Ukraine war, day 7: Russian paratroopers attack Kharkiv

Ukraine war, day 7: Russian paratroopers attack Kharkiv
Credit: Belga

Ukraine now enters a week of fierce fighting and bombardment. Russian troops have intensified their attack on Ukraine's second city, with Russian paratroopers attempting to land in the city overnight. At least 21 people have been killed in Russian airstrikes in Kharkiv since Tuesday.

Follow the most important developments here. The latest updates appear highest on the page.

United Nations condemn Russian invasion [18:23]

On Wednesday, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and calling on Moscow to immediately withdraw all troops from Ukraine.

The resolution was supported by 141 of the 193 members, and demands that the Russian Federation immediately cease its use of force against Ukraine.

Belgium Prime Minister Alexander De Croo called it a "historic vote, uniting for peace in Ukraine."

Ukraine agrees to new round of negotiations with Russia [17:45]

Ukraine has agreed to hold another round of negotiations with the Russians tonight, according to reports by the Ukrainian news agency UNIAN on the authority of MP Davyd Arakhamia, leader of the Ukrainian delegation. Where and at what time the talks will be held is not yet clear.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Russian authorities also indicated that they were prepared to sit down again. It remained unclear for a long time whether a second round of talks would indeed follow, after negotiations had already started on Monday on the border between Ukraine and Belarus.

Russian parliament proposes bill to imprison those sharing "fake news" about war for 15 years [17:10]

According to Russian publication Kommersant, the head of the State Duma Committee on Security and Anti-Corruption Vasily Piskarev has announced a draft law to punish those sharing "fakes about the actions of the Russian Armed Forces" with up to 15 years in prison.

The Russian media watchdog Roskomnadzor has threatened to block the "2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine" Wikipedia page for containing "false information."

Only China and Myanmar currently block access to certain Wikipedia pages.

Russian primary school children detained for anti-war protest [16:10]

Young children, carrying signs with the words "No to war", have been arrested by Russian authorities. The children had laid flowers in front of the Ukrainian embassy in Moscow.

The children, along with their mother, were booked into the Presnenskoye police station and kept overnight. They were released after a lawyer arrived to enquire about them.

Nearly 836,000 people have left Ukraine [15:54]

According to United Nations estimates, 835,928 people have left Ukraine as of Wednesday. Around 450,000 Ukrainians entered Poland.

The European Union is now preparing for an influx of Ukrainian refugees. The UN predicts that around 100,000 Ukrainians have been displaced by the war, however this figure could rise to as high as 4 million

EU agrees new sanctions against Belarus [14:25]

European diplomats have agreed on new sanctions targeting Belarus for its role in supporting Russia's invasion of Ukraine. These new sanctions will target "some economic sectors, and in particular timber, steel and potash," the French president of the European Union said on Wednesday.

The EU first imposed sanctions on Belarus in August 2020 for its brutal suppression of pro-democracy protestors following rigged elections.

On 28 February, Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya called for protests opposing Belarus' role in Russia's war against Ukraine.

Belgian Prime Minister pays tribute to 'Russian dissidents' [13:58]

In the Chamber on Wednesday, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo paid tribute to the Russians who openly express their horror at the war in Ukraine. "In this conflict, the enemy is not the Russian people," he said, adding that it is clear that not everyone in Russia is behind the invasion of Ukraine.

"I could not believe that it is the will of the people to write a black page in history. I would like to pay tribute to those who raise a dissenting voice and show their horror at what is happening in Europe is today," De Croo said.

He added that EU membership for Ukraine is "out of the question" at the moment: "To me, it is crystal clear that Ukraine is a member of the European family, as are a number of other countries, without being a member of the EU. Membership, however, involves a completely different level of obligations."

Shares of Russian bank Sberbank lose all value, now worthless [13:50]

Shares of Russian majority state-owned bank Sberbank on the London Stock Exchange plunged to $0.o1 on Wednesday, down 84.48%. Shares in the Russian bank are now effectively worthless.

Over 2,000 Ukrainian civilians killed in Russian invasion [13:45]

Following a week of heavy Russian bombardment of residential areas and civilian infrastructure, more than 2,000 Ukrainian civilians have been killed, according to Ukraine's State Emergency Service.

