- The humanitarian situation in Mariupol continues to deteriorate with the United Nations citing reports of “looting and violent confrontations” over resources and satellite pictures showing extensive damage.
- Fighting intensified northwest of Kyiv, with the bulk of Russian ground forces 25km (16 miles) from the center of the Ukrainian capital.
- The United States said it would rush up to $ 200m in additional small arms, anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to Ukraine.
- Russia said its troops could target supplies of Western weapons in Ukraine.
- Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said about 1,300 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed since Russia’s invasion started.
Here are the latest updates:
Some 13,000 Ukrainians evacuated from cities on Saturday, deputy PM says
About 13,000 people were evacuated from a number of Ukrainian cities on Saturday, said Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk, almost twice the number who managed to get out the previous day.
Vereshchuk said in an online message that no one had managed to leave the besieged city of Mariupol and blamed obstruction by Russian forces. Moscow had earlier accused Ukrainian forces of intentionally trapping people there.
Amsterdam’s Orthodox clergy split from Moscow Patriarch
The clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Dutch city of Amsterdam has announced it will split from the Moscow church because of threats to them over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In a statement posted to its website, it said that after a meeting “the clergy unanimously announced that it is no longer possible for them to function within the Moscow Patriarchate and provide a spiritually safe environment for our faithful”.
It was “with a heavy heart” that the four priests of Saint Nicholas of Myra in Amsterdam had reached their decision, they said.
Sweden official dismisses Russian NATO warning
Sweden’s foreign minister has dismissed fresh warnings from Russia that the Nordic country’s joining NATO would lead to retaliatory measures from Moscow.
Foreign Minister Ann Linde told Swedish news agency TT “Russia has nothing to do with our independent decisions”, referring to Stockholm’s possible move to join NATO.
Russia’s Interfax news agency on Saturday quoted a Russian Foreign Ministry official saying the possible accession of Sweden and neighboring Finland to NATO would have serious military and political consequences.
Satellite images show fires, severe damage to residential buildings in Mariupol
Satellite images taken on Saturday morning showed extensive damage to civilian infrastructure and residential buildings throughout the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, a private US company said.
Maxar Technologies said fires were seen in the western section of the Black Sea port city and dozens of high-rise apartment buildings had been severely damaged. The images could not be independently verified.
Mariupol is facing what Ukraine says is a “humanitarian catastrophe”, with more than 1,500 civilians killed over 12 days.
A top Russian officer described the situation in the country in similarly stark language.
“Unfortunately, the humanitarian situation in Ukraine is continuing to deteriorate rapidly, and in some cities, it has reached catastrophic proportions,” said the head of the Russian National Defense Control Center, Mikhail Mizintsev.
The UN has cited reports of “looting and violent confrontations” among civilians over the few resources available.
Russia-Ukraine war military dispatch: March 12, 2022
Kyiv is braced for an all-out Russian assault as fighting intensifies on the outskirts of the Ukrainian capital.
Air raid sirens were sounded in almost all regions of Ukraine on Saturday. The cities of Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Sumy and Mariupol remain surrounded and are under heavy Russian bombardment.
Meanwhile, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Moscow will treat Western arms shipments to Ukraine as legitimate military targets.
Here were the main military developments on Saturday – the 17th day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
US rushing $ 200m worth of weapons for Ukraine
The US has said it would rush up to $ 200m in additional small arms, anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to Ukraine, as Ukrainian officials pleaded for more equipment to defend against heavy shelling by Russian forces.
US President Joe Biden on Saturday authorized the additional security assistance, the White House said, paving the way for the “immediate” shipment of fresh military equipment to Ukraine, a senior administration official said.
Biden’s decision brings total US security aid provided to Ukraine to $ 1.2bn since January 2021, and to $ 3.2bn since 2014, when Russia annexed the Crimea region of Ukraine, according to senior administration officials.
Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the Ukraine-Russia crisis.
Read all the updates from Saturday, March 12, here.