Ukraine-Russia War: Some 20 countries commit to new security aid for Ukraine

New Zealand to assist in training Ukrainian forces * 150 bodies recovered under rubble in Kharkiv * Russian forces used hostages as human shields

 Lithuania's military aid including Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, delivered as part of the security support package for Ukraine, is unloaded from a ?17 Globemaster III plane at the Boryspil International Airport outside Kyiv, Ukraine, February 13, 2022. (photo credit: REUTERS/VALENTYN OGIRENKO)
Lithuania's military aid including Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, delivered as part of the security support package for Ukraine, is unloaded from a ?17 Globemaster III plane at the Boryspil International Airport outside Kyiv, Ukraine, February 13, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/VALENTYN OGIRENKO)

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that some 20 countries had announced new security assistance packages for Ukraine during a virtual meeting with allies on Monday that was aimed at coordinating arms for Kyiv.

The countries that announced new packages included Italy, Denmark, Greece, Norway and Poland, Austin told reporters following a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group. Denmark would provide a harpoon launcher and missiles to defend Ukraine's coast, Austin said.

"Everyone here understands the stakes of this war," Austin said.

The top US military officer, General Mark Milley, told the same press conference that the US was still "a ways away" from any reintroduction of US forces into Ukraine.

Civilian displacement

The war in Ukraine has "displaced 8 million within the country, and more than 6 million refugee movements from Ukraine have been registered," according to an official statement from the UN Refugee Agency on Monday.

Also in the report, the amount of people that were forced to flee conflict, persecution and violence has crossed 100 million for the first time on record, with the agency stating that this number was "propelled by the war in Ukraine."

87 people were killed in a Russian airstrike on the village of Desna last Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Monday during a speech to global business leaders at Davos.

Ukrainian authorities last week had said that eight people were killed in the strike on Desna, located in the northern Ukrainian region of Chernihiv.

The fight continues

A Russian airstrike left one killed and another four injured in Malyn in the Zhytomyr Oblast, northwest of Kyiv, the city's mayor said late Sunday night. The person killed was a Ukrzaliznytsia railway employee.

The strike also damaged infrastructure and around 150 residential buildings and shops in the area.

Russian forces have also destroyed a Ukrainian unit of US-made M777 howitzers, RIA News Agency reported citing the Russian Defense Ministry.

Shortly afterward, Russian forces shelled the vicinities of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, regional governor Valentyn Reznychenko wrote on Telegram. No casualties were reported.

 Service members of pro-Russian troops walk across a road before the expected departure of Ukrainian soldiers, who surrendered at the besieged Azovstal steel mill, in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict in Mariupol, Ukraine May 19, 2022. (credit: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters) Service members of pro-Russian troops walk across a road before the expected departure of Ukrainian soldiers, who surrendered at the besieged Azovstal steel mill, in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict in Mariupol, Ukraine May 19, 2022. (credit: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

Russia is reportedly reinforcing its troops in the Zaporizhzhia Oblast, the regional military administration stated on Sunday, as the number of soldiers is slowly outnumbering local residents in the city of Vasylivka.  

The leader of Ukraine's breakaway Donetsk People's Republic on Monday said the fighters who surrendered at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol will a face trial in the separatist region, Interfax news agency reported.

"The prisoners from Azovstal are being held on the territory of the Donetsk People's Republic," Interfax quoted Denis Pushilin as saying. "Organizing an international tribunal on the republic's territory is also planned."

Russia's defense ministry on Monday said it had fired four Kalibr missiles from a submarine in the Black Sea to destroy the military equipment of a Ukrainian mountain assault brigade, the TASS news agency reported.

Hostages as human shields

Russian forces have reportedly used hostages as human shields in the Chernihiv Oblast from March 3rd to the 31st, according to a Sunday report from the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office.

350 residents were kept in a 197-square-meter school basement in the city of Yahidne, the report stated. Hostages included elderly people, children and infants. 10 of the elderly people reportedly died due to a lack of food, water and fresh air.

Hostages were as young as 1 and a half years old, whereas the oldest was 93.

150 bodies recovered in Kharkiv

150 bodies have reportedly been recovered under rubble in Kharkiv, according to Pravda citing Deputy Head of the State Emergency Service Anatolii Torianyk in a televised address on Sunday.

Emergency services have also dismantled the debris at 98 different sites, where the bodies were found.

New Zealand to assist in training Ukrainian forces in the UK

New Zealand will offer support and training to Ukrainian forces by deploying 30 defense force personnel to the United Kingdom to meet with Ukrainian forces there until the end of July, CNN reported Monday morning citing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

 A blast this week in the southern port city of Mariupol in Ukraine. Will the world soon accuse Israel of being like Russia? (credit: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters) A blast this week in the southern port city of Mariupol in Ukraine. Will the world soon accuse Israel of being like Russia? (credit: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

Ukrainian troops will be trained in using the L-119 light gun.

Ukraine's parliament bans Russian war symbols

Ukraine's parliament banned the symbols "Z" and "V" on Sunday - both of which were used by the Russian military to encourage the invasion, multiple sources reported. However, the parliament agreed with Zelensky's recommendation to allow their usage for educational and historic purposes.

Casualties

"Russia has likely suffered a similar death toll to that experienced by the Soviet Union during its nine-year war in Afghanistan," stated the UK Defense Ministry in its latest intelligence update on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

In a more detailed report, the Ukrainian General Staff of Armed Forces stated that Russia lost 29,200 personnel, 1,293 tanks, 3,166, 604 artillery pieces, 201 launch rocket systems, 170 helicopters, 204 airplanes, 476 drones, and 13 boats as of Monday morning.

Two Russian civilians, including a 14-year-old, were killed after Ukraine shelled a town in the Kherson region, TASS reported citing the Russian Defense Ministry. Ten people were injured and nearly a dozen houses were damaged.

President Zelensky stated that up to 100 people are killed each day in the fighting in eastern Ukraine during a press conference he did alongside Polish President Andrzej Duda, CNN reported. 

This was likely caused due to a multitude of reasons, from limited air cover to poor low-level tactics, the ministry stated.