More than 50,000 people evacuated to safety, Russia suffers more sanctions yet conducts more atrocities in Ukraine — CDS

11 March, 01:43 PM
Residential high-rise building in Borodyanka (Kyiv region) destroyed by Russian shelling (Photo:REUTERS/Maksim Levin/)

Residential high-rise building in Borodyanka (Kyiv region) destroyed by Russian shelling (Photo:REUTERS/Maksim Levin/)

The Centre for Defense Strategies (CDS) is a Ukrainian security think tank, operating since 2020. CDS is involved in security studies, defense policy research, and advocacy. Currently all of its activity is focused on stopping the ongoing war. Here’s CDS’s latest brief, covering events in Russia’s war against Ukraine occurring on March 10.

Humanitarian aspect

The confirmed number of casualties after a March 9 Russian airstrike on a children's and maternity hospital in Mariupol: 3 people killed, including one child, 17 people wounded. Today, Russian forces continued the targeted shelling of civilians and residential areas of Mariupol, including the shelling of the Priazov State Technical University and the Mariupol Drama Theater. Russian troops have been blocking humanitarian aid to Mariupol for the past six days. Effectively holding 400,000 people hostage, the invaders are attempting to destroy road infrastructure to render evacuation and humanitarian corridors impossible. Humanitarian convoys have continued along the route, but no aid has yet been delivered to the city. 

Video of day

As of March 10, 71 children have been killed in Ukraine, and more than 100 have been injured, according to Ombudsman Lyudmyla Denisova. 63 Ukrainian hospitals have been shelled, and five medical professionals have been killed. More than ten doctors are seriously injured, reports Viktor Liashko, Health Minister. 

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reports that more than two million people have been forced to flee Ukraine. According to the UN, this is the biggest refugee crisis in Europe since World War II. 

Evacuation routes 

Ukraine continues to evacuate people from affected cities and regions. On March 10, Ukraine opened humanitarian corridors along the following routes: Trostyanets, Krasnopillia, Sumy - Poltava; Mariupol - Zaporizhzhia; Volnovakha - Pokrovsk; Izyum - Lozovaya; Bucha, Borodyanka, Irpin, Hostomel - Kyiv. Russia officially committed to a ceasefire, but once again broke it immediately. The evacuation situation is as follows: 

44 buses evacuated 2,000 people from Izyum (Kharkiv region). Humanitarian aid has been delivered to the city;

36 evacuation buses arrived in Sumy. About 50,000 people have been evacuated from Sumy in the past two days;

In Bucha, Hostomel, and Irpin (Kyiv region), authorities managed to evacuate more than 1,000 people, including 100 children, from under the Romanov Bridge. Women, children, and people with disabilities have now been taken to a safe location; 

An evacuation from Volnovakha failed due to a Russian attack. 

Mariupol is still under blockade. Not a single person has been evacuated. Humanitarian aid could not be delivered to Mariupol . 

Massive airstrikes hit Kharkiv. The city was shelled 29 times overnight. Shelling damaged the city’s gas pipeline, leaving 30% of city residents without gas. Russian forces purposefully target residential areas and civilian infrastructure. More than 280 houses, 26 schools, and 23 kindergartens were destroyed. 

In Kyiv, an airstrike alert lasted for almost 4 hours last night. Ukrainian air defense has successfully repelled the attacks.

Six people were killed and twelve injured as a result of airstrikes in the Zhytomyr region. Up to ten settlements were damaged following air raids. Ukrainian law enforcement is in the process of documenting the war crimes committed by the Russian aggressor.

Ukraine in general 

President Zelensky signed a law allowing the forcible seizure of property owned by the Russian Federation and its citizens on the territory of Ukraine. 

Zelensky also signed a law that allows all residents of Ukraine to use weapons while the country is under martial law. 

The Cabinet approved the imposing of personal sanctions against Russian propagandists, including the CEOs of Pervyi Kanal, Akzept TV, the Ren TV channel and Gazprom Media Holding, and some Russian propaganda journalists. 

International money transfer firms Western Union, MoneyGram, Ria Money Transfer, Intelexpress, and TransferGo canceled fees on transfers to Ukraine (according to the National Bank of Ukraine). 

Nuclear and Energy Safety 

Russian invaders, who seized the Zaporizhzhia NPP, have mined the coast of the Kakhovka reservoir bordering the plant. 

 International Diplomacy Overview 

As expected, the hour-and-a-half talks between the foreign ministers of Ukraine and Russia, facilitated by Turkey, have predictably brought no result. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba concentrated on the need to focus on ensuring humanitarian corridors for Mariupol as a priority, and establishing a 24-hour ceasefire. Yet Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov only restated the unconditional ultimatum formulated by Russian dictator Vladimir Putin for Ukraine to lay down its arms, and used the ensuing press conference to advance the Russian narrative about their so-called “military operation”. There is an understanding that Lavrov did not have any mandate for real negotiations. 

The UK Government introduced sanctions against a number of Vladimir Putin's “wallets” - the oligarchs that fund the Putin regime - namely, Roman Abramovich, Oleg Deripaska, Rosneft chairman Igor Sechin, Gazprom chairman Alexei Miller, chairman of the VTB Bank board Andrey Kostin,Transneft President Nikolay Tokarev, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Bank Russia, Dmitri Lebedev. This powerful and iconic move hits the Russian president's favored "businessmen" and pursues the UK Government’s announced policy of targeting London – the kingdom of Russian kleptocrats' real estate and assets. Edward Lucas, formerly a senior editor at The Economist, is heading the campaign against companies and individuals who facilitated Russian money-laundering operations and the injection of laundered Russian funds into the Western financial and banking system. 

The United States has been engaged in active diplomacy with Venezuela and the UAE to reduce their inclination toward Russia and increase oil production, as demand and prices skyrocket over the uncertainty caused by Russian aggression against Ukraine. The UAE has announced its readiness to promote the idea of increasing production in OPEC. This move is important because it separates the UAE from Saudi Arabia, which adheres to the Russian narrative. The Biden administration avoided a direct dialogue with Saudi autocrat Muhammad bin Salman. If OPEC supplies more oil and imposes restrictions on Russian oil purchases, foreign exchange earnings from Russia's main exports will fall, while prices in the United States and other Western countries that impose sanctions on the Kremlin will stabilize. 

The IMF has agreed to provide $ 1.4 billion in emergency assistance to Ukraine, which will, in particular, be used to secure foreign exchange reserves and reduce exchange rate fluctuations. The World Bank approved a $732 million aid package last week. The European Central Bank has decided to reduce the purchase of Eurobonds and may be able to raise the discount rate due to Russian aggression, which has caused a shock effect, raising inflation and slowing economic growth in the Eurozone over the next three years (reduction for this year from 4.2% to 3.7 %). The EU seeks a balanced stimulus for its economy in the post-war period, to smooth out the effects of anti-Russian sanctions. 

In response to Western sanctions, Russia has banned the export of telecommunications, medical, automotive, agricultural, electrical and technological equipment until the end of 2022. Russian officials are repeating their old song about the West proving not to be a reliable partner, but that somehow the Russian economy will now be “reoriented” and able to function without Western goods and technology, which is a doubtful claim. 

Russian Federation 

The Russian market continues to suffer from sanctions and boycotts of international business. The Kremlin can no longer hide its economic losses from the Russian populace. According to Forbes, price growth, including food, medicine, and medical services, has broken a record set in 2015 and reached 10.4% per annum. According to monitoring of banks, the ruble has fallen almost fourfold during the two weeks of Russia’s aggressive war against Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Russia intends to nationalize the assets of Western companies. Unconfirmed information implies plans for the nationalization of assets owned by McDonald's, IKEA, Apple, Volkswagen, Microsoft, Toyota, as well as over 50 Western companies. The Russian government has identified a list of imported goods that will be banned from export from Russia by the end of the year. The list includes more than 200 items of technological telecommunication equipment, medical equipment, vehicles, agricultural machinery, and electrical equipment. 

As of today, credit card payment processors Visa and Mastercard will finally stop servicing Russian cards abroad, and in foreign online stores. In particular, Russians will no longer be able to pay in Apple and Google app stores. Also, according to Bloomberg, the Goldman Sachs investment group has ceased its activities in Russia. Additionally, Western Union is shutting down in Russia and Belarus. 

The World Economic Forum in Davos and the OECD have announced that they will stop working with Russia. 

Russia has left the Council of Europe. Russians will no longer be able to apply to the European Court of Human Rights. 

China has refused to supply aircraft parts to Russian airlines. 

Due to Western sanctions, the Russian car industry Lada has encountered production problem, as the automobile concern depends on spare parts and components sourced from Western countries. At Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport, Terminal D is being closed "against the background of the situation in the aviation industry,” in other words, the collapse of Russian aviation due to a combination of sanctions, closed airspace, inability to service aircraft, lease cancellations, and insurers unwilling to insure Russian aircraft. 

Operational situation 

The Defense Forces of Ukraine are providing respectable resistance to the Russian invaders and are deterring the offensive actions of the armed forces of the Russian Federation in all directions. In the north, the invaders continue to maintain the settlements of Poliske, Kukhari, Borodyanka, Andriivka, Motyzhyn, Horenychi, Bucha, Demydiv. The enemy is attempting to restore the combat capability of units that have suffered significant losses, regroup, while trying to salvage their plan to block Kyiv from the West and Southwest. 

The Ukrainian Defense Forces have repelled the enemy's attempt to force a crossing over the Irpin River in the area of the Moshchun settlement. 

In the Mykolaiv direction in the south, the enemy is trying to consolidate in the settlements of Luparevo, Pravdino, Blahodatne, Novohryhorivka, Kalynivka, Kyselivka, Pershotravneva, Oleksandrivka, Burhunka, Bereslav, and Tavriysk. 

In the Crimean direction, an increase in enemy formations of a battalion tactical group from the 336th Separate Marine Brigade of the Baltic Fleet of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation has been observed. 

The enemy is halted in all directions. 

Donetsk area 

After yesterday's bombing of the maternity hospital in Mariupol by Russian aircraft, 17 people were injured, 3 were killed; 

Zaporizhzhia area 

Russian invaders planted explosives on the coast of the Kakhovka water reservoir near the Zaporizhzhia NPP;

protests against Russian occupation continue in captured settlements in Zaporizhzhia Oblast; 

Kharkiv area 

Russian military forces shelled and bombarded the residential areas of Kharkiv and the villages of the region with renewed force at night. The Nikolsky shopping mall, in the center of Kharkiv, was destroyed. Also, in the village of Slobozhanske, a shell struck a residential house – 4 people were killed, 2 of them children. 

Chernihiv area 

● Russian occupiers shelled civilians evacuating Chernihiv on foot – at least 3 people died. 

Total enemy combat losses from 24.02 are estimated at: 

Personnel - about 12,000 (up to an additional 1,000 over the previous day);

Prisoners of war - up to 2,000;

Tanks - 335 (+18); 

ACV - 1105 (+33); 

Artillery systems - 123 (+3);

MLRS - 56 (0); 

Air defense systems - 29 (+2);

Aircraft - 49 (0);

Helicopters - 81 (0);

Motor vehicles - 526 (+44);

Light speed boats/ships - 3 (0);

Fuel trucks - 60(0); 

UAVs - 7(0).

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