Ukraine Latest News: Russia Meets With Fellow BRICS Ambassadors

Live Updates

Russia's stalled full-scale invasion of Ukraine entered Day 27 today.

  • The bulk of Russian forces in Ukraine remain stuck about 15 miles from their primary target of central Kyiv, according to British defense officials.
  • Ukraine reclaimed Makariv settlement, near Kyiv, from Russian forces.
  • President Joe Biden heads to Europe this week for a series of summits with world leaders. The U.S. and its partners will announce a new sanctions package on Thursday, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said.
  • Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky again pushes for direct talks with Putin.
  • More than 3.5 million refugees have fled Ukraine since Russia began its invasion, the United Nations estimates.
Kyiv damage
A woman measures a window before covering it with plastic sheets in a building damaged by a bombing the previous day in Kyiv, Ukraine on March 21. Vadim Ghirda)/AP Photo

Russia Meets With Fellow BRICS Ambassadors

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with BRICS ambassadors in Moscow Tuesday, according to Russia's Foreign Ministry.

"The participants enthusiastically exchanged views on developing and strengthening their strategic partnership in the association," Russia's Foreign Ministry said.

The group, comprised of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, met at a working breakfast where Ukraine was a major focus. Lavrov called current economic sanctions imposed on Russia "a crude violation of key international legal standards." Earlier Tuesday, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the U.S. and its Allies will announce further sanctions on Russia during a series of summits scheduled in Europe on Thursday.

"Sergey Lavrov presented a thorough analysis of the reasons for the Ukraine conflict and gave detailed explanations on the issues linked with ensuring security of civilians, including foreigners, organizing humanitarian corridors and granting aid to refugees and other people who need it," the ministry wrote in a statement.

"He stressed that the unprecedented economic war unleashed against Russia through sanctions is a crude violation of key international legal standards."

Trauma Is Growing Issue at a Polish Refugee Center

Basic needs -- food, water, shelter and medication -- have been top of mind for the more than 3.5 million refugees who have fled Ukraine into neighboring countries. Now, there's increasing concern surrounding mental health.

A sports hall turned refugee center in Medyka, Poland has psychologists available for children as coordinators report increasing cases of trauma.

"Many children who arrive hide under blankets or beds, still fearing that bombs will drop," the coordinator said to U.N. Refugee Agency UNHCR. "It takes time for them to feel safe and start to play again; we have a space for children and psychologists to help. Most adults need longer to open up. That support will be needed once they are more settled."

"Mental health and psychosocial support services are urgently needed to help people in Ukraine cope with the effects of the war," the World Health Organization said.

WHO warns of an increase and/or development of anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression amid the war.

"Every day things are getting worse, which means every day the health response is becoming more difficult,"WHO Representative Jarno Habicht said.

Psaki Will Not Travel to Europe After Testing Positive for COVID

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki will no longer travel to Europe with President Joe Biden this week after testing positive for COVID-19.

"Today, in preparation for travel to Europe, I took a PCR test this morning," Psaki said Tuesday. "That test came back positive, which means I will be adhering to CDC guidance and no longer be traveling on the President's trip to Europe."

Psaki had two "socially-distanced" meetings with Biden Monday; however, Biden tested negative for COVID-19 on Tuesday and is not considered a "close contact" per CDC guidelines.

"Thanks to the vaccine, I have only experienced mild symptoms," she added. "In alignment with White House COVID-19 protocols, I will work from home and plan to return to work in person at the conclusion of a five-day isolation period and a negative test."

EU Announces 2.5B Euros to Address Food Insecurity

The European Union has allocated more than $2.5 billion euros until 2024 to help regions most impacted by food insecurity.

President of the E.U. Commission Ursula von der Leyen made the announcement Tuesday, amid a growing concern of food insecurity due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"When we started preparations for this first European Humanitarian Forum, no one could have imagined that it would coincide with the worst humanitarian crisis in decades on European soil," von der Leyen said.

"Yet the consequences of the Kremlin's aggression of Ukraine span well beyond Europe. Ukraine is the granary of the world. Ukraine alone provides more than half of the World Food Programme's wheat supply. Countries like Somalia rely entirely on Ukraine and Russia for their wheat imports."

Von der Leyen said additional measures are being prepared to increase European food production and called on others to increase contributions.

"We will be readying a range of special measures to step up European food production, also in support of countries most in need," she said.

"Europe is the world's largest humanitarian donor. We call on others to step up their contributions too. Because the world needs humanitarian action more than ever before. This is a moment for all those who share a humanitarian spirit to join forces."

Lithuanian Kids Draw Pictures for Support

Young Lithuanian children drew pictures to show their support for children in Ukraine. Ukraine's Parliament, Verkhovna Rada, shared the sweet gesture on Tuesday.

"Such sincere child support," Verkhovna Rada said. "Children from Lithuania drew such pictures to support Ukrainian children. Boys and girls, 4-6 years old, wish peace in every Ukrainian home, so that joy reigns again on Ukrainian soil. Thanks to the kids, we will definitely win."

Verkhovna Rada
Verkhovna Rada

U.S., Partners Will Announce More Sanctions

The U.S. and its Allies will announce further sanctions on Russia during a series of summits scheduled in Europe on Thursday, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said.

"He [President Joe Biden] will join our partners in imposing further sanctions on Russia and tightening the existing sanctions to crack down on evasion and ensure robust enforcement," Sullivan said during Tuesday's White House briefing.

Sullivan noted a key element of the "next phase" will focus on other countries who seek to help Russia undermine sanctions.

"Ensuring that there is joint effort to crackdown on evasion on sanctions busting on any attempt, by any country, to help Russia basically undermine, weaken or get around the sanctions," he said.

Biden will additionally announce joint action on efforts to strengthen European energy independence and provide further humanitarian aid to Ukraine. Thursday's discussions will also include "longer term adjustment" to NATO's force posture on the Eastern flank. Biden is scheduled to attend G7 and NATO summits and the European Council meeting.

"There will be hard days ahead in Ukraine," Sullivan said. "This war will not end easily or rapidly."

Sullivan presser
National security adviser Jake Sullivan speaks during a press briefing at the White House on March 22. Patrick Semansky/AP Photo

At Least 117 Children Killed, 155 Injured

At least 117 children have died since Russia began invading Ukraine nearly one month ago, the Ukrainian General Prosecutor's Office said Tuesday. The office estimates more than 155 other children have been injured.

From data gathered so far by juvenile prosecutors, 58 children were killed in Kyiv and 40 in Kharkiv. The office warns actual numbers are higher as inspections have not been conducted where "active hostilities are taking place" or in the temporarily occupied territories.

"On March 21, 2022, the occupiers fired on evacuation buses with children from Mariupol," the Ukrainian General Prosecutor's Office said in a release. "Four children were taken to hospital."

The office adds nearly 550 schools have also been damaged by bombing and shelling.

"72 of which were completely destroyed," the office reports. "The most damaged were in Donetsk, Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, Sumy, Kyiv, Kherson, Chernihiv regions and in the city of Kyiv. In addition, more than 40 institutions for children were destroyed, including medical facilities, art schools, sports facilities, and libraries."

Kyiv school damage
A man removes a destroyed curtain inside a school damaged among other residential buildings in Kyiv, Ukraine on March 18. Rodrigo Abd/AP Photo

8,000 Rescued in Humanitarian Corridors, Zelensky Says

More than 8,000 people were evacuated through humanitarian corridors Monday, including out of Kyiv and Mariupol, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said.

"During the day, eight humanitarian corridors worked," he said in a video address late Monday night. "Kyiv, Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Vorzel, Bucha, Velyka Dymerka, Mariupol, Lysychansk, Severodonetsk, Popasna and Kreminna. 8,057 people were rescued. Thank you to everyone who did it, who worked for the people."

He added that 200 tons of humanitarian aid was also delivered. Zelensky praised the army as it continued to hold back Russian forces as the war stretched into Day 27.

"It was another day that brought us all closer to our victory," Zelensky said. "The enemy is slowly trying to move. To go on the offensive somewhere. To capture our road somewhere. To cross the river somewhere. The Ukrainian army, well done, repels these attempts. And holds back the occupiers."

Zelensky said several children were among those attacked in Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia region Monday. He also condemned an attack at a freedom rally in Kherson, saying "Russian soldiers do not even know what it is like to be free."

"They were driven here, to be honest, as if sentenced," he said. "Sentenced to death, sentenced to disgrace."

Several world leaders are preparing for a series of summits in Europe on Thursday. The G7, NATO leaders and European Council will meet, President Joe Biden will be among those in attendance.

"We are coordinating our positions on the eve of important summits in Europe," Zelensky said. "Our position will definitely sound. It will sound, believe me, firmly."

Horses Killed as Stable Burned Near Kyiv

Russian forces burned down a horse stable in Hostomel near Kyiv with at least 30 horses inside, the Kyiv Independent reports.

It's believed only a few of the 32 horses inside survived, the outlet adds.

The stable's owner told Censor.NET that Russian ordered her grooms to leave in the beginning of March and the stable was reportedly set on fire March 13. The website shared photos from the destroyed stable, showing what appears to be burnt horses among the debris.

In Gostomel, Russian invaders burnt down a stable," Olexander Scherba, Ukraine's former ambassador to Austria, said. "Almost all horses burnt alive. Only 5 or 6 escaped and run free among shelling."

Gostomel horse stable
Censor.NET

Four Ukrainian Kids With Cancer Flown to U.S. For Treatment

The U.S. State Department and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital worked together to transport four Ukrainian children battling cancer to the U.S. to continue undergoing treatment.

The cancer treatments were disrupted by the war, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said, saying the children needed the "life-saving and immediate care."

The Department helped airlift the young patients from Poland to Memphis International Airport, where they were transported to St. Jude.

"There, the patients will be able to safely resume critical cancer therapy disrupted by the Kremlin's aggression," Price said Tuesday. "They will receive the specialized care they desperately need, and their family members will be afforded sustenance, security, and support from St. Jude."

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken shared photos of the patients arriving with their families.

"Children are among the most vulnerable in a crisis," Blinken said. "We are humbled to help airlift four Ukrainian pediatric oncology patients in need of urgent, highly specialized treatment to St. Jude. These kids will safely resume critical cancer therapy disrupted by Russia's aggression."

Russia Forgiving Debtors, Criminals Who Join War Effort

Russia is offering to forgive those in debt in exchange for joining the Russian army, Ukraine's Defense Ministry claimed on Tuesday.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry's Main Intelligence Directorate said the move is part of a new mobilization effort by Russia as it struggles to replenish its "military reserve." The Directorate also claimed that Russia is continuing to recruit criminals, offering "full amnesty" for assisting in war efforts.

"Given the total failure to replenish the military reserve, the occupiers are moving to new forms of hidden mobilization," the Ministry's post translates. "Due to the reservists' reluctance to return to the army and mass refusal to sign contracts, the Russian Prosecutor's Office is purposely looking for people who have problems with repaying loans, paying alimony and other debts.

"At the same time, the number of such people is increasing in progress, considering the consequences of the sanctions on the Russian economy. Accordingly, debtors are offered to release from all credit obligations in the case of signing a contract with the Russian army."

"Recruitment of people who have problems with the law also continues. Criminals are offered full amnesty in exchange for participation in combat activities in Ukraine."

Italy Supports Ukraine in Joining European Union

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi endorsed Ukraine's bid to join the European Union. Draghi spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky by video conference Tuesday with the Italian parliament.

"We want to chart a course to bring Ukraine closer to Europe," Draghi said.

"In recent weeks it has been stressed that the process of joining the E.U. is long. Italy is by Ukraine's side in this process. Italy wants Ukraine in the E.U. Ukraine must be safe, free, democratic. Italy, its government, its parliament, and its citizens are with you."

Last week, Zelensky said he accepted that NATO's doors are not open to Ukraine. Among Russia's list of demands to end the war are Ukraine not pursuing membership into NATO or the E.U.

Draghi to Zelensky
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi speaks after listening to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky during his virtual address to the Italian parliament in Rome on March 22. Remo Casilli/Pool via AP

Refugee Crisis Grows as 3.5 Million Flee

More than 3.5 million people have fled Ukraine in less than one month, the United Nations estimates.

The vast majority, over 2.1 million, have entered Poland since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine on February 24. However, Moldova has struggled to accommodate the more than 367,000 refugees who have entered its country. The European Parliament plans to adopt a massive financial aid package to assist the small country later this week.

"Moldova received more refugees from Ukraine, compared to its population, than any E.U. member state," European Parliament Member Siegfried Muresa said.

"It fulfills an important task for the whole E.U. In Moldova today, 13% of children are refugees from Ukraine. But Moldova now needs more support. That is why this week we will adopt a €150 million Macro-financial Assistance Package for Moldova. And we are ready to do more."

"The escalation of conflict in Ukraine has caused destruction of civilian infrastructure and civilian casualties and has forced people to flee their homes seeking safety, protection and assistance," UNHCR said.

"In the first week, more than a million refugees from Ukraine crossed borders into neighboring countries, and many more are on the move both inside and outside the country. They are in need of protection and support."

Ukraine refugees
Displaced Ukrainians on a Poland-bound train bid farewell in Lviv, western Ukraine on March 22. Bernat Armangue/AP Photo

Where refugees are going, by country:

  • Poland: 2.1 million
  • Romania: 543,310
  • Moldova: 367,910
  • Hungary: 317,860
  • Slovakia: 253,590
  • Russia: 252,370
  • Belarus: 4,310

*Estimates above provided by UNHCR as of 3/21

Ukraine refugee map
UNHCR

Renault Resumes Operations at Its Moscow Plant

Renault resumed its operations in Russia, making it one of the few international companies that have kept their presence in the country following the start of the war in Ukraine.

Renault is the majority owner of AvtoVaz, which is Russia's largest car manufacturer that is renowned for the Lada brand. It has around 40,000 workers in Russia and provides around a third of the cars in the Russian market, according to Reuters.

On Monday, Renault announced it would resume production at its plant in Moscow following a short halt due to logistical issues caused by Russia's invasion.

It would comply with international sanctions and had the backing of its main shareholder, the French state, Reuters reported.

The Moscow plant builds the Renault Duster, Kaptur, Arkana models and Nissan Terrano models.

Renault
A Renault dealership photographed on July 12, 2021 in Berlin, Germany. Renault has announced it would resume car production in Russia. Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images

Zelensky Tells Italy: 'Don't Be a Resort for Murderers'

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has told the Italian parliament it needed to step up sanctions on Russia.

In his latest video address to the world's lawmakers, Zelensky told Italian MPs and senators that Ukraine and Italy had helped each other during the COVID pandemic, but that now Kyiv needed Italy to impose "more sanctions" and "more pressure."

He said those in Russia promoting the war use Italian resorts and so appealed to lawmakers, "don't be a resort for murderers. Block them all real estate, yachts, accounts, block the assets of all those who have influence in Russia."

"In Kyiv they torture, they rape, they kidnap children, they destroy and they take away our assets in trucks," Zelensky said, according to news agency ANSA, "the last time this was done in Europe was by the Nazis."

He said Ukraine "has seen the evil the enemy brings" and warned that Russia posed "a danger to countries close to us too." He also recounted how he had spoken to Pope Francis earlier in the day.

Zelensky received a standing ovation at the start and the end of his 12-minute address.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the Italian Parliament via live video from the embattled city of Kyiv on March 22, 2022 in Rome, Italy. He told Italian lawmakers they needed t increase the pressure on Russia. Alessandra Benedetti/Getty Images

Father of Girl Posing With Gun Says Image Was Staged Before Russian Invasion

An image of a girl holding a gun that was widely shared on social media as a symbol of the war in Ukraine was staged, according to the girl's father.

European Council president Donald Tusk was among the thousands of people who shared the image posted on March 15, and later deleted, which carried the caption "here's a 9year (sic) girl sucking on a lollipop while she kills some commies."

The post suggested that the girl was fighting in the war, but the girl's father Oleksii Kyrychenko, said that the picture was taken on February 22, two days before the invasion by Russia.

He wrote on Facebook that he took the picture in an abandoned building and the gun was not loaded. He shared the image because he wanted to show "how Ukraine may look in the nearest future," but told USA Today which fact checked it that he did not intend for it to go viral.

Girl with Gun in Ukraine
The image of a girl holding a rifle and looking out of the window of a house in Ukraine went viral, but her father now says the photo was staged. Facebook/ Oleksii Kyrychenko

Dmitry Muratov to Auction Nobel Prize Medal to Help Ukrainian Refugees

Russian journalist and Nobel Prize winner Dmitry Muratov has said he would sell his medal and give the proceeds to Ukrainian refugees fleeing invasion.

Muratov is the editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta, one of the few independent media outlets that are allowed to continue since the Russian invaded Ukraine and operates under wartime censorship conditions.

He was awarded the prize in December for his and publication's work, which involves criticizing the Kremlin.

An outspoken critic of Russia's war, Muratov said on Tuesday that he would donate the prize medal to fund Ukrainian refugees.

"There are already more than 10 million of them. I ask for feedback from auction houses that will auction off this world-famous award," he said, according to The Moscow Times.

He has previously said he had donated $290,000 of his prize money to charities and a children's hospice.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dmitry Muratov
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dmitry Muratov of Russia poses with the Nobel Peace Prize diploma and medal during the gala award ceremony for the Nobel Peace prize on December 10, 2021 in Oslo. ODD ANDERSEN/Getty Images

Zelensky Asks Pope for 'Mediation Role' With Russia

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has said he had spoken to Pope Francis and called on the Holy See to help mediate an end to the war.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Zelensky said that he had spoken to "his Holiness about the difficult humanitarian situation and the blocking of rescue corridors by Russian troops."

"The mediating role of the Holy See in ending human suffering would be welcomed," Zelensky added, saying that he thanks the head of the Catholic Church for his prayers.

On Sunday, the Pope decried the "violent aggression against Ukraine" telling pilgrims in St. Peter's Square, "I plead with all those involved in the international community to truly commit to ending this abhorrent war."

Zelensky met Pope Francis in the Vatican in February 2020 after which Zelensky said that the Pope had called him "a president of peace."

Pope Francis, Zelensky
Pope Francis shakes hands with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) during a private audience at the Vatican, on February 8, 2020. Gregorio Borgia/Getty Images

Russian Troll Farm 'Hiring Cyber Troops' To Disparage Ukraine

Social media users are being hired in Russia to join the "cyber front" on Telegram, YouTube and other platforms targeting Ukraine, according to an investigation by the Saint Petersburg-based Fontanka outlet.

A reporter for the newspaper worked undercover for several days since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, signing up to the initiative via online adverts for the "Cyber Front Z" Telegram channel and other social media.

The reporter was promised a monthly salary of 45,000 rubles (around 43 dollars) for spamming comment sections on popular websites and social media platforms with messages aligned with the Russian government's official line on the conflict.

She also noted that there were around 100 people on shift, with each required to post around 200 comments a day, including posts and videos by Russian influencers and Ukrainian officials.

Some of the "tasks" came under the logo of RIA FAN she says, referring to a Russian news agency linked to "Putin's Chef" Yevgeny Prigozhin, the alleged mastermind behind the Russian troll factory.

The White House warned American companies on Monday about Russia's cyber operations, claiming that it could carry out a large-scale cyber attack against the U.S.

Cyber attack
Stock image of someone hacking while using a laptop. Russian troll farm ‘hiring cyber troops’ to target Ukraine according to a local media report. Getty Images

Russian Military Losses 'Topped 15,000' Since Invasion Began—Ukraine

Ukraine has given its estimate of the number of Russian troops who have been killed since the start of the invasion.

The information service of the Ukrainian Army, Armiya Inform, said on its Telegram channel on Tuesday that Russia had lost about 15,300 personnel, including 300 in just one day on March 21.

It also said that Russian forces had lost 509 tanks, 1556 combat armored vehicles and 252 artillery systems among other significant equipment losses. Newsweek has contacted Russia's Defense Ministry for comment.

The figures have not been independently verified but come a day after a Russian tabloid mysteriously deleted a paragraph where it was citing official sources on losses among Moscow-led forces.

An archived version of an article in Komsomolskaya Pravda showed the Russian Defense Ministry refuting Ukrainian claims about Russian personnel losses, saying instead that 9861 had been killed. The article was later available again, minus the Russian toll.

Ukrainian tank
A Ukrainian tank rolls along a main road on March 8, 2022. Kyiv has said that more than 15,700 Russian troops have been killed since the start of Moscow's invasion on February 24, 2022. Aris Messinis/Getty Images

Russian Forces Advance on Mariupol, Military Leaders Claim

Russian troops advanced 4 miles and took control over a village near Mariupol, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a briefing on Tuesday, adding that fighting with Ukrainian forces continues in the area.

In total over 137 military targets in Ukraine have been hit, the ministry claimed, including six communication centres, along with 101 military vehicle locations.

The ministry claimed 230 Ukrainian drones, 181 ground-to-air missile systems, 1528 tanks and armored vehicles and 154 MLRS Grad systems have been destroyed since the start of its "special military operation" in Ukraine.

Newsweek is unable to independently corroborate those figures. The ministry did not provide an update on Russia's casualties and losses.

Over 650 Residential Buildings Destroyed Since Russia Launched Offensive—Ukraine

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has caused damage to around 3,780 properties in less than four weeks, according to the Ukrainian authorities.

651 residential buildings had been completely destroyed, in a figure believed to be a conservative estimate because it only included those that rescuers could safely get access to, according to Roman Primus, the Deputy head of the state emergency service.

He added that the figure did not include properties in territories occupied by Russia, with local news agency Ukrinform reporting that "the scale of the destruction is much greater" due to Russian shelling, artillery and missile attacks since the war started on February 24.

However, Primus said that his department was developing plans to rebuild civilian infrastructure, saying, according to a translation, "we are already recruiting forces for the future reconstruction of the country."

Ukrainian rubble
A destroyed apartment, near Kyiv on March 20, 2022. Ukrainian authorities says that more than 3,700 buildings have been destroyed since the invasion by Russia. SERGEI SUPINSKY/Getty Images

What We Know About Biden's Visit to Europe So Far

The stakes are high for President Joe Biden's trip to Europe, where he will address world leaders over the war in Ukraine.

The White House, which Newsweek has contacted for comment, has not shared further details of his trip since Sunday, but the key appearance will be before NATO and G7 leaders on Thursday.

On Monday, Biden discussed the war in virtual talks with French President Emmanuel Macron of France, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Here is what we know so far about Biden's schedule, according to White House spokesperson Jen Psaki, who has confirmed that the U.S. president will not be visiting Ukraine.

  • Wednesday, March 23, Biden leaves Washington, DC.
  • Thursday, March 24, Brussels, Biden will participate in a NATO summit, meet with G7 leaders and join a meeting of the European Council.
  • Friday, March 25, Warsaw, Biden will hold a bilateral meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda.
President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden returns to the White House on March 20, 2022 in Washington, DC. He will visit Europe this week where he will address NATO allies about the war in Ukraine. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Russian Opposition Leader Alexey Navalny Found guilty of Fraud

Breaking news...

Alexey Navalny, the jailed Russian opposition leader, has been found guilty of fraud, Russian state-owned news agency Tass reports.

The Kremlin critic was convicted at Moscow's Lefortovo court over allegations he stole from his Anti-Corruption Foundation, and of contempt of court.

Prosecutors are seeking a 13-year prison sentence.

"Navalny committed fraud, i.e. the theft of someone else's property by deception," Judge Margarita Kotova said delivering the verdict, Tass reported.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny pictured in Moscow on January 16, 2018. There were international fears for his life more than three weeks into a hunger strike. MLADEN ANTONOV/Getty Images

Navalny is already serving a 2-and-a-half-year sentence after being arrested on his return to Russia in February 2021. That verdict, he says, was politically motivated. He also denounced Russia's invasion of Ukraine, saying "to fight this war is everyone's duty."

'Putin's Yacht' Docked in Italy, Russian Anti-Corruption Activists Claim

Hundreds of assets and properties, including several superyachts, linked to Russian oligarchs and businessmen have been frozen or arrested in recent weeks across the world since the West slapped sanctions on Putin's close circle of associates.

Now Russian activists claim to have found evidence that the 140-metre Scheherezade, the 13th largest superyacht in the world, which is currently docked in an Italian port, is tied directly to Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Navalny's team claims to have accessed a list of Scheherazade's crew members, many of whom, they discovered through phone numbers and credit score data, are Russian nationals employed by Russia's Federal Protective Service, a government agency that provides security to top Russian officials, including Putin himself.

"To sum up, a dozen of Vladimir Putin's personal guards and servants are constantly maintaining one of the world's largest yachts docked in an Italian port. We think that this is a solid enough proof that Scheherazade belongs to Putin himself and must be immediately seized," head of the investigative team Maria Pevchikh said on Twitter.

While Newsweek is unable to corroborate the claims immediately, Western officials and intelligence agencies have long suspected the vessel may be tied to Putin or his close circle of oligarchs.

'Russians Have Been Flummoxed': Pentagon

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby holds a news briefing at the Pentagon on March 09, 2022 in Arlington, Virginia. Kirby said on March 21, 2022 that Russian forces were "flummoxed" in their invasion of Ukraine. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Fierce Ukrainian resistance is proving decisive against Russia's invasion which is not going well for Moscow the Pentagon has said.

"What we're seeing here is the Russians have been flummoxed," said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby on Monday, "they've been frustrated, and they have failed to achieve a lot of objectives on the ground."

Kirby's comments come amid military analysis that Russia's invasion is not going to plan.

Britain's Ministry of Defence said on Tuesday, that Ukrainian forces continue to repel attempts to occupy the southern city of Mariupol and Russian forces elsewhere "largely stalled in place."

Kirby said a lack of planning in the Russian military and a stronger than expected resistance from Ukrainians was proving decisive.

Russia has not been able to "properly plan and execute for logistics and sustainment," he said, adding that Russia was "having trouble feeding their troops."