what to remember from wednesday 16 march

The Russian strikes in Ukraine continued on Wednesday, March 16, twenty-one days after the start of the Russian invasion. At dawn, several powerful explosions rang out in western Kiev, followed by thick columns of black smoke in the sky of the capital, under curfew until Thursday morning.

A theater with “hundreds of citizens” addressed in Mariupol

A theater with “hundreds of citizens” has been badly damaged by a Russian airstrike in the besieged port of Mariupol, the town hall of this city in southeastern Ukraine announced on Wednesday. “The plane dropped a bomb on the building where hundreds of civilians were sheltering. It is impossible to determine the toll immediately because the bombing of the living quarters continues”wrote the town hall on Telegram and posted a photo of the theater whose central part has been destroyed. “The entrance to the shelter is blocked by rubble. Information about the victims is being verified”she added. For its part, the Russian Defense Ministry denied, accusing the Ukrainian Nationalist Battalion Azov of this attack.

In Kharkiv, three other people have died in a fire caused by a bombing, according to emergency services. Russian strikes also hit a train station in Zaporozhye, a hitherto spared town in the south of the country that serves as a refuge for Mariupol residents fleeing a humanitarian corridor. According to the Ukrainian army, Russian forces fired multiple rocket launchers at civilians fleeing the besieged port, killing an unspecified number.

Ten people who queued to buy bread were also killed by Russian fire in Cherniguiv, northern Ukraine, Ukraine’s prosecutor’s office said. In the same city, rescuers said at least five people, including three children, were killed in a strike at an apartment building.

Biden calls Putin ‘war criminal’

He is using these terms for the first time. US President Joe Biden has called his counterpart Russian Vladimir Putin “war criminal” Wednesday. The leader made his comments in front of a reporter, who questioned him as he left an event at the White House. “The president spoke from his heart and from what you saw on TV, those are the barbaric actions of a brutal dictator.”“, responded his spokeswoman Jen Psaki shortly afterwards. She specified that a “legal procedure (used to be) still ongoing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs” on a legal qualification of “war crimes” committed by Russia in Ukraine.

No US official had used the terms publicly before. “war criminal” Where “war crimes”, unlike other states or international organizations. The Kremlin was quick to respond, citing comments “unacceptable and unforgivable”.

$1 billion in additional military aid

Joe Biden also confirmed on Wednesday that he would send $800 million in additional military aid to Ukraine, a total envelope “unparalleled” a billion dollars in a week in response to the Russian invasion. “On request” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, “we are helping Ukraine to equip itself with anti-aircraft systems”, clarified Joe Biden during a short speech. Unsurprisingly, he did not respond to the Ukrainian head of state’s request to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

The Ukrainian leader spoke via videoconference before the US Congress on Wednesday, which gave him a standing ovation. “In your great history you have pages that allow you to understand Ukrainians”he launched to American elected officials. “Think of Pearl Harbor, that terrible morning of December 7, 1941, when your sky was darkened by the planes that attacked you,” “remember September 11, that terrible day of 2001”he added in this speech. “Europe has not experienced this terror in 80 years.” “Is it too much to ask to create a no-fly zone over Ukraine, to save people?”, Volodymyr Zelensky then asked.

The Kremlin claims a “success”

Vladimir Putin assured on Wednesday that his military operation in Ukraine was a success “good luck”saying that Moscow would not let this country “head of the bridge” For some “aggressive actions” against Russia.

During a televised government meeting, the Russian president also compared the avalanche of Western sanctions and convictions hitting Russia with the “anti-Semitic pogroms”† He assured that Russia was overcoming Western economic blitzkrieg and promised assistance to individuals and businesses.

Moscow demands Ukraine neutrality, Kiev refuses

The Russian-Ukrainian talks continued on Wednesday, with the Russian proposal for a neutral status for Ukraine, on the Swedish or Austrian model.

Ukraine’s chief negotiator quickly refused “a Swedish or Austrian model”. “Ukraine is now in direct war with Russia. Therefore, the model can only be ‘Ukrainian'”, one of the Ukrainian negotiators in the negotiations with Moscow, Mykhailo Podoliak, said in comments published by the presidency. He said he wanted “absolute security guarantees” against Russia, whose signatories would undertake to intervene in the event of aggression on the side of Ukraine.

Russia expelled from the Council of Europe

The Council of Europe, which guarantees respect for the rule of law on the continent, officially excluded Russia on Wednesday because of the invasion of Ukraine. Moscow had led the way by officially announcing that it was slamming the door of the Council, a Strasbourg-based organization the country had joined in 1996.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the highest UN court, also ordered Russia on Wednesday to immediately suspend its military operations in Ukraine. The ICJ’s rulings are binding and non-appealable, but the court has no means to enforce them.