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An update on the conflict
It’s been 15 days since Vladimir Putin’s troops invaded Ukraine, on the 24 February. Since then, Russian troops have laid seige to several major Ukrainian cities, taken control of Chernobyl, bombed civillian espace routes and committed several alleged war crimes.
Timelines of major events up until now?
The Ukrainian city of Kherson was the first significant urban centre to fall since Russia’s invasion began. Russian forces surrounded the southeast port of Mariupol, while several other Ukrainian cities were under attack.
On March 6th, Ukraine accused Russia of targeting civilians as it stepped up shelling in Kharkiv in the east, Mykolaiv and Mariupol on the Black Sea coast, and the outskirts of the capital, Kyiv.
Ukrainian President Zelensky refused to go into hiding, repeatedly imploring NATO allies to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, a request that is shut down by leaders, including Boris Johnson, over concerns of being dragged into the conflict.
On 8 March, US imposes ban on all imports of Russian energy, saying the move aims to target “the main artery” of the country’s economy.
While the European Commission vows to reduce dependence on Russian gas by two-thirds by the end of the year. The UK also claims it will also phase out imports of Russian oil.
Despite promises of a ceasefire to allow civillians to escape Mariupol, shelling continued yesterday. Bombs destroy a maternity hospital, killing (at present time) three people and at least one child.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has condemned the attack on a children’s hospital ias evidence of a “genocide” prompting the US to pledge $13.6bn aid package.
What’s happening now?
The Red Cross has described conditions in the port city as “apocalyptic”, while deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk said the situation was “catastrophic”.
War correspondents on the ground have described corpses lying in the streets and civillians looting locals shops in desperate search of food, melting snow for drinking water.
Today 27 leaders of the EU are meeting in Versailles to discuss the confluct. A draft declaration prepared for the summit said: “Russia’s war of aggression constitutes a tectonic shift in European history.” The leaders are expected to discuss reducing the bloc’s energy dependency on Russia, and Ukraine’s request to join the EU.
Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has landed in Turkey for more talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba. But Kuleba has already speculated in a Facebook video that his expectations from the meeting are “limited”.