War in Ukraine: Latest developments

By: AFP
Published: 10:05 PM, 25 Mar, 2022
War in Ukraine: Latest developments
Caption: A man walks in front of an apartment building destroyed by shelling in Kharkiv.
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Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:

- NATO never 'more united': Biden -

US President Joe Biden says Russia's President Vladimir Putin has failed to divide the West with his war on Ukraine

"NATO has never, never been more united than it is today. Putin is getting exactly the opposite of what he intended to have as a consequence of going into Ukraine," said Biden, who has landed near Poland's border with Ukraine. He added earlier NATO will "respond" if Russia uses chemical weapons.

- Russia seeks Donbas 'liberation' -

The Russian army says the first phase of its military campaign in Ukraine was over and troops would now focus on the complete "liberation" of the eastern Donbas region.

"The combat potential of Ukraine's armed forces has been significantly reduced, which allows (us)... to focus our main efforts on achieving the main goal -- the liberation of Donbas," a senior representative of the General Staff, Sergei Rudskoi, said.

- Russia puts losses at 1,351 -

Russia's army has put its official losses in Ukraine to date at 1,351 soldiers, adding it has evacuated more than 400,000 civilians.

Rudskoi meanwhile slammed as a "huge mistake the supplies of arms to Kyiv by Western countries. That prolongs the operation."

- Kyiv says another Russian commander killed -

Kyiv says its forces have killed the commander of the 49th Russian Southern District Army, General Yakov Ryazantsev.

Presidential advisor Oleksiy Arestovych said Ukraine forces had killed Ryazantsev during fighting in the south of the country, near Kherson.

Russia's Orthodox Church added one of its military chaplains was killed in a rocket attack in Russia's Belgorod region near the Ukraine border in the first publicly reported death on Russian soil from Ukrainian shelling.

- Fears over Mariupol theatre death toll -

Ukrainian officials in the strategic port city of Mariupol say some 300 people could have died in last week's Russian strike on a theatre where hundreds were sheltering.

"From eyewitnesses, information is emerging that about 300 people died in the Drama Theatre of Mariupol following strikes by a Russian aircraft," Mariupol city council wrote on Telegram.

- EU targets future minus Russian gas -

The US and EU have announced a task force aimed at reducing Europe's reliance on Russian fossil fuels.

The initiative being unveiled by Biden and EU commission president Ursula von der Leyen will see the US work with partners to strive to supply Europe with an extra 15 billion cubic metres of liquefied natural gas this year.

- Russia says hits key fuel storage site -

Russia says it has destroyed Ukraine's largest remaining military fuel storage site in a Kalibr cruise missile strike.

"On the evening of March 24, Kalibr high-precision sea-based cruise missiles attacked a fuel base in the village of Kalynivka near Kyiv," the Russian defence ministry said, adding that the base was supplying troops in the central part of the country.

- Germany acts on gas -

Germany says it is drastically slashing energy purchases from Russia, with oil imports to be halved by June and coal deliveries to end by the autumn.

"In recent weeks, together with all relevant players, we have made intensive efforts to import less fossil energy from Russia and broaden out our supply base," said Economy Minister Robert Habeck.

- US backs exclusion of Russia from G20 -

Biden says he backs excluding Russia from the Group of 20 major economies over its invasion of Ukraine

"I raised the possibility if that can't be done, if Indonesia and others do not agree, then we should in my view ask to have... Ukraine... attend the meetings as well," he said after a NATO summit in Brussels. 

- G7 warns Putin -

The Group of Seven most industrialised nations says it will do everything in its power to hold Putin and his supporters personally responsible for the invasion.

- 'Real' chemical threat -

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says there is a "real" threat that Moscow will use chemical weapons in Ukraine, accusing Russia of having already used phosphorus bombs against civilians.

The governor of the Lugansk region says phosphorus bombs were used in one village hit in overnight strikes on eastern Ukraine that killed at least four people, including two children.

Britain's ITV network broadcasts footage of phosphorus bombs dropping overnight on the flashpoint town of Irpin near Kyiv.

- New sanctions -

The G7 and the European Union pledge to block transactions involving the Russian central bank's gold reserves to hamper any bid by Moscow to circumvent Western sanctions.

Washington also unveils fresh sanctions on Russian lawmakers and defence contractors, while Britain slaps sanctions on 59 more Russian individuals and entities, including the mercenary group Wagner.

AFP

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.