War in Ukraine: Latest developments

War in Ukraine: Latest developments

A volunteer mans a checkpoint in Kyiv, which has suffered several targeted strikes in the past week
A volunteer mans a checkpoint in Kyiv, which has suffered several targeted strikes in the past week

KYIV: Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:

- Ukraine rejects Russian ultimatum -

Russia gives the besieged city of Mariupol until 5:00 am on March 21 to surrender, warning that Ukrainian soldiers and volunteer fighters who refuse face being court martialled or worse for their "horrible crimes".

Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk rejects the ultimatum, telling local media "there can be no talk of surrendering weapons".

- Six killed in Kyiv mall bombing -

At least six people are killed in the bombing of a shopping centre in northwest Kyiv, an AFP reporter at the scene says. The 10-storey building is completely destroyed in the blast.

- Russia committing 'war crime' in Mariupol: EU -

The EU's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell calls Russia's attack on port city of Mariupol "a massive war crime" as EU foreign ministers meet to discuss imposing more sanctions on Moscow.

- Relief for Chernobyl staff -

Ukrainian staff at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant are finally allowed leave for the first time since the site of the 1986 nuclear meltdown was taken over by Russian forces at the start of the invasion.

Ukraine says around half of the staff were able to return home on Sunday.

- Biden to Europe -

US President Joe Biden will travel to Poland on Friday to meet President Andrzej Duda, the White House says.

- School attacked -

Ukrainian authorities accuse Russia of bombing a Mariupol art school where some 400 people, including women and children, had been sheltering.

- Forcible transfer -

Mariupol officials claim Russian forces have forcibly transported around a thousand residents to Russia and stripped them of their Ukrainian passports -- a potential war crime.

- 'Catastrophe' in northern city -

The mayor of the encircled northern city of Chernihiv says dozens of civilians have been killed by "indiscriminate artillery shelling", and that a hospital has been hit.

"The city is suffering from an absolute humanitarian catastrophe," he adds.

- Turkey says Russia, Ukraine 'close to agreement' -

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says Russia and Ukraine have made progress in negotiations and are "close to an agreement".

Turkey says it is also ready to host a meeting between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

- Diplomats to return -

Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa announces the country's diplomats will return to Kyiv "soon" and calls on other EU members to do the same. Ukraine "needs direct diplomatic support", he says.

- More hypersonic weapons -

Russia says it has again fired hypersonic missiles in Ukraine, destroying a fuel storage site in the country's south.

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin says if confirmed, the use of the weapons would not be a "game changer".

- China says not arming Russia -

China's ambassador to the US says his country is not sending weapons to Russia for use in Ukraine, but he does not definitively rule out the possibility Beijing might do so in the future.

- 10 million displaced -

Ten million people -- more than a quarter of the population -- have now fled their homes in Ukraine due to Russia's "devastating" war, the United Nations refugees chief says Sunday. More than 3.3 million of them have escaped the country.

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