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Massive missile strike on Ukraine, first day of EU summit - Thursday brief

Massive missile strike on Ukraine, first day of EU summit - Thursday brief RBC-Ukraine collage

Russian forces launched a massive air strike against Ukraine on March 21, firing over 30 missiles at Kyiv, but all enemy targets were destroyed by the Ukrainian Air Defense Forces. Meanwhile, a two-day meeting of the European Council began in Brussels.

RBC-Ukraine has compiled the main news for March 21.

Russian war against Ukraine: Latest news

Massive missile strike on Ukraine and its consequences

Early in the morning, Russian occupiers launched a massive missile strike on Ukraine, firing Kh-101/Kh-555/Kh-55 cruise missiles from Tu-95MS aircraft and using ballistic/aeroballistic missiles Iskander-M/Kh-47M2 Kinzhal. In total, there were 21 missiles. They approached from the north, with Kyiv being the main target of the strike. All enemy targets within the Kyiv region were destroyed by the Ukrainian Air Defense Forces.

However, due to falling debris from the downed missiles, there was damage to buildings, structures, and other civilian objects in three districts of the capital - Podilskyi, Sviatoshynskyi, and Shevchenkivskyi. There were 13 injuries reported in Kyiv, including a child.

As reported by RBC-Ukraine source, almost all Russian missiles were aimed at facilities of the Defense Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

In the evening, Kyiv Regional State Administration reported four people injured in the region, with one hospitalized. The number of damaged objects increased to 69 private houses. Falling debris also caused damage to the facades, windows, and fences of two high schools in the Kyiv region.

For more details on the Russian attack on Kyiv on March 21 and its consequences, read the report on RBC-Ukraine.

EU summit and call to approve negotiation framework for Ukraine's accession

A two-day European Council meeting began in Brussels on March 21. The summit will focus on the Russian war against Ukraine and further EU support for Kyiv, the situation in the Gaza Strip, European security and defense, and concerns about the agricultural sector.

In the evening, a final statement was released, in which the European Council noted Ukraine's progress in implementing reforms necessary for accession to the bloc. Brussels urged other EU member states to swiftly approve the negotiation framework after its presentation.

Similar assessments and recommendations were provided not only to Ukraine but also to Moldova. Additionally, EU leaders decided to start negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina on accession to the bloc.

It was also announced that the EU intended to align its economy with "military tracks." According to European Council President Charles Michel, this requires achieving three goals: supporting Ukraine immediately, investing better and faster, and facilitating access to state and private defense sector financing.

Moreover, Michel called for an immediate humanitarian pause in the Gaza Strip, which would lead to a sustainable ceasefire.

Zelenskyy addresses EU leaders at the summit

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed EU leaders via video link ahead of the summit in Brussels on March 21. During his speech, the head of state spoke on:

  • strengthening the air defense,
  • providing military supplies,
  • trade with Russia,
  • negotiations on EU accession,
  • use of frozen Russian assets.

Estonia announces new package of military aid for Ukraine

Estonia will hand over a package of military aid to Ukraine for 20 million euros. The military aid package includes recoilless anti-tank weapons, explosives, various types of artillery ammunition, gas masks, sniper equipment, smaller caliber ammunition, and much more.

Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur says that the latest aid package included 155 mm shells, which was Estonia's additional contribution to the EU initiative to send one million shells to Ukraine.

Czechia transfers its last Mi-24 helicopters to Ukraine

Czech Defense Minister Jana Černochová stated that the country had handed over its Mi-24 helicopters as military aid to Ukraine. There are no more Soviet-made helicopters left in Czech stocks.

It is noted that the decision to transfer the Mi-24s to Ukraine was made secretly.

Some countries support sending troops to Ukraine, French Ambassador says

Some countries have supported French President Emmanuel Macron's idea of ​​sending troops to Ukraine, says French Ambassador to Ukraine Gaël Veyssière.

He reminded that, in France's view, there are currently no red lines, and there's no need to hold back from anything, even if there's a need for troop presence in Ukraine.

At the same time, Veyssière adds that for France, Russia is not an enemy but an opponent in the legal field, and they have no intention of attacking.

US Democrats ready to support aid to Ukraine on credit to break deadlock

Democratic Party members in both houses of Congress are ready to support the idea of assisting Ukraine in the form of a loan. This is necessary to break the deadlock.

House Speaker Mike Johnson stated that reviews on allocating aid to Ukraine would proceed shortly, as work on the US government's budget for 2024 was almost complete.

Head of NATO Military Committee arrives in Kyiv first time since February 2022

NATO Military Committee Chair, Rob Bauer, arrived in Ukraine, marking his first visit to Kyiv since the onset of Russia's full-scale invasion.

The NATO military leader addressed the Kyiv Security Forum. "My visit ─ the first NATO military delegation to visit Ukraine since the large-scale invasion ─ is a testament to the fact that NATO and Ukraine are closer than they have ever been," said the admiral.

Ukraine received $1.5 billion from Canada

Ukraine has received $1.5 billion from Canada, which will help the government finance the deficit, particularly social assistance programs for Ukrainians, according to Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.

He noted that the total amount of financial support from Canada since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion amounts to nearly $7 billion Canadian dollars.

Belgium supports EU proposal to use Russian assets to arm Ukraine

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has voiced support for the European Union's proposal to use billions of euros in profit from frozen Russian financial assets to purchase arms for Ukraine.

The assets are frozen by EU central depositories, mainly by the Belgian company Euroclear.

Australia joins drone coalition for Ukraine

Australia has joined the drone coalition for Ukraine. Together with the UK and Latvia, Canberra will provide drones for Ukrainian troops as part of the drone coalition agreement, according to Richard Marles, Australia's Minister of Defense.