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Ukraine war: Macron says France, Greece and Turkey to attempt 'humanitarian' Mariupol evacuation

This image from a video released on March 9 shows a damaged building of a children's hospital, destroyed cars and debris after a Russian air strike in Mariupol.
This image from a video released on March 9 shows a damaged building of a children's hospital, destroyed cars and debris after a Russian air strike in Mariupol. Copyright AFP PHOTO / NATIONAL POLICE OF UKRAINE / HANDOUT
Copyright AFP PHOTO / NATIONAL POLICE OF UKRAINE / HANDOUT
By Euronews with AFP, AP
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The French president said the three countries would attempt a "humanitarian operation" to get people out of the besieged city "in the next few days".

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The head of the Russian army has hinted at a shift in strategy, saying the war effort will now focus on eastern Ukraine.

US President Joe Biden has visited eastern Poland to see US troops and the humanitarian response to the influx of Ukrainian refugees.

There's some hope for those in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol after France's president announced an evacuation plan. Earlier authorities said they feared up to 300 people were killed in the Russian theatre bombing on March 16.

See a summary of Friday's developments in our blog below:

What are other developments on the ground in Ukraine?

  • A military chaplain was killed by Ukrainian "Smertch" rocket fire on a Russian border village not far from the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv in heavy fighting, the Orthodox Church said on Friday.

  • Ukrainian forces are striking "high-value targets in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine" including a landing ship, the UK Ministry of Defence has said.

  • Ukraine's armed forces said in a statement that a large Russian landing ship was destroyed during an attack on the Berdyansk port. Large landing ships "Caesar Kunikov" and "Novocherkassk" were damaged, they added.

  • Russia claimed on Friday that it had destroyed the Ukrainian army's largest fuel reserve near Kyiv with cruise missiles the day before.

  • Russia is running out of precision-guided munitions, a senior Pentagon official said, according to Reuters.

  • Russians and Ukrainians exchanged prisoners on Thursday, according to the Ukrainian deputy prime minister and the Russian human rights delegate.

  • At least 135 children have died in the war in Ukraine, according to Ukraine's human rights commissioner Lyudmyla Denisova.

What else is happening in the EU and the West?

  • Ukraine on Friday asked the European Union to close its borders with Russia and Belarus, a country allied with Moscow in the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army for a month.

  • Finnish train operator VR will stop its twice-daily service from Helsinki to St Petersburg, closing down the last remaining rail route for Russians who want to travel directly to the EU.

What is the latest that Western leaders saying about the conflict?

  • US President Joe Biden said he wanted Russia out of the G20, and that a Russian chemical weapons attack in Ukraine would "trigger a response in kind".
  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the BBC he wasn't sure that Vladimir Putin wanted peace and said the Russian president was trying to "Grozynyfy" Ukrainian cities, referring to the Chechen city of Grozny.
  • German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says the world is united in its response to the Russian attack on Ukraine last month and said that sanctions against Russia were proving to be powerful.

What else is Russia saying about the war?

  • Russia says they have taken in 419,736 Ukrainian refugees since the beginning of the war.
  • Vladimir Putin compared the West's sanctions against Russian culture to the burning of books in Nazi Germany.

How many refugees have fled Ukraine?

In the month since the war began, more than 3.6 million people have fled the war in Ukraine. Most of them have fled to neighbouring Poland, which has taken in over two million refugees.

Millions of Ukrainians are also internally displaced within the country as heavy fighting and shelling forces people to flee several cities.

More than half of Ukraine's child population is displaced, according to the UN Children's Fund, UNICEF, which called it a "grim milestone".

Ukraine war - latest pictures

Felipe Dana/AP Photo
A man walks on the debris of a burning house, destroyed after a Russian attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Thursday, March 24, 2022.Felipe Dana/AP Photo
Andreea Alexandru/AP Photo
A refugee fleeing the war from neighbouring Ukraine with his family looks out of a tent after crossing the border by ferry at the Isaccea-Orlivka border crossing in Romania.Andreea Alexandru/AP Photo
AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris
Anti-tank barricades are placed on a street as preparation for a possible Russian offensive, in Odesa, Ukraine, Thursday March 24, 2022.AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris
AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris
The monument of the Duke of Richelieu, is covered with sandbags next to a Carrousel, in Odesa, Ukraine, Thursday March 24, 2022.AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris

Read more about the conflict

Additional sources • Reuters

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