- 26 Mar 2023 - 18:28(18:28 GMT)
‘Emotional’ Ukraine fans turn up for Euro qualifier against England
Ukrainian fans turned a section of Wembley Stadium the blue and yellow of their country’s flag as they watched their team play England in an emotional Euro 2024 qualifier in London.
Gareth Southgate’s team put on composed display to win the match 2-0 for England, thanks to goals by Bukayo Saka and captain Harry Kane.
It was an emotional occasion for more than 1,000 Ukrainians and their host families, who were invited to the game as special guests of England’s Football Association after the Ukrainians were displaced by the war with Russia. Showing solidarity with Ukraine, England’s players joined their opponents before kick-off behind a Ukrainian flag with “peace” written across it.
Ahead of the game, Ukraine fan Rehina Haripova, who left Kyiv for Britain eight months ago, said being at Wembley was a “dream”.
- 26 Mar 2023 - 17:49(17:49 GMT)
Choirs unite to sing for peace in Ukraine
Choirs from across the world have joined their voices to sing for peace in Ukraine, with nearly 300 singers gathering in Madrid where the initiative began a year ago.
Singers from 46 choirs in and around the Spanish capital gathered outside the Reina Sofia art museum and began singing along with 1,000 singers from Ukraine as well as choirs from 81 locations across Europe and Latin America.
The simultaneous event, which was broadcast live on YouTube, was organised by Choirs for Peace, an initiative that started a month after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and that drew more than 25,000 singers to its first event.
“We are here to support Ukraine and say we need peace now, that we have to stop this war,” said Elvira Polyenova, a 48-year-old Ukrainian soprano who used to perform at Odesa opera house, and who sang the opening solo in the joint song for peace.
“Music unites people … so the choir is a perfect instrument for spreading messages of peace and unity,” said Mariano Garcia, choir director at Santiago Apostol church, which launched Choirs for Peace last year.
- 26 Mar 2023 - 17:07(17:07 GMT)
Russia win first home football match since 2021
Russia beat Iraq 2-0 in an international friendly as it hosted its first football match on home soil since November 2021.
The home team’s goals came in the second half through Anton Miranchuk and Sergei Pinyaev at the Saint Petersburg Stadium.
Russia was banned from international competitions because of Moscow’s war in Ukraine.
After Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and global football’s governing body Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) decided that all Russian teams – national and club sides – would be suspended from participation in their competitions.
- 26 Mar 2023 - 16:37(16:37 GMT)
EU official warns Belarus against hosting Russian nuclear weapons
The European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has urged Belarus not to host Russian nuclear weapons, warning of further sanctions for the Russian ally if it did allow Russia to deploy its weapons.
“Belarus hosting Russian nuclear weapons would mean an irresponsible escalation and threat to European security. Belarus can still stop it, it is their choice. The EU stands ready to respond with further sanctions,” Borrell said in a tweet.
#Belarus hosting Russian nuclear weapons would mean an irresponsible escalation & threat to European security. Belarus can still stop it, it is their choice.
The EU stands ready to respond with further sanctions.
— Josep Borrell Fontelles (@JosepBorrellF) March 26, 2023
- 26 Mar 2023 - 16:15(16:15 GMT)
Ukraine says Russia ‘took Belarus as a nuclear hostage’
Kyiv has said Russia was holding Minsk as a “nuclear hostage,” referring to an announcement by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons to ally Belarus.
“The Kremlin took Belarus as a nuclear hostage,” the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, Oleksiy Danilov, wrote on Twitter, adding that the move was “a step towards the internal destabilization of the country”.
- 26 Mar 2023 - 15:49(15:49 GMT)
No indication that Putin has moved nuclear weapons, says US official
The US says it has seen no indication that Russia has moved any nuclear weapons yet, according to National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby.
“We have not seen any indication that he [Putin] has made good on this pledge or moved any nuclear weapons around,” Kirby told CBS News.
Kirby’s comments came after Moscow announced it would station tactical nuclear arms in Belarus.
- 26 Mar 2023 - 15:26(15:26 GMT)
Russian war tensions reverberate in revered Kyiv monastery complex
Tensions are on the rise at a prominent Orthodox monastery complex in Kyiv called the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, where the monks are facing eviction later this month. It is the most revered site in Ukrainian Orthodoxy.
The Ukrainian government accuses the monks of links to Moscow, even though they claim to have severed ties with the Russian Orthodox Church following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Church representatives say this is a pretext for a continued government crackdown on the institution, which has historic ties to Moscow.
- 26 Mar 2023 - 15:12(15:12 GMT)
Germany condemns Putin decision to station nuclear weapons in Belarus
Germany has condemned a decision by Russian President Vladimir Putin to station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, bringing the arms closer to the European Union.
