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Russian forces push deeper into Mariupol as locals plead for help

UN says at least 847 civilians killed in Ukraine since conflict began, 6.5 million internally displaced.

  • Russian forces push deeper into besieged, battered port city of Mariupol.
  • Ukraine says 6,623 evacuated on Saturday, 4,128 of those left Mariupol.
  • UN says at least 847 civilians killed in Ukraine, 6.5 million internally displaced.
  • Local official says Ukraine city of Mykolaiv facing air raids.
  • Ukraine calls on China to condemn “Russian barbarism”, support “civilised countries’ coalition”.
  • Poland PM calls for total trade ban between the EU and Russia.
  • Russia says it used Kinzhal hypersonic missiles for the first time in Ukraine.

Here are the latest Russia-Ukraine war updates on March 20:


Mykolaiv facing air raids: Local official

Russian air raids on Mykolaiv were taking place in quick succession on Saturday, a regional official said.

Vitaly Kim, head of the regional administration, said there was not even enough time to raise the alarm over the raids “because by the time we announce this tornado, it’s already there”.

“The [alert] message and the bombings arrive at the same time,” he said on social media.


Ukraine says 6,623 people evacuated on Saturday

A total of 6,623 people were evacuated from Ukrainian cities through humanitarian corridors on Saturday, a senior official said, considerably fewer than managed to escape the previous day.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the president’s office, said in an online post that 4,128 people had left the besieged city of Mariupol. On Friday, he said 9,145 people had managed to leave cities across the country during the day.

Local residents sit in a car as they leave the besieged southern port city of Mariupol
Local residents sit in a car as they leave the besieged southern port city of Mariupol [Reuters]

‘The city is destroyed’

Russian forces have pushed deeper into Ukraine’s besieged and battered port city of Mariupol where heavy fighting shut down a major steel plant and local authorities pleaded for more help.

The fall of Mariupol, the scene of some of the war’s worst suffering, would mark a crucial battlefield advance for the Russians, who are largely bogged down outside key cities more than three weeks into the biggest land invasion in Europe since World War II.

“Children, elderly people are dying. The city is destroyed and it is wiped off the face of the earth,” Mariupol police officer Michail Vershnin said on Saturday from a rubble-strewn street in a video addressed to Western leaders.

A local resident walks inside a damaged apartment
A local resident walks inside an apartment which was damaged in Mariupol [Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters]

Click here to read all the Russia-Ukraine war updates from March 19.

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