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Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (March 9)

Ukrainian emergency employees and volunteers carry an injured pregnant woman from a maternity hospital severely damaged by shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Wednesday.
Evgeniy Maloletka
Ukrainian emergency employees and volunteers carry an injured pregnant woman from a maternity hospital severely damaged by shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Wednesday.

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

A maternity hospital in besieged Mariupol was hit in what Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called a "direct strike" by Russian forces. In a tweet, Zelenskyy said children were among those under the rubble, and city officials say women in labor were injured. Responding to the news, UNICEF said the war was taking a "horrific toll" on children, noting that at least 37 have been killed and 50 injured.

The Chernobyl nuclear site lost power mid-Wednesday, and emergency diesel generators kicked in to power a critical safety system. The reasons remain unclear. Ukrainian energy authorities said combat operations prevented repairs. Nuclear experts say the development is troubling but the risk of a major radioactive leak at the site remains low.

Russian forces in the past day made "moderate progress" toward some cities in northeastern and southern Ukraine but continue to face resistance and have not made significant progress toward the capital, Kyiv, according to a senior U.S. defense official.

Ukraine and Russia might hold their first cabinet-level meeting since the start of Russia's invasion, with the countries' foreign ministers, Dmytro Kuleba of Ukraine and Sergey Lavrov of Russia, expected to meet in Turkey on Thursday. Meanwhile, Vice President Harris is scheduled to meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda after an unusually public disagreement over Poland's surprise proposal to share fighter jets with Ukraine via a U.S. military base — an idea that the U.S. Defense Department called "not tenable."

Russia formally acknowledged that conscripts were sent to Ukraine, contradicting direct assurances by President Vladimir Putin that only experienced officers and contract soldiers were taking part in combat. A Kremlin spokesperson blamed the conscripts' presence on insubordination, saying that military prosecutors would investigate and "punish" those who had failed to fulfill Putin's orders.

In depth

Ukraine's first lady, Olena Zelenska, penned an open letter — "my testimony from Ukraine" — focusing on deaths of children.

Through shellings and a snowstorm, a rescue team evacuated premature American twins from Kyiv in a daring mission: Operation Gemini.

Some of Ukraine's Orthodox churches want to break away from their Russian patriarch. See the images.

Ukrainian-Russian families are being torn apart by Russia's invasion. These are their stories.

Here's one woman's 18-point survival checklist for fleeing Ukraine as Russia invades.

Ukraine's libraries are offeringbomb shelters, camouflage classes and, yes, books.

Earlier developments

You can read more news from Wednesday here, 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.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.