Day 34th 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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Residents of Rudnytske town greeting Ukrainian soldiers after the liberation from the Russian occupiers. March, 28 / Photo credit: Nolan Peterson, Twitter
Residents of Rudnytske town greeting Ukrainian soldiers after the liberation from the Russian occupiers. March, 28 / Photo credit: Nolan Peterson, Twitter

A new round of Ukraine-Russia peace talks begins in Istanbul, Turkiye. There is a lot of controversy over these negotiations, as Putin continues to insist on conditions Ukraine cannot accept. The Ukrainian side stresses, that the program minimum will be the discussion on humanitarian issues and hopes for Russia to stop talking in ultimatums. At the same time, investigative journalists claim that several delegates might have been poisoned earlier this month, some officials doubt that while others stay silent

Brief facts:

  • Ukrainian negotiator stated after peace talks in Istanbu that Ukraine wants to see eight countries, including US, UK, Turkiye, France, Germany, as guarantors in a possible deal with Russia.
  • A Russian rocket hit the Regional State Administration building in the southern Ukrainian port city of Mykolaiv today. The death of seven people under the rubble of the building has been confirmed.
  • Ukraine’s Prosecutor General's Office states that 144 children killed and more than 220 injured amid armed aggression of Russia.
  • The next round of talks between Ukraine and the Russian Federation has started today in Turkey
  • Wall Street Journal & Bellingcat reported three members of the peace talks Ukraine-Russia delegation had experienced symptoms of suspected poisoning with chemical weapons after a meeting in Kyiv on March 3–4

Sources

Latest news:

23:50 The Air Command East wrote this on Facebook: In Kharkiv region, the Ukrainian Air Defense Forces destroyed a Russian fighter-bomber and UAV in the area of Izium city.

Read more: Ukraine-Russia Peace Talk Negotiators Had Suffered Symptoms of Alleged Chemical Weapon Poisoning

"And again Izium area, which attracts enemy air targets to certain death. On March 29, thanks to our air defense: minus one UAV and minus one ‘all weather’ fighter bomber,” the report says.

As reported by Ukrinform, according to the head of the Kharkiv Regional Military Administration, Oleh Synehubov, the Ukrainian Armed Forces are conducting operations in Kharkiv region to repel the enemy in several directions, the critical point remains the city of Izium, through which the enemy wants to enter Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

23:23 The Ukrainian military successfully repulsed four enemy attacks during the last 24 hours in Donetsk and Luhansk directions. This was reported by the headquarters of the Joint Forces Operation. Destroyed:

- 7 tanks;

- 7 units of armored equipment;

- 2 units of motor vehicles;

- 1 anti-tank gun МТ-12.

23:04 Mariupol City Council: In Mariupol, Russian invaders forcibly removed from the city maternity hospital both staff and patients, and transported them to the Russian territory. That’s according to the Mariupol City Council press service reports.

"Another case of forcible deportation of Mariupol residents to the territory of the aggressor power… More than 70 people were forcibly removed from Maternity Hospital No. 2 in the Left Bank district – it's medical staff and patients," a statement reads.

The City Council stressed that Russian troops have been cynically deporting civilians to their territory. More than 20,000 Mariupol residents are believed to have been deported to Russia against their will. Citizens have their IDs taken from them before they are sent to the so-called filtration camps. Then they get redirected to remote cities across Russia. The principle of distribution and the reasons for the deportation remain unclear, the report reads.

According to Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko, what Russia is doing today violates internationally recognized human rights.

Mariupol' maternity hospital after russian air strike
Mariupol' maternity hospital after russian air strike

"It can be compared to the actions of fascist troops during World War 2. But we will not leave behind a single Mariupol resident who was deported to Russia by force. We are creating a database of deported residents and developing an effective mechanism for the return of our compatriots (…) We will do everything to bring people home," the mayor stressed.

As previously reported, staff and patients of City Hospital No. 1 – about 600 Mariupol residents.

Russian aggression caused a major humanitarian catastrophe in Mariupol. The invaders have been bombarding and shelling unarmed residents and blocking humanitarian aid.

22:19 The Russian publics in Belgorod report powerful explosions in the village of Krasnyi Oktiabr (16 km from Belgorod). Probably, the warehouse of the occupiers' arsenal is exploding. The governor of the oblast Vyacheslav Gladkov confirms the explosions but does not specify what exactly explodes.

