It has been 12 days since Russian began its most recent invasion of Ukraine. According to the United Nations, at least 1,123 civilian casualties have recorded including children. Both Russia and Ukraine have reported different casualty data, and this remains unverified due to the ongoing war. More than 1.5 million Ukrainians have sought refuge in neighbouring countries. Over the weekend, Russian forces attacked several cities in Ukraine including residential areas. In Chernihiv and Kharkiv, Russian shelling continued and airstrikes were reported across Kyiv. One of the airstrikes hit a military unit of the National Guard and the mobile tower of Mezhyhirya was damaged while several residential buildings were destroyed in Rusanov
The Governor of Sumy Oblast announced that Russian forces have captured the city and blocked doctors from reaching civilians. Large-scale protests against Russian invasion were held in Zaporizhzhia and Kherson. Due to heavy clashes, telecommunication infrastructure was damaged in Chernihiv, Kherson and Sumy regions. An airport near the western city of Vinnystia has been destroyed by the Russian air strikes.
Russia and Ukraine agreed upon temporary ceasefire on 05 March, allowing the evacuation of civilians in the south-eastern cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha, situated in Donetsk region. The cities have been under heavy hostilities in the recent days. The ceasefire was agreed to last from 09:00 to 16:00 local time however hostilities were reported and the evacuation from Mariupol has been suspended. On 06 March, a second attempt of establishing a humanitarian corridor in Mariupol failed due to continued fighting. More than 200,000 people are waiting for evacuation from the city. The Mariupol Mayor stated the importance of humanitarian corridor in the midst of the heavy shelling by Russian forces and, power and water supply cut offs. Negotiations continue to reopen the failed humanitarian corridors of last week.
The gas pipeline that connects Mariupol and Donetsk has been damaged and this caused energy shortages across the southeast of Ukraine. In Mariupol and Kharkiv region, Ukrainian forces are reportedly preparing for counter-attacks against Russian forces. Protests against the Russian invasion have been participated by thousands of people in Kherson region that is currently occupied by Russian forces on 06 March. Heavy shelling and intensive air strikes were reported in the outskirts of Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Mariupol and Mykolaiv during the overnight hours.
The International Atomic Energy Agency announced that the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant which was taken by Russian forces in the last week, will continue to operate by Ukrainian staff under Russian control.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has continued to request a NATO-enforced no-fly zone over Ukraine, however Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced that NATO will not establish a nofly zone over Ukraine. The third round of talks between Ukraine and Russia will be held today. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz talked with President Putin over opening of humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians. On 06 March, both Putin and Zelensky separately had calls with their Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Putin stated the hostilities would only cease when Ukraine accepted Russia’s demands and stopped fighting against Russian forces. Zelensky stated that he is willing to meet Putin but without accepting any ultimatums.
Late last week, Russian authorities blocked western media channels and social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. This is assessed as retaliation from Russia in response to decisions by these platforms to restrict Russian state-owned media channels. At the same time, several media channels suspended their operations in Russia after Putin signed legislation punishing the publication of information assessed by the Russian authorities as fake, with penalties up to 15 years of imprisonment.
Anti-war protests continued in Russia. More than 4,600 people were reportedly detained on 06 March and over 13,000 people have been arrested at anti-war protests since 24 February.
Sweden, the UK, USA, and several other countries have advised against travel to Russia and for citizens already in Russia to leave. Global brands including IKEA, Ford, Daimler and many more have announced they are suspending operations in Russia. Finland and Sweden have announced strengthening of their security cooperation. The announcement highlights readjustment to the ongoing security situation in Europe alongside with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.