Latest Ukraine updates: Strike hits Mariupol hospital complex

Russian attack hits a children’s hospital and maternity ward in besieged port city, Ukrainian officials say.

Ukrainian emergency employees and volunteers carry an injured pregnant woman
An injured pregnant woman is carried away from the damaged maternity hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine [Evgeniy Maloletka/AP]
  • Ukrainian officials say a hospital complex in the besieged southeastern port city of Mariupol has been hit by a Russian attack.
  • President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has denounced the incident as an “atrocity” and reiterated a call for Kyiv’s allies to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine.
  • Kyiv has called for an immediate ceasefire around the defunct Chernobyl nuclear power plant amid a power cut at the site.
  • Russia’s defence ministry has admitted that some conscripts were deployed to Ukraine, days after President Vladimir Putin denied that was the case.

INTERACTIVE Russia-Ukraine map Who controls what in Ukraine DAY 14

This live blog is now closed; thank you for joining us. For the latest news on March 10, go here.

Here are the updates for March 9:

IAEA chief to take part in Russia-Ukraine meeting in Turkey

Rafael Grossi, director-general of the UN nuclear watchdog group the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), will fly on Thursday to the Turkish city of Antalya, where the foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine plan to meet.

“In meetings there I hope to make progress on the urgent issue of ensuring the safety and security of #Ukraine’s nuclear facilities. We need to act now!” Grossi said on Twitter.

Russia has seized a nuclear plant in Zaporizhzhia and radioactive waste facilities near the defunct nuclear power plant at Chernobyl.

Ukrainian staff are still operating both, but in conditions Grossi has said put the facilities’ safety at risk. The watchdog said monitoring systems in both sites have stopped transmitting data to its headquarters.

Ukraine evacuated 40,000 civilians in one day: Official

Ukraine has evacuated more than 40,000 people in one day but has fallen short of the target of 100,000, one of the negotiators in the talks with Russia said.

David Arakhamia said in a post on social media said that evacuations remained problematic around the cities of Kyiv, Kharkiv and Mariupol.

Photos: Russian bombing destroys hospital in Ukraine’s Mariupol

The ground shook more than a mile away when a children’s hospital with a maternity ward in Mariupol was hit by a series of blasts that blew out windows and ripped away much of the front of one building.

Police and soldiers rushed to the scene to evacuate victims, carrying out a heavily pregnant and bleeding woman on a stretcher.

Read the story here.

A medical worker walks inside of the damaged by shelling maternity
A medical worker clears debris from the children’s hospital damaged by shelling in Mariupol [Evgeniy Maloletka/AP]

No evidence of weapons of mass destruction produced in Ukraine: UN

The United Nations has seen no evidence of weapons of mass destruction allegedly produced in Ukraine, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is “unaware of any activity on the part of the Ukrainian government, which is inconsistent with its international treaty obligations, including on chemical weapons or by biological weapons.”

The UN statement follows Russian allegations that Ukraine is developing nuclear or biological weapons.

Russia says it has not breached ceasefire

Moscow has rejected accusations that it is breaching an agreed ceasefire to allow the evacuation of Ukrainian civilians.

The ceasefire has been strictly observed, Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev of the Russian Defence Ministry said, according to Russia’s TASS news agency.

He added Ukraine had shelled Russian positions in the suburbs of Kyiv as well as in Kharkiv, Mariupol and Sumy.

Lavrov arrives in Turkey for talks with Ukrainian counterpart

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has landed in Antalya ahead of planned talks with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Thursday.

The meeting would be the first between the nations’ top diplomats since Russia invaded Ukraine two weeks ago.

Russia-Ukraine war military dispatch: March 9, 2022

Russian forces are moving, albeit slowly, towards Izyum, southeast of Kharkiv, while also trying to lock Chernihiv, north of the capital, Kyiv, from all sides. At the same time, they are advancing north of Mykolaiv after failed attempts against the southern city and are trying to cut west of Kyiv in order to encircle it.

Meanwhile, Belarusians living in Ukraine’s capital have reportedly created a separate battalion named after 19th-century revolutionary Kastus Kalinouski to defend Kyiv.

Read the story here.

Putin rejected every US ‘off-ramp’ in conflict: Blinken

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said Putin rejected every off-ramp offered by the United States to de-escalate the conflict in Ukraine.

“We’ve sought to provide possible off-ramps to President Putin. He’s the only one who can decide whether or not to take them. So far, every time there’s been an opportunity to do just that, he’s pressed the accelerator and continued down this horrific road that he’s been pursuing,” Blinken said at a joint news conference with his British counterpart Liz Truss.

“If he tries to enforce such a puppet regime by keeping Russian forces in Ukraine, it will be a long, bloody, drawn-out mess,” he added.

Ukraine asks central banks to refuse Russian payment system Mir

Ukraine has asked central banks in Armenia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Vietnam, Turkey and Kyrgyzstan to suspend all transactions with cards of Russia’s Mir payments system.

“This appeal comes amid the urgent need to scale up global financial pressure on the aggressor country as it proceeds with its assault on Ukraine,” Kyiv’s central bank said in a statement.

Russia may be using ‘dumb’ bombs in Ukraine: US official

The United States has seen indications that Russia’s military is using so-called dumb bombs that are unguided and greatly increase the risk of missing targets, a senior US defence official said.

The official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity, said the US was observing “increasing damage to civilian infrastructure and civilian casualties”.

Russia denies targeting civilians and says it is using precision munitions to hit military targets.

UN says no health facility ‘should ever be a target’

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric has said no health facility “should ever be a target,” in response to an apparent Russian air strike against a children’s hospital in Mariupol.

The UN and the World Health Organization have called for an “immediate halt to attacks on healthcare, hospitals, healthcare workers, ambulances,” Dujarric told a press conference.

UN health agency verifies attacks on 18 health facilities

The World Health Organization (WHO) says it has verified 18 attacks on healthcare facilities and personnel in Ukraine, resulting in 10 deaths and 16 injuries.

WHO Health Emergencies Programme Director Michael Ryan warned that the violence was creating a health crisis that could worsen, as some 1,000 hospitals and health clinics were situated within 10km of the front lines.

“The health system is becoming engulfed in this conflict, engulfed in this crisis,” Ryan told a press conference.

