UKRAINE WRAP | Around 1,300 Ukrainian troops killed since Russian invasion: Zelenskyy
March 12 2022 — 17:13
Most Ukrainian businesses not operating since Russian invasion, Zelenskyy says
Most Ukrainian businesses have stopped operating since Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Saturday.
Zelenskyy's economic adviser previously estimated that the Russian invasion had already caused more than $100 billion of damage.
March 12 2022 — 16:40
Around 1,300 Ukrainian troops killed since Russian invasion: Zelenskyy
Around 1,300 Ukrainian troops have been killed since the start of the Russian invasion, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Saturday.
Speaking at a news briefing, Zelenskyy said Ukrainian and Russian negotiating teams had started discussing concrete topics rather than exchanging ultimatums.
He said the West should be more involved in negotiations to end the war but welcomed efforts by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to mediate between Ukraine and Russia, and said he had suggested to Bennett holding talks in Jerusalem.
March 12 2022 — 16:05
Inside Putin's call with Germany's Scholz and France's Macron
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron called for an immediate ceasefire in the Ukraine conflict during a 75-minute phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday, a German government spokesperson said.
"The conversation is part of ongoing international efforts to end the war in Ukraine," the spokesperson said in a statement, adding that the participants agreed to say nothing further about the substance of the phone call.
Scholz had earlier spoken to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about the situation, the spokesperson added.
The Kremlin said Putin told Macron and Scholz about the state of negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv and responded to their concerns about the humanitarian situation in Ukraine during the call.
It did not elaborate on Putin's comments about the state of talks, 17 days into the war that began when Russian forces invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.
On Friday, Putin said there had been "certain positive shifts" in the talks, which have been taking place in Belarus, but gave no details.
The Kremlin statement said Macron and Scholz raised questions about the humanitarian situation arising from what Russia calls its special military operation in Ukraine, and Putin responded with allegations of human rights abuses by Ukrainian forces.
It did not cite evidence in support of those allegations.
The three leaders agreed to keep in contact, the Kremlin said.
March 12 2022 — 15:00
Refugee arrivals dip, but Ukraine's neighbours scramble to provide shelter
Ukraine's neighbours reported a dip in numbers of refugees on Saturday as governments and volunteers struggled to find shelter for the nearly 2.6 million mostly women and children who have fled since Russia's invasion two weeks ago.
Arrivals were still building on an influx that is overwhelming volunteers, non-governmental organisations and authorities in eastern Europe's border communities as well as the big cities to which most of the refugees head.
Poland's Border Guard said 76,200 people arrived on Friday - a drop of 12% from the day before. Slovak police reported a similar dip in numbers, to 9,581 people, and arrivals to Romania dropped by 22% to 16,348, police said.
Fighting raged northwest of Kyiv and many Ukrainian cities were encircled on Saturday. Bombardments and threats of Russian air attacks endangered attempted evacuations, Ukrainian officials said.
The mayor of Przemysl, a Polish city of 60,000 near the Medyka border crossing, said the number of people arriving fell to around 18,000 over the past day from 23,000 the day before and peaks of over 50,000.
Wojciech Bakun said he needed support to prepare accommodation for 2,000-3,000 people in Przemysl.
March 12 2022 — 14:45
Macron, Scholz call with Putin under way - Elysee
French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz have started a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the war in Ukraine, the French presidency said on Saturday.
Macron had said at a European Union summit on Friday that he and Scholz would hold a fresh call with Putin in the coming hours after a previous three-way exchange on Thursday.
March 12 2022 — 14:27
Governor of Ukraine's Kyiv region says evacuations ongoing
Evacuations of civilians from frontline towns in Ukraine's Kyiv region were proceeding on Saturday and are planned to continue on Sunday, regional governor Oleksiy Kuleba told local media.
"We will try to get people out every day, as long as it's possible to observe a ceasefire," he said.
March 12 2022 — 14:00
Ukraine’s president says Russia sending new troops after heavy losses
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Saturday that Russia was sending new forces to Ukraine after suffering what he said were its biggest losses in decades.
Zelenskyy also said he had spoken to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron about pressuring Russia to release the mayor of the city of Melitopol, who Ukraine says was kidnapped on Friday by Russian forces.
In a televised address, Zelenskyy urged Russia to uphold an agreed ceasefire to allow evacuations to proceed from the besieged port city of Mariupol, after blaming Moscow for the failure of previous attempts.
March 12 2022 — 13:35
Belarus denies plans to join Russian invasion but is 'rotating' troops at border
Belarus has no plans to join the Russian invasion of Ukraine but is sending five battalion tactical groups (BTGs) to its border on rotation to replace forces already stationed there, its Chief of General Staff Viktor Gulevich said on Saturday.
A top Ukrainian security official on Friday warned Belarus not to send troops to Ukraine, saying Ukraine was showing restraint towards Belarus despite the country being used as a launchpad for Russian planes.
“I want to underline that the transfer of troops is in no way connected with (any) preparation, and especially not with the participation of Belarusian soldiers in the special military operation on the territory of Ukraine,” Gulevich said.
March 12 2022 — 12:54
Fighting rages outside Kyiv, Ukraine says evacuations threatened again
Conflict raged northwest of Kyiv on Saturday and other cities were encircled and under heavy shelling, while Ukrainian officials said fighting and threats of Russian air attacks were endangering attempted evacuations.
Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk had said the government planned to use agreed humanitarian corridors out of the besieged southern port city of Mariupol as well as towns and villages in the regions of Kyiv, Sumy and some other areas.
But the governor of the Kyiv region said fighting and threats of Russian air attacks were continuing during evacuation attempts and the Donetsk region's governor said constant shelling was complicating bringing aid into Mariupol.
An adviser to the Ukrainian presidency said earlier that 79 evacuation buses and two trucks with humanitarian cargo had left for Sumy on Saturday. Buses and trucks also left Zaporizhzhia for Mariupol, a video released by the deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential administration on social media showed.
At least 1,582 civilians in Mariupol have been killed as a result of Russian shelling and a 12-day blockade, the city council said in an online statement on Friday.
March 12 2022 — 12:35
Russian attacks continue during latest evacuation attempts, Ukrainian officials say
The governors of two Ukrainian regions, Kyiv and Donetsk, said in separate statements on Saturday Russian attacks were continuing in areas where Ukraine was trying to evacuate people and bring aid through "humanitarian corridors."
"Humanitarian cargo is moving towards Mariupol, we will inform you how it develops ... The situation is complicated, there is constant shelling," Donetsk governor Pavlo Kyrylenko told local media.
"The situation is extremely difficult."
March 12 2022 — 12:00
Russia says it is in constant contact with U.S., ready for arms control talks - RIA
Russia is prepared to resume arms control talks with the United States if Washington is, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Saturday, according to RIA news agency.
Ryabkov said that Moscow and Washington remain in constant contact, but that the Kremlin sees no signs that Washington is ready to continue a dialogue on Ukraine.
However, Ryabkov said proposals on security guarantees that Russia had sent to the United States and NATO before Russian foeces entered Ukraine last month were no longer valid as the situation had now changed completely.
March 12 2022 — 11:30
Ukraine says Russian forces shelled mosque in Mariupol
Russian forces have shelled a mosque in the southern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, where more than 80 adults and children, including Turkish citizens, have taken refuge, Ukraine's foreign ministry said on Saturday.
Ukraine has accused Russia of refusing to allow people out of Mariupol, where a blockade has left hundreds of thousands trapped.
Russia blames Ukraine for the failure to evacuate people."The mosque of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and his wife Roxolana (Hurrem Sultan) in Mariupol was shelled by Russian invaders," the foreign ministry said in a tweet.
"More than 80 adults and children are hiding there from the shelling, including citizens of Turkey."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.
