After two weeks of war, Russian troops continue to attack Ukraine’s main cities and disrupting humanitarian corridors. Despite this, Ukrainian authorities have confirmed that 35,000 people were evacuated yesterday and have indicated that evacuation routes will remain open today.
In the north of Ukraine, Russia continues to advance slowly towards Kyiv, attacking surrounding towns with missiles. On 10 March, Russian troops have advanced along E40 and P04, and further clashes are expected to continue around Buzova, Makariv and Zhytomyr. On 9 March, the Ukrainian state nuclear company, Energoatom, claimed that a high-voltage power line was damaged during fighting between Ukrainian troops and Russian forces occupying the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. This has increased the risk of a radiation leak, but no radiation has been detected at this stage.
In southern Ukraine, Russian troops continue to besiege Mariupol Russian, taking control of several neighbourhoods in the city. On 09 March, Russian forces attacked a maternity hospital. Ukrainian President Zelenskyy has accused Russia of war crimes over the shelling of the Mariupol hospital. The Kremlin denies these accusations.
In the east, fighting continues around Kharkiv and Russian troops continue to encircle the city. Russian forces have launched an attack on the town of Okhtyrka in the Sumy region, killing a 13-year-old boy and two women
The Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to draw international condemnation. US Vice President Kamala Harris recently embraced calls for an international war crimes investigation of Russia over its recent invasion.
On 10 March, Swedish Prime Minister announced a plan to increase military spending to two percent of GNP, adding that the increase will be implemented as soon as possible. It is likely an indication of Sweden’s recognition of the risk presented by Russia and the need to meet NATO’s minimum limit on defense spending of two percent. The announcement follows similar statements of increased military spending from other European countries including Germany and Poland.
Recent high-level talks between Ukraine’s and Russia’s defense ministers in Turkey have ended without a breakthrough; however, according to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, there was an opening to the possibility of a meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian presidents.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson has echoed Russian allegations over supposed biolabs in Ukraine funded by the US. The allegations follow the Russian narrative of an impending chemical or radiological attack by the US and NATO, raising fears of a false flag attack in order to justify further Russian aggression. The allegations where denounced by the US on 09 March, calling the allegations preposterous. The US Department of State and Pentagon has also denounced the claims.
Migration and humanitarian developments
As of 09 March, according to the Office the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ report civilian casualties in Ukrainian war increased to 1,506 people which includes a total of 549 killed and a total of 957 injured and in total 93 of the casualties are children.
In light of the emergency and paramount humanitarian needs of refugees from Ukraine, an inter-agency regional refugee response is being carried out, in support of refugee-hosting countries’ efforts. The Regional Refugee Response Plan brings together UN, NGO and other relevant partners and primarily focuses on supporting the host country governments to ensure safe access to territory for refugees. Since the beginning of the armed conflict, more that 2 million people has displaced and have fled neighbouring countries with Ukraine. Not only to Ukraine’s border countries, refugees who are fleeing from Ukraine are also starting to reach other European countries. Almost 260,000 people are seeking safety in other European countries including Germany, Netherlands, France and many more. In social media platforms such as Facebook, European citizens have created groups to offer their homes to Ukrainian refugees.
Hackers gained access to over 100 computers of employees at 21 energy suppliers and exporters on the evening of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The hackers gained access by compromising the individual computer’s access themselves, or by purchasing access credentials on the dark web. At the moment, Russia appears to be focussed on disinformation campaigns rather than cyber operations. Many cyber-attacks take a while (often months) before detection occurs, so we should be cautious about continued – albeit undetected – cyber-attacks in the near term.