People watch smoke rising behind buildings following explosions in Lviv, western Ukraine, on Saturday, March 26, 2022.
People watch smoke rising behind buildings following explosions in Lviv, western Ukraine, on Saturday, March 26, 2022. Image Credit: AP

Russia's attack on Ukraine enters on its 32nd day on Sunday, showing no signs of abating. Follow the latest developments from the war zone:

Ukraine to insist on territorial integrity in talks

Ukraine will insist on sovereignty and territorial integrity at the next round of peace negotiations with Russia that are to take place in Turkey, President Volodymyr Zelensky said late on Sunday.

"Our priorities in the negotiations are known: sovereignty, territorial integrity of Ukraine are beyond doubt," Zelensky said in his nightly video address. "Effective guarantees of security are a must. Obviously, our goal is peace and return to normal life in our country as soon as possible."

Zelensky says Ukraine studying issue of neutrality

KYIV: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenksy said on Sunday that a Russian demand of Ukrainian neutrality - a key issue for Moscow at conflict negotiations - was being closely looked at by Kyiv's negotiators.

"This point of the negotiations is understandable to me and it is being discussed, it is being carefully studied," Zelensky said during an interview with several independent Russian news organisations.

The Kremlin earlier this month said Sweden and Austria offered models of neutrality that Ukraine could adopt to help end Russia's attack. Ukraine rejected the proposal saying only Kyiv could design a system that would be acceptable to Ukrainians.

Negotiations to end more than a month of fighting in Ukraine have focused on Ukraine staying out of NATO, disarmament and security guarantees.

The two sides are due to meet next for a second round of face-to-face talks next week in Turkey.

New Ukraine-Russia talks next week, Macron warns against 'escalation'

KYIV: Russian and Ukrainian negotiators are to sit down for a fresh round of talks next week in an attempt to end the war in Ukraine that the UN estimates has killed at least 1,100 civilians and sent more than 3.8 million fleeing to other countries.

Kyiv said the negotiations would start Monday in Turkey, while Russia's lead negotiator said they would begin on Tuesday without confirming the location.

The prospect of fresh talks comes after the Russian army said last week that it would focus on eastern Ukraine, which some interpreted as a scaling back of Russian objections, although US President Joe Biden cast doubt on a strategy change.

France's President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday warned against an escalation "in words and action", after Biden on Saturday branded Russian President Vladimir Putin a "butcher" who "cannot remain in power".

3.8 million people flee Ukraine: UN

Geneva: More than 3.8 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia's attack a month ago, UN figures showed Sunday, but the flow of refugees has slowed down markedly.

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said 3,821,049 Ukrainians had fled the country - an increase of 48,450 from Saturday's figures.

Around 90 percent of them are women and children, it added.

Of those who have left, 2.2 million have fled for neighbouring Poland, while more than half a million have made it to Romania. Nearly 300,000 have gone to Russia.

Before the crisis began a month ago, EU member Poland was home to around 1.5 million Ukrainians.

In total, more than 10 million people - over a quarter of the population in regions under government control before the February 24 attack - are now thought to have fled their homes, including nearly 6.5 million who are internally displaced.

Turkey says world cannot 'burn bridges' with Moscow

Turkey and other nations must still talk to Russia to help end the war in Ukraine, Turkey's presidential spokesman said on Sunday, adding that Kyiv needed more support to defend itself.

NATO member Turkey has good relations with both Russia and Ukraine and has sought to mediate in the month-long conflict.

"If everybody burns bridges with Russia then who is going to talk to them at the end of the day," Ibrahim Kalin told the Doha international forum.

"Ukrainians need to be supported by every means possible so they can defend themselves ... but the Russian case must be heard, one way or the other," so that its grievances could be understood if not justified, Kalin added.

Ankara says Russia's attack is unacceptable but opposes the Western sanctions on principle and has not joined them.

Turkey's economy, already strained by a December currency crisis, relies heavily on Russian energy, trade and tourism, and since the war began on February 24 thousands of Russians have arrived in Turkey, seeing it as a safe haven from the sanctions.

Ukrainians brace for attack on Odesa

The Black Sea port of Odesa is mining its beaches and rushing to defend its cultural heritage from a feared Mariupol-style fate in the face of growing alarm that the strategic city might be next as Russia attempts to strip Ukraine of its coastline.

The multi-cultural jewel, dear to Ukrainian hearts and even Russian ones, would be a hugely strategic win for Russia. It is the country's largest port, crucial to grain and other exports, and headquarters for the Ukrainian navy. Bombardment from the sea last weekend further raised worries that the city is in Russia's sights.

Russian forces move toward separatist regions

The Russian military appears to be trying to encircle Ukrainian forces fighting in the separatist regions in the eastern part of the country, Britain's Ministry of Defense says.

Russian forces are advancing southward from the area around Kharkiv and north from Mariupol, the ministry said in an intelligence briefing released Sunday morning.

Battlefields in northern Ukraine remain "largely static," with Ukrainian counterattacks hampering Russian efforts to reorganize their forces, the ministry said.

In an earlier briefing released overnight, the ministry said Russia continued to strike targets across Ukraine, including many in densely populated areas, the ministry said.

Russia is relying on "stand-off" missiles launched from within its own territory to reduce aircraft exposure to Ukrainian anti-aircraft fire, the ministry said. But it said limited stocks of these weapons will force Russia to "revert to less sophisticated missiles or accepting more risk to their aircraft."

Russia struck Ukraine's Lviv with cruise missiles, defence ministry says

Russia struck military targets in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv with high-precision cruise missiles, the Russian defence ministry said on Sunday.

Russia struck a fuel depot being used by Ukrainian forces near Lviv with long-range missiles and used cruise missiles to strike a plant in the city being used to repair anti-aircraft systems, radar stations and sights for tanks, the ministry said.

"The armed forces of the Russian Federation continue offensive actions as part of the special military operation," the ministry said in a statement.

Russia used sea-based long-range missiles to destroy an arsenal of S-300 missiles and BUK anti-aircraft missile systems near Kyiv, the ministry said. Russian forces also destroyed a number of drones, it said.

Ukraine says two evacuation corridors agreed for Sunday, including from Mariupol

Ukraine and Russia have agreed two 'humanitarian corridors' to evacuate civilians from frontline areas on Sunday, including allowing people to leave by private car from the southern city of Mariupol, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.

Kharkiv nuclear facility again hit by shelling

Ukraine's nuclear watchdog says that a nuclear research facility in Kharkiv again has come under shelling by Russia and the fighting makes it impossible to assess the damage.

The State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate said that the neutron source experimental facility in the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology came under fire Saturday.

Ukrainian authorities have previously reported that Russian shelling damaged buildings at the Kharkiv facility, but there has been no release of radiation. The newly built neutron source facility is intended for the research and production of radioisotopes for medical and industrial needs. The International Atomic Energy Agency has said that the nuclear material in the facility is always subcritical and the inventory of radioactive material is very low, reducing the risks of radiation release.

Ukraine asks Red Cross not to open office in Russia's Rostov-on-Don

Ukraine has asked the International Committee of the Red Cross not to open a planned office in Russia's Rostov-on-Don, saying it would legitimise Moscow's "humanitarian corridors" and the abduction and forced deportation of Ukranians.

The head of the ICRC said on Thursday after his talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that agreement between the Russian and Ukrainian armies was needed before civilians could be evacuated properly from war-torn Ukraine.

Russian media reported that Red Cross chief Peter Maurer asked Russia to facilitate the opening of a Red Cross office in Rostov-on-Don.

Mykhailo Radutskyi, chairman of public health committee in Ukraine's parliament, appealed to the Red Cross to change its plans.

"The Committee calls on the International Committee of the Red Cross that it would not legitimise 'humanitarian corridors' on the territory of the Russian Federation as well as that it would not support the abduction of Ukrainians and its forced deportation," Radutskyi said in a statement.

The ICRC was not immediately available to comment.

Biden lashes at Putin, calls for Western resolve for freedom

President Joe Biden delivered a forceful and highly personal condemnation of Russia's Vladimir Putin, summoning a call for liberal democracy and a durable resolve among Western nations in the face of a brutal autocrat.

As he capped a four-day trip to Europe, a blend of emotive scenes with refugees and standing among other world leaders in grand settings, Biden said of Putin: "For God's sake, this man cannot remain in power." It was a dramatic escalation in rhetoric - Biden had earlier called Putin a "butcher" - that the White House found itself quickly walking back.

Shelled city in north Ukraine fears becoming 'next Mariupol'

Nights are spent huddling underground from Russian strikes pounding their encircled city into rubble. Daylight hours are devoted to hunting down drinkable water and braving the risk of standing in line for the little food available as shells and bombs rain down.

In the second month of Russia's attack, this is what now passes for life in Chernihiv, a besieged city in northern Ukraine where death is everywhere. It isn't - yet - quite as synonymous with atrocious human suffering as the pulverized southern city of Mariupol. But similarly blockaded and pounded from afar by Russian troops, Chernihiv's remaining residents are terrified that each blast, bomb and body that lies uncollected on the streets ensnares them in the same macabre trap of unescapable killings and destruction.

Clothes thrown by the Russian shelling from the ruined house hang on a tree in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Saturday, March 26, 2022.
Clothes thrown by the Russian shelling from the ruined house hang on a tree in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Saturday, March 26, 2022. Image Credit: AP


Rockets strike Ukraine's Lviv as Biden says Putin 'cannot remain in power'

US President Joe Biden described Russian leader Vladimir Putin as a butcher who "cannot remain in power" after meeting Ukrainian refugees in Poland, as Kremlin forces stepped up attacks across Ukraine, including the western city of Lviv.