Air raid: 17 wounded at Mariupol children’s hospital, says official

A Russian air raid on a children’s hospital in Mariupol has injured 17 people according to preliminary figures, a local official said.

“So far there are 17 wounded personnel of the hospital,” Pavlo Kyrylenko, the head of the southeastern Donetsk region, said in a video posted on Facebook. He added that “so far no kids were wounded” and there have been “no deaths”.

A maternity hospital hit by shelling in Mariupol.
A woman stands outside a maternity hospital hit by shelling in Mariupol [Evgeniy Maloletka/AP]

UK’s PM calls attack on Ukraine children’s hospital ‘depraved’

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has condemned an air strike on a children’s hospital in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, pledging to hold Russian President Vladimir Putin to account “for his terrible crimes”.

“There are few things more depraved than targeting the vulnerable and defenceless,” Johnson said in a Tweet.

US and UK rule out no-fly zone, again

The top diplomats from the UK and the United States have again ruled out establishing a no-fly zone over Ukraine, even a limited one to protect humanitarian corridors.

“The reality is that setting up a no-fly zone would lead to a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia,” UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss told reporters.

“And that is not what we are looking at. What we are looking at is making sure that the Ukrainians are able to defend their own country with the best possible selection of anti-tank weapons and anti-air defence systems.”

Blinken echoed Truss’s remarks, saying that Washington’s aim is to end the war, not expand it.

‘We must double down on our sanctions,’ says UK’s Truss

UK Foreign Minister Liz Truss has called for further sanctions against Russia, urging more countries to join in the effort to isolate Moscow economically.

“We must double down on our sanctions. That includes a full SWIFT [Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication] ban, and the G7 ending its use of Russian oil and gas,” Truss said.

“The United States and the United Kingdom this week announced our plans to stop importing Russian oil, and the EU have announced their plans to reduce their dependency, too. We want to encourage a wider group of countries to get on board with our sanctions effort.”

Proposals of humanitarian corridors to Russia are ‘absurd’, US says

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has dismissed Moscow’s proposals for opening humanitarian corridors to allow Ukrainian civilians to flee to Russia as “absurd”.

“The Kremlin’s proposals to create humanitarian corridors leading into Russia and Belarus are absurd,” Blinken said in a press conference with his UK counterpart Liz Truss.

“It’s offensive to suggest the Ukrainian people should seek refuge from the very government that has demonstrated such disregard for their lives.”

Anguished Ukrainians await news of relatives in besieged Mariupol

Roman Skliarov woke up on February 24 to a phone call warning that war had started. In the distance, he could hear the sound of explosions and heavy fire as Russian troops advanced towards the port city of Mariupol, in southeastern Ukraine.

The 32-year-old rushed to wake his mother and younger brother, who tried to calm him down as he flung a few essential items into a backpack.

“It took me two hours to convince them to leave,” Skliarov said. But his grandmother, 77-year-old Anna Skliarova, could not be persuaded to flee her home.

Read the story here.

Ukrainian official accuses Russia of largely failing to respect evacuation plans

An adviser to Ukraine’s interior ministry has accused Russian forces of largely failing to respect agreements to allow civilians to be evacuated from towns and cities through humanitarian corridors.

Evacuations took place from the cities of Sumy and Enerhodar, but not from Kharkiv and only partially in areas in the Kyiv region, Vadym Denysenko said in televised remarks.

Kyiv had earlier said it would attempt to evacuate civilians through six humanitarian corridors on Wednesday – from Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia; Enerhodar to Zaporizhzhia; Sumy to Poltava; Izyum to Lozova; Volnovakha to Pokrovske; and from several towns around Kyiv, including Vorzel, Borodyanka, Bucha, Irpin and Hostomel, to the capital.

Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in a video statement that Ukrainian armed forces had agreed to stop firing in those areas from 9am until 9pm local time (07:00-19:00 GMT) and urged Russian forces to fulfil their commitment to local ceasefires.

Russians forces regrouping near Kharkiv, local mayor says

Russian forces appear to be regrouping near Kharkiv, according to the northeastern city’s mayor.

Speaking on live television, Ihor Terekhov described the situation in the area as very tense and said Russian shelling was continuing.

Regional official says Moscow ‘crossed the line of humanity’ with alleged Mariupol attack

Pavlo Kyrylenko, the head of the regional military administration in Mariupol, has posted a video on Facebook that appears to show the extent of the damage caused by what officials claim was a Russian air raid on a hospital complex in the city.

He said that Moscow had “crossed the line of humanity” with the alleged attack.

Al Jazeera was unable to independently verify the footage.

Zelenskyy accuses Russian forces of ‘direct strike’ on Mariupol hospital complex

Ukraine’s president has accused Russian forces of carrying out a “direct strike” on a hospital complex in Mariupol that reportedly houses maternity and children’s wards.

“People, children are under the wreckage,” Zelenskyy tweeted, calling the attack an “atrocity”.

“How much longer will the world be an accomplice ignoring terror? Close the sky right now! Stop the killings! You have power but you seem to be losing humanity,” he added.

Zelenskyy also shared footage from the scene of the alleged attack which appeared to show several wrecked rooms along a corridor in a building that had blown-out windows. Outside of the building, a square carpeted with rubble and debris could be seen.

Al Jazeera was unable to independently verify the footage.

Ukraine’s Kuleba says Russia holding 400,000 people ‘hostage’ in Mariupol

Ukraine’s foreign minister has accused Russia of holding more than 400,000 people hostage in Mariupol.

“Indiscriminate shelling continues,” Dmytro Kuleba tweeted, adding that nearly 3,000 newborn babies currently lack medicine and food.

He went on to reiterate earlier calls for foreign intervention to end Russia’s offensive, which has seen Moscow’s forces pound Mariupol with aerial attacks.

Conditions in the city are reportedly desperate, with water, power and heating supplies all cut off.

Several attempts in recent days to establish humanitarian corridors through which citizens can safely be evacuated have failed.

Mariupol city council says children’s hospital destroyed by Russian bombing

A children’s hospital in Mariupol has been destroyed by Russian air raids, according to the city council.

“The Russian occupying forces have dropped several bombs on the children’s hospital. The destruction is colossal,” the council said in an online post.

It did not provide any information about possible casualties.

Al Jazeera could not immediately verify the report.

Orchestra holds open-air concert in central Kyiv

Members of the Kyiv-Classic Symphony Orchestra have held an open-air concert in the Ukrainian capital’s Independence Square.

Dozens of people brazed freezing temperatures to gather for the impromptu musical offering, which included a rendition of the national anthem and an excerpt from Beethoven’s, Ode to Joy, on which the European Union’s anthem is based.

Some of those in attendance waved Ukrainian flags, while conductor Herman Makarenko told reporters that the concert was a call for peace.

“We would like to support our president … who called, calls and will call to all governments of the world [to] stop the war in Ukraine,” Makarenko was quoted as saying by the Reuters news agency.

His efforts came against the backdrop of wailing air raid sirens and soldiers searching cars at checkpoints on main thoroughfares – stark reminders that the city is firmly on a war footing.

Musicians of the Kyiv-Classic Symphony Orchestra are seen playing in Kyiv
Makarenko said he managed to gather around 20 musicians for the performance, instead of the 65-70 who normally comprise the ensemble [Gleb Garanich/Reuters]

Canada to send Ukraine $50m worth of military aid ‘in the coming days’

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said his government will send an additional $50m worth of military aid to Ukraine.

Trudeau said during a visit to Berlin that Ottawa will be able to start sending the “highly-specialised” equipment, including cameras used in drones, “in the coming days”.

He acknowledged that there were challenges in terms of getting equipment securely into Ukrainian hands, but said Canadian officials were “working through that”.

Russia acknowledges conscripts were deployed to Ukraine

Russia’s defence ministry has acknowledged that some conscripts have participated in the war in Ukraine days after Putin denied that was the case.

The ministry said that some of the conscripts had been taken prisoner by Ukrainian forces. But it claimed that “practically all” such individuals deployed to neighbouring Ukraine had now been pulled back to Russia.

All Russian men aged 18-27 must by law do a year’s military service, although there are some exceptions to that rule.

Putin said earlier this week that only professional soldiers and officers had been deployed as part of Moscow’s offensive.

Germany’s Scholz rejects sending warplanes to Ukraine

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has ruled out sending warplanes to Ukraine after the United States turned down an offer by Poland to transfer its Russian-made MiG-29 jets to a US base in Germany, with a view to them then being passed on to Kyiv.

“We have provided all kinds of defence materials and … have sent weapons that we have told you about but it is also true that we have to consider very carefully what we do concretely, and definitely warplanes are not part of that,” Scholz said at a news conference in Berlin.

He was speaking alongside Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is on a diplomatic tour of Europe.

Mariupol dead being buried in mass grave: Report

Local authorities in Mariupol are burying their dead in a mass grave, The Associated Press has reported.

With the city under steady bombardment, officials had been waiting for a chance to allow individual burials to resume. But with morgues overflowing, and many corpses uncollected at home, they decided they had to take action.

A deep trench some 25 metres (80 feet) long has been opened in one of the city’s old cemeteries in the heart of the city, according to the AP. Social workers brought 30 bodies wrapped in carpets or bags on Wednesday, after 40 were brought on Tuesday.

The dead include civilian victims of shelling on the city, as well as some soldiers. Workers with the municipal social services have also been collecting bodies from homes, including some civilians who died of disease or natural causes.

No mourners were present and no families said their goodbyes, AP reported.

The dead body of a person lies covered in the street in Mariupol,
Mariupol has been pounded by Russian forces and has had no water, power or heating supplies for days [Evgeniy Maloletka/AP]

Ukraine says Russian shelling disrupts evacuation of Izyum

A planned evacuation of civilians from the Ukrainian town of Izyum in the eastern Kharkiv region has been held up by Russian shelling, according to the region’s governor.

An evacuation route from Izyum to Lozova was one of the six humanitarian corridors announced by Kyiv earlier on Wednesday, but Oleh Synehubov said buses were still waiting at the entrance to the town and hence had not been able to ferry people out.

He added that negotiations with the Russians were under way with the support of the Red Cross.

UN nuclear watchdog says Chernobyl power cut has no critical impact on safety

The loss of power at the Chernobyl plant does not have any critical impact on safety at the site, the UN’s nuclear watchdog says.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) tweeted that the “heat load of spent fuel storage pool and volume of cooling water at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant [are] sufficient for effective heat removal without [the] need for electrical supply”.

EU adds 160 Russian oligarchs, lawmakers to sanctions blacklist

The EU is stepping up its sanctions response to Moscow’s actions in Ukraine, targeting more Russian lawmakers and oligarchs as well as banks in Moscow’s ally Belarus.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the 27-nation bloc was blacklisting 160 more individuals, banning exports of maritime navigation technology to Russia and including crypto assets under its punitive measures.

“We are further tightening the net of sanctions responding to Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine,” she tweeted.

The names of the 160 individuals – which include 146 members of Russia’s upper house of parliament and 14 Kremlin-linked oligarchs and their relatives – will be unveiled shortly, when the new sanctions are formally published in the EU’s official journal.

Dutch PM says ‘not possible’ for EU to cut off Russian energy supplies immediately

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has said it is not possible for the EU to immediately cut off Russian supplies of oil and gas to the bloc.

“We have to discuss our vulnerabilities in terms of our dependency on Russian oil and Russian gas. I would not plead for cutting off our supply of oil and gas from Russia today; it’s not possible because we need the supply and that is the uncomfortable truth”, Rutte said during a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris.

“But we can do more to get the green agenda going, to decarbonise our economies,” he added.

Kyiv calls for ceasefire amid efforts to restore power at Chernobyl

Ukraine’s foreign minister has called on Russia to urgently observe a temporary ceasefire in order to allow work to take place to restore power to the Chernobyl nuclear plant, saying radiation could be leaked if an electricity outage at the site continues.

“Reserve diesel generators have a 48-hour capacity to power the Chornobyl NPP. After that, cooling systems of the storage facility for spent nuclear fuel will stop, making radiation leaks imminent,” Dmytro Kuleba tweeted.

Moscow accuses Washington of waging ‘economic war’ on Russia

Moscow has accused the US of declaring an economic war on Russia and put Washington on notice that it is carefully weighing how to respond to a newly announced ban on imports of Russian oil and gas to the country.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the sweeping sanctions imposed on Russia by the White House and its Western allies over its offensive in Ukraine as “hostile bacchanalia” that had roiled global markets.

