Latest Ukraine updates: Kyiv mayor says half the city has fled

Russia-Ukraine news from March 10: Kyiv’s mayor says nearly two million people have left the capital since invasion.

Kyiv residents flock to a train station to flee the city.
Kyiv residents have flocked to train stations to flee the city. [Emin Sansar/Anadolu Agency]
  • High-level talks in Turkey between Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba have not produced a ceasefire agreement.
  • Fighting has intensified around Kyiv as Ukrainian forces attempt to block a column of Russian tanks.
  • Ukrainian officials say Russian forces have resumed their bombardment of the besieged southeastern city of Mariupol, a day after a hospital there was hit by an attack that reportedly killed three people.
  • More than 12,000 people have been evacuated from Sumy, while no civilians have been able to leave Mariupol.
  • Moscow has said it will open daily humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians to Russia despite Kyiv’s refusal.

INTERACTIVE Russia-Ukraine map Who controls what in Ukraine DAY 15

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Here are the updates for March 10:

US urges Russia to allow civilians to safely depart Ukrainian cities

Washington has urged Moscow to allow civilians to safely depart Ukrainian cities and towns besieged by Russian troops, saying that the forces now encircle multiple cities after having destroyed much of the critical infrastructure.

“Putin’s military plan to quickly capture Ukraine, it is clear now has failed. So he’s now turning to a strategy of laying waste to population centers to try to break the will of the people of Ukraine, something he will not be able to do,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters.

Ukraine tells IAEA it lost all contact with Chernobyl after power cut

Ukraine has told the UN nuclear watchdog it has lost all contact with the radioactive waste facilities at Chernobyl next to the defunct power plant, which is now held by Russian forces.

“Ukraine informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that it had lost today all communications with the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), the day after the Russian-controlled site lost all external power supplies,” the IAEA said in a statement, adding that before there was contact by email.

US and Romania underscore ‘unwavering’ NATO unity

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin held a phone call with his Romanian counterpart Vasile Dincu, and the two officials underscored “unwavering unity” among NATO members, the Pentagon has said.

“Both leaders deeply appreciated the bravery of the Ukrainian people, reflected on the unwavering unity among NATO Allies, and commended the broad commitment to provide humanitarian and security assistance to Ukraine,” Pentagon spokesperson said in a statement.

“Secretary Austin also commended Romania’s intent to host a humanitarian assistance logistics hub and discussed the planned French-led multinational battlegroup in Romania.”

Russia agrees to allow repairs on power lines near Chernobyl

The Russian defence ministry has said it agreed to allow a Ukrainian repair team to access power lines in the area around the Chernobyl nuclear power station, Interfax news agency reported.

The UN’s nuclear watchdog said this week it had lost communications with Chernobyl and another nuclear power station at Zaporizhzhia, describing the situation as concerning.

IAEA chief Rafael Grossi was in Turkey to meet Russia and Ukraine’s foreign ministers separately. “I am quite encouraged on one important thing: Ukraine and the Russian Federation want to work with us,” Grossi told a news conference.

Ukrainian embassy in US: Americans want to join fight vs Russia

Ukraine’s embassy in Washington, DC is taking on an unexpected role as a recruitment centre for Americans who want to join the fight against Russia’s invasion.

Diplomats working out of the embassy, in a townhouse in the Georgetown section of the United States capital city, are fielding thousands of offers from volunteers seeking to fight for Ukraine, even as they work on the far more pressing matter of securing weapons to defend against an increasingly brutal Russian onslaught.

Read more here.

More than 400,000 people evacuated from conflict areas: Ukrainian minister

More than 400,000 civilians have so far been evacuated in Ukraine, Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky said on national television.

“They have been evacuated primarily from areas where there is ongoing combat,” he said.

More than 12,000 civilians were evacuated from Ukraine’s northeastern Sumy region in one day by car or bus, the state emergencies service said in a statement.

Moscow to open daily humanitarian corridors from Ukraine to Russia

Moscow has said it will open daily humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians fleeing fighting in Ukraine to Russian territory, despite Kyiv insisting that no evacuation routes should lead to Russia.

“Humanitarian corridors towards the Russian Federation will now be opened, without any agreements, every day from 10:00am,” defence ministry official Mikhail Mizintsev was quoted as saying by Russian agencies.

He said evacuation routes in other directions would proceed “in agreement with the Ukrainian side”.

Fighting intensifies around the capital Kyiv

Ukrainian forces have destroyed part of a column of Russian armoured vehicles moving towards Kyiv.

“It seems to have been drone strikes but they were also talking of an ambush,” Al Jazeera’s Step Vaessen said, reporting from the capital .

Several Ukrainian soldiers died during the attack, which took place near Brovary, an eastern suburb of Kyiv.

Vaessen said the first part of the column was hit, seemingly bringing the convoys’ advance to a standstill.

A destroyed Russian tank is seen after battles on a main road near Brovary, north of Kyiv.
A destroyed Russian tank is seen after battles on a main road near Brovary [Felipe Dana/AP]

Chelsea sale on hold due to sanctions on owner Abramovich

European football champions Chelsea are now effectively controlled by the British government after sanctions were imposed against Russian owner Roman Abramovich.

Abramovich had announced he was selling the Premier League club last week. That process is now on hold, leaving the west London club, ranked by Forbes as the seventh-most valuable in world football at $3.2bn, operating under a special government licence.

Chelsea was holding an emergency meeting to discuss the future of the club. The sale of match tickets has been put on hold but ticket holders will be allowed to attend matches.

The club will not be allowed to buy or sell players while the sanctions are in place but can pay the wages of players and coaching staff.

Ukraine-Russia war poses new threat to global food security

The crisis in Ukraine and Russia, one of the world’s main sources of grain, fertilisers and energy, presents new challenges in securing food supplies on top of a prolonged pandemic, according to the United Nations.

“We weren’t going well even before the pandemic, the hunger was rising slowly and then the pandemic hit,” said Gabriel Ferrero de Loma-Osorio, head of the Committee on World Food Security, a platform within the UN for the fight against hunger.

Read more here.

EU leaders set to agree on phasing out Russian fuels

European Union leaders are set to agree to cut their reliance on Russian fossil fuels, although are divided over whether to cap gas prices and to sanction oil imports.

As part of a two-day summit in Versailles, France, the leaders are expected to agree to the phasing out of Russian oil, gas and coal, according to a draft statement, which gives no end-date.

Russia’s invasion prompted Brussels on Tuesday to publish plans to reduce its use of gas from Europe’s top supplier this year and end it within the decade.

Welcoming Ukraine refugees could help settle EU migration rows: official

The EU’s welcome to people fleeing Russia’s war in Ukraine raises hope the bloc might be able to overcome deep disagreements about hosting refugees from elsewhere in the world, Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said.

“I’m not naive, I know it’s going to be difficult to agree on the migration pact. But I am slightly optimistic,” Johansson said of EU’s stalled asylum reform that would require all 27 countries to host some refugees.

Poland, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, who had previously refused to welcome Muslim immigrants, have opened their borders to people fleeing Ukraine.

US Treasury says sanctions limiting China’s ability to buy Russian oil

US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen has said financial sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine are limiting China’s ability to buy Russian oil.

“My sense is that financial institutions in China that do business in dollars and in euros are worried about the impact of sanctions,” Yellen said in a Washington Post Live interview.

Beijing was not “meaningfully offsetting or lessening” sanctions pressure on Moscow, she added.

Mariupol maternity hospital third to be destroyed: UN

The United Nations’ reproductive health agency has said two other maternity hospitals had been attacked and destroyed in Ukraine before Russia’s attack in Mariupol on Wednesday.

“In Zhytomyr, the maternity [hospital] was completely destroyed. In Saltivsky, the maternity [hospital] was also destroyed,” Jaime Nadal, the Ukraine lead for the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), said in a press conference.

The UN official did not specify who launched the attacks on the other hospitals or if there were any victims.

The agency estimated about 80,000 women will be giving birth during the next three months and more than 4,300 women have given birth since Russia’s invasion began on February 24.

Russia says Mariupol hospital attack ‘staged’ by Ukraine

The Russian army has claimed an attack on a children’s hospital in Mariupol was a “staged provocation” by Ukraine.

“The Russian aviation carried out absolutely no missions to hit targets on the ground in the Mariupol area,” Russian defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.

“The airstrike that allegedly took place is a completely staged provocation to maintain anti-Russian hype for a Western audience.”

YouTube, Google Play suspend payment-based services in Russia

Alphabet Inc’s YouTube and Google Play store are suspending all payment-based services in Russia, including subscriptions, as Western sanctions start to pose banking challenges in the country.

Google will also pause ads for advertisers based in Russia across its properties and networks globally, the company said. This is in addition to the company’s recent suspension of online advertising following similar pauses by Twitter Inc and Snap.

Russian forces encircle at least four major cities

Ukraine’s capital Kyiv remains under Ukrainian control despite heavy bombardments, though Western observers point to a Russian column of hundreds of vehicles outside the city.

The city of Sumy in northeast Ukraine is now encircled by Russian troops but thousands have been able to leave through a humanitarian corridor.

