Russia Ukraine

This photograph taken on March 12, 2022 shows a destroyed tram depot in Kharkiv. (Photo by Sergey BOBOK / AFP)

Russia’s war in Ukraine: Latest developments

Joe Biden again rules out any direct intervention by the United States to halt Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, warning that such conflict pitting the NATO alliance against the Kremlin “is World War III”.

Russia Ukraine

This photograph taken on March 12, 2022 shows a destroyed tram depot in Kharkiv. (Photo by Sergey BOBOK / AFP)

Here are the latest developments in Russia’s war in Ukraine:

READ: LIVE UPDATES: Russia’s war in Ukraine: Latest developments

Russia encircling Kyiv

Russian forces advance ever closer to the capital from the north, west and northeast. Russian strikes also destroy an airport in the town of Vasylkiv, south of the city.

Presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak says Kyiv is already effectively “under siege” as the army and volunteers prepare to defend the city, street by street.

Mosque shelled, cancer hospital hit

A mosque housing 80 civilians, including some Turkish nationals is shelled in the besieged southern port of Mariupol, Ukraine says, without specifying when.

No immediate figures for casualties are available.

A cancer treatment hospital and an eye clinic come under fire in the city of Mykolaiv, near the strategic Black Sea port of Odessa, an AFP reporter witnesses. There are no reports of casualties.

Mayor abducted

Ukrainian lawmakers say Russian soldiers have abducted the mayor of the southern city of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov.  A senior official publishes a video showing soldiers escorting a man from a building, his head apparently covered in a black bag. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asks France and Germany to help secure his release.

More evacuations planned

Ukraine says it will again attempt to evacuate civilians from Mariupol, where residents have been trapped without running water and power for 11 days and there are reports of people starving.

The mayor says more than 1,500 civilians have been killed. Corpses are lying uncollected in the streets.

Previous attempts to evacuate people failed after escape routes were attacked.

West steps up sanctions

Washington announces a ban on Russian seafood, vodka and diamonds, and along with the European Union, bans exports of luxury goods to Russia.

Space station ‘could crash’

The head of Russian space agency Roscosmos warns that Western sanctions could cause the International Space Station to crash.

Dmitry Rogozin says the sanctions are affecting supplies to the Russian part of the station, which corrects the station’s orbit.

Abramovich disqualified

The Premier League board disqualifies Roman Abramovich as a director of Chelsea Football Club after the Russian billionaire was placed under Western sanctions.

Abramovich has already announced his intention to sell the club.

No ‘World War III’

US President Joe Biden again rules out any direct intervention by the United States to halt Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, warning that such conflict pitting the NATO alliance against the Kremlin “is World War III”.

Bio-weapons claims rejected

Western countries reject Russian claims that the United States and Ukraine researched using bats to conduct biological warfare. Britain’s ambassador to the UN says the claims are “utter nonsense”.

Putin slammed over Syria fighters

The Kremlin says Syrian fighters can fight for Russia in Ukraine after President Vladimir Putin backs plans to draft in 16,000 volunteers, mostly from the Middle East.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky accuses Moscow of hiring “murderers”.

Instagram in Russian sights

Russies moves to block access to Instagram and Moscow prosecutors open a case against Facebook and Instagram’s parent company Meta for allowing posts urging violence against Russian forces.

The UN warns Meta could be encouraging hate speech.

2.5 million flee

More than two and a half million people have fled the “senseless war” in Ukraine, the UN says — more than half to Poland.

© Agence France-Presse