These are the key events so far on Tuesday, March 8. Get all the latest updates here.
- Moscow opened corridors to allow people to leave five Ukrainian cities: Cherhihiv, Kharkiv, Mariupol and the capital Kyiv, as well as Sumy. Russia’s Interfax news agency reported. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Tuesday that civilians will start leaving Sumy and Irpin. Earlier, Russia had announced plans for another ceasefire and opening of “humanitarian corridors” to let civilians in besieged Ukrainian cities evacuate in the direction of their choice. This came after Ukraine rejected an earlier Russian plan that proposed evacuation routes mostly to Russia and its ally, Belarus.
Shelling major cities while fleeing
- Russian forces have launched hundreds of missiles and artillery attacks, dropping powerful bombs on residential areas of Chernihiv, a city north of Kyiv, Ukrainian officials said. 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. But a long Russian armoured column threatening Kyiv remained stalled.
- Russian negotiators said they did not have positive developments to report following talks with Ukraine and warned not to expect the next round to bring a final result. The talks “are not easy,” Vladimir Medinsky said. A fourth round will take place very soon, Russia said. The Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers are expected to meet in Turkey on Thursday.
- Ukraine’s military intelligence said that Ukrainian forces killed a Russian general near the besieged city of Kharkiv – the second Russian senior commander to die in the invasion. Russia’s defence ministry could not be immediately reached for comment. Ukraine says its forces have killed more than 11,000 Russian troops. Russia has confirmed about 500 losses. Neither side has disclosed Ukrainian casualties.
- At least nine people, including two children, have died in an “enemy” air strike on the city of Sumy, some 350 kilometres (217 miles) east of Kyiv, the Ukrainian rescue services told AFP.
- Russia warned that oil prices could surge to $300 a barrel and it might close the main gas pipeline to Germany if the West halts oil imports over the invasion of Ukraine, as peace talks made little progress. Russian natural gas company Gazprom continued gas shipments via Ukraine at the same volume of 109.5 million cubic metres a day, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.
- The World Bank approved $723m in loans and grants for Ukraine to be transferred in the next few days. US congressional negotiators neared a deal to provide Ukraine with billions of dollars in emergency aid. The White House requested $10bn.
- A Russian air attack hit a bread factory in northern Ukraine and killed at least 13 civilians, Ukrainian officials said. As many as five million Ukrainians could flee the country if Russia’s invasion continues, the EU’s top diplomat said, while the United Nations’ refugee agency said at least 1.7 million have left so far.
International repercussions on food
- Germany will host a virtual meeting of agricultural ministers from G7 countries on Friday to discuss the effects of the invasion on global food security and how to best stabilise food markets, the government said.
Estee Lauder suspends activities in Russia
- Estee Lauder Companies Inc has said it decided to suspend all commercial activities in Russia, including closing all its stores in the country. The New York-based company, which sells cosmetic and skincare products, will also suspend brand sites and shipments to its retailers in Russia, it added.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies