Day 740: Russian drone attack on apartment block in Odesa kills 12, including five children

A Russian drone attack on an apartment block in Odesa kills 12, including five children. Belgium is ready to use interest made on immobilized Russian assets to fund Ukraine’s defense spending. NATO starts a drill in Finland, Norway and Sweden.

Russian drone attack on apartment block in Odesa kills 12, including five children

Twelve people were killed when a Russian drone hit an apartment block in Odesa on March 2. A further 20 people were injured, two of them were sent to an emergency department in critical condition, authorities said. The bodies of five children were found in the rubble. The victims are four-month-old Tymofiy, seven-month-old Liza, three-year-old Mark, eight-year-old Zlata, and nine-year-old Serhiy.

The health department of the Odesa regional military administration said: “A total of 20 people were injured, including a pregnant woman. Three people remain in hospital. Two patients are in the emergency department in serious condition. Another patient in is being treated at the trauma department, he is in fair condition.” 

Spokesperson for Ukraine’s southern military command, Colonel Natalia Humenyuk said Russia possibly used Iranian-made Shahed drones with larger warheads in the attack, causing major destructions to a multi-story house in Odesa.

Belgium ready to use interest made on immobilized Russian assets to fund Ukraine’s defense spending

Belgium has collected EUR 1.7 billion in taxes on immobilized Russian assets and is ready to funnel the revenue to Ukraine to fund its defense spending, Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on Monday.

“Belgium said it had collected EUR 1.7 billion in taxes on [immobilized] Russian assets. It has sent part of the money to support Ukrainian refugees in the EU. Belgium is ready to send part of the revenue to fund Ukraine’s spending, including defense,” Shmyhal said. 

He added that Belgium is ready to join other partners in exploring options to seize Russian assets and funnel them to Ukraine. The solutions will come out this year, he added.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire publicly challenged U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s view that it would be legal to monetize some USD 300 billion in frozen Russian assets, revealing deep divisions among Group of Seven countries.

Following a virtual meeting on February 24, G7 leaders confirmed that “Russia’s sovereign assets in our jurisdictions will remain immobilized until there is a resolution to the conflict that addresses Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and integrity.”

On February 12, the EU Council adopted a decision clarifying the obligations of Central Securities Depositories holding immobilized assets and reserves of Russia’s Central Bank, nearing a solution to unlock the use of interest made on immobilized Russian public money to fund Ukraine.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said any plan to seize or monetize some USD 282 billion in frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine cannot be viewed as a replacement for urgently needed assistance for the embattled country that’s been held up in Congress.

NATO starts drill in Finland, Norway and Sweden

NATO kicked off an exercise on Monday to defend its newly expanded Nordic territory when more than 20,000 soldiers from 13 nations take part in drills lasting nearly two weeks in the northern regions of Finland, Norway and Sweden.

With over 4,000 Finnish soldiers taking part, the Norway-led Nordic Response 2024 represents the NATO newcomer’s largest ever participation in a foreign exercise, according to Finland’s military.

For years, the biannual NATO drill, which has been conducted in the Arctic extremes of northern Norway, was called “Cold Response.”

The participating nations in the current exercise that runs through March 15 are Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United States.

Roughly half of the participating troops will drill on land. The rest will train at sea, with over 50 participating submarines, frigates, corvettes, aircraft carriers, and various amphibious vessels, and in the air with more than 100 fighter jets, transport aircraft, maritime surveillance aircraft and helicopters, according to the Norwegian military.

The combined joint training will focus on the defense and protection of the Nordic region, Norwegian military officials said.

Insights of South-Asian journalists after their trip to Ukraine. Ukraine in Flames #580

From February 20 to 27, the Ukraine Crisis Media Center organized the first press tour for journalists from the Global South with the aim of opening Ukraine to a region that does not have a strong Ukrainian presence in the informational field. The press tour was carried out in cooperation and coordination with the Open Society Foundation and International Renaissance Foundation. UCMC wanted to explain the peculiarities of Russian-Ukrainian relations through a post-colonial prism in order to contribute to a change of focus and a correct understanding of events in Ukraine. Watch Ukraine in Flames #580 to reflect on journalists’ impression of Ukraine amidst war, their personal insights and conclusions of the trip.


  • Juan Carlo Gotinga, Rappler, Philippines
  • Sagar Rajput, Indian Express, India 
  • Luqman Hariz Shaker, Astro Awani, Malaysia
  • Alyaa Alhadjri, Malaysiakini, Malaysia
  • Hussein Dongoran, Tempo Media, Indonesia
  • Damar Ardiyan,, Indonesia