Rescuers from Ukraine's emergency service have succeeded in rescuing over 150 people, extinguishing 400 fires, evacuating 500 civilians, and defusing 416 unexploded munitions.

10 Ukrainian emergency service workers have been killed, and 13 injured.

Natural gas prices in Europe hit new record high, up 60% from Tuesday [13:35]

Benchmark futures briefly jumped to €194 per megawatt hour, 60% higher than on Tuesday. There are concerns that the flow of natural gas, already severely limited by Russia, may be disrupted as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The European Union remains heavily reliant on imported Russian gas. As of 2019, the European Union imported more than 40% of its natural gas from Russia.

Navalny: "We - Russia -want to be a nation of peace" [13:30]

Russian dissident politician Alexey Navalny, in a post on Twitter, has called for protests against Russia's war against Ukraine. Navalny is currently in jail following a fail assassination attempt made against him by Russian authorities.

The Russian political opponent decried Russia's "aggressive war against Ukraine" and labelled Putin an "obviously insane Czar."

Dedonder: "Most weapons and ammunition delivered"[13:24]

Belgian Defence Minister Ludivine Dedonder, in an address to the Belgian parliament on Wednesday, has confirmed that Belgium's contribution of 5,000 machine guns, 200 anti-tank weapons, and ammunition have mostly been delivered to the Ukrainian army.

There were initial reports that there were difficulties in delivering the supplies, however Dedonder assured parliament that equipment would finish being delivered in the coming days.

City of Mariupol relentlessly carpet bombed [11:32]

Mariupol, a costal city in eastern Ukraine, has been shelled non-stop for 12 hours, according to the city's mayor Vadym Boychenko. Residential areas have been completely destroyed and rescuers are unable to remove the dead and wounded due to continuous shelling.

The city is currently encircled by Russian forces. Ukrainian forces trapped inside intend to fight to protect the city.

Thousands of Enerhodar residents protect city, block roads [11:06]

In a video released by the mayor of Enerhodar, a city in southern Ukraine home to Europe's largest nuclear power plant, thousands of mostly unarmed civilians are blocking the highway to prevent Russian troops from entering the city.

There have been concerns that Russia's unrestricted warfare may endanger Ukraine's nuclear power facilities, leading to a repeat of Ukraine's catastrophic nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in 1986.

Commissioner for Human Rights: "The killing and suffering of people in Ukraine has to stop now" [11:00]

In a post on the Council of Europe's website, the commissioner for human rights has denounced Russia's war against Ukraine, stating that it "tramples on international war and human right and obliterates humanitarian law."

The commissioner directly calls on Russia to end the conflict before further damage is done to Ukraine and Ukrainian civilians.

Ukrainian railway company appeals to red cross for humanitarian corridor from beseiged city of Volnovakha [10:49]

Ukraine's state railway company, Ukrzaliznytsya, has appealed to the red cross to help provide humanitarian assistance to the ensigned city of Volnovakha in Donetsk Oblast.

According to the rail company, the city is in a "state of humanitarian catastrophe" following days of shelling by Russian troops. The city, blockaded by Russian troops, lacks water and medicine.

The rail company is read to provide trains to evacuate civilians if the Red Cross succeeds in negotiating safe passage with Russian forces.

Nord Stream 2 project dead, files for bankruptcy [10:10]

The Swiss-registered company in charge of the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which intended to connect Russia's gas fields to Germany, has filed for insolvency, local Swiss officials have told Swiss media.

This likely marks the end of the project, which has been marred by sanctions and setbacks since 2018. The pipeline is majority-owned by Russian gas monopoly Gazprom. According to Swiss officials, U.S sanctions were a killing blow to the €10 billion project.

The project was criticised for increasing the European Union's energy dependence on Russia and threatening the energy security of Ukraine, which is a major gas transit nation.

Ukrainian armed forces report 5,840 Russian casualties [10:10]

According to statistics published by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Russian forces have taken 5,840 casualties. Russia has also lost 221 tanks, 31 helicopters, 85 pieces of artillery, and 862 armoured personnel carriers.  By comparison, in the entirety of the Soviet-Afghan war of  1979-1989, Soviet forces lost 14,453 troops.

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