Moscow’s military assault continues on its 11th day despite global condemnation and severe sanctions from Western nations. Here are the latest updates:
Sunday, March 6, 2022
Some 20,000 volunteers arrive in Ukraine to fight Russians
Some 20,000 international volunteers have travelled to Ukraine to join in the fight against Russian forces, a top Ukrainian official has said.
“This number is around 20,000 now. They come from many European countries mostly,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told US broadcaster CNN.
“Many people in the world hated Russia and what it was doing in recent years, but no one dared to openly oppose and fight them,” he said.
“So when people saw that Ukrainians are fighting, that Ukrainians are not giving up, many felt motivated to join the fight” and bring Russia to account for its invasion, he added.
Russia interfering at nuclear plant: IAEA
The International Atomic Energy Agency has said Russian forces are tightening their grip on the Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant, Ukraine’s largest, that they seized last week.
The director general of the agency, Rafael Mariano Grossi, said Ukrainian staff members are now required to seek approval for any operation, even maintenance, from the Russians, and that they have impeded normal communications by switching off some mobile networks and internet at the site.
Ukraine’s regulatory authority said that phone lines, as well as e-mails and fax, are no longer working.
Grossi said he is “extremely concerned about these developments,” adding that for the plant to operate safely, “staff must be allowed to carry out their vital duties in stable conditions, without undue external interference or pressure.”
UK denies French charge of turning Ukraine refugees away
The UK government has insisted it can’t “just open the door” to Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion, denying French accusations that “inhumane” British authorities were turning refugees away from Calais.
“If we just open the door not only will we not benefit the people that we need to, the genuine refugees, but I think we’d undermine the popular support,” Justice Minister Dominic Raab told BBC television.
“We need to make sure that we’re acting for those that need our support.”
France on Saturday accused Britain of an inadequate response and lacking humanity in assisting Ukrainian refugees who are seeking to join family in the UK from the French Channel port of Calais.
Ukraine open to discussing ‘non-NATO models’
Ukraine is not willing to compromise on its territorial integrity in talks with Russia but is open to discussing “non- NATO models” for its future, in a wider forum, one of its negotiators told Fox News.
“The response that we are getting from the NATO countries is that they are not ready to even discuss having us in NATO, not for the next period of five or 10 years,” negotiator David Arakhamia said in remarks published on the Fox News website.
EU leader says no to closing Ukraine airspace
European Council President Charles Michel has said that closing Ukraine’s airspace could spark a world war.
Deploying fighter jets over Ukraine could “in current circumstances” be considered as “NATO’s entry into the war and therefore risk World War III,” Michel said in an interview with the public broadcaster France Inter.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has repeatedly called on NATO countries to stop the Russian onslaught on his country by imposing a no-fly zone.
Michel denied that economic sanctions against Russia constitute “a war of the EU or NATO against Russia.”
He said European and American allies imposed sanctions “to create pressure and hurt the (Russian) regime”, not the people.
Over 360 civilians dead in Ukraine
The UN human rights office has confirmed the deaths of 364 civilians in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on Feb 24.
The Geneva-based office said that another 759 civilians had been injured as of midnight on Saturday.
The rights office uses strict methodology and only reports casualties it has confirmed.
US, Europeans discuss banning Russian oil imports
The United States and European partners are exploring banning Russian oil imports, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said.
But he stressed the importance of steady oil supplies globally.
“We are now in very active discussions with our European partners about banning the import of Russian oil to our countries, while of course, at the same time, maintaining a steady global supply of oil,” Blinken said in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” show.
Russia warns countries offering airfields to Ukraine
Any country offering its air fields to Ukraine for attacks on Russia may be considered as having entered the conflict, a Russia defence ministry spokesperson has said.
“The use of the airfield networks of these countries to base Ukrainian military aircraft and their subsequent use against the Russian armed forces may be regarded as the involvement of these states in an armed conflict,” Interfax news agency quoted spokesperson Igor Konashenkov as saying.
Ukraine halts civilian evacuations for second time
A second attempt to evacuate civilians from Ukraine’s southern Mariupol city under siege for a week has failed due to continued Russian shelling.
Ukraine’s Interior Ministry adviser Anton Gerashchenko said the planned evacuations along designated humanitarian corridors were halted because of an ongoing assault.
“There can be no ‘green corridors’ because only the sick brain of the Russians decides when to start shooting and at whom,“ he said on Telegram.
Evacuations from the port city of Mariupol were scheduled to begin at noon local time (1000GMT) during a 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. local ceasefire, Ukrainian military authorities had said earlier.
A similar ceasefire planned for Mariupol and the nearby city of Volnovakha collapsed on Saturday, trapping residents under more shelling and aerial bombardment by Russian forces.
Journalists covering the evacuation of civilians in Ukraine’s Irpin get caught in the middle of a shelling attack pic.twitter.com/osEsz47PbQ
— TRT World (@trtworld) March 6, 2022
‘Very credible’ reports Russia committed war crimes: Blinken
Washington has seen “very credible reports” that Russia has committed war crimes during its invasion of Ukraine, particularly in attacking civilians, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said.
“We’ve seen very credible reports of deliberate attacks on civilians, which would constitute a war crime,” President Joe Biden’s top diplomat told CNN talk show “State of the Union.”
Macron, Putin hold fresh talks
French President Emmanuel Macron held new telephone talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Elysee has said.
The call, which a presidential official said lasted 1 hour 45 minutes and was at Macron’s request, was the fourth time they had spoken since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
It came after a tense call on March 3 which the Elysee said had left Macron feeling “the worst is to come” in Ukraine with Putin intent on seizing “the whole” of the country.
Russian strike destroys Ukrainian airport: Zelenskyy
A barrage of Russian missiles destroyed the airport in Vinnytsia in central Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said.
“I have just been informed about a missile strike on Vinnytsia. Eight rockets… The airport was completely destroyed,” he said.
Kazakhstan permits large pro-Ukraine rally
Russia’s ally Kazakhstan has permitted a large peace rally in its biggest city as authorities in the Central Asian country look to distance themselves from Moscow’s sanctions-triggering military invasion of Ukraine.
The protest in Almaty, a financial hub of 1.8 million people, gathered over 2,000 demonstrators, who stood for the Ukrainian national anthem and chanted pro-peace slogans.
The Kazakh foreign ministry has stressed its neutrality in the conflict and this week invited Britain’s ambassador for talks after a UK lawmaker on Monday appeared to call for sanctions against individuals in the country “complicit and supporting” Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
Russia’s Putin tells Ukraine: stop fighting
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Russia would only halt its military operation if Ukraine stopped fighting and if Moscow’s demands were met.
In a phone call with Türkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Putin said that the military operation was going according to plan.
He hoped Ukrainian negotiators would take a more constructive approach at talks and take into account the reality on the ground, the Kremlin said in statement.
Zelenskyy tells Russians to protest before it’s too late
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has appealed directly to Russians to take to the streets in protest against the Kremlin’s invasion of his country or risk their own poverty and repression.
“Citizens of Russia! For you, this is a struggle not only for peace in Ukraine! This is a fight for your country,” Zelenskyy said in a televised address, switching from Ukrainian to Russian.
“If you keep silent now, only your poverty will speak for you later. And only repression will answer,” he said.
Zelenskyy reiterated his call for foreign countries to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine.
“The world is strong enough to close our skies,” he added.
Ukrainian President Zelenskyy raises alarm that city of Odessa on Black Sea coast is to be attacked by Russia pic.twitter.com/oFlZDgqL2L
— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) March 6, 2022
Kiev digs in for battle as fighting flares in areas nearby
Ukrainian soldiers have bolstered defences around Kiev, digging trenches, blocking roads and liaising with civil defence units as Russian forces bombarded the surrounding areas and attacked towns and villages nearby.
While the armed forces and civilian volunteers dug in, thousands of people continued to try to flee the city of 3.4 million as fears of a full assault spread.
Pope Francis dispatches two cardinals to Ukraine
Pope Francis has said he dispatched two cardinals to Ukraine, a highly unusual move.
The pontiff said that “the Holy See is willing to do everything to put itself in service for peace.”
The papal almsgiver, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, has been dispatched with aid, along with Cardinal Michael Czerny, who is head of the papal office that deals with migration, charity, justice and peace.
Bennett says Israel will try to mediate on Ukraine
Israel will continue trying to mediate between Russia and Ukraine even if success seems unlikely, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has said after returning from surprise talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Ukraine has requested that Israel serve as intermediary, citing the Bennett government’s good relations with both Kiev and Moscow.
Bennett’s office said he spoke three times over the weekend with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
In televised remarks to his cabinet, Bennett gave no details on his three-hour Kremlin meeting with Putin on Saturday, saying only that it had “the blessing and encouragement of all parties” – an allusion to the United States, among other powers.
An emotional farewell of a Ukrainian father to his autistic child was captured on camera as he sent his family to safety while he stayed to defend his country against Russia’s offensive pic.twitter.com/8EYA0NAZse
— TRT World (@trtworld) March 6, 2022
UN: More than 1.5 million have fled Ukraine
The number of people fleeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has topped 1.5 million, making it Europe’s “fastest growing refugee crisis” since World War II, the United Nations said.
“More than 1.5 million refugees from Ukraine have crossed into neighbouring countries in 10 days – the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II,” it said in a statement on Twitter.
Ukraine president: Russia is preparing to bombard Odessa
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said Russian forces are preparing to bombard the city of Odessa on Ukraine’s Black Sea coast.
“Rockets against Odessa? This will be a war crime,” he said in a televised address.
Police detain over 1,100 at anti-war protests in Russia
Police have detained 1,103 people at anti-war protests in 16 cities across Russia, according to the OVD-Info protest monitor.
There was no immediate comment from police.
Russian gas flows to Europe via Ukraine continue
Russian state gas company Gazprom has been shipping natural gas to Europe via Ukraine in the same volume of 109.5 million cubic metres per day, the Interfax news agency cited Gazprom as saying.
Russian shops to limit food sales
Retailers in Russia will limit sales of essential foodstuffs to limit black market speculