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Story Publication logo March 15, 2022

Russia Escalates Bombardment of Kyiv as Civilian Casualties Mount


Ukraine refugees flee to Hungary

The Pulitzer Center is partnering with "PBS NewsHour" to bring viewers the kind of reporting...


Targeted attacks on the Ukrainian capital Kyiv intensified Tuesday on the 20th day of Russia's invasion. The mayor of Kyiv declared a daylight curfew to extend into Thursday, as talks between Russia and Ukraine continued. And the leaders of three NATO nations—Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia—braved shelling to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Jane Ferguson reports from Kyiv.

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Judy Woodruff: Targeted attacks on the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, intensified today with strikes that hit residential apartment towers on this, the 20th day of Russia's invasion.

The mayor of Kyiv declared a daylight curfew to extend into Thursday, as talks between Russia and Ukraine continued. And the leaders of three NATO nations—Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovenia—braved the shelling to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in his embattled capital today.

But we begin again tonight with Jane Ferguson, reporting from Kyiv.

Jane Ferguson: Residents of Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, woke this morning to yet more intense shelling at dawn. This time, an office building was hit and a row of shops smashed.

On day 20 of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, civilian lives and infrastructure continue to bear the brunt. This morning's missile attacks in Kyiv were the deepest. They reached the furthest inside the city. Although the Russian advances outside the capital have stalled, that doesn't mean they can't menace the city center with missiles and artillery.

We are told four people were killed in today's attacks on the city. Among those killed yesterday, a veteran combat cameraman for FOX News, Pierre Zakrzewski, and Ukrainian producer Oleksandra Kuvshinova. They were killed just outside the city. Correspondent Ben Hall was wounded.

Justin Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister: Volodymyr, in the years I've known you …

Jane Ferguson: Half-a-world away, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to a packed session of Canada's Parliament. He again pleaded with a NATO nation to create a no-fly zone.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukrainian President (through translator): Each city that they are marching through, they are taking down the Ukrainian flags. Can you imagine someone taking down your Canadian flags in Montreal or other Canadian cities?

I know that you all support Ukraine. We've been friends with you, Justin. But, also, I would like you to understand that, and I would like you to feel this.

Jane Ferguson: But as the war grinds on, diplomacy continues. Yesterday, the fourth round of negotiations between the Ukrainian and Russian governments began.

Mykhailo Podolyak, Adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (through translator): We have been at war with Russia for 20 days, and there has been some adjustment in their positions. They see that the war is not going according to their plans.

Jane Ferguson: We sat down with Mykhailo Podolyak today. He heads up the Ukrainian negotiating team on behalf of Zelenskyy. Podolyak says there has been a marked change in tone the longer the Ukrainians have held the Russian army back.

Mykhailo Podolyak (through translator): Russia, in the beginning, was talking about ultimatums, and they were hoping that the propaganda and misinformation they had been using for eight years had not happened. So, this has been a wakeup call for them, and their position has softened significantly.

Jane Ferguson: He also believes a cease-fire is getting closer.

Mykhailo Podolyak (through translator): We are confident, because the Russians have used all of their resources that they were planning to use in this war. They don't have the reserves. They don't have the supply chain.

They were planning to move in their troops, capture as much territory as possible in three days, and basically have a blitzkrieg. They did not do that, and they will not do that. They are stuck fighting in their current positions, and they have no chances whatsoever to move further into Ukrainian territory.

Therefore, we have much confidence that we will have a cease-fire in the coming days.

Jane Ferguson: Yet it's not clear if Russian President Vladimir Putin will order his army to resupply and keep pushing towards their prize, the capital of Ukraine and ultimate control of the government.

Today, a senior U.S. Department of Defense official told reporters: "We have seen no evidence of Russian efforts to flow in additional supplies from inside Russia or from elsewhere. But we have reason to believe the Russians are considering their resupply and manning options."

The Ukrainian government continues to push for a face-to-face meeting between their president and Putin. How close are we to an in-person sit-down between Zelenskyy and Putin?

Mykhailo Podolyak (through translator): Yes, the only option to end this war is direct talks between the two presidents, and that is what we are working on with these peace talks. We are working on documents that the presidents will be able to discuss further and sign.

Jane Ferguson: So, it sounds like you are pretty close?

Mykhailo Podolyak (through translator): Yes. Obviously, this is coming some time soon, because this is the only way to end this war.

Jane Ferguson: For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Jane Ferguson in Kyiv, Ukraine.


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