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

Ukrainian officials are raising alarms about the civilians and last soldiers remaining in the bombed-out southern city of Mariupol. Russian troops control the area, but Ukrainian forces have taken their last stand for weeks in the city's Azovstal steel plant. Two of their spouses met with Pope Francis, hoping for his help arranging an evacuation of the Ukrainian troops. All civilians are believed to have been evacuated from Azovstal by the United Nations and International Committee of the Red Cross.

Ukraine is opening its first war crimes trial of a Russian soldier, accused of killing a civilianon Feb. 28 in a village 180 miles east of Kyiv. Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova identified the soldier as 21-year-old Vadim Shishimarin — a member of the elite 4th Guards Tank Division — and said he is in custody in Ukraine.

Congress is preparing a $39.8 billion package to maintain U.S. support for Ukraine, the latest round of funding in a bipartisan effort to help the country repel Russia's invasion without committing U.S. troops to a deadly war. The House of Representatives has approved the package, and the Senate is expected to quickly do so as well and send it on for President Biden's signature.

Russian gas shipments to Europe through Ukraine were disrupted for the first time since the war began. Ukraine's pipeline operator halted Russian shipments of natural gas through a key hub in the country's east, citing Russian occupation and fighting in the area. Ukraine said it was trying to reroute the gas but Russian gas giant Gazprom said switching paths was too complicated.

A fan-favorite band from Ukraine advanced to the Eurovision grand final. The three member rap-folk band Kalush Orchestra — known for their colorful traditional clothing, pink bucket hat and energetic breakdancer — is favored to win the European song contest on Saturday.

Special report

Russia's war in Ukraine is changing the world: See its ripple effects in all corners of the globe.


Spouses of Ukrainian soldiers in the Mariupol steel plant plead for an evacuation.

How one of Russia's neighbors — Estonia — is dealing with Putin's propaganda.

How Zaporizhzhia in southern Ukraine became a humanitarian hub: Listen to the story.

Russia's war in Ukraine could become a 'frozen conflict,' analysts say. Hear their reasoning.

Can NATO influence the outcome of Russia's war in Ukraine? Hear the conversation with NATO deputy secretary.

Earlier developments

You can read more news from Wednesday here and more daily recaps here. For context and more in-depth stories, you can find NPR's full coverage here. Also, listen and subscribe to NPR's State of Ukraine podcast for updates throughout the day.

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