Day 21 of Putin's war. Russians destroy Drama Theater in Mariupol, where hundreds were hiding from shelling
Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine has been going on for nearly two-and-a-half weeks. Today, March 16th, is the 21st day of Putin's war.
UPDATE (1901): Ukraine has rescued Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov, who had been kidnapped by Russian invaders. He spent more than four days in captivity. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky has said the Russians were torturing Fedorov.
Fedorov was rescued in a special operation, he is safe now, Deputy Head of the Presidential Office Kyrylo Tymoshenko said in a statement. "We don't leave our people in danger!" Tymoshenko said. Soon Fedorov will return to work as a mayor of Melitopol. The city has been occupied by the Russian invading forces.
UPDATE (1832): Russian warplanes dropped a huge bomb onto the Drama Theater in Mariupol, where hundreds of peaceful residents were hiding from shelling, Mariupol City Council has reported.
It is still impossible to estimate the scale of this horrific and inhumane act, as the Russians continue to shell residential areas, the local council said.
It is known that after the bombing, the central part of the Drama Theater was destroyed, and the entrance to the bomb shelter in the building was destroyed. Information about the victims is being collected.
"It is impossible to find words that could describe the level of cruelty and cynicism with which the Russian occupiers are destroying the civilian population of the Ukrainian city by the sea," Mariupol City Council said.
"Women, children, and the elderly remain in the enemy's sights."
Translation of Facebook post by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine
“Today, at about 1530, a column of civilians evacuating from the city of Mariupol to the city of Zaporizhya was fired upon by invading Russian troops using a BM-21 Grad multiple rocket launcher system.
According to preliminary information, people have been killed.
Among the injured and wounded are children.
The number of victims is being established.
Russians, BURN IN HELL, you will never be forgiven by our people, or by God.
UPDATE (1813): Invading Russian forces attacked a column of civilian cars that were evacuating today from Mariupol on the road to Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine's Army General Staff has reported. Dozens of people were wounded, including children. The exact number of casualties is still unknown. The Russians used Grad rockets against the civilians.
UPDATE (1751): Ukraine has captured 2,000 Russian prisoners of war who can testify about Russia's war crimes, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has said, quoted by the press service of the Office of the President.
"Everyone understands what is happening,” Zelensky said during a conversation with International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan.
“We already have two thousand prisoners, there are witnesses, there is video testimony and they said everything without duress. All those who took people's lives for nothing on our land should be punished.”
During the conversation with Khan, the Ukrainian leader said that no war crime or crime against humanity committed as a result of Russia's aggression against Ukraine should go unpunished. Everyone guilty should be brought to international legal and criminal responsibility, from the perpetrators to the military-political leadership of the aggressor country, Zelensky said.
UPDATE (1743): The UN International Court of Justice has ordered Russia to stop invading Ukraine. "Ukraine has won a complete victory in the case against Russia in the UN International Court of Justice,” President Volodymyr Zelensky wrote on Twitter.
UPDATE (1740): A Russian saboteur has been detained at one of Kyiv's metro stations, Deputy Head of the Kyiv City State Administration Konstantin Usov announced on his Telegram messenger channel on March 16.
"Photos of critical infrastructure facilities, checkpoints and locations of the Armed Forces were found in his smartphone,” Usov wrote.
“In addition, the detainee's phone showed active correspondence with Russian subscribers and contained the personal accounts of a Russian taxpayer."
The man was handed over to SBU officers for further questioning.
UPDATE (1722) Ukraine’s armed forces destroyed a Russian Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopter near Mykolayiv. Video from the place where the wreckage of the helicopter fell near Mykolayiv was published in Facebook by the Ukrainian army.
The Ka-52 Alligator reconnaissance and helicopter is a modification of the Ka-50, known as the Black Shark.
The fate of his crew was not given, but several parachutes can be seen near the wreckage.
The Ka-52 was developed by Russia to perform tasks of commanding army aircraft - in particular, reconnaissance, and the coordination of actions by groups of combat helicopters.
Main developments as of 1400:
- As a result of the shelling of Kyiv on the morning of March 16, a shell hit a 12-storey residential building in the Shevchenkovsky District of the capital: two people were injured, 35 were evacuated, there were no deaths.
- For the first time since the beginning of the invasion, the Russian Federation struck civilian targets in Zaporizhzhya (missiles hit the area of the railway station and the botanical gardens) and Vinnytsia (a television tower was damaged). Over the past day, Russian troops have launched more than 50 missile strikes on Kharkiv.
