With war entering the fourth week, the US is increasing support for Ukraine as diplomatic efforts to secure ceasefire continue.
- Turkey’s foreign minister will visit Ukraine after talks in Russia to push for a ceasefire.
- The UN Security Council is expected to vote on Friday on a Russian-drafted call for aid access and civil protection in Ukraine.
- Human costs are mounting as the war now enters its fourth week.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country will achieve its goals in Ukraine.
- More than three million Ukrainians have been forced to flee the country, while two million others are internally displaced, according to the UN.
- US President Joe Biden has announced an additional $ 800m in security assistance to Ukraine.
- The Kremlin has slammed Biden for calling Putin a “war criminal”.
Here are the latest updates:
Kremlin slams Biden for calling Putin a ‘war criminal’
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has called Biden’s characterization of Putin as a war criminal “unacceptable and unforgivable rhetoric,” the Tass news agency said.
“He is a war criminal,” Biden told reporters in Washington, referring to the Russian leader.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki later said the US president was simply answering a “direct question”.
“We have all seen barbaric acts, horrific acts by a foreign dictator in a country that is threatening and taking the lives of civilians, impacting hospitals, women who are pregnant, journalists, others,” she told reporters.
War going according to plan, Putin says
Despite US assertions that Russia is facing major military and logistical setbacks in its invasion of Ukraine, Putin has said the operation was unfolding “successfully, in strict accordance with pre-approved plans”.
Putin said the West’s “economic blitzkrieg” against Moscow has failed, while admitting the situation is “not easy” for Russians.
France opens probe into Fox News journalist’s death
French prosecutors have opened a war crimes probe into the death of Franco-Irish Fox News cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski, the country has announced, after Zakrzewski was fatally shot near the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.
France’s specialized anti-terror prosecutors will invest possible charges of causing “deliberate harm to a person protected by international law” and a “deliberate attack against a civilian who was not taking part in hostilities”.
French prosecutors routinely open cases into the violent deaths of citizens overseas.
Photos: Russian bombardment leaves Ukraine’s Kharkiv in ruins
At least 500 people have been killed in the city of Kharkiv since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24, the regional emergency service has said.
Ukraine’s second-largest city, located in the country’s northeast, has been subjected to relentless bombardment by Russian forces for weeks.
See photos of the devastation in Kharkiv here.
Ukraine negotiator says reported draft peace plan reflects Russian requests
Ukraine’s top negotiator Mikhailo Podolyak has said a draft 15-point peace plan described by the Financial Times reflects the requests of the Russian side.
Podolyak said on Twitter that Ukraine has its own positions, including “a ceasefire, withdrawal of Russian troops and security guarantees from a number of countries.”
Talks between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators to end the war in Ukraine are ongoing, as leaders in both countries said on Wednesday that there appeared to be room for compromise to reach an agreement.
Briefly. FT published a draft, which represents the requesting position of the Russian side. Nothing more. The 🇺🇦 side has its own positions. The only thing we confirm at this stage is a ceasefire, withdrawal of Russian troops and security guarantees from a number of countries
– Mikhail Podolyak (@Podolyak_M) March 16, 2022
In visit to Moscow, Turkey’s top diplomat says war must stop
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who will visit Ukraine on Thursday, has said the war must stop and offered to pursue diplomatic efforts to arrange a lasting ceasefire.
Speaking alongside his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow, Cavusoglu said “the war must stop, people must not die. I came here to Moscow with this understanding today ”.
“We have shared our concerns in a sincere way and done our part to ease tensions and open the stage for diplomacy,” he said. “We would like to host this [Putin-Zelenskyy] meeting when the situation comes to that point… for a lasting ceasefire. ”
Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the Ukraine-Russia crisis.
Read all the updates from Wednesday, March 16 here.