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Russia-Ukraine war news today: Gun battles rage in Mariupol as Biden warns of ‘consequences’ if China helps Putin

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“Russia hasn’t had a unit like this for a long time,” Putin tells the crowd

Fighting has now reached the heart of Mariupol as Vladimir Putin praised Russia’s “special operation” in Ukraine at a pro-war rally in Moscow.

Mayor Vadym Boichenko told the BBC that “tank and machine gun fighting continues” in the besieged Ukrainian city, where he warned that 80 percent of residential buildings were either damaged or destroyed.

After further peace talks, Ukraine’s chief negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak said the country’s position remains unchanged and wants a ceasefire, the withdrawal of Russian forces and “strong security guarantees with concrete formulas”.

The failed talks come as Mr Putin, at a rally at Luzhniki Stadium to mark the eighth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, hailed the country’s invasion of Ukraine and promised the tens of thousands of people waving Russian flags that Moscow would “everyone will absolutely realize our plans”. .

Meanwhile, in a nearly two-hour phone call to China’s Xi Jinping, US President Joe Biden warned of “consequences” if Beijing provided material aid to Moscow, while Mr Xi said the war must end as soon as possible and called on NATO States to lead to a dialogue with Russia.

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The YouTube channels reveal what ordinary Russians really think about the war: “I want to show every perspective”

As Vladimir Putin continues his bloody invasion of Ukraine, it’s difficult to know what the average Russian thinks. A new post-Orwellian anti-language law has made it illegal to even call the war a “war,” let alone speak out against it, and the government has shut down social media sites and various news outlets.

However, one forum remains – at least for now – unblocked: YouTube. And you can still get a glimpse of what Russians are thinking on certain channels.

One such channel is 1420, where a 21-year-old man named Daniil wanders the streets of Moscow collecting passers-by’s comments on the latest news. The channel provides an intriguing timeline of Muscovites’ opinions, largely because Daniil posts so often. In his videos we learn how Russians feel before the war, after the war started, a week later, two weeks later – and meanwhile more and more language restrictions are emerging from the Kremlin, to which passers-by react in real time. Many become more reserved, but impressively few become bolder.

Nathanplatz has this fascinating story.

Josh MarcusMarch 19, 2022 1:44 am

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I seek refuge in the Carpathians of Ukraine

There is almost no place in Ukraine that really feels safe.

No underground bunkers. No cities far from the daily bombardment. Certainly not military bases. Not even a relative’s house.

The only place of true peace and refuge in this country today is the only place nature has created – the high hills of the Eastern Carpathians, thick with silver fir trees dusted with fresh snow, dotted with villages now growing in the tens of thousands flee here.

“As soon as we entered the mountains, we felt safe,” says Miroslava Patsyadi, a young mother and school librarian from the heavily shelled town of Bila Tserkva, south of Kyiv. “It’s a subconscious thing. My daughter can sleep again. Here we saw that life goes on.”

Max Barak wrote this report for The Independent.

Josh MarcusMarch 19, 2022 1:24 am

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Russia is trying to instigate terror but Lviv will remain safe, says Americans in Ukraine

An American living in Lviv said that while recent rocket attacks on the city’s outskirts “try to cause terror,” Russia “doesn’t have the power or ammunition” to depopulate western Ukraine.

Joel Wasserman, 30, has lived in Ukraine for four years and moved to the western city of Lviv in late January when he began to worry about military action in Kyiv.

Wasserman, who originally hails from a suburb near Washington DC and now works as a copywriter and translator, lived in the capital but is “fairly confident” that Lviv “will remain relatively safe”.

“There comes a point where (Russia) is trying to create terror,” Mr. Wasserman said.

Lily Ford has the story for The Independent.

Josh MarcusMarch 19, 2022 1:04 am

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Kyiv warns it “will take years” to defuse unexploded shells and mines in Ukraine

The “huge number” of unexploded shells and mines in Ukraine will take years to defuse once the war is over, the country’s interior minister has warned.

Denys Monastyrsky said Friday the war-torn country will continue to need Western support to clean up the remnants of the brutal conflict after the Russian invasion.

“A large number of shells and mines have been fired at Ukraine and a large number have not exploded, they remain under the rubble and pose a real threat,” Mr Monastyrsky told the Associated Press from Kyiv.

“It will take years, not months, to defuse them.”

my colleague Emily Atkinson has the details.

Josh MarcusMarch 19, 2022 00:44

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Mariupol from above: drone footage captures a crumbling city devastated by relentless Russian bombardment

Some 400,000 people are taking shelter in the besieged city of Mariupol — the once-busy port city that has faced ruthless Russian artillery shelling for nearly two weeks.

Frightened Ukrainian civilians hiding in the basements and bunkers of hollowed-out buildings now face shortages of food, electricity and water amid constant shelling.

According to Ukrainian authorities, about 90 percent of Mariupol’s buildings were damaged or destroyed.

Read Emily Atkinson’s account below for striking new footage of the damage.

Josh MarcusMarch 19, 2022 00:24

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A 57-year-old Mariupol resident named Alexander reportedly pointed to the outdoor location where his wife’s mother’s body is currently lying and told Reuters, “She had a Russian passport, Russian citizenship and many medals.”

“My mother-in-law was born in 1936. She survived the siege of Leningrad,” he said, referring to the 900-day Nazi encirclement of the city now known as St. Petersburg.

“She was an honored employee of fish farming in the Russian Federation. So there she is.”

On the bodies, which lay in a Mariupol courtyard, the only identifying marks were scraps of paper attached to makeshift crosses, each bearing a name and dates of birth and death, Reuters reported.

Andy GregoryMarch 19, 2022 00:08

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Rescue underway after a US Marines plane crashed in Norway during a NATO training exercise

A rescue operation is underway after a US Marine Corps plane carrying four passengers crashed in northern Norway on Friday during a NATO training exercise. Josh Marcus reports.

An MV-22B Osprey aircraft was involved in the incident, the Marine Corps said in a statement on Twitter on Friday.

The cause of the crash is being investigated and rescue teams are making their way to the downed plane, according to the Joint Rescue Coordination Centers of Norway.

You can update this breaking story for updates:

Andy GregoryMarch 19, 2022 00:02

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Schwarzenegger’s video reviewed after Russia by key witness in Trump’s impeachment trial

Three years after Donald Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to investigate military aid against Joe Biden’s son, a key White House whistleblower involved in the case, Arnold Schwarzenegger, helped Russia deliver his now-viral message about Ukraine – to deliver war.

Arnold Schwarzenegger tells Russians the “truth” about the Ukraine conflict

The clip, which has since been viewed more than 28 million times, was fact-checked by former National Security Council Ukraine expert Alexander Vindman, one of the key witnesses in Donald Trump’s first impeachment.

Here is the full report from my colleague Josh Marcus in San Francisco:

Andy GregoryMarch 18, 2022 11:50 p.m

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“It’s time to talk”: Zelenskyj calls for meaningful talks with Moscow

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called for meaningful peace and security talks with Moscow.

“The time has come for a meeting, it’s time to talk,” he said in a video message released in Ukraine in the early hours of Saturday.

This is Russia’s only chance to limit the damage from its mistakes after its invasion, Zelenskyy said, warning of Russian military casualties that would be felt for generations.

Andy GregoryMarch 18, 2022 23:27

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Russian attempts to storm Mariupol continue

The Russian “blockade and attempts to storm the hero city of Mariupol continue,” the Ukrainian military said.

In a recently shared operational update telegram From Ukraine’s State Communications Department, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said Russian forces were also fighting elsewhere in Donetsk – in the settlements of Verkhnotoretsk, Krymske, Avdiivka and Taramchuk.

Describing the situation across the country, the Ukrainian military said its forces would “hold back the enemy and conduct counter-offensives in designated operational areas” and launch artillery and rocket attacks on troop groups and equipment columns.

Andy GregoryMarch 18, 2022 11:17 p.m

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/ukraine-russia-war-putin-missile-latest-zelensky-b2038904.html Russia-Ukraine war news today: Gun battles rage in Mariupol as Biden warns of ‘consequences’ if China helps Putin

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