Main developments in Ukraine this weekend

Russian forces continued their assault on the southeastern city of Mariupol, hitting an art school turned into a bomb shelter on Sunday.

The city council estimated the number of people housed in the school building at 400, but Petro Andrushenko, an adviser to the city’s mayor, said it was unclear how many people were there.

In a video message on Sunday evening, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said there were no military positions near the art school.

Most of the people sheltering there were “women and children, elderly people. They are under the rubble. We don’t know how many are alive now, but we do know that the pilot who dropped this bomb will certainly be shot down. “, did he declare. .

Russia issued an ultimatum to city authorities to surrender before dawn on Monday, but the Kyiv government and Mariupol city authorities rejected Russian conditions.

Zelensky said Sunday that Russia’s actions in Mariupol were an “act of terror that will be remembered for centuries.”

Dozens of nursing home residents killed by Russian tank attack

According to Serhii Haidai, the head of the Luhansk region, 56 elderly residents of a retirement home in the eastern Ukrainian town of Kreminna were killed when a Russian tank opened fire on the ‘establishment.

The attack happened on March 11, Haidai said, adding that 15 other residents of the nursing home were abducted and taken to the town of Svatove in what is now Russian-occupied territory.

CNN was unable to independently verify the claim.

Russia continues to attack civilian targets throughout Ukraine. At least 902 civilians have been killed and 1,459 injured since the start of the invasion, the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said on Sunday.

Russia loses another general

Ukrainian forces killed Russian General Oleg Mityaev of the 150th Motorized Rifle Division near Mariupol, according to a Telegram message shared by Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the Ukrainian interior minister, last week.

On Sunday, Aleksei Arestovich, adviser to the head of the office of the Ukrainian president, told Ukraine’s NV News agency that Mityaev “probably went to show, by example, how to fight. Because his soldiers refused to fight.” .

Neither the Russian Defense Ministry nor Russian state media have issued a statement about his death.

CNN cannot independently verify the Ukrainian claim.

Ukrainian officials say a total of five Russian generals have been killed since the invasion began on February 24. If true, that would be an unusually high number of high-ranking soldiers killed in three weeks of combat. In addition, a deputy commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet was confirmed by two senior Russian officials on Sunday.

Russia launches hypersonic missiles

The Russian military said it launched a series of strikes on military targets in Ukraine using hypersonic and cruise missiles on Saturday night and Sunday morning.

In a statement on Sunday, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said sea-launched Kalibr cruise missiles were fired from the Caspian Sea and air-launched Kinzhal hypersonic missile systems had been fired from the airspace over Crimea.

Ukrainian authorities have released this photo of what they say is an unexploded hypersonic missile in Kramatorsk, Ukraine.

US officials also confirmed to CNN that Russia launched hypersonic missiles against Ukraine last week, the first known use of such missiles in combat.

The launches were likely intended to test the weapons and send a message about Russian capabilities, multiple sources told CNN.

Growing concerns over risk of attack from Belarus

On Sunday, the Ukrainian General Staff said the threat of a Belarusian offensive in northwestern Ukraine was “high”, without providing further details.

“The threat level from the territory of Belarus in the direction of Volyn is assessed as high,” the military said in a statement via the presidential office, adding, “The Defense Forces of Ukraine are ready to resist.”

The Volyn region in northwestern Ukraine borders Belarus to the north and NATO member Poland to the west.

Russian and Belarusian forces conduct joint exercises in Gomel, Belarus on February 19.

It could serve as a gateway for attacking forces from the north to approach Lviv, a strategic city in western Ukraine.

Lviv is a hub for Ukrainian government logistics and relief efforts, as well as a transit point for many civilians seeking to flee fighting in other parts of the country.

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The Russian military has already used Belarusian territory as a launching pad for its invasion of Ukraine, with forces staging an offensive push into kyiv and central Ukraine from southern Belarus.

There is no direct evidence that Belarusian troops participated in hostilities.

Russia accused of detaining journalists, activists and officials

On Saturday, Ukrainian digital broadcaster Hromadske said its journalist Victoria Roshchina was missing and would be detained by Russian forces.

Ukrainian Human Rights Commissioner Liudmyla Denisova said on Saturday the government believed she had been abducted by Russian forces in the Russian-occupied town of Berdyansk on the Black Sea coast.

Russia may be losing ground in the Battle of Mykolaiv, but it's still looking to crush what it can't have

Roshchina’s disappearance comes as other activists and officials are being held against their will in other parts of Russian-occupied Ukraine.

In the Kherson region, Dmytro Vasyliev, a senior member of the Nova Kakhovka city council, was kidnapped last week, according to the city mayor.

Human rights organization ZMINA said some 17 people had been abducted by Russian forces in Ukraine since the start of the war.

Zelensky reiterates call for NATO membership in CNN interview

In an exclusive interview on Sunday morning, the Ukrainian president told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria that he was ready to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“I am ready to negotiate with him. I was ready for two years. And I think that without negotiations we cannot end this war,” said Zelensky, who also warned that the failure of negotiations could signify the struggle between the two countries. would lead to “a Third World War”.

On Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke with CNN's Fareed Zakaria.

Zelensky told Zakaria that Russia would not have invaded Ukraine if the country had been admitted into the NATO alliance.

“If we were members of NATO, a war would not have started. I would like to receive security guarantees for my country, for my people,” Zelensky said.

Ukraine’s president said he was grateful for the military aid sent by the alliance, but continued his efforts for his country’s NATO membership.

“If NATO members are ready to see us in the alliance, then do it immediately because people are dying daily,” he said.

CNN’s Tim Lister, Andrew Carey, Yulia Shevchenko, Josh Pennington, Maria Kostenko, Oleksandra Ochman, Nathan Hodge, Oren Liebermann and Olga Voitovych contributed to this report.


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