Accessibility links

Breaking News

Latest Developments in Ukraine: March 22

A man carries flowers to lay at the grave of a killed soldier in a city cemetery in Kharkiv, Ukraine, March 21, 2023.
A man carries flowers to lay at the grave of a killed soldier in a city cemetery in Kharkiv, Ukraine, March 21, 2023.

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

The latest developments in Russia's war on Ukraine. All times EDT.

9:59 p.m.: Ukraine's reconstruction and recovery needs have grown to $411 billion, just more than a year since Russia's invasion, the World Bank said Wednesday, according to Agence France-Presse.

The assessment, made jointly by Ukraine's government, the World Bank, the European Commission and the United Nations, is an increase from the $349 billion estimated in a report released in September.

The latest evaluation expects Kyiv to require $14 billion for critical and priority reconstruction and recovery investments in 2023.

Meeting these needs will call for $11 billion in financing beyond what Ukraine's government has addressed in its 2023 budget, according to the assessment.

"Energy infrastructure, housing, critical infrastructure, economy and humanitarian de-mining are our five priorities for this year," Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said in a statement.

Ukraine's reconstruction will "take several years," said the World Bank's vice president for Europe and Central Asia, Anna Bjerde.

9 p.m.:

8:24 p.m.: Sweden's parliament on Wednesday formally approved a bill to allow the country to join NATO when its application has been ratified by all 30 members of the alliance, a process where it remains waiting on the final endorsements, Reuters reported.

Sweden and neighbor Finland asked to join the trans-Atlantic military alliance last year in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. But the process has been held up by Turkey, which along with Hungary has yet to ratify the memberships.

The bill was passed as expected with an overwhelming majority - 296 in favour and 37 votes against - with the small Left Party and Greens the only parties opposing the proposal. If Sweden is accepted into the alliance it will end two centuries of military non-alignment for the country.

Sweden in particular has faced objections from Turkey, which says Stockholm harbors members of what Turkey considers terrorist groups — a charge Sweden denies — and has demanded their extradition as a step towards giving Sweden's NATO membership the go-ahead.

7:31 p.m.:

6:44 p.m.: Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Wednesday that the risk of a nuclear clash was at its highest level in decades, warning that Moscow was in a "de-facto" open conflict with Washington over the war in Ukraine, Reuters reported.

Relations between Russia and the United States, long strained, have worsened further since Russia's invasion of Ukraine last year. In February, Moscow pulled out of the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty with Washington.

Speaking at an event entitled "A World Without START: What's Next," Ryabkov said there was "no question" of Russia restoring the treaty for now, criticizing what he called Washington's "hostile course" towards Moscow.

Ryabkov said Russia was committed to keeping the world "safe and free" from the threat of nuclear war, but added later that business could not continue as usual.

5:29 p.m.: The legislative body of the International Criminal Court said Wednesday it regretted threats against the tribunal over its war crimes arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, Agence France-Presse reported.

Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev reportedly talked about targeting The Hague with a hypersonic missile as a reprisal for the Putin warrant, according to Dutch media.

Moscow on Monday said it had opened a criminal investigation into ICC prosecutor Karim Khan and several judges over what it called the unlawful decision to seek Putin's arrest over the Ukraine war.

The presidency of the Assembly of States Parties, which groups the ICC's 123 member countries, said in a statement it regrets "attempts to hinder international efforts to ensure accountability for acts that are prohibited under general international law."

The assembly also "reaffirms its unwavering support for the International Criminal Court," it said.

4:20 p.m.: President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Wednesday that he visited military positions near the front-line town of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, as a Russian strike battered a residential building leaving dozens injured, Agence France-Presse reported.

During the visit Zelenskyy recognized that the troops had a difficult task.

"I am honored to be here today to award our heroes. To shake hands and thank them for protecting the sovereignty of our country."

Video released by Zelenskyy's office showed him meeting servicemen in a warehouse and handing out state decorations.

In a separate post, Zelenskyy said he also visited troops being treated for front-line injuries, and video showed him touring a hospital with doctors and greeting recovering soldiers.

3:40 p.m.: The number of people injured in Russia's missile strike on two residential buildings in Zaporizhzhia has risen to 33, Zaporizhzhia Oblast Governor Yurii Malashko said Wednesday, the Kyiv Independent reported.

One person has also been confirmed dead after succumbing to their injuries.

Three children between the ages of 5 and 9 are in the hospital, but according to Malashko, their injuries are light. Others are suffering from more severe injuries.

Search and rescue teams are still at the scene, meaning that casualty numbers may continue to rise.

Two Russian missiles hit a residential building in Zaporizhzhia on Wednesday, the Zaporizhzhia Oblast Military Administration reported. Acting Mayor Anatolii Kurtiev later clarified that two apartment buildings came under attack.

The city has been subject to frequent attacks since the start of the full-scale invasion.

2:48 p.m.: An aide to the Russian-appointed head of the eastern Donetsk region in Ukraine said Wednesday that Russian forces were close to cutting off Ukraine road links to the city, Agence France-Presse reported.

"We can say that the city is practically blocked," the aide, Yan Gagin, said in comments carried by Russian news agencies.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Russia's Wagner mercenary group, which claims to be spearheading Moscow's offensive for the town, said this week that his forces control some 70 percent of Bakhmut.

