Your bi-weekly roundup of what you need to know in Ukraine.
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Fierce Fighting, No Exit from Sievierodonetsk
All bridges out of Sievierodonetsk have been destroyed, regional governor Sergei Haidai said.
Sievierodonetsk is the last major city in the Luhansk region not under Russian control — and Russian troops now have 70 percent of it.
Amid heavy bombardment, it’s no longer possible to conduct evacuations or bring in humanitarian cargo. “The battles are so fierce that fighting for not just a street but for a single highrise building can last for days,” Haidai said.
Russia Bans Brit Reporters
Moscow banned 29 British journalists from entering Russia. “The British journalists included in the list are involved in the deliberate dissemination of false and one-sided information about Russia and events in Ukraine and Donbas,” Russia’s foreign ministry said.
Among the banned were prominent journalists from the BBC, Sky News, The Telegraph, The Independent, and The Guardian. Many journalists had already left Russia, as the spreading of “fake news” about the Russian army is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Biden Pledges $1 Billion in Weapons to Ukraine
The United States will send another $1 billion in military equipment to Ukraine, President Joe Biden announced Wednesday.
The aid includes guided rocket launcher systems and 18 long-range M777 howitzers.
“We cannot lose steam,” Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin said.
China Strengthens Ties with Russia
China has offered to deepen its relationship with Russia. On a call Wednesday, China’s Xi Jinping assured Russia’s Vladimir Putin that the invasion of Ukraine had not soured their partnership.
In related news, in a recent paper, Chinese scientists called for a way to take down Space X’s Starlink satellites in the event of a conflict. Starlink has helped provide Ukraine with continued internet access despite Russian cyberattacks.
Two American Fighters Missing
Two American fighters in Ukraine — Alexander Drueke, 39, and Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh, 27, age 27 — have been missing for nearly a week. They were last seen fighting north of Kharkiv.
White House spokesman John Kirby said that if they were captured by Russia, the US. will do everything it can to have them returned. The US discourages Americans from going to Ukraine to fight.
On the Lighter Side…
Ukrainian Soccer Kicks Off
Ukrainian soccer returns to the Champions League next month when Dynamo Kyiv plays Turkey’s Fenerbahçe in the second qualifying round. It will be the club’s first competitive game since the February 24 Russian invasion.