Thursday, March 17. The Latest News in Ukraine Today:
- On Wednesday, March 16, Russian fighter jets bombed the Donetsk Regional Drama Theatre in Mariupol, which according to Ukrainian MP Dmytro Gurin, was being used at the time as an air raid shelter for approximately 1,000 civilians. The shelter mercifully withstood the blast. Ukrainian emergency services are now working around the clock to clear the rubble and debris, and there is hope hundreds may have survived, as no casualties have been reported thus far.
- In an attempt to isolate evacuation routes and essential supply lines, the Russian army is making use of so-called salient tactics against civilian cities. In effect, they are essentially holding civilians hostage, and ignoring protocols of humanitarian treatment and all internationally accepted standards of war. According to a senior adviser to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, this is aimed at provoking a management crisis within the country, along with panic and internal conflict among the populace.
- People in Oleshky, in the Kherson region, are reporting that the Russian army is on the move again. Yevhen Ryshchuk, the city mayor, said that the occupiers had instructed local authorities to maintain the peace, while simultaneously threatening to burn down the city, in the event of any public demonstrations. There have also been numerous reports about Southern Ukrainians expressing their pro-Ukraine stance in peacefully held protests, in front of heavily armed Russian soldiers.
- In an interview to the Bosnian press, Russian ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Igor Kalabukhov claimed that there is in fact no war in Ukraine. He also suggested that Bosnia and Herzegovina would be free to decide whether or not to join NATO, or any other organisation for that matter. Russia’s reaction to such a decision, however, is yet to be known today. “On the example of Ukraine,” he added, “we have shown what we expect. If there is a threat, then we will react.”
- London-based Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman has given a candid interview to Bloomberg in which he argued that he and his billionaire comrades have absolutely no control over Putin. Fridman also complained that his bank accounts had been frozen and he now had to beg the UK government for a £2,500 monthly allowance.
- Following the strict sanctions imposed on Moscow by the West, Putin is urging Russian corporations to not fear sanctions and to begin their operations in Crimea, as Russian newspaper Vedomosti reports. The Kremlin press secretary described the current situation as a “cleansing” moment in Russia’s history.
- If you were wondering, here are some enlightening statistics on Russian losses in the unprovoked war in Ukraine, which are up to date as of the 16th of March:
- And finally, a video published by Human Rights Watch appears to show Russian forces repeatedly making use of cluster munitions in Mykolaiv, a densely populated city. This may constitute a war crime that could be investigated by the International Criminal Court.
Why is Russia attacking Ukraine?
Putin claims that this "special operation" was needed to protect Ukraine’s Russian-speaking population. But what language do people speak in Ukraine anyway? In actuality, while Russian is spoken by approximately a third of the Ukrainian people, it is Ukrainian that firmly prevails with ⅔ of the country being native speakers. Furthermore, since these latest attacks, many Russian speakers have switched exclusively to Ukrainian.
Stay tuned for more of the latest Ukraine news!