Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now

March 20 (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Russia’s siege of the port city of Mariupol was “a terror that will be remembered for centuries to come”. read more

FIGHTING

* Russia struck Ukraine with cruise missiles from ships in the Black Sea and Caspian Sea, and launched hypersonic missiles from Crimean airspace, the Russian defence ministry said. read more

* The city council in Mariupol said Russian forces bombed an art school where about 400 residents had taken shelter. There was no immediate word of casualties, and Reuters could not independently verify the claim. Russia denies targeting civilians.

CIVILIANS

* Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said seven humanitarian corridors would open on Sunday to enable civilians to leave frontline areas. read more

* Zelenskiy has signed a decree that combines all national TV channels into one platform, citing the importance of a “unified information policy” under martial law, his office said.

* The U.N. human rights office said at least 847 civilians had been killed and 1,399 wounded in Ukraine as of Friday. The Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office said 112 children have been killed. read more

* More than 3.3 million people have fled Ukraine since the invasion began, more than half of them to Poland. Krakow Main train station has become an artery for thousands as they make their way to accommodation around the country or to travel onwards to the rest of Europe. read more

DIPLOMACY

* Turkey’s foreign minister said Russia and Ukraine were nearing agreement on “critical” issues and he was hopeful for a ceasefire if the two sides did not backtrack from progress achieved so far. read more

ECONOMY, MARKETS

* Russia’s central bank has allowed a limited number of additional financial market operations over the next two weeks, as it tentatively eases restrictions linked to the Ukraine conflict.

ARTISTIC SUPPORT

* Russian and Ukrainian ballet dancers rubbed shoulders at a charity event in London on Saturday uniting some of the world’s leading dance performers for humanitarian relief in Ukraine. read more

COMING UP

* Zelenskiy addresses the Israeli parliament via video link at 1600 GMT. The speech will be shown in the parliament building in Jerusalem but as the legislature is in recess, lawmakers will be able to tune in from any location. The speech will also be projected on a giant screen in Tel Aviv’s Habima Theater Square.

QUOTES

* “The violent aggression against Ukraine is unfortunately not slowing down,” Pope Francis said. “It is a senseless massacre where every day slaughters and atrocities are being repeated.” read more

* “Kyiv calling to the whole world …Come out of neutrality, you boys and girls,” some of the lyrics from Ukrainian punk band Beton’s reworking of the Clash’s famous “London Calling”. read more

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