Battlefield reports are difficult to independently verify.

12:40 p.m.: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says Washington has not yet seen evidence that Beijing is providing lethal aid to Russia but added that China’s political and material support for Russia goes against U.S. interests.

"As we speak today, we have not seen them cross that line," Blinken said when asked at a Senate committee hearing if China was providing "lethal aid" to Russia.

"I think their diplomatic support, their political support, and to some extent material support for Russia certainly goes against our interest in bringing this war to an end," he added.

Blinken’s comments came after Chinese President Xi Jinping wrapped up two-day visit to Moscow.

11:30 a.m.: China on Wednesday said President Xi Jinping’s just ended visit to Russia was a “journey of friendship, cooperation and peace,” and again criticized Washington for providing military support to Ukraine, the Associated Press reported.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin reiterated China's claims that it remains neutral in the conflict and said it had “no selfish motives on the Ukraine issue, has not stood idly by ... or taken the opportunity to profit itself.”

China recently proposed a 12-point plan calling for a de-escalation and eventual cease-fire in Ukraine, which the West has rejected because it would lock in place Russian territorial gains its illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and more land seized by Russia in eastern Ukraine during its 13-month invasion.

10:00 a.m.: A new Human Rights Watch report has accused Russian forces of using a large air-delivered munition on an apartment building last March in Izium, in eastern Ukraine. The March 9, 2022 attack killed at least 44 civilians and HRW said it violated the laws of war.

HRW says dozens of civilians were sheltering in the basement, and while the building was close to the front lines, group says it found no evidence that Ukrainian forces were using the building for military purposes at the time.

Russia has denied targeting Ukrainian civilians.

8:55 a.m.: The International Committee of the Red Cross says it has delivered humanitarian assistance to Kostiantynivka and Chasiv Yar, two locations close to Bakhmut, the focal point for months of Russian attempts to advance through the industrial Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine bordering Russia.

A statement said “as the convoy moved closer to Kostiantynivka, Chasiv Yar, and Selydove, the extent of destruction in the area became evident. Homes, hospitals, schools, and infrastructure have sustained heavy damage. The humanitarian situation is dire for those who have not fled, and the constant hostilities prevents them from accessing the most basic services.”

7:30 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted a video Wednesday showing what he said was a Russian missile slamming into an apartment building in the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia, according to the Associated Press.

The report said the video appears to be CCTV footage that captures the moment the missile hits the nine-story residential block by a busy road.

Ukrainian media carried pictures of the affected apartment buildings, showing charred apartments on several stories and flames billowing from one of them. The number of causalities was unknown.

However, Vladimir Rogov, an official with the Moscow-appointed regional administration for the Russia-occupied part of the Zaporizhzhia region, claimed the building was hit by a Ukrainian air defense missile that was launched to intercept a Russian missile.

He didn’t cite offer any evidence to back up his claim.

5:50 a.m.:

5:30 a.m.: Reuters reported that Britain's Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said on Wednesday there was no nuclear escalation in the Ukraine war, speaking after Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned London's plan to supply Ukraine with ammunition containing depleted uranium.

Britain had on Monday confirmed it was supplying Ukraine with that type of ammunition, which is used in weapons because it can penetrate tanks and armour more easily due to its density and other physical properties.

"There is no nuclear escalation. The only country in the world that is talking about nuclear issues is Russia. There is no threat to Russia, this is purely about helping Ukraine defend itself," Cleverly said.

4:40 a.m.:

3:45 a.m.: The United States has offered to sell Slovakia 12 new Bell AH-1Z Viper helicopters at a two-thirds discount after Bratislava sent its retired MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, Reuters reported Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad as saying on Wednesday.

Nad said his government still had to approve the deal under which it would pay $340 million for a package worth more than $1 billion.

The deal was offered under the U.S. Foreign Military Financing program, Nad said in his post on Facebook.

3:15 a.m.: Three people were killed and another seven wounded in overnight Russian drone strikes on the Kyiv region, Ukrainian officials said on Wednesday morning, according to Reuters.

The Kyiv Regional Military administration reported on its Telegram channel that a "civilian object" had been damaged and that rescuers were still working at the scene.

The Ukrainian military said it had shot down 16 out of 21 Iranian-made Shahed drones launched at Ukraine overnight by Russia.

2:35 a.m.:

2 a.m.: The Russian navy "repelled" a drone attack on the port of Sevastopol in Moscow-annexed Crimea early on Wednesday, Agence France-Presse cited the Kremlin-backed governor of the city as saying.

"The Black Sea Fleet repelled a surface drone attack on Sevastopol," Mikhail Razvozhayev, the Russian-backed head of Sevastopol, wrote on Telegram. "They tried to penetrate our bay, our sailors fired at them from small arms. Air defence was also working."

12:45 a.m.:

12:01 a.m.:

Some information in this report came from Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

  • 16x9 Image

    VOA News

    The Voice of America provides news and information in more than 40 languages to an estimated weekly audience of over 326 million people. Stories with the VOA News byline are the work of multiple VOA journalists and may contain information from wire service reports.