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Also: Canadian troops ordered to stay away as foreign fighters flock to Ukraine; UN council defeats Russia humanitarian resolution on Ukraine

A firefighter works at a residential district that was damaged by shelling in Kyiv.MARKO DJURICA/Reuters

This digest has now been archived.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

Here are the latest updates on the war in Ukraine:

  • Russia’s unprovoked war on Ukraine must come with “ruinous costs” for Moscow, spurred by European and global leaders uniting with a “deliberate, mindful effort” to safeguard democracy, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday evening.
  • NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned Russia about using ‘dangerous nuclear rhetoric’ and warned China about supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He said the 30 member nations will discuss Beijing’s role in Brussels on Thursday.
  • NATO is expected to ramp up military forces on its eastern flank. It already has some 40,000 troops spread from the Baltic to the Black Sea, and is seeking to deploy four new combat units in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia.
  • The Kremlin on Wednesday accused the United States of putting pressure on other countries regarding Russia’s membership in the G20 major economies. China defended Moscow, calling it an important member of the G20.
  • Poland has identified 45 Russian intelligence officers using diplomatic status as cover to stay in the country and authorities are seeking to expel them, officials said Wednesday.

9:09 p.m. ET

Ukrainian Canadian Congress concerned by lack of federal programs to support refugees fleeing war

Ukrainian community groups and settlement agencies are expressing concern over the lack of federal support and programs in place for Ukrainians escaping the war and hoping to land in Canada.

Ukrainian Canadian Congress chief executive officer Ihor Michalchyshyn said in an interview that some who do make it here are unclear where to turn for help.

Ukrainians coming to Canada through the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel program arrive as temporary residents, not refugees, and do not have access to federal services. They have virtually no support, Mr. Michalchyshyn said. Once they arrive, there are no official programs in place to help Ukrainians find jobs, housing or other services they might need, he added.

The UCC released a statement on March 22 outlining policy recommendations and calling on increased federal support for Ukrainians facing displacement.

The organization’s proposals include implementing departure and arrival plans to assist with travel to Canada, providing financial support for a transitional period and encouraging provincial governments to recruit and sponsor displaced people.

- Safiyah Marhnouj

8:15 p.m. ET

Canada pressed to take on extra NATO defence role in Baltics

The Deputy Prime Minister of Latvia says he would like to see Canada take on an additional NATO leadership role in his country’s capital.

Artis Pabriks, who is also Latvia’s Defence Minister, was in Ottawa today for meetings with Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and Defence Minister Anita Anand.

Latvia is already the site of Canada’s biggest military deployment right now: By the end of March, Canada will have nearly 700 troops near the country’s capital, Riga, as part of a five-year-old NATO effort to deter Russian aggression.

Mr. Pabriks said he’s pitched Canada on taking on a second role: joining the command of NATO’s Multinational Division North, which is charged with planning and preparation in the event of war. Based in Riga, it co-ordinates allied land forces deployed in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and prepares for collective defence. A Danish major-general commands the headquarters.

“We need Canadian support to build up the northern division headquarters and presence,” the Latvian minister said in an interview.

The Globe and Mail asked Ms. Anand’s office whether Canada would take on this role. Spokesperson Daniel Minden said: “Canada will be contributing to the Multinational Division North and is currently considering what that contribution would look like.”

- Steven Chase

6:45 p.m. ET

Zelensky calls for worldwide show of support

Members of Congress give Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky a standing ovation before he speaks in a virtual address to Congress in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center Congressional Auditorium in Washington, on March 16, 2022.Sarahbeth Maney/The Associated Press

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called on people around the world to come “to your squares, your streets” to stand with Ukraine and against the war.

He said in a late Wednesday video address shot near the presidential offices in Kyiv that the war “breaks my heart, the hearts of all Ukrainians and every free person on the planet.” He called for people to visibly show their support for Ukraine starting from Thursday, exactly one month after Russia launched its invasion.

He said, “Come from your offices, your homes, your schools and universities. Come in the name of peace. Come with Ukrainian symbols to support Ukraine, to support freedom, to support life.

“Come to your squares, your streets. Make yourselves visible and heard. Say that people matter. Freedom matters. Peace matters. Ukraine matters.”

– The Associated Press

6:00 p.m. ET

UN council defeats Russia humanitarian resolution on Ukraine

The UN Security Council on Wednesday defeated a Russian resolution that would have acknowledged Ukraine’s growing humanitarian needs – but without mentioning the Russian invasion that caused the escalating crisis.

To pass, the resolution needed a minimum of nine “yes” votes in the 15-member council, and no veto by any of the four other members with veto power. But in Wednesday’s vote, Russia got support only from China, with the 13 other council members abstaining.

The Russian defeat came on the same day the General Assembly started consideration of a resolution drafted by Ukraine and two dozen other countries from all parts of the world and co-sponsored by nearly 100 nations which clearly states that Russia’s aggression is responsible for the growing humanitarian emergency.

The assembly was also to consider a rival South African resolution that makes no mention of Russia and is similar to the defeated Security Council resolution.

Russia introduced its resolution on March 15. A day earlier, France and Mexico decided to move their proposed humanitarian resolution blaming the Russian invasion for the humanitarian crisis out of the Security Council, where it faced a Russian veto. The are no vetoes in the 193-member General Assembly.

– The Associated Press

5:50 p.m. ET

Canadian troops ordered to stay away as foreign fighters flock to Ukraine

Territorial Defense Volunteers, including a young Californian man named Tony, fourth from right in green hat, learn how to use a rocket launcher and other weapons before being deployed to fight against Russian forces near Kyiv on March 20, 2022.IVOR PRICKETT/The New York Times News Service

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces have been banned from entering Ukraine unless their presence is approved by Gen. Wayne Eyre, chief of the defence staff.

Thousands of foreigners, including many Canadians, have answered the Ukrainian government’s call for volunteers to help fight Russia’s invasion.

Lt.-Gen. Frances Allen, vice-chief of the defence staff, told the House of Commons defence committee Wednesday that full-time members of the Armed Forces, as well as part-time reservists, are not allowed to be among them.

The order also applies to those who are currently on leave. Allen also expressed concerns that Moscow could try to use Canadians captured by Russian forces for propaganda purposes.

Defence Minister Anita Anand did not directly respond when asked what support will be available to Canadians captured in Ukraine, instead discouraging them from going there to fight.

– The Canadian Press

5:35 p.m. ET

Ukraine using facial recognition to identify dead Russian soldiers, minister says

Ukraine is using facial recognition software to identify the bodies of Russian soldiers killed in combat and to trace their families to inform them of their deaths, Ukraine’s vice prime minister told Reuters.

Reuters exclusively reported that Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense this month began using technology from Clearview AI, a New York-based facial recognition provider that finds images on the web that match faces from uploaded photos. It was not clear at that time how the technology would be used.

Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s vice prime minister who also runs the ministry of digital transformation, told Reuters in an interview that Ukraine had been using Clearview AI software to find the social media accounts of dead Russian soldiers.

From there, authorities are messaging relatives to make arrangements to collect the body, he said.

“As a courtesy to the mothers of those soldiers, we are disseminating this information over social media to at least let families know that they they’ve lost their sons and to then enable them to come to collect their bodies,” Fedorov said, speaking via a translator.

– Reuters

5:10 p.m. ET

Russia setting up defences outside Kyiv

A senior U.S. defence official said Wednesday that Russian ground forces appear to be digging in and setting up defensive positions between 15-20 kilometres outside Kyiv, as they continue to make little to no progress moving toward the city centre.

The official said it appears the forces are no longer trying to advance into the city and, in some cases east of Kyiv, Ukrainian troops have been able to push Russian soldiers further away. The official said Russian forces had been 20-30 kilometres away to the east and northeast, and are now about 55 kilometres away.

The official said that, instead, Russian troops are exerting more energy and effort in the eastern Donbas region, specifically in Luhansk and Donetsk. The official said the U.S. is seeing Russia prioritize the fight there, in what could be an effort to cut off any Ukrainian troops in those areas and prevent them from moving west to defend other cities.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss military assessments.

The official said the U.S. has seen some activity from Russian ships in the Sea of Azov, including what appears to be efforts to send landing ships ashore with supplies, including vehicles.

– The Associated Press

4:50 p.m. ET

On their cellphones, Ukrainians keep mobile mementoes of homes and lives ruined by Russian invasion

Ukrainian family at the Bratislava main train station, on March 8, 2020.Dorota Holubova/The Globe and Mail

Refugees in Slovakia got out their mobile devices to show The Globe and Mail which memories of home they’re hanging on to.

4:30 p.m. ET

War on Ukraine must come with ‘ruinous costs’ for Russia, Trudeau tells European Parliament

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium on March 23, 2022.The Canadian Press

Russia’s unprovoked war on Ukraine must come with “ruinous costs” for Moscow, spurred by European and global leaders uniting with a “deliberate, mindful effort” to safeguard democracy, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday evening.

Mr. Trudeau’s address to the Parliament launched two days of meetings in Belgium for the Prime Minister as the conflict in Europe drags into its second month. On Thursday, he will join other world leaders – including U.S. President Joe Biden – at NATO headquarters for an emergency summit, where delegates are expected to announce new sanctions against Russia and contingencies in the case of nuclear or chemical weapons use.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told media Wednesday afternoon that members will also tighten existing sanctions against Moscow and discuss longer-term plans to strengthen the Western military alliance, particularly along its eastern flank.

This is Mr. Trudeau’s second visit Europe in the past month.

Emma Graney, in Brussels

4:00 p.m. ET

Russian journalist killed by shelling in Kyiv

Firefighters at the site of a rocket strike on a residential area of Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 23, 2022.LYNSEY ADDARIO/The New York Times News Service

A Russian journalist has been killed by shelling in Kyiv on a reporting assignment.

The independent Russian news outlet The Insider said that Oksana Baulina was killed Wednesday when she was documenting the damage of a Russian shelling of the Podil district of the capital and came under a new strike. It said a civilian was also killed and two people who were accompanying Baulina were wounded and hospitalized.

The Insider said that Baulina had previously worked for the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation until she was forced to leave Russia after the organization was designated “extremist” by the authorities. It said it will continue to cover the war in Ukraine, “including such Russian war crimes as indiscriminate shelling of residential areas killing civilians and journalists.”

The Associated Press

3:30 p.m. ET

Google to pause ads that exploit or dismiss Russia-Ukraine war

Alphabet-owned Google will not help websites, apps and YouTube channels sell ads alongside content that it deems exploits, dismisses or condones the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, the U.S. company said Wednesday.

Google, whose advertising software helps publishers generate revenue, bars ads from appearing next to content that incites violence and denies tragic events. It is broadly applying those policies to the war.

“We can confirm that we’re taking additional steps to clarify, and in some instances expand our monetization guidelines as they relate to the war in Ukraine,” Google spokesman Michael Aciman said.

In an e-mail to publishers seen by Reuters, Google said ads would not run alongside, for example, “claims that imply victims are responsible for their own tragedy or similar instances of victim blaming, such as claims that Ukraine is committing genocide or deliberately attacking its own citizens.”

Google also bars ads that capitalize on sensitive events and has applied that policy to the war.


2:25 p.m. ET

U.S. finds Russian troops have committed war crimes in Ukraine

The Biden administration on Wednesday made a formal determination that Russian troops have committed war crimes in Ukraine and said it would work with others to prosecute offenders, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

“Today, I can announce that, based on information currently available, the U.S. government assesses that members of Russia’s forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine,” Blinken said in a statement released as he was travelling to Brussels with President Joe Biden for an emergency summit of NATO leaders.

The assessment was based on a “careful review” of public and intelligence sources since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine last month, he said.

America’s top diplomat said the United States would share that information with allies, partners and international institutions tasked with investigating allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

“We’ve seen numerous credible reports of indiscriminate attacks and attacks deliberately targeting civilians, as well as other atrocities. Russia’s forces have destroyed apartment buildings, schools, hospitals, critical infrastructure, civilian vehicles, shopping centres, and ambulances, leaving thousands of innocent civilians killed or wounded,” Blinken said.

He cited attacks on the civilian population in the besieged city of Mariupol and elsewhere.

The Associated Press

2:10 p.m. ET

Sending peacekeepers to Ukraine could lead to clash, Lavrov says

2:00 p.m. ET

Explosion damages residential areas in Kyiv

1:45 p.m. ET

Russian, Belarusian swimmers banned from world championships over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine

Russian and Belarusian swimmers were banned Wednesday from competing at the world championships because of the war in Ukraine.

The sport’s governing body, known as FINA, had broken with most other organizations by continuing to allow Russians and Belarusians to compete, though as “neutral athletes” without national symbols.

“Following the review of an independent risk assessment, the FINA Bureau met today and confirmed that athletes and officials from Russia and Belarus will not take part (in the world championships),” FINA said.

The event, which will be held in Hungary in June and July, includes swimming, diving, water polo and artistic swimming.

The German and Swiss teams had previously indicated they could boycott the championships if Russia was still allowed to compete. Russia placed third in the medal table behind China and the United States at the last championships in 2019.


1:20 p.m. ET

Putin wants ‘unfriendly countries’ to pay rubles for gas

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures during a press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron, in Moscow, Russia, Feb. 7, 2022.POOL/The Associated Press

President Vladimir Putin announced Wednesday that Russia will demand that “unfriendly” countries pay for Russian natural gas exports only in rubles from now on.

Putin told a meeting with government officials that “a number of Western countries made illegitimate decisions on the so-called freezing of the Russian assets, effectively drawing a line over reliability of their currencies, undermining the trust for those currencies.”

“It makes no sense whatsoever,” Putin added, “to supply our goods to the European Union, the United States and receive payment in dollars, euros and a number of other currencies. As a result, he said he was announcing “measures” to switch to payments for “our natural gas, supplied to so-called unfriendly countries” in Russian rubles.

The Russian president didn’t say when exactly the new policy will take effect. He instructed the country’s central bank to work out a procedure for natural gas buyers to acquire rubles in Russia.

Economists said the move appeared designed to try to support the ruble, which has collapsed against other currencies since Putin invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 and Western countries responded with far-reaching sanctions against Moscow. But some analysts expressed doubt that it would work.

The Associated Press

1:00 p.m. ET

Trudeau calls on European leaders to unite, aid Ukraine and further sanction Russia

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, March 22, 2022.PATRICK DOYLE/Reuters

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is making a plea to European leaders to come together as democracies in the face of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and tackle rising uncertainties citizens have about the future.

Speaking to European parliamentarians this afternoon, the prime minister says those economic uncertainties have percolated for years, but are now stoked by rising global inflation.

Trudeau says economic frustrations are threatening the stability of the world and driving a deep uncertainty about the future and distrust of government.

He also says democracies face a new threat from Russian President Vladimir Putin and his invasion of Ukraine.

Trudeau says Canada stands with the people of Ukraine as Europe confronts its biggest security threat since the Second World War.

He says Western countries must collectively provide more humanitarian aid for families affected by the war, send military equipment and lethal aid to Ukraine, and further tighten economic sanctions on Putin and his enablers in Russia and Belarus.

The Canadian Press

12:30 p.m. ET

UN ambassador urges nations to vote for resolution on humanitarian consequences of Russian aggression

Ukraine’s UN ambassador is urging all nations that stand against Russia’s invasion to vote for a UN resolution on the humanitarian consequences of its aggression, saying this will send a powerful message aimed at helping people caught in the conflict and ending Moscow’s military action.

Russia’s UN envoy countered that the UN General Assembly, which is considering the resolution, is just “another political anti-Russian show, set this time in an allegedly humanitarian context” and urged its 193 member nations to vote against it and support a rival South African draft resolution that focuses solely on humanitarian issues with no “political assessment.”

Ukraine’s Sergiy Kyslytsya and Russia’s Vassily Nebenzia spoke at the start of Wednesday’s emergency special session of the General Assembly to consider the rival resolutions on the humanitarian impact of the war, which will mark its one-month anniversary on Thursday. Russia has also called for a vote later Wednesday in the UN Security Council on its own humanitarian resolution, which has been widely criticized for not referring to its invasion of Ukraine.

Kyslytsya said the Ukraine-backed assembly resolution, drafted by two dozen diplomats from all parts of the world and co-sponsored by nearly 100 countries, focuses on “the urgent need to elevate the humanitarian suffering on the ground and immediate cessation of hostilities by the Russian Federation.”

Nebenzia warned that adoption of that resolution “will make a resolution to the situation in Ukraine more difficult.” That’s because it will likely embolden Ukrainian negotiators and “nudge them to maintaining the current unrealistic position, which is not related to the situation on the ground, nor to the need to tackle the root causes” of Russia’s military action, he said.

