Liveblog

Status: 03/31/2022 11:59 pm

Russia says it will make a new attempt tomorrow to establish an escape corridor from the embattled port city of Mariupol. Moscow has imposed an entry ban on EU leaders. Read developments in the liveblog.

3/31/2022 – 11:59 p.m.

End of the liveblog

With that, we close the liveblog for today. However, we will of course be there for you again on Friday with a liveblog about the war against Ukraine. You can read this new liveblog here:

3/31/2022 – 11:08 pm

Ukraine could lose half of its crops because of war

Because of Russia’s war of aggression, Ukraine could lose half of its annual harvest, according to Ukrainian government estimates. Yields could fall by 25 or even 50 percent this year, Agriculture Minister Mykola Solskyj said in a written interview with the AFP news agency. He said this was “still an optimistic forecast.”

Ukraine is considered the breadbasket of Europe because of its fertile soil. Before the war, the country was the world’s fourth-largest exporter of corn and on track to become the third-largest exporter of wheat.

3/31/2022 – 10:33 PM

Chernihiv: aid convoy shelled, according to Ukrainian sources

An aid convoy has been shelled by Russian artillery near the city of Chernihiv, according to Ukrainian sources. At least one person was killed and four others were wounded, according to Lyudmyla Denisova, the human rights representative of the Ukrainian parliament. Volunteers who were taking buses to bring residents out of the besieged city to safety were fired upon. Because of the Russian siege, however, this was no longer possible.

As recently as Tuesday, during the last round of negotiations with Ukraine in Istanbul, Russia had actually pledged to scale back fighting around Kiev and Chernihiv in order to build trust and create conditions for further talks. But the shelling continues.

Conflict parties as a source

Information on the course of the war, shelling, and casualties from official sources of the Russian and Ukrainian parties to the conflict cannot be independently verified directly in the current situation.

3/31/2022 – 9:54 PM

U.S. does not rule out permanently higher troop presence in Europe

The U.S. government is not ruling out a permanent increased presence of U.S. troops in Europe in light of the conflict with Russia. “Regardless of how this war ends and when it ends, the security environment in Europe will have changed,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in Washington. That will have to be responded to, he said. “What that will look like, we don’t know,” he continued. But, he said, they are open to discussions on whether there needs to be a greater permanent presence of U.S. troops in Europe. In due course, therefore, the U.S. government will sit down with allies to discuss that, he said. Due to troop increases because of the Ukraine war, there are now more than 100,000 U.S. troops in Europe, including about 40,000 in Germany.

3/31/2022 – 9:39 p.m.

No more strangers on the site of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant

On the site of the Chernobyl accident reactor, there are noAccording to Ukrainian sources, there are no more strangers at the plant. The country’s atomic energy authority refers to employees of the nuclear power plant.

Conflict parties as source

Information on the course of the war, shelling and casualties by official bodies of the Russian and Ukrainian parties to the conflict cannot be independently verified directly in the current situation.

3/31/2022 – 9:20 pm

Russia announces opening of corridor to Mariupol

Following demands from Germany and France, Russia says it will make a new attempt tomorrow to open an escape corridor from the embattled port city of Mariupol. The Russian Defense Ministry in Moscow announced in the evening a cease-fire for the morning and the planned start of the evacuation from 9:00 a.m. CEST. People were to be moved out of the city with the participation of the Red Cross and the United Nations Refugee Agency, Major General Mikhail Mizintsev said.

The renewed attempt for a humanitarian corridor follows an appeal by Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the ministry in Moscow added.

3/31/2022 – 9:15pm

Biden: Putin “seems to be isolating himself”

Russian President Vladimir Putin may have relieved some of his advisers of their duties in the Ukraine war and isolated himself, according to the U.S. government. “There are indications that he has dismissed or placed under house arrest some of his advisers,” U.S. President Joe Biden said at the White House. But he said there was “not that much solid evidence.”

Asked if Putin was being misinformed by his advisers, Biden replied, “There’s a lot of speculation. But he seems to be – I’m not saying this with any certainty – he seems to be insulating himself.”

The White House had reported yesterday, citing intelligence, that Putin was not being properly briefed on the situation. The Kremlin rejected that, accusing the U.S. government of not understanding Putin, what was going on or the government’s decision-making mechanisms in Moscow. Biden went on to say that there was no clear evidence that Putin would withdraw his troops from the Kiev area as announced. He said it was an open question whether the Kremlin leader would now focus on the Donbass. He himself is skeptical, he said.

3/31/2022 – 8:35pm

Report: Berlin is playing through nationalization of Russian subsidiaries

According to a media report, the German Federal Ministry of Economics is internally playing through a nationalization up to and including expropriation of the German subsidiaries of Russian energy companies Gazprom and Rosneft. In this way, the German government wants to prevent a massive impairment of the energy supply, especially in eastern Germany, in the event of the companies’ difficulties, reports the Handelsblatt, citing government representatives.

Banks and business partners have been distancing themselves from companies with Russian owners since the sanctions against Russia came into force. The danger of a “technical bankruptcy” therefore cannot be dismissed. If the two companies toppled over, this would have a massive impact on energy supplies.

3/31/2022 – 8:34pm

More US Sanctions

The U.S. government is imposing more sanctions on Russian companies and individuals over the attack on Ukraine. The U.S. State Department and the U.S. Treasury Department said in Washington that 21 companies and 13 individuals would be subject to punitive measures. The aim, they said, is to deprive Moscow of the possibility of circumventing sanctions already imposed through a network of entities and actors. In addition, Russia is to be further denied access to Western technologies.

Sanctions were also imposed on three individuals accused of cyber attacks. Assets of the individuals in the U.S. will be frozen, and any business or transactions with them in the U.S. or by U.S. citizens will be prohibited. Sanctions powers would also be extended to other sectors of the Russian economy – aerospace, shipping, and electronics.

3/31/2022 – 8:29pm

U.S. to release 180 million barrels of oil reserves

Faced with high gasoline prices as a result of the Ukraine war, the U.S. government plans to sell massive amounts of crude oil from its strategic reserve to depress market prices. The government will release an average of one million barrels of crude oil every day for the next six months, the White House said. That would amount to about 180 million barrels (159 liters each), or the equivalent of about 29 billion liters. It would be the “largest release of oil reserves in history,” it said.

3/31/2022 – 8:25pm

Italy announces crackdown on oligarchs

Unlike other EU countries, Italy plans to crack down on Russian oligarchs with full force. Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio tells the Bild newspaper that his country is “strictly adhering to our international obligations in terms of sanctions and therefore also in terms of seizing property of listed individuals in Italy.” Several villas and yachts belonging to oligarchs had already been seized in recent weeks. “To date, we are talking about a total value of around 900 million euros. We have been quick and consistent and will continue to be so,” added the Minister.

3/31/2022 – 8:17 pm

15 airports destroyed by Russian forces

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry blames Russian forces for the destruction of 15 airports. In addition, 1370 missiles were fired at Ukraine, it says. Russian soldiers killed 148 children, it said. The information cannot be independently verified.

3/31/2022 – 8:02 pm

International donor conference: more weapons for Ukraine

At an international donors’ conference for Ukraine coordinated by London, more pledges were made to supply arms to the country, according to the British government. “The international community has given its commitment to broadening the package of military support to Ukraine and has explored new ways to strengthen Ukraine’s armed forces in the longer term,” a statement from the Ministry of Defense in London said. This includes providing increasingly capable air and sea defense systems, artillery, armored vehicles, and training and logistical support, the statement added.

The British Ministry of Defense did not provide any details on the quantity and type of weapons to be supplied. According to London, more than 35 states had participated in the conference. Britain also announced that it would work with Poland, the United States and other partners to provide international support in the longer term.

3/31/2022 – 7:43pm

“We should think about a short hard cut”.

“It would be a great signal if, for example, Mr. Johnson and Mr. Macron and Mr. Scholz would show up here in Kiev in a threesome and thus show Putin how firmly they stand by Ukraine’s side and how firmly they are determined not to give Putin’s war of aggression any room,” Marieluise Beck has said on ARD’s Tagesthemen.

A short hard cut could possibly help prevent Putin’s military machine from being further upgraded, Beck said. That would possibly be a prerequisite for ending the war. “I think we should think about it to show Putin psychologically, we stand by Ukraine.”

“We should think about a short hard cut,” Marieluise Beck, think tank “Center Liberal Modernity”

tagesthemen 22:15, 31.3.2022

3/31/2022 – 7:21 pm

Wladimir Klitschko canvasses support in Berlin

Former world boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko has appealed urgently for support for Ukraine during a visit to Berlin. He said his country needs financial aid because the economy is down, it needs humanitarian aid because in some cities there is neither food nor water nor medical care. And, “We need weapons,” Klitschko told Bild TV.

Decisions on that would have to be made quickly, he said. “We don’t have time.” Being passive and looking the other way, he said, meant going along with it. “If you are a passive observer, you also have the blood on your own hands.” The people of Ukraine were fighting not only for themselves, but also for the West.

Klitschko met with German Economy Minister Robert Habeck (Greens), among others, a ministry spokeswoman confirmed. The delegation from Kiev also included the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry’s special envoy for sanctions policy, Olexiy Makyev, and MP Halyna Yanchenko, according to the statement.

“Meetings are planned with high-ranking politicians for political support for Ukraine,” Klitschko’s brother Vitali, who is mayor of Kyiv, announced on the Telegram messenger service. Photo: REUTERS

3/31/2022 – 7:18 pm

Pentagon: air strike threat in Kiev remains very high

The Ukrainian capital of Kiev remains at high risk of Russian airstrikes, according to the U.S. government. Russia’s talk of de-escalation is “nice rhetoric,” a senior Pentagon official said. “But it doesn’t mean the threat from the air is diminishing.” Even as the ground presence around Kiev is reduced, the Russian military continues to press the city with airstrikes, he said.

In the past 24 hours, he said, the number of airstrikes has increased significantly. The attacks were concentrated mainly on Kiev or even Chernihiv. The intensification of r

us offensive in eastern Ukraine, according to the Pentagon representative, is also the result of the failure in Kiev. “The reprioritization in the Donbass clearly shows that they know they have not succeeded in taking the capital.”

3/31/2022 – 7:15

PM

Latvia bans Z symbol

In Latvia, the use of the Z symbol at public events will be banned in the future. The parliament in Riga passed an amendment to the law under which the symbol, often seen on Russian military vehicles in the war zone, may not be displayed, nor the “V” that stands for…


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