- Overnight, Russian troops shelled the coast of the Odesa Oblast, attempting to establish the positions of Ukrainian defenses
- Moscow said that a compromise with Ukraine could be "an Austrian or Swedish model of a demilitarized state." To this, adviser to the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Mykhailo Podolyak replied that “the model can only be Ukrainian, and only concern legally verified security guarantees.”
- The losses of the Russian army in Ukraine reached 13,800 killed, 430 tanks, and 1,375 armored fighting vehicles.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree on a nationwide minute of silence in memory of all those who died for Ukraine in the war with the Russian Federation. “Every morning at 9 o’clock throughout the territory of our state, we will remember the Ukrainians who gave their lives,” Zelensky said.
UPDATE (1412): Bucha, Kyiv region invading Russian troops released the employees of the City Council they had taken hostage, it was reported on the official website of the Bucha City Council.
"As soon as we received verified information that the hostages we reported to be captured this morning are alive and well, they were released and returned to their families. All of them had their SIM cards confiscated, so they are not in touch now," a statement on the website read.
UPDATE (1403): The Russian invaders are not paying compensation to relatives of people mobilized from the non-government-controlled part of Luhansk Oblast to fight on the Russian side, and the bodies of killed Russian soldiers are being burned, according to Ukrainian military intelligence.
In the temporarily occupied parts of Luhansk Oblast a point for handing over to relatives the bodies of the dead "mobilized" residents of the occupied territories was opened in a budget supermarket chain.
The "police" of the Russian occupation army are handing over the bodies. Only death certificates and burial permits are issued to relatives of the victims. There are no documents as to where, how and under what circumstances they died. "Relatives are told that no payments for the deaths of those mobilized from the" LPR "and" DPR "are provided, even if they have a Russian passport.” Ukrainian military intelligence said.
“At the same time, relatives of the officially killed Russians were promised a payment of 12 million rubles. This attitude causes outrage among the local population, but the "police" of the invaders are ignoring this.
UPDATE (1352): "We are surrounded!" In an audio intercept released by Ukraine’s security services, a Russian soldiers cries as he tells his mother about the situation in Ukraine.
Russian conscripts who invaded the Sumy region have been trapped and are now unable to escape, according to the intercept. The Russian soldier also complains that no Russian convoy has yet been able to pass through the city of Sumy without taking losses.
UPDATE (1256): In an interview with NV, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba spoke about the talks with Russia, whether a neutral status is possible for Ukraine and how the West assesses Ukraine’s chances of victory.
UPDATE (1247): Russian troops fired more than 50 missiles at Kharkiv on the night of March 15. The enemy also used artillery, multiple rocket launchers and mortars. Almost all areas of the city came under enemy fire. At night, the Russians fired a missile at one of Kharkiv's squares.
UPDATE (1240): Moscow has said that the subject of compromise with Ukraine could be "an Austrian or Swedish version of a demilitarized state." Ukraine’s President's Office immediately rejected the idea.
Several high-ranking Russian officials on March 16 made such statements about Moscow's vision of a possible compromise in talks with Ukraine.
Volodymyr Medinsky, head of the Russian negotiating delegation and aide to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, said that the discussion allegedly revolved around the idea of creating in Ukraine an Austrian or Swedish version of a demilitarized state with its own army.
Kremlin Speaker Dmytro Peskov said today that “the demilitarization of Ukraine according to the Austrian or Swedish model is being discussed at the talks and can be considered as a compromise.”
In response, Mykhailo Podoliak, adviser to the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, said that Ukraine understood such statements as "an attempt by our partners to remain an initiative party in the negotiation process."
"Hence the words about the Swedish or Austrian model of neutrality," Podoliak said. “But Ukraine is now in a state of direct war with Russia. Therefore, the model can only be ‘Ukrainian’ and only concern legally verified security guarantees. There are no other models or options.”
According to Podoliak, such a model could mean:
First, absolute security guarantees: “Valid ones - not a protocol or a ‘Budapest’ (memorandum),” he said. “This means that the signatories of the guarantees do not stand aside in the event of an attack on Ukraine, as today, but that they take an active part on Ukraine's side in the conflict and officially ensure the immediate supply of the necessary amount of weapons to us.”
Secondly, Ukraine no longer wants to depend on bureaucratic procedures that allow or do not allow the sky to be closed to cruise missiles, Podoliak added. "We need direct and firm guarantees (of a no-fly zone).
He also added that Ukraine has never been a military state that has attacked another state, and nor does it plan to attack its neighbors. "That is why today Ukraine wants to have a really strong pool of allies with clearly defined security guarantees,” he said.
Translation of a Facebook post below by Cherkasy Oblast Police
“An enemy missile was shot down in the sky over Cherkasy Oblast.
The situation in the region is stable and under control. The air defense system is working successfully.
The wreckage damaged a power line and grass caught fire. Employees of the State Emergency Service in Cherkasy Oblast have controlled the fire. Now power engineers are actively working to repair the damage. There are no casualties among the population.
Information about this incident was entered into the Unified Register of Pre-trial Investigations under Article 110 (Encroachment on the Territorial Integrity and Inviolability of Ukraine) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
Cherkasy residents, by no means ignore air alarms. Staying in a shelter will save your life!”
UPDATE (1218): Russia has lost 15% of its tanks and armored vehicles in its war against Ukraine, according to a military analyst. At the end of the third week of the war, according to reports from the General Staff of the Armed Forces, Russia has lost 430 tanks and 1,375 armored combat vehicles. This is 15% of what wasthe army of the Russian Federation possessed, analyst of the National Institute for Strategic Studies Nikolai Beleskov told Radio NV. However, the expert added that Russia has not yet run out of resources: while there are difficulties with the production of modern missiles under sanctions, the enemy has plenty of Soviet ammunition, he said.
UPDATE (1207): Attempts by Russia to bring mercenaries from Syria and Libya to Ukraine have so far failed, Adviser to the Head of the President's Office Oleksiy Arestovych said on March 16. "As for the general situation around Ukraine and in its hottest spots, they have not changed over the past day and have no chance of changing, because Russia has exhausted its resources,” Arestovich said at a daily briefing. “Attempts to transfer mercenaries from Syria and Libya, and the remnants of their units from the (Russian) Far East, have so far failed. That is, they have no reserves, both in our estimation and in the estimation of leading Western experts.” According to Arestovich, on March 15 the enemy suffered losses in the areas of the cities of Izyum and Mykolayiv. In addition, on March 15 the Armed Forces conducted a tactical counteroffensive in some areas, which improved Ukraine’s military situation. According to Arestovych, the military-political leadership of Ukraine remains in control of the situation.
UPDATE (1155): On March 16 there was a deadly accident involving a minibus with refugees on the Kropyvnytskyi-Znamyanka highway near the village of Lozova in the Volochysk Territorial Community. As a result of the accident, seven people died, the Department of the National Police of Khmelnytsky region reported. Police said a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter with refugees from Dnipro, heading to Ternopil, collided with a Setar bus. The driver of the minibus and six of its passengers died on the spot, and nine others were hospitalized.
UPDATE (1155): A total of 21 people were killed and nine injured in airstrikes on a TV tower near Rivne on the morning of March 14, according to Vitaliy Koval, head of the Rivne Regional State Administration.
UPDATE (1145): "Russians, you’re fascists!" Hackers hacked into several Russian arbitration court websites on the morning of March 16, posting calls for Russian President Vladimir Putin's impeachment. The websites of the arbitration courts of the Primorsky, Krasnoyarsk and Khabarovsk Krai, the Novosibirsk and Kursk regions, Moscow and five regions of the Ural Federal District stopped working.
UPDATE (1138) Invading Russian troops are firing from the Mariupol regional hospital, where medical staff and residents of the city were taken hostage the day before. This was announced by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine Iryna Vereshchuk. According to her, about 400 people are currently in the hospital building. "Right now (the Russians) are firing from the hospital. This poses a great danger to the movement of people through humanitarian corridors," Vereshchuk said.
UPDATE (1125) An-extended curfew was imposed in Kyiv and Kyiv Oblast from 2000 on March 15 to 0700 on March 17. Kyiv City State Administration stated the basic rules of the curfew.
• Travel through the city without special passes on foot and by car. Civilians in the city without a pass during the curfew will be considered to be part of an enemy sabotage-reconnaissance group.
• Operation of shops, pharmacies, public transport, institutions, enterprises, etc.
• Prohibition on the movement of journalists, even those accredited by the Armed Forces
• Moving through the city to the nearest shelter in the case of an air raid
• Movement of government representatives through the city
• Metro operation in shelter mode
• Operation of critical infrastructure enterprises and utilities - subject to obtaining a permit
• Ambulance work
UPDATE (1115): The Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine has announced a case against Dmitry Rogozin, the Director General of the Russian State Corporation for Space Activities Roscosmos. This was announced by Prosecutor General Irina Venediktova. Rogozin is suspected of encroaching on the territorial integrity of Ukraine (an offense under Part 3 of Article 110 of the Criminal Code, punishable by 10 to 15 years in prison or life imprisonment) and aiding and abetting aggressive war (offenses under Part 5 of Article 27 and Part 2 of Article 437 of the Criminal Code, punishable by 10 to 15 years in prison).
UPDATE (1112): In Kharkiv a local council member from the pro-Russian Opposition Platform For Life was arrested for plotting to seize power and support the Russian occupation. According to NV Kharkiv, this was deputy of the Solonitsy village council Andriy Lazurenko, a former deputy director of the Kharkiv Fight Club "Oplot," which recruited thugs to support the regime of runaway former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and the special services of the Russian Federation. Many of its members later became militants of the DNR terrorist group. The leader of Oplot, Yevhen Zhylin, was shot dead in 2018 near the Veterok restaurant near Moscow.
UPDATE (1105): Another Russian warplane was shot down over Chernihiv Oblast during the night of March 16, Operational Command North of the Ukrainian Armed Forces reported. Air defense specialists targeted an enemy Su-type warplane that was bombing Chernihiv. "The bird has fallen," the command wrote. In general, the situation in the area of responsibility of the units of the Operational Command North as of the morning of March 16 remains under control, the command said. Ukrainian defenders have successfully repulsed a Russian armored advance towards the area of Novosilovka. Enemy losses are being assessed.
Today the Russo-Ukrainian negotiations will continue via video-conference. The sides have been talking like that for three days with short breaks for consultations. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said the negotiations have been hard but every war ends with a "pact". Zelensky said that he's being told Russians have become more realistic and less pushy when talking with Ukraine. "But we still need time to make desicions in the interests of Ukraine," Zelensky said in a video address on March 16. Today Ukrainian president is going to have another video conference, he
Overnight Russians attacked Zaporizhzhia for the first time since the start of the war in February, local council has reported.
"The morning was not good for us. As Russian missile struck an area not far from Zaporizhzhia railway station. Another missile hit the botanical garden area. As of now we have information no one was injured," Oleksandr Starukh, Zaporizhzhia governor wrote in a Telegram statement on March 16.
He also said that overnight more than 3000 evacuees from Mariupol arrived in Zaporizhzhia, that has become the main safe heaven for the residents of the besieged Ukrainian port city on the Sea of Azov.
Local councils have also reported about the overnight Russian missile strikes in Vinnytsia and Kharkiv. The number of victims in a March 14 Russian attack on a TV tower in Rivne has risen to 21 people dead.
Also in the night on March 16 Russians troops shelled the shore of Odesa Oblast, trying to hit the Ukrainian Air Defense systems they thought were hidden there, Odesa governor Serhiy Bratchuk has said in a statement. He also said the Russian warships continue regrouping in the Black Sea, keeping the threat of Russian paratroopers storming the shore. The Russians were shelling the Odesa shore near Tuzla village from the sea.
Mykolaiv Governor Vitaly Kim said in a morning statement that doctors from different countries have arrived in Mykolaiv to help strenghen the medical side of the front. Also today the local council will deliver humanitarian aid to the liberated villages of the oblast.
Kyiv has become the main target of the Russian occupiers in recent days. Every night Russian missiles strike another civilian target in the capital. The 48-hour curfew has emptied Ukrainian capital's streets. Ukrainian army has been destroying columns of Russian forces near the capital.
Unfortunatelly, at the night on March 16 Russian missile struck another residetial building, this time in Shevchenkivsky district of Kyiv. As the result 12-storey complext has partially collapsed, State Emergency Service of Ukraine has reported. The nearby 9-storey buidling was also damaged. Two people were injured, 35 evacuated, Ukrainian resquers have reported.
General Staff of the Ukrainian Army has reported the Ukrainian forces have mounted counterattacks in several areas, including Kyiv Oblast.
Valery Zaluzhny, Ukraine's Army chief commander wrote on Facebook the portection of Kyiv remains one of the key priorities of the Ukrainian army.
Ukraine's Reintegration Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has reported that seven out of nine humanitarian corridors opened on March 15 worked. More than 20,000 people have escaped from Mariupol, 8553 people were evacuated from Sumy. In Kharkiv Ukrainian authorities have managed to evacuate more than 300 employees of Oskil Psycho-neurological care facility.
Unfortunately the Russian occupiers have been still blocking the busses with humanitarian aid for Mariupol in the nearby Berdyansk. The same busses are supposed to evacuate hundreds of residents of Mariupol, including citizens of Greece and Turkey, who do not own private transport, Vereshchuk has reported.
On March 16 she added that not a single corridor has been approved in Ukraine so far. Residents of Mariupol and Izum are still waiting but Red Cross and Russians have not provided any guarantees of safety yet.
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