Day 34 of Putin's war. At least 12 people killed in Russian attack on Mykolaiv, Ukraine proposes new security agreement in Istanbul

29 March, 10:57 AM
Mariupol has been blocked by Russian troops since March 1 (Photo:Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

Mariupol has been blocked by Russian troops since March 1 (Photo:Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine has been going on for more than a month. Today, March 29th, is the 34th day of Putin's war. NV has been tracking main events of the day.

UPDATE(2057): Three more people were found dead uder the rubble of Mykolaiv Oblast Council, State Emergency Service of Ukraine has reported. The overall number of victims killed in the Russian attack in Mykolaiv has risen to 12 people.

Meanwhile Iryna Vereshchuk, the Reintegration Minister of Ukraine, said in a statement that some of the Ukrainians abducted to Russia from the besieged city of Mariupol and occupied settlements of Donbas have managed to return to Ukraine.  She urged Ukrainians, who have been forcibly relocated by Russians from Mariupol and other cities and towns, to find their way to Ukrainian consulates in Russia, where they will find help. 

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Earlier, Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko has said more than 30,000 residents of the encircled city have been forcibly moved to Russia.

UPDATE(1923): The number of victims killed in the Russian strike against the Mykolaiv Oblast Council has risen to nine, the Prosecutor's General Office of Ukraine has reported. 

Twenty eight people were wounded.

UPDATE(1902): Russians have attacked an airfield in Stakostiantyniv, Khmelnytska Oblast, local mayor Mykola Melnychuk said in a Facebook statement on March 29.  Melnychuk has added that no one was hurt. 

However, the attack did destroy some strategic fuel reserves stored at the airfield.

Meanwhile, the authorities of the recently liberated Kyiv suburb of Irpin will begin searching for missing people, and evacuate the wounded, starting tomorrow, March 30, Irpin Mayor Oleksandr Markushyn has said in a statement.

UPDATE(1850): Russia has started partially withdrawing its troops from Kyiv, CNN has reported, citing two U.S. officials. 

In addition, Russia has begun withdrawing some of its forces, including Russian battalion tactical groups (BTGs), from nearby areas around the Ukrainian capital. Currently, Russian forces are retreating in some areas in the north to focus on the offensive in the south and east, CNN says.

US officials also noted that the Russians will cover their retreat  by air and artillery bombardments of Kyiv.

At the same time, the United States warns that Russia "can always turn around again if combat conditions permit."

From the US perspective, this is not a short-term adjustment to regroup, but a long-term move as Russia finds itself unable to advance north.

Vladimir Medinskii, Russian delegate during the negotiations in Istanbul, has explained Russian withdrawal from Kyiv and Chernihiv Oblast doesn't mean Russians would stop the attacks.

UPDATE (1504): Russo-Ukrainian negotiations in Istanbul are over. No agreement on a ceasefire has been signed.  

The only positive sign the Ukrainian side saw is that the negotiations moved from unfriendly Belarus to Turkey, Ukraine's partner country.  David Arakhamia, the head of the Ukrainian delegation said that Europe's security system was broken and Europe needs to find a new way to guarantee security.

Arakhamia also said no agreements have been signed. "Delegations must deliver proposals to each side. The Ukrainian delegation has proposed a new security agreement that would have to be ratified by the parliaments of all of the countries that provide security guarantees," Arakhamia said, adding that Ukraine has learned a lesson from the Budapest Memorandum.

The agreement the Ukrainian side has proposed obliges all the countries who provide security guarantees to Ukraine to act the same way as they would under NATO's Article 5 - providing military assistance to Ukraine, including imposing a no-fly zone. 

Unfortunately even if the new agreement is signed, it won't be valid for the Russian-occupied territories of Crimea and Donbas, as the sides still haven't reached common ground on those territories. 

Ukraine wants the countries of the UN Security Council, the UK, China, the US, France, Turkey, Germany, Canada, Italy, Poland, and Israel to become the security guarantors. The agreement also says the signees will not object to Ukraine's aspirations to become a member of the European Union.