The announcement was “another attempt at nuclear intimidation by Russia”, an official in the foreign office told the AFP news agency.
Putin justified the move on Saturday, saying: “There is nothing unusual here either. The United States has been doing this for decades.
“They have long placed their tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of their allies,” Putin said in an interview on Russian television.
- 26 Mar 2023 - 14:58(14:58 GMT)
Explosion ‘caused by Ukraine-operated drone’: Russian state media
A drone that hit the centre of a Russian town on Sunday, injuring three people, was a Ukrainian Tupolev Tu-141 Strizh and was packed with explosives, the TASS news agency has quoted a law enforcement source as saying.
Russia has said in the past that Ukrainian drones have flown into its territory and caused damage to civilian infrastructure, an assertion that Kyiv denies.
Russian authorities say a drone caused an explosion in a town far from the Ukraine border on Sunday afternoon in the town of Kireyevsk, in the Tula region about 300km (186 miles) from the border with Ukraine and 175km (109 miles) south of Moscow.
- 26 Mar 2023 - 14:41(14:41 GMT)
Blast in Russian town caused by drone: state-owned media
An explosion in Russia’s southern town of Kireyevsk that injured two people on Sunday was caused by a drone, Russian state-owned TASS news agency quoted law enforcement as saying.
The explosion created a crater in the centre of the town and damaged three residential buildings, a regional security agency was quoted as saying by TASS.
- 26 Mar 2023 - 14:26(14:26 GMT)
Russia’s nuclear weapons deployment could have ‘extremely catastrophic consequences’
President Putin’s announcement that Russia will deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus could have “extremely catastrophic consequences”, according to Susi Snyder of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.
“It increases the risk of the use of nuclear weapons by adding more actors, who might potentially have the ability to drop nuclear bombs, and create potential for chaos and miscommunication,” Snyder told Al Jazeera.
“These weapons, if used, would have similar or greater results than what we saw in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. They can cause huge catastrophic harm.”
- 26 Mar 2023 - 12:51(12:51 GMT)
Kyiv seeks urgent UN Security Council meet on Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus
Ukraine has called for an emergency meeting of the United Nation Security Council over Russia’s announcement that it would station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.
“Ukraine expects effective actions to counteract the Kremlin’s nuclear blackmail from the United Kingdom, China, the United States and France … We demand that an extraordinary meeting of the UN Security Council be immediately convened for this purpose,” Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said.
- 26 Mar 2023 - 12:31(12:31 GMT)
Russia’s nuclear rhetoric dangerous and irresponsible: NATO
NATO has criticised Russia for its “dangerous and irresponsible” nuclear rhetoric over possible deployment of nuclear weapons to Belarus.
“NATO is vigilant, and we are closely monitoring the situation. We have not seen any changes in Russia’s nuclear posture that would lead us to adjust our own,” a NATO spokesperson said.
The official, quoted by the Reuters news agency, added: “Russia’s reference to NATO’s nuclear sharing is totally misleading. NATO allies act with full respect of their international commitments. Russia has consistently broken its arms control commitments, most recently suspending its participation in the New START Treaty.”
- 26 Mar 2023 - 12:18(12:18 GMT)
Bulgaria calls for negotiations after Moscow to put warheads in Minsk
Bulgaria’s Vice President Ilijana Iotova has called for negotiations between Russia and Ukraine after the Kremlin’s announcement of plans to transfer Russian nuclear weapons to Belarus.
The situation is becoming “increasingly dangerous and frightening”, she said, adding that is why she and Bulgarian President Rumen Radev keep calling for negotiations.
“These are not empty words,” Iotova said.
- 26 Mar 2023 - 11:38(11:38 GMT)
Putin is ‘too predictable’: Zelenskyy’s adviser
An adviser to Ukrainian president has scoffed at Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s plan to deploy nuclear plans to Belarus, saying the Russian leader is “too predictable”.
“Making a statement about tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, he admits that he is afraid of losing & all he can do is scare with tactics,” Mykhailo Podolyak, Adviser to the Head of the Office of President of Ukraine, tweeted.
Putin (RF) is too predictable.
Making a statement about tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, he admits that he is afraid of losing & all he can do is scare with tactics…
Second. He once again states his involvement in the crime. Violating the nuclear non-proliferation treaty…
— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) March 26, 2023
- 26 Mar 2023 - 10:27(10:27 GMT)
Putin’s announcement ‘extremely dangerous escalation’: ICAN
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons called Putin’s announcement that he will deploy nuclear weapons to Belarus an extremely dangerous escalation.
“In the context of the war in Ukraine, the likelihood of miscalculation or misinterpretation is extremely high. Sharing nuclear weapons makes the situation much worse and risks catastrophic humanitarian consequences,” it said on Twitter.
1/ Putin has reportedly declared that Russia will deploy nuclear weapons to Belarus. ICAN condemns this extremely dangerous escalation which makes the use of nuclear weapons more likely. #NuclearBan https://t.co/xUIP7L4z3B
— ICAN (@nuclearban) March 25, 2023
- 26 Mar 2023 - 09:37(09:37 GMT)
New Russian campaign tries to entice men to fight in Ukraine
A new campaign is under way across Russia that seeks volunteers to replenish its troops for the war in Ukraine, according to a report by the Associated Press news agency.
Advertisements promise cash bonuses and other benefits as recruiters make cold calls to eligible men, the report said, adding that enlistment offices are working with universities and social service agencies to lure students and the unemployed.
The Kremlin denies that another call-up is planned for what it calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine, now more than a year old.
- 26 Mar 2023 - 09:30(09:30 GMT)
Inside Ukraine’s underground wartime music scene
Since the outbreak of war, the underground music scene in big Ukrainian cities, like Lviv and Kyiv, has seen a surge in creativity and popularity as musicians and music lovers seek an escape from wartime realities.
Read more here.
- 26 Mar 2023 - 08:37(08:37 GMT)
Probability of nuclear war ‘remains extremely low’: Think tank
Analysts at the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) say the risk of escalation to nuclear war “remains extremely low”.
“ISW continues to assess that Putin is a risk-averse actor who repeatedly threatens to use nuclear weapons without any intention of following through in order to break Western resolve,” it wrote.
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons called Putin’s announcement an extremely dangerous escalation.
“In the context of the war in Ukraine, the likelihood of miscalculation or misinterpretation is extremely high. Sharing nuclear weapons makes the situation much worse and risks catastrophic humanitarian consequences,” it said on Twitter, referring to Russia stationing nuclear weapons in Belarus.
- 26 Mar 2023 - 08:08(08:08 GMT)
Putin: Russia, China not creating military alliance
Russia and China are not creating a military alliance, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said in a televised interview broadcast on Sunday, stating that the two countries’ military cooperation was transparent, according to news agencies.
Putin also said Western powers were building a new “axis”, bearing some resemblance to Germany and Japan’s World War Two alliance.
- 26 Mar 2023 - 07:57(07:57 GMT)
Gazprom to ship 37.3 mcm of gas to Europe via Ukraine
Russian natural gas company Gazprom says it will ship 37.3 million cubic metres (mcm) of gas to Europe via Ukraine on Sunday.
- 26 Mar 2023 - 07:12(07:12 GMT)
Ukraine says Russia ‘took Belarus as a nuclear hostage’
Kyiv has said Russia is holding Minsk as a “nuclear hostage,” referring to an announcement by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons to its ally Belarus.
Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, wrote on Twitter that the move was “a step towards the internal destabilization of the country”.
- 26 Mar 2023 - 07:11(07:11 GMT)
Pentagon: No indication Russia plans to use nuclear weapons
The US Department of Defense says there are no indications that Russia is preparing to use nuclear weapons after Moscow’s announcement that it would station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.
“We have seen reports of Russia’s announcement and will continue to monitor this situation,” the Department’s press office said in a written statement.
“We have not seen any reason to adjust our own strategic nuclear posture nor any indications Russia is preparing to use a nuclear weapon. We remain committed to the collective defense of the NATO alliance.”
- 26 Mar 2023 - 07:07(07:07 GMT)
No more ‘dangerous’ money printing to fund war: Ukraine bank chief
Ukraine will no longer resort to “dangerous” monetary policies to fund the war against Russia, National Bank of Ukraine Governor Andriy Pyshnyi has told the Financial Times in an interview.
Pyshnyi said in the interview published on Sunday that it had “created huge risks for macro-financial stability” when the bank was last year forced to print billions of hryvnia to plug a budget shortfall, adding that an “open conflict” with the government over the issue had been resolved.
“It was a quick remedy, but very dangerous,” Pyshnyi told the newspaper.
Ukraine-Russia updates: Kyiv seeks UN Security Council meeting
These were the updates on March 26 as they happened.
This live blog is now closed, thank you for joining us. These were the updates on the Russia-Ukraine war on Sunday, March 26.
- Ukraine calls for an extraordinary meeting of the UN Security Council after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons to ally Belarus.
- The United States estimates there are no indications that Russia is preparing to use nuclear weapons after Putin’s announcement.
- Kyiv will no longer resort to “dangerous” monetary financing to fund the war against Russia, its central bank Governor Andriy Pyshnyi has said in an interview.
- Russia and China are not creating a military alliance and are hiding nothing in terms of their military cooperation, Putin says.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies