Vladimir Putin —
The war in Ukraine is now in its seventh week, and taking on a new dimension with growing evidence of human rights atrocities by Russian troops as they retreated from the Kyiv region and other parts of the country.
Despite Moscow’s blanket denials, horrific discoveries of civilian murders, torture and other barbaric acts continue coming to light, with Ukrainian authorities claiming tens of thousands of civilian casualties in Mariupol alone.
As Vladimir Putin’s forces are expected to begin a new big offensive on eastern Ukraine, Kyiv forces are digging in, while NATO and the EU promise more weapons to Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Western nations keep tightening sanctions against Moscow.
Follow Tuesday’s events as they unfold in our blog below, or watch TV coverage in the video player above.
Tuesday’s key points:
The content of the article:
- 1 Tuesday’s key points:
- 2 Germany reveals Ukraine refugee numbers
- 3 Probe launched over mine death
- 4 Putin: ‘No doubt we will achieve our goals’
- 5 UK MOD: Fighting in eastern Ukraine to intensify over next ‘two to three weeks’
- 6 Two Caritas humanitarian workers among tank attack victims in downtown Mariupol
- 7 Zelenskyy taking chemical weapons threats ‘as seriously as possible’
- 8 Shelling of Kharkiv intensifies, at least eight civilians killed
Vladimir Putin vows Russia’s goals in Ukraine will be achieved
4.8 million of Ukraine’s 7.5 million children have been displaced since the beginning of the Russian invasion on 24 February, UNICEF stated.
Ukrainian authorities have accused the Kremlin of drafting a bill to fast-track the adoption of children taken from the occupied areas to Russia, including those who have parents and relatives.
More than 10,000 civilians have been killed in Mariupol, the southern port city’s mayor claimed.
The Pentagon said Russia is gearing up for an offensive in the eastern Donbas region, moving troops and material toward that area.
The UK Ministry of Defence echoed the US military predictions, stating that the war might reintensify over the next «two to three weeks».
Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said his discussion with Putin was ‘difficult’ on Monday after he became the first EU leader to visit Moscow since the start of the war.
In a video address, Zelenskyy says Ukrainians still want peace, despite the atrocities of war they have witnessed. Ukraine’s economy will shrink by 45.1% this year because of Russia’s invasion, the World Bank said.
Germany reveals Ukraine refugee numbers
German authorities say that over 330,000 refugees from Ukraine are known to have entered Germany so far.
The Interior Ministry said Tuesday that German federal police have recorded 335,578 people entering since Russia’s invasion started on Feb. 24. Those who have arrived are overwhelmingly women and children.
The true number of refugees in Germany could be higher, however, since there are no strict controls on the country’s eastern border and Ukrainian citizens can stay up to 90 days in the European Union without a visa. Officials say an unknown number also have moved on to other European countries.
The UN refugee agency on Tuesday put the total number of people who have fled Ukraine at more than 4.6 million, over 2.6 million of whom fled at least initially to Poland.
Probe launched over mine death
Ukrainian police say they have launched a war crimes investigation after a 64-year-old man was killed by a mine left behind in an area from which Russian forces recently retreated.
Police said the unidentified local man was driving on Monday near the village of Krasne in northern Ukraine and had pulled over his car to greet acquaintances when he struck an anti-tank mine left at the side of the road.
Ukrainian authorities have issued repeated warnings of mines and explosive traps left in areas where Russian troops have been operating.
Putin: ‘No doubt we will achieve our goals’
President Vladimir Putin says the Russian military action in Ukraine aims to ensure Russia’s security and is vowing that its goals will be achieved.
Speaking Tuesday on a visit to the Vostochny space launch facility in Russia’s Far East, Putin charged that Ukraine was turned into an “anti-Russian bridgehead” where “sprouts of nationalism and neo-Nazism were being cultivated.” Ukraine and its Western allies have dismissed such claims as a cover for aggression.
Putin reaffirmed his claim that the Russian “special military operation” was aimed to protect people in areas in eastern Ukraine controlled by Moscow-backed rebels. He also said that the campaign was also aimed to “ensure Russia’s own security.”
Putin argued that “we had no other choice” and said that “there is no doubt that we will achieve our goals.”
UK MOD: Fighting in eastern Ukraine to intensify over next ‘two to three weeks’
Russia continues to redeploy its forces for a push on eastern Ukraine, and fighting is expected to intensify there over the next two to three weeks, the UK defence ministry said on Tuesday.
It says Russian forces are withdrawing from Belarus in order to redeploy in support of operations in eastern Ukraine.
Meanwhile, a senior UK defence minister says “all possible options are on the table” for the West’s response if Russian forces use chemical weapons in Ukraine.
Armed Forces Minister James Heappey said on Tuesday that neither the UK nor the Ukrainian governments had confirmed reports that a chemical weapon may have been used in the besieged city of Mariupol.
«Let’s be clear, if they are used at all then President [Vladimir] Putin should know that all possible options are on the table in terms of how the West might respond,” Heappey told Sky News.
Two Caritas humanitarian workers among tank attack victims in downtown Mariupol
Two Caritas Ukraine staff were killed when a Russian tank fired a shell at the building hosting their office in the southern port city of Mariupol, the humanitarian organisation said on Monday evening.
Another five civilians who sought shelter at the office were also killed in the attack, Caritas Ukraine stated on Twitter.
Zelenskyy taking chemical weapons threats ‘as seriously as possible’
Kyiv is growing increasingly concerned about the threats of chemical weapons use by the Russian forces, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
This comes after the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic’s military spokesman Eduard Basurin’s statement advocating the use of «chemical troops» against the remaining Ukrainian units in Mariupol «to smoke (them) out of their holes».
«One of the mouthpieces of the occupiers stated that they could use chemical weapons against the defenders of Mariupol. We take this as seriously as possible,» Zelenskyy said in his nightly address on Monday.
«I want to remind the world leaders that the possible use of chemical weapons by the Russian military has already been discussed. And already at that time, it meant that it was necessary to react to the Russian aggression much tougher and faster,» he added.
Shelling of Kharkiv intensifies, at least eight civilians killed
The bombardment of the northeastern city of Kharkiv intensified on Monday, causing at least eight civilian deaths, including one child, local authorities said.
«The shelling of the regional centre continued this afternoon, in particular near Kholodna Hora. A few hours ago, the aggressors shelled Saltivka again, hitting a 16-storey building,» Kharkiv regional administration head Oleh Synyehubov said on Telegram.
Synyehubov also stated that the Russian troops were using delayed-action mines scattered by artillery. The rescue crews found and deactivated at least 80 devices throughout Monday, he claimed.