Live updates: Zelenskyy suspends parties with Russian links


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Nannies take care of newborn babies in a basement converted into a nursery in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, March 19, 2022. Nineteen surrogated babies were born to surrogate mothers, with their biological parents still outside the country due to the war against Russia. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

AP

KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has ordered to suspend activities of 11 political parties with links to Russia.

The largest of them is the Opposition Platform for Life, which has 44 out of 450 seats in the country’s parliament. The party is led by Viktor Medvedchuk, who has friendly ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is the godfather of Medvedchuk’s daughter.

Also on the list is the Nashi (Ours) party led by Yevheniy Murayev. Before the Russian invasion. the British authorities had warned that Russia wanted to install Murayev as the leader of Ukraine.

Speaking in a video address early Sunday, Zelenskyy said that “given a large-scale war unleashed by the Russian Federation and links between it and some political structures, the activities of a number of political parties is suspended for the period of the martial law.” He added that “activities by politicians aimed at discord and collaboration will not succeed.”

Zelenskyy’s announcement follows the introduction of the martial law that envisages a ban on parties associated with Russia.

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KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:

— Ukraine’s leader warns that the war will cost Russia for generations

— Even if Russia is denied an easy victory, Putin can keep pounding Ukraine for months

— Putin rallies behind Russian troops while lethal shelling rains down on Ukraine

— Ukraine’s cultural capital finds that it is no longer distant from the war

— Minister: Clearing the live ordnance now scattered across Ukraine will take years and outside help

— Go to https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine for more coverage

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OTHER DEVELOPMENTS TODAY:

KYIV, Ukraine — In peacetime, Ukraine has a thriving surrogate industry, one of the few countries where foreigners can get Ukrainian women to carry their pregnancies. Now at least 20 of those babies are stuck in a makeshift bomb shelter in Ukraine’s capital, waiting for parents to travel into the war zone to pick them up.

They’re well cared for at the moment. Surrogacy center nurses are stranded with them, because constant shelling makes it too dangerous for them to go home. Russian troops are trying to encircle the city, with Ukrainian defenders holding them off for now, the threat comes from the air.

Nurse Lyudmilla Yashchenko says they’re staying in the bomb shelter to save their lives, and the lives of the babies, some of whom are just days old. They have enough food and baby supplies for now, and can only hope and wait for the newborns to be picked up, and the war to end.

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The British defense ministry said the Ukrainian Air Force and air defense forces are “continuing to effectively defend Ukrainian airspace.”

“Russia has failed to gain control of the air and is largely relying on stand-off weapons launched from the relative safety of Russian airspace to strike targets within Ukraine,” the ministry said on Twitter. “Gaining control of the air was one of Russia’s principal objectives for the opening days of the conflict and their continued failure to do so has significantly blunted their operational progress.”

A Ukrainian military official meanwhile confirmed to a Ukrainian newspaper that Russian forces carried out a missile strike Friday on a missile and ammunition warehouse in the Delyatyn settlement of the Ivano-Frankivsk region in western Ukraine.

But Ukraine’s Air Forces spokesman Yurii Ihnat told Ukrainskaya Pravda on Saturday that it has not been confirmed that the missile was indeed a hypersonic Kinzhal.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said earlier Saturday that Russian military hit the underground warehouse in Delyatyn on Friday with the hypersonic Kinzhal missile in its first reported combat use. According to Russian officials, the Kinzhal, carried by MiG-31 fighter jets, has a range of up to 2,000 kilometers (about 1,250 miles) and flies at 10 times the speed of sound.

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LVIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the siege of Mariupol will go down in history for what he’s calling war crimes by Russia’s military.

“To do this to a peaceful city, what the occupiers did, is a terror that will be remembered for centuries to come,” he said early Sunday in his nighttime video address to the nation.

Zelenskyy told Ukrainians the ongoing negotiations with Russia were “not simple or pleasant, but they are necessary.” He said he discussed the course of the talks with French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday.

“Ukraine has always sought a peaceful solution. Moreover, we are interested in peace now,” he said.

Meanwhile, Russia’s military isn’t even recovering the bodies of its soldiers in some places, Zelenskyy said.

“In places where there were especially fierce battles, the bodies of Russian soldiers simply pile up along our line of defense. And no one is collecting these bodies,” he said. He described as battle near Chornobayivka in the south, where Ukrainian forces held their positions and six times beat back the Russians, who just kept “sending their people to slaughter.”

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WASHINGTON — The math of military conquests and occupation may be against Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine.

Estimates of Russian deaths vary widely. Yet even conservative figures are in the low thousands. That’s a much faster pace than in previous Russian offensives, threatening support for the war among ordinary Russians. Russia had 64 deaths in five days of fighting during its 2008 war with Georgia. It lost about 15,000 in Afghanistan over 10 years, and more than 11,000 over years of fighting in Chechnya.

Russia’s number of dead and wounded in Ukraine is nearing the 10% benchmark of diminished combat effectiveness, said Dmitry Gorenburg, a researcher on Russia’s security at the Virginia-based CNA think tank. The reported battlefield deaths of four Russian generals — out of an estimated 20 in the fight — signal impaired command, he said.

Researchers tracking only those Russian equipment losses that were photographed or recorded on video say Russia has lost more than 1,500 tanks, trucks, mounted equipment and other heavy gear. Two out of three of those were captured or abandoned, signaling the failings of the Russian troops that let them go.

When it comes to the grinding job of capturing and holding cities, conventional military metrics suggest Russia needs a 5-to-1 advantage in urban fighting, analysts say. Meanwhile, the formula for ruling a restive territory in the face of armed opposition is 20 fighters for every 1,000 people — or 800,000 Russian troops for Ukraine’s more than 40 million people, said Michael Clarke, former head of the British-based Royal United Services Institute, a defense think tank

That’s almost as many as Russia’s entire active-duty military of 900,000, and it means controlling substantial Ukrainian territory long term could take more resources than Russia can commit, he said.

“Unless the Russians intend to be completely genocidal — they could flatten all the major cities, and Ukrainians will rise up against Russian occupation — there will be just constant guerrilla war,” said Clarke.





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