Day 25 of Putin's war. Russians attack Mykolaiv, Kharkiv, Rubizhne and Mariupol, children killed

20 March 2022, 11:01 AM

Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine is well into its fourth week. Today, March 20th, is the 25th day of Putin's war.

UPDATE (1827): The Ukrainian government has managed to conduct a partial change of the staff shift at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant, which has been occupied by Russian troops for more than three weeks. More than 60 people who had been working non-stop for more than 600 hours without rest, were evacuated from the Chornobyl Plant, Enegroatom has reported. Previously Russians were not allowing the workers to leave the station and be replaced.

Video of day

Meanwhile, for more than a week Ukrainian activists have been blocking Russian trucks with goods from Europe trying to get to Russia from Belarus. 

UPDATE (1715): Residents of the occupied Enerhodar have gone on a protest, demanding that invading Russian forces release the deputy mayor of the city, Ivan Samoydiuk.

Earlier the city's local council reported that the invaders abducted Samodiuk on March 19. His fate is still unknown. Moreover, the invaders started persecuting the pro-Ukrainian activists in the city.

After that, more than 1,500 Enerhodar residents went on a protest, demanding that the invaders release the official and stop political persecution.  At the end of the protest the Russians tried to arrest several protesters, but locals were able to release them.

Samodiuk was responsible for a number of social and humanitarian issues in the city.

The same day, the residents of Kherson also went on an another protest against the invaders. Many of them were violently beaten by Russian police forces.

Ukrainians protest against Russian occupiers in Enerhodar, Zaporizhzhia Oblast on March 20 (Фото: Dmytro Orlov)
Ukrainians protest against Russian occupiers in Enerhodar, Zaporizhzhia Oblast on March 20 / Photo: Dmytro Orlov

UPDATE (1547): Four Russian warships have attacked Mariupol from the Sea of Azov, the Ukrainian National Guard's Azov regiment has reported.

Ukrainian air defense systems hit a Russian missile in the skies above Kyiv.

The debris of a missile landed in in a yard in front of a multi-story apartment block in Sviatoshynskiy District of Kyiv.

"A nearby 10-storey building is damaged. Two private cars were burnt out. Five people were injured, two of them were taken to hospital. No one died," Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said in a statement.

Meanwhile the General Staff of Ukrainian Army reported it sees signs that the Belarusian Armed Forces are preparing to carry out a direct invasion of the territory of Ukraine.

"The defense forces of our state are ready to fight back. The direct involvement of Belarusian troops in Russia's aggression against Ukraine, against the will of ordinary soldiers and the vast majority of the Belarusian people, will be a fatal mistake for (Belarusian dictator) Alexander Lukashenko," the General Staff message reads.

The Belarusian government has previously denied it has plans to join the war on Russian side. However Belarus continues to allow Russia to attack Ukraine from its territory.

Also, the Ukrainian Army has said that Russian invading forces are preparing to ford the Irpin River in Kyiv Oblast to continue their offensive towards Kyiv. The enemy still has plans to surround the capital from north west, the Ukrainian army said.

Firefighters work near a residential building in Sviatoshynsky district of Kyiv on March 20 (Фото: SESU)
Firefighters work near a residential building in Sviatoshynsky district of Kyiv on March 20 / Photo: SESU

UPDATE (1314): Russia has said it has used supersonic missiles to attack military targets in the Ukrainian cities of Ivano-Frankivsk, Mykolaiv and Lviv.  Ukrainian Presidential Advisor Mykhailo Podolyak said that the deadly missiles had been used against peaceful cities.

"Due to failures in the offensive, (Russia) has switched to using more destructive artillery - Kinzhal and Bastion systems are (being) used against peaceful cities," Podolyak said in a tweet.

UPDATE (1225): The Ukrainian Defense Ministry's Main Military Intelligence directorate has reported Russian elites have been planning to remove Vladimir Putin from power.  

A powerful opposition group has started forming among top Russian business circles, which allegedly has the support of Russia's FSB security service. "Several variants are being discussed  - poisoning, a sudden illness or an accident," Ukrainian intelligence said in a statement.

According to the Main Military Intelligence directorate, influential Russians have already been looking for a replacement for Putin.

Some see FSB Director Alexander Bortnikov as a likely candidate. Bortnikov recently fell out of favor with the Russian dictator.

The official reason for the fall from grace of the head of the FSB is the fatal miscalculations his agency made in the war against Ukraine. Bortnikov was the main person responsible for analyzing the capabilities of the Ukrainian army and the mood of the Ukrainian public. Ukrainian intelligence officers claim they obtained this information from their sources in the Russian government circles. They think that their Russian sources may have shared this information in an attempt to establish a connection with the Ukrainian government behind Putin's back.

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Short digest 

Although the Ukrainian Army General Staff reports that the Russian forces' offensives against most of their main targets in Ukraine have stalled, the Russians continue to bomb Ukrainian cities and towns. Overnight, the invading forces shelled the Second Hospital in Chernihiv, a city in the north of Ukraine that has been on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe, local mayor Vladyslav Atroshenko has said in a statement.

"All the hospital windows were broken. Now patients are lying in the corridors in temperatures of + 10-11 degrees Celsius," Atroshenko said.

Overnight Russian forces also attacked Kharkiv. Five civilians, including a nine-year-old boy, died in the shelling of residential districts in Kharkiv.

Mariupol remains one of the main targets for invading Russian forces. Late on March 19 the invaders dropped a bomb onto an arts school in the left bank area of the city, where more than 400 civilians were hiding in a shelter.

Mykolaiv is still recovering from a March 19 Russian attack against a military unit. Soldiers were sleeping when Russians attacked them. Mykolaiv mayor Oleksandr Senkevych has told Ukrainian journalists on March 19 that there was no time for the air raid alert to work as the invaders attacked from the nearby Kherson Oblast. Ukrainian media report about more than 50 Ukrainian soldiers will killed in the Russian attack.

However, Mykolaiv governor Vitaly Kim has refused to confirm any casualty numbers until the rescuers finish combing through the debris of the military base.

Meanwhile Ukraine has once again opened humanitarian corridors. This time there are seven routes in Donetsk, Kharkiv and Kyiv oblasts.

Ukraine's Security and Defense Council has temporary banned 11 pro-Russians and socialist parties in Ukraine, including the Opposition Platform For Life Party and the Opposition Bloc. Lawmakers from both are already reported to have started cooperating with the Russians in occupied cities and towns.

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