● The Verkhovna Rada extended the martial law for 30 days, starting with March 26.
● A curfew between 8pm, March 15, and 7am, March 17, was imposed in Kyiv. Mayor Vitali Klichko said a difficult and dangerous moment for the capital city was expected.
● The consultations on the main negotiation platform were resumed. They center on general settlement issues, a ceasefire and withdrawal of the troops from Ukraine.
Shelling in Kyiv and other cities
A shock wave damaged the façade of the metro station Lukyanivska. A 12-story residential building in Kyiv’s central Shevchenkivsky district was hit early on March 16. Two people were injured and 37 evacuated, according to the State Emergency Service.
Mariupol City Council has confirmed that around 2,357 people in the city have died as a result of Russian aggression as of March 14. The Ukrainian authorities say the city has been subject to relentless bombardment since Russian troops surrounded it on March 2. Since then, the people who remain in Mariupol have been left with no access to water, food and medicine. Heat, phone services – and electricity in many areas – have been cut.
Independent investigators about developments
Bellingcat said Russia failed the plan to occupy Ukraine. Now there is panic in the Kremlin, because there is no “Plan B”. The elites openly declare that Russia’s course is crazy, the war must be ended, and repressions have begun in the special services, according to investigator Chirsto Grozev.
Another group of investigators, Conflict Intelligence Team, said the March 14 shelling of Donetsk with a Tochka-U missile with cluster munitions was Russia’s provocation. The given scheme was also used in the case of the flight MH370 Malaysia Airlines.
The separatist region DNR also accuses Ukraine of using the Tochka-U system, this time in Makeevka.
End of war no later than in May
Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovich anticipates the war in Ukraine is likely to be over by early May when Russia runs out of resources to attack its neighbour.
“I think that no later than in May, early May, we should have a peace agreement, maybe much earlier, we will see, I am talking about the latest possible dates,” Arestovich said.
“We are at a fork in the road now: there will either be a peace deal struck very quickly, within a week or two, with troop withdrawal and everything, or there will be an attempt to scrape together some, say, Syrians for a round two and, when we grind them too, an agreement by mid-April or late April.”
A “completely crazy” scenario could also involve Russia sending fresh conscripts after a month of training, he said.
Like Jeanne d'Arc...
A Russian court has fined Marina Ovsyannikova 30,000 roubles (£215) for violating protest laws after she broke onto a live news broadcast on Channel One in an extraordinary demonstration against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The fine was a relatively light sentence for an act of protest that shocked Russian television viewers and earned plaudits from western leaders. Emmanuel Macron of France even offered her consular “protection” and said he would raise her case with Vladimir Putin, according to The Guardian.
The journalist was also supported by the UN, which urged the Russian authorities not to subject her to repression.
United, but undecided
The Prime Ministers of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia Tuesday traveled to the embattled Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday in a show of support for Ukraine even as bombardment by the Russian military edged closer to the center of the city.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday he was sending his foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, to Moscow and Kyiv this week as part of Turkey’s mediation efforts to secure a ceasefire in Ukraine.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also called on Russia to stop the hostilities in Ukraine, while British Premier Boris Johnson said the West made a “terrible mistake” and let President Vladimir Putin “get away” with annexing Crimea in 2014.
March 24 NATO Summit expected to produce results
The White House confirmed that Joe Biden will take part in the March 24 NATO Summit on the situation in Ukraine. In this connection, Zelensky said Ukraine should accept that it will not become a NATO member and should count on its own forces. The secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council Oleksiy Danilov said Ukraine should identify a new defense alliance involving a country with nuclear weapons, such as the UK.
China said is respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all the countries and supports the goals and principles of the UN Charter. It noted it is for negotiations for achieving peace and called on the international community to combine forces to ease tensions.
Everyone’s wrong but Russia
PACE decide to exclude Russia from the Council of Europe after taking a temporary decision on the issue on February 25. The Russian press reported that the head of Russia’s delegation to PACE Pyotr Tolstoi said the decision to withdraw was taken by Russia, while Leonid Slutskii, chairman of the State Duma’s International Affairs Committee, said Russia will have to nullify the European Convention on Human Rights.
Officially, Russia remains a CoE member until the end of this year.
Russia does not aim to change power in Ukraine, said Russia’s Ambassador to France Alexei Meshkov, even if Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a meeting of Russia’s Security Council, called on the Ukrainian army to take power in their hands, according to Interfax. Putin named the Ukrainian authorities “a gang of drug addicts and neo-Nazis who took hostage the people of Ukraine”.
Dreams not coming true
Ukrainian pediatrician, TV presented Yevgeny Komarovski told GORDON that Kharkov was attacked for being pro-Ukrainian as Russians expected the city will welcome the “liberators” with flowers and meals.