Ukraine latest updates: Zelenskyy calls for more support
Ukraine news from March 8: Ukraine’s president pushes for more support in address to the British parliament.
- The US has announced a ban on Russian oil and other energy imports.
- A new attempt at evacuating civilians from Mariupol has failed.
- Russia has announced a humanitarian ceasefire in Ukraine for Wednesday to carry out the evacuation of civilians from five cities.
- Ukrainian officials say civilians are being evacuated from the besieged areas of Irpin, near the capital, Kyiv, and northeastern Sumy.
- UN refugee chief says the number of people fleeing Russia’s offensive has reached two million.
This live blog is now closed, thanks for joining us. You can find the latest updates for March 9 here.
Here are the updates for March 8:
First civilians evacuated from Sumy arrive at destination
The first convoy carrying civilians from Sumy in northern Ukraine has arrived in the central city of Poltava, Ukraine’s presidency said.
“The first column of 22 buses has already arrived in Poltava,” the president’s deputy chief of staff, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, said on Telegram.
Nearly 3,500 civilians were evacuated from the northern Ukrainian city of Sumy under a temporary ceasefire that mostly held, regional governor Dmytro Zhyvytsky said in a televised interview.
Around 1,700 of the evacuees were foreign students studying at universities in Sumy, he said, adding the ceasefire was broken once by a shooting near a checkpoint.
Poland ready to place all its MIG-29 jets at the disposal of US
Poland is ready to deploy all its MIG-29 jets to Ramstein Air Base in Germany and put them at the disposal of the United States, the Polish foreign ministry said.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki confirmed the ministry’s statement during a joint news conference with his Norwegian counterpart in Oslo. “We are ready to give all of our fleet of jet fighters to Ramstein, but we are not ready to make any moves on our own because we are not party to this war,” Morawiecki said.
Russia announces ceasefire for Wednesday morning
Moscow has announced a humanitarian ceasefire in Ukraine for Wednesday morning to carry out the evacuation of civilians from five cities, Russian news agencies reported.
“From 10:00 MSK (07:00 GMT) on March 9, 2022, the Russian Federation is declaring a ‘regime of silence’ and is ready to provide humanitarian corridors,” TASS news agency said, quoting a department of the Russian defence ministry charged with humanitarian operations in Ukraine.
Information about corridors from Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv and Mariupol will be sent to Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk.
IAEA loses contact with Chernobyl nuclear site
Systems monitoring nuclear material at the radioactive waste facilities at Chernobyl in Ukraine, which were taken over by Russian forces, have stopped transmitting data to the UN nuclear watchdog.
“The Director General … indicated that remote data transmission from safeguards monitoring systems installed at the Chernobyl NPP had been lost,” the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a statement.
Transmission systems at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant controlled by Russian troops have also been switched off.
Evacuation from Mariupol fails again: Ukraine deputy PM
Ukrainian authorities were once again not able to evacuate civilians from the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said, describing the humanitarian situation as catastrophic.
Humanitarian corridors from Mariupol offered by Russia that lead to Russian or Belarusian territory are unacceptable, she said in a televised briefing.
Ukraine’s government accused Russia of shelling a humanitarian corridor it had promised to open to let residents flee the besieged city.
Mariupol residents suffer as Russian forces lay siege
Civilians in the besieged port of Mariupol in southeastern Ukraine are anxiously waiting for news of evacuation efforts as they struggle to survive in a city where bodies have been left uncollected on the streets.
An estimated 200,000 people – nearly half the population of about 430,000 – hope to flee the city.
See the pictures here.
Countries agree Russia, Belarus should be barred from hosting sports events
Russia and Belarus should not be permitted to host, bid for, or be awarded any international sporting events after the invasion of Ukraine, according to a statement signed by sporting officials from dozens of countries and released by the US Department of State.
The statement calls on international sporting federations to limit sponsorship opportunities for companies tied to Russian and Belarusian governments. It is signed by officials from the United Kingdom, Italy and Japan, among other countries. China and India are not included in the statement.
McDonald’s, L’Oreal shut down operations works in Russia
Fast-food giant McDonald’s and cosmetics company L’Oreal have joined a growing tide of companies pulling out of Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.
McDonald’s said it was temporarily closing its 850 restaurants in Russia and pausing all operations in the market. “We cannot ignore the needless human suffering unfolding in Ukraine,” the company said in a statement.
L’Oreal, which has 2,200 employees in the country, also closed its stores and e-commerce sites. “We strongly condemn the Russian invasion and the war in Ukraine, which is causing so much suffering to the Ukrainian people,” the French company said in a statement.
