarding the russian invasion.

The 29th day of the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people to the russian military invasion continues.

The full-scale armed aggression of the russian federation against Ukraine continues. The enemy continues to suffer significant losses.

To replenish them, the Russian invaders are recruiting reserve officers, conscripts and sergeants. The practice of recruiting mercenaries, recruited by russian private military companies, persists.

In order to restore combat capability, the commanders of the Armed Forces of the russian federation have made a number of decisions to remove from storage and send to military units that restore combat capability, obsolete armoured vehicles.

In the temporarily occupied by the enemy territories, there are frequent cases of seizure of trucks and special agricultural machinery from private entrepreneurs and farmers.

According to the information received, the military-political leadership of the russian federation has decided to adjust the plans for further hostilities on the territory of Ukraine due to the fact that the goals set before the war with Ukraine were not met in time.

Over the past two weeks, more than 20 enterprises of the military-industrial complex of the russian federation have been forced to suspend their activities in whole or in part due to lack of components and parts. In particular, the production of aircraft missiles at the russian research and production enterprise "Vimpel" was suspended.

At the same time, the russian military leadership is transferring weapons and military equipment from military districts to the territory of Belarus and the temporarily occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea. The goal is to make an attempt to prepare and implement offensive actions for the encirclement of the city of Kyiv.

The Russian military leadership is beginning to realize that the available forces and means are not enough to maintain the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine and conduct defense operations.

In the Volyn, Polissya, and Siversky directions, the enemy was forced to abandon offensive operations, regroup troops, and hold previously occupied frontiers. Takes measures to mislead our units and continues to conduct reconnaissance.

Units of the Armed Forces of the republic of belarus continue to be involved in covering certain sections of the belarusian-Ukrainian border.

Enemy units are trying to blockade Chernihiv and capture the city of Slavutych, but did not achieve their goal.

In the Slobozhansky direction, the enemy continues to blockade the city of Sumy. It did not take any active actions in the direction of Kharkiv. The main efforts focused on the destruction of the city's civilian infrastructure.

There was not any success in the Izium direction. The russian enemy suffered losses. It retreated to the southern part of the city.

In the Donetsk direction, the enemy does not refuse to conduct offensive operations, with the ultimate goal of reaching the administrative borders of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

In the South Buh area, the enemy is defending, taking measures to restore combat capability, replenish ammunition and fuel and oil in preparation for the resumption of offensive operations.

Units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine attacked large landing ships stationed in the port of Berdyask. As a result, a fire broke out on a large landing ship of project 1171, followed by the detonation of ammunition (enemy losses are being clarified).

We’re strong together! We believe in the Armed Forces of Ukraine! Keep calm! Glory to Ukraine!

12:50 The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy to NATO: You can give us 1% of your planes and tanks.

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, speaking at the NATO summit, has said that the Alliance could provide Ukraine with 1% of all its tanks and aircraft.

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy: You can give us 1% of your planes and tanks, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy

The head of state recalled that Ukraine had applied to NATO representatives for combat aircraft and tanks, both on a reimbursable and non-reimbursable basis, to prevent deaths among its own population and unblock the cities surrounded and occupied by Russian troops.

"But they didn't give us a single one... This is the worst thing during the war – not to have clear answers to requests for help. Ukraine never wanted this war. And does not want to fight for years. We just want to save our people. We want to survive! Like anyone people, we have the right to this. The right to life. The right to this percentage," Zelenskyy said.

"I don't blame NATO. You shouldn't. It's not your rockets and bombs that are destroying our cities. There were phosphorus bombs today. Both adults and children were killed. I just want you to know: the Alliance can still prevent Ukrainians from dying from Russian strikes. By providing give us all the weapons we need," the President added.

12:00 Deputy Head of the President's Office Kyrylo Tymoshenko: On March 23, 4,554 Ukrainians evacuated via safe corridors.

During the day on March 23, 4,554 Ukrainians were evacuated via safe corridors, Deputy Head of the President's Office Kyrylo Tymoshenko has said via Telegram.

Deputy Head of the President's Office Kyrylo Tymoshenko: On March 23, 4,554 Ukrainians evacuated via safe corridors, Defense Express
Deputy Head of the President's Office Kyrylo Tymoshenko

In particular, 2,912 residents of Mariupol reached Zaporizhia in their own cars.

Some 51 people were evacuated from Huliaipole to Zaporizhia. Humanitarian aid has been delivered to the city.

In Kyiv region, 919 Ukrainians were evacuated from the villages of Velyka Dymerka, Bohdanovka, Svitylnia.

11.20 The Minister of Defense of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov: Ukrainian Army moving to proactive defense.

The Minister of Defense of Ukraine states that the Ukrainian army has withstood the initial blow, keeps repelling the enemy, and is now moving to proactive defense.

The Minister of Defense of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov: Ukrainian Army moving to proactive defense, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
The Minister of Defense of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov

The minister made the statement via Facebook on March 24, Ukrinform reports.

This period of the war, which began with Russia's attack on Crimea more than eight years ago, will go down in history as ‘invincibility month.’ The Ukrainian Army and Ukrainian people have withstood the blow that could have broken many. But not us. I’d like to express my sheer gratitude to all defenders, male and female, all citizens who have been working in their place for our country to live on," Reznikov emphasized.

According to the minister, throughout this time, Ukrainians have proved to themselves and the world that Ukraine is above all for them and that "we will not allow anyone to take away from us the state the generations of Ukrainians dreamed of, fought for, died, were deported to Siberia or Solovki."

11:00 The Prosecutor General's Office: As of the morning of March 24, as a result of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, 128 children were killed and more than 172 were injured.

"As of the morning of March 24, 2022, a total of 128 children were killed, more than 172 were injured. The children were affected the most in Kyiv - 64, Kharkiv - 43, Donetsk - 43, Chernihiv - 32, Mykolaiv - 24, the city of Kyiv - 16, Zhytomyr - 15 , Kherson - 15 and Sumy - 14 regions," the report says.

It clarifies that as a result of bombing and shelling of the invaders in Ukraine, 566 educational institutions were damaged, 73 of which were completely destroyed.

"Among educational institutions, more than 230 schools and 155 kindergartens were damaged and destroyed.

They add that more than 40 institutions for children have also been destroyed, including medical, art schools, sports facilities, and libraries.

"These data are not final, given the lack of the possibility of inspecting the places of shelling in places where active hostilities are taking place and in the temporarily occupied territories," the Prosecutor General's Office said.

10:23 Oleh Synehubov, the head of the Kharkiv regional military administration: Over the past 24 hours, Russians have intensified their shelling of Kharkiv with MLRS "Grad" and "Uragan", and the center of the city was attacked with Caliber missiles from ships of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation.

"Over the past 24 hours, the Russians have dealt 44 strikes, activated the MLRS Grad and Uragan 140 times. In the center of the city, the invaders fired Caliber missiles from the ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet," Synehubov wrote in his Telegram channel.

According to him, on the evening of March 23, the enemy fired at Stara Saltovka (a residential area of Kharkiv), and on the morning of March 24 - Zolochiv, there are victims. Also, the fighting continues in Izium region.

"Although the Russians are trying to strengthen the direction, the Ukrainian army repels all attacks near Izium," Synehubov wrote.

He also said that the Armed Forces of Ukraine shot down two more Russian aircraft.

Synehubov said that the Kharkiv regional military administration, together with the Office of the President and Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereschuk, are trying to find and return head of Tsyrkuny Mykola Sikalenko, who was abducted by the invaders on the morning of March 22.

"Tsyrkuny village head Mykola Sikalenko is still in captivity of the enemy. The invaders abducted him from his own house two days ago. Today, together with the President's Office, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereschuk, we are doing everything to find and return Mykola Sikalenko," Synehubov wrote.

09:45 Press service of the Ukrainian Navy: This morning, Ukrainian troops made a missile strike at the enemy's base, located in the seaport of the temporarily occupied Berdiansk. As a result of this attack, a large landing ship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet "Orsk" (project 1171) was destroyed.

08:34 The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has posted the new summary of total combat losses of the enemy from 24.02 to 24.03. Find them in an infographic by Defense Express:

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

Personnel - more 15 800,

Tanks ‒ 530 units,

APV ‒ 1597 units,

Artillery systems – 280 units,

MLRS – 82 units,

Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 47 units,

Aircraft – 108 units,

Helicopters – 124 units,

Vehicles – 1033 units,

Boats / cutters - 4 units,

Fuel tanks - 72,

UAV operational-tactical level - 50 units,

Special equipment - 16.

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

07:45 The lower house of the Polish parliament passed a resolution condemning Russia's actions in Ukraine, calling them crimes against humanity and acts of genocide. Polish MPs approved the document unanimously and by a standing ovation, an Ukrinform correspondent reported.

“The Sejm of the Republic of Poland strongly condemns acts of prolonged violence, war crimes, crimes against humanity, acts of genocide, systemic infringements of human rights and other criminal violations of international law, which are committed in the territory of sovereign Ukraine by the armed forces of the Russian Federation together with allies by the orders of military commanders under the direct leadership of President Vladimir Putin,” reads the statement.

The Sejm of the Republic of Poland
The Sejm of the Republic of Poland

The Sejm calls on all states that recognize the sovereignty, territorial integrity and right of Ukraine to self-determination to support by all means the launch and conduct of trials in the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court, and to exercise their powers in all international organizations of which they are members, in order “to bring to justice Vladimir Putin, members of the Russian Security Council and commanders of the armed forces of the Russian Federation for war crimes, crimes against humanity, acts of genocide and systemic human rights violations committed in the territory of sovereign Ukraine.”

According to the resolution, publicly available evidence of these crimes gives the Sejm and the international community grounds to recognize Vladimir Putin as a war criminal.

06:56 The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine has released its latest operational report as of 6am this morning local time. In it, officials say Russian forces continue to focus on Kyiv, Chernihiv and Kharkiv regions. In Kherson, Russian troops “terrorise the local population” and use Rosguardia units (Russia’s national guard) to prevent civil disobedience against Russian occupying authorities, the report reads.

06:12 Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said he does not expect any breakthroughs at the summit of NATO leaders on March 24, but Kyiv does not remove the issue of creating a no-fly zone over Ukraine from the agenda. He said this during a telethon on a Ukrainian TV set.

"No, unfortunately, I do not expect [any breakthroughs at the NATO summit] because I objectively assess the situation inside the alliance and its readiness for some tough, radical action. […] But we need to work, and there will definitely be a result, just over the course of time," Kuleba said.

He added that the Ukrainian delegation would not be present at the meeting.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba

Kuleba also noted that although a number of NATO countries, despite intimidation from Russia, have consistently supported Ukraine with practical action, Kyiv lacks support from the entire alliance.

05:07 Pentagon: No signs Belarus preparing to invade Ukraine. Voice of America correspondent Carla Babb relayed the information on Twitter on March 23, citing an unnamed U.S. Department of Defense official. Ukrainian intelligence previously said on March 20 that it expected Belarus to join Russia in its invasion of Ukraine within 1-2 days of its announcement.

At the same time, certain units of the armed forces of the Republic of Belarus are still likely to participate in the Russian aggression against Ukraine. In particular, according to the General Staff, there are up to 4 battalion tactical groups of the Belarusian Armed Forces near Ukraine’s border.

01:01 General Staff: operational information as of 00:00, 24.03.2022 regarding the Russian invasion. Key points:

  • Russians have not succeeded in advancing to the administrative borders of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, encircling the city of Kyiv and establishing control over the Ukrainian territories on the left bank of the Dnipro river
  • Due to the heavy losses, the occupation forces command continues to form and deploy additional units of the armed forces of the Russian Federation to the border with Ukraine. According to the available data, the 144th Motorized Rifle Division of the 20th Guards Combined Arms Army is being replenished by the means of contracting in local military registration and enlistment offices of the Smolensk region in Russia. Also, the servicemen coming back from Syria are involved in the replenishment of the occupation units.
  • Russians continue active shellings in the Donetsk direction, trying to break through the Ukrainian defense. Regroup and concentrate their forces for a further offensive. The invaders conduct active reconnaissance and try to advance passing by Ukrainian positions without engaging in combat.
  • There is still a possibility remaining of involvement of some units of Belarussian armed forces in Russian aggression against Ukraine. The available data indicates the presence of 4 battalion tactical groups of the armed forces of the Republic of Belarus.

00:25 Al Jazeera media: a Russian-drafted UN Security Council proposal calling for humanitarian aid access in Ukraine has been defeated with two "yes" votes and 13 abstentions. Only Russia and China voted in favor of the draft resolution. The US and its allies had voiced opposition to the measure because it does not assign blame for the crisis.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US ambassador to the UN commented on this resolution before the vote:

"Russia does not care about the deteriorating humanitarian conditions or the millions of lives and dreams the war has shattered. If they cared, they would stop fighting. Russia is the aggressor, the attacker, the invader, the sole party in Ukraine engaged in a campaign of brutality against the people of Ukraine."

00:00 US Department of State: the US government assesses that members of Russia’s forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine. It was announced by the Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken. He said, the assessment is based on a careful review of available information from public and intelligence sources, and expressed the commitment to keep tracking the reports of war crimes, share the information about them and pursue accountability "using every tool available, including criminal prosecutions."

"Many of the sites Russia’s forces have hit have been clearly identifiable as in-use by civilians. This includes the Mariupol maternity hospital, as the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights expressly noted in a March 11 report. It also includes a strike that hit a Mariupol theater, clearly marked with the word “дети” – Russian for “children” – in huge letters visible from the sky," Blinken specified.

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, in some directions Ukrainian military push back the invaders

- 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 for evacuation and convoys with humanitarian aid

- Humanitarian corridors: despite repetitive violations of ceasefire and shelling of evacuation transport, some of the humanitarian corridors work. The direst situation is in Mariupol, which is currently in Russian blockade, resisting

- 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: fighter jets or ground-based missile systems; some countries have expressed willingness to give their weapons if NATO provides corresponding defensive equipment in exchange (Poland, Slovakia)

- 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 negotiations continue "non-stop" in an online format; President Zelenskyy expressed readiness to directly talk with Putin.

Read more: Day 28th of Ukraine's Defense Against Russian Invasion (Live Updates)
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