Ukraine latest: Turkey says Ukraine-Russia talks in Istanbul are…
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has entered its second month, with casualties mounting on both sides.
Ukraine’s forces continue to resist, while its President Volodymyr Zelenskyy regularly calls on the world to do more to help. Governments around the globe have imposed heavy sanctions against Moscow but have stopped short of direct intervention for fear of sparking a wider conflict.
Meanwhile, rising geopolitical risk and volatile energy and financial markets are rocking Asia.
For all our coverage, visit our Ukraine war page.
Read our in-depth coverage:
— China’s Sinopec to keep buying Russian oil and gas, exec says
— Apple to cut iPhone, AirPods output amid Ukraine war uncertainty
— Japan’s 3 Ukraine takeaways: Be ready, show grit, don’t wait for U.S.
— Analysis: Xi’s pro-Russia stance rooted in fear of Gorbachev model
Entries include material from wire services and other sources.
Note: Nikkei Asia on March 5 decided to temporarily suspend its reporting from Russia until further information becomes available regarding the scope of the revised criminal code.
Here are the latest developments:
Tuesday. March 29 (Tokyo time)
10:40 p.m. The Ukraine invasion has triggered dismissals of some brilliant Russian musical figures from the classical scene in the West. In some cases, the firings have been sudden.
Russian maestro Valery Gergiev was sacked as chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra on March 1.
After Russia had invaded Ukraine, Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter immediately presented the Russian conductor an ultimatum. Either “clearly and unequivocally distance himself” from Russia’s “special military operation” or leave.
“I had hoped that he would reconsider his very positive assessment of Russian President Vladimir Putin,” the mayor said in his March 1 announcement. “He has not done so.” Read more.
9:57 p.m. The Russia-Ukraine negotiations in Istanbul have concluded, host Turkey says Tuesday, adding that the peace talks will not continue for a second day.
9:21 p.m. Russia will curtail military activity around the Ukrainian cities of Kyiv and Chernihiv, its deputy defense minister says, after talks between Russian and Ukrainian negotiating teams in Istanbul. The official, Alexander Fomin, says the decision was taken in the interest of creating mutual trust and the conditions for further talks.
6:00 p.m. Ukraine’s president has spoken with South Korea’s incoming leader.
6:30 p.m. Russian and Ukrainian negotiators have begun the first direct peace talks in more than two weeks on Tuesday in Istanbul, with the surprise attendance of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich who is sanctioned by the West over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. The two teams sat facing each other at a long table in the presidential office, with the Russian oligarch sitting in the front row of observers, a Turkish presidential video feed showed. Two of Abramovich’s superyachts are docked at Turkish resorts.
5:00 p.m. Russia’s Foreign Ministry called in the ambassadors of the three Baltic nations on Tuesday to announce the expulsion of some of their diplomats in a tit-for-tat move, the TASS and RIA news agencies cited a source as saying. Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania expelled a total of 10 Russian diplomats in a coordinated move earlier this month.
4:10 p.m. Progress in talks between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators starting in Istanbul on Tuesday would pave the way for a meeting of the countries’ two leaders, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the delegations ahead of the talks. In a televised speech to the negotiators in Istanbul, Erdogan said the time has come for talks to yield concrete results and called for an immediate cease-fire, saying that “stopping this tragedy” was up to both sides.
3:00 p.m. German consumer sentiment looks set to slump heading into April as the war in Ukraine pushed households’ economic and income expectations to their lowest since the 2009 financial crisis, a survey shows. The GfK institute said its consumer sentiment index, based on a survey of around 2,000 Germans, tumbled to -15.5 points heading into April, down from a revised -8.5 points a month earlier, the lowest reading since February 2021.
10:30 a.m. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno says Japanese companies will be requested to refuse if Russia asks for payments in rubles, especially in the energy sector. Russia demanded last week that “unfriendly” countries must pay in rubles, not euros, for its gas in the wake of the United States and European allies teaming up on a series of sanctions aimed at Russia.
