The martial law in Ukraine will be in place until 25 April. After three weeks of war, the Ukrainian Armed forces has claimed that Russia has lost approximately 40 percent of their military units since the beginning of the conflict. However, this figure has not been officially confirmed and Russia has not reported its military losses since 02 March.
In northern Ukraine, Russian shelling continues to increase. During the 35h curfew, entry and exit from Kyiv’s railway stations are limited and trains’ schedule of will be changed. Russian attacks continued on multiple areas with at least two causalities and air raid sirens were activated during last night. Dnipro International Airport has been targeted by Russian troops and hit by two missile strikes. According to reports, two journalists of Irish and Ukrainian nationalities who were working for a US-based media company were reportedly killed in a town near Kyiv on 15 March.
In the south of Ukraine, Russian shelling continued in the Odesa region. According to satellite images, more than 10 Russian vessels are heading towards Odesa. The Ukrainian Interior Minister’s office claimed that Russian troops has launched missiles from the Ukrainian coast near Odesa. In addition, Russian forces have seized doctors and patients at a regional hospital in Mariupol and have taken 400 people from the hospital’s neighbouring buildings hostage. Mariupol has also been attacked from the sea by Russian ships firing rockets.
In the west, during the afternoon hours on 15 March, air raid sirens were sounded for a possible attack and 50 additional air alert systems have been installed across settlements in the region.
In eastern Ukraine, on 15 March over 4,000 Ukrainians were evacuated from Sumy region through scheduled evacuation corridors. The governor of Sumy oblast claimed that an evacuation corridor and ceasefire had been violated by Russian troops.
Ukraine-Russia peace talks
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenski has declared that peace talks with Russia are starting to become ”more realistic”. In a similarly cautiously optimistic comment, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said there is ”hope for compromise”, while stressing that the talks are not easy for ”obvious reasons”. These statements come in light of President Zelensky’s recent acknowledgement of Ukraine’s unsuccessful efforts to join NATO, stating that Ukraine must admit that it will never become a NATO member, which is in line with one of the many demands made by the Russians.
President Joe Biden signed a founding bill on 15 March that includes a $13.6 billion aid package to help Ukraine. In addition, NATO secretary of state Jens Stoltenberg have convened a meeting with allied leaders on 24 March. Among the issues to be discussed are the consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the strengthening of NATO’s deterrence and defence.
The prime ministers of Slovenia, Poland and the Czech Republic have concluded their visit to Kyiv by meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenski. The visit is the first of its kind by Western leaders since the war began, with the three ministers arriving safely in Poland on 15 March.
The EU has agreed to impose a fourth package of restrictive measures aimed at limiting Russia’s ability to fund its invasion of Ukraine and to further increase economic pressure against Russia. The new round of sanctions includes a full prohibition on certain Russian state-owned enterprises, export ban on luxury goods, import ban on steel products, an extensive ban in new investment in the Russian energy sector, ban on rating Russia and Russian companies by EU credit rating agencies, as well an extension of the ban on Russian oligarch’s and business elites. In addition, the EU together with other WTO member nations, have decided to deny Russia its status as a favored member, suspending the many benefits Russia has enjoyed since its accession to the WTO in 2012.
On 15 March the hacker network Anonymous claimed that they had target top Russian government websites in a series of DDoS attacks. As a result, the official website of the Russian Federal Security Service, Stock Exchange, Analytical Center for the Government of the Russian Federation, and Ministry of Sport of the Russian Federation was forced to go offline.
Migration and humanitarian developments
According to the latest UNHCR data, more than 3.2 million Ukrainians have fled to another country in search of refuge. Routes for the delivery of humanitarian aid to besieged or captured cities have been established. The routes are expected to open today in the following regions: Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhia, Kharkiv, Kyiv and Chernihiv.