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Also: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sent grain prices soaring, setting the stage for the worst food crisis in decades

This digest has now been archived. Find the latest Russia-Ukraine updates here.

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A view shows a bomb crater after an air strike, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, at a railway station in the town of Okhtyrka, in the Sumy region, Ukraine March 14, 2022.IRINA RYBAKOVA/UKRAINIAN GROUND/Reuters

Here are the latest updates on the war in Ukraine:

  • Russia kept up its devastating assault on cities across Ukraine for a 19th day as air strikes and artillery fire pounded civilian neighbourhoods of Kyiv and other centres.
  • At least one Canadian was injured in a Russian attack on a Ukrainian military base used to train foreign fighters. Sources say that international fighters may have died, despite Ukraine’s claim that no foreigners were killed.
  • Talks between Ukraine and Russia will continue on Tuesday. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will deliver a virtual address to the Canadian parliament on Tuesday, and the U.S. Congress on Wednesday.
  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has set the stage for the worst food crisis in decades.
  • The mayor of Warsaw has issued a plea to Canada and other countries to help manage an influx of refugees to the Polish city.

  • A damaged kindergarten school is seen, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Kharkiv, Ukraine.STRINGER/Reuters

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10:02 p.m. ET

Russia hits Kyiv with air strikes and artillery as ceasefire talks set to resume

Russia kept up its devastating assault on cities across Ukraine for a 19th day as air strikes and artillery fire pounded civilian neighbourhoods of Kyiv and other centres. Ceasefire talks have continued to founder, although another round of virtual negotiations was expected to happen on Tuesday.

In the capital, two people were killed early Monday when an artillery shell hit their apartment block in the northeastern Obolon neighbourhood. Two more people died when a trio of Russian rockets slammed into Ukraine’s famed Antonov aircraft factory, also in Kyiv. The factory produces the world’s biggest cargo planes.

Meanwhile, a pregnant woman and her unborn child were reported to have died five days after a Russian cruise missile destroyed the maternity hospital in the southern port city of Mariupol. An Associated Press photograph of the woman being carried on a stretcher past the ruined maternity hospital was seen around the world, quickly becoming a symbol of the widespread suffering caused by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine. AP reported today that the woman, whose name was not made public, died after being rushed to another front-line hospital for emergency treatment.

There was a shimmer of good news for Mariupol, which has been besieged since the first days of the war, as a convoy of 160 cars escaped the city after 10 days of efforts that failed because Russian forces continued shooting during agreed evacuation times. A local official said other convoys were queuing up to follow the same route.

- Mark MacKinnon in Odesa, Ukraine

9:08 p.m. ET

Ukrainian children with cancer to be flown to Toronto hospital for treatment

Ukrainian children who have cancer are expected to start arriving for medical care in Canada in coming days.

“We can confirm that Sick Kids expects to receive fewer than five pediatric patients with cancer from Ukraine within the next 36 to 48 hours,” said Jessamine Luck, a spokeswoman for the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

Several Canadian organizations have worked together to bring children here, including a group of Canadian Armed Forces veterans.

Last year, the organization Aman Lara – Pashto for “sheltered path” – helped hundreds of refugees who fled Afghanistan as the Taliban took over get to Canada.

“We’ve learned a lot in Afghanistan and we think we can help in Ukraine,” Aman Lara executive director Brian Macdonald said in an interview on Monday. He added “this is absolutely just the start. We will do everything we can to bring more kids over.”

Mr. Macdonald said a privately sponsored jet will bring two children and their families from Krakow to Toronto, potentially as early as Tuesday evening.

- Colin Freeze

8:20 p.m. ET

Anti-war protester shouting “Stop the war!” disrupts Russian live news broadcast

The sign, in English and Russian, read: “NO WAR. Stop the war. Don’t believe propaganda. They are lying to you here.” Another phrase, which looked like “Russians against war”, was partly obscured.

“Stop the war. No to war,” the woman protester could be heard shouting, as the news anchor continued to read from her teleprompter.

The woman was named by OVD-Info, an independent protest-monitoring group, and by the head of the Agora human rights group, as Marina Ovsyannikova, an employee of the channel.

Pavel Chikov, head of Agora, said she had been arrested and taken to a Moscow police station. Tass news agency said she may face charges under a law against discrediting the armed forces, citing a law enforcement source.

- Reuters

7:10 p.m. ET

At least one Canadian injured in Russian attack on Ukrainian military based used to train foreign fighters

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Yuri, a bus driver, and his son Ruslan, a doctor, stand in front of a bus damaged in air strikes at a nearby military complex on March 13, 2022.Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Russia’s missile attack on a training centre in Western Ukraine shed light on one of the worst-kept secrets of the first three weeks of this war: Some of the thousands of foreign fighters who arrived hoping to help defend Ukraine were training in the same base used by Western armies before the Russian invasion.

As many as 30 Russian cruise missiles slammed into the International Centre for Peacekeeping and Security on Sunday, killing at least 35 people and injuring more than 130 others. Three sources told The Globe that at least one Canadian was hurt in the attack, and there was growing suggestion that international fighters may have died, despite the Ukrainian military’s claim that no foreigners were killed. The Globe is not identifying the sources because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the issue.

The base, which is in the town of Yavoriv, is less than 20 kilometres from the Polish border. Days before Sunday’s attack, there had been widespread chatter in the nearby city of Lviv about how Yavoriv was now being used to train the foreigners flooding into the country. Ukraine says it has received about 20,000 applications from 52 countries to join its Foreign Legion, which is part of its reservist Territorial Defence Forces. Hundreds of Canadians have applied.

- Mark MacKinnon in Odesa, Ukraine

6:15 p.m. ET

Ukraine’s farmers stalled due to Russian invasion, fuelling fears of global food shortage

A war that prevents Ukraine from growing some of its crops and blocks Russia from exporting its goods threatens consequences whose scale is difficult to imagine. “We’re going to see millions of people dying from lack of food,” agricultural economist Andriy Yarmak warns.

“The death rate from hunger may be much higher than the death rate from COVID-19 during these past two years,” Mr. Yarmak says. Ukrainian by birth, Mr. Yarmak has analyzed global food markets for three decades. “I’ve never seen anything anywhere close to this tragedy,” he said.

Worse, he expects high oil prices to encourage greater use of corn and sugar cane worldwide for the production of ethanol, which stands to further constrain food supplies. Such a possibility “has to be changed right now” by foreign governments to protect global food supplies, said Oleg Nivievskyi, an agriculture scholar at the Kyiv School of Economics.

Otherwise, he said, there is little prospect to replace what may be lost from Ukraine. Prof. Nivievskyi helped with a study several years ago to evaluate where in the world farmers could wring more food from the land. Only Russia and Ukraine offered real opportunity. If they are no longer on the global agricultural map, “you don’t have other options left,” he said.

- Nathan VanderKlippe in Lviv, Ukraine

4:15 p.m. ET

Russian airlines will keep planes leased from foreign firms

The fate of hundreds of planes leased by Russian airlines from foreign companies grew murkier Monday after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law letting the airlines register those planes and continue flying them.

Russian state media said the law will let Russian airlines keep their fleets and operate foreign planes on routes within Russia.

Many of the planes used by Russian airlines are leased from foreign companies, including several in Ireland, a member of the European Union. Last month, the EU banned the sale or leasing of planes to Russia as part of sanctions to punish Russia for invading Ukraine. It gave leasing companies until March 28 to end current contracts in Russia.

- The Associated Press

2:45 p.m. ET

Warsaw’s mayor pleads for help from international community to manage refugee influx

The mayor of Warsaw has issued a plea to Canada and other countries to show solidarity with Ukraine by helping cities in Poland support the hundreds of thousands of people who have fled the conflict.

“We cannot do it alone,” Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski told a group of foreign journalists Monday. “My plea to the international community is we are slowly becoming overwhelmed.”

Poland has taken in 1.74 million Ukrainian refugees since Russia invaded last month. And while many have moved on to other parts of Europe, an increasing number have remained in Poland.

“This is the biggest crisis in Europe after the Second World War because we know that there will be more” refugees coming, he said. “I’m not complaining, seeing what’s happening in Ukraine. We will do everything we can to withstand this pressure and we will help in any way we can. I’m just saying that it’s going to get more and more difficult.”

He said the city is struggling to cope with a litany of challenges and that many social services have been stretched to the limit, especially in education and health care.

- Paul Waldie in Warsaw, Poland

2:00 p.m. ET

Ukrainian refugees at risk of being targeted by human traffickers, aid groups warn

As millions of women and children escape Russia’s war in Ukraine, aid groups supporting those who have fled to neighbouring countries say they are growing increasingly concerned about the risk of human traffickers targeting refugees. They are worried about criminals pretending to be well-meaning volunteers, offering people a lift and a place to stay, to lure them into their vehicles.

At the central train station in Bratislava, Slovakia, a sign warning against the dangers of human trafficking is plastered outside the waiting room where refugees rest before catching their next train. Volunteers hand out flyers, sharing information about the crime.

“There’s always a risk of trafficking in emergency situations where things are very fluid and have less monitoring. We certainly don’t want to deter the warm welcome and activism, but at the same time, we also want to make sure that any unwanted elements are not encouraged by the openness of the situation,” said Joung-ah Ghedini-Williams, head of global communications for UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency.

Read the full story here.

- Janice Dickson in Bratislava, Slovakia and Paul Waldie in Warsaw, Poland

1:50 p.m. ET

China offering aid to Russia, U.S. tells allies

The United States on Monday told allies in NATO and several Asian countries that China had signalled its willingness to provide military and economic aid to Russia to support its war in Ukraine, a U.S. official said.

The message, sent in a diplomatic cable and delivered in person by intelligence officials, also noted China was expected to deny those plans, said the official, who was speaking on condition of anonymity.


1:29 p.m. ET

Biden considers trip to Europe

The White House is weighing the possibility of U.S. President Joe Biden traveling to Europe in the coming weeks for face-to-face talks with European leaders about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to three U.S. officials familiar with the deliberations.

The prospective trip is yet to be finalized. One possible destination for the meetings would be Brussels, which is the headquarters for NATO, one of the officials said Monday. Another official said the White House was looking at Biden visiting NATO headquarters on March 24, with other potential stops in Europe.

All of the officials spoke on the condition of anonymity as none was allowed to comment publicly.

Biden’s potential trip would follow Vice President Kamala Harris’ visit to the eastern flank NATO countries of Poland and Romania last week to discuss with leaders there the growing refugee crisis in eastern Europe sparked by the Russian invasion. The trip would underscore the Biden administration’s support for NATO allies. NBC News first reported that the discussions for a potential Biden trip are underway.

Associated Press

1 p.m. ET

Ukraine’s foreign minister says Iran does not support Russian invasion

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Monday said Iran did not support Russia’s war in Ukraine, after a call with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian ahead of the latter’s visit to Moscow on Tuesday.

“Iran is against the war in Ukraine, supports a peaceful solution. I asked to convey my message in Moscow: Russia must stop bombing civilians, commit to the ceasefire, and withdraw from Ukraine,” Kuleba wrote on Twitter.

- Reuters

12:45 p.m. ET

Russia says it will attack Ukrainian arms factories

Russia said on Monday it planned to attack Ukrainian arms factories in retaliation for what it said was a Ukrainian strike on the separatist-controlled city of Donetsk, and urged workers and local residents to stay away.

The defence ministry noted in a statement that Russia believed Ukraine had used cluster charges on a densely populated area of Donetsk.

It said Russian forces would respond by acting to “disable enterprises of the military-industrial complex of Ukraine that manufacture, repair and restore weapons that nationalists use to commit war crimes.”

It added: “We urge citizens of Ukraine working at these enterprises, as well as residents of nearby residential buildings, to leave areas of potential danger.”

- Reuters

11:02 a.m. ET

Zelensky to address Canada, U.S. governments this week

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a video address in Kyiv.HANDOUT/AFP/Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will deliver a virtual address to the U.S. Congress on Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a joint letter to lawmakers.

Zelensky has sought to drum up support for Ukraine with video briefings of foreign audiences that have included the U.S. Congress and the British parliament. Zelensky will speak at 9 a.m on Wednesday to U.S. lawmakers.

On Tuesday, he is scheduled to address the Canadian parliament and is also due to address Israel’s parliament at some point.

- Reuters

10:41 a.m. ET

Ukraine war has been slower than expected: Putin ally

One of President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies said that Russia’s military operation in Ukraine had not all gone as quickly as the Kremlin had wanted, the strongest acknowledgement yet from Moscow that its invasion is not going to plan.

Viktor Zolotov, chief of Russia’s national guard and a member of Putin’s security council, said progress had been slower than expected, blaming what he called far-right Ukrainian forces hiding behind civilians.

“I would like to say that yes, not everything is going as fast as we would like,” Zolotov said in comments posted on the National Guard’s website.

“But we are going towards our goal step by step and victory will be for us.”

The United States and its European allies have cast Putin’s invasion as an imperial-style land grab that has so far been poorly executed because Moscow underestimated Ukrainian resistance.

- Reuters

10:04 a.m. ET

Ukraine negotiator says talks with Russia will continue on Tuesday

Talks between Ukraine and Russia paused on Monday and will continue on Tuesday, one of Ukraine’s negotiators said on Twitter.

- Reuters

9:14 a.m. ET

Russia accuses Ukraine of missile strike on Donetsk; Ukraine denies

Russia’s defence ministry said on Monday that 20 people had been killed and 28 wounded when a Ukrainian missile with a cluster charge exploded in the city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.

The ministry provided no evidence and Ukraine denied launching such an attack. Reuters could not independently verify the statements by either side.

“It is unmistakably a Russian rocket or another munition, there’s not even any point talking about it,” Ukrainian military spokesman Leonid Matyukhin told a televised briefing.

Pro-Russian separatists who control part of Ukraine’s Donetsk region said earlier that a child was among those hit in the alleged strike and they accused Kyiv of committing a war crime.

- Reuters

9:12 a.m. ET

Weary refugees from Ukraine find shelter near Auschwitz

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Ukrainian refugees from Sumy get their accomodations at the International Youth Meeting Center, around two kilometres away from the former Nazi German Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.FABRIZIO BENSCH/Reuters

A youth education centre near Auschwitz dedicated to preserving memories of World War Two and the Holocaust has opened its doors to help refugees fleeing war in the present.

So far, the centre has served nearly 2,000 meals to refugees since the beginning of March.

- Reuters

8:53 a.m. ET

Russia says it may have to service debt in rubles due to sanctions

Russia’s finance ministry is preparing to service some of its foreign currency debt on Wednesday, but such payments will be made in rubles if sanctions prevent banks from honouring debts in the currency of issue, the ministry said on Monday.

“Is that a default? … From Russia’s point of view, we are fulfilling our obligations,” Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said in an interview with state TV aired on Monday.

Western sanctions over events in Ukraine have cut Russia off from key parts of global financial markets and have frozen nearly half of the country’s $640 billion gold and FX reserves, triggering the worst economic crisis since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union.

Siluanov said Russia has to pay coupons on its Eurobonds on March 16 and has already asked Western banks to carry out the transaction.

- Reuters

8:53 a.m. ET

Red Cross chief calls Russia-Ukraine war ‘a nightmare’

The ongoing Russian war on Ukraine has become “nothing short of a nightmare” for those living in besieged cities, a top Red Cross official said Monday, calling for safe passage out for civilians and humanitarian aid to be allowed through the front lines.

Robert Mardini, the director-general of the International Committee of the Red Cross, also called the war “catastrophic” for civilians affected by the fighting as people run out of drinking water, food, medical supplies and fuel for heating – particularly in the surrounded Ukrainian city of Mariupol. Medical facilities also continue to be targeted in attacks.

And while the Red Cross continues to speak with Russian and Ukrainian leaders, Mardini said there’s so far been no established routes for people to safely leave Mariupol and some other areas facing intense warfare.

- The Associated Press

8:02 a.m. ET

Pregnant woman, baby die after Russia’s bombing of Ukrainian maternity ward

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Ukrainian emergency employees and volunteers carry an injured pregnant woman from a maternity hospital that was damaged by shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine.Evgeniy Maloletka/The Associated Press

A pregnant woman and her baby have died after Russia bombed the maternity hospital where she was meant to give birth, The Associated Press has learned. Images of the woman being rushed to an ambulance on a stretcher had circled the world, epitomizing the horror of an attack on humanity’s most innocent.

In video and photos shot Wednesday by AP journalists after the attack on the hospital, the woman was seen stroking her bloodied lower abdomen as rescuers rushed her through the rubble in the besieged city of Mariupol, her blanched face mirroring her shock at what had just happened. It was among the most brutal moments so far in Russia’s now 19-day-old war on Ukraine.

The woman was rushed to another hospital, yet closer to the front line, where doctors laboured to keep her alive. Realizing she was losing her baby, medics said, she cried out to them, “Kill me now!”

Surgeon Timur Marin found the woman’s pelvis crushed and hip detached. Medics delivered the baby via cesarean section, but it showed “no signs of life,” the surgeon said.

- The Associated Press

6:49 a.m. ET

Oxygen, insulin reaching Ukraine amid supply shortage

A flow of medical gear and equipment, including trauma kits, is reaching Ukraine to prop up a health care system grappling with a shortage of supplies amid Russia’s invasion, the World Health Organization said on Monday.

Supply chains have been severely disrupted, with many distributors knocked out, some stockpiles out of reach because of military operations, supplies of medicine running low, as hospitals struggle to care for the sick and wounded, it said.

WHO was working with partners to alleviate shortages of critical equipment and medication such as oxygen and insulin, surgical supplies, anaesthetics, and transfusion kits, it added.

Items being shipped included oxygen generators, electrical generators, defibrillators, monitors, anesthesia drugs, rehydration salts, gauze and bandages.

- Reuters

6:32 a.m. ET

Financial institutions turn their backs on Russia

Deutsche Bank reversed course and said it would pull out of Russia completely while the London Stock Exchange suspended all its services in the country as Western governments impose sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine.

Deutsche, which had faced stinging criticism from some investors and politicians for its ongoing ties to Russia, said late on Friday that it would wind down its business there.

The surprise move puts the German lender alongside major U.S. banks Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, which exited Russia after the Feb. 24 invasion, and will add to pressure on rivals to follow in severing ties.

Index provider FTSE Russell said on Monday it would delete four UK-listed, Russia-focused companies including Roman Abramovich’s Evraz after many brokers refused to trade their shares.

- Reuters

6:00 a.m. ET

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sent grain prices soaring

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has roiled commodity markets and set the stage for the worst food crisis in decades, one that risks not just sharply higher prices at grocery stores but the spread of social unrest around the globe.

Russia and Ukraine make up a quarter of global wheat exports, and are near the top of the production list when it comes to other agricultural goods such as barley, corn, potatoes, sunflowers and sugar beets.

Food shipments from the two countries have already ground to a halt, sending shock waves through commodity markets. Wheat futures in Chicago were up by 70 per cent this year at the start of last week before tumbling.

- Jason Kirby

5:49 a.m. ET

Beijing denies that Russia requested military equipment

China has strongly denied U.S. claims Russia requested military equipment to support its war in Ukraine, as representatives of Beijing and Washington meet in Italy.

Officials in the United States briefed multiple media outlets anonymously Sunday that Moscow had sought military equipment from China since the beginning of the invasion, sparking concern Beijing might undermine Western efforts to aid Ukraine.

Asked about the claims Monday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters, “the U.S. side has been spreading malicious disinformation against China on the Ukraine issue with sinister intentions.”

China typically purchases weapons from Russia, not the other way around, but Moscow has struggled in its invasion of Ukraine amid fierce resistance and may be seeking to backfill some of its losses as Western countries provide weapons and other supplies to Kyiv.

- James Griffiths

5:03 a.m. ET

Talks to resume as Russia continues assault on Kyiv

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A Ukrainian firefighter stands outside a destroyed building after it was hit by artillery shelling in Kyiv.Felipe Dana/The Associated Press

Russia’s military forces kept up their punishing campaign to capture Ukraine’s capital as residents of other besieged cities held out hope Monday that renewed diplomatic talks might open the way for more civilians to evacuate or emergency supplies to reach them.

A day after expanding the war in Ukraine with an airstrike on a military base close to the Polish border, fighting continued on the outskirts of Kyiv. Ukrainian officials said Russian forces fired artillery on suburbs of the capital, a major political and strategic target for an invasion in its 19th day.

Air raid alerts sounded in cities and towns all around the country overnight, from near the Russian border in the east to the Carpathian Mountains in the west. A town councilor for Brovary, east of Kyiv, was killed in fighting there, officials said. Two people died after artillery hit a nine-storey apartment building in a northern district of the city, according to Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s Interior Ministry.

Shells also fell on the Kyiv suburbs of Irpin, Bucha and Hostomel, which have seen some of the worst fighting in Russia’s stalled attempt to take the capital, regional administration chief Oleksiy Kuleba said on Ukrainian television.

A fourth round of talks is expected Monday between Ukrainian and Russian officials to discuss getting food, water, medicine and other desperately needed supplies to cities and towns under fire, among other issues, Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak said. The surrounded southern city of Mariupol, where the war has produced some of the greatest human suffering, remains cutoff despite earlier talks on creating aid or evacuation convoys.

- The Associated Press

4:34 a.m. ET

World faces food crisis due to Ukraine war: Russian billionaire

A global food crisis looms unless the war in Ukraine is stopped because fertilizer prices are soaring so fast that many farmers can no longer afford soil nutrients, Russian fertilizer and coal billionaire Andrei Melnichenko said on Monday.

Several of Russia’s richest businessmen have publicly called for peace since President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion on Feb. 24, including Mikhail Fridman, Pyotr Aven and Oleg Deripaska.

The United States and its European allies have cast Putin’s invasion as an imperial-style land grab that has so far been poorly executed because Moscow underestimated Ukrainian resistance and Western resolve to punish Russia.

The West has sanctioned Russian businessmen, including European Union sanctions on Melnichenko, frozen state assets and cut off much of the Russian corporate sector from the global economy in an attempt to force Putin to change course.

“The events in Ukraine are truly tragic. We urgently need peace,” Melnichenko, 50, who is Russian but was born in Belarus and has a Ukrainian mother, told Reuters in a statement emailed by his spokesman.

- Reuters

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