- European Union heads of state and government will meet in Versailles on Thursday for a summit on the war in Ukraine.
- Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers kicked off in Ankara, Turkey, with the first diplomatic meeting at this level since the invasion of Ukraine.
- After the Russian bombing of a maternity ward in Mariupol, despite the ceasefire agreement, the White House denounced a “barbaric” use of violence against civilians. President Zelensky denounces him, a “war crime”.
- According to UNICEF, half of the 2 million refugees are children. At least 37 people were killed and 50 injured.
7,500 Ukrainian refugees in France
The interior minister said at a press conference that “to date we have 7,500 people who come from Ukraine and have arrived on the national territory”. He mentions an increase of 3000 refugees for two days. “Today we have 25,000 shelters for these people. At the moment, France is clearly meeting the expectations of these people,” added Gérald Darmanin, talking about “a small tension in Ile-de-France, which we are solving”. An inter-ministerial crisis unit dedicated to welcoming Ukrainians opened on Thursday.
Mars will not return to Russia
US confectionery and pet food company Mars is suspending all new investments in Russia and will no longer advertise there, nor in Belarus.
With its brands M&M’s, Snickers, Orbit, Twix, Dolmio, Whiskas, Royal Canin and Sheba, Mars is one of the largest producers of food, especially for pets, in Russia and in the federation. The company has invested more than $2 billion in the Russian economy since 1991, building and modernizing ten factories.
Putin’s aide puts his employees on edge
Sergei Chemezov, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, said in a video sent to staff of the Rostec Group that throughout its history, “Russia has fought against various sanctions, against enemies that surrounded it, and it always came victorious in battle”. “It will be the same today,” he proclaims, assuring that, if “it won’t be an easy life,” international sanctions will allow inter.
Before the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Chemezov worked as a KGB spy with Putin in East Germany. He now heads Rostec, one of Russia’s state-owned companies with arms interests, aerospace engineering, radio electronics, medical technologies and innovative materials.
Russia says it is the heart of Mariupol. approaches
The Russian Defense Ministry claims to control a certain number of Mariupol districts. “The operation to liberate the city of Mariupol from the Nationalists continues. People’s militias of the Donetsk Republic took control of the Azovsky, Naidenivka, Lyapyne and Vynohradar districts and approached the Azovstal factory. The western quarter in the western part of the city has been liberated,” said Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov.
A 4th open corridor
Iryna Vereshchuk, the Ukrainian minister for the “Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories”, announces on Facebook that in addition to the corridors leading to Poltava (read below), another humanitarian corridor should be opened between the eastern city of Izium and the city Lozova in the Kharkiv region.
Three courses to Sumy . to leave
The opening of three evacuation corridors is scheduled for Thursday in the Sumy region (northeast Ukraine), according to the head of the regional government, Dmytro Zhyvytsky, on his official Telegram channel. Roads from Sumy, Trostianets and Krasnopilllia should lead to Poltava.
On Tuesday, attempts to evacuate civilians from Sumy were shattered by a Russian airstrike that killed at least 21 people.
Moscow accuses Washington of poison investigation in Ukraine
The Russian Defense Ministry accuses the United States of financing a biological weapons program in Ukraine and claims to have found evidence of it in Ukrainian labs.
“The aim of this Pentagon-funded biological research in Ukraine was to create a mechanism for the covert spread of deadly pathogens,” said ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov in his morning briefing on the conflict in Ukraine.
What about evacuations?
According to the Ukrainian president’s statement last night, six humanitarian corridors would be opened.
Moscow takes inventory of its food
Russia is fully supplied with basic foodstuffs, such as grains, meat, eggs, sugar, fruits and vegetables, said Nadezhda Shkolkina, deputy chairman of the agricultural committee of the State Duma, Russia’s parliament.
“There is a small shortage of food rye and oats, but it can be easily replaced by other cereals and the new crop will completely change the situation,” she added.
Nintendo delays the release of a military game
Following Sony’s lead (read below), Nintendo said it would suspend delivery of all its products to Russia “for the foreseeable future… due to significant volatility surrounding the logistics of shipping and distributing physical goods”.
The Kyoto company also said it has postponed the release of “Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp,” which was set to hit the Switch console on April 8, due to “recent world events.”
Last week, Nintendo suspended online sales after its payment provider suspended transactions with Russian rubles.
Sony suspends deliveries to Russia
The Japanese electronics group says it has suspended the shipment of software and hardware to Russia due to the events. Sony also says it has donated $2 million to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Save the Children “to support the victims of this tragedy”.
Deaths in the Mariupol kraam maternity hospital
The emergency services have been busy searching the building since yesterday. Ukrainian authorities said three people, including a young girl, were killed in the violent bombing of the Mariupol maternity hospital on Wednesday evening.
Russia says it destroyed 2,814 Ukrainian military aircraft and weapons
“Since the start of the operation, 2,814 sites of Ukraine’s military infrastructure have been destroyed,” said Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov.
These include 139 S-300, Buk M-1 and S-125 surface-to-air missile systems and 84 air defense radar posts, as well as “974 tanks” and “97 drones”.
In Mariupol, the violence of the maternity strikes
The Associated Press report on the bombing of Mariupol’s maternity ward insinuates very violent strikes since “the ground shook for more than a mile” and that “in the courtyard an explosion crater stretched for at least two floors.
Everything is ready in Antalya
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba arrived in Antalya, southern Turkey, on Wednesday evening “to discuss an cessation of hostilities and the end of the war Russia has waged against Ukraine,” his ministry spokesman tweeted Wednesday evening. A Turkish official confirmed with AFP the arrival of Serguei Lavrov, the head of Russian diplomacy. The two men asked their host, Turkish minister Mevlut Casuvoglu, to attend the talks.
“We are not free on a drip” of Russian gas
“What we have seen since the beginning of this conflict is that Europe has gone from small steps to giant leaps,” Gabriel Attal said. The purpose of the Versailles summit is “to say that Europe should be more independent, keep warm and defend itself”. Dependence on Russian gas and “industrial inputs”, raw materials from Ukraine, Russia, will be discussed “concretely”.
France does not want escalation
“Achieving a negotiated solution to the conflict, that is our goal,” government spokesman Gabriel Attal told RTL. We must avoid “more bombing, more deaths”.
Attal on pregnancy
French government spokesman Gabriel Attal yesterday denounced the “inhuman and cowardly” Russian attacks on the Mariupol maternity hospital, which left 17 injured, according to the latest report.
Longuet considers Putin weak
Senator Gérard Longuet, chairman of the France-Russia friendship group, believes “the facts” prove Vladimir Putin wrong. “His army is paralyzed by logistical difficulties, by the resistance of the army and civilians equipped and perfectly determined, and of populations who remain steadfast in their convictions” who find themselves “against Russian soldiers who do not know why they are there, ‘ he said in the public senate.
No children injured in Mariupol
“There are no children” among the 17 injured and “no deaths”, according to the latest report from local authorities.
The bombing took place while women were giving birth in the hospital, which had just been re-equipped, a member of the military administration of the Donetsk region told AFP.
Ministers arrived in Turkey
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba arrived in Turkey on Thursday for the first meeting at this level since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
“I don’t have high expectations, but we will do everything we can to get the most out of it,” said Dmytro Kuleba, who said “everything will depend on the instructions Lavrov receives before these talks”.
France suspends adoptions for three months
“All international adoption procedures” regarding children residing in Russia or Ukraine are suspended by France for three months. The decision will be published in the Official Gazette on Thursday.
48,000 citizens left cities
According to Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential office, authorities have managed to evacuate 48,000 people, mostly from Kiev Oblast and the cities of Sumy and Enerhodar.
Despite a ceasefire agreed at noon yesterday in many other areas, shelling attributed to Russian forces failed to evacuate Mariupol, Volnovakha, Izium or Irpin, Bucha and Hostomel, in the outskirts of Kiev.
Russian planes would pass little in the Ukrainian skies
According to a US official, Russia operates 150 to 200 flights a day, almost all over Russian territory. Ukrainian air defenses manage to keep the Russian air force out of the airspace, preventing Russian pilots from helping their ground forces meaningfully.
However, the political content of these comments must be weighed against the measure of the refusal to transfer Polish MiG-29 fighters to Ukraine through the intervention of the United States.
Kamala Harris in Poland
The Vice President of the United States meets with Polish leaders in Warsaw. She must resolve what the White House called a “temporary communication breakdown” regarding the sending of fighter jets to Ukraine.