As the Russia-Ukraine war enters its 35th day, we take a look at the main developments.
These are the key events so far on Wednesday, March 30.
- British military intelligence says Russian units suffering heavy losses had to return to Belarus and Russia to reorganise and resupply.
- Separately, residential areas of Ukraine’s eastern city of Lysychansk have been shelled by heavy artillery, the regional governor says.
- A Russian rocket hit an administration building in Mykolaiv, killing at least 12 people, while a Ukrainian news outlet reported “multiple explosions” in the capital Kyiv.
Talks and diplomacy
- After talks in Istanbul, Russia promises to scale down military operations around Kyiv and the northeastern city of Chernihiv, while Ukraine says it might adopt a neutral status in confidence-building steps to help de-escalate the five-week war.
- Vladimir Medinsky, head of the Russian negotiating team, says “this is not a ceasefire but this is our aspiration, gradually to reach a de-escalation of the conflict at least on these fronts”.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says there is no reason to believe Russia’s announcement given what is happening on the ground.
- The US and the UK have also expressed scepticism. “I don’t read anything into it until I see what their actions are,” US President Biden said.
- Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov arrives in China on his first visit since Moscow launched its invasion on February 24.
- The UN’s human rights office says it has verified 1,179 civilian deaths in Ukraine since the start of the war and a further 1,860 civilians have been wounded. The true number of casualties is believed to be much higher.
- The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) warns that the crisis in the besieged city of Mariupol is deepening. “The level of death, destruction and suffering that we are witnessing and that is being inflicted on civilians, is abhorrent and unacceptable,” it says.
- Share markets and global borrowing costs surge on signs of progress in talks. Ukrainian bonds and Russia’s roubles also benefit, while oil prices dropped.
- Holcim, the world’s biggest cement maker, says it is exiting the Russian market; Japan will ban the export of high-end cars and luxury goods to Russia; Germany wants to end all fossil fuel imports from Russia.