RT challenges EU ban at Europe’s second top court
Russian state-controlled media outlet Russia Today has challenged an EU ban on its activities in the European Union, Europe’s second top court has said in a tweet.
The EU imposed the ban last week, accusing RT of systematic disinformation over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The sanction means EU operators will be prohibited from broadcasting, facilitating or otherwise contributing to the dissemination of any RT content.
#RussiaToday (France) has challenged @EU_Council decision and regulation of 1 March 2022 on the restrictive measures in view of #Russia’s actions destabilizing the situation in #Ukraine before #EUGeneralCourt (T-125/22)
— EU Court of Justice (@EUCourtPress) March 8, 2022
Russia lodges appeal against FIFA, UEFA bans: CAS
The Football Union of Russia has lodged appeals against the suspension of Russian national teams and clubs from all FIFA and UEFA competitions over the invasion of Ukraine, the sport’s top court has said.
The FUR is asking the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) for a stay of execution for the suspensions, to allow Russia to play in a 2022 World Cup playoff against Poland at the end of this month.
Zelenskyy addresses UK parliament, calls for support
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was given a standing ovation in a historic address to British parliamentarians.
The Ukrainian president pushed for more Western action against Russia and called for humanitarian aid.
Paraphrasing Shakespeare and Winston Churchill, Zelenskyy said Ukrainians will continue to resist the Russian invasion and urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to enact further sanctions against Russia and declare it a terrorist state.
He also called for a no-fly zone, which NATO so far refused to impose.
How much oil does the US get from Russia?
The US imports Russian oil, but it is not highly dependent on the country for its supplies.
In 2021, the US imported an average of 209,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil and 500,000 bpd of other petroleum products from Russia, according to the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) trade association.
This represented 3 percent of US crude oil imports and one percent of the total crude oil processed by US refineries.
Read the story here.
UK to phase out Russian oil imports by end of 2022
The United Kingdom will phase out imports of Russian oil and oil products by the end of 2022, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced.
“In another economic blow to the Putin regime following their illegal invasion of Ukraine, the UK will move away from dependence on Russian oil throughout this year, building on our severe package of international economic sanctions,” Johnson said in a statement.
“We are confident that this can be achieved over the course of the year, providing enough time for companies to adjust and ensuring consumers are protected.”
US gasoline hits record $4.17
The average price of gasoline in the US has hit a record $4.17 per gallon as the country announced a ban on Russian oil imports.
The national average rose by 10 cents per gallon in one day, up 55 cents since last week, according to AAA data. The previous high was set 13 years ago when the national average price hit $4.10 per gallon.
US lawmakers were discussing ways to ease the impact of the ban on energy prices.
Al Jazeera’s Kimberly Halkett, reporting from Washington, said the White House had been reluctant to put the ban in place because of the impact on American consumers.
The price of petrol is expected to climb significantly. “The president said prices could go up by at least 75 cents a gallon,” Halkett said. “That’s a lot considering that Americans are paying some of the highest prices for consumer goods and given the fact that inflation is at the highest we’ve seen in 40 years.”
Biden announces US ban on Russian oil imports
US President Joe Biden has announced a US ban on Russian oil and other energy imports, ramping up a pressure campaign on Moscow in retaliation for the invasion of Ukraine.
“This is a step we are taking to inflict further pain on Putin,” Biden said.
The US president said he understood many allies will not be able to take a similar step due to their reliance on Russian oil.
“We are enforcing the most significant package of sanctions in history,” he said.
Read more here.
Putin unlikely to be able to install puppet gov’t in Kyiv: CIA chief
Putin’s assumptions about Ukraine before the invasion turned out to be “profoundly flawed”, CIA director William J Burns has said.
“I fail to see – and our analysts fail to see – how we could sustain a puppet regime or a pro-Russian leadership that he tries to install in the face of what is a massive opposition from Ukrainian people,” Burns said.
The CIA chief predicted an “ugly next few weeks” of fighting as Putin doubles down with force amid Ukrainian resistance.
“The one thing I’m absolutely convinced of, and I think our analysts across the intelligence committee are absolutely convinced of, is the Ukrainians are going to continue to resist fiercely and effectively,” Burns told US lawmakers.
Over 60 Ukrainian hospitals out of action: Ukraine health minister
Sixty-one hospitals in Ukraine are not operational because of attacks by Russian forces, Health Minister Viktor Lyashko has said.
“Terrorists from the aggressor country have put 61 hospitals out of action,” he said on television, adding that the authorities were unable to deliver critical medical supplies to front-line communities because of a lack of “humanitarian corridors.”
Russia denies attacking civilian targets.
Russia ‘underestimated’ Ukrainian resistance: US intelligence chief
US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines has said Russia is facing setbacks in its invasion of Ukraine.
“We assess Moscow underestimated the strength of Ukraine’s resistance and the degree of internal military challenges we are observing, which include an ill-constructed plan, morale issues and considerable logistical issues,” Haines told US lawmakers during a hearing.
She added that it remains unclear whether Russia will pursue a maximalist plan of capturing all of Ukraine, and if it does it will be “especially challenging” for Moscow to hold and control the country.
Haines also accused Russian forces of displaying disregard for civilians in Ukraine and said the US intelligence community was working to document Moscow’s abuses.
Vatican tells Russia’s Lavrov Ukraine attacks must stop
>The Vatican’s secretary of state has told Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that the Holy See wants attacks in Ukraine to stop and humanitarian corridors to be guaranteed so that civilians can flee to safety.
A Vatican statement said Cardinal Pietro Parolin had also repeated the Vatican’s willingness “to do anything” to help bring about peace during talks between the pair by phone.
Russian defence official says Ukraine only confirmed one evacuation route
A senior official in Russia’s defence ministry has alleged that Ukrainian authorities only confirmed one evacuation route for civilians out of 10 that were proposed by Moscow, according to a report by the country’s Interfax news agency.
Mikhail Mizintsev, the head of Russia’s national defence control centre, told a news brieifing that Kyiv had only signed off on the corridor from Sumy to Poltava and then to Ukraine’s border with Poland.
He claimed Moscow had also proposed another route out of Sumy to Russia and two different evacuation routes from the cities of Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Mariupol each, half of which also led to Russia.
The other proposed corridors from Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Mariupol went via territories controlled by Ukrainian forces to Poland, Moldova and Romania, Mizintsev said.
Ukraine’s international legion swells after Zelenskyy’s appeal
About 20,000 people from more than 50 different countries have volunteered to serve in Ukraine’s new international legion fighting force, according to Kyiv, after Zelenskyy publicly urged foreigners to sign up to defend his country.
Jay, a Portuguese national, is among them. He has left his home in London to take up arms against Russia’s forces, saying he was motivated by a “lack of action” from Western powers in response to Moscow’s invasion.
“I personally don’t think sanctions are enough, I understand the fear of World War III, but this is the beginning of World War III,” Jay, who declined to give his surname, told Al Jazeera in the Polish village of Korczowa, on the country’s border with Ukraine.
“I don’t think I’m being brave, I’m just doing what I would like people to do if the United Kingdom was under attack and [Prime Minister] Boris Johnson was appealing for help.”
Biden to announce a ban on US imports of Russian oil
President Joe Biden is set to announce later today that the United States will ban imports of Russian oil into the country, according to people familiar with the matter.
Read more here.
How are the evacuations going?
Ukrainian officials say civilians have been evacuated from Irpin and Sumy after Russia declared a ceasefire and opened “humanitarian corridors”.
The route out of Irpin, a town on the outskirts of Kyiv, leads to the capital. Meanwhile, those fleeing Sumy are heading south to the city of Poltava.
But it is unclear if anyone has been able to leave Mariupol. Kyiv says Russian forces have shelled the corridor leading out of the city to Zaporizhzhia.
Moscow also said it had opened corridors for evacuations from Kyiv, Chenihiv and Kharkiv. It was not clear whether mass evacuations were taking place from those locations.
Ukrainians defy heartbreak to win bittersweet Paralympic golds
Despite grappling with heartbreak following Russia’s invasion of their homeland, Ukraine’s team at the Winter Paralympics has won six gold medals.
The team’s success has put it in second place in the gold medal table, behind hosts China.
Read more here.
Kuleba urges companies to boycott Russia
Ukraine’s foreign minister has urged international companies to boycott Russia in an open letter.
“Ukraine requests the ethically and socially responsible global businesses to stop or suspend operations with or in Russia, therefore refusing to finance its violence, murders, and crimes against humanity,” Dmytro Kuleba tweeted.
A widening corporate backlash to Moscow’s offensive has already seen a range of firms, including Apple, IKEA and Nike, suspend operations in Russia.
Ukraine requests the ethically and socially responsible global businesses to stop or suspend operations with or in Russia, therefore refusing to finance its violence, murders, and crimes against humanity. Please read and share my full appeal to global business community below. pic.twitter.com/mazfXa7XU8
— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) March 8, 2022
‘We are refugees’: Russians flee rising authoritarianism
Russians, disheartened by the war in Ukraine, fearful of the pressure from sanctions, and concerned by the muzzling of critical voices, have been fleeing their country in recent days.
Their options are limited – with a near-complete shutdown of European airspace to all flights inbound and outbound from Russia, only a handful of exit corridors remain.
Read more here.
NATO chief says Russia’s offensive must not ‘spread beyond Ukraine’
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said the United States-led transatlantic military alliance has a “responsibility” to ensure Russia’s offensive “does not escalate and spread beyond Ukraine”.
“We will protect and defend every inch of all allied territory,” Stoltenberg told reporters during a visit to Latvia.
He added the alliance had seen credible reports that Russia is targeting civilians in Ukraine and urged Moscow to end its attack.
Ceasefire has mostly held in Sumy, regional official says
A temporary ceasefire around Sumy has mostly held, allowing civilians to be evacuated to Poltava via a humanitarian corridor, the regional governor says.
Convoys of 20-30 private cars were leaving in waves, Dmytro Zhyvytsky said in televised comments.
He added that about 1,000 foreign students were among those who had left the city.
Russian air raid killed 21 civilians in Sumy, local authorities say
At least 21 civilians, including two children, were killed in a Russian air raid on a residential street in Sumy late on Monday, the regional prosecutor’s office has said.
The bodies were recovered by emergency services early on Tuesday in searches that are ongoing, it added.
Al Jazeera was unable to independently verify the figures provided.
The war that opened Europe’s borders
In this episode, Al Jazeera’s The Take podcast looks at Europe’s response to the spiralling humanitarian crisis unleashed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Where have refugees fled to?
More than two million people have fled Ukraine amid Russia’s offensive, according to the United Nations.
More than half have headed to neighbouring Poland, while Hungary and Slovakia have welcomed in excess of 190,000 and 140,000 people, respectively.
Russian strikes hit two oil depots in Zhytomyr, regional official says
Russian forces are bombing civilian infrastructure and homes in Ukraine’s northern region of Zhytomyr, according to its governor.
Vitaliy Bunechko made the claim in televised comments without providing further details. He also said Russian air raids had struck two oil depots in the region on Monday evening.
Russian forces’ advance in Ukraine has ‘slowed considerably’, Ukrainian official claims
The advance of Russian forces in Ukraine has “slowed considerably”, an adviser to Zelenskyy has claimed.
“In certain directions where they were advancing it [the advance] has practically stopped,” Oleksiy Arestovych told a televised briefing, adding that Ukrainian forces were counter-attacking in some areas.
“The forces that continue to advance, advance in small forces.”
Shell to stop buying Russian crude oil
British oil giant Shell has apologised for buying a discounted shipment of Russian crude last week and said it will withdraw completely from any involvement in the country’s hydrocarbons.
“We are acutely aware that our decision last week to purchase a cargo of Russian crude oil to be refined into products like petrol and diesel – despite being made with security of supplies at the forefront of our thinking – was not the right one and we are sorry,” Shell Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden said.
The company said it will immediately stop all spot purchases of Russian crude and shut its service stations and aviation fuels and lubricants operations in Russia.
It added its withdrawal from Russian petroleum products, pipeline gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) will be conducted “in a phased manner”.
Shell announces intent to withdraw from all Russian oil & gas, aligned with new government guidance.
As an immediate first step, we will stop all spot purchases of Russian crude oil, shut service stations, aviation fuels & lubricants operations in Russia.
— Shell (@Shell) March 8, 2022
Attacks on healthcare infrastructure increasing ‘rapidly’, WHO warns
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that attacks on hospitals, ambulances and other healthcare facilities in Ukraine have increased “rapidly” in recent days and warned the country is now running short of vital medical supplies.
The UN agency confirmed on Monday that at least nine people had died in 16 separate attacks on healthcare facilities since the start of Russia’s invasion on February 24. It did not say who was responsible for the incidents.
Catherine Smallwood, WHO’s senior emergency officer for Europe, told a news briefing the numbers had been “increasing quite rapidly over the past few days”.
WHO Europe Director Hans Kluge told reporters at the same briefing that the agency was working to quickly supply medical supplies to Ukraine, where stocks of oxygen, insulin, personal protective equipment, surgical supplies and blood products are dwindling.
China’s Xi calls for ‘maximum restraint’ in Ukraine
Chinese President Xi Jinping has described the situation in Ukraine as worrying and called for “maximum restraint”, saying the priority should be preventing the situation there from spinning out of control, according to reports by Chinese state media.
Xi, speaking at a virtual meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, said the three countries should jointly support peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported.
Until now, Beijing has attempted to strike a delicate balancing act over Moscow’s incursion. It has refrained from calling Russia’s attack an “invasion” and neither openly denounced nor supported the move.
Ukraine says Russian forces shelling evacuation route from Mariupol
Russian forces have shelled an evacuation route for civilians trapped in the besieged southeastern port city of Mariupol in violation of a ceasefire agreement, a spokesman for Ukraine’s foreign ministry has said.
“8 trucks + 30 buses ready to deliver humanitarian aid to Mariupol and to evac [evacuate] civilians to Zaporizhzhia. Pressure on Russia MUST step up to make it uphold its commitments,” Oleg Nikolenko tweeted.
Ceasefire violated! Russian forces are now shelling the humanitarian corridor from Zaporizhzhia to Mariupol. 8 trucks + 30 buses ready to deliver humanitarian aid to Mariupol and to evac civilians to Zaporizhzhia. Pressure on Russia MUST step up to make it uphold its commitments.
— Oleg Nikolenko (@OlegNikolenko_) March 8, 2022
Ukraine says 12,000 Russian troops killed
Ukraine’s ministry of foreign affairs says 12,000 Russian troops have been killed amid Moscow’s offensive in Kyiv’s latest assessment of losses to date.
The ministry added that 48 aircraft, 303 tanks, 80 helicopters and more than 1,000 armoured vehicles had been destroyed.
Last week Russia’s defence ministry issued its first report on casualties in Ukraine. It said 498 Russian troops had been killed and more than 1,500 others wounded.
Al Jazeera was unable to independently verify the figures provided by either side.
Information on Russian invasion
Losses of the Russian occupying forces in Ukraine, March 8 pic.twitter.com/YnVcviyIRk
— MFA of Ukraine 🇺🇦 (@MFA_Ukraine) March 8, 2022
Zelenskyy says child has died from dehydration in besieged Mariupol
Ukraine’s president says a child has died from dehydration in Mariupol amid Russia’s offensive.
“In 2022, from dehydration,” Zelenskyy said in a video address, likening Ukraine’s humanitarian crisis to the one created by Nazi Germany during World War II.
Mariupol has been heavily bombarded by Russian forces. The city has had no water, power or heating supplies for days.
Al Jazeera was unable to independently verify the reported death.
‘Dozens of buses’ headed towards Mariupol amid third attempt to evacuate civilians
Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, reporting from near the city of Zaporizhzhia, in southeastern Ukraine, says there are “dozens of buses” heading towards Mariupol as part of efforts “to try and pull, what … could be hundreds of thousands of civilians out” from there.
“They are being led by a police escort, and there is at least one truck in that convoy, which we understand is carrying humanitarian aid,” Stratford said.
“Now we know that this is at least the third time that a corridor has tried to be established, to try and get people out, not only of Mariupol but of other besieged cities in Ukraine [too].”
UN refugee chief says two million people have fled Ukraine
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi says two million people have now fled Ukraine in search of safety elsewhere.
The number of people fleeing Russia’s onslaught is expected to continue to climb quickly.
Today the outflow of refugees from Ukraine reaches two million people.
— Filippo Grandi (@FilippoGrandi) March 8, 2022
UN rights chief decries clampdown on anti-war protests in Russia
Michelle Bachelet, the UN’s human rights chief, has warned Moscow’s response to widespread demonstrations against its invasion signals a narrowing of freedoms in the country.
“I remain concerned about the use of repressive legislation that impedes the exercise of civil and political rights and criminalising non-violent behaviour,” Bachelet told the Human Rights Council in Geneva via video link.
More than 13,500 people have been arrested for taking part in a string of anti-war protests held in dozens of cities throughout Russia since it began its offensive, according to protest monitoring group OVD-Info.
Humanitarian corridors a ‘confused picture’: AJE correspondent
Al Jazeera’s Jonah Hull, reporting from the city of Lviv, in western Ukraine, has described the situation with humanitarian corridors as a “confused picture”.
“The Ukrainians say just one route, out of Sumy, [has been set up] as part of a sort of negotiated agreement on routes of evacuation,” Hull said.
“The whole humanitarian corridor issue has been rather foggy up to now … two negotiated attempts at corridors out of Mariupol and Volnovakha fell apart on Saturday and Sunday with each side blaming the other for the breakdown of those,” he added.
“Then on Monday there was this unilateral offer by Russia to offer a series of routes out of big, populated and bombarded urban centres – places like Kyiv, Kharkiv, Mariupol and Sumy – [but] nothing came of that.
“They were routes that led directly into Russia and into Russian-allied Belarus, and denounced as cynical, unacceptable and ‘immoral’ by the Ukrainian side.”
Ukrainian officials say civilians being evacuated from Sumy, Irpin
Ukrainian officials say they have begun evacuating civilians from Sumy and Irpin.
The evacuations began after Russian and Ukrainian officials agreed to establish “humanitarian corridors” to allow civilians out of some towns and cities besieged by Russian forces.
Oleksiy Kuleba, the governor of the Kyiv region, said more than 150 people had been evacuated as of 9:30am local time (07:30 GMT).
Footage shared by the Ukrainian State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection also showed what it said was the “first stage” of evacuations taking place from Sumy.
The Ukrainian city of Sumy was given a green corridor, the first stage of evacuation began #WARINUKRAINE #Ukraine️ #UkraineRussianWar pic.twitter.com/4uWXrlLmUf
— SSSCIP Ukraine (@dsszzi) March 8, 2022
Russia opens ‘humanitarian corridors’ from Kyiv, four other Ukraine cities
Russia’s defence ministry says it has opened a series of “humanitarian corridors” via which people can be evacuated from Kyiv and several other Ukrainian cities, according to a report by the country’s Interfax news agency.
Defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said evacuation routes would also be set up from Chenihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv and Mariupol, Interfax reported.
Russia declared a ceasefire from 10am Moscow time (07:00 GMT) to coincide with the opening of the corridors.
The move came after Ukraine on Monday rejected Russian proposals to evacuate Ukrainians via exit routes that mostly led to Russia or Belarus.
UN warns second wave of refugees will be more vulnerable
The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has warned a second wave of refugees from Ukraine will follow the first mass exodus from the country, with those escaping later likely to be even more vulnerable.
“If the war continues we will start seeing people that have no resources and no connections,” UNHCR head Filippo Grandi told a news conference.
“That will be a more complex situation to manage for European countries going forward, and there will need to be even more solidarity by everybody in Europe and beyond,” he added.
Polish Border Guard says 1.2 million people have crossed from Ukraine
About 1.2 million people have now fled into Poland from Ukraine since Russia launched its offensive, according to the Polish Border Guard.
A total of 141,500 people entered the country from its eastern neighbour on Monday, according to the agency, fewer than on Sunday.
Russian aviation faces wipeout
Russia’s invasion has resulted in its airlines being banned from European, American and Canadian airspace, leaving the country with leased aircraft it cannot use, and scuttling aerospace industry partnerships with the West.
Even flights to friendly countries like China are in doubt due to the international community’s ostracisation of the country’s aviation sector, according to aviation analysts.
Read more here.
UK’s Wallace says Putin is a ‘spent force’
The UK’s defence secretary says Russian President Vladimir Putin has isolated himself by launching an invasion into Ukraine.
“Whatever … happens, President Putin is a spent force in the world and he is done, his army is done … and he needs to recognise that,” Ben Wallace told Times Radio.
“The international community has united against him … he is in a position where he is going to cause huge economic hardship to his people.”
Russia’s Gazprom shipments via Ukraine unchanged: Report
Russian natural gas company Gazprom continues gas shipments via Ukraine at the same volume of 109.5 million cubic metres a day, according to the RIA Novosti news agency.
Russia supplies about 40 percent of Europe’s gas.
Biden thanks South Korea for joining sanctions against Russia
US President Joe Biden has sent a letter of thanks to South Korean President Moon Jae-in for joining financial sanctions and export controls against Russia.
Biden added that the move sent a strong message of support for Ukraine, according to Moon’s office.
Russia warns of ‘catastrophic’ fallout if West bans oil imports
A top Russian official has warned that a Western ban on Russian oil imports could result in prices more than doubling to about $300 per barrel and prompt the closure of the main gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.
In a statement on state television, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said it was “absolutely clear that a rejection of Russian oil would lead to catastrophic consequences for the global market”.
Read more here.
Ukraine city struggling to feed people fleeing war
Lviv’s mayor says local authorities are struggling to feed and house the tens of thousands of people who have fled to the city.
“We really need support,” Andriy Sadovyi said, citing the need for equipment including large tents and kitchen supplies.
More than 200,000 Ukrainians displaced from their homes elsewhere in the country are now residing in Lviv, filling up sports halls, schools, hospitals and church buildings. The historical city, once popular with tourists, had a population of 700,000 people prior to Russia’s invasion.
Germany to host G7 meeting over food security
Germany will host a virtual meeting of agricultural ministers from G7 countries on Friday to discuss the effect of the invasion on global food security and how to best stabilise food markets, the government says.
“The provision of foodstuffs in Germany and the European Union is safe but greater shortages can be expected in some countries outside the EU – especially where scarcity already reigns today due to issues like drought,” German Agriculture Minister Cem Oezdemir said.
“Price hikes for agricultural products cannot be excluded in industrialised nations either.”
Estee Lauder to suspend all commercial activities in Russia
Estee Lauder Companies Inc says it decided to suspend all commercial activities in Russia, including closing all its stores in the country.
The company will also suspend brand sites and shipments to its retailers in Russia, it added.
Second Russian general killed in war: Ukraine
Ukraine’s military intelligence says Ukrainian forces have killed Major General Vitaly Gerasimov near the besieged city of Kharkiv – the second Russian senior commander to die in the invasion.
Gerasimov, first deputy commander of Russia’s 41st Army, was killed on Monday, Ukraine’s defence ministry said in a statement. Another Russian general, Andrei Sukhovetsky, also a deputy commander of the 41st Army, was reported killed at the end of February.
Ukraine says its forces have killed more than 11,000 Russian troops. Russia has confirmed about 500 losses. Neither side has disclosed Ukrainian casualties
Rating agency Fitch suspends commercial operations in Russia
Fitch has become the second major credit rating firm to suspend its commercial operations in Russia, saying its analysts elsewhere would provide its coverage instead.
Fitch and Moody’s, which also suspended operations in Russia, downgraded Russia’s sovereign rating by a record-equalling six notches earlier this month, warning the West’s sanctions had raised the risk of a default.
Fitch said in a statement the decision involved credit ratings and some other services it provides, adding it would comply with “all applicable sanctions” and support its Russia-based staff.
Japan freezes assets of more Russians, Belarusian officials
Japan has frozen the assets of an additional 32 Russian and Belarusian officials and oligarchs, the Ministry of Finance has announced.
Japan also is banning exports of Russia-bound oil refinery equipment and Belarus-bound general purpose items that can be used by its military, the ministry said.
Ukrainian FM Kuleba announces meeting with Russian counterpart
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says he will propose direct talks between the Ukrainian and Russian presidents when he meets with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Turkey on Thursday.
“We want talks between the president of Ukraine and Vladimir Putin since he is the one who makes the final decisions,” Kuleba said on Ukrainian television after a conversation late Monday with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
“Grateful to the U.S. for standing by Ukraine,” Kuleba said on Twitter. “We are coordinating intensively on crucial further steps to increase pressure on Russia.”
Another call with @SecBlinken. We are coordinating intensively on crucial further steps to increase pressure on Russia. As long as Putin refuses to end his meaningless and barbaric war on Ukraine, the pressure will be getting higher. Grateful to the U.S. for standing by Ukraine.
— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) March 7, 2022
Russia says ceasefire, evacuations to begin Tuesday
Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia has told a UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting his country will observe a ceasefire on Tuesday at 10am Moscow time (07:00 GMT) and open humanitarian corridors to evacuate citizens from Kyiv and several other cities.
Zelenskyy had rejected earlier proposals to evacuate Ukrainian citizens into what he called “occupied territory” in Russia and Belarus.
“This proposal doesn’t have any demands about the citizens being sent necessarily to Russia, into Russian territory,” Nebenzia said. “There’s also evacuation offered towards Ukrainian cities to the west of Kyiv, and ultimately it will be the choice of the people themselves where they want to be evacuated to.”
World Bank approves $723m in loans, grants for Ukraine
The World Bank says its executive board approved a $723m package of loans and grants for Ukraine, providing government budget support.
The package includes a $350m loan supplement to a prior loan, augmented by about $139m through guarantees from the Netherlands and Sweden, the bank said in a statement.
The package also includes $134m in grants from Britain, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania and Iceland, as well as parallel financing of $100m from Japan.
Ukrainian officials: Russia stepped up shelling of major cities
In Kyiv, soldiers and volunteers have built hundreds of checkpoints to protect the city of nearly four million, local officials say, with Mayor Vitali Klitschko noting that fierce battles continue in the region, notably around Bucha, Hostomel, Vorzel and Irpin.
Russian forces launched hundreds of missiles and artillery attacks, dropping powerful bombs on residential areas of Chernihiv, north of Kyiv, Ukrainian officials said. But a long, Russian armoured column threatening Kyiv remained stalled.
Mykolaiv in the south and Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city, were also shelled. Ukrainian forces were also defending Odesa, Ukraine’s largest port city, from Russian ships, Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovich said.
What’s a no-fly zone and why did NATO say no?
The Ukrainian government has urged the US-led alliance to enforce a no-fly zone over the country, saying it is necessary to protect Ukrainian civilians from Russian shelling, but the Biden administration has ruled out such a move.
Officials and experts warn of spiralling escalation if the US gets directly involved in the war.
Read more here.
Russia recruiting Syrians to fight in Ukraine: Pentagon
Russia is recruiting Syrian and other foreign fighters as it ramps up its assault on Ukraine, the Pentagon says.
Moscow entered the Syrian civil war in 2015 on the side of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and, now, US Department of Defense officials say Putin is “on a recruiting mission” to bring some of those fighters into Ukraine, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“We do believe that the accounts of them – the Russians – seeking Syrian fighters to augment their forces in Ukraine, we believe there’s truth to that,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told journalists when asked about the reports.
Russian troops blocked evacuation attempts, opened fire, Ukraine’s UN ambassador says
Ukraine’s ambassador to the UN says Russia blocked “numerous attempts” to evacuate civilians from the suburbs of Kyiv, Kharkiv, Donetsk and Kherson.
“They denied access of international organisations to provide humanitarian assistance to the most affected places,” Sergiy Kyslytsya said during a meeting of the UNSC.
“Russian troops opened fire on evacuees and evacuation vehicles, shelled the roads allocated for humanitarian corridors.”
He said Russia shelled roads near Mariupol and blew up a railway in Irpin in the Kyiv region, adding that it would be “pure hypocrisy” to push Ukrainians to Belarus or to Russia while Europe’s borders are open to Ukrainian refugees.
Czech president to award state honour to Ukraine’s president
Czech President Milos Zeman, long sympathetic to Moscow, says he will award the highest state honours to Zelenskyy for his bravery and courage in the face of Russia’s invasion. Zeman has been supportive of Ukraine, saying the war was provoked by Russian aggression.
He said a parliamentary deputy had proposed awarding Zelenskyy the highest Czech honours, and he agreed.
“[B]ecause the Ukrainian president has shown courage and bravery, and although the United States offered him an evacuation, he stayed in the capital of his country, from where he is leading its defence.”
Zelenskyy says Russian forces scuppering evacuations
Zelenskyy has accused the Russian army of derailing the civilian evacuations through humanitarian corridors agreed after talks with Moscow.
“There was an agreement on humanitarian corridors. Did that work? Russian tanks worked in its place, Russian Grads [multiple rocket launchers], Russian mines,” Zelenskyy said in a video posted on Telegram.
Bank of Portugal tells lenders to freeze accounts of Russian oligarchs
Portugal’s central bank says it instructed lenders to freeze the accounts of people and entities targeted by sanctions against Russia.
The Bank of Portugal said it had initially identified a “very small number” of sanctioned people and entities with Portuguese bank accounts but assessment efforts were continuing.
In a statement, the central bank said lenders were told to start freezing bank accounts on February 25 and to monitor the list of sanctioned people and entities so they can act when and if new names are added.
Ukrainian civilians must be allowed safe passage: UN aid chief
Civilians stuck in areas of active hostilities in Ukraine should be allowed safe passage in any direction they choose, UN aid chief Martin Griffiths has said during a UNSC meeting.
“The parties must take constant care to spare civilians and civilian homes and infrastructure in their military operations,” Griffiths said.
Ukrainian cities under attack – including Kharkiv, Mariupol and Melitopol – desperately needed aid and medical supplies, he added.
War not going as Russia planned: UK ambassador to US
Karen Pierce, the UK ambassador to the US, says the invasion of Ukraine is not going as planned for Russia
“If I were an adviser to President Putin, I would be interested in the fact that because of this invasion of Ukraine, more and more countries want a relationship with NATO. NATO members have been brought closer together,” Pierce told Al Jazeera in an interview.
“So if I sat in the Kremlin, I don’t know from a Russian perspective that this is turning out the way they want. And their forces are not doing as well as they had planned in Ukraine itself.”
Putin says Russia will not send conscripts to Ukraine
Putin says he will not send conscripts or reservists to fight in Ukraine and that “professionals” fulfilling “fixed objectives” were leading the war.
“Conscripted soldiers are not participating and will not participate in the fighting. There will not be an additional conscription of reservists either,” Putin said in a televised address.
US envoy to UN calls on Russia to guarantee humanitarian access
The US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, has called for a pause in hostilities to allow civilians to leave conflict areas in Ukraine.
Speaking to the UNSC, Thomas-Greenfield called for Russia’s “firm, clear, public and unequivocal commitment” to allow and facilitate immediate, unhindered humanitarian access for humanitarian partners in Ukraine.
No major Russian progress in north and northeast Ukraine: Pentagon
Russian forces have made major progress in the north and northeast of Ukraine in the last few days, the Pentagon said.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Russian troops took the city of Kherson and were attempting to encircle Mariupol, but were not in control of it.
Kirby also said Russia’s move to longer-range attacks had increased civilian casualties and damage to civilian infrastructure.
Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the Ukraine-Russia crisis.
Read all the updates from Monday, March 7, here.