Russia Ukraine war: Here's everything you need to know right now

EUROPE |
A local resident rides a bicycle past a charred armoured vehicle during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the separatist-controlled town of Volnovakha in the Donetsk region, Ukraine March 15, 2022. [Reuters, Alexander Ermochenko]

Here’s the latest news on the Russia-Ukraine war:

A Ukrainian counteroffensive was underway near the Russian-held town of Izium, but Ukraine's military said Russian forces were advancing elsewhere in the key Donbas region. 

FIGHTING, CIVILIANS

* British military intelligence said Russia's offensive in the Donbas "has lost momentum and fallen significantly behind schedule", with a dramatic acceleration unlikely over the next 30 days. 

* Refugees from bombed-out Mariupol spoke of devastation as they reached Ukrainian-controlled Zaporizhzhia in a large convoy of cars and vans after waiting days for Russian troops to let them leave. 

* White, brightly burning munitions were shown cascading down on the Azovstal steel works in the Ukrainian port of Mariupol in what a British military expert said looked like an attack with phosphorus or incendiary weapons. 

  • Russia said its forces had hit Ukrainian command posts, ammunition depots and other military equipment including in the Donbas, killing at least 100 Ukrainian "nationalists"

DIPLOMACY

* Russian neighbour Finland will apply for NATO membership, President Sauli Niinisto said, in a major policy shift prompted by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

* Sweden's ruling Social Democrats were poised to come out in favour joining NATO, paving the way for an application soon after and abandoning decades of military non-alignment. 

* Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he met U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Berlin and that "more weapons and other aid is on the way to Ukraine".

* G7 foreign ministers vowed to reinforce Russia's economic and political isolation, continue supplying weapons to Ukraine and work to ease global food shortages stemming from the war.

QUOTE

"We had a victory: today in Eurovision, but soon we will have a victory in Ukraine-Russian war," Tetyana, a military medic, said after Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra won the popular song contest. 

 

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