Ukrainian forces also retain control of the northern town of Chernihiv, which has seen heavy civilian casualties in recent days and appears to be encircled.

Kharkiv remains in Ukrainian hands despite increasingly intense Russian bombardment and the city is likely now surrounded.

France’s Macron says bombing of Mariupol hospital ‘disgraceful’

Russia’s bombing of a maternity hospital in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol was “a disgraceful act of war,” French President Emmanuel Macron has said.

France condemned the attack “in the firmest possible terms”, Macron told reporters as EU leaders gathered outside Paris to discuss their response to the conflict.

“The clear objective was to kill civilians, especially women and children,” he said.

Putin has chosen to ‘specifically target civilians’: Canadian PM

Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a choice to “specifically target civilians,” Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau said, and any further targeting of civilians in Ukraine is going to meet the “severest of responses.”

“Putin’s callous disregard for human life is absolutely unacceptable. It is very clear that he has made the choice to specifically target civilians now,” Trudeau told reporters in Warsaw.

No civilians could leave besieged Mariupol: Ukraine deputy PM

No civilians have been able to leave the encircled port city of Mariupol as Russian forces failed to respect a temporary ceasefire to allow evacuations, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on national television.
More than 12,000 civilians were evacuated from the northeastern Sumy region, state emergencies service said in a statement.
The head of Kharkiv Oblast Oleh Syneyhubov said in a Facebook post some 2,000 people were also evacuated from the eastern city of Isyum.

A view of Mariupol as smoke billows from destroyed buildings.
Mariupol has come under a relentless barrage of Russian shelling [Evgeniy Maloletka/AP]

Russia: We have enough oil and gas buyers even with sanctions

Russia has enough buyers for its oil and gas even as Western nations and their allies impose sanctions in response to the invasion of Ukraine, according to a top Kremlin official.

“We will not persuade anyone to buy our oil and gas,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday at a briefing in Turkey following a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba. “If they want to replace it with something, they are welcome, we will have supply markets, we already have them.”

Read more here.

Ukraine does not have biological weapons: US

US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines has dismissed Russian allegations that Ukraine has biological weapons.

“We do not assess that Ukraine is pursuing either biological weapons or nuclear weapons,” Haines told US lawmakers.

The intelligence chief added that Ukraine has over a dozen biological labs for public health research. She said the US provides – or at least has provided – assistance to such laboratories “in the context of bio safety, which is something that we’ve done globally with a variety of different countries.”

Infographic: How much of your country’s oil comes from Russia?

Al Jazeera has compiled a series of infographics on the global oil industry and Russia’s part in it.

Take a look here.

INTERACTIVE- Which countries rely most on Russian oil AJLABS

Russia says Belarus restores power supply to Chernobyl nuclear plant

Russia’s energy ministry says that Belarusian specialists have restored electricity supply to the defunct Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine.
The plant was hit by a power outage on Wednesday amid fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces.

Red Cross employee describes dire conditions in Mariupol

The deputy head of the International Committee of the Red Cross delegation in Mariupol, Sasha Volkov, says conditions in the city are increasingly dire.

In an audio recording posted by the aid organisation on Twitter, Volkov said his supply of food was dwindling and described relying on generators to supply electricity for a few hours a day.

Water, he said, will soon have to be collected from a local stream as existing stocks get used up.

“People are afraid,” Volkov added.

Putin slams sanctions as ‘illegitimate’

President Vladimir Putin has denounced sanctions imposed on Russia as “illegitimate”.

Addressing a government meeting, Putin said Western governments were deceiving their own people as they move to punish Moscow financially for its incursion in Ukraine.

He added that Russia would calmly solve its problems.

Zelenskyy says invasion will backfire

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has told Russia’s leaders that their country’s invasion of Ukraine will backfire by landing them in court over “war crimes” and making their people “hate” them.

“You will definitely be prosecuted for complicity in war crimes,” Zelenskyy said in a video address.

“And then, it will definitely happen, you will be hated by Russian citizens – everyone you have been deceiving constantly, daily, for many years in a row, when they feel the consequences of your lies in their wallets, in their shrinking possibilities, in the stolen future of Russian children.”

Goldman Sachs to exit Russia

Goldman Sachs Group Inc has said it is closing its operations in Russia, becoming the first major Wall Street bank to exit the country over Moscow’s invasion.

“Goldman Sachs is winding down its business in Russia in compliance with regulatory and licensing requirements,” the Reuters news agency quoted the bank as saying in an emailed statement.

Zelenskyy’s top economic adviser says war damage tops $100bn

Russian forces have so far destroyed at least $100bn worth of infrastructure, buildings and other physical assets in Ukraine, the chief economic adviser to Ukraine’s president has said.

