A month of war. Occupiers have forcibly moved 6,000 Mariupol residents to Russia, shelled humanitarian aid distribution point in Kharkiv

24 March 2022, 10:01 AM

Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine has been going on for a month. Today, March 24th, is the 29th day of Putin's war. 

UPDATE(2017): The Russian occupiers are at a distance of 35-70 km from Kyiv, the Ministry of Defense Alexander Motuzyanyk during a briefing on March 24.

Motuzyanik added that he could not name the exact location of the Russian units.

According to him, despite huge losses in manpower and equipment, Russian invading forces do not stop trying to encircle the capital.

Video of day

“The capital is well fortified, Kyiv is defended by combat-ready elite units from the Ground, Airborne Assault Forces, Special Operations Forces, as well as territorial defense units," Motuzyanik said.

"The defense of Kyiv is led by experienced officers who have been fighting for Ukraine since 2014. The capital of Ukraine is in good hands,” the speaker of the Ministry of Defense added.

UPDATE (1819): Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen, the speaker of the Lithuanian parliament, visited Kyiv on March 24 to reaffirm the country's support for Ukraine.  During her visit, Cmilyte-Nielsen also me with the representatives of Ukrainian government and parliament to discuss Lithuania's support for Ukraine's membership of the European Union and the reconstruction of the country after the war ends.

UPDATE (1734): Ukrainian President Zelensky gave a speech in front of G7 Summit members. 

"It is better to support Ukraine now with the weapons we really need than to look for weapons for other countries as well - Georgia, Moldova, the Baltic States, Poland, and Central Asia," Zelensky said.

"The sooner it happens, as we ask, the sooner there will be peace in Eastern Europe. It is in our best interests. It's in your best interests. This is in the interests of all democracies. Freedom must be armed. Life must overcome death."

He has also told the representatives of the "Big Seven" about Russian war crimes in Ukraine.

UPDATE (1711): Ukraine and Russia held their first proper prisoner exchange, Ukraine's Reintegration Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in a statement on March 24.

She added that Ukraine has swapped 10 Russians for 10 Ukrainian soldiers.

"We've also sent 11 Russian sailors we'd saved from a warship that sank near Odesa," Vereshchuk has said.

"In return 19 Ukrainian civilian sailors from the rescue ship Sapfir, who were captured when they tried to conduct a rescue operation near Zmiiny Island, are coming back home."

She said Russians have also agreed to return the Sapfir to Ukraine. They will moor it at a Turkish port.

UPDATE (1611): Russian invading forces have shelled a humanitarian aid distribution point in Kharkiv, killing six and wounding 15 civilians waiting to get supplies, Kharkiv Governor Oleh Synehubov has said in a statement.

"This is yet another war crime committed by the Russians in Ukraine," Synehubov said.

In Kyiv a Russian shell has hit another private house in the city's Obolon district, causing a fire.

The Interior Ministry of Ukraine has reported Ukraine now controls 80 percent of the territory of Irpin, a town in Kyiv Oblast, which the Russians had been trying to take control of in order to continue their offense against Kyiv.

The Russians attacked the town of Okhtyrka in Sumy Oblast from the air. The local council has reported casualties, but their exact number is still unknown.

It has emerged that not only the Russian warship Orsk was destroyed in Russian-occupied Berdyansk today: Two other Russians military vessels were damaged and an oil tanker has exploded in the attack.

UPDATE (1418): Ukrainian presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak says the Russians are trying to bring the war into a "protracted phase." The invaders' losses in military personal and equipment are too high. Russian army has also demonstrated a lack of any significant progress in all directions.

"You can't hide all this from your audience. Therefore, the Russian leadership is trying to dramatically reduce the number of losses to an acceptable (from a propaganda point of view) level," Porolyak said.

Podolyak added that the Russians need to reduce all kinds of losses and try to "clean up" their rear of disloyal elements (which is almost 90-95% of the Ukrainian civilian population living in the occupied territories).

To do that, the Russians are destroying cities and creating artificial humanitarian catastrophes.

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"The tactics have clear legal definitions in international law in the area of ​​war crimes and crimes against humanity," Podolyak said.

Meanwhile President Zelensky spoke during an extraordinary NATO Summit in Brussels. During his speech, Zelensky asked the alliance to never again say Ukrainian Army does not meet NATO standards, and once again called on the allies to provide fighter jets and other defensive weapons to Ukraine.

"Ukraine has asked you to give or sell us your tanks too. We need just one percent of your abilities to save our country," Zelensky said.

He has also said he does not blame NATO for Putin's invasion of Ukraine. But he urged the allies to provide the weapons that Ukraine has been asking for.

"I'm sure you all already know Russia doesn't intend to stop in Ukraine. It wants to go farther against the eastern bloc NATO members," the president said.

Video of Zelensky's address to NATO(Eng subtitles)

UPDATE (1216): Invading Russian forces will force local teachers and other educational workers in occupied Melitopol to start teaching in Russian language from April 1, Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov, who was recently released from Russian captivity after a prisoners' swap, said in a statement on Facebook.

He also said that Russians have constructed a military base near Melitopol and have been using it to fire rockets on other Ukrainian towns and cities.

Fedorov, who is operating in exile now, also said that the Russians have not agreed to open a humanitarian corridor from Melitopol. The city has been on the verge of humanitarian catastrophe, with food and medicine shortages. Furthermore, the occupiers are not letting Ukrainians to get more cash to the city, allowing the local economy to keep working while under enemy occupation.

UPDATE (1157): Russian invading forces continue to forcibly move thousands of Mariupol residents to Russia, Mariupol City Council reported on March 24. 

Residents of the city's Left Bank district are subjected to mass deportation to Russia. In total, about 15,000 Mariupol residents might face illegal deportation. This is about half of all residents who are still in the Left Bank district, the city council said in a statement.

The Ukrainian authorities reported the occupiers have been forcing people, already exhausted by the war, to get onto buses. There are also reports that the Russian occupiers are confiscating people's passports and other identity documents. The deported people are first taken to so-called filtration camps, from where they are redirected to various remote settlements in Russia.

Some 6,000 Mariupol residents have already been forcibly deported to the territory of the occupier. "We are creating a database of the deported Mariupol residents and we will work hard to turn them all back home," Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko has said in a statement.

The Main Intelligence Directorate of the Defense Ministry of Ukraine has added that one of the filtration camps is located in Dokuchayevsk, a town in the occupied part of Donetsk Oblast. There, FSB officers have been confiscating Ukrainian documents and forcing citizens of Ukraine to relocate to Russia, where they are being sent to economically depressed Russian regions like Sakhalin, and are banned from leaving those regions for at least two years.

Short Digest

Russia's full scale invasion of Ukraine has been going on for a month.  "This is a war for independence. And we have to win this war," Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a late night statement on March 23.

March 24 will be a busy day for international diplomacy. U.S President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have arrived in Europe to take part in a NATO extraordinary summit, where the alliance members will discuss the Russian invasion and additional military aid to Ukraine. Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said he did not expect any breakthrough decisions on Ukraine. Ukraine's requests for a no-fly zone, and to provide planes or modern air defense and anti-tank weapons still remain unanswered.

The same day an EU Summit and G7 Summit will be held in Brussels.

Meanwhile, the Russians have started a campaign of police terror against Ukrainians in the occupied cities and towns of Ukraine's south. The Times has reported the occupiers have been planning mass deportation of Kherson residents to Russia.

In Kramatorsk, Donetsk Oblast Russian invading forces have used phosphorous bombs, banned by international military conventions. Local council has reported about at least four people dead.

Ukraine's Army General Staff has reported Russian invaders have increased their presense in Ukrainain skies, conducting 250 sorties over the last 24 hours.

In the same time period, the Russians destroyed 23 private housed in Luhansk Oblast.

The Ukrainian Army reported Russia lost 15,800 soldiers in Ukraine in the first month of its invasion of Ukraine.

A video shows a destruction of the Russian warship Orsk in Berdyansk

In Russian-occupied Berdyansk a warship, the Alligator class landing ship Orsk, was destroyed this morning.  Locals have been sharing a video of explosions and fire on board of the Russian warship, which had been moored in the port of Berdyansk.

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