Day 20 of Putin's war. Zelensky claims Ukraine has no chance of joining NATO, Russians kill another foreign journalist in Ukraine

15 March 2022, 11:12 AM

Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine has been going on for nearly two and a half weeks. Today, March 15th, is the 20th day of Putin's war.

UPDATE (2036): Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal welcomed the joint delegation of his colleagues from Poland, Czechia, and Slovenia, praising their courage. 

Meanwhile, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky has called the world to stop all trade with Russia.

"Ukrainians all over the world! Contact politicians, talk to journalists, put pressure on business to leave the Russian market. So that their dollars & euros aren’t paid for our blood," Zelensky wrote.

Video of day

The Armed Forces of Ukraine have reported about numerous cases of Russian invaders violating international law by taking Ukrainian civilians as hostages, looting, and murdering with impunity.

On March 15, some 20,000 residents left the besieged port city of Mariupol through a humanitarian corridor, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy chief-of-staff of the Ukrainian President's Office has reported. Some 570 cars, out of 4,000 private vehicles, that left Mariupol since morning, have arrived in Zaporizhzhya this evening.

UPDATE (1821): Another foreign journalist has been killed in Ukraine - Fox News cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski, the U.S-based Fox News channel has reported. Ukrainian journalist Oleksandra Kuvshynova was also killed. Both journalists died as a result of a Russian shelling in Kyiv Oblast.

Meanwhile, Russia has voluntarily left the Council of Europe. The Kremlin has also imposed sanctions against the U.S. President Joe Biden, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and many other top officials from America.

Pierre Zakrzewski (Фото: Anton Herashchenko/Telegram)
Pierre Zakrzewski / Photo: Anton Herashchenko/Telegram

UPDATE (1743): Ukraine's parliament has prolonged martial law for 30 days starting from March 26. 

Ukraine has no real perspective of joining NATO in the near future, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a latest statement.

"Otherwise we would not have to persuade the defensive alliance to close our sky for the last 20 days," Zelensky said.  Ukraine's president openly criticized the alliance for the lack of proactive movements in defending Ukraine's borders. Those countries, who have signed security guarantees for Ukraine in Budapest, now keep feeding Ukraine with excuses, saying NATO interference will lead to escalation, Zelensky said.

"However if those countries had imposed preventive sanctions as we've asked them to do before Russian invasion, there would be no escalation at all," Zelensky added.

He insisted Ukraine will keep pushing Western countries to impose harsher sanctions against Russia, as it must pay dearly for what it has done to Ukraine.

Ukraine's president has also said he was not sure NATO would step up even if Russia attacks a NATO member country next.

"Article 5 has never been weaker," Zelensky said.

UPDATE (1436): More than 2,000 private vehicles have managed to leave the beseiged port city of Mariupol and are now heading to safety, the Mariupol City Council reported on March 15.

"People follow the route Mariupol - Manhush - Berdyansk - Tokmak - Vasylivka - Zaporizhzhya, where they can get the necessary help. Another 2,000 cars are parked at the exit from the city," the city council said in a message.

The first 700 Mariupol residents, who left the city yesterday, have already found shelter, food, and water in Zaporizhzhya, the local oblast council has reported.

Suspilne Kharkiv video showing the moment Russians started shellilng civilian area during an evacuation on March 15

UPDATE (1305): Russia has destroyed another maternity hospital in Ukraine, this time in Luhansk Oblast.  Serhiy Hayday, Luhansk Oblast military administration head, reported that Russian invaders had struck a hospital in Rubizhne, a town in Luhansk Oblast, on March 15.  As the result of a massive airstrike, the hospital's maternity ward was completely destroyed. This is the second time that Russian missile have struck a maternity ward in Ukraine. The first attack was in Mariupol in March 11. No casualties reported in the attack of Rubizhne, as the last patient was evacuated to Bakhmut on March 11.

Meanwhile in Kharkiv, Russian invaders attacked a residential district during while civilians were evacuating, public broadcaster Suspilne Kharkiv has reported, posting video evidence of the attack. The video shows rescuers evacuating an elderly woman from a  destroyed building when suddenly they see another missile heading towards them.  People fall to the ground.

"To the shelter!" people scream.

Windows of the maternity ward of the Hospital in Rubizhne, Luhansk Oblast (Фото: Serhiy Hayday)
Windows of the maternity ward of the Hospital in Rubizhne, Luhansk Oblast / Photo: Serhiy Hayday

Early on the morning of March 15, Russians struck three residential buildings in the Sviatoshyn and Podil districts of Kyiv. Another missile hit a private mansion in Osokorky, on the outskirts of Kyiv's left bank region. At least two people are confirmed dead as a result.

Kyiv will once again impose a long curfew that will last from 8 p.m. on March 15 until 7 a.m on March 17 - at least 35 hours, Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko has said. The mayor has asked Kyiv residents to be ready to spend at least 48 hours at home or in a shelter.

"A very hard and dangerous moment has come," Klitschko said.

- Rivne Oblast Council has updated the number of casualties that perished in a Russian attack against a Rivne Oblast TV tower - 19 people are now confirmed to have been murdered.

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- An overnight attack on Dnipro Airport has destroyed infrastructure at the facility.

- Russia has lost 13,500 soldiers and more than 3,000 items of military equipment during the 20 days of war in Ukraine, the Ukrainian military reported on March 15.

- The Prime Ministers of Poland, Czechia, and Slovenia will visit Kyiv and meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal to show their support for Ukraine.

Donetsk governor Pavlo Kirilenko has reported that a humanitarian corridor for private transport has opened at 0900 from Mariupol to Zaporizhzhya. He asked the evacuees to delete all messengers on their phones and not to take any pictures while traveling through the humanitarian corridor.

Izyum, a city in Kharkiv Oblast, has been on the verge of humanitarian disaster, Deputy Mayor Volodymyr Matsokin has said in a Facebook post.

"The city has no food, no water, no heating and no mobile connection. The situation is no better than in Mariupol," Matsokin said.

"No medical services have been performed in the city. There is no one left to bury the dead. People, who survived under shelling, are dying from illnesses. Izyum needs help. Izyum needs humanitarian corridors."

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