Photo: Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty

Tuesday’s Coverage: Russian Missile Strike Killed 87 People in Eastern Village of Desna


Ukraine prosecutors have filed war crimes charges against eight more fighters in Vladimir Putin’s invasion, including two from Belarus.

The men are wanted for murder and torture in the village of Motyzhyn in the Kyiv region, including of the village leader and her family. Five are Russian troops and three are Wagner Group mercenaries, one Russian and two Belarusian.

On Monday, Sgt. Vadim Shishimarin, 21, was sentenced to life for the shooting and killing of a 62-year-old man in Chupakhivka in northeast Ukraine.


Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has called out Russia’s “blackmail [of] the world” by demanding the lifting of international sanctions before any unblocking of Black Sea ports.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko said earlier, “We have repeatedly stated on this point that a solution to the food problem requires a comprehensive approach, including the lifting of sanctions that have been imposed on Russian exports and financial transactions. And it also requires the demining by the Ukrainian side of all ports where ships are anchored.”


The producer of the large majority of Ukraine’s salt has been closed amid Russian attacks in the east of the country.


Vladimir Putin has signed a decree extending the availability of Russian citizenship to residents of the Russian-occupied Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions in southern Ukraine.

The decree expands a 2019 scheme for residents of Russian proxy areas in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine. Applicants are not required to have lived in Russia. They do not need to provide evidence of sufficient funds or to pass a Russian language test.

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry responded, “The illegal issuing of passports…is a flagrant violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as norms and principles of international humanitarian law.

Russia’s Duma, the lower house of the legislature, has approved a law removing the upper age limit for military service.

Up to now, only Russians between 18 and 40 and foreigners between 18 and 30 can sign a first contract with the army.

Analysts have noted the context for the bill: widespread troop and equipment losses, with 1/3 of Russia’s initial invasion force destroyed or taken off the battlefield.


Authorities in Moldova, the western neighbor of Ukraine, have arrested former president Igor Dodon, who is close to the Kremlin.

Dodon, who led Moldova from 2016 to 2020, is suspected of state treason, receiving political funds from a criminal organization, illegal enrichment, and “passive corruption”.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko said that Dodon’s detention is Moldova’s “internal affair”: “At the same time, we would not like the current authorities to start settling scores with their former political rivals in the current situation.”


The UK retailer Marks & Spencer is the latest international business to announce its departure from Russia.

has announced it will “fully exit” the Russian in light of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

The company said in a statement on Wednesday:

M&S is a values-led business; therefore, as a result of the invasion of Ukraine, we ceased shipments to Russia on 3 March 2022.

Subsequently, we have made the decision to fully exit our Russian franchise and we have recognised a charge of £31 million ($38 million) in adjusting items, representing our full exit costs from Russia and business disruption in Ukraine.


A New York Times team reports from Sievierodonetsk, the city at the center of Russia’s attempt to occupy all of the Luhansk oblast in eastern Ukraine:

“Please God let him live,” one woman wailed as she climbed down from an ambulance bearing her husband, her hands covered in blood. “You cannot imagine what a person he is. He is a golden person.”

But the stretcher bearers were already standing down. Her husband, Serhii, had died, the latest victim of the relentless barrage of artillery and gunfire Russian forces have rained down on the city.


A captured Ukrainian commander, who defended the Azovstal steel works in Mariupol in southern Ukraine, says “the conditions are more or less satisfactory” in the Russian proxy area where he and an estimated 1,700 other fighters are being held.

Denys Prokopenko of the Azov Battalion briefly called his wife Kateryna and said POWs had not been subjected to violence. It is not clear if Prokopenko could speak freely.

The Ukrainian troops are being threatened with show trials by Russian officials, who say the captives are in “pre-trial detention”.

See also Ukraine War, Day 84: Russia’s Show Trials of Surrendered Azovstal Fighters?

In a grim reminder of Russia’s 12-week destruction of Mariupol, on the Sea of Azov, the bodies of more than 200 civilians have been discovered in the rubble of a high-rise apartment building.

Petro Andryushchenko, an advisor to Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko, said:

During the dismantling of the blockages of a high-rise building near the suburban gas station about 200 bodies were found dead in the basement under the blockages with a high degree of decomposition.

Due to the refusal of locals to collect and pack the bodies of the dead, the Russian ministry of emergencies left the work site.

Mayor Boychenko has said more than 22,000 people were slain in Russia’s bombardment and siege of the city.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Ukrainian officials are speaking of a climactic phase of Vladimir Putin’s war, as Russian forces try to seize more territory in eastern Ukraine.

Defense Ministry spokesperson Oleksandr Motuzyanyk pointed to battles in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions: “The situation on the front is extremely difficult because the fate of this country is perhaps being decided right now.”

After defeats in the first two phases of the February invasion, culmination in their withdrawal from northern Ukraine, Russian offensives are advancing in the east after weeks of struggle.

The Russians are trying to extend their proxy area across all of Luhansk oblast, seizing a the 16-mile pocket which includes the cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk on either side of the Siverskyi Donets river. Dozens of civilians have been slain by shelling, with the levelling of much of Sievierodonetsk, in the past week.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address to the nation, “The situation in Donbas is extremely difficult. All the remaining strength of the Russian army is now concentrated on this region. The occupiers want to destroy everything there.”

Luhansk military governor Serhiy Haidai echoed, “The situation is very difficult and unfortunately it is only getting worse. It is getting worse with every day and even with every hour. They are simply eliminating Sievierodonetsk from the earth.”

In neighboring Donetsk, Russian forces have taken control of three towns, said governor Pavlo Kyrylenko. After entering Svitlodarsk, the invader hung up a Russian flag on the town hall.

Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has called for more military support from the international community to check the Russian assaults:

Zelenskiy reiterated in his nightly address, “The longer this war lasts, the greater will be the price of protecting freedom not only for Ukraine, but also for the whole free world. Therefore the supply of heavy weapons to Ukraine — MLRS, tanks, and other weapons — is the best investment in maintaining stability.”