More than three weeks after Russia began its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, the war reached new bloody lows this weekend.
On Friday, Russian leader Vladimir Putin emerged from the Siberian bunker where he’s allegedly been sheltering during the pandemic and his war to host a massive rally in Moscow boosting the invasion. Authorities reportedly told Russian government workers to attend against their will, wearing pro-war insignia and waving Russian flags. Putin reiterated the falsehood that Russia’s war aims to eliminate Nazism in Ukraine and “to spare people from…genocide.” He sported a $13,000 designer coat.
All this happened while Putin’s army has continued to inflict new levels of suffering on Ukrainian citizens. In the last several days, there have been reports of a school, an apartment building, and a military barracks being bombed by Russian forces, leading to scores of fatalities. Meanwhile, other recent reports have shed more light on Russian soldiers’ incursion into a 560-family residential complex just outside Kyiv.
Here’s what has happened in just the last few days in a several major cities:
The port city, located in the southeastern part of Ukraine, has seen a brutal assault by Russian forces in recent weeks. This has included bombings of a schools, a theater, and even a maternity hospital. Many city residents have lacked food, water, electricity, and gas for weeks.
The situation in this besieged city grew worse over the weekend:
- The Mariupol city council said on Sunday that Russian forces had bombed an art school where about 400 people had taken shelter. Casualties are still unknown.
- This assault occurred just three days after Russian forces bombed a Mariupol theater where more than 1,400 people were sheltering—and where the word “children” had been posted outside signaling the presence of civilians to invading forces. On Friday, Ukrainian officials were still working to rescue about 1,300 people trapped in the theater’s rubble.
- On Sunday, the New York Times reported that up to 4,500 people from Mariupol have been forcibly deported to Russia by Russian forces.
On Friday, at least six Russian rockets hit a military barracks in the Black Sea city, according to witnesses who spoke to AFP. The barracks were part of the headquarters of the 36th Ukrainian Naval Infantry Brigade, and its likely at least 200 marines were sleeping inside at the time of the attack; the Washington Post reported that at least 40 marines were killed, but the death toll may well rise as rescuers continue to work through the rubble.
- On Thursday, at least one person was killed and three wounded when the remains of downed missile hit an apartment complex.
- A report in the New York Times on Sunday details what happened earlier this month inside of a 14-building apartment complex in a Kyiv suburb that had been home to 560 families. On March 3, Russian forces stormed the building; they were captured on security cameras cramming into the building’s elevator and smashing its camera. They forced around 200 residents to stay put, holding many of them hostage in the building’s basement while taking over their apartments and turning them into outposts for sniping positions.
As Russian forces pushed toward Kyiv, they seized an apartment complex in a nearby suburb and held around 200 residents captive. We spoke with seven residents who escaped. https://t.co/Uqjlda8Ugw pic.twitter.com/E2UWcHML5P
— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 20, 2022
This week President Joe Biden will travel to Europe to meet with NATO allies. On Sunday, Press Secretary Jen Psaki tweeted there were no plans for the president to travel to Ukraine.