Ukrainian officials have stated that Russian forces expose cities and villages to heavy artillery, due to the army’s unsuccessful conquering. Local Ukrainian officials report that Russian forces have failed to conquer many cities and villages and the forces have therefore resorted to heavy artillery.
The UN has reported that 10 million people have fled their homes in Ukraine. The majority of these are internally displaced within Ukraine, while 3.5 million have fled from Ukrainian territory. Furthermore, the UN has reported that half of all Ukrainian children have been displaced since the start of the war. IRC major, a US humanitarian group, has stated that this is becoming the fastest displacement crises since World War II.
Ukrainian president Zelensky has stated that the city of Mariupol has been reduced to ashes. Fighting increased heavily in Mariupol when Ukraine rejected Russia’s deadline to surrender the city. Furthermore, Joseph Borrell, foreign policy chief in the European Union, has stated that massive war crimes are occurring in Mariupol.
The Ukrainian military, the British Ministry of Defence and US officials report that the Russian forces are facing setbacks. The Ukrainian military has reported that Russia’s stockpile of ammunition, food and weapons will not last longer than three days. Furthermore, the Ukrainian military has stated that Russian forces have suffered setbacks in northern Kiev, as the Ukrainian forces have been successful in pushing them back. By the same token, the British Ministry of Defence has reported that Ukrainian forces have been able to re-occupy towns and defensive positions up to 35 kilometres east of Kiev. As a result, Russians are digging in and establishing defence positions. A US defence official has been quoted as saying that Russia suffers from heavy loss of weaponry, growing casualties in the thousands, morale issues, command and control problem, reliance on conscript and stalled advances.
The US has formally declared that Russia has committed war crimes in Ukraine, which is based on credible reports, according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The US has likewise accused Putin of being a war criminal and Putin has responded by threatening to cut ties with the US. Russia has stated that it does not rule out nuclear weapons if it faces an existential threat, considering that the country has not achieved its objectives on the ground.
Talks between Russia and Ukraine have made no progress. Russia has accused Ukraine of stalling and making unacceptable proposals, in order for their forces to regroup. Simultaneously, Ukraine president Zelensky has stated that talks will not be successful unless he and Putin meets face to face.
Reports suggest that residential areas in Odessa were fired at by Russian navy ships in the Black Sea. This is the first occurrence since the start of the war.
The US and NATO has stated that Belarus may be joining the war very soon. However, according to Ukrainian officials, anti-Russian rebels in Belarus have partially removed a railway which connects Belarus and Ukraine, making it more difficult for Belarusian troops to enter Ukraine.
On Thursday the 24th of March, NATO held a historic emergency summit in Brussels and US president Biden arrived at the NATO headquarter. During the summit, members held discussions on what measures to take if Russia were to use biological, chemical or nuclear weapons. They likewise announced new sanctions on Russia, that the US would accept 100.000 Ukrainian refugees, military aid to Ukraine and that the US backs the suggestion to exclude Russia from the G20.
Estonia has called on NATO to establish a permeant force in the eastern region, capable of stopping Russian advances. In the same vein, president Zelensky has called for NATO aid without restrictions and for offensive weapons. In response, NATO will double its troops along the eastern flank in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, the Baltic states, and Poland.
SRS has personnel stationed in the city of Lviv. SRS can assist with on-site security coordination, as well as assistance with evacuation, planning and contact with Swedish authorities.
Situational Map (last updated 2022-03-25, 13:56 CET). Source: UK Ministry of Defence.
Due to recent military development and the economic sanctions imposed on Russia by Western countries, SRS recommends that expat staff and their families in Russia or in countries aligned with Russia in this conflict to i) register with the Swedish Embassy at se or ii) evacuate to an EU-member state.
COMPANIES AND ORGANISATIONS
If your business is in one of the impacted or neighbouring countries (e.g., Poland, Romania, Hungary, Lithuania or Latvia), SRS recommends updating emergency response plans and security instructions. Prepare evacuation of staff, secure and/or shred sensitive documents and back-up of key information and IT-systems.
Be aware of false information and news sources. Learn more about source criticism at se.
SRS also recommends visiting the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) website (msb.se) to learn more about recommendations and safety precautions in times of crisis.