Ukraine war latest: Russia has taken 400,000 hostages, Kyiv claims as Zelensky says Europe acted too late

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Biden says Nato ‘will respond in kind’ if Putin uses chemical weapons

The European Union acted “a little late” in imposing sanctions on Russia and faster action could have stopped Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky said.

The Ukrainian president told the EU Council, in a video, that sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany were also “a little late”.

Mr Zelensky said: “What about the European Union? You applied sanctions. We are grateful. They are powerful steps. But it was a little late.

“Because if it had been preventative, Russia would not have gone to war. At least no one knows for sure. There was a chance.”

Ukraine has applied to join the EU, and Mr Zelensky – in his video – urged the bloc to “not be late” in making a decision on membership.

It comes as Kyiv accused Russian troops of taking about 400,000 Ukrainians – including nearly 84,000 children – “hostage” in Russia.

Meanwhile, US president Joe Biden said – after a Nato meeting in Brussels – that the alliance will “respond in kind” if Putin uses chemical weapons in Ukraine.

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US to help increase gas exports to Europe to isolate Russia

A new US-EU partnership has been announced today that will seek to reduce Europe’s reliance on Russian energy.

The scheme would be the start of a years-long plan to further isolate Moscow after its invasion of Ukraine.

Archive photo of Joe Biden and Ursula von der Leyen

(Evan Vucci/AP)

As part of the plan, the US and other nations will increase liquefied natural gas exports to Europe by 15 billion cubic meters this year, the White House said, and the amount is expected to increase in future.

At the same time, they will try to stick to climate goals by running the gas infrastructure with clean energy and reducing methane leaks.

But there are potential problems in Europe receiving the shipments as import terminals are located in coastal areas where there are fewer pipeline connections for distributing the gas.

US president Joe Biden was set to discuss the issue with Ursula von der Leyen, head of the European Union’s executive arm, before leaving for Poland, the final leg of his four-day trip.

Lamiat Sabin25 March 2022 09:01

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European sanctions against Russia ‘a little late’ – Zelensky

The European Union acted “a little late” in imposing sanctions on Russia and faster action could have stopped Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky said.

The Ukrainian president told the EU Council, in a video, that sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany were also “a little late”.

Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the EU Council

(Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

Mr Zelensky said: “What about the European Union? You applied sanctions. We are grateful. They are powerful steps. But it was a little late.

“Because if it had been preventative, Russia would not have gone to war. At least no one knows for sure. There was a chance.”

Ukraine has applied to join the EU, and Mr Zelensky – in his video – urged the bloc to “not be late” in making a decision on membership.

Lamiat Sabin25 March 2022 08:53

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Ukraine ‘regain east of Kyiv as Russia progress slows’ – MoD

Ukraine has managed to reoccupy towns and defensive positions up to 21 miles (35 km) east of Kyiv, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said.

Vladimir Putin’s troops are “being slowed down” by logistical problems and the resistance shown by Ukrainian forces, the UK government department said.

In its latest intelligence update, the MoD tweeted: “Ukrainian counter-attacks, and Russian forces falling back on overextended supply lines, has allowed Ukraine to reoccupy towns and defensive positions up to 35 kilometers east of Kyiv.

“Ukrainian forces are likely to continue to attempt to push Russian forces back along the north-western axis from Kyiv towards Hostomel Airfield.

“In the south of Ukraine, Russian forces are still attempting to circumvent Mykolaiv as they look to drive west towards Odessa, with their progress being slowed by logistic issues and Ukrainian resistance.”

Lamiat Sabin25 March 2022 08:40

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Rescuers looking for survivors of missile strikes in Dnipro

Two missile strikes hit a Ukrainian military unit on the outskirts of Ukraine’s fourth-largest city Dnipro, an official said.

Rescuers are looking for people amid the “serious destruction”, Valentyn Reznichenko, the governor of the region said.

No mention has yet been made about any casualties.

The missiles landed on the outskirts of Dnipro, central Ukraine

(Google Maps)

Lamiat Sabin25 March 2022 08:20

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Evacuation route to be opened today in Mariupol

Civilians in Mariupol are hoping to leave the city via a humanitarian corridor today.

Ukrainian deputy PM Iryna Vereshchuk said Ukraine hopes to open a safe corridor to allow evacuate civilians to flee the besieged Black Sea port city in private vehicles.

Those who manage to leave Mariupol will find buses awaiting in the nearby city of Berdiansk which will take them to the city of Zaporizhzhia, she said.

“We will do everything in our power so that buses filled with Mariupol residents reach Zaporizhzhia today,” Ms Vereshchuk added.

Mariupol has been hit by severe shelling

(Evgeny Maloletka/AP)

Repeated attempts to arrange safe passage out of the southern port city, which is surrounded by Russian forces, have failed.

Mariupol – that had a population of about 400,000 – has been under heavy bombardment for weeks.

Civilians there have been sheltering in basements with little food, power or running water.

Lamiat Sabin25 March 2022 08:06

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Russia ‘running out of precision-guided munitions’ – US

Russia is running out of precision guided munitions, a senior Pentagon official said.

Troops are more likely to rely on so-called dumb bombs, also known as conventional “gravity bombs”, and artillery in its ongoing invasion of Ukraine, according to Colin Kahl – Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.

A missile explosion in Lviv, western Ukraine, earlier this month

(AP)

Mr Kahl speculated that he did not believe Vladimir Putin wanted to have an all out conflict with Nato.

Lamiat Sabin25 March 2022 07:44

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US charges four Russians with cybercrime

The United States has charged four Russian citizens with cybercrime in 135 countries.

Yevgeny Gladkikh, who is said to be an employee of the Central Research Institute of Chemistry and Mechanics (CNDIHM), and his accomplices allegedly hacked the systems of a foreign refinery and installed malware between May and September 2017, Interfax news agency reported.

“The conspirators later tried to hack into the computers of an American company that operated similar critical infrastructure in the United States,” the US department of justice said.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar25 March 2022 07:06

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Russian state TV blames Ukrainians for devastation in Mariupol

Russian state TV aired aerial footage showing the devastation wrought on the besieged port city of Mariupol by Moscow’s invading forces – with the anchor appearing to blame Ukrainian nationalists for the destruction.

In a clip shared to Twitter by Washington Post journalist Mary Ilyushina, the anchor can be heard saying: “Sad scenes, of course… the [Ukrainian] nationalists withdraw trying not to leave a stone unturned”.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar25 March 2022 07:01

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Japan to freeze assets of 25 Russian individuals

Japan will freeze the assets of additional 25 Russian individuals and prohibit exports to 81 Russian organisations, the foreign ministry said.

Prime minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday said Japan will take steps to strip Russia of “most favored nation” trade status to prevent Moscow from evading earlier financial sanctions through digital assets.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar25 March 2022 06:36

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Inside Makariv, the town Ukrainians took back from Russian troops

After weeks of fierce fighting, the town of Makariv, located 32 miles from capital Kyiv, is now back under Ukrainian control. There are other towns and cities in Ukraine that have suffered more deaths and injuries, that have also been the targets of pounding airstrikes and artillery barrages.

But as this brutal and unexpected war reached its first monthly anniversary, this town has taken on great strategic and symbolic significance. “Welcome to hell,” says the soldier at the checkpoint, pointing to the scene of devastation at Makariv.

Kim Sengupta reports from the war torn town.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar25 March 2022 06:18

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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