He added the decisions announced by US President Joe Biden demanded “deep analysis”, and cautioned Moscow would “do what is necessary to defend its interests” in response.

“The United States definitely has declared economic war against Russia and is waging this war,” he said.

Ukraine says hundreds of protesters detained in Russian-controlled Kherson

Ukraine’s military high command says members of Russia’s National Guard have detained more than 400 people in Ukraine’s southern Kherson region for protesting against Moscow’s offensive.

“Due to the furious resistance of the residents of Kherson, the occupiers are attempting to introduce an administrative-police regime,” it said in a statement.

Russian forces captured Kherson last week, marking Moscow’s first seizure of a major city since it began its offensive.

Enerhodar mayor says some civilians evacuated

A convoy of evacuees has left Enerhodar through a humanitarian corridor, according to the Ukrainian city’s mayor.

Those who had fled were mostly “women, children and the elderly”, Dmytro Orlov said in a statement.

Enerhodar is home to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest facility of its kind in Europe. Russian forces seized control of the site last week.

Footage published on Twitter by the Ukrainian State Service of Special Communication and Information Protection also showed what it said was buses carrying civilians leaving Enerhodar for the city of Zaporizhzhia.

Egypt’s el-Sisi holds talks with Putin over Ukraine

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has held talks with Putin over the latest developments in Ukraine, according to the Egyptian leader’s office.

During their talks by phone, el-Sisi and Putin also discussed enhancing strategic cooperation frameworks between their countries through joint development projects confirming “historic ties” between them, the Egyptian president’s office added.

Egypt was among the 141 UN member states that last week voted in favour of a motion condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at the world body’s headquarters in New York. Five UN member states voted against the motion and 35 abstained.

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the Security Council via a video link at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow
Putin launched Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24 [File: Sputnik/Andrey Gorshkov/Kremlin via Reuters]

Kuleba cool on expectations ahead of talks with Lavrov

Ukraine’s foreign minister says he has limited expectations for planned talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.

Dmytro Kuleba confirmed in a video statement that the pair would hold discussions in Turkey on Thursday and urged Lavrov to approach the talks “in good faith, not from a propagandistic perspective”.

“But I will say frankly that my expectations of the talks are low,” he added. “We are interested in a ceasefire, liberating our territories and the third point is to resolve all humanitarian issues.”

Zelenskyy says no-fly zone needed to avert ‘humanitarian catastrophe’

Zelenskyy says the international community will be responsible for a mass “humanitarian catastrophe” if it does not agree to establish a no-fly zone to protect his country.

In a daily televised address, Zelenskyy said the threat level in Ukraine was at a maximum nearly two weeks into Russia’s invasion but Ukrainians had shown they would never give in.

“Russia uses missiles, aircraft and helicopters against us, against civilians, against our cities, against our infrastructure. It is the humanitarian duty of the world to respond,” he said.

Kyiv’s Western allies, including the US and United Kingdom, have ruled out imposing a no-fly zone over Ukraine. Read more on the topic here.

Russia says it boycotted ICJ hearing because of ‘absurd’ lawsuit

Russia’s foreign ministry has said Moscow boycotted a hearing this week at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over a lawsuit brought by Ukraine because of the “absurdity” of the case.

Ukraine on Monday requested that the UN’s top court order Russia to halt its offensive, arguing Moscow had wrongly tried to justify its invasion on false assertions.

The ICJ, based in The Hague, has said it will rule on the case “as soon as possible”. Russia is not expected to comply with any decision ordering it to stop its attack.

Warning of radiation risk amid power outage at Chernobyl

Ukraine’s state-run nuclear company has warned that radioactive substances could be released from the Chernobyl plant because it cannot cool spent nuclear fuel after its power connection was severed.

Energoatom said in a statement that it had not been possible to carry out work to restore power to the site, which has been occupied by Russian troops, because of fighting in the area.

Any warming of the approximately 20,000 spent fuel assemblies at Chernobyl could lead to “the release of radioactive substances into the environment”, it added.

“The radioactive cloud could be carried by wind to other regions of Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, and Europe,” Energoatom said.

EU foreign policy chief says bloc preparing new sanctions

EU governments are preparing a new round of travel bans and asset freezes on about 100 Russian nationals over Moscow’s offensive, the bloc’s foreign policy chief has said.

“Member states are working on a package of sanctions, [focused on] around 100 people responsible at different levels of government,” Josep Borrell told the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

He said he hoped for an agreement later today, without giving more details.

Kyiv unaware of what’s happening at occupied nuclear plants, minister says

Ukraine’s energy minister has warned the country’s authorities do not know what the current radiation levels are at the Chernobyl plant as they have received no information regarding the site since it was seized by Russian troops.

Herman Halushchenko said Kyiv also had no control over what was happening at the occupied Zaporizhzhia plant, which Moscow’s forces took control of last week.


Kyiv still supplied with power, heat and water, deputy mayor says

Phone connections and heat, water and power supplies are working normally in Kyiv, the city’s deputy mayor has said.

Mykola Povoroznyk added in televised remarks that authorities were working to evacuate many more people from the bombarded communities of Irpin, Bucha and Hostomel, all of which sit in the Kyiv region, to the capital.

“We have places to house [refugees], we have trains to send people west,” Povoroznyk said.

The battle for Odesa – and what it means for the war

Two weeks into Russia’s war in Ukraine, Kyiv’s forces are preparing for a potential major attack on Odesa.

Experts say the anticipated battle for control of the historic port city, located on the Black Sea, could shape the outcome of the entire war given its strategic and economic importance.

Read more here.

Russia will render Ukraine neutral, foreign ministry spokeswoman says

Moscow will achieve its goal of ensuring Ukraine is neutral, but would prefer to do that through talks rather than conflict, a spokeswoman for Russia’s foreign ministry has said.

Maria Zakharova told reporters at a media briefing that “some progress” had been made in three rounds of negotiations with Ukrainian officials.

She said the Kremlin’s aims do not include overthrowing the Kyiv government and added that Russia’s military operation was proceeding as planned so far.

In wide-ranging remarks, Zakharova also went on to accuse the US-led NATO military alliance of pursuing a “confrontational course” by building up forces along its eastern flank.

