Now in its fourth week, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has killed hundreds of civilians, reduced city areas to rubble and sparked a humanitarian crisis as millions flee the country.
Russia has called its military actions in Ukraine a “special operation” and denies attacking civilians, saying it is targetting Ukraine’s military infrastructure.
Here are some recent developments.
Missiles destroy aircraft repair plant in Lviv
Several missiles have hit an aircraft repair plant in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on Friday morning, destroying its building, city mayor Andriy Sadovy said.
The plant had been stopped and there were no casualties from the strike, he said.
More than 700 civilians – including 52 children – have been killed in Ukraine since Russia, but the “actual number is likely much higher,” United Nations Political Affairs Chief Rosemary DiCarlo told the Security Council on Thursday.
Di Carlo said told the 15-member council that the UN human rights agency has recorded 726 deaths, including 52 children, and 1 174 people injured, including 63 children, between February 24 and March 15.
World Court orders Russia to halt military operations in Ukraine
The United Nations’ top court for disputes between states ordered Russia to immediately halt its military operations in Ukraine, saying it was “profoundly concerned” by Moscow’s use of force.
Although the rulings of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) are binding, it has no direct means of enforcing them, and in rare cases in the past countries have ignored them.
Russia quits leading human rights watchdog
Russia has quit the Council of Europe, the continent’s leading human rights watchdog, pre-empting an expected expulsion over its attack on neighbour Ukraine.
Russia is only the second country to leave the pan-European group tasked with upholding human rights and the rule of law since its formation after World War Two.
S&P on Thursday lowered Russia’s rating to ‘CC’ from ‘CCC-‘, as the country reported difficulties meeting debt payments due on its dollar-denominated 2023 and 2043 Euro bonds.
The ratings agency says sanctions against the country have reduced the country’s available foreign exchange reserves; and restricted its access to the global financial system.
Meanwhile, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) says the Ukraine crisis could knock more than a percentage point off global growth this year and add two and a half percentage points to inflation.
Well-targeted increases in government spending by OECD countries of the order of 0.5% of GDP could reduce the war’s economic impact by around half without significantly adding to inflation, the organisation added.
Tech & social media
Facebook on Wednesday removed official Russian posts that falsely claimed reports of Russia bombing a children’s hospital in Ukraine were a hoax, a company spokesperson said, even as similar messages appeared on other social media platforms.
A survey by the watchdog, Fake Reporter, and verified by Reuters showed the posts were still circulated on at least 18 Russian Embassy or ministry Twitter, Facebook and Telegram accounts.
Meanwhile, a poorly edited video purporting to show Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy publicly capitulating to Russian demands.
The video appeared to show an ashen-faced Zelenskyy speaking from the presidential lectern and urging his countrymen to down their weapons in the face of Russian invaders.
The video drew widespread ridicule, but experts said it could be a harbinger of more sophisticated deceptions to come.
Life and arts
The Italian government said it is ready to rebuild a theatre in the besieged Ukrainian city Mariupol which was devastated by a bomb attack, Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said on Thursday.
Ukraine has said the theatre was hit by a Russian airstrike on Wednesday while people sheltered there from bombardments. Russia denied striking the theatre.
US, China engagement
Meanwhile, United States President Joe Biden will speak to Chinese leader Xi Jinping today, after Washington warned Beijing not to support Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
US intelligence suggests President Xi is willing to provide Russia’s Vladimir Putin with military and financial assistance – something Beijing and Moscow both deny
More details in the report below: