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These are the key events so far on Wednesday, March 16.

  • Russia says its forces have taken full control of the southern region of Kherson. Ukraine reported 19 people were killed in an attack on a TV tower in Rivne.
  • The Kyiv Independent, a Ukrainian news outlet, says air-raid sirens have gone off in several major cities, including Kyiv, Odesa, Dnipro, and Lviv.
  • Ukraine says Russia’s Major-General Oleg Mityaev, 46, was killed during the storming of Mariupol.

Peace talks

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Russia’s demands were becoming “more realistic” with peace talks to resume later in the day. “Efforts are still needed, patience is needed,” he said in a video address to the nation. “Any war ends with an agreement.”

Diplomacy

  • US President Joe Biden will make his first visit to Europe since Russia invaded Ukraine to discuss the crisis with NATO allies next week, the White House says. Zelenskyy says Ukraine may seek security guarantees from the West that fall short of NATO membership – a possible path to compromise.
  • Ukraine’s president also thanked the prime ministers of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia who travelled to Kyiv for talks.

Death toll

  • The confirmed civilian toll in Ukraine is 691 people killed and 1,143 wounded, the United Nations human rights office says, adding the true figures were probably “considerably higher”.
  • According to Zelenskyy, 97 Ukrainian children have died since the invasion began.

Fleeing

  • About three million people have fled Ukraine, nearly half of them children, according to the UN refugee agency. About 1.8 million are now in Poland and some 300,000 in Western Europe.
  • About 2,000 cars have left the besieged port city of Mariupol. Ukraine accused Russia of blocking a convoy trying to take supplies.
  • Convoys of more than 100 buses ferrying civilians have left the besieged northeastern city of Sumy, the Red Cross says.

More sanctions

  • The US has imposed more sanctions on Russians it accused of human rights violations and slapped new measures on the Belarusian president. Russia retaliated by sanctioning Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and others.
  • The European Union hit Moscow with new sanctions, including bans on Russian energy sector investments, luxury goods exports to Russia, and imports of steel products from Russia.

Economy

  • Nine out of 10 Ukrainians could face poverty and extreme economic vulnerability if the war drags on over the next year, wiping out two decades of economic gains, the UN Development Programme says.
  • Russia’s sanctions-ravaged government is teetering on the brink of its first international debt default since the Bolshevik Revolution, with $117m in interest on two dollar-denominated sovereign bonds due on Wednesday.

Cyberwarfare

  • Germany’s cybersecurity agency BSI has urged consumers not to use the anti-virus software made by Russia’s Kaspersky, warning the firm could be implicated in cyberwarfare.
  • The US already banned government agencies from using the software in 2017. Kaspersky denies being in league with the Kremlin.

Source: With Agencies

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