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Russia imposes a new capitulation deadline in Mariupol, while the US sends fighter planes to Ukraine

As the Ukraine war approaches its 56th day, further claims of Russian strikes near major population centers surfaced on Tuesday.

Moscow launched dozens of airstrikes across eastern Ukraine on Tuesday in another round of conflict with Kyiv. The Ukrainian military confirmed the escalation throughout the East.

Russia’s current operation in eastern Ukraine is aimed at capturing all of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, establishing a land link between those territories and Crimea, and destroying Ukraine’s armed forces, according to Ukraine. According to a senior US official, the recent onslaught is just the beginning of a much broader campaign.

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Russia’s defense ministry said it had opened a path for Ukrainian forces to lay down their arms and safely evacuate the besieged city of Mariupol’s Azovstal steel complex.

Meanwhile, as the battle continued, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) issued a dire projection, predicting that Ukraine’s economy will collapse by 35% this year, while Russia’s GDP will fall by 8.5 percent, more than 11 points below pre-war expectations.

Since the invasion began on February 24, about five million Ukrainians have fled the nation, cities have been destroyed, and many have died.

As of Saturday, Russia stated Ukraine had lost around 4,000 soldiers in Mariupol. Kyiv claims that the country’s total troop casualties so far in the fight are between 2,500 and 3,000.

Russia describes its operations as a unique military operation aimed at demilitarising Ukraine and eliminating “dangerous nationalists.” Russian President Vladimir Putin is accused of unwarranted aggression by the West and Kyiv.

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Norway is supplying over 100 air defense systems to Ukraine, with the defense minister of the Scandinavian country stating that “the country is reliant on international cooperation to withstand Russian aggression.” Norway had provided French-made Mistral short-range missile systems, which are currently being phased down by the Norwegian Armed Forces, according to Bjrn Arild Gram, “but it is still a modern and effective weapon that will be of tremendous service to Ukraine.” He went on to say that the weaponry had already left Norway, which had previously donated 4,000 anti-tank missiles, protective gear, and other military equipment to Ukraine.

According to rebels, more than 140 civilians and five Ukrainian servicemen were evacuated from the beleaguered port city of Mariupol as Moscow stepped up its onslaught in the east. Separatist authorities in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic stated in a post on the messaging app Telegram on Wednesday that “five troops of Ukraine’s armed forces put down their rifles and voluntarily left the grounds of the Azovstal plant.” Separatists said more than 140 people had been evacuated from the damaged city, which serves as a vital land link between Russian-controlled eastern Ukraine and the Kremlin-annexed Crimea peninsula, in a second statement late Tuesday. The Kremlin’s soldiers are battling to drive the remaining Ukrainian troops out of Mariupol’s massive Azovstal iron and steel factory

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