10:00 a.m. Japan will ban the export of luxury goods to Russia in its latest response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, effective April 5, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry says in a statement. Prohibited items include luxury cars, motorcycles, liquors, cosmetics, fashion items and art pieces.
6:45 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden offers an explanation for his eyebrow-raising exclamation Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power.”
“I wasn’t then nor am I now articulating a policy change,” Biden tells reporters at the White House. “I was expressing moral outrage that I felt, and I make no apologies.”
5:15 a.m. Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, the owner of the Chelsea Football Club, suffered symptoms of poisoning in Kyiv in early March after peace talks with Russia, the Financial Times reports, citing three people familiar with the matter.
Two Ukrainians involved in the talks also suffered symptoms. Abramovich’s eyesight “completely disappeared” for several hours, the Financial Times reports.
“We did not identify the substance,” the newspaper quotes a person close to Zelenskyy as saying. “No idea who was behind [the attack] — but it looks like Roman was the main target.”
The suspected poisoning was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
4:30 a.m. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says the country’s most ambitious goal at talks with Russia in Turkey this week is to agree on a cease-fire. “The minimum program will be humanitarian questions, and the maximum program is reaching an agreement on a cease-fire,” he said on national television when asked about the scope of the latest round of peace negotiations, expected to kick off Tuesday. “We are not trading people, land or sovereignty.”
3:08 a.m. U.S. lawmakers are probing Credit Suisse Group’s compliance with sanctions related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, asking the Swiss bank to provide documents tied to the financing of yachts and jets owned by potentially sanctioned individuals, according to a letter sent by a House of Representatives committee to the bank’s chief executive, Thomas Gottstein.
The probe comes after the Financial Times reported this month that Credit Suisse asked hedge funds and other investors to destroy documents relating to its richest clients’ yachts and private jets in an attempt to stop information leaking about loans to oligarchs who were later sanctioned.
2:00 a.m. The exodus of many of the world’s top brands from Russia in protest of the country’s invasion of Ukraine has created a cottage industry in patent applications for strikingly similar logos. They include one that looks like McDonald’s golden arches turned on their side and a blue-and-yellow IKEA look-alike. Read more.
12:30 a.m. Group of Seven economies will reject Russia’s demand to pay for natural gas in rubles, their energy ministers have agreed in an online meeting, according to Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that only “unfriendly” countries would have to pay for Russian energy in rubles. This list includes the U.S. and Japan.
These transactions have mostly been paid for in dollars and euros. Natural gas from the Japanese-backed Sakhalin-2 project has been paid for mainly in dollars.
Monday, March 28
11:45 p.m. International brewers Heineken and Carlsberg say they plan to exit Russia, joining other big consumer brands.
Carlsberg has more exposure to Russia than any of its peers, the Financial Times reports. The country makes 9% of its revenue in the country and employs 8,400 people there.
10:01 p.m. Russia’s Novaya Gazeta newspaper, whose editor Dmitry Muratov was a co-winner of last year’s Nobel Peace Prize, is suspending online and print activities until the end of Russia’s “special operation” in Ukraine. The investigative paper, which already removed material from its website on Russia’s military action in Ukraine to comply with a new media law, says it received another warning from the state communications regulator about its reporting, prompting it to pause operations.
6:22 p.m. Chinese state energy company Sinopec will continue to buy crude oil and gas from Russia, a top executive says, even as Western democracies step up sanctions in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine. The company, known formally as China Petroleum and Chemical, is involved in two major projects in Russia: an oil and gas production joint venture called Taihu in the Volga-Ural petroleum basin, and the development of the Amur gas chemical complex and processing plant with Sibur in the Russian Far East, adjoining China.
