What you need to know right now By Reuters3 min read

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© Reuters. Members of the Ukrainian forces sit on a military vehicle amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in the Vyshgorod region near Kyiv, Ukraine March 10, 2022. REUTERS/Serhii Nuzhnenko

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(Reuters) – Russian forces in Ukraine were blasting cities and killing civilians but no longer making progress on the ground, according to Western intelligence, while talks on ending the fighting resumed as the war entered its fourth week.

CIVILIAN TOLL

* Local officials said rescuers in the besieged southern port of Mariupol were combing the rubble of a theatre where women and children had been sheltering, bombed the previous day. Russia has denied striking the theatre.

* Governor of the northern Chernihiv region said 53 civilians had been killed there in bombardment over the past 24 hours.

* Reuters was not immediately able to independently verify the reports. Russia denies targeting civilians.

STALLED INVASION

* Russia’s invasion has largely stalled on all fronts in recent days amid heavy losses, British military intelligence said in a regular update.

DIPLOMACY

* Talks between Russian and Ukraine continue via video link for a fourth straight day.

* President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s top aide said Ukraine maintained its core demand that it retained sovereignty over areas occupied since 2014 by Russia and pro-Russian forces.

* President Joe Biden will talk to Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Friday to discuss the war in Ukraine and competition between the two countries.

SWISS STASH

* Switzerland’s secretive banks hold up to $213 billion of Russian wealth, its financial industry association estimates.

WAR OF WORDS

* Russia accused the United States of stoking “Russophobia” and said it had the power to put its “brash enemies into place.”

* Ukrainian defence minister Oleksii Reznikov told European lawmakers the EU should recognise Russian President Vladimir Putin as a war criminal a day after Biden used the term in comments Kremlin called “unforgivable.”

ECONOMY AND MARKETS

* The OECD estimates the war could knock more than 1 percentage point off global growth this year.

* Russia said it had made debt payments due this week, but a number of bondholders said they had yet to get paid.

SHOPPING IN WASHINGTON

* Since the start of the war, Washington and U.S. defence contractors have been fielding a growing number of calls from European governments shopping for arms, sources tell Reuters.

QUOTES

“Every year politicians repeat ‘never again’,” Zelenskiy told German lawmakers, invoking a slogan used to mark the Holocaust. “And now we see that these words are simply worthless. In Europe a people is being destroyed, they are trying to destroy everything that is dear to us, what we live for.”

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