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The Kremlin rejected U.S. claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin is being misled by his advisers about Russia's failures on the battlefield.
In a daily news briefing on Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that "neither the State Department nor the Pentagon have real information about what is happening in the Kremlin."
"They just don’t understand what’s going on in the Kremlin," he said, warning that "such a complete misunderstanding leads to erroneous and rash decisions that cause very bad consequences."
It comes after declassified U.S. intelligence claimed that Putin's senior advisers have been "too afraid to tell him the truth" about the situation on the ground.
The Biden administration announced a plan to release around 1 million barrels of oil a day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for as long as six months.
In Ukraine, an evacuation convoy of 17 buses was able to leave the besieged port city of Mariupol Thursday morning, according to its city council, with further evacuations anticipated for Friday. Meanwhile, the Pentagon said it had seen Russian forces near Kyiv move north or into Belarus, with both the U.S. and U.K. saying it appeared troops were looking to resupply and reorganize.
ICRC says it is ready to evacuate civilians out of Mariupol
The International Committee of the Red Cross in Ukraine is ready to bring aid and evacuate civilians out of Mariupol on Friday, it has said.
"Our team in Ukraine is on the road right now to be ready to ... facilitate the safe passage of civilians out Mariupol tomorrow," it said in a tweet Thursday.
"This operation is critical. Tens of thousands of lives depend on it," it said, adding that "all parties must agree to the exact terms" to allow the effort to move forward.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said in a tweet he was working on returning home Ukrainians which were “abducted or forcibly relocated” to Russia.
Earlier on Wednesday, ICRC said it had also delivered urgently needed medicines and supplies to the Kharkiv regional hospital.
Ukraine's prosecutor general says at least 148 children have been killed in war
At least 148 children have been killed since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February, according to the office of Ukraine's Prosecutor General.
As of Thursday, at least 232 children were reported to have been injured, without taking into account numbers from areas affected by active hostilities, according to the office.
Iryna Venediktova, the Prosecutor General of Ukraine shared the data on Twitter, adding that at least “797 educational institutions were damaged, 76 completely destroyed.” NBC News was not able to independently verify those numbers.
Soldiers from The Royal Anglian Regiment sort and pack some of the 84,000 ballistic helmets being shipped to soldiers and emergency service workers in Ukraine on Thursday in Donnington, England.
U.K. announces 14 additions to Russia sanctions list, targeting media organizations
The British government has made 14 additions to its list of sanctions over Russia's invasion of Ukraine, with senior figures from media organizations among those targeted.
The government announced the additions on Thursday, as the West continues to issue penalties to pressure Russia to end the war by crippling the country's economy.
Among those sanctioned are senior figures from media outlets including RT's managing director Alexey Nikolov, Sputnik's editor-in-chief Anton Anisimov and Sergey Brilev, a news anchor at state-owned Rossiya Television and Radio network.
"The government is also directly sanctioning state media organizations, targeting the Kremlin funded TV-Novosti who own RT, formerly Russia Today, and Rossiya Segodnya who control news agency Sputnik," the government said.
Russia's Chief of the National Defence Command and Control Centre Mikhail Mizinitsev was also named on the list, with the U.K. saying he was "responsible for planning and executing the siege and bombardment of Mariupol."
Zelenskyy appeals for more weapons in address to Dutch parliament
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has asked the European Union for more weapons in a video conference address to the Dutch parliament, warning that war could spread across Europe if Russian forces were not stopped.
"Ukraine is just the beginning. If you don't, if we don't stop Russia, and if we don't stop it urgently," he said as the conflict dragged into its 36th day.
Zelenskyy thanked the Netherlands for its support during the conflict but stressed his country needed more. "We need stingers. Air defense weapons, they will allow us to stand strong. We also need weapons which can secure our skies or unblock our cities where Russia has created artificial famine. We need weapons that will allow us to drive the occupiers out of our land," he said.
The president also appealed for stronger sanctions against Russia.
"Together with other countries in the EU you must do everything so that Russia will have no resources to continue this war," he urged the parliamentarians.
Rescuers evacuate an elderly man as Russia's attack on Ukraine continued in the town of Irpin, outside Kyiv on Wednesday.
Kharkiv authorities accuse Russia of not allowing humanitarian corridors
Russia is not allowing for humanitarian corridors in Kharkiv, regional governor Oleh Synegubov said on Thursday.
"We are working every day to open green corridors. But so far Russia is not giving us such an opportunity," Synegubov said in a statement on the administration's official Telegram channel.
"As we can see, the actions of the Russian occupiers are difficult to predict, they are completely chaotic," he continued, saying the Ukrainian armed forces were holding their positions to fend off Russian forces.
Russia and Ukraine earlier this month had agreed on the opening of humanitarian corridors to allow civilians to escape the worst of the fighting.
The city suffered dozens of artillery, mortar and tank attacks on Wednesday evening, Synegubov said, as well as missile strikes. A gas pipeline was also damaged, causing a strong fire.
Australia to impose tariff increases on imports from Russia, Belarus
The Australian government is imposing an additional 35% increase in imports from Russia and Belarus, its foreign and trade ministry announced Thursday.
Foreign Affairs minister Marise Payne said in a statement that the government will draft a “formal notification withdrawing entitlement to the Most-Favoured-Nation (MFN) tariff treatment” to apply the additional fee on imports from Russia and Belarus.
Payne said this move attempts to further condemn Russia’s actions and is aligned “with other like-minded members of the World Trade Organization.”
The ministry’s statement came as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered a virtual address to the Australian parliament Thursday.
Russian shelling sets fire to a school and an oil depot in Luhansk, officials say
Russian shelling over the past two days set fire to a school, an oil depot, and dozens of houses in Ukraine's eastern Luhansk region, the regional state administration has said. The shelling killed at least two people and injured two children, it said.
NBC News was not able to verify the death toll.
"Several injured and dead residents could not be taken from the streets for hours," Serhiy Haidai, governor of Luhansk region, said in a statement shared on the administration's Telegram page. "The final number of victims is still being determined."
The regional state administration said the Ukrainian army had rebuffed several Russian attacks in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions on Wednesday.
Evacuation corridor from Mariupol agreed, Ukraine says
Russia has agreed to open a humanitarian corridor for evacuation from the besieged cities Mariupol and Melitopol to Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has said, citing confirmation from the Red Cross.
Vereshchuk said officials had "received a message from the International Committee of the Red Cross about Russia's confirmation of its readiness to open a humanitarian corridor from Mariupol with transit through Berdyansk" in a televised statement. NBC News was not able to independently confirm the agreement.
Along with the planned evacuation routes, humanitarian aid will also be delivered to those in Melitopol, Vereshchuk said.
Corridors have further been approved for evacuees fleeing the city of Enerhodar, home to the largest nuclear power plant in Europe that caught fire earlier in March, Vereshchuk added.
At least 45 buses have already been sent for the planned evacuation from Mariupol, while the approved link from Enerhodar to Zaporizhzhia will have to be undertaken by one’s own transportation, the deputy prime minister said.
Zelenskyy addresses Australian parliament
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed Australia's parliament via video link Thursday, warning that global security could be at risk if Russia does not end its invasion of Ukraine.
He specifically warned about the threat of the use of nuclear weapons and the risk of radioactive contamination of nuclear weapons are used.
'Significant' strikes around Chernihiv despite Russia's vow to reduce presence, U.K. says
Despite a vow to reduce military activity around Ukraine's capital and Chernihiv, Russia has continued significant shelling and missile strikes around the latter northern city, Britain's defense ministry has said.
Meanwhile, Russian forces continue to hold positions around Kyiv, it said in its latest intelligence update Thursday.
“Russian forces continue to hold positions to the east and west of Kyiv despite the withdrawal of a limited number of units,” it said.
Meanwhile, heavy fighting continued in the besieged city of Mariupol with Ukrainian forces controlling the city’s center, it said.