Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now
March 24, 2022
(Reuters) – Western leaders showcased their unity against Russia’s war in Ukraine with Washington seeking more military aid to Ukraine, London imposing new sanctions against Moscow, and NATO assigning more troops for its eastern flank as the conflict enters its second month.
LVIV, Ukraine – President Volodymyr Zelenskiy appealed to NATO leaders to increase military support for Ukraine against Russian forces that he warned would next target alliance members in eastern Europe.
ON THE GROUND
* Ukrainian authorities said about 15,000 civilians had been illegally deported to Russia from besieged Mariupol since Russian forces seized parts of the southern port city.
* Ukraine said its forces had destroyed the Russian landing ship “Orsk” near the Russian-occupied Ukrainian port of Berdyansk on the Azov Sea. Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Malyar said the ship was capable of carrying 45 armoured personnel carriers and 400 people. Reuters was unable to verify the report.
* NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance would boost its forces in Eastern Europe by deploying four new battle groups in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia.
* Switzerland has frozen around 5.75 billion Swiss francs ($6.17 billion) worth of Russian assets covered by sanctions and that amount is likely to rise, a government official said.
* The U.S. Embassy in Moscow received a list of its diplomats declared “persona non grata”, a State Department spokesperson said, in what Russian media said was a response to a U.S. move ousting Russian staff at the United Nations.
* Russia plans to switch its gas sales to “unfriendly” countries to roubles, President Putin said, responding to a freeze on Russia’s assets by foreign nations.
* UNICEF said 4.3 million of Ukraine’s 7.5 million children have been uprooted by the month-long war.
* More than 145,000 babies are in urgent need of nutrition support in Ukraine, UNICEF said.
* “Come from your offices, your homes, your schools and universities, come in the name of peace, come with Ukrainian symbols to support Ukraine, to support freedom, to support life,” Zelenskiy said in his appeal for a worldwide demonstration.
* “We, the French and Europeans, will do everything to stop this war without entering it,” French President Macron said.
(Compiled by Michael Perry and Peter Graff; Edited by Angus MacSwan)