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Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (March 16)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks to the U.S. Congress by video on Wednesday to plead for support as his country is besieged by Russian forces.
J. Scott Applewhite
/
Pool/Getty Images
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks to the U.S. Congress by video on Wednesday to plead for support as his country is besieged by Russian forces.

As Wednesday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day:

A theater sheltering civilians was bombed in besieged Mariupol, Ukrainian officials say. Russia denies the airstrike. Mariupol's city council shared images of a smoldering building, saying hundreds of residents had taken refuge inside and the number of casualties was not yet known. Elsewhere in southern Ukraine, Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov, captured by Russian troops last week, has been freed.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed U.S. Congress, calling on it "to do more." Specifically, Zelenskyy continues to push for a no-fly zone over Ukraine, which most U.S. lawmakers and the Biden administration do not back. President Biden, meanwhile, approved $800 million more in security assistance to Ukraine and vowed to send more weapons. He also called Russian President Vladimir Putin "a war criminal."

A top Ukrainian negotiator says Ukraine and Russia might be moving closer to a possible cease-fire. Some Russian officials have also hinted that the two sides may be closer to a deal, but Putin has not signaled a readiness to pull back forces.

The United Nations' top court in The Hague has ordered Russia to halt its military operation in Ukraine. The International Court of Justice said evidence did not support the Kremlin's justification for the attack. Its rulings are binding, but countries have ignored them in the past.

Russia is facing a debt-payment deadline that could mean a historic sovereign default. The country needs to pay $117 million in interest payments on two bonds that are denominated in dollars, but Russia has lost access to much of its foreign reserves.

In-depth

What does Ukraine war news look like from Russia? Narrative-shaping begins with words — both chosen and left unsaid.

Lviv takes in displaced Ukrainians, but space and resources are strained. See photos from the city's cultural hubs.

A Russian-owned superyacht named Ragnar is stuck in Norway because no one will sell it fuel.

Ukraine scrambles to protect artifacts and monuments from Russian attack.

A college student in occupied Ukraine says buying food means it's a lucky day.

Former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch warns that Putin will move west if he wins in Ukraine.

Earlier developments

You can read more news from Wednesday here, as well as more in-depth reporting and daily recaps here. Also, listen and subscribe to NPR's State of Ukraine podcast for updates throughout the day.

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