These are the key events so far on Saturday, March 12
- The governors of two Ukrainian regions, Kyiv and Donetsk, say Russian attacks continue in areas where Ukraine is trying to evacuate people and bring aid through humanitarian corridors.
Looting in Mariupol
- The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says people trapped in the besieged southern city of Mariupol were desperate, adding “there are reports of looting and violent confrontations among civilians over what little basic supplies remain in the city”.
Zelenskyy: Ukraine at ‘turning point’
- Ukraine’s president says his country has “reached a strategic turning point” in the war with Russia. “It’s impossible to say how many days we will still need to free our land, but it is possible to say that we will do it,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said via video from Kyiv. “We are already moving towards our goal, our victory.”
‘Humanitarian catastrophe’ in Mariupol
- Ukrainian authorities warn of a humanitarian catastrophe in Mariupol, which has been encircled by Russian forces and cut off from deliveries of food and medicine. Repeated attempts to bring in supplies and evacuate civilians from Mariupol have been cancelled because of relentless Russian fire, while Moscow accuses the Ukrainians of violating ceasefires. Mariupol’s mayor says the 12-day assault has killed more than 1,500 people.
Ukraine says Russian forces shelled mosque in Mariupol
- Russian forces have shelled a mosque in Mariupol where more than 80 adults and children, including Turkish citizens, have taken refuge, Ukraine’s foreign ministry says. It did not say if there were any people killed or wounded. Moscow has denied targeting civilian areas in what it calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine.
YouTube blocks access to Russian state-owned media
- YouTube has blocked access around the world to channels associated with Russian state-funded media, the company says, citing a policy barring content that denies, minimises or trivialises well-documented “violent events”. The world’s most used streaming video service says Russia’s invasion of Ukraine now fell under its violent-events policy and violating material will be removed.
Sanctions threaten space station: Roscosmos
- Western sanctions against Russia could cause the International Space Station to crash, the head of Russian space agency Roscosmos warned, calling for the punitive measures to be lifted. According to the agency, the sanctions could disrupt the operation of Russian vessels servicing the ISS.
Russian media law amounts to information ‘blackout’
- A Russian law giving Moscow stronger powers to crack down on independent journalism is placing Russia under a “total information blackout” on the war in Ukraine, United Nations independent experts say. Moscow has blocked Facebook and other websites and passed a law imposing a prison term of up to 15 years for spreading intentionally “fake” news about the military.
UK says Russia attacked western Ukraine cities
- The United Kingdom says Russia conducted attacks over the past 24 hours against the western Ukrainian cities of Lutsk and Ivano-Frankivsk. Russian tactical aircraft supporting the advance of ground forces were primarily relying on unguided “dumb” munitions, a UK defence ministry update posted on Twitter says.
Blinken, Kuleba concerned about Russian ‘disinformation campaigns’
- US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba shared concerns over Russia’s “disinformation campaigns” during a phone call, the State Department says. The diplomats spoke hours after the UN Security Council convened at Moscow’s request to address Russian allegations that Ukraine is developing a biological weapons programme, claims Washington rejected.
ICC opens online portal to gather evidence on Russia
- The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has opened an online portal to gather evidence of war crimes in Ukraine. Prosecutor Karim A A Khan says he is “closely following the deeply troubling developments in hostilities”, after recent reports of Russian attacks on hospitals and other civilian infrastructure.
Money transfers from abroad will be paid only in roubles in Russia
- Russians receiving money transfers from foreign banks will only be allowed to withdraw the cash in roubles, the central bank says, the latest move in a bid to cope with Western sanctions. The bank says the new temporary measure comes into effect on Saturday. It did not give an end date.
US imposes more sanctions on Putin’s inner circle
- The US has announced more sanctions on members of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, as well as oligarchs and others who backed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Treasury Department says three family members of Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov were targeted by the sanctions, as was the management board of the sanctioned VTB Bank.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA