Day 20 of the war in Ukraine was marked by relentless Russian shelling in several regions of the country, notably in the south and the capital, Kyiv.
At least five people were killed after a shell hit a 16-storey apartment block in the Sviatoshynskyi district of Kyiv, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Images shared on social media by the city’s mayor, Vitali Klitschko, showed the building engulfed in flames.
Meanwhile, Zelenskyy renewed his calls for aid as the Polish, Slovenian, and Czech prime ministers arrived in the Ukrainiain capital, as representatives of the European Union.
Delegations from Moscow and Kyiv held talks to discuss a “ceasefire and the withdrawal” of Russian troops from Ukraine, according to the presidential adviser Mykhailo Podoliak on Twitter.
“Negotiations are ongoing. Consultations have resumed on the main negotiating platform. General issues of settlement, ceasefire, withdrawal of troops from the country…”
Kyiv under curfew, ‘possible escalations’ expected
Mayor Vitali Klitschko announced a 35-hour curfew would be imposed in the city from Tuesday evening to Thursday morning, saying the curfew was linked to potential escalations that could endanger residents. An overnight curfew was already in place in Kyiv.
“It has to do with possible escalations and it has to do with concern for the safety of the residents of our city”, Klitschko told the Ukrayinska Pravda newspaper, stressing that the curfew is being imposed by the military administration.
Civilians’ evacuations in southern Ukraine
Hundreds of thousands of people remained trapped in Mariupol, the city in southeastern Ukraine that has been besieged by Russian troops since March 2.
The city and its surroundings are difficult for the media to access, with much of the information coming from residents sharing data.
An aide to Zelenskyy said about 20,000 people managed to escape the city on March 15 via an evacuation corridor. The previous day, Russian troops only allowed 160 private vehicles to leave and these have now reached the city of Berdyansk.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said the situation in Mariupol “remains dire” and that it was not able to deliver aid to the city.
Meanwhile, a convoy of Russian forces was on the move from the Mykolaiv region towards Kherson, and they may be “preparing for a false flag operation involving shelling”, according to Vitaly Kim, head of the Mykolaiv regional state administration.
OSINT information and satellite imagery appeared to show substantial Russian naval forces, including landing ships, advancing on the Odesa area today. These data confirm the fears expressed by British military intelligence on March 14 that Russia has carried out a complete long-distance naval blockade of Ukrainian ports.