‘Conflicting information about humanitarian corridors: AJE correspondent

Al Jazeera’s Natacha Butler, reporting from the city of Lviv, in western Ukraine, says there is a “lot of conflicting information about the implementation of humanitarian corridors in Ukraine”.

“What we do know is that Ukrainian authorities have confirmed that there is a humanitarian corridor from the city of Sumy,” Butler said.

She added the situation elsewhere in the country was unclear despite Ukraine’s announcement of six exit routes.

“Whether or not that actually happens and the fighting stops is another matter indeed,” Butler said.

“All we know for the time being is that Russian officials did earlier make an offer of putting in place humanitarian corridors, but so far those offers, which have been repeated over the past few days, have meant that people could flee not to Western Ukraine or neighbouring countries but to Russia and Belarus,” she added, noting Ukrainian authorities had emphatically rejected such plans.

‘Smells of genocide’: How Putin justifies Russia’s war in Ukraine

Putin has been telling Russians that the objective of his war in Ukraine is the “demilitarisation and denazification” of the Ukrainian government.

He claims Kyiv has been carrying out a “genocide” against the Russian-speaking population of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, collectively known as the Donbas, where the Ukrainian army has been fighting Russia-backed separatists since 2014.

Read more here.

Poland ready to act on jets, but within NATO framework: Presidential adviser

Warsaw is ready to act on supplying MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, but only via NATO, an adviser to Polish President Andrzej Duda has said.

“The USA does not want these planes to come to Ukraine from American bases,” Jakub Kumoch told public broadcaster TVP Info. “Poland is ready to act, but only within the framework of the alliance, within the framework of NATO.”

Kumoch’s remarks came after Washington rejected a proposal to put Polish jets at Washington’s disposal.

‘Apocalyptic’: Ukraine crisis worsens as Russia ramps up attacks

A fast-deteriorating humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Ukraine, where hundreds of thousands of civilians are trapped in besieged cities without water, food and electricity as Russian troops continue to press deep into the country.

For a breakdown on what’s happening on the ground, click here.

INTERACTIVE- Where are Ukrainians fleeing to DAY 14 _ 2 million

Civilians leaving Sumy in private cars, mayor says

Sumy’s mayor says civilians have begun leaving the northeastern city in private cars after a humanitarian corridor was established for a second successive day.

Oleksandr Lysenko’s remarks, which were televised, came after about 5,000 people were evacuated from Sumy on Tuesday after Russia agreed to pause its offensive.

Ukraine makes new attempt to get civilians out of Mariupol, other cities

Ukraine will try to evacuate civilians through six humanitarian corridors, the country’s deputy prime minister has said.

Iryna Vereshchuk said in a video statement that Ukrainian armed forces had agreed to stop firing in those areas from 9am until 9pm local time (07:00-19:00 GMT) and urged Russian forces to fulfil their commitment to local ceasefires.

She added the corridors will go from Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia; Enerhodar to Zaporizhzhia; Sumy to Poltava; Izyum to Lozova; Volnovakha to Pokrovske; and from several towns around Kyiv, which she identified as Vorzel, Borodyanka, Bucha, Irpin and Hostomel, to the capital.

“I appeal to the Russian Federation: You have undertaken official public commitments to cease fire … We have had negative experiences when the commitments that were undertaken did not work,” Vereshchuk said.

There have been several failed attempts to open safe exit routes for trapped civilians in the past few days, with Kyiv and Moscow blaming one another for the failures.

Kyiv’s residents ‘holding their breath for what’s coming next’: AJE correspondent

Al Jazeera’s Step Vaessen, reporting from Kyiv, says people in the capital are “very well aware … [it] is the main prize in this war”.

Step Vaessen reporting in Kyiv, Ukraine
Vaessen said there was an ‘eerie silence’ in Kyiv as the city braces for a possible large-scale Russian assault [Al Jazeera]

“There’s been a very eerie silence, people who are still in the city are holding their breath for what’s coming next,” Vaessen said.

“But this silence has been interrupted in the last hour by artillery fire coming from the northeast of the city. We know there’s also heavy fighting in the northwest – if a bridge in the town of Irpin falls into the hands of Russian troops then the next stop will be Kyiv,” she added.

Vaessen described a palpable feeling of “tension, fear and stress” in the city among those who had opted not to flee and are now readying to defend it from an anticipated Russian attack.

“They have put up barricades with whatever they could find and there are checkpoints everywhere,” she said.

“The Russian advance to the capital has been stalled in the last week, but there [are fears] the advance – and even heavy bombardment – on Kyiv could happen in the next few days.”

China to provide $791,540 worth of humanitarian assistance to Ukraine

The Chinese Red Cross will provide a batch of humanitarian assistance worth 5 million yuan ($791,540) to Ukraine, consisting of daily necessities, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian has said.

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.

Enerhodar says civilians can be evacuated

The mayor of the southeastern Ukrainian city of Enerhodar has said a temporary ceasefire was in force, allowing the evacuation of civilians to start through a humanitarian corridor.

Mayor Dmytro Orlov said humanitarian supplies would be allowed into the city, which has been under fire from Russian forces, and added: “On the way back, buses will pick up civilians who want to leave.”

He said civilians would be able to go to the nearby city of Zaporizhzhia.

Russia’s Gazprom continues gas shipments via Ukraine at same level

Russian natural gas company Gazprom has continued gas shipments via Ukraine at the same volume of 109.5 million cubic metres a day, the company has said.

Russia warns the West: Our sanctions will hurt you

Russia has warned the West that it is working on a broad response to sanctions that would be swift and felt in the West’s most sensitive areas.

“Russia’s reaction will be swift, thoughtful and sensitive for those it addresses,” Dmitry Birichevsky, the director of the foreign ministry’s department for economic cooperation, was quoted as saying by the RIA news agency.

EU’s von der Leyen says have enough gas for this winter

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said that the bloc has bought enough liquefied natural gas that it should be independent of Russian imports up until the end of the winter.

Von der Leyen also told Germany’s ARD television that sanctions against Russia were designed to cause maximum impact on Moscow, while causing the least damage possible to Western economies.

UK’s Mothercare suspends all business in Russia

United Kingdom baby products retailer Mothercare has said all its business in Russia, including the shipment of all products, has been suspended.

The company said its local partner in Russia will be pausing operations in about 120 stores and online.

Russia represents around 20 to 25 percent of Mothercare’s worldwide retail sales and was previously expected to contribute around 0.5 million pounds ($0.7m) per month to group profit.

Top US lawmakers reach deal on Ukraine aid

Congressional leaders have reached a bipartisan deal providing $13.6bn to help Ukraine and European allies plus billions more to battle the coronavirus pandemic as part of an overdue $1.5 trillion measure financing federal agencies for the rest of this year.

Though a tiny portion of the massive bill, the money designated for Kyiv ensured robust bipartisan support for the legislation.

Biden had requested $10bn for military, humanitarian and economic aid last week, and Democratic and Republican backing was so staunch that the figure grew to $12bn on Monday and $13.6bn just a day later.

Read the story here.

Ukraine bans exports of several grains, sugar, salt, meat

Ukraine’s government has banned exports of rye, barley, buckwheat, millet, sugar, salt, and meat until the end of this year, according to a cabinet resolution.

Russia reducing use of US dollar: Foreign ministry

Russia is reducing the use of US dollars in its reserves and external settlements after the West slapped sanctions on Russia, the RIA news agency has quoted the foreign ministry’s director of economic cooperation as saying.

Russia says Ukraine planned attack on rebel region in March

Russia’s defence ministry has said it has obtained secret documents which prove that Ukraine planned a March attack on Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The ministry published six pages of documents that it claimed showed Kyiv planned a military assault on the Russian-backed rebel republics in the Donbas region.

Al Jazeera was unable to independently verify the documents – written in Ukrainian – which appear to outline combat preparations for tactical military units.

Ukraine’s largest party proposes new security agreement

The largest political party in Ukraine’s parliament has proposed that Kyiv should sign a new security guarantee agreement with the US, Turkey and Russia instead of pursuing NATO membership, according to a report by the Ukrayinska Pravda news website.

“The alliance is not ready to admit Ukraine over the course of at least the next 15 years and has made this clear,” the Sluha Narodu (Servant of the People) party was quoted as saying.

Therefore, it said, it was time to discuss concrete security guarantees with Russia.

By signing the agreement, Sluha Narodu suggested “Russia will be under a legal obligation to recognise Ukrainian statehood and refrain from threatening the Ukrainian people and its government,” Ukrayinska Pravda reported.

INTERACTIVE- NATO members in Europe expand eastwards

UAE minister, US’s Blinken discuss two-way ties, Ukraine: Report

The foreign minister of the UAE has discussed developments in Ukraine and ways to strengthen two-way ties during a telephone call with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the state news agency has said.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Blinken discussed the importance of reaching a political settlement to the Ukrainian crisis, it said.

UK says Ukraine’s air defences having considerable success against Russian jets

The UK has said Ukraine’s air defences were having success against Russian jets, likely preventing Russia from controlling the airspace.

“Ukrainian air defences appear to have enjoyed considerable success against Russia’s modern combat aircraft, probably preventing them achieving any degree of control of the air,” the Ministry of Defence intelligence update posted on Twitter said.

The UK’s assessment also said Russian forces had failed to make any significant breakthroughs in fighting northwest of Kyiv.

French company Dassault Systemes suspends new business in Russia and Belarus

French technology company Dassault Systemes has said it has decided to suspend its new business in Russia and Belarus, joining a raft of companies.

“We stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine,” it said in a statement. “Dassault Systèmes has decided to suspend all new business in Russia and Belarus, and set the framework for it to take effect this week.

“We may maintain some minimal support activities for our existing customers who are not subject to sanctions, and will continue complying with all applicable export control restrictions and sanctions laws relevant to our operations as well as with the rules of ethics and international standards,” it said.

UK announces new aviation sanctions against Russia

The UK has unveiled new aviation sanctions giving it the power to detain any Russian aircraft and banning exports of aviation or space-related goods to Russia.

The UK will also strengthen its ban on Russian aircraft, making it a criminal offence for any to fly or land in the UK.

“The ban includes any aircraft owned, operated or chartered by anyone connected with Russia or designated individuals or entities, and will include the power to detain any aircraft owned by persons connected with Russia,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.

Lavrov travels to Turkey as talks with Kuleba loom

Russia says Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has travelled to Turkey ahead of his scheduled talks with Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba on Thursday, according to a report by the TASS news agency.

Evacuation from Sumy to continue on Wednesday: Regional governor

A humanitarian corridor out of the besieged city of Sumy will continue to function on Wednesday, regional governor Dmytro Zhyvytskyy has said.

About 5,000 people rode buses out of the northeastern city on Tuesday after Moscow and Kyiv agreed on the corridor, he said, and about 1,000 cars were also able to leave, moving towards the city of Poltava.

Air alert declared in Kyiv as fighting continues

An air alert has been declared in and around Kyiv, with residents urged to get to bomb shelters as quickly as possible.

“Kyiv region – air alert. Threat of a missile attack. Everyone immediately to shelters,” regional administration head Oleksiy Kuleba said on Telegram.

IAEA loses contact with Chernobyl nuclear data systems

The UN’s nuclear watchdog says the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is no longer sending it data and voiced concern for staff working under Russian guard there.

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi “indicated that remote data transmission from safeguards monitoring systems installed at the Chornobyl NPP had been lost”, the agency said in a statement.

The situation for the staff was also “worsening” at the site, the IAEA said, citing the Ukrainian nuclear regulator.

In Thailand, businesses feel economic shock of Ukraine war

Purithai Produce, a Bangkok-based produce exporter, says getting Thai fresh fruit and vegetables onto Russian supermarket shelves has become an almost impossible task amid Western sanctions on Moscow.

“We’ve basically lost market access to Russia,” said Peyton Enloe, managing director of Purithai Produce, which ships fresh and frozen produce to Europe, the US and Russia.

“My Russian customers told me people don’t have money to even buy the basics, let alone ‘exotic’ produce like mangos, durians, rambutans.”

Read more here.

Hungary opposes ban on Russian energy

Viktor Orban, Hungary’s prime minister, has opposed a ban on Russian oil and gas, saying it “would represent a disproportionately large burden” for his country.

“While we condemn Russia’s armed offensive and we also condemn the war, we will not allow Hungarian families to be made to pay the price of the war; and so the sanctions must not be extended to the areas of oil and gas,” he said in a statement.

Ukraine civilian death toll now at 474, says UN

The UN’s human rights office says at least 474 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began.

Another 861 have been wounded, it said, adding that the real figures were likely considerably higher as reports of hundreds of casualties from the towns of Volnovakha, Mariupol and Izium are yet to be corroborated.

“Most of the civilian casualties recorded were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multi-launch rocket systems, and missile and air strikes,” it said.

Al Jazeera was unable to independently verify the figures provided.

At least 27 killed in Kharkiv in single day, says official

A Ukrainian police official has said that at least 27 people were killed in the eastern city of Kharkiv on Tuesday.

In a Facebook post, Sergey Bolvinov said a total of 170 civilians including five children have been killed in the besieged city since the Russian invasion began.

Al Jazeera was unable to independently verify the figures provided.

Four in five Americans support US ban on Russian energy

A large majority of Americans supports an end to US imports of Russian energy despite surging gasoline prices, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll.

The poll, conducted on Monday and Tuesday, suggests Biden has broad support from voters of his Democratic Party and from Republicans for the ban on Russian oil and natural gas imports.

Some 80 percent of respondents in the poll said Americans should not buy oil or gas from Russia during the conflict even if it causes gasoline prices to increase. The overall level of support was unchanged from a poll last week even though the average US price at the pump rose to a record on Tuesday of about $4.17 per gallon.

Georgia’s ex-defence minister fighting in Ukraine

Georgia’s former Minister of Defence Irakli Okruashvili has arrived in Ukraine, along with other Georgian volunteers, according to Ukraine’s defence ministry.

Okruashvili is “in Ukraine alongside Georgian volunteers to help us fight against the Russian occupying forces,” the ministry said.

Russian troops ‘damaged 61 hospitals’

Ukraine’s Health Minister Viktor Liashko has told a local television channel that Russian forces have attacked 61 hospitals in Ukraine, damaging windows, walls and medical equipment, according to news outlet UkrInform.

“As many as 61 hospitals have been damaged as a result of actions of the Russian aggressor. At the same time, due to the public services of the State Emergency Service, which help doctors, and due to health workers, these hospitals have not closed, they continue working,” Liashko was quoted as saying.

This includes the main hospital in the city of Izium, near Kharkiv, he said.

Russia default on debt is ‘imminent’: Fitch

Ratings agency Fitch has again downgraded Russia’s sovereign debt rating further into junk territory from “B” to “C,” saying the decision reflects the view that a default is “imminent”.

It justified the further downgrade by saying recent developments had “further undermined Russia’s willingness to service government debt”.

Airbnb users send $1.9m to Ukraine through reservations

Thousands of Airbnb users have booked vacation rentals in war-battered Ukraine, not to visit but to provide aid to local hosts struggling to survive the Russian invasion.

Over a two-day period last week, some $1.9m was spent on reservations for more than 61,000 nights in Ukraine, according to a spokesperson for the San Francisco-based company.

Meghan Bamford of Edmonton, Canada, told AFP that she and her husband had made reservations in the besieged cities of Kyiv and Kharkiv.

“You have people that are in the middle of an active crisis,” she said. “If you can get money directly into their accounts, that’s the difference between somebody being forced to stay in somewhere like Kyiv or surrounding communities or potentially being able to get out.”

Poland’s jet offer for Ukraine ‘not tenable’, says US

The Pentagon has appeared to dismiss Poland’s offer to give its MiG-29 fighter jets to the US so they can be passed to Ukraine.

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said in a statement that the prospect of jets departing from a US/NATO base in Germany “to fly into airspace that is contested with Russia over Ukraine raises serious concerns for the entire NATO alliance”.

“We will continue to consult with Poland and our other NATO allies about this issue and the difficult logistical challenges it presents, but we do not believe Poland’s proposal is a tenable one,” he added.

Americans donating body armour, ammunition

A Texas marketing executive is among several American donors shipping body armour to Ukrainians through relief groups in the US.

Bret Starr told Reuters news agency he expects to send 20 sets of helmets and bullet-proof vests through the Ukranian American Coordinating Council this week, followed by up to 2,000 more through cash donations and gear.

In New York state, the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office has given around 450 pieces of body armour to the Long Island-Ukraine Emergency Response Drive.

Ammunition companies are also sending donations, with Ammo Inc saying it has already sent one million rounds to Ukraine and Remington Ammunition pledging to donate one million rounds to the Ukraine Armed Forces.

Zelenskyy praises US oil ban as ‘powerful signal’

Zelenskyy has thanked Biden for his “leadership” in banning Russian oil, calling the decision a “powerful signal to the whole world”.

“It is very simple: every penny paid to Russia turns into bullets and projectiles that fly to other sovereign states,” he said.

“Either Russia will respect international law and will not wage wars, or it will not have the money to start wars.”

Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline ‘dead’, says US

A senior US official says the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline that was halted over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is “now dead”.

“It is a hunk of metal at the bottom of the sea,” Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland told US legislators. “I don’t think it will ever be revived.”

Thousands evacuated in Sumy

Ukraine’s deputy prime minister says 5,000 people, including 1,700 foreign students, have been evacuated from Sumy.

Vereshchuk said the city faced a “catastrophic situation”, cut off from water, power and communications.

She also said that Ukraine will not accept Moscow’s offer to establish safe corridors for civilians to head towards Russia, saying it will only agree to safe exits leading westwards.

Universal Music Group suspends operations in Russia

Universal Music Group says it is suspending all operations in Russia and closing its offices – joining a growing list of companies protesting against the war in Ukraine.

“We urge an end to the violence in Ukraine as soon as possible,” the company said in a statement.

“We are adhering to international sanctions and, along with our employees and artists, have been working with groups from a range of countries (including the U.S., U.K., Poland, Slovakia, Germany, Czech Republic and Hungary) to support humanitarian relief efforts to bring urgent aid to refugees in the region.”

It’s ‘clear’ Russia will lose conflict, says US official

Nuland, who is speaking at a congressional hearing, says Russia is destined to lose its war in Ukraine.

“It is clear that Russia will lose this conflict – whether they lose it quickly or whether they lose it extremely slowly, it is only a matter of time,” said the State Department under secretary.