21:00 General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine: the operational update regarding the russian invasionon 18.00 on March 29, 2022, key points:

  • The russian enemy carries out the withdrawal of individual units from the territory of Kyiv and Chernihiv regions, as well as regrouping to focus on the Slobozhansky and Donetsk areas.
  • The russian enemy attempted to fire on units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the areas of the settlements of Romanivka, Gorenko, Lychanka, Petrushka, Shpytky, Moshchun, Nova Buda, Maidanivka, Lyubovychi, Zabuyannia, and Nalyvaykivka. It carries out regrouping of troops and their partial withdrawal to the territory of the republic of belarus.
  • The russian enemy continues to blockade Chernihiv, inflicting fire on civilian and military targets. In the direction of Brovary it is trying to keep the previously occupied positions and prevent further advance of Ukrainian troops.
  • In the Slobozhansky direction, the russian enemy continued to blockade Kharkiv, diverted some units of the 1st tank Army from the Sumy region outside Ukraine, and continued to regroup troops in order to transfer them to other directions. It strengthened the offensive capabilities of the group of separate units of the 20th All-Military Army of the Western Military District in the direction of Slovyansk.
  • In the South Bug direction, the enemy is taking measures to restore combat capability and replenish supplies. It is trying to prepare units for the resumption of offensive operations.
  • In the Black Sea and Azov operational zones, the russian enemy's naval group continues to carry out tasks to monitor the situation, conduct reconnaissance and isolate the area of hostilities.
  • On the territory of the russian federation, in the area of the settlement of Boguchar, the russian enemy is taking measures to remove from long-term storage of military and special equipment. More than 40 percent of this equipment is out of order.
  • The russian federation and its numerous agencies in international organizations deny the transportation and accumulation of large quantities of ammunition by russian troops in the immediate vicinity of the Chornobyl Shelter.

20:12 The Prosecutor General's Office (PGO): As a result of a missile attack on the administrative building of Mykolaiv regional administration on Tuesday morning, nine people were killed and 28 more were wounded.

"According to the investigation, on March 29, 2022, the Russian armed forces launched a missile attack on the administrative building of Mykolaiv Regional State Administration. Currently, nine killed and 28 wounded are known. Rescuers, SBU investigators and police are working on the spot," the PGO said.

19:34 Since the start of the full-scale war, the United Nations recorded 3,039 civilian victims of the Russian aggression: 1,179 killed and 1,860 injured. A total of the 1,179 killed includes 236 men, 172 women, and 104 children. The gender of the other 667 is unknown yet.

19:00 Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland expel total of 42 Russian diplomats

The Netherlands announced on Tuesday, March 29, it decided to expel 17 Russian diplomats.

The government made the decision because of the national security threat posed by the diplomats who were secretly operating as intelligence officers, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The Russian Embassy in the Hague during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Defense Express
The Russian Embassy in the Hague during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

The ministry said it is prepared for the various scenarios which might come from Russia as a consequence of the decision.

It also stressed that the decision was made in consultation with other countries that made similar decisions, including the US, Poland, the Baltic states, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Montenegro.

Similarly, Belgium’s Belga news agency reported that country decided to expel 21 Russian diplomats for alleged spying and posing threats to security.

And the Irish Foreign Ministry told local media that it asked four Russian diplomats to leave as their activities were not in line with international standards of diplomatic behavior.

18:50 U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken: USA ready, if necessary, to participate in implementation of agreements on Ukraine's security.

Washington is ready, if necessary, to take part in the implementation of the agreements between Moscow and Kyiv on the security of Ukraine, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday, March 29.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Express
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken

If there is any result, and US support for Ukraine can be part of this result, including support for its security and defense, then, of course, the United States wants to strive for this, Blinken said during a press conference with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita.

He added that the United States has not seen "signs of real seriousness" by Russia, but considers it a good signal if Kyiv sees them.

It is up to the Ukrainian partners to decide whether there are any changes or progress. If Ukraine has come to the conclusion that there are positive changes, then this is good, Blinken said.

18:40 UK sees 'some reduction' in Russian bombardment around Kyiv

The UK has seen signs of “some reduction” in Russian bombardment around the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, - The Guardian reports, citing Downing Street.

Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi, a top military commander, walks in a trench at a position north of the capital Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 29, 2022, Defense Express
Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi, a top military commander, walks in a trench at a position north of the capital Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 29, 2022 / Photo credit: Vadim Ghirdă/AP

However, the UK wants to see a full withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine and will judge tentative steps towards a possible peace deal by actions rather than words, Boris Johnson’s spokesperson said.

Asked if the PM was encouraged by Russia’s promise to scale down military operations around Kyiv and northern Ukraine, Johnson’s spokesperson said: “We will judge Putin and his regime by his actions, not by his words”.

A Ukrainian soldier sits on top of a Russian artillery vehicle marked with the ‘Z’ symbol, which Ukraine captured during fighting outside Kharkiv, Ukraine, March 29, 2022, Defense Express
A Ukrainian soldier sits on top of a Russian artillery vehicle marked with the ‘Z’ symbol, which Ukraine captured during fighting outside Kharkiv, Ukraine, March 29, 2022 / Photo credit: Thomas Peter/Reuters

He told reporters: “There has been some reduction in Russian bombardment around Kyiv, largely because Ukrainian forces have been successfully pushing back the Russian offensives in the northwest of the city. But fighting continues. There’s heavy bombardment in Mariupol and other areas. So we don’t want to see anything less than a complete withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukrainian territory.”

18:15 Ukraine wants to see 8 countries, including Turkiye, as security guarantors.

Ukraine wants to see eight countries, including Turkiye, as guarantors in a possible deal with Russia, said a Ukrainian negotiator after peace talks in Istanbul on Tuesday, March 29, - Anadolu Agency reports.

Speaking to reporters, David Arakhamia said they are seeking an international agreement where the countries would serve as guarantors of Ukraine's security.

Ukraine wants to see 8 countries, including Turkiye, as security guarantors, Defense Express
Ukrainian delegation at a briefing in Istanbul / Photo credit: Anadolu Agency

An Adviser to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Mykhailo Podolyak, another top Ukrainian negotiator and adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in a tweet said Ukraine proposed a security guarantees treaty "with an enhanced analogue of Article 5 of NATO."

The proposal would involve the US, UK, Turkiye, France, Germany as guarantor states to "legally actively" protect Ukraine "from any aggression," added Podolyak.

He said it would be implemented "through a referendum & parliaments of the guarantor states."

"As for Crimea, it is offered to clearly record the parties' intention to settle the issue exclusively through (Russia-Ukraine) bilateral negotiations within 15 years," he added. "It's also offered not to resolve the Crimean issue by military means in any case. Only political & diplomatic efforts."

17:45 Ecumenical patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the Eastern Orthodox Christians worldwide, has denounced the invasion of Ukraine as an “atrocious” act that is causing enormous suffering during a visit to Warsaw.

Although he did not denounce Russia by name, he said: “It is simply impossible to imagine how much devastation this atrocious invasion has caused for the Ukrainian people and the entire world,” at a news briefing. He added that solidarity with Ukrainians “is the only thing that can overcome evil and darkness in the world”.

Ecumenical patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the Eastern Orthodox Christians, Defense Express
A file photo of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew from late last year / Photo credit: Ted Shaffrey/AP

17:15 The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky Zelensky: Russian troops daily launch 40 missiles on Ukraine.

Russian troops fire an average of 40 missiles a day on Ukrainian populated localities.

“40 missiles. Every day, Russian troops use so many different but equally deadly missiles against our state, against Ukraine. This is the average number per day,” - the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said in his video address to the Parliament of Denmark, the Folketing.

More than 1,370 missiles have been launched in just over a month of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the President noted.

Moreover, the total number of means of destruction that Russian troops have already used against our people on our land is simply impossible to count, Zelensky said.

16:45 US Treasury: USA prepares new sanctions against Russia to target Russian warfare capabilities

The United States is preparing new sanctions target Russian warfare capabilities, U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo said on Tuesday, March 29.

Washington is planning "to target additional sectors that are critical to the Kremlin's ability to operate its war machine, where a loss of access will ultimately undermine Russia’s ability to build and maintain the tools of war that rely on these inputs," it said in a statement prepared for a conference in London and published on the website of the Treasury.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo, The United States is preparing new sanctions target Russian warfare capabilities, Defense Express
U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo: The United States is preparing new sanctions target Russian warfare capabilities

"In addition to sanctioning companies in sectors that enable the Kremlin's malign activities, we also plan to take actions to disrupt their critical supply chains," Adeyemo said.

The additional sanctions will be taken in coordination with other countries also implementing measures against Moscow, he said.

"These are actions we will take in coordination with the more than 30 partners and allies that have joined our coalition in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine," Adeyemo said.

In addition, Adeyemo said in a statement that "our Allies and partners are committed to taking additional significant steps to constrain the Russian economy, for as long as Russia’s invasion continues."

16:10 The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskiy to Danish parliament: Russian siege of the port city of Mariupol constituted a “crime against humanity.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy told in a video broadcast to members of the Danish Parliamen that the Russian siege of the port city of Mariupol constituted a “crime against humanity”.

“What the Russian troops are doing to Mariupol is a crime against humanity, which is happening in front of the eyes of the whole planet in real time,” - Volodymyr Zelenskiy said.

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskiy to Danish parliament, Russian siege of the port city of Mariupol constituted a “crime against humanity, Defense Express
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks in a video broadcast to members of the Danish Parliament at Christiansborg Castle in Copenhagen on March 29, 2022 / Photo credit: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP/Getty Images

15:50 The death of seven people under the rubble of building of the Mykolayiv Regional State Administration hit by a Russian missile has been confirmed.

The death of seven people under the rubble of building of the Mykolayiv Regional State Administration hit by a Russian missile has been confirmed, Defense Express
A destroyed part of a Ukrainian government administration building following a bombing in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, March 29, 2022 / Photo credit: Nacho Doce/Reuters

"As of 13:30, the bodies of seven people were removed at the scene of the destruction. Twenty-two people were injured," the State Emergency Service of Ukraine posted on Facebook.

Eighteen people, rescued from under the rubble, were handed over to ambulance crews.

The death of seven people under the rubble of building of the Mykolayiv Regional State Administration hit by a Russian missile has been confirmed, Defense Express
Firefighters clear the rubble of a government building hit by Russian rockets in Mykolaiv on March 29, 2022 / Photo credit: Bülent Kılıç/AFP/Getty Images

Search and rescue operations are underway.

Speaking in a video address to the Danish parliament today, the the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskiy said: “As far as we know now seven people were killed, 22 were wounded, and people are still going through the rubble”.

There were no military ambitions in Mykolaiv, the people in Mykolaiv presented no threat to Russia,” - Volodymyr Zelenskiy added:

And even then, like all the Ukrainians, they became the targets for the Russian troops.

Vitaly Kim, the governor of Mykolaiv, said in a series of video posts that dozens of people had managed to flee from the building before it was hit. There were reports of air raid sirens in Mykolaiv on Tuesday morning.

A Russian rocket hit the regional administration building in the southern Ukrainian port city of Mykolaiv today.

15:00 Ukraine’s Prosecutor General's Office: Some 144 children killed due armed aggression of Russia, more than 220 injured

A total of 144 children have been killed and more than 220 have been injured during full-scale hostilities on the territory of Ukraine led by Russia.

"Children suffered the most in Kyiv - 68, Kharkiv - 49, Donetsk - 54, Chernihiv - 38, Mykolaiv - 30, Luhansk - 28, Zaporizhia - 22, Kherson region - 25, Kyiv city - 16" the Prosecutor General's Office said. Data on dead and injured children in the city of Mariupol are also being established.

Also on March 28, 2022, as a result of the shelling of a village in the Zaporizhia region, the occupiers wounded three civilians, including a child.

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General's Office, Some 144 children killed due armed aggression of Russia, more than 220 injured, Defense Express
Ukraine’s Prosecutor General's Office: Some 144 children killed due armed aggression of Russia, more than 220 injured

Due to bombing and shelling, 733 educational institutions have been damaged. 75 of them are completely destroyed. The worst situation is in Donetsk, Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, Sumy, Kyiv, Kherson regions and the city of Kyiv.

"These data are not final, since there is no opportunity to inspect the places of shelling in the areas of active hostilities and in the temporarily occupied territories," the PGO said.

14:30 The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: War in Ukraine kills at least 1,151 civilians, 1,824 injured.

Losses among civilians since February 24, 2022, when Russia started the war against Ukraine, until 24:00 on March 27, 2022, amounted to 2,975 civilians (2,909 in the report a day earlier), including 1,151 dead (1,119), the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights reported on Monday, March 29.

A local resident in tears next to the building where her destroyed apartment is located in the besieged city of Mariupol, Defense Express
A local resident in tears next to the building where her destroyed apartment is located in the besieged city of Mariupol / Photo credit: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters

"OHCHR believes that the actual figures are considerably higher, as the receipt of information from some locations where intense hostilities have been going on has been delayed and many reports are still pending corroboration," the document says.

This concerns, for example, Mariupol and Volnovakha (Donetsk region), Izium (Kharkiv region), Popasna and Rubizhne (Luhansk region), and Trostianets (Sumy region), where there are allegations of numerous civilian casualties. These figures are being further corroborated and are not included in the above statistics.

"Most of the civilian casualties recorded were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multiple-launch rocket systems, and missile and air strikes," the report said.

Most of the civilian casualties recorded were caused by the use of explosive weapons

According to confirmed UN data, 229 men, 171 women, 34 boys and 15 girls died, while the sex of 54 children and 648 adults has not yet been determined.

Among the 1,824 injured, there were 34 girls and 26 boys, as well as 73 children, whose sex has not yet been determined.

Compared to the previous day, four children were killed and seven were injured, according to the UN.

People walk past a damaged building in the Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv, Defense Express
People walk past a damaged building in the Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv / Photo credit: Oleksandr Gimanov/AFP/Getty Image

OHCHR points out that in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, as of midnight on March 28, there are 317 (301) deaths and 700 (694) injured in the territory controlled by the government, and 60 (59) deaths and 228 (227) injured in the territory controlled by the self-proclaimed "republics."

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 774 (759) dead and 896 (869) wounded .

The report also states that, according to the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office, as of 08:00 on March 28, some 143 (139) children were killed and 216 (205) injured.

A view of a reception point for refugees from Ukraine established near the Warszawa Wschodnia (Warsaw East) train station on 22 March 2022, Defense Express
A view of a reception point for refugees from Ukraine established near the Warszawa Wschodnia (Warsaw East) train station on 22 March 2022 / Photo credit: Paweł Supernak/EPA

The increase in indicators in this report compared to the figures in the previous report should not be attributed only to new cases that occurred on March 27, since OHCHR also verified a number of cases that occurred in previous days during the day, the document specifies.

13:45 The Armed Forces of Ukraine destroys two missiles launched on Lviv from Belarus at night.

At night, two missiles were launched on the city of Lviv from the territory of Belarus, and the Armed Forces of Ukraine destroyed them about 30 kilometers away from the city.

The Armed Forces of Ukraine destroys two missiles launched on Lviv from Belarus at night, Defense Express
The Armed Forces of Ukraine destroys two missiles launched on Lviv from Belarus at night / Photo credit: Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

The relevant statement was made by the Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on Telegram, - Ukrinform reports.

“In the evening of March 28, 2022, from the territory of Belarus, the occupiers’ fighter launched two X-type missiles towards the city of Lviv. The targets were timely detected by the radio-technical forces and destroyed by the anti-aircraft missile units about 30 kilometers away from the city,” the report states.

In addition, the anti-aircraft missile units shot down two enemy operational and technical unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

13:30 Talks between Ukraine and Russia are underway in Istanbul

Fresh talks between Ukraine and Russia have begun in Istanbul, with Kyiv seeking a ceasefire without compromising on its sovereignty or territorial integrity and both sides playing down hopes of an early breakthrough, - The Guardian reports.

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, opened the talks – the two delegations’ first face-to-face meeting in more than a fortnight – at the Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul, urging both sets of negotiators to “put an end to this tragedy”.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and businessman Roman Abramovich before Russian-Ukrainian talks at Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul, Defense Express
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and businessman Roman Abramovich before Russian-Ukrainian talks at Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul / Photo credit: RIA Novosti / POOL

With Russia’s invasion appearing stalled on the ground, Erdogan said each side had “legitimate concerns” but added: “We have now entered a period where concrete results are needed. It should be “possible to reach a solution acceptable to the international community”, he said, with further conflict “in no one’s interest”.

Ukrainian media said the talks – with the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich in attendance – started with “a cold welcome and no handshake”. Mykhailo Podolyak, a political adviser to the Ukrainian president, Volodymr Zelenskiy, said delegations were working on “the entire spectrum of contentious issues”.

Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said the least he was hoping for was an end to the country’s humanitarian catastrophe, and the most was a ceasefire. “We are not trading people, land or sovereignty,” he insisted.

“If we see that the mood has changed and they are ready for a serious, substantive conversation and balanced arrangements, then things will move forward,” Kuleba said. He said if it was a “repetition of their propaganda”, then talks would again fail.

13:00 General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine: the operational update regarding the russian invasionon 12.00 on March 29, 2022, key points:

- russians did not meet the goal of the offensive operation. The withdrawal of certain units of the armed forces of the russian federation from the territory of Kyiv and Chernihiv oblasts is noted.

- The Defense Forces Group continues to conduct a defense operation in the Eastern, Southeastern and Northeastern directions, restrains the enemy in all directions, in some directions - displaces the enemy.

- There is a problem of strengthening and rotating the existing russian group.

- In the Volyn direction, the group of the armed forces of the republic of belarus provides cover for its state border, conducts demonstration actions.

- In the Polissya direction, the enemy is limited to artillery shelling, regrouping of existing units and their partial withdrawal to the territory of belarus.

- In the Sivershchyna direction, russian occupiers continue to blockade Chernihiv.

- In the Slobozhansky direction, the russian occupiers continue to use aircraft and artillery in the settlements of Kharkiv and Barvinkove, trying to capture the city of Izyum. The enemy increased the existing group.

- In the Donetsk direction, the enemy increased its firepower and intensified assault operations in most areas. The main efforts are on taking control of Popasna and Mariupol. No success achieved.

- In Berdyansk, russian occupiers are trying to restore the port infrastructure.

- In the South Buh direction, the enemy, under cover of artillery fire, takes measures to restore combat capability, replenish ammunition and fuel.

12:50 General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine showed new trophies for Ukraine.

12:35 The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Petr Fiala discuss fight against Russian aggression.

In a conversation with Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed gratitude for assistance in combating the Russian aggression and the exceptional attitude to Ukrainian refugees in the Czech Republic.

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Petr Fiala discuss fight against Russian aggression, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russia-Ukraine war
The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy

The relevant statement was made by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Twitter, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

“I have thanked Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala for assisting the Ukrainian people in the fight against the Russian aggression. Noted a significant humanitarian, security assistance, the exceptional attitude to the Ukrainian refugees, who received a temporary protection status in the Czech Republic. We really appreciate this!” Zelensky wrote.

A reminder that the Czech Republic has frozen the assets of Russian citizens and companies affected by the EU sanctions, which were introduced after Russia initiated a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The value of such assets is several hundred millions of Czech korunas.

12:00 Meeting of heads of delegations of Ukraine and Russia being held in Istanbul.

A meeting of the heads of delegations is taking place in Istanbul as part of the Ukrainian-Russian negotiations.

Meeting of heads of delegations of Ukraine and Russia being held in Istanbul, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russia-Ukraine war
Photo credit: IC

"Round of heads of delegations. David Arakhamia and Vladimir Medinsky. On the fundamental provisions of the negotiation process. Delegations are working in parallel on the entire spectrum of contentious issues," Mykhailo Podoliak, the adviser to the head of the President's Office of Ukraine, wrote on Twitter.

It was previously planned that the negotiations would last until March 30.

11:45 TheMayor of Chernihiv Vladyslav Atroshenko: Between 350 and 400 people already die in Chernihiv.

Chernihiv Mayor Vladyslav Atroshenko says that according to preliminary data, from 350 to 400 people have already died in the city.

The Mayor of Chernihiv Vladyslav Atroshenko: Between 350 and 400 people already die in Chernihiv, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russia-Ukraine war
Chernihiv after russia's shelling

"Some 350 people have already died in the city. These are not final data. We have now reassigned a head of a regional health department, I hope there will be more detailed figures. I think that this figure is already about 400 people. I personally know half of these people, it is very hard to endure all this," Atroshenko said on the air of the national telethon on Tuesday afternoon.

In addition, the mayor said that there are more than 400 wounded in two hospitals in the city, and every day after shelling, about 40 wounded are admitted to medical facilities, most of them are civilians.

11:30 The National Bank of Ukraine urges to stop limiting hryvnia circulation, replacing it with rubles in Russia-occupied areas.

The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) has considers it unacceptable for Russia to restrict the circulation of the hryvnia and replace it with rubles in territories that are temporarily not controlled by the authorities or are under the threat of capture, in particular, in Zaporizhia and Kherson regions.

The National Bank of Ukraine urges to stop limiting hryvnia circulation, replacing it with rubles in Russia-occupied areas, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russia-Ukraine war
The National Bank of Ukraine

According to the press service of the NBU on Tuesday, information about such actions comes from banks and the media.

The NBU stressed that the hryvnia is the only currency of Ukraine, and the issue and circulation of other currencies on the territory of Ukraine is prohibited.

11:20 New round of Russia-Ukraine peace talks starts in Istanbul

A fresh round of peace talks between Russia and Ukraine brokered by Turkiye has started in Istanbul on Tuesday, March 29, - Anadolu Agency reports.

The two-day peace talks are being held at the presidential Dolmabahce office.

The first session for the day started at 10.30 a.m. local time (07:30GMT).

Russian and Ukrainian negotiators arrived in Istanbul on Monday, Defense Express
Russian and Ukrainian negotiators arrived in Istanbul on Monday / Photo credit: Anadolu Agency

Ahead of the talks, Turkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated his call for a cease-fire between Russia and Ukraine as the war has entered its second month.

“We believe that a just peace will have no losers, and a prolonged conflict is not in anyone’s interest,” Erdogan told Russian and Ukrainian negotiators.

11:00 The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy: If someone is afraid of Russia, they become responsible for this catastrophe.

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that politicians who do not make decisions to support Ukraine become co-responsible for the catastrophe created by Russian troops in Ukraine.

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy: If someone is afraid of Russia, they become responsible for this catastrophe, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russia-Ukraine war
The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy

"Ukrainians should not die just because someone cannot find the courage to hand over the necessary weapons to Ukraine. Fear always makes one responsible. If someone is afraid of Russia, afraid to approve the decisions that are necessary, important for us in order for us to get planes, tanks, necessary artillery, shells, then this makes these people co-responsible for this catastrophe that Russian troops have created in our cities," he said in a video message on Monday evening.

10:55 Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov: russia won't export gas without payment.

Russia will not engage in charity by supplying natural gas abroad for free, russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said.

Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov: russia won't export gas without payment, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russia-Ukraine war
Photo credit: BBC

"No payment, no gas ... definitely we are not going to make charity out of it and to send gas free of charge to Western Europe," Peskov said in an interview with the U.S. television channel PBS, when asked to comment on the Western Europe's refusal to pay for gas they import from Russia in rubles.

10:30 General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine posts footage of digging out captured Russia’s tanks from mud. They say, some of the units are up to the turret in mud.

General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine posts footage of digging out Russia’s tanks from mud
The captured tanks are almost free to go to Ukrainian military bases

10:00 The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba announces program of next Kyiv-Moscow negotiations.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba announced a tentative program of talks between the Ukrainian and Russian delegations in Turkey on March 29, the press service of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry reports, citing Kuleba's words on the air of the national telethon on Monday evening.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba announces program of next Kyiv-Moscow negotiations, Defense Express, war in Ukraine
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba

According to him, "the minimum program at the talks in Turkey is the solution of humanitarian problems. The maximum program is a ceasefire, the achievement of permanent agreements on this matter," the press service quotes Kuleba.

He also noted that at the moment there is not a single agreement from the fundamental points of the negotiations, and that the Ukrainian side will not negotiate if the Russian side continues to set its old conditions.

09:00 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 29.03. Find them in an infographic by Defense Express:

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

Personnel - about 17200,

Tanks ‒ 597 units,

APV ‒ 1710 units,

Artillery systems – 303 units,

MLRS - 96 units,

Anti-aircraft warfare systems - 54 units,

Aircraft – 127 units,

Helicopters – 129 units,

Vehicles - 1178 units,

Boats / cutters - 7 units,

Fuel tanks - 73,

UAV operational-tactical level - 71.

Special equipment - 21.

Mobile SRBM system - 4.

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

07:45 The Patrol Police of Ukraine: More than 200,000 Ukrainians join chatbot to spot enemy forces.

The Patrol Police of Ukraine: More than 200,000 Ukrainians join chatbot to spot enemy forces, Defense Express, war in Ukraine
E-Voroh (e-Enemy) chatbot

That’s according to the Patrol Police, Ukrinform reports.

Since the onset of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, more than 200,000 Ukrainians have used the e-Voroh (e-Enemy) chatbot, launched by the Ukrainian government, to help the Army locate and engage the occupation forces.

"Since the beginning of the offensive, more than 200,000 Ukrainians have used the e-Voroh chatbot to report the location of Russian soldiers and their equipment. These real-time reports have helped Ukrainian defenders annihilate a large number of occupiers," the statement said.

07:35 A spokesman for the State Border Guard Service Andriy Demchenko: More than 510,000 Ukrainians return from abroad since start of Russian invasion.

A spokesman for the State Border Guard Service Andriy Demchenko: More than 510,000 Ukrainians return from abroad since start of Russian invasion, war in Ukraine, Russia-Ukraine war, Defense Express
/ Photo credit: zahidnuy.kordon

Since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, more than 510,000 Ukrainian citizens have returned to their home country. More than three-quarters of them are men.

"In total, more than 510,000 Ukrainian citizens have crossed in since February 24. Most of them, about 75-80%, are men," the spokesman said.

It was reported that from February 24 to March 24, a total of nearly 3.2 million people crossed the Ukrainian border in both directions.

07:15 General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine:The operational update regarding the russian invasion as of 06.00 on March 29, 2022. Key points:

-The Ukrainian Defense Forces Group continues to conduct a defense operation in the Eastern, Southeastern and Northeastern directions, and in some areas our troops carry out successful counterattacks.

-The russian enemy continues to insidiously launch missile and bomb strikes, trying to completely destroy the infrastructure and residential areas of Ukrainian cities and create conditions for a humanitarian crisis.

-The Joint Forces of Ukraine repulsed 7 enemy attacks in the Donetsk and Luhansk directions during the day. Our soldiers destroyed 12 tanks, 10 infantry fighting vehicles and 3 units of motor vehicles. The enemy suffered casualties.

- Defenders of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine for the previous day hit 17 air targets - 8 planes, 3 helicopters, 4 UAVs of various types and 2 cruise missiles. The losses of the russian occupiers are being clarified.

05:30 InformNapalm: Russia continues regrouping troops, accumulating military equipment.

InformNapalm: Russia continues regrouping troops, accumulating military equipment, war in Ukraine, Russia-Ukraine war, Defense Express
Photo credit: InformNapalm

Russia has currently accumulated more military equipment in the Kursk region than it was on February 24, the day Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The Operational Armed Forces of Ukraine reported this on Telegram, referring to the information provided by a spokesman for the international intelligence community InformNapalm, Mykhailo Makaruk, as Ukrinform reports.

"Russia continues regrouping troops and accumulating obsolete equipment. Currently, there is more military equipment in the Kursk region, which is located near the Ukrainian border, than it was on February 24,” the report says.

04:40 European Commissioner: EU must motivate Ukrainians to leave Poland, go to other member states.

European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson was quoted as saying by Aktuality.sk news website on March 28 that “it is important to motivate refugees to leave Poland and go to other member states, because otherwise the situation will not be sustainable.” Johansson noted that the EU does not currently have any quotas for the distribution of refugees across EU countries.

03:40 The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy: Italy ready to become one of guarantors of Ukraine's security.

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy: Italy ready to become one of guarantors of Ukraine's securitywar in Ukraine, Russia-Ukraine war, Defense Express
The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy has stated that Italy is ready to become one of the guarantors of security for Ukraine.

He said this in a video address, Ukrinform correspondent reports.

"Italy has agreed to become one of the guarantors of Ukraine's security in the relevant new system of guarantees that we are elaborating," Zelenskyy said, noting that he had a conversation with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Monday.

03:00 Ukrgasbank: Russian occupiers are offered 100 thousand rubles to each one who surrenders to captivity with arms and vehicles.

"We all know that the Russian army lacks motivation, so we decided to push them a little towards the right decision and are willing to pay more money than they are offered at home. Even more than the death benefit payment that their state managed to propose," the bank said in the statement, published on Facebook.

Ukrgasbank: Russian occupiers are offered 100 thousand rubles to each one who surrenders to captivity with arms and vehicles, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russia-Ukraine, war
Caption: We will pay russians for surrendering and giving the tank more than they get paid for the war

All the money is paid in cash, because of the sanctions, imposed on Russia by the international banking systems. The bank suggests their colleagues in the financial sphere support the initiative as a contribution to Ukraine's win in the war against Russia.

02:30 Operational Command "North": 2 armored infantry mobility vehicles "Tigr", an "Ural" truck with ammos and a T-72 tank were destroyed by Ukrainian defenders.

Operational Command
Photo credit: Operational Command "North"

In addition to these, 8 more vehicles were damaged overall on March 28 in the northern direction of warfare, and a truck with food supplies was seized. The estimated Russian casualties are 22 servicemen.

01:44 General Staff: operational information as of 00:00 regarding the Russian invasion. Key points:

  • The Ukrainian military concentrated its efforts on preventing the advance of Russian forces and encirclement
  • Mariupol continues its all-round defense
  • Kyiv is secure, the external border defense is being held under control
  • In some directions, counterattacks are carried out
  • The enemy is disorientated, a significant part of its forces is cut off from logistical supply. Continues indiscriminate artillery shelling trying to mitigate its lowered combat capabilities, which results in the ruination of the infrastructure of Ukrainian cities.

01:38 Verkhovna Rada: the Office of the Prosecutor General will cooperate with Eurojust to coordinate the work of the joint investigation team to investigate Russian war crimes

The prospects of a joint investigation team set up by Ukraine, Lithuania and Poland were discussed at an online meeting of Prosecutor General of Ukraine Iryna Venediktova with Eurojust President Ladislav Hamran and Genocide Network Secretariat Head Mateusz Perzdic.

Ukrainian highest prosecutor suggested organizing a secure exchange of information and preserving all the evidence collected by the participating countries. Also, the officials discussed the possibility of involving the International Criminal Court Prosecutor's Office and other possible member states in the joint investigation team.

"An important area of cooperation with Eurojust is the work of our task force to search for, arrest and confiscate the assets of war criminals," Prosecutor General Venediktova said.

01:16 UK Defence Ministry: mercenaries of Russian Private Military Company the Wagner Group has deployed to eastern Ukraine.

The intelligence report was published on the Ministry's official Twitter account. According to it, more than 1,000 mercenaries are expected to arrive in Ukraine, including senior leaders of the organization. Russian leadership decided that the military activities in Ukraine have higher priority than the operations in Africa and Syria.

00:38 Special Communications Service (SSSCIP): Russia has launched a powerful cyberattack against the IT-infrastructure of a major communication service provider Ukrtelecom. According to Yurii Shchyhol, the Chairman of the SSSCIP, the massive cyberattack against Ukrtelecom has been neutralized. The telecom company is working on resuming services provision.

"The specialists from the SSSCIP promptly reacted to the situation, due to which the attack was repelled. And now #Ukrtelecom has an ability to begin restoring its services to the clients," the state service wrote on Twitter. According to the statement, the Ukrainian telecom company has temporarily limited providing its services to the majority of private users and business clients in order to preserve its network infrastructure and to continue providing services to Ukraine’s Armed Forces and other military formations.

00:00 Ukraine NOW: Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on tomorrow's talks between the Ukrainian and Russian delegations in Istanbul:

  • Ukraine does not trade people, lands and sovereignty, this is the position of President Zelenskyy in negotiations.
  • The minimum negotiating program in Turkey is a solution to the humanitarian crisis. The maximum program is a ceasefire, reaching stable agreements on this.
  • Currently, there are no agreements made as such for any key point of the negotiations. Instead, there is an exchange of thoughts, suggestions and ideas.
  • The issue of holding a referendum in Ukraine will not be discussed at the talks in Turkey, because it is Ukraine's internal matter
  • Over this month, the public position of the Russian Federation has gradually changed from plans to capture key cities of Ukraine "in a few days" to explanations that the "military operation" is limited to the capture of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
  • If Russia speaks the language of ultimatums and propaganda clichés again, the talks will end up nowhere.

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, Dniprocities. In a few hours, martial law was imposed in Ukraine.

The war lasts for a month now. An impressive rundown of the first days of the 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:

- Ukrainian defenders continue to defend our land on Donetsk and Luhansk directions, though the enemy increased its firepower and intensified assault operations, the main efforts are on taking control of Popasna and Mariupol. No success achieved.

- 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.

- 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 several 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 33rd of Ukraine's Defense Against Russian Invasion (Live Updates)
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