UPDATE (1442): The number of casualties in Russia's strike against Mykolaiv Oblast Council has risen to 7 people dead, State Emergency Service of Ukraine has reported. Rescue work is still going on.

UPDATE (1431): Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has claimed the Russia "has fulfilled all the missions of the first stage of its special operation against Ukraine" and will from now on focus on the Donbas.

Shoigu, as well as other Russian officials, has been refusing to acknowledge that Russia has been conducting a full-scale war against Ukraine.  According to him, the Russian army has degraded the military potential of Ukrainian Armed Forces and will from now on switch to its main mission of "liberating the Donbas." Mariupol, which Russian forces have already largely reduced to rubble, remains the main target of the invaders.

UPDATE (1258): Ukraine during negotiations in Istanbul has demanded unconditional security guarantees, a ceasefire, and has called on all sides to stick to the international laws of war.

Although the Russo-Ukrainian negotiations are still going, Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the head of the President's Office of Ukraine, has shared highlights from very difficult talks for peace on Twitter:

UPDATE (1248): Three people died and 22 were injured in an early morning Russian attack on Mykolaiv Oblast Council building.  Rescuers have saved 18 people from under the rubble of the collapsed building, the State Emergency Service of Ukraine has reported. It is still unknown how many people might remain trapped inside the destroyed building. State Emergency workers are continuing their rescue operation.

UPDATE (1208): The Pentagon has announced that it will be increasing production of anti-aircraft Stinger and anti-tank Javelin weapons systems, due to heightened Ukrainian demand.

According to a document obtained by CNN, Ukraine is requesting 500 of each to be delivered daily, which would deplete the Pentagon's stocks. As a result, Stinger producer Raytheon, and Javelin producer Lockheed Martin said they would look at options for decreasing production time while boosting output.

UPDATE (1148): As the latest round of Russo-Ukrainian negotiations in Istanbul officially started, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the continuation of the war would be on no use to either of the sides.

"The restoration of peace will be beneficial for your two countries and for others. You, as delegations, bear historical responsibility for the decisions being made today," Erdogan said in a special address to Russian and Ukrainian delegates.

Short digest

Today the next round of Russo-Ukrainian negotiations start in Istanbul. Although the Financial Times has reported Russia will no longer demand the "demilitarization" or "denazification" of Ukraine, Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said he does not expect any breakthrough. Ukraine's plan is to at least to establish a long-lasting ceasefire, Kuleba said.

Meanwhile, Russian invaders have shelled Mykolaiv Oblast Council. As the result, a part of the nine-story office of Mykolaiv governor Vitaly Kim collapsed. Rescuers are still saving people from under the rubble. So far nine people have been saved.

Mykolaiv Oblast Council collapsed after a Russian missle strike (Фото: Courtesy)
Mykolaiv Oblast Council collapsed after a Russian missle strike / Фото: Courtesy

Kim said in a statement that he was safe, but  that his office has been destroyed.  "My e-cigarettes vanished, unfortunately," Kim said. "This was a personal signal to me. Well, thanks guys, I got your signal."

Mykolaiv has been successfully repelling Russian attacks for weeks, and Kim has become one of the symbols of Ukrainians' resilience and their sense of humor.

  • Overnight the Russians also attacked Nikopol in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, but no casualties have been reported. 
  • The Ukrainian army has managed to push the enemy some 70 kilometers away from Kryvyi Rih, the native city of Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky, the local oblast council has reported.
  • Russian attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure has already killed 144 children and wounded more than 220, Ukraine human rights ombudswoman Liudmyla Denisova has reported.
  • Russia has already lost 17,200 soldiers killed in action in Ukraine, Ukraine's Army General Staff has said.
  • Ukraine's air defense forces have shot down eight Russian fighter jets, three helicopters, four drones and three cruise missiles over the last 24 hours, the General Staff said.

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