“The problem is that if this can be lost quickly, many, many, many lives will be saved, which is why we have to continue to pour on the economic pressure; we have to continue to support the defensive needs of the Ukrainian people.”

Coca-Cola, Pepsi suspend sales in Russia

Coca-Cola and Pepsi say they are suspending sales in Russia.

Coca-Cola said its business in Russia and Ukraine contributed about 1 to 2 percent of the company’s net operating revenue in 2021.

Pepsi, whose company is officially known as PepsiCo and whose drinks were one of the few Western products allowed in the Soviet Union before its collapse, said it would continue to sell daily essentials, such as milk, baby formula and baby food.

‘This war is not good for China,’ says US

Nuland, who is speaking at a continuing congressional hearing, says US officials’ engagements with China – including a recent call between the US secretary of state and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi – aimed to get Beijing to influence Moscow to end the invasion.

“Our intention in our regular engagement with China, including Secretary Blinken’s call with his counterpart, was to underscore that this war is not good for China, that we want to see China use its influence with Russia to get this war ended, and at a minimum to help get these humanitarian corridors going,” Nuland told US legislators.

“And that if they are concerned about their economic situation as they should well be, with the lowest growth rates in 15 years, that this war is contributing to it.”

Ukraine first lady condemns ‘mass murder’ of civilians

Olena Zelenska, the Ukrainian president’s wife, has thanked Kyiv’s allies for their support and urged them to do more to deter Russia.

Zelenska also said in an open letter that the Russian invasion of Ukraine amounted to “the mass murder of Ukrainian civilians”.

“The most terrifying and devastating of this invasion are the child casualties,” she said, mentioning eight-year-old Alice, who died on the streets of Okhtyrka while her grandfather tried to protect her, and Polina, a child from Kyiv, who died in shelling alongside her parents.

She also cited 14-year-old Arseniy, who was hit in the head by wreckage and could not be saved because an ambulance could not get to him on time because of intense fires.

Bumble stops service in Russia

Bumble, the dating platform, has announced it is discontinuing its service in Russia, joining other companies that have suspended their operations in the country over the war in Ukraine.

The company said it is removing all of its apps from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store in Russia and Belarus. Bumble said it expects to lose about $2m in first-quarter revenue as a result.

Ukrainian refugees
UN officials have urged Russia to allow humanitarian corridors to safely evacuate Ukrainian civilians [Markus Schreiber/AP Photo]

FIFA postpones Ukraine’s World Cup qualification playoff against Scotland

FIFA has postponed Ukraine’s World Cup qualification playoff match against Scotland on March 24, citing Russia’s invasion.

“Following consultation with UEFA and the four participating member associations in Path A of the European qualifying play-offs, it was unanimously agreed in the spirit of solidarity to accept,” FIFA said in a statement.

“The match between Scotland and Ukraine … will now be postponed to the existing June window, and consequently, the match between the winners of Scotland v Ukraine and Wales v Austria will also be postponed.”

Poland to donate fighter jets to Ukraine

Ukraine has pleaded for more warplanes, and now Poland said it would give all of its MiG-29 fighter jets to the US, agreeing to an arrangement that would allow them to be used by Ukraine’s military.

The Polish foreign ministry said in a statement that Poland is ready to deliver the jets to the US Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

“At the same time, Poland requests the United States to provide us with used aircraft with corresponding operational capabilities,” it said.

Russia ready to provide humanitarian corridors from Kyiv, other cities

Russian forces will stop firing from 10am Moscow time (07:00 GMT) on Wednesday and are ready to provide humanitarian corridors so people can leave Kyiv and four other cities, the TASS news agency reported, citing a senior Russian official.

Mikhail Mizintsev, the head of Russia’s national defence control centre, said information about corridors from Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv and Mariupol will be sent to Ukraine’s deputy prime minister.

“Given the deteriorating humanitarian situation … and in order to ensure the safety of civilians and foreign citizens, Russia will observe a regime of silence from 10 am Moscow time on March 9 and is ready to provide humanitarian corridors,” Tass cited Mizintsev as saying.

Mizintsev earlier said Ukrainian authorities had endorsed only one civilian evacuation route from areas affected by fighting out of 10 that were proposed by Moscow, including five towards territory controlled by Kyiv.

Destroyed bridge in Ukraine
Demands for ways to safely evacuate civilians have surged along with intensifying shelling by Russian forces [Felipe Dana/AP Photo]

US House set to pass Russia sanctions bill, Pelosi says

Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the US House of Representatives, has said the chamber is set to pass a Russian sanctions bill later on Tuesday. She said the legislation would support Biden’s decision to ban Russian oil imports.

“Our bill has three major provisions: it will ban the import of Russian oil & energy products into the US, it will take steps to review Russia’s access to the WTO and explore how we can diminish Russia in the global economy & it will reauthorize & strengthen the Magnitsky Act,” Pelosi wrote on Twitter.

US Congress edges closer to authorising aid for Ukraine

The US Congress appears to be on the cusp of an agreement that would allocate billions of dollars in emergency aid for Ukraine, among other things.

Sweeping legislation, awaiting final approval from Democratic and Republican congressional leaders, was expected to provide as much as $14bn to help Ukraine respond to Russia’s invasion.

“Republicans and Democrats are very, very close to finalising the agreement. I expect there will be text released in a few hours,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters at a mid-afternoon news conference.

Blinken holds ‘productive conversation’ on Ukraine with UAE counterpart

The US Secretary of State says he has held a “productive conversation” with his UAE counterpart Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

“We value the close coordination on Ukraine and a strong international response to support Ukrainian sovereignty,” Blinken, who is currently in Europe, said on Twitter.

The UAE had abstained from a UN Security Council proposal condemning the Russian invasion but voted in favour of a similar resolution in the UN General Assembly last week.

Evacuation from Mariupol fails again, Ukrainian official says

Ukraine has said residents of Mariupol seeking to leave the city along a safe corridor came under Russian fire on Tuesday.

“Ceasefire violated! Russian forces are now shelling the humanitarian corridor from Zaporizhzhia to Mariupol,” the Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesperson, Oleg Nikolenko, wrote on Twitter.

Photos: Residents suffer as Russian forces lay siege to Mariupol

Civilians in Mariupol 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.

Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the Ukraine-Russia crisis.

Read all the updates from Tuesday, March 8, here.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies