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UKRAINE WAR BULLETIN - March 16, 2022 - 7 p.m. EST
Embassy of Ukraine in the USA
On 16 March, Russian air force dropped a powerful bomb on the building of the drama theater in Mariupol with civilians inside.
Already 3 million Ukrainians took refuge in neighboring countries.
UN International Court of Justice in The Hague issued a decision to apply interim precautionary measures to the Russian Federation.
Ukrainian soldiers were able to rescue Ivan Fedorov, mayor of Melitopol.
General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine
Operational information as of 18.00 on 16.03.2022
The offensive operation against Ukraine continues. The enemy receives fierce resistance from units of the State Defense Forces. Russian fascists suffered significant losses in manpower and equipment.
Since the beginning of the day, anti-aircraft missile units of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine have destroyed two Su-30SM aircraft in the Odesa region, a Ka-52 helicopter near Mykolayiv and a Su-34 aircraft in the Chernihiv region. Data on enemy losses are being clarified.
Due to the forced mobilization of men in the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, a critical situation has developed that brings the region closer to a humanitarian catastrophe. Thus, in the village of Makiivka, the situation is catastrophic in local hospitals, which are in fact unable to provide medical care to civilians due to a lack of qualified medical personnel.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine continue to successfully fulfill the set tasks to repel the armed aggression against Ukraine. In some areas, Ukrainian units were regrouped and counterattacked the enemy.
he enemy continues the offensive operation against our State. As of March 16, the enemy had not fully achieved any of the strategic goals of the offensive.
In the Volyn direction, the russian occupation forces, with the full support of the military and political leadership of the Republic of Belarus, continue to actively use its territory to deploy missile systems, launch missile strikes on Ukraine and organize all types of troops. Also, the armed forces of the Russian Federation are actively using the airfield network and transport infrastructure of the Republic of Belarus.
The State Border Committee of the Republic of Belarus constantly monitors the situation in the areas bordering Ukraine. In order to obtain intelligence information, Belarusian intelligence agencies are interviewing citizens crossing the Ukrainian-Belarusian border.
In the Polissya direction, the enemy continues to focus its main efforts on conducting reconnaissance and trying to organize a counter-battery fight. Has no significant success. During the fighting, units of the 36th All-Military Army of the Eastern Military District suffered significant losses in personnel and equipment and were forced to mobilize reserves prematurely.
There are no active offensive actions by the enemy in the Siversky and Slobozhansky directions. The occupiers are trying to gain a foothold on the previously captured borders, regroup troops and replenish supplies.
The enemy did not stop trying to advance south of the city of Izyum, probably in order to continue the offensive in the direction of Slovyansk. It is not successful.
In the South Buh area, the enemy continues to try to gain a foothold. After the attack on the Kherson airfield by units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which is temporarily under enemy control, the occupiers are trying to relocate the surviving equipment.
The naval group of the Black Sea Fleet of the russian federation continues to block shipping in the northwestern part of the Black Sea.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine
The armed forces of the Russian Federation continue targeting civilian infrastructure objects in Ukraine with missiles and bombs in breach of the norms of international law, particularly of humanitarian law.
On 16 March, Russian air force dropped a powerful bomb on the building of the drama theatre in Mariupol. The theatre building served as shelter for hundreds of Mariupol residents who had lost their homes as a result of Russian armed forces bombing and shelling the city.
The bomb strike demolished the central part of the theatre building, causing large numbers of people to be buried under the debris. The assessment of the exact number of persons affected is currently impossible due to ongoing shelling.
By delivering a purposeful bomb attack to the place of mass gathering of civilians Russia has committed another war crime.
This crime was concurrent with the President of the International Court of Justice proclaiming the ruling that obligates Russia to stop all warfare in the territory of Ukraine immediately.
Putin’s regime has long since crossed the line of humanity. The Ukrainian diplomats will make their best efforts to ensure that each person involved in this and hundreds of other crimes against Ukrainians receives punishment.
We call on the international community to intensify pressure on Russia through sanctions to stop the atrocities perpetrated by the Russian armed forces in Ukraine, as well as to continue providing our country with support towards defence of the Ukrainian people.
President of Ukraine
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy held a video conference with International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan who is on a visit to Ukraine.
The President noted the importance of the decision of the International Criminal Court to start an investigation into Russia's horrific violations of international criminal law during the invasion of Ukraine.
The President also thanked him for the visit to our country at this difficult time.
"It is very important for us during the war, during the aggression of the Russian state against our people, that you reacted so quickly, so professionally," said Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
He assured that the Ukrainian authorities are ready to provide maximum assistance to the ICC investigation team, which began working in our country in March. The Prosecutor General of Ukraine and relevant law enforcement agencies are involved in this work.
"Everyone understands what is happening. There are already two thousand war prisoners, there are witnesses, there are video testimonies and everything they said without pressure. All those who took people's lives for nothing on our land must be punished. We will cooperate with you at the highest level," the President said.
He stressed that no war crime or crime against humanity committed as a result of Russia's aggression against Ukraine should be left unpunished. Everyone guilty must be brought to international legal and criminal responsibility - from the perpetrators to the military-political leadership of the aggressor country.
Karim Khan, for his part, said that he had already had the opportunity to see photos and videos of the aftermath of the invasion and bombings in Mariupol and other cities - the suffering of people, including children and women.
"The law must now move forward and be used to protect these people," the International Criminal Court Prosecutor said.
He stated that in order to support Ukraine in this struggle, a historically rapid unification of a large number of countries took place.
"They realized that the rule of law could not just live in universities and courts. It must be put into practice if we want justice," Karim Khan said, adding that he looked forward to effective cooperation with Ukraine to receive information from all intercepted evidence in order to really get to the bottom of it.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy stressed that he was ready to do everything possible to facilitate the ICC investigation "so that all criminals could be brought to justice."
Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine and Minister for Reintegration of Temporary Occupied Territories
Today the focus was to organize the safety of Ukrainian people who were able to get out of Mariupol. This morning Ukraine reported that the occupants did not want to give any guarantees regarding the Mariupol – Zaporizhzhia green corridor. Considering the large number of private vehicles, Ukrainian representatives spent the whole day negotiating for ceasefire. Ukrainian convoy with food and busses were blocked from entering Mariupol. All 15 busses of people who were able to escape Mariupol via Berdyansk are in Zaporizhzhia. In total, 6426 people out of which 2039 are children escaped from the city.
Ukrainian authorities are negotiating green corridors for tomorrow for the same route – Mariupol – Zaporizhzhia. Government representatives are planning to organize delivery of humanitarian aid to cities of Luhanka and Kyivska region.
Today Ukrainian soldiers were able to rescue Ivan Fedorov, mayor of Melitopol.
“To all the heads of the towns that are temporarily occupied: we will fight for each and every one of you.” declared Deputy Prime Minister.
Minister of Defense of Ukraine
Minister of Defense of Ukraine Oleksii Reznikov addressed at the extraordinary meeting of the North Atlantic Council (NAC) at the level of Defence Ministers.
Key talking points of the Ukrainian Minister:
After the failure of the blitzkrieg tactics, the kremlin and its generals switched to terror tactics – with mass killings of civilians, destruction, and cruelty. I assure you, this tactic will also fail. The only question is the price Ukraine will pay.
It has now been confirmed that in the three weeks of the active phase of the war, the Russian aggressors have already killed 103 Ukrainian children, more than 100 were maimed, and about 3,000 civilians were killed.
The occupiers are committing a real act of genocide in Mariupol. It is being wiped off the face of the earth by aircraft, missiles, and artillery. Local authorities estimate the loss of civilians at about 20,000. And this number is growing every minute.
War against Ukraine is war against the world. Wanting to destroy Ukraine, Russia has started the war against humanism, international law, peace, and freedom – values that make us human, not machines or beasts. In the fields and cities of Ukraine, people, our people are fighting against animals in machines.