March 12 2022 — 11:10
Ukraine expects new wave of Russian attacks on Kyiv, Kharkiv and Donbass regions
Ukraine expects a new wave of attacks on the Kyiv, Kharkiv and Donbass regions after a slowdown in Russia's offensive, Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to the Ukrainian president's chief of staff, said on Saturday.
Arestovych also said Ukraine did not expect Belarus to join the Russian invasion force.
March 12 2022 — 10:00
Italy seizes Russian oligarch Melnichenko's Sailing Yacht A
Italian police have seized a superyacht from Russian billionaire Andrey Igorevich Melnichenko, the prime minister's office said on Saturday, a few days after the businessman was placed on an EU sanctions list following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The 143-metre (470-foot) Sailing Yacht A, which has a price tag of 530 million euros (R8.7bn), has been sequestered at the northern port of Trieste, the government said.
Designed by Philippe Starck and built by Nobiskrug in Germany, the vessel is the world's biggest sailing yacht, the government said.
Melnichenko owns major fertiliser producer EuroChem Group and coal company SUEK.
Last week Italian police seized villas and yachts worth 143 million euros ($156 million) from five high-profile Russians who have been placed on the sanctions list.
The police operations were part of a coordinated drive by Western states to penalise wealthy Russians linked to President Vladimir Putin.
March 12 2022 — 9:40
Russian news agencies say Russia has destroyed 3,491 Ukrainian military infrastructure facilities
Russian troops have destroyed 3,491 Ukrainian military infrastructure facilities in Ukraine so far, Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying on Saturday.
Russian forces "continue the offensive in Ukraine on a broad front", Konashenkov said.Reuters was not immediately able to verify his statement.
March 12 2022 — 9:20
Ukraine humanitarian corridors, including from Mariupol, could open on Saturday -Ukraine official
Humanitarian corridors in Ukraine, including the one from the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, could open on Saturday, Vadym Denysenko, an adviser to Ukraine's minister of internal affairs, said on state TV on Saturday morning.
March 12 2022 — 8:00
Air raid sirens heard across most Ukraine - media
Air raid sirens were heard across most Ukrainian cities early on Saturday morning urging people to seek shelters, local media reported.
Sirens were heard in the capital city of Kyiv, the western city of Lviv in Odessa, and Kharkiv, Cherkasy, as well as in the Sumy region in northeast of the country, a number of local Ukrainian media reported.
Russian forces appeared to be regrouping on Friday for a possible assault on Kyiv, with satellite images showing them firing artillery as they closed in on the capital.
March 12 2022 — 7:20
'We just want to get home': Family that fled Ukraine with 3 children in limbo waiting for papers to return to SA
An SA citizen and her family who fled the war in Ukraine have spent 12 days in Hungary and now hope SA officials can process their papers speedily so they can return to SA soon.
“We ran from war and ran to come to our home. We just want to get home,” Anneke Naydenov said on Friday night via text message.
“When this whole thing blew up, no-one was ready. No country was ready to the extent of the damage and the pain. People stepped up to the plate and adapted to the situation,” Naydenov said.
South African Naydenov, her Ukrainian husband Arkadiy and their three children left Ukraine and crossed into Hungary on February 28. The children are aged 12, nine and three months. The two older ones have SA birth certificates. The 12-year-old is diabetic and insulin-dependent.
March 12 2022 — 7:00
Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now
President Zelenskyy said Ukraine had reached a “strategic turning point” in the war, and air raid sirens blared across most cities in the early morning.
• Russian military units were closer to Kyiv, firing artillery towards residential areas, satellite images showed.
• Mariupol's situation was critical, officials said, as Russian forces tightened their noose around the Black Sea port and the death toll from shelling and a 12-day blockade neared 1,600.
• Evacuations from four cities dropped sharply to 7,144 people, Zelenskyy said.
• Russian air and missile forces struck the western Ukrainian cities of Lutsk and Ivano-Frankivsk, Britain said.
• Ukraine said neighbour Belarus could be planning to invade, accusing Moscow of trying to drag its ally into the war by staging air attacks on Belarus from Ukrainian air space.
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