Russia invades Ukraine live updates: A Russian attack on a base near the Polish border leaves 35 dead

Published March 13, 2022 at 8:44 AM EDT
Yuri (right), a bus driver, and his son Ruslan, a doctor, stand in front of a bus damaged in Sunday morning’s air strikes at a nearby military complex, while they wait outside Novoiavorivsk District Hospital in Novoiavorivsk, Ukraine.
Dan Kitwood
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Getty Images
Yuri (right), a bus driver, and his son Ruslan, a doctor, stand in front of a bus damaged in Sunday morning’s air strikes at a nearby military complex, while they wait outside Novoiavorivsk District Hospital in Novoiavorivsk, Ukraine.

A Russian attack on a Ukrainian military site that sits roughly 15 miles from the Polish border killed 35 people on Sunday and left more than 100 others wounded. The Russian barrage on the International Peacekeeping and Security Center brought the war dangerously close to NATO territory, and came a day after the Kremlin warned that Western military shipments to Ukraine were "legitimate targets."

More context about the invasion:

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Ukraine art

A new stamp honors the soldiers who profanely told off a Russian warship

Posted March 13, 2022 at 6:12 PM EDT

Ukraine introduced the design for a new postage stamp that memorializes a now-famous battle cry rallying the country in its fight against the Russian invasion.

The stamp — called “Russian warship, go f*** yourself!” — references an interaction on Snake Island last month.

Ukrainian soldiers defending a military outpost on the island — located in the Black Sea south of Ukraine's mainland — used the choice words when Russian naval forces told them to surrender.

The soldiers may still be alive, officials have said.

The Ukrainian Postal Service (Ukrposhta) announced the stamp design after holding a public vote on social media for a postage stamp competition meant to commemorate the soldiers.

The winning design, from artist for the Ukraine postal service's competition set up to commemorate Ukrainian heroism in the face of Russian invaders.
Ukrposhta
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Ukrposhta
Borys Grokh created the winning design in the Ukrainian postal service's competition to create a stamp to honor the soldiers who told a Russian warship to "go f*** yourself."

Producers Olena Lysenko and Julian Hayda contributed to this report.

On the ground

Russian rocket fire damages a historic Orthodox monastery in eastern Ukraine

Posted March 13, 2022 at 5:38 PM EDT

Built into the side of a rocky hillside on the banks of the Donets river, the Holy Mountain Monastery —or Sviatohirsk Lavra in Ukrainian — had been an idyllic oasis at the edge of the conflict zone in Eastern Ukraine since 2014.

After the frozen conflict turned hot in late February, hundreds of people turned to the church hoping it would be a refuge. According to the monastery’s website, as many as 520 refugees sheltered in an on-site hotel, 200 of them being children, from the Kharkiv region.

Russian rocket fire hit a nearby bridge after evening services wrapped up on March 13. According to both the monastery and the Ukrainian Culture Ministry, shockwaves knocked out most of the windows and damaged many of the complex’s sacred items. After the explosion, people piled into the monastery’s basement, huddled for warmth against cave walls that branch deep into the mountainside.

The monastery is one of three major holy sites that are administered by the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine, and it’s been a pilgrimage site since the 16th century. The damage to this monastery follows a series of other churches and holy sites that have been damaged in the conflict.

While other leaders have distanced themselves from the Orthodox Church in Russia, the abbot at Sviatohirsk, Archbishop Arseniy, called on “all sides” to stop fighting.

Religious leaders from various denominations have called on the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, to call for an end to the fighting. The conflict is dividing parishes in Western Europe and North America as well. The patriarch has replied to criticism by claiming the conflict is “part of the large-scale geopolitical strategy aimed, first and foremost, at weakening Russia.”

casualties

Almost 600 civilians have died in Ukraine, says the U.N.

Posted March 13, 2022 at 3:00 PM EDT

At least 596 civilians have died since Russia invaded Ukraine nearly three weeks ago, according to the United Nations’ latest count, and 1,067 have been injured. The actual death toll is believed to be much higher, reported the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights in a Sunday announcement.

“Most of the civilian casualties recorded were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multi-launch rocket systems, and missile and air strikes,” the U.N. said.

"OHCHR believes that the actual figures are considerably higher, especially in Government-controlled territory and especially in recent days, as the receipt of information from some locations where intense hostilities have been going on has been delayed and many reports are still pending corroboration."

The death toll includes 27 children, according to the U.N., with another 39 children injured.

The Office’s toll does not include casualties that the U.N. has not yet been able to independently corroborate, but it noted that the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine says 85 children have been killed and more than 100 have been injured. It also said that 205 civilians had died in the Kharkiv region as of Saturday, according to the Head of the Investigative Department of the National Police of Kharkiv Region.

On the ground

Some LGBTQ Ukrainians are fleeing, while others are signing up to fight

Posted March 13, 2022 at 2:48 PM EDT

LVIV OBLAST, Ukraine — A few weeks ago, Vlad Shast was sashaying in a slinky pink gown and thigh-high boots. Shast was working as a stylist, and performing on the drag queen circuit in Ukraine's capital Kyiv.

That was before the Russian invasion.

Now, Shast is pushing a grocery cart from shop to shop in Kyiv, filling it with supplies for soldiers on the front lines.

Shast is a prominent member of Ukraine's queer scene, who uses they/them pronouns and identifies as nonbinary. They fear what might happen under Russian occupation. Inside Russia, LGBTQ people have faced persecution, even torture.

For some LGBTQ Ukrainians, it's an added reason to flee the war. But for others including Shast, it's a reason to stay and fight.

Read or listen for more on what Russia's invasion means for LGBTQ Ukrainians.

Attacks on the press

Journalist Brent Renaud is killed while reporting in Ukraine

Posted March 13, 2022 at 2:44 PM EDT
Brent Renaud attends the International Documentary Association's 2014 IDA Documentary Awards at Paramount Studios on Friday, December 5, 2014 in Los Angeles.
Todd Wiillamson
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Invision/AP
Brent Renaud attends the International Documentary Association's 2014 IDA Documentary Awards at Paramount Studios on Friday, December 5, 2014 in Los Angeles.

An advisor to Ukraine’s interior ministry, Anton Gerashchenko, says U.S. video journalist Brent Renaud has been killed in fighting in Irpin, a suburb of Kyiv. Another journalist was wounded, he says.

In a statement posted on social media, Gerashchenko says Renaud “sacrificed his life trying to show the insidiousness, cruelty and ruthlessness of the aggressor.”

Gerashchenko shared a video of an unidentified Ukrainian in camouflage and a police badge, announcing Renaud’s death. The video shows what appeared to be Renaud’s body on the ground behind him. NPR has not been able to independently confirm the video.

Another journalist for U.S. media tweeted that she had been at the scene and witnessed Renaud’s body under a blanket. Condolences are flooding in, including from the head of Harvard’s Nieman Foundation, where Renaud was a past fellow.

The New York Times also tweeted its condolences, calling Renaud a “talented photographer and filmmaker” who had contributed to the Times in the past. He was not on assignment for the Times at the time of his death, it said. Gerashchenko had shared photos of an apparently outdated NY Times press ID with Renaud’s name and photo.

The refugee crisis

Chef José Andrés is helping to feed Ukrainians impacted by the war

Posted March 13, 2022 at 2:05 PM EDT
Celebrated Chef Jose Andres talks to journalists about why he is converting Zaytinya into a grab-and-go meal restaurant in response to the novel coronavirus March 17, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla
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Getty Images
Celebrated Chef Jose Andres talks to journalists about why he is converting Zaytinya into a grab-and-go meal restaurant in response to the novel coronavirus March 17, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Those fleeing the violence in Ukraine could spend days traveling before they're able to reach safety.

That’s why famed chef José Andrés, through his nonprofit World Central Kitchen, quickly set up facilities across the country to provide meals for people fleeing the war. They were on the ground in Ukraine one day after the Russian invasion.

“Why we are so quick? Because we don’t plan. We don’t meet. We come, and we begin cooking,” Andrés toldAll Things Considered.

The nonprofit, which partnered with restaurants in the country, is serving food at hundreds of locations in 12 Ukrainian cities, he said. It also has sites in Poland, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia for refugees who crossed the border to safety.

“It kind of breaks your heart, because you wonder why we need to be putting young people – men and women – in this situation of having to go to defend their country and putting their lives at risk. Nothing makes sense,” Andrés said from the western Ukrainian city of Lviv.

“At least, feeding people is what makes sense. Longer tables, people working together to make sure that one plate of food at a time we can bring hope of a better tomorrow,” he added.

Andrés urged people to call on their political leaders to find solutions to end the war in Ukraine, which has been raging for more than two weeks.

The refugee crisis

Poland has taken in more than 1.5 million refugees from Ukraine

Posted March 13, 2022 at 12:35 PM EDT
People walk to take further transportation after crossing the Ukrainian border into Poland in Medyka, southeastern Poland, on March 13, 2022.
Louisa Gouliamaki
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AFP
People walk to take further transportation after crossing the Ukrainian border into Poland in Medyka, southeastern Poland, on March 13, 2022.

A few weeks ago, Sabina Stankowska-Kobylecka saw a Facebook post from a Polish businesswoman who was trying to help evacuate her Ukrainian employees from their besieged country.

Stankowska-Kobylecka immediately offered the humble stone house in Rzeszow, Poland, where her late grandmother once lived, and she quickly got to work refurbishing it with the help of her husband and friends.

Now, nine Ukrainian women and 13 children live there. Among them are Oksana Horesh and her three children: Sofia, Vlad and Viktoria.

“It’s my friend, now it’s my friend,” Horesh said of her new host. “She help us in difficult time for us.”

More than 2.5 million Ukrainians have fled their homes since Russia invaded more than two weeks ago, and around 1.5 million of the refugees are believed to have entered Poland.

Polish authorities are converting sports arenas into shelters to house more Ukrainians, and scores of volunteers are helping people who cross the border find rides to safer areas. Food, SIM cards and train tickets are free to those who arrive.

In one mountainous Polish province, workers are racing to repair an abandoned rail line to give Ukrainian refugees another route to safety.

But officials are warning that conditions for refugees in Poland could worsen if the crisis continues. Polish President Andrzej Duda said his country needs help managing the influx of refugees and has called for international assistance.

Media

Who remembers shortwave? The BBC does ⁠— and uses it to reach Ukraine

Posted March 13, 2022 at 10:55 AM EDT

Before the internet and other modern forms of communication, shortwave radio spread information around the world.

The nearly forgotten technology is making a comeback as the BBC is using it to reach people in Ukraine. It suspended its full-time shortwave broadcasts in 2008 and brings it back for some situations.

John Figliozzi, an expert and author of The Worldwide Listening Guide, tells Texas Public Radio that shortwave was one of the few ways to communicate over long distances.

"In the days of shortwave, shortwave was the only way to communicate extremely long distances other than wire, which was very expensive," he said.

Read more about shortwave and the BBC's decision to use it for Ukraine.

Pope Francis issues an urgent plea for an end to the war: 'In the name of God I ask you: stop this massacre!'

Posted March 13, 2022 at 10:35 AM EDT
Pope Francis waves during the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St.Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, March 13, 2022.
Gregorio Borgia
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AP
Pope Francis waves during the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St.Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, March 13, 2022.

Pope Francis condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Sunday, calling it a "massacre."

"The only thing to do is stop this unacceptable armed aggression before it reduces cities into cemeteries," Francis told a crowd of worshipers gathered at St. Peter's Square in Vatican City during his Sunday blessing.

Francis urged people to take in refugees from Ukraine. More than 2.5 million people have already fled Ukraine due to the invasion, according to UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.

The pope seemed particularly somber, Reuters reported.

"In the name of God I ask you: stop this massacre!" Francis said, before asking the crowd to join him in silent prayer for an end to the war.

Russian attack on military site fractures relative sense of safety felt by many in Western Ukraine

Posted March 13, 2022 at 9:45 AM EDT

The Russian attack on the Yavoriv military base near Ukraine's border with Poland on Sunday brought the war dangerously close to NATO territory. As NPR's Tim Mak reports from Ukraine, it was a shocking development that shattered what has been a relative sense of safety for those living in the west of the country, a region that up until now has largely avoided the worst of the fighting.

Read more from Tim below:

35 people are dead in a Russian missile attack on a Ukrainian base

Posted March 13, 2022 at 9:30 AM EDT
A series of Russian missiles struck the International Center for Peacekeeping and Security at the Yavoriv military complex, killing at least 35 and wounding scores, according to Ukrainian officials. A man wounded in the air strike is assisted by medical staff outside Novoiavorivsk District Hospital.
Dan Kitwood
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Getty Images
A series of Russian missiles struck the International Center for Peacekeeping and Security at the Yavoriv military complex, killing at least 35 and wounding scores, according to Ukrainian officials. A man wounded in the air strike is assisted by medical staff outside Novoiavorivsk District Hospital.

Thirty-five people died and another 134 were wounded in a Russian military strike overnight on a base in western Ukraine near the border with Poland.

Local authorities in Lviv said the bombing hit the International Center for Peacekeeping and Security in Starychi, near the town of Yavoriv.

“On behalf of the entire Lviv region, we express our sincere condolences to the families of the victims. We will not forget any Hero and we will not forgive any occupier!” Maksym Kozytskyi, head of the Lviv regional state administration, said in a statement translated from Ukrainian.

The facility is located between Lviv, the largest city in western Ukraine, and the border with Poland, a NATO member.

The center once hosted foreign military advisers, including from the United States. It is also located near one of the main routes for moving people and supplies in and out of the country since the war began.

This is the second time in days that Russia has targeted sites in western Ukraine, and it follows warnings from the Kremlin that it would consider Western-supplied weapons being ferried into Ukraine a legitimate target.