The Associated Press

12:15 p.m. ET

As many as 15,000 Russians killed in fighting, NATO military officer says

Ukrainian soldiers carry the coffin of one of the Ukrainian military servicemen, who were killed during an airstrike on a military base in Yavoriv, during a funeral ceremony in Lviv, Ukraine, March 15, 2022.Bernat Armangue/The Associated Press

A senior NATO military officer says the alliance estimates that Russia has suffered between 30,000 and 40,000 battlefield casualties in Ukraine through the first month of the war, including between 7,000 and 15,000 killed. It is NATO’s first public estimate of Russian casualties since the war started Feb. 24.

The military officer, speaking on condition of anonymity under ground rules set by NATO, said the estimate of the number killed is based on a combination of information from the Ukrainian government, indications from Russia, and open-source information.

The U.S. government has largely declined to provide public estimates of Russian or Ukrainian casualties, saying available information is of questionable reliability.

The NATO military officer, in a briefing from the alliance’s military headquarters in Belgium on Wednesday, said the estimate of 30,000 to 40,000 Russian casualties is derived from what he called a standard calculation that in war an army suffers three wounded soldiers for every soldier killed. The casualties include killed in action and wounded in action, as well as those taken prisoner or missing in action, the officer said.

The Associated Press

11:11 a.m. ET

NATO likely to approve more troops for its eastern flank

NATO will likely decide on Thursday to ramp up military forces on its eastern flank, the head of the alliance said.

NATO has sharply increased its presence at the eastern border of the alliance, with some 40,000 troops spread from the Baltic to the Black Sea, and is seeking to deploy four new combat units in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia.

“I expect leaders will agree to strengthen NATO’s posture in all domains, with major increases in the eastern part of the alliance. On land, in the air and at sea,” NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference ahead of a NATO summit in Brussels on Thursday.


10:07 a.m. ET

Kremlin veteran quits over Ukraine war, leaves Russia

A veteran envoy of President Vladimir Putin has resigned over the Ukraine war and left Russia with no intention to return, two sources said on Wednesday, the first senior official to break with the Kremlin since Putin launched his invasion a month ago.

The Kremlin confirmed that Anatoly Chubais had resigned of his own accord.

Chubais was one of the principal architects of Boris Yeltsin’s economic reforms of the 1990s and was Putin’s boss in the future president’s first Kremlin job. He held senior business and political jobs under Putin, lately serving as Kremlin special envoy to international organizations.


9:52 a.m. ET

NATO chief tells Russia it cannot win nuclear war

NATO warned on Wednesday against Russia’s war in Ukraine sliding into a nuclear confrontation between Moscow and the West.

“Russia should stop this dangerous irresponsible nuclear rhetoric,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference. “But let there be no doubt about our readiness to protect and defend allies against any threat any time.”

“Russia must understand that it can never win a nuclear war,” he said on the eve of a summit of the Western military alliance’s national leaders in Brussels.

“NATO will not send the troops into Ukraine,” he said. “It is extremely important to provide support to Ukraine and we are stepping up. But at the same time it is also extremely important to prevent this conflict becoming a full-fledged war between NATO and Russia.”


9:29 a.m. ET

NATO warns China not to help Russia in Ukraine war

NATO worries China could support Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the head of the Western military alliance said on Wednesday, adding the 30 member nations will discuss Beijing’s role in the war Moscow is waging on its neighbour in Brussels on Thursday.

“China has provided Russia with political support, including by spreading blatant lies and misinformation,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference.

Speaking on the eve of NATO summit in Brussels, Stoltenberg mentioned concern that China could provide “material support” for Russia.

“I expect NATO to call on China to live up to its responsibilities.”


8:39 a.m. ET

Russian Olympians face backlash for attending Putin rally

Russian Olympic athletes who participated in a rally supporting President Vladimir Putin and the invasion of Ukraine are facing a backlash, with one losing a sponsorship deal and facing a disciplinary investigation.

Medallists from cross-country skiing, gymnastics, figure skating and swimming gathered on stage at the Luzhniki Stadium on Friday as part of the concert and entertainment program around Putin’s speech.

Most of the athletes were pictured wearing jackets with a “Z” on the chest at the rally. The letter isn’t part of the Russian alphabet but has become a symbol of support for Russian troops after it was used as a marker on Russian armoured vehicles operating in Ukraine.

The athletes stood on stage as the national anthem was played in an apparent reference to how Russian teams at last year’s Summer Olympics in Tokyo and this year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing didn’t have the anthem at their ceremonies in the fallout from years of doping disputes.

– The Associated Press

6:56 a.m. ET

Poland seeks expulsion of 45 Russians suspected of spying

Poland has identified 45 Russian intelligence officers using diplomatic status as cover to stay in the country and authorities are seeking to expel them, officials said Wednesday.

Poland’s Internal Security Agency says it’s asking the Foreign Ministry to urgently remove the Russians, who were described as a danger to Poland’s security, from the country.

“These are people who have and operate using their diplomatic status, but in reality conduct intelligence activities against Poland,” said Stanislaw Zaryn, the state security spokesman.

He said the decision to expel them now was made “taking into account Russian aggression against Ukraine.”

– The Associated Press

6:25 a.m. ET

As sanctions bite Russia, fertilizer shortage imperils world food supply

Sky-high fertilizer prices have farmers worldwide scaling back its use and reducing the amount of land they’re planting. Fallout from the Ukraine-Russia conflict that has some agricultural industry veterans warning of food shortages.

Western sanctions on Russia, a major exporter of potash, ammonia, urea and other soil nutrients, have disrupted shipments of those key inputs around the globe. Fertilizer is key to keeping corn, soy, rice and wheat yields high. Growers are scrambling to adjust.

The pivot can be seen in agricultural powerhouse Brazil, where some farmers are applying less fertilizer to their corn, and some federal legislators are pushing to open protected indigenous lands for the mining of potash. In Canada, one canola farmer has already stockpiled fertilizer for the 2023 season in anticipation of even higher prices ahead.

– Reuters

5:53 a.m. ET

Kremlin accuses U.S. of pressuring other countries over Russia’s G20 membership

The Kremlin on Wednesday accused the United States of putting pressure on other countries regarding Russia’s membership in the G20 major economies, but said some powers were sticking to their sovereign points of view.

The United States and its Western allies are assessing whether Russia should remain within the G20.

China, which has not condemned Russia’s invasion and criticized Western sanctions, defended Moscow on Wednesday, calling Russia an “important member” of the G20.

– Reuters

5:48 a.m. ET

Zelensky accuses Russians of seizing aid workers entering besieged Mariupol

This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows burning and destroyed apartment buildings in Mariupol.The Associated Press

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of seizing 15 rescue workers and drivers from a humanitarian convoy trying to get desperately needed food and other supplies into Mariupol.

Mariupol has been the worst hit city since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The southern port city is completely surrounded by Russian forces, where hundreds of thousands of people have been sheltering since the war’s early days, under constant bombardment and with no access to food, water or heat.

New satellite photographs from commercial firm Maxar released overnight showed massive destruction of what was once a city of 400,000 people, with columns of smoke rising from residential apartment buildings in flames.

Mr. Zelensky estimated that 100,000 civilians remained in Mariupol. Those made it out described a shattered city.

“They bombed us for the past 20 days,” said 39-year-old Viktoria Totsen, who fled into Poland. “During the last five days, the planes were flying over us every five seconds and dropped bombs everywhere – on residential buildings, kindergartens, art schools, everywhere.”

– The Associated Press

5:47 a.m. ET

Trudeau, Biden head to Europe for NATO meeting

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses the European Parliament in Brussels later today on his second visit to the continent this month.

Trudeau will join U.S. President Joe Biden and other NATO leaders on Thursday to co-ordinate the military alliance’s response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine and will meet with fellow G7 leaders before returning to Canada on Friday.

Prior to leaving Ottawa on Tuesday, Trudeau spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky about “further international assistance ahead of the upcoming NATO and G7 meetings,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

“Both leaders called on Russia to stop targeting civilians, to withdraw its military forces from Ukraine, and to engage in diplomacy with Ukraine.”

This will be Biden’s first trip abroad since Russia invaded Ukraine, an offensive now stalled with Ukrainian cities under bombardment and the besieged port of Mariupol in flames.

The Associated Press