6:19 p.m. The Kremlin says that peace talks between Russia and Ukraine may get underway in Turkey on Tuesday and said it was important that the talks would be held face-to-face despite scant progress in negotiations so far. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed in a telephone call on Sunday for Istanbul to host the talks, which Ankara hopes will lead to a cease-fire in Ukraine.
5:36 p.m. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and echoed calls for an immediate cease-fire made by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which Cambodia currently chairs. In his remarks, Hun Sen invoked Cambodia’s own history of occupation by Vietnam and cast doubt on Russia’s ability to capture the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.
4:59 p.m. Ukrainian and Russian negotiators will begin peace talks in Istanbul later Monday, a senior Turkish official said, without elaborating. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, agreed in a telephone call on Sunday for Istanbul to host the talks, which Ankara hopes will lead to a cease-fire.
4:54 p.m. Russian forces are regrouping but are unable to advance anywhere in Ukraine, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar says. Russian forces were trying to reinforce positions they already hold and were trying to break through the defenses of Kyiv but had no hope of capturing the capital, she says.
4:48 p.m. Ukraine has no plans to open any humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians from besieged cities on Monday because of intelligence reports warning of possible Russian “provocations” along the routes, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk says.
4:35 p.m. The mayor of Mariupol says all civilians must be evacuated from the encircled Ukrainian city to allow them to escape a humanitarian catastrophe. Mayor Vadym Boichenko says 160,000 civilians were still trapped in the southern port city on the Sea of Azov without heat and power after weeks of Russian bombardment.
He says 26 buses were waiting to evacuate civilians from Mariupol, which normally has a population of about 400,000 people, but Russian forces had not agreed to give them safe passage. He did not say where they were waiting.
4:04 p.m. Chinese drone maker DJI has dismissed as “utterly false” accusations that the Russian military is using its drones in Ukraine after a German retailer cited such information as the reason for taking its products off the shelves. The rejection followed Friday’s Twitter revelation of the removal by German electronics and home appliances giant MediaMarkt in response to “information from various sources,” although it gave no details on the information it had received.
2:08 p.m. Japan will revise its foreign exchange law to prevent Russia from evading financial sanctions via cryptocurrency assets. A proposed revision to the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act will be submitted to the Diet to deter Russia from dodging sanctions, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a news conference. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also called on Monday for the law to be amended, stressing the need for coordinated actions with Western allies after attending last week’s Group of Seven summit in Belgium.
11:23 a.m. Hollywood shared some of its big night with Ukrainians on Sunday, using text on a screen to ask the world for financial contributions. But rather than turning the Academy Awards into a platform about Ukraine, the show’s directors opted for a silent message that did not mention Russia, which invaded Ukraine 31 days ago. “We’d like to have a moment of silence to show our support for the people of Ukraine currently facing invasion, conflict and prejudice within their own borders,” read the message posted on screen just before a commercial break.
11:11 a.m. Russian forces have left the Ukrainian town of Slavutych, home to workers at the defunct nuclear plant of Chernobyl, after completing their surveying task, the mayor says. On Saturday, the Kyiv regional governor said Russian forces had taken control of the town just outside the safety exclusion zone around Chernobyl, site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986, where Ukrainian staff still manage the plant.
6:51 a.m. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says that neither NATO nor U.S. President Joe Biden aims to bring about regime change in Russia. Biden said of Russian President Vladimir Putin during a speech on Saturday that “this man cannot remain in power.” The White House and other U.S. officials rushed to clarify that Biden was not actually calling for Putin to be toppled. Asked during a Sunday appearance on ARD television whether Putin’s removal is in fact the real aim, Scholz replied: “This is not the aim of NATO, and also not that of the American president,” adding, “We both agree completely that regime change is not an object and aim of policy that we pursue together.”
3:09 a.m. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tells Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that a cease-fire and better humanitarian conditions are needed. “Stressing the need for the immediate establishment of ceasefire and peace between Russia and Ukraine as well as the amelioration of the humanitarian situation in the region, President Erdogan stated that Turkiye would continue to lend every kind of support regarding the process,” Erdogan’s office says in a Twitter thread about the phone call, using Turkey’s new English rendition of its own name.
Erdogan and Putin agree that the next round of negotiations between Ukraine and Russia will be held in Istanbul.
3:08 a.m. Ukraine is prepared to discuss adopting a neutral status as part of a peace deal with Russia, but it would have to be guaranteed by third parties and put to a referendum, Zelenskyy says in an interview.
Speaking to a group of Russian journalists via video call, Zelenskyy says the invasion caused the destruction of Russian-speaking cities in Ukraine and says the damage exceeded that from the Russian wars in Chechnya.
1:51 a.m. Russia’s communications watchdog tells Russian media not to report on an interview done with Zelenskyy and says it has started a probe into the outlets that had interviewed him.
In a short statement distributed by the watchdog on social media and posted on its website, it says a host of Russian outlets had done an interview with Zelenskyy.
“Roskomnadzor warns the Russian media about the necessity of refraining from publishing this interview,” it says. It does not give a reason for its warning.
Sunday, March 27
9:30 p.m. The U.S. has no strategy of regime change for Russia, Secretary of State Antony Blinken tells reporters in Jerusalem. “I think the president, the White House, made the point last night that, quite simply, President [Vladimir] Putin cannot be empowered to wage war or engage in aggression against Ukraine or anyone else,” Blinken says.
“As you know, and as you’ve heard us say repeatedly, we do not have a strategy of regime change in Russia — or anywhere else, for that matter,” he adds. “In this case, as in any case, it’s up to the people of the country in question. It’s up to the Russian people.”
3:37 p.m. Ukraine and Russia have agreed on two “humanitarian corridors” to evacuate civilians from front-line areas on Sunday local time, including allowing people to leave by private car from the southern city of Mariupol, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk says.
3:52 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden says in Poland that Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power” in a comment soon walked back by a White House official. “The president’s point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region,” the official says. “He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change.”
Biden’s comments, including an earlier one in which he called Putin a “butcher,” mark a sharp verbal escalation in the American approach to Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
Saturday, March 26
8:56 p.m. Ukraine received additional security pledges from the United States on developing defense cooperation, its Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says. “We did receive additional promises from the United States on how our defense cooperation will evolve,” Kuleba tells reporters.
7:06 p.m. More than 100,000 people still need to be evacuated from the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk says on national television.
6:53 p.m. Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov says that he and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba had held a joint meeting with their U.S. counterparts for the first time. “We discuss current issues & cooperation in political and defense directions between Ukraine and the United States,” Reznikov says on Twitter, posting a photograph of the meeting in Warsaw with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
5:54 p.m. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu was seen chairing an army meeting and discussing weapons supplies in a video posted by his ministry, the first time he had publicly been shown speaking for more than two weeks. In the video, uploaded on social media, Shoigu said he had discussed issues related to the military budget and defence orders with the finance ministry.
5:25 p.m. Russian forces have taken control of the town of Slavutych, where workers at the defunct Chernobyl nuclear plant live, the governor of Kyiv region Oleksandr Pavlyuk says. In an online statement, Pavlyuk says Russian troops had occupied the hospital in Slavutych and kidnapped the mayor.
3:46 p.m. The war in Ukraine has killed 136 children in the 31 days since the start of the Russian invasion, Ukraine’s office of the prosecutor-general said on Saturday in a message on the Telegram app. Of the total, 64 children have been killed in the Kyiv region, the office said. A further 50 children have died in the Donetsk region, it said. Additionally, 199 children have been wounded.
10:39 a.m. About 300 people were killed in the Russian airstrike last week on a Mariupol theater that was being used as a shelter, Ukrainian authorities say, in what would make it the war’s deadliest known attack on civilians yet. The bloodshed at the theater fueled allegations Moscow is committing war crimes by killing civilians, whether deliberately or by indiscriminate fire.
3:30 a.m. A senior Russian military official says that the first phase of its “special operation” — Moscow’s name for the invasion of Ukraine — has been mostly completed and that the focus is now on the eastern Donbas region.
“The military capacities of Ukraine’s armed forces have been significantly decreased, which allows efforts to be focused on achieving our main aim: liberating Donbas,” Sergei Rudskoy says, referring to a region where Russian-backed separatists have declared themselves “republics.” Ukraine does not recognize their independence.
Russia’s hints at a potential scaling back of its territorial ambitions in Ukraine come amid reports of military setbacks. Russian forces no longer have full control of Kherson, the first major Ukrainian city they captured, The New York Times reports, citing a senior Pentagon official.
2:55 a.m. Zelenskyy gives an update on his latest talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
1:30 a.m. The U.S. aims to supply 15 billion cu. meters of liquefied natural gas to the European Union this year to help ease its dependence on Russian energy. Read more
Friday, March 25
11:55 p.m. Ukraine is likely to be on the agenda for a meeting of Quad leaders being planned for April. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the summit host, has reached out to U.S. President Joe Biden on a possible visit to Japan for the talks involving Australia and India.
11:00 p.m. Moscow reacts to talk of excluding Russia from the Group of 20.
Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov says the G-20 format is “important,” but “in the current conditions, as most of the participants in this format are in a state of economic war with us at their own initiative, nothing deadly harmful will happen” if Russia is left out.
Peskov’s comments were reported by Interfax.
10:19 p.m. U.S. President Joe Biden lands in Rzeszow, Poland, to assess humanitarian efforts to help some of the millions of Ukrainian refugees fleeing their country and talk to American troops shoring up NATO’s defenses.
5:04 p.m. Russia’s armed forces destroyed a major fuel depot outside Kyiv in a missile strike, the country’s defense ministry says. Spokesman Igor Konashenkov said the strike happened on Thursday evening, using Kalibr cruise missiles fired from sea. Konashenkov said the depot was used to supply Ukraine’s armed forces in the center of the country.
4:40 p.m. Rescuers were searching for survivors among debris on Friday after two missiles hit a Ukrainian military unit on the outskirts of the city of Dnipro, causing “serious destruction,” regional governor Valentyn Reznychenko said on social media.
1:40 p.m. It is “foolish” to believe that Western sanctions against Russian businesses could have any effect on the Moscow government, Russian ex-President and Deputy Head of the country’s Security Council Dmitry Medvedev was quoted as saying on Friday. The sanctions will only consolidate Russian society and not cause popular discontent with the authorities, Medvedev told Russia’s RIA news agency in an interview.
“Let us ask ourselves: can any of these major businessmen have even the tiniest quantum of influence of the position of the country’s leadership?” Medvedev said. “I openly tell you: no, no way.”
1:25 p.m. Four Russian officials, including hackers with a government intelligence agency, have been charged with the malicious hacking of critical infrastructure around the globe including the U.S. energy and aviation sectors between 2012 and 2018, the U.S. Justice Department and British Foreign Office say. Among the thousands of computers targeted in some 135 countries were machines at a Kansas nuclear power plant — whose business network was compromised — and at a Saudi petrochemical plant in 2017 where the hackers overrode safety controls, officials say.
10:30 a.m. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says that Ukrainians “need to achieve peace” and halt the Russian bombardment that has forced millions to flee to countries like Poland, where U.S. President Joe Biden is due to visit and witness the crisis first hand. Appearing exhausted in a brief video address early on Friday, Zelenskyy said he had made appeals to Western leaders “all for one reason — so that Russia understands that we need to achieve peace. Russia also needs to achieve peace.”
6:10 a.m. The U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approves a resolution blaming Russia for the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and urging an immediate cease-fire and protection for millions of civilians and the homes, schools and hospitals critical to their survival. There was loud applause in the assembly chamber as the result of the vote was announced: 140-5 with only Belarus, Syria, North Korea and Eritrea joining Russia in opposing the measure. There were 38 abstentions, including Russian ally China, India, South Africa, Iran and Cuba.
4:40 a.m. “The Russian invasion of Ukraine has put an end to the globalization we have experienced over the last three decades,” BlackRock CEO Larry Fink writes in his annual letter to shareholders of the world’s largest asset manager.
Fink predicts “companies and governments will also be looking more broadly at their dependencies on other nations. This may lead companies to onshore or nearshore more of their operations, resulting in a faster pull back from some countries.” Read more.
3:30 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden says he thinks Russia should be removed from the Group of 20, or if that fails, Ukraine should be allowed to participate in meetings. Biden acknowledges that such a decision “depends on the G-20.” This year’s G-20 president, Indonesia, has indicated it plans to let Russia stay in the grouping.
2:49 a.m. China understands its economic future is more closely tied to the West than to Russia, U.S. President Joe Biden says on the sidelines of emergency meetings in Europe, after warning Beijing it could face consequences for aiding Moscow’s war in Ukraine.
“I made no threats, but I made it clear to him — made sure he understood the consequences of helping Russia,” Biden said of a recent conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
1:12 a.m. Leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized nations warn Russia not to use biological, chemical or nuclear weapons in its war with Ukraine, in their statement after summit talks in Brussels. All countries are ready to welcome refugees from Ukraine, they say.
12:40 a.m. The 193-member U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly demands aid access and civilian protection in Ukraine and criticizes Russia for creating a “dire” humanitarian situation with its invasion a month ago.
The resolution, drafted by Ukraine and allies, received 140 votes in favor and 5 votes against — Russia, Syria, North Korean, Eritrea and Belarus — while 38 countries abstained, including China and India.
12:30 a.m. Ukraine says it has destroyed a large Russian landing support ship, the Orsk, at the Russian-occupied port of Berdiansk on the Sea of Azov.
Video footage shows a column of smoke rising from a blaze at a dock, and the flash of an explosion.
Two vessels, one of which appeared to have been damaged, were seen in the footage sailing out of the dock as a third ship burned.
Thursday, March 24
10:30 p.m. U.S. President Joe Biden is set to announce $1 billion in humanitarian aid to Ukraine, and a plan to accept up to 100,000 Ukraine refugees, a senior administration official says.
The U.S. is also launching the “European Democratic Resilience Initiative” with $320 million to support media freedom, social resistance and human rights in Ukraine and nearby countries, according to the official.
7:49 p.m. Ukrainian authorities in besieged Mariupol say about 15,000 civilians have been illegally deported to Russia since Russian forces seized parts of the southern port city. Ukrainian officials say civilians trapped in Mariupol, which is normally home to about 400,000 people, face a desperate plight without access to food, water, power or heat.
6:30 p.m. Britain has frozen the assets of Russia’s Gazprombank and Alfa-Bank, and the state-run shipping firm Sovcomflot, in its latest round of sanctions. They were among 59 individuals and entities added to the sanctions list which has been used to target Moscow since Russia invaded Ukraine. Gazprombank is one of main channels for payments for Russian oil and gas. Alfa-Bank is one of Russia’s top private lenders.
5:40 p.m. Zelenskyy urges Western nations gathering in Brussels on Thursday to take “serious steps” to help Kyiv fight Russia’s invasion, as an unprecedented one-day trio of summits — NATO, G-7 and EU — got underway. The hectic day of meetings, aimed at maintaining Western unity, kicks off at NATO headquarters in Brussels, where the trans-Atlantic defense alliance’s leaders will agree to ramp up military forces on Europe’s eastern flank.
“At these three summits we will see who is our friend, who is our partner and who sold us out and betrayed us,” Zelenskyy said in a video address released early on Thursday.
3:30 p.m. NATO estimates that 7,000 to 15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in four weeks of war in Ukraine, where fierce resistance from the country’s defenders has denied Moscow the lightning victory it sought, AP reports. By way of comparison, Russia lost about 15,000 troops over 10 years in Afghanistan. A senior NATO military official said the alliance’s estimate was based on information from Ukrainian authorities, what Russia has released — intentionally or not — and intelligence gathered from open sources. The official spoke on condition of anonymity under ground rules set by NATO.
3:15 p.m. Turkish telecoms company Turkcell, one of three main operators in Ukraine, said around 10% of its infrastructure in the country has been disabled by Russia’s invasion, but added there was no damage to its central network. While Russia has failed to capture a single major Ukrainian city a month after it launched its invasion, the fighting has left cities in ruins and destroyed critical infrastructure.
12:30 p.m. The U.S. State Department says Russia has begun the process of expelling several more diplomats from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. The department said that on Wednesday it received a list of diplomats who have been declared “persona non grata” by the Russian foreign ministry. It didn’t say how many diplomats were affected by the order, which generally results in the expulsion of those targeted within 72 hours. The foreign ministry summoned U.S. Ambassador John Sullivan on Monday to protest President Joe Biden’s description of Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “war criminal” over the invasion of Ukraine.
11:00 a.m. Russia’s communications regulator has blocked Google’s news aggregator service, accusing it of allowing access to what it calls fake material about the country’s military operation in Ukraine, the Interfax news agency says. “We’ve confirmed that some people are having difficulty accessing the Google News app and website in Russia and that this is not due to any technical issues on our end,” Google said in statement. “We’ve worked hard to keep information services like News accessible to people in Russia for as long as possible.”
10:35 a.m. Japan has no clue yet about how Russia would carry out its claim to seek payment in rubles for energy sold to “unfriendly” countries, the finance minister says. “Currently we’re looking into the situation with relevant ministries, as we don’t quite understand what is [Russia’s] intention and how they would do this,” Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki said in a parliament session.
8:30 a.m. The World Health Organization says it has verified 64 instances of attacks on health care in Ukraine between Feb. 24 and March 21, resulting in 15 deaths and 37 injuries. Close to 7 million Ukrainians have been internally displaced in the one month of war, with 1 in 3 of them suffering from a chronic health condition, according to the global health agency.
3:50 a.m. “Based on information currently available, the U.S. government assesses that members of Russia’s forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken says in a statement.
While acknowledging that “a court of law with jurisdiction over the crime is ultimately responsible for determining criminal guilt in specific cases” of alleged war crimes, Blinken says the U.S. government “will share information we gather with allies, partners, and international institutions and organizations, as appropriate.” Read more.
2:35 a.m. One of the Kremlin’s faces to the world, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special climate envoy Anatoly Chubais, has resigned.
Chubais quit of his own accord, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov tells the Financial Times, without saying whether the move came in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Bloomberg first reported the resignation. Chubais, an architect of Russia’s post-Soviet economic overhaul and an oligarch in his own right, served as first deputy prime minister under President Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s.
2:00 a.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett have spoken again, this time by phone.
“Bennett shared his assessment of the situation around Ukraine, considering his recent contacts with leaders of several foreign countries, and expressed some ideas in relation to the negotiating process between Russian and Ukrainian representatives,” Interfax reports, citing the Russian presidential press service.
12:50 a.m. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shows that “full-fledged war is an instrument of their policy, and therefore we have to be prepared to confront such a reality,” Deividas Matulionis, Lithuania’s ambassador to NATO, tells Nikkei ahead of the alliance’s summit in Brussels on Thursday.
The meeting is expected to cover not only the Ukraine conflict, but also bolstering the defenses of former Soviet states in Eastern Europe and the Baltic region that many fear may be in Russia’s sights as well. These include Lithuania, which borders the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad as well as Belarus, where Moscow holds growing sway. Read more.
For earlier updates, click here.