The Ukrainian army is controlled and combat-ready. Tens of thousands of patriots have taken up arms to defend Ukraine. All our military units act as a single body and according to the plan of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief's Headquarters in Kyiv.
Russia has already lost more soldiers than in the two Chechen wars. More than 13,000 soldiers, more than 400 tanks and 1,200 armored vehicles. We shot down 80 planes and almost 100 helicopters. We eliminated a few Russian generals.
But the consequences of the criminal actions of the Russian fascists can be catastrophic. They have already captured two Ukrainian nuclear power plants – Chornobyl and Zaporizhzhia. The kremlin is already attacking a nuclear facility, endangering millions of people. It will not be possible to watch the nuclear catastrophe on TV.
Already three million refugees from Ukraine are being rescued in neighboring countries. There may be several times more. The migration crisis over the Syrian war, which was also largely inspired by Russia, will be outmatched if NATO sits on its hands.
Russia's goal is to destroy the free world, embodied by NATO and the EU. It is only a matter of time before Russia strikes a neutral country or NATO country in Europe.
The kremlin is the collective Hitler of the 21st century. This is not a metaphor or an exaggeration.
Time of words, declarations, declarations of intentions has passed. It's time to act.
Now is a time for strong decisions that will shape the new world order. Based on law, humanism, truth, and justice. The one where terrorists and tyrants will not be able to dictate will.
Address to Ukrainians
The third week of our heroic defense against a full-scale Russian invasion is coming to an end.
The situation remains difficult, especially in the south and east. But more and more often our defenders are moving into counterattacks in various parts of the front: from Kyiv and Mykolaiv regions to the Luhansk region.
Burning enemy helicopters in Chornobayivci in the Kherson region is a demonstration of what is now happening to the occupying forces.
Burials of invaders destroyed on our land have already taken place in over 200 Russian cities and villages. This number will keep on growing every single day.
The Kremlin is no longer able to hide the devastating losses of Russian airborne forces. Separate units from Kostroma, Kamyshyna, Ulan-Ude and other regions are all together going to hell.
The same destination awaits the marines from the Pacific fleet that are being hastily prepared for battle. It is because the invader`s forces are weakened by the effective actions of our army. These units will receive a “warm” welcome as well.
The enemy continues to commit war crimes against civilians. In 20 days, the death of 103 Ukrainian children killed by Russian invaders were confirmed. The Russians destroyed and damaged over 400 educational institutions, over 100 Ukrainian hospitals and thousands of residential houses.
A real act of genocide is being committed against Mariupol. This is state terrorism on the part of Russia. This frenzy of mad maniacs cannot be justified by any means.
We will avenge every Ukrainian citizen. All criminals will be punished. Several Russian generals were already killed. The time will come for others too. We will do everything to make it happen.
These days we are working around the clock with NATO, the EU and on the bilateral level to strengthen our defense. It is hard to name a Minister of Defence of a partner country with whom I haven`t spoken in the last couple of days by phone or video call. The world has indeed changed. The Rubicon is crossed. Today the free world is Ukraine-centric. And we are doing everything possible to make our army and people fell it.
We agreed not to report on specific results. I just want to say that there is positive news. The enemy will get to hear them first from our soldiers on the front line.
I would also like to address those citizens of Russia, especially public figures, who suddenly “saw the light”.
You don`t want to be associated with the cannibalistic regime which had suited you before but suddenly ran amok. I understand you.
However, today is precisely 8 years since the war crime: an imitation of the “referendum” that the Kremlin orchestrated in Crimea. The war is going on not for 20 days, but for over 8 years. You may have forgotten about that, but we remember everything.
Not a single Ukrainian will ever believe your words. Never. No one will believe that you “did not know” or that you “were deceived”. No one.
“Seeing the light” is not enough. If you want to mitigate your guilt, active repentance is needed. That is what the law says. So act.
Active resistance to this military gamble, and not by posts from a Turkish or Israeli hotel, but on the streets of Russian cities – this is the way to change your place in the list of war criminals. Do not imitate. Act.
On a separate note, I would like to address the population of occupied regions of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, Crimea and Sevastopol.
We still consider you as Ukrainian citizens. Those who have not become collaborators or committed crimes are safe.
If now you are being mobilized into the Russian army by force, do everything not to get to the front. Run away, hide.
If this cannot be avoided, search for ways to immediately side with the Ukrainian army. Your will save your life. And this is the main thing. We will deal with the rest later.
For those who betrayed their military oath in 2014, I have the following message.
You have committed a crime against Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. You know better than anyone else that the Russians treat you as potential traitors. That is why they are sending you to the most dangerous hot spots. Your life is worth nothing to them.
You see that Russia will certainly lose this war. If you want to live, run away. Or surrender.
If you surrender along with military equipment, provide important information or help us capture Russian officers, this will be considered as mitigating circumstances when bringing you to justice. You will save your life, serve your sentence and get a chance to start over again in peace. Just don`t hesitate for too long.
And once again, I address all fellow Ukrainians.
Dear friends, we are mighty!
Every day the Ukrainian people are demonstrating an unyielding will to win. These are the times of true heroes.
Many challenges still lie ahead. The enemy will hurt us; destroy a part of the things we love. But every day we are taking a step to crush this enemy and live freely. The way many generations of Ukrainians dreamt of. And fought for.
Now is the time of trials for our generations. And we are passing them with dignity!
Commissioner for Human Rights in Ukraine
Lyudmyla Denisova participated as a guest speaker in a meeting of the Subcommittee on Human Rights of the European Parliament.
The Commissioner informed the members of the Subcommittee about the daily crimes of the racist army on the territory of Ukraine.
The Chairman and members of the Subcommittee expressed unequivocal solidarity and support for the people of Ukraine in our struggle for the values of freedom and democracy and the rule of law.
Colleagues from the European Parliament stressed the need to unite EU member states to help more than 3 million Ukrainians who have been forced to become refugees in Europe and assured that their governments will do everything possible to best adapt Ukrainian citizens to new living conditions.
The members of the Subcommittee also stressed the critical importance of opening humanitarian corridors to Mariupol and releasing Ukrainian hostages taken in the temporarily occupied territories.
The Commissioner agreed to work together to effectively document violations of international humanitarian and war law, war crimes, crimes against humanity for further referral to the International Criminal Court and to bring to justice anyone responsible for the aggression.
UN International Court of Justice
The Commissioner welcomed the decision of the UN International Court of Justice in The Hague to apply interim precautionary measures to the Russian Federation, which are applied by the Court to resolve the case on the merits.
According to Art. 41 of the Statute of the Court, in view of the urgency and immediate risk of deterioration until the final decision on the merits and in view of the irreparable harm of war to the civilian population, the Court decided to apply the following precautionary measures to:
Until the final decision in the case is made, Russia must essentially cease hostilities that began on the territory of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
Russia must ensure that any military units and other armed groups under its control do not take further steps to continue the military operation.
The order of the Court is binding.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine
A while ago, at Ukraine's request, the UN International Court of Justice ordered the Russian Federation to cease military operations in Ukraine immediately.
The Court also ordered the cessation of any advance of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and its irregular forces into the territory of Ukraine.
This is precisely what Ukraine demanded. We got everything we asked for.
Why it's important:
- the fact of Russia's invasion was stated at the highest legal level, and it was determined that Russia's unjustified aggression should stop;
- The court did not find any evidence of Russia's allegations of genocide in Ukraine;
- 13 judges supported the decision, only two were against (Russia and China), this is a robust result that adds weight to the decision;
- the decision of the Court is legally binding following international law;
- the decision will be the starting point for other legal and further political assessments of Russian aggression.
Ukraine has won here and demands that Russia immediately comply with the Court's order and stop the aggression.
International legal responsibility takes time, and the consideration of the case will continue, but Russia's responsibility is inevitable.
At the last stage of the case, the issue of reparations will be resolved. I do not doubt that we will win here as well, and in the end, Russia will also pay with money.
Today's decision is an act of justice for the Ukrainian nation.