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Latest Developments in Ukraine: March 27

Rubble left by Russian shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine, March 26, 2022.
Rubble left by Russian shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine, March 26, 2022.

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

For the latest developments of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, all times EST:

10:04 p.m.: A monument to famed Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko has been covered with sandbags to protect it from shelling in Kharkiv, in northeast Ukraine, according to a Guardian report. Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, with 1.5 million resident, lies about 40 kilometers from the Russian border and has been heavily shelled by Russian forces in the past month, since the invasion began.

7:06 p.m.: As U.S. President Joe Biden was leaving a church in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C., Sunday, a White House pool reporter asked the president if was calling for a regime change in Russia. "No," he replied.

On Saturday, during a speech in Warsaw, Biden had said that Putin “cannot remain in power.” A comment that officials walked back just minutes later, with a senior administration official telling reporters: “The president’s point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region. He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change.”

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6:34 p.m.: A rocket attack hit an oil base Sunday night in the far northwestern region of Volyn, regional governor Yuriy Pohulyaiko said, according to an Associated Press report. He did not give details on casualties or the specific location. Volyn’s capital is Lutsk, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) north of Lviv, the AP reported.

5:51 p.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in an interview with independent Russian news media that Ukraine is prepared to consider declaring neutrality and offering security guarantees to Russia including nuclear-free status, according to The Associated Press. But he also said Russian President Vladimir Putin must meet with him to seek an end to the war.

“Security guarantees and neutrality, non-nuclear status of our state -- we are ready to go for it,” Zelenskyy told the media, according to the AP report. “We must come to an agreement with the president of the Russian Federation, and in order to reach an agreement, he needs to get out of there on his own feet ... and come to meet me."

3:03 p.m.: The Russian and Ukrainian delegations will meet in Istanbul, Turkey, for a new round of negotiations, the Turkish presidency announced in a press release on Sunday evening, the Agence France-Presse reported. Earlier in the day, one of the Ukrainian negotiators, David Arakhamia, announced that a new round of negotiations would take place from Monday to Wednesday in Turkey, without specifying the meeting place, AFP reported.

2:28 p.m.: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed the need for a cease-fire in Ukraine in a telephone call Sunday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Erdogan’s office said, according to an Associated Press report. Erdogan also called for an improvement to the humanitarian situation in the region, according to the statement.

1:25 p.m.: By the second day of the Russian invasion, it was clear to Ukrainian journalist Natalya Lutsenko that life for the country’s media had changed. As explosions rocked the capital, Kyiv, the 32-year-old editor and her co-workers rushed to a bomb shelter in the building where her station, ICTV, is located. Deep underground, in a dimly lit room with bare brick walls, Lutsenko faced the camera and addressed ICTV’s viewers. “I was trying to pull myself together,” she told VOA via phone. “In that video I was showing how we work right now and that that’s our reality right now: hiding in the bomb shelter to record and to go on air.” VOA’s Sirwan Kajjo has the story

12:07 p.m.: Ukrainian officials say a new round of peace talks with Russia will be held Monday in Turkey. In a Facebook post, Ukrainian negotiator David Arakhamia said the talks would take place March 28-30. Russian officials have not commented

11:45 a.m.: The mayor of the besieged strategic Ukrainian city of Mariupol has described a devastated city in which "thousands" have died and around 90 percent of 2,600 residential buildings have been destroyed or damaged in the Russian invasion, RFE/EL’s Ukrainian service reported. Mayor Vadym Boychenko said that Russian forces controlled some neighborhoods and were entering "deeper into the city" of almost half a million people before the war but Mariupol remains "under the control of Ukrainian armed forces." "Mariupol needs a complete evacuation," Boychenko told the local UNIAN news agency in an interview published overnight. Boychenko said about 40 percent of Mariupol's affected residential buildings are now uninhabitable.

10:20 a.m.: French President Emmanuel Macron distanced himself from President Joe Biden’s comment that Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot stay in power.” “I wouldn't use this type of wording because I continue to hold discussions with President Putin," Macron told France 3 TV channel. Macron said he hopes to talk to Putin again soon.

9:21 a.m.: More than 10 million Ukrainians, nearly a quarter of the population, have been displaced since Russia invaded the country a bit more than one month ago, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR says. An estimated 3.7 million people have fled to neighboring countries, while more than 6.5 million have been displaced inside Ukraine since the Russian invasion began February 24. U.N. refugee officials say another 13 million are stranded in conflict areas, unable to leave because of the danger. Lisa Schlein has the story.

7:55 a.m. During a visit to Jerusalem, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said stressed Sunday that “we do not have a strategy of regime change in Russia - or anywhere else, for that matter." In a speech in Warsaw Saturday, President Joe Biden had said “for God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

7:15 a.m.: Pope Francis has stepped up his pleas for negotiations to end the fighting in Ukraine. According to AP, Francis told the public in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday that “this cruel and senseless war” continues after more than a month, representing “a defeat for all.”

5:36 a.m.: Ukrainian interior ministry adviser Vadym Denysenko said Russia is destroying Ukrainian food and fuel storage depots, Al Jazeera reports.

4:20 a.m.: The U.N. says that 90% of Ukrainians could fall into poverty if the conflict with Russia continues, Al Jazeera reports.

2:55 a.m.: Al Jazeera reports that the United Kingdom has seized two jets belonging to Russian billionaire Eugene Shvidler. The Times of London described the aircraft as a $45 million Bombardier Global 6500 and a $13 million Cessna Citation Latitude.

1:54 a.m.: The BBC reports that the company behind a vodka made in Chernobyl's exclusion zone is releasing two more premium drinks and donating the profits to Ukraine's refugees. Russian troops currently have control over the land where the fruit is grown for the drinks.

12:05 a.m.: More than 5,000 people were successfully evacuated through humanitarian corridors in Ukraine on Saturday, CNN reported.

12:01 a.m.: A Russian cyberattack on U.S. infrastructure remains possible, a top U.S. cyber official told CNN. Jen Easterly, director of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, said Americans should be ready for it, saying, "It's not about panic. It's about preparation."

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

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