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Latest Developments in Ukraine: March 20


People clean up the debris from destroyed houses after bombardments in the village of Krasylivka, east of Kyiv, March 20, 2022.

For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.

The latest developments of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, all times EDT:

9:33 p.m.: Speaking in a video address early Monday, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy denounced the Russian bombing of a school in Mariupol where about 400 civilians had taken refuge. “They are under the rubble, and we don’t know how many of them have survived,” he said. “But we know that we will certainly shoot down the pilot who dropped that bomb, like about 100 other such mass murderers whom we already have downed.”

7:48 p.m.: Late Sunday, Russia demanded Ukrainian forces lay down their arms in the besieged eastern port city of Mariupol. Shortly after, however, Ukraine Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk responded, saying early Monday, “There can be no question of any surrender, laying down of arms.”

5:52 p.m.: Management of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, site said Sunday that 50 staff members who had been on the job since the plant was seized by Russian forces three weeks ago have finally been rotated out and replaced.

“They were there for far too long. I sincerely hope that remaining staff from this shift can also rotate soon,” IAEA chief Rafael Grossi was quoted as saying in an IAEA statement issued Sunday night.

5:09 p.m.: Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev, the director of the Russian National Center for Defense Management, on Sunday called on Ukrainian forces to “lay down your arms” in the eastern port city of Mariupol where Moscow said a “terrible humanitarian catastrophe” was unfolding, according to Reuters. Mizintsev made the statement in a briefing distributed by the Russian defense ministry.

4:41 p.m.: Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said Ukraine plans to send nearly 50 buses on Monday to evacuate people from the Mariupol region, Reuters reports. She also said 7,295 people were evacuated from Ukrainian cities through humanitarian corridors on Sunday, said, with four out of seven planned routes working.

4 p.m.: Greece’s consul general in Mariupol, the last EU diplomat to evacuate the besieged Ukrainian port, said on Sunday the city was joining the ranks of places known for having been destroyed in wars of the past, according to a Reuters report.

1:43 p.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered a video address to Israel’s parliament Sunday, calling for the country to take a stronger stand against Russia. According to AP, Zelenskyy accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of trying to carry out a “permanent solution” against Ukraine. That was the term used by Nazi Germany for its genocide of some 6 million Jews.

12:51 p.m.: At least 8,000 turned out in Berlin for an open air concert in support of Ukraine. The “Sound of Peace” concert at the city’s landmark Brandenburg Gate on features German music stars such as Marius Mueller-Westernhagen, who was to perform his iconic song Freiheit, or freedom in German, violinist David Garrett, singer Peter Maffay, and the bands Revolverheld and Silbermond, according to AP.

11:43 a.m.: U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke to CBS about increasing Russian attacks on civilians in Ukraine.

11:24 a.m. During their first attempt to rescue a group of orphans in eastern Ukraine, the shelling was so intense the battle-hardened former U.S. combat veterans had to give up. “We had to put them back in the shelter and come back 48 hours later. And then we got them, in the meantime, three of their teachers had been killed,” former Green Beret Jeremy Locke told VOA in an interview in Poland shortly before he was heading back in on another mercy dash to guide orphans in eastern and southern Ukraine to safety. Locke is the chief of operations for Aerial Recovery, a team of former U.S. military veterans. They are working with Ukraine’s Defense Ministry and Salam, a charity which helps refugees, to evacuate orphans from hot spots. So far they have evacuated 478 orphans and reckon they have at least another thousand to go. Jamie Dettmer has the story.

11:00 a.m.: White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki says there are no plans for President Joe Biden to travel to Ukraine when he visits Europe this coming week.

9:45 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told CNN that he is ready for negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin but warned that failure to reach an agreement “would mean that this is a third World War.”

9:00 a.m.: The United Nations says 10 million people have fled their homes in Ukraine since Russia invaded the country.

8:20 a.m.: There’s no room in the morgue at Mazyr. It’s filled with the bodies of Russian soldiers. At one hospital in this Belarusian city about 60 kilometers from the border with Ukraine, the hallways and wards are filled with the sounds of soldiers moaning from their battlefield wounds. At the main train station, Russian soldiers have been recorded on video ferrying stretchers — apparently holding wounded servicemen — from a military ambulance to a waiting train operated by Russia’s state railway company. RFE/RL has the story.

7:30 a.m.: Pope Francis has issued some of his strongest statements regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine, calling it a “repugnant war.” “The violent aggression against Ukraine is unfortunately not slowing down,” he told thousands gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his weekly Sunday address. “It is a senseless massacre where every day slaughters and atrocities are being repeated,” he said.

6:02 a.m.: Officials in Ukraine have yet to release the death toll following a Russian missile attack Friday on a military base where soldiers were sleeping in barracks, now destroyed, in the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv.

“We aren’t allowed to say anything because the rescue operation isn’t over and the families haven’t all been informed,” military spokesperson Olga Malarchuk told Agence France-Presse.

One soldier told AFP that 50 bodies have been found, while another said there could be as many as 100 dead under the rubble.

5:28 a.m.: Poland, which is scrambling to handle more than 2 million refugees from Ukraine, is calling for the world’s richest countries to help Ukraine rebuild, The Washington Post reports.

5:04 a.m.: UNICEF told the BBC that Russia’s attack on Ukraine is hampering humanitarian aid efforts. “Inside the country this is a children’s crisis. For children who've fled across the border this is a children's crisis. It’s simply staggering,” a UNICEF worker told BBC Breakfast.

4:23 a.m.: The U.K.’s latest intelligence report says Russia “will continue to use its heavy firepower to support assaults on urban areas,” the BBC reports.

3:45 a.m.: The Associated Press reports the bombed school was an art school and that the building was destroyed. There was no immediate word on casualties.

3:16 a.m. BREAKING - Russia bombed a Mariupol school sheltering some 400 people, the BBC reports.

2:42 a.m.: Ukraine has suspended the activities of 11 political parties with Russian links, Al Jazeera reports.

2:02 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted a video message Sunday to Facebook, saying that Russia’s attack on Mariupol is “an act of terror” that will be “remembered for centuries,” CNN reports.

1:14 a.m.: The Associated Press reports that the Russian cosmonauts’ yellow-and-blue are not a homage to the Ukrainian flag, and that the colors were chosen six months ago.

“There is no need to look for any hidden signs or symbols in our uniform,” cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev said in a statement on the Russian space agency’s Telegram channel. “A color is simply a color. It is not in any way connected to Ukraine. Otherwise, we would have to recognize its rights to the yellow sun in the blue sky.”

12:41 a.m.: China’s vice foreign minister, Le Yucheng, says NATO’s growth and expansion is to blame for the conflict in Ukraine, The New York Times reports.

12:05 a.m.: U.S. officials confirm that Russia launched hypersonic missiles against Ukraine, CNN reports. It’s the first known use of the missiles in combat. Here, VOAs Jeff Seldin explains what hypersonic missiles are and who has them.

12:01 a.m.: The BBC reports that 1,500 media outlets spreading Russian propaganda have been blocked in Ukraine since the invasion began.

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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