Biden's comments, an escalation of US rhetoric towards Moscow over its attack of Ukraine, were not a call for regime change in Russia, a White House official said later, but meant to prepare the world's democracies for an extended conflict.

Just before he spoke outside Warsaw's castle on Saturday, four missiles hit the outskirts of Lviv, just 60 km from the Polish border, local officials said.

Another strike significantly damaged Lviv's infrastructure but caused no reported deaths.

Biden meets Ukraine ministers

President Joe Biden calls his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin a "butcher" who "cannot remain in power" after meeting top Ukrainian ministers for the first time since Russia's attack of Ukraine.

Within minutes of his comments in Warsaw, a White House official plays down the remarks, saying Biden "was not discussing Putin's power in Russia, or regime change".

Biden compares Ukraine's resistance against Russia to the anti-Soviet "battle for freedom", but warns that the world must prepare for a "long fight ahead".

Over 3.7 million refugees

More than 3.7 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia's attack a month ago, the UN says.

The UN's refugee agency, UNHCR, says 3,772,599 Ukrainians have fled the country - an increase of 46,793 from the previous day's figure.

Around 90 per cent of them are women and children. The UN estimates that another 6.5 million people are displaced in Ukraine.

Ukraine president calls for weapons

In his latest video address, President Volodymyr Zelensky reiterates a call for planes while urging allies to supply Ukraine with more weapons.

"We need more ammunition. We need it to protect not only Ukraine but other Eastern European countries that Russia threatened to invade," he says.

"What is NATO is doing? Is it being run by Russia? What are they waiting for? It's been 31 days. We are only asking for one percent of what NATO has, nothing more."

UK says sanctions could be eased with peace

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss says UK sanctions against Russia could be lifted if Moscow commits to a full ceasefire and withdraws its troops.

Truss says the Kremlin must also agree to "no further aggression" towards Ukraine for the British sanctions imposed on hundreds of people and entities to remain eased.

"Sanctions should only come off with a full ceasefire and withdrawal, but also commitments that there will be no further aggression," Truss tells the Sunday Telegraph.

UK criticised over refugee policy

Thousands of people rally in London in solidarity with Ukraine, as the capital's mayor steps up criticism of the government's response to the refugee crisis.

"We want the people of Ukraine to know that in their darkest hour, they are not alone," Sadiq Khan tells Sky News as the demonstrators gather.

The Labour mayor says he is "embarrassed" by the Conservative government's refugee policies. Red tape is hampering the generous response of the British people, he says.

Missiles strikes on Lviv

At least five people are wounded in two barrages of strikes that damage infrastructure including a fuel storage facility in a rare attack on the western Ukrainian city of Lviv.

Mayor Andriy Sadovy says the fuel storage facility caught fire after the first strikes, while the second round inflicted "considerable damage" to a defence facility in a residential area.

Russia takes Chernobyl town

Russian forces take control of a town where staff working at the Chernobyl nuclear site live and briefly detain the mayor, sparking protests, Ukrainian officials say.

"I have been released. Everything is fine, as far as it is possible under occupation," Yuri Fomichev, mayor of Slavutych, tells AFP by phone, but later reports the death of three civilians.

Ukraine forces recapture town

Ukraine says its forces have recaptured the northeast town of Trostianets, near the Russian border, one of the first towns taken in the Russian attack.

Its defence ministry publishes images showing Ukrainian soldiers and civilians among heavily damaged buildings, and what appeared to be abandoned Russian military equipment along with a signpost to the town.

Kyiv curfew cancelled

The mayor of Ukraine's capital Kyiv cancels a curfew announced just hours earlier for the next day.

"New information from the military command: the Kyiv curfew will not enter into force tomorrow," mayor Vitali Klitschko announces on Telegram.

Russian minister resurfaces

Russia's defence minister Sergei Shoigu reappears on television after a two-week absence from view prompted questions from journalists.

No dates accompany the images on state television, but Shoigu refers to a finance ministry meeting that took place on Friday.

Russia fuelling nuclear arms race: Zelensky

Russia's "bragging" about its nuclear weapons is fuelling a dangerous arms race, Zelensky tells the Doha Forum.

"They are bragging that they can destroy with nuclear weapons not only a certain country but the entire planet," Zelensky says in a live video message to the forum.

Ukraine's leader calls on Qatar to increase production of natural gas to counter Russian threats to use energy as a weapon.

Russia denies calling up reservists

Russia denies it is planning to call up reservists, denouncing what it claims are "false" summons to Russian men by Kyiv's security services.

"The Russian defence ministry is not summoning and does not plan to summon any reservists to the military commissariats," spokesman Igor Konashenkov says in a statement.

Turkey open to Russian oligarchs

Russia's oligarchs can continue to do business in Turkey so long as they respect national and international law, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says.

Turkey has described Russia's attack of Ukraine as "unacceptable" and has offered its services as a mediator to help end the war, but has not joined the sanctions imposed by the United States and EU member states.