putin and zelensky
Yesterday, officials involved in the peace talks delivered their most upbeat appraisal of the tense situation yet.

At a massive flag-waving gathering in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin praised his country’s troops as Russian forces struck Ukrainian cities from afar once more, slamming Kyiv and the country’s west. The conflict has now entered its fourth week. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has again urged Putin to meet with him face to face. In his Friday night video address to the country, Zelenskyy also stated that over 9,000 individuals were allowed to exit besieged Mariupol in the previous day, bringing the total number of people who had been able to flee through humanitarian corridors to over 180,000.

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According to the United Nations migration agency, the war has displaced nearly 6.5 million people within Ukraine, on top of the 3.2 million refugees who have already fled. Thousands of people have been slain, according to Ukraine.

On Friday, missiles and mortars hit the outskirts of Kyiv, and a barrage of missiles was launched against an aircraft repair facility near the Polish border outside the western city of Lviv. The Lviv incident claimed the life of one person.

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Ukraine claimed to have shot down two of the six missiles fired from the Black Sea. The early morning hit came the closest to the city heart of Lviv, which has become a crossroads for individuals fleeing other parts of Ukraine as well as those arriving to bring supplies or join the fight.

Late Friday, Ukrainian officials said that Mariupol, the besieged southern port city, had lost access to the Azov Sea, which connects to the much bigger Black Sea. In this handout photo published March 18, a warehouse with household items is seen on fire after shelling as Russia’s onslaught on Ukraine continues, in Sumy, Ukraine.

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Hospitals, schools, and institutions where people took refuge have been attacked in city after city across Ukraine. According to Ukrainian officials, a fireman was killed when Russian forces blasted an area in the village of Nataevka where firefighters were attempting to put out a wildfire.

According to emergency services, early morning barrages hit a residential building in Kyiv’s Podil area, killing at least one person. The shelling, which occurred just north of central Kyiv, left 19 people injured, according to Kyiv’s mayor.

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According to the regional governor, two more individuals were killed when strikes impacted residential and administrative buildings in the eastern city of Kramatorsk. After failing to conquer large cities, Russia is resorting to a “plan of attrition,” according to Britain’s defence intelligence head. The tactic, according to Lt. Gen. Jim Hockenhull, will involve “reckless and indiscriminate use of gunfire,” worsening the humanitarian disaster.

More than 200,000 people attended the march and concert commemorating Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula, which was seized from Ukraine, according to Moscow police. Students and staff of state institutions were ordered to attend demonstrations and performances commemorating the occasion, according to many Telegram channels critical of the Kremlin. Those reports could not be verified independently.

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Putin compared domestic war opponents to “gnats” who aim to harm Russia at the request of the West earlier this week. Hundreds of demonstrators have been arrested around the Russian Federation. The Russian government has also continued to obstruct independent news organisations. Arnold Schwarzenegger, in a video greeting to the Russian people, termed all the Russians who have been protesting the invasion of Ukraine “my new heroes.” He claimed that the Kremlin is deceiving Russians about the conflict.