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Mariupol suffers another night of heavy shelling

The Ukrainian authorities have reported the shelling of an art school where several people were sheltering. The Ukrainian president has condemned the attacks and described them as "war crimes"
A woman stands near a block of flats, which was destroyed during the conflict between Ukraine and Russia in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine March 17, 2022

REUTERS/ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO  -   A woman stands near a block of flats, which was destroyed during the conflict between Ukraine and Russia in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine March 17, 2022

The city of Mariupol has experienced another night of heavy shelling. The local authorities have denounced the bombing of an art school where some 400 people were sheltering. No casualties have been reported so far. However, the local government said the building had been destroyed, and that people were most likely trapped under the rubble. 

Earlier Saturday, Russian troops entered the besieged and destroyed port city of Mariupol. It is on this territory that violent hand-to-hand fighting is taking place. Most of these took place at a steel plant, according to local authorities. 

The advance of Russian troops in Mariupol is growing, and the loss of this city would be a major loss for Ukraine. Yesterday, the invading forces managed to isolate the city on the Sea of Azov, and its fall would mean the union of Crimea with the separatist territories in the Dombass area. This would be a major victory for Russia, which has already abandoned hopes of a quick invasion. 

AFP PHOTO/UKRAINIAN PRESIDENCY PRESS OFFICE  -  El presidente Volodymyr Zelensky denunció el 8 de marzo de 2022 lo que calificó de "promesas" incumplidas por parte de Occidente de proteger a Ucrania de los ataques rusos. "Llevamos 13 días escuchando promesas, 13 días en los que nos han dicho que nos ayudarán en el aire, que habrá aviones, que nos los entregarán", dijo Zelensky en un vídeo difundido en Telegram
AFP PHOTO/UKRAINIAN PRESIDENCY PRESS OFFICE  -  President Volodymyr Zelensky on 8 March 2022 denounced what he called unfulfilled "promises" by the West to protect Ukraine from Russian attacks. "We have been listening to promises for 13 days, 13 days of being told that they will help us in the air, that there will be planes, that they will deliver them to us," Zelensky said in a video broadcast on Telegram

Oleksiy Arestovych, advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelensky, described the situation in the port city as complicated as Ukrainian fighters have to face "the overwhelming force of the enemy". Arestovych also reported that there is currently no "military solution for Mariupol"

According to several reports, Russian troops stopped several buses travelling to Mariupol to evacuate residents to other nearby locations in the city, The Kyiv Independent reported on social media. Local authorities accused Moscow of forced displacement of residents

Following the situation in the city of Mariupol, Zelensky addressed the population again in the early hours of Sunday morning. During his speech he called the actions committed by Russian troops "war crimes", and said it will be a "terror that will be remembered for centuries to come"

Despite condemning the situation in Mariupol, the Ukrainian president continued to insist on the need for sincere peace talks with Moscow, even if they are "neither easy nor pleasant". 

In addition, Zelensky also reported that more than 6,600 Ukrainians were evacuated on Saturday from towns besieged by Russian troops, thanks to the opening of eight new humanitarian corridors.  

The Ukrainian president signed a decree on Sunday to unify all national television channels on a single platform. Zelensky justified the move by citing the need for a "unified information policy" under martial law.  

Second hypersonic missile attack 

The Russian defence ministry has reported that Russian troops have again used hypersonic missiles in Ukraine. According to it, the missiles were used to destroy a "large storage site for fuel and lubricants of the Ukrainian armed forces". The destroyed warehouse was located near Kostyantynivka in the Mykolaiv region. 

The Kh-47M2 Kinzhal is an air-launched ballistic missile. These are part of a series of weapons introduced in 2018. The name Kinzhal means "dagger", and was described by Putin as "the perfect weapon", capable of exceeding ten times the speed of sound. 

China on the "good side of history". 

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during a press conference on Saturday that China will be remembered for being on "the good side of history" in this conflict, and that its position is in "line with the desire of most countries". 

He also said that the Asian country "will not accept any external coercion or pressure and opposes any groundless and suspicious accusations against China". Wang further stressed that the country had always "stood for the maintenance of peace and the opposition of war". 

Wang concluded his speech by saying that "China's position is objective and fair, and is in line with the wishes of most countries. Time will show that China's assertions are on the right side of history"

Australia bans aluminium exports to Russia 
PHOTO/AFP - Scott Morrison, primer ministro de Australia
PHOTO/AFP - Scott Morrison, Australia's prime minister

Australia has imposed an immediate ban on aluminium and aluminium ore exports to Russia on Sunday, the Australian government said. This new sanction is in order to prevent Russian arms production capacity.  

The government told a joint ministerial briefing with Prime Minister Scott Morrison that "Russia is dependent on Australia for almost 20 per cent of its arms production needs".It was also mentioned during the communiqué that they would work "closely with exporters and key agencies that will be affected by the ban to find new markets and expand existing ones"