26 March, 09:57 AM

Russians encircle Slavutych, almost destroy Chernihiv, attack Lviv

Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine has been going on for more than a month. Today, March 26th, is the 31st day of Putin's war. NV has been tracking main events of the day.

UPDATE (1828): Some 3,500 Mariupol residents evacuated from Berdyansk to Zapoprizhzhia on March 26, Mariupol city council has reported.

Some 100,000 Mariupol residents are still trapped in the city. These are mostly people who don't have their own transport and can't walk for miles under shelling to get to safety. The Russians are still not allowing humanitarian convoys to come close to the besieged city.

Only today the Russians abducted some 700 patients and doctors of the local hospital No. 1 and took them to an unknown location, the city council also said.

UPDATE (1709): Three powerful explosions have been heard near Lviv in the area of the village of Kryvchytsia, Lviv Oblast Governor Maksym Kozytskiy has reported.

"The air raid siren is sounding now, so keep calm and take shelter. Don't reveal the exact location of explosions by posting pictures in social media," the governor said in an urgent statement on March 26.

Later Kozytskiy said Russia has fired two missiles at Lviv. At least five casualties have been reported as of now. Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi has said there might be more attacks and asked citizens to stay in air raid shelters.

Lviv is the closest big Ukrainian city to Poland, where the U.S. president is currently on a visit. It has become the main city where all foreign diplomatic missions are stationed. Lviv has also sheltered thousands of refugees from other Ukrainian cities and town.

UPDATE (1651): Chernihiv, a city north of Kyiv, has been totally destroyed by enemy shelling, the city's Mayor Vladyslav Atroshenko has said during a press briefing.

According to him, it is is easier to count the houses that were not damaged or destroyed in fighting. More than 200 civilians were killed. There are now approximately 120,000 to 130,000 citizens in Chernihiv. Before the war some 285,000 people lived in the city.

"The city authorities are in place, everyone is working, supporting our army. No one is going to surrender the city,” the mayor said.

Unfortunately the city is surrounded by Russians, he added.

Meanwhile, in Kyiv Oblast the Russians have shelled several villages with heavy artillery, the National Police of Ukraine reported. One child has been wounded.

The Armed Forces of Ukraine will regain control over Kherson, which was temporarily occupied by the Russian troops, today on March 26, said the adviser to the Minister of Defense of Ukraine Markiyan Lubkivsky on BBC Radio 4.

"I believe that today the city will be completely under the control of the Ukrainian Armed Forces," he said.

UPDATE (1332): Russian occupiers have released the mayor of Slavutych, Yuriy Fomichov, Kyiv Oblast Governor Oleksandr Pavlyuk said in a statement. 

According to him, the mayor joined in a rally against the occupation.  The invaders left the center of Slavutych and are now positioned on the outskirts of the city.

The deputy head of one of the departments of the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant, Valentina Odinytsia, told national broadcaster Suspilne that the Russians had entered the city on the evening of March 25 and opened fire on a Ukrainian checkpoint.

According to her, during the protest against the Russians on March 26 in Slavutych, the invaders started shooting. Odinytsia reported that one person has been killed, and two were wounded.

At the same time, the regional military administration of Kyiv Oblast has not yet confirmed the reports of casualties.

UPDATE (1226): The Ukrainian defense and foreign ministers are visiting Poland to meet with their U.S counterparts. They will also be present during U.S. President Joe Biden's speech in the evening on Russia's war against Ukraine.

UPDATE (1143): Kyiv imposes another long curfew, third one in two weeks.

Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko has said in a statement that another long curfew will start at 2000 on March 26 and will last until 0700 on March 28.  Kyivans are allowed to go on the streets only to go to a nearby shelter. Shops and pharmacies will be closed.

Meanwhile, in Kyiv Oblast the invaders are going to organize the evacuation of locals to Belarus, a local city council reported on Facebook on March 26.  "Don't go anywhere with them. This is very dangerous," the local council message reads.

UPDATE (1051): Ukraine opened 10 humanitarian corridors on March 26.

Mariupol residents still can evacuate only on private transport, as the enemy has been blocking the movement of Ukrainian buses in Berdyansk. The Ukrainian government has prepared stocks of gasoline for Mariupol residents who manage to get to Berdyansk, to help them get farther to Zaporizhzhia.

Nine other humanitarian corridors have started working in Luhansk and Kyiv oblasts.

Yesterday more than 500 residents of the occupied Melitopol and some 3,500 people from Mariupol arrived in Zaporizhzhia.

UPDATE (1044): Ukrainians went on a rally in Slavutych, a town in Kyiv Oblast, encircled by Russian invading forces.

Yesterday the town's local authorities asked residents to stay at home as Russian snipers were working in the city.

Today residents went out to demonstrate their position. The invaders started shooting into the air to disperse the rally.

After devastating Ukrainian territory from more than a month, the Kremlin has changed the priorities in its military campaign against Ukraine. Kyiv is no longer the main target for the invaders, who will now focus on regaining full control over eastern Ukraine, Reuters has reported, citing high ranking U.S. military official.

Invading Russian forces have started suppressing Ukrainian resistance in the occupied territories of Ukraine's south and east.

Oleksandr Knyga, the director of the Mykola Kulish Kherson Regional Music and Drama Theater, who was kidnapped this week and held for several hours by the Russian invaders, has said that the aggressors interrogated him about the organization of rallies in support of Ukraine that are taking place in Kherson. Knyga tried to convince the invaders that no one organizes the rallies in Ukraine. Protests take place in Kherson during every session of the local council, “because the people disapprove of something.”

The Russians refused to believe this, Knyga said. The invaders have started terrorizing Ukrainians who refuse to obey them in Melitopol, Berdyansk and many other Ukrainian villages where they have taken control.

Meanwhile, as Ukraine continues to fight back, the Russian invaders continue to cause humanitarian catastrophes all over Ukraine. Luhansk Oblast council has reported that the enemy has been deliberately bombing food storages in Severodonetsk for several days. However, there will be no hunger in Luhansk Oblast, local Governor Serhiy Haidai has vowed.

The invaders have been trying to intensify the activities of their sabotage and reconnaissance groups within the city of Kyiv in order to destabilize the situation and violate the system of state and military administration, General Staff of Ukrainian Army has reported. Russian forces have been actively regrouping, the General Staff said.

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