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Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (March 17)

A man walks on Thursday near a block of flats destroyed in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol.
Alexander Ermochenko
A man walks on Thursday near a block of flats destroyed in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

As Thursday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day:

The bomb shelter beneath the Mariupol theater withstood Wednesday's airstrike, and rescue teams began to pull out survivors. The number of casualties remains unclear. Russia denies conducting the strike on the civilian shelter. Failed cease-fires keep disrupting evacuations from the besieged city, but 15 large buses managed to leave Mariupol on Wednesday.

The U.S. is working with allies on potentially delivering more effective air defense systems to Ukraine, a senior Pentagon official says. This followed a public offer from Slovakia's Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad to send the S-300 air defense system if Slovakia is guaranteed a replacement.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered a scathing address to Germany's parliament, saying the country was "dragging [its] feet on Ukraine's admission to the EU." The U.N. Security Council holds an emergency meeting to discuss the war in Ukraine and respond to Russia's military aggression.

President Biden will speak with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Friday. The U.S. believes China may be considering military help for Russia, said Secretary of State Antony Blinken. He also said Russia may be setting the stage for a chemical weapon attack to blame on Ukraine. The State Department separately confirmed that a U.S. citizen was killed in Ukraine, without disclosing the person's identity.

A Russian court has extended the detention of basketball star Brittney Griner until late May, according to state-owned news agency TASS. Griner was arrested at a Moscow-area airport for allegedly transporting vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage.


Deepfake video of Zelenskyy could be the "tip of the iceberg" in info war, experts warn.

How some people are trying to make art, not war, in Ukraine right now.

The number of Ukrainians who have fled to Poland is equal to the population of Warsaw.

The World Health Organization says Ukrainian health care is under attack, and it needs more funds to help.

Without sending troops, the U.S. wages "hybrid warfare" against Russia.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken sets a standard for lifting sanctions: an "irreversible" Russian withdrawal.

Writer-photographer Yevgenia Belorusets documents Kyiv's displaced.

Earlier developments

You can read more news from Thursdayhere, as well as more in-depth reporting and daily recaps here. Also, listen and subscribe to NPR's State of Ukraine podcast for updates throughout the day.

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