Oleg Ustenko told an online event hosted by the Peterson Institute for International Economics that the war has caused 50 percent of Ukrainian businesses to shut down completely, while the other half are operating at well below their capacity.

Russians isolated as war on Ukraine continues

In this episode, Al Jazeera’s The Take podcast looks at the increasing sense of isolation felt by many Russians as foreign sanctions hammer its economy and swaths of companies boycott the country.

US VP calls for probe into Russian ‘atrocities’

US Vice President Kamala Harris has called for an investigation into Russia’s conduct in Ukraine and condemned what she said were “atrocities of unimaginable proportions” carried out by Moscow’s forces.

“Absolutely there should be an investigation and we should all be watching and I have no question that the eyes of the world are on this war and what Russia has done in terms of this aggression and these atrocities,” she told reporters at a news conference during a visit to the Polish capital, Warsaw.

Russia calls its offensive in Ukraine a “special military operation” and claims the incursion is aimed at disarming its neighbour and removing leaders it considers dangerous.

Mass exodus from Kyiv has seen half its population flee, mayor says

Kyiv’s mayor says nearly two million people have fled the Ukrainian capital in the two weeks since Russia launched its invasion on February 24.

“From our information, one in two Kyiv residents has left the city,” Vitali Klitschko said in televised remarks. “A little less than two million people have currently left.”

The greater Kyiv area had a population of about 3.5 million people last year, according to, a website that tracks population statistics across the world.

Read more here.

Children are seen looking out from an evacuation train from Kyiv to Lviv
Russia’s offensive has triggered a rapidly-escalating refugee crisis [Gleb Garanich/Reuters]

Head of Ukraine’s gas transit operator demands Russian troops leave gas facilities

The head of Ukraine’s gas transit operator (OGTSU) has demanded that Russian forces withdraw from two gas compressor stations in eastern Ukraine which he said they had occupied.

Sergiy Makogon said in televised remarks that the troops had been questioning staff about operations at the Novopskov and Kupiansk stations.

OGTSU has warned that the arrival of Russian forces at compressor facilities poses a risk to supplies of the energy source to Europe.

Russia suspends exports of tech, agricultural and medical equipment

Russia’s government says it has banned the exports of telecom, medical, auto, agricultural and tech equipment, among other items, until the end of 2022, in retaliation for Western sanctions on Moscow.

In total, over 200 items were included on the export suspension list, which also covered railway cars, containers, turbines and other goods.

Scholz, Macron demand ceasefire in call with Putin

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron demanded an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine during a joint call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Reuters has reported, citing a German government official.

Macron and Scholz also told Putin that any resolution to the war needed to come through negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv, the unnamed official said.

The three leaders reportedly agreed to remain in close contact in the coming days.

Turkish foreign minister says Lavrov-Kuleba meeting was ‘civil’

Turkey’s foreign minister has described Lavrov and Kuleba’s meeting as “civil” and said the most important outcome of the talks, which failed to produce any ceasefire agreement, was establishing high-level contact between both sides.

Speaking at a news conference after the meeting, Mevlut Cavusoglu said there was a need for both a humanitarian corridor from Mariupol to allow for civilians to be evacuated from the city and for a sustainable ceasefire in Ukraine.

“The meeting was an important start. No one should expect miracles at one meeting,” he told reporters.

Cavusoglu brokered the talks between Lavrov and Kuleba as Ankara pushes to position itself as a mediator in the conflict.

Zelenskyy dismisses Moscow’s claims over hospital bombing as a ‘lie’

Ukraine’s president has dismissed Moscow’s claim that the hospital in Mariupol hit by Russian bombing had no patients.

“Like always, they lie confidently,” Zelenskyy said in a televised address.

Russia has refuted Ukrainian claims that the site was still functioning as a hospital, claiming it had been taken over by troops.

In apparent first, China’s foreign minister calls Ukraine conflict a ‘war’

China’s foreign minister has publicly described the situation in Ukraine as a “war” in what appears to be Beijing’s first official use of the word in relation to the conflict.

“We hope to see fighting and the war stop as soon as possible,” state broadcaster CCTV quoted Wang Yi as saying in talks via video link with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian.

Beijing has so far attempted to strike a delicate balancing act over Moscow’s incursion, refusing to condemn or condone Russia’s actions while signaling a willingness to mediate between it and Ukraine.

Spanish, Slovenian PMs accuse Russia of ‘war crimes’ over hospital bombing

The prime ministers of Spain and Slovenia have separately accused Moscow of committing “war crimes” in Ukraine.

“We’re seeing how hospitals are being bombed. They are attacking civil society in an indiscriminate manner, therefore clearly violating human rights and more than likely committing war crimes,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said during a visit to a Ukrainian refugee centre near Madrid.

His remarks were echoed by Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa, who also accused Russia of committing “war crimes” over the hospital bombing in Mariupol.

“Anyone one can see that it is against all conventions,” Jansa said as he arrived at a meeting of the European People’s Party in Paris.

A woman walks outside a maternity hospital that was damaged by shelling in Mariupol [Evgeniy Maloletka/AP]
Russia has refuted Ukrainian assertions that the site in Mariupol was still functioning as a hospital, claiming it had been taken over by troops [Evgeniy Maloletka/AP]

Lithuania tightens state of emergency, limits free speech

Lithuania’s parliament has imposed a stricter state of emergency in the NATO member state over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, limiting rights to free expression and peaceful assembly, voting records show.

The legislation, in effect at least until April 20, enables police to remove access to a media outlet for up to 72 hours for “disinformation”, “war propaganda” and “incitement of hate” relating to the invasion, Reuters reported.

Is Russia committing war crimes by bombing hospitals in Ukraine?

Whether in times of peace or conflict, a set of medical ethics and principles guides the work of healthcare workers and hospitals – the commitment to save lives and reduce suffering.

In times of war, to maintain some humanity in armed conflict, certain rules and agreements have been made that mean targeting civilians and civilian buildings – including healthcare facilities – constitute a war crime.

But amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, there have already been reports of protected sites coming under attack.

Read more here.

Aid convoy to Mariupol turned back due to fighting, Ukrainian official says

A humanitarian convoy that was trying to reach Mariupol has had to turn back on itself because of fighting there, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister has said.

Iryna Vereshchuk’s remarks came as Mariupol’s city council reported that more Russian shelling was taking place.

“Bombs are hitting houses,” the council said in an online post.

Anti-war protests intensify in Russia along with police crackdown

As Russia presses ahead with its offensive in Ukraine, domestic defiance over the war appears to be on the rise.

Several rounds of protests calling for an end to the conflict have been held in dozens of cities throughout the country, including the capital, Moscow.

In response, police have arrested thousands of people.

Read more here.

Lavrov says West behaving dangerously over Ukraine

Lavrov has accused Western powers of behaving dangerously over Ukraine by supplying the country with weapons, warning the moves will affect the region’s security for years to come.

Addressing reporters at a news conference following his talks with Kuleba, Russia’s foreign minister also said Moscow’s offensive, which he described as a “special military operation”, was going according to plan.

“We are not planning to attack other countries and we did not attack Ukraine either, we were just dealing with the issues there,” Lavrov said.

Kuleba says no agreement on ’24-hour ceasefire’

Ukraine’s foreign minister has said he raised the prospect of a 24-hour ceasefire during his talks with Lavrov, but the pair did not make progress on the issue.

“It seems there are other decision-makers for this matter in Russia,” Kuleba told reporters at a news conference following the pair’s discussions.

He said the ceasefire was necessary to “resolve the most pressing humanitarian issues” in Ukraine.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba
Kuleba told reporters no agreement on a temporary ceasefire was reached during his talks with Lavrov [Orhan Cicek/Anadolu]

Finland’s president to speak to Putin

Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto has told reporters he will speak to Putin on Friday.

Niinisto’s remarks came after he met with members of the Finnish parliament to discuss options to strengthen the country’s national security.

Lukashenko orders Belarusian specialists to restore Chernobyl power supply: Report

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has instructed specialists from his country to ensure that power is supplied to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, state news agency Belta has reported.

The reported move came after Kyiv warned on Wednesday that there was a danger of a radiation leak at Chernobyl amid a power cut at the site, which sits near Ukraine’s border with Belarus.

But the UN’s nuclear watchdog said the outage would not have any “critical impact” on safety at the plant.

UK adds Abramovich, six other ‘oligarchs’ to sanctions list

The United Kingdom’s government says it has imposed asset freezes on seven Russian businessmen, including Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich, after they were added to the country’s sanctions list.

“There can be no safe havens for those who have supported Putin’s vicious assault on Ukraine,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

In a government document posted online, Abramovich is described as a “pro-Kremlin oligarch” who has had a “close relationship” with Putin for “decades”.

Abramovich has previously denied having close ties with Putin or the Kremlin.

Kremlin says it will seek information from military about hospital bombing

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says Moscow will seek information from the Russian military over its alleged bombing of a children’s hospital in Mariupol.

“We will certainly ask our military about this, since we don’t have clear information about what happened there. And the military are very likely to provide some information,” Peskov told reporters at a news briefing.

Other Russian officials took a more aggressive line, however, rejecting the reported strike as fake news.

“This is information terrorism,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

Ukraine opening seven humanitarian corridors

Ukraine is opening seven humanitarian corridors through which civilians can evacuate cities besieged by Russian forces, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has said.

Evacuees have already started leaving the northeastern city of Sumy under a local ceasefire, the regional governor said.

Three killed in attack on Mariupol hospital, local officials say

At least three people, including one child, were killed when Russia bombed a children’s hospital in Mariupol, local officials have said.

“Three people were killed, including a female child, in yesterday’s attack on a children’s and maternity hospital in Ukraine’s besieged Mariupol, according to updated figures this morning,” Mariupol’s city council said on the Telegram messaging app.

Russia has refuted Ukrainian claims that the site was still functioning as a hospital, arguing it had been taken over by troops.

Lavrov and Kuleba begin talks in Turkey

Lavrov and Kuleba have begun talks, the spokeswoman for Russia’s foreign ministry has said.

“The meeting has started,” Zakharova told reporters.

The pair’s meeting, which marks the first high-level contact between Kyiv and Moscow since Russia launched its invasion on February 24, was being brokered by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Sergey Lavrov and Dmytro Kuleba are seen holding talks
The talks between Lavrov and Kuleba mark the first high-level contact between Russia and Ukraine since Moscow launched its invasion [Cem Ozdel/Anadolu]

More than 1.4 million Ukrainians have fled to Poland since invasion

About 1.43 million people have crossed into Poland from Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion, the Polish Border Guard has said.

About 117,600 people crossed the border on Wednesday, the agency said in a tweet.

UK says Russian commanders will be held to account for ‘war crimes’

Russian military commanders as well as people at the very top of the Russian government will be held to account for any war crimes in Ukraine, the UK’s armed forces minister has said.

“Russian commanders need to remember that war crimes are not just committed by those at the very top of the Russian government,” James Heappey told UK broadcaster Sky News.

“They are committed all the way down the chain of command by all who are involved and these atrocities are being watched, they’re being catalogued and people will be held to account.”

Ukraine’s foreign minister in Turkey for talks with Russia’s Lavrov

Kuleba has arrived in Turkey ahead of his scheduled talks with Lavrov, Ukrainian television reports.

More than 10,000 people evacuated around Kyiv

Oleksiy Kuleba, regional governor of Kyiv, says more than 10,000 people have been evacuated from villages and cities around Ukraine’s capital.

Russian column outside Kyiv makes little progress: UK

The UK’s defence ministry has said the large Russian military column northwest of Kyiv has made little progress in more than a week and is suffering continued losses.

As casualties mount, Putin will be forced to draw from across Russian armed forces and other sources to replace the losses, the ministry said in a statement.

There has also been a notable decrease in overall Russian air activity over Ukraine in recent days, it added.

Russia says claim that it bombed a children’s hospital is ‘fake news’

Russia has refuted a Ukrainian claim that it bombed the children’s hospital in Mariupol as “fake news”, saying the building was a former maternity hospital that had long been taken over by troops.

“That’s how fake news is born,” Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russia’s first deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, tweeted.

Polyanskiy said Russia had warned on March 7 that the hospital had been turned into a “military object”.

US ban on Russian oil imports heads to vote in House of Representatives

A majority in the US House of Representatives has voted to impose a ban on imports of Russian oil and other energy products.

With the vote still under way, the Democratic-controlled House was poised to pass the bill after President Joe Biden used his executive powers to impose such a ban.

US House passes Ukraine aid, gov’t funding measure

A majority in the US House of Representatives has voted to approve a $1.5 trillion bill that would provide $13.6bn in aid for Ukraine and fund the federal government through September 30.

The vote was still under way. If approved by the House, the sweeping legislation would move on to the Senate.

UNICEF says at least 37 children killed in Ukraine

At least 37 children have been killed and 50 injured “in less than two weeks”, UNICEF executive director Catherine Russell has said, adding that more than one million children were forced to flee.

“Attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure – including hospitals, water and sanitation systems and schools – are unconscionable and must stop immediately,” Russell said in a statement.

“The children of Ukraine desperately need peace.”

US speeds licensing for gun, ammunition shipments to Ukraine

The US is rapidly processing requests from Americans to export firearms and ammunition to Ukraine, the US commerce department has said.

The department said it had imposed export controls on Russia to “degrade its ability to sustain military aggression” and Americans should check agency regulations to see if a licence was needed to ship specific firearms to Ukraine.

“The department has been processing requests rapidly for the export of firearms and ammunition to Ukraine under its existing processes and authorities,” a department spokesperson said.

Americans are donating thousands of sets of body armour and millions of rounds of ammunition in response to Ukraine’s pleas for military support.

Zelenskyy says 35,000 civilians evacuated from Ukrainian cities

At least 35,000 civilians were evacuated from besieged Ukrainian cities on Wednesday, Zelenskyy has said.

In a video address, the Ukrainian leader said three humanitarian corridors had allowed residents to leave the cities of Sumy, Enerhodar and areas around Kyiv.

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

War-related inflation may drive protests and riots, World Bank warns

Soaring energy and food prices triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could exacerbate existing food security concerns in the Middle East and Africa, and may fuel growing social unrest, World Bank chief economist Carmen Reinhart has said.

“There will be important ramifications for the Middle East, for Africa, North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, in particular,” which had already been experiencing food insecurity, Reinhart told Reuters.

“I don’t want to be melodramatic, but it’s not a far stretch that food insecurity and riots were part of the story behind the Arab Spring,” she said, adding that successful and unsuccessful coups had increased over the past two years.

Zelenskyy believes Russia’s Putin will soon ‘negotiate’

Zelenskyy has said he believes Putin will eventually enter negotiations and end the invasion, after seeing Russian forces encounter fierce resistance from Ukrainians.

“I think he will. I think he sees that we are strong,” Zelenskyy said in an interview with Vice from Kyiv, adding “we need some time”.

“How to stop this war? Only dialogue,” he said.

When asked what his message to Putin would be, Zelenskyy said: “Stop the war. Begin to speak. That’s it.”

Biden to discuss developments with Turkey’s Erdogan

US President Joe Biden will hold a phone call with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss the latest developments involving Russia and Ukraine, the White House has said.

Top US, Ukraine diplomats discuss additional aid for Ukraine

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, in a phone call, discussed additional security and humanitarian support for Ukraine, the State Department has said.

Blinken and Kuleba also discussed Russia’s “unconscionable attacks harming population centers,” the statement said.

For his part, Kuleba said his call with Blinken was “on further steps to strengthen Ukraine’s defence capabilities”.

Zelenskyy calls hospital bombing ‘war crime’

Ukraine’s Zelenskyy has described the attack on a children’s hospital in the southeastern city of Mariupol as a “war crime” after it prompted international condemnation.

“We have not done and would never do anything like this war crime in any of the cities of the Donetsk or Luhansk regions, or of any region … because we are people. But are you?” Zelenskyy said, switching to Russian to make his point.

“What kind of a country is Russia, that it is afraid of hospitals and maternity wards and destroys them?” he said. “The air bomb on the maternity hospital is the final proof. Proof that the genocide of Ukrainians is taking place.”

Zelenskyy also reiterated his call for Western powers to enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine to prevent more attacks.

“Together we must return courage to some Western leaders. So that they finally do what they had to do on the first day of the invasion. Either close the Ukrainian sky from Russian missiles and bombs, or give us fighter jets so that we can do everything ourselves,” he said.

Timeline: Week two of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

As the war in Ukraine enters its third week, Al Jazeera examines the major events that marked the second week of hostilities, from a US ban on Russian oil and gas imports to attempts to evacuate civilians from Ukrainian cities under siege and the displacement of more than two million refugees.

Read more here.

A maternity hospital hit by shelling in Mariupol.
A woman walks outside the damaged maternity hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine [Evgeniy Maloletka/AP Photo]

IMF approves $1.4bn emergency funding for Ukraine

The International Monetary Fund has said its executive board approved $1.4bn in emergency financing for Ukraine to help meet urgent spending needs and mitigate the economic effect of Russia’s military invasion.

“The Russian military invasion of Ukraine has been responsible for a massive humanitarian and economic crisis,” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said, predicting a deep recession in Ukraine this year.

“Financing needs are large, urgent and could rise significantly as the war continues,” she said. Once the war was over, Ukraine was likely to need additional “large support”.

The global lender said Ukrainian authorities had cancelled an existing stand-by lending arrangement with the IMF, but would work with the fund to design an appropriate economic programme focused on rehabilitation and growth when conditions permit.

White House dismisses Russia’s claims of US involvement in biological warfare labs

The White House has said Russia’s claims about alleged US involvement in biological weapons labs and chemical weapons development in Ukraine were false.

“We took note of Russia’s false claims about alleged US biological weapons labs and chemical weapons development in Ukraine,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a series of tweets.

She said Russia could possibly be laying the groundwork for the use of chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine “or to create a false flag operation using them” but did not offer evidence.

Ukrainian MP says people forced to drink ‘contaminated water’

Ukrainian Member of Parliament Lesia Vasylenko says it is currently impossible for many Ukrainians to access clean water amid the fighting, forcing many to drink contaminated water and causing several cases of dehydration.

“It’s impossible to get food or water,” Vasylenko told Al Jazeera. “People are drinking contaminated water from the sewage system or children are forced to take snow or what remains of the snow just to stay hydrated.”

The situation, she added, demonstrates “how inhumane” the methods Russia is using against the Ukrainian civilian population are.

Caterpillar suspends operations in Russia

Caterpillar Inc has said it was suspending operations in its manufacturing facilities in Russia, joining a growing number of companies that have halted business in the country.

“Operations in Russia have become increasingly challenging, including supply chain disruptions and sanctions, and we are suspending operations in our Russian manufacturing facilities,” a company spokesperson said.

UN humanitarian chief decries strike on hospital as ‘deeply shocking’

The UN’s humanitarian affairs chief has denounced the attack on a Ukrainian children’s hospital in Mariupol as an “appalling breach” of international humanitarian law.

“It’s deeply shocking in all kinds of different ways. It’s shocking because it’s a medical facility, which under international humanitarian law is protected,” Martin Griffiths told Al Jazeera.

“It’s shocking because it kills babies, newborns and it’s shocking because this is the kind of thing that happens appallingly in the war like the one we are seeing in Ukraine.

He added: “I hope we will find out in due course who did this and hold them to account.”

UK’s Johnson commits to further tighten sanctions on Russia

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Ukraine’s Zelenskyy he is committed to further tightening sanctions to impose the maximum economic cost on Russia, a Downing Street spokesperson has said.

More than 1,200 civilians have died in siege of Mariupol, mayor says

A total of 1,207 civilians have died during a nine-day siege by Russian forces of Ukraine’s port city of Mariupol, its mayor has said.

The first nine days of the Russian siege saw “1,207 peaceful Mariupol residents dying”, the city authorities posted on Telegram along with a video message by Mayor Vadym Boychenko.

UN chief condemns ‘horrific’ attack in Mariupol

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has decried what Ukrainian officials said was a Russian attack on a hospital in the besieged southeastern port city of Mariupol.

“Today’s attack on a hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine, where maternity & children’s wards are located, is horrific,” Guterres said on Twitter.

“Civilians are paying the highest price for a war that has nothing to do with them. This senseless violence must stop. End the bloodshed now.”

Russian banks can lend to firms owned by non-residents

Russian banks will be allowed to lend to companies controlled by non-residents, the finance ministry has said amid sanctions that have prompted many Western firms to pull out or suspend operations.

“This decision was taken so that companies wishing to continue their business activities in Russia can work normally and receive loans from domestic banks,” the ministry said in a statement, without providing details.

INTERACTIVE - Sanctions on Russia SWIFT payment network

US weighs sanctions on Russian nuclear power supplier

The US was weighing sanctions on Russian nuclear power supplier Rosatom, Bloomberg has reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

No final decision has been made and the White House is consulting with the nuclear power industry about the potential effects of imposing sanctions on Russia’s state-owned atomic energy company, which is a major supplier of fuel and technology to power plants around the world, the report added.

Russia’s uranium production is controlled by Rosatom, which was formed by Putin in 2007. The company is an important source of revenue for Moscow.

Pentagon does not support more jets for Ukraine

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has informed his Polish counterpart that Washington does not back Warsaw’s plans to transfer its Russian-made MiG-29 jets to Ukraine, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby has said.

He said the effectiveness of Russia’s “significant” air force has already been limited by Ukraine’s air defences.

“Polish generosity is clearly on display for the whole world to see,” Kirby said. “But at this time, we believe that provision of additional fighter aircraft provides little increased capabilities at high risk.”

He added that transferring the jets to Ukraine would risk an escalation with Russia.

Lavrov arrives in Turkey for talks with Ukrainian counterpart

Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov has landed in Antalya, Turkey, ahead of planned talks with Dmytro Kuleba on Thursday.

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

Ukraine evacuates 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.

Ukrainian official says 67 children killed since Russian invasion began

Ukraine’s top security official Oleksiy Danilov says 67 children have been killed since the Russian invasion began on February 24.

Danilov also joined Zelenskyy in urging Kyiv’s allies to enforce a no-fly zone over the country.

The US, UK and NATO have ruled out that call, saying a no-fly zone would risk escalating the conflict and leading to a direct military confrontation with Russia.

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

The UN 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.

IAEA chief to join Russia-Ukraine meeting in Turkey

The head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog, Rafael Grossi, will fly to Turkey later today, as the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers are set 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 wrote 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.

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

Read all the updates from Wednesday, March 9, here.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies