- US President Joe Biden said Russia’s war in Ukraine has been a “strategic failure” for Moscow and that Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power”.
- The Kremlin slammed the comments, saying it is up to Russians to choose their president.
- Russian forces captured Ukraine’s Slavutych, where workers at the Chernobyl nuclear plant live, and three people have been killed, the mayor said.
- Russian forces fired at a nuclear research reactor in eastern city of Kharkiv, the Ukrainian parliament said.
- Five people have been wounded in missile attacks on Lviv, western Ukraine.
Here are all the latest updates:
UK says Russian sanctions could be lifted with Ukraine withdrawal
British foreign minister Liz Truss has said sanctions imposed on Russian individuals and companies could be lifted if Russia withdraws from Ukraine.
“Those sanctions should only come off with a full ceasefire and withdrawal, but also commitments that there will be no further aggression. And also, there’s the opportunity to have snapback sanctions if there is further aggression in future. That is a real lever that I think can be used,” she said in an interview with the Telegraph newspaper.
The British government says it has so far imposed sanctions on banks with total assets of 500 billion pounds ($659bn) and oligarchs and family members with a net worth of more than 150 billion pounds.
Zurich Insurance removes Z symbol over Ukraine war
Zurich Insurance has removed its Z logo from social media after the letter became a symbol of support in Russia for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
The company said it was removing the logo – a white Z on a blue background – because it did not want to be misinterpreted as supporting Russia in the conflict.
“We are temporarily removing the use of the letter ‘Z’ from social channels where it appears in isolation and could be misinterpreted,” the company told Reuters in a statement. “We’re monitoring the situation closely and will take further actions if and when required.”
We look at why the letter ‘Z’ has been embraced by supporters of Russia’s war in Ukraine ⤵️
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) March 13, 2022
Russian forces firing at Kharkiv’s nuclear research facility: Ukrainian parliament
Russian forces are firing at a nuclear research facility in the city of Kharkiv, the Ukrainian parliament said in a Twitter post.
“It is currently impossible to estimate the extent of damage due to hostilities that do not stop in the area of the nuclear installation,” the post quoted the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate as saying.
The inspectorate’s website did not contain any news about the attack.
Earlier this month the grounds of the Institute of Physics and Technology were hit by Russian shells. At the time, the facility’s director general said the core housing nuclear fuel remained intact.
Russian army fired again at a nuclear research facility in Kharkiv
“It is currently impossible to estimate the extent of damage due to hostilities that do not stop in the area of the nuclear installation,” — State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate.
— Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine – Ukrainian Parliament (@ua_parliament) March 26, 2022
Three killed as Russian forces capture Chernobyl workers’ town: Mayor
Russian forces have taken control of Ukraine’s Slavutych, where workers at the defunct Chernobyl nuclear plant live, and three people have been killed, Interfax Ukraine news agency quoted the local mayor as saying.
The town sits just outside a safety exclusion zone around Chernobyl – the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986 – where Ukrainian staff have continued to manage the site even after the territory was occupied by Russian forces soon after the start of the February 24 invasion.
“Slavutych has been under occupation since today. We steadfastly defended our city … three deaths have been confirmed so far,” Interfax quoted mayor Yuri Fomichev as saying in a Facebook post.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement that it was closely monitoring the situation and expressed concern about the ability of staff to rotate in and out of the atomic power station.
IAEA monitoring developments after #Ukraine informed today that Russian forces had seized Slavutych, where many staff of the #Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant live; no staff rotation at ChNPP since last Monday. https://t.co/4ZjdiY8a4q pic.twitter.com/cU4wYcqkR5
— IAEA – International Atomic Energy Agency (@iaeaorg) March 26, 2022
Ukraine says 5,208 people were evacuated from cities on Saturday
A total of 5,208 people were evacuated from Ukrainian cities through humanitarian corridors on Saturday, a senior official said, fewer than the 7,331 who managed to escape the previous day.
Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the president’s office, said in an online post that 4,331 people had left the besieged city of Mariupol.
US to provide $100m in civilian security assistance to Ukraine
The United States intends to provide Ukraine with an additional $100m in civilian security assistance, the State Department said on Saturday.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that the assistance would be to build the capacity of the Ukrainian ministry of internal affairs with a view to aid “border security, sustain civil law enforcement functions, and safeguard critical governmental infrastructure”.
Russian economy could halve in size due to Western sanctions, Biden says
Tough Western sanctions on Moscow will lead to the size of the Russian economy being “cut in half” over the next few years, according to President Biden.
Whereas before its invasion of Ukraine Russia was the world’s eleventh-largest economy, soon Russia would barely be among the 20 largest, Biden said in Warsaw at the end of a two-day visit to Poland.
“As a result of these unprecedented sanctions, the rouble was almost immediately reduced to rubble,” Biden said, referring to the dramatic devaluation of the Russian national currency. “The economy is on track to be cut in half,” he added.
Kremlin says it’s not for Biden to say if Putin stays in power
The Kremlin dismissed a remark by Biden that Putin “cannot remain in power”, saying it was up to Russians to choose their own president.
Asked about Biden’s comment, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Reuters news agency: “That’s not for Biden to decide. The president of Russia is elected by Russians.”
A White House official said Biden had not been calling for “regime change” in Russia but his point was that “Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbours or the region.”
Read more here.
Ukraine war ‘strategic failure’ for Moscow, Biden says
US President Joe Biden has called Russia’s war in Ukraine a “strategic failure” for Moscow.
“Notwithstanding the brutality of Vladimir Putin, let there be no doubt that this war has already been a strategic failure for Russia,” Biden said in a speech in Warsaw, the capital of Poland, Ukraine’s neighbour directly to the west.
“Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia, for free people [have] refused to live in a world of hopelessness and darkness. We will have a different future, a brighter future rooted in democracy and principle, hope and light, of decency and dignity of freedom and possibilities,” he added.
“For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” he said.
Read all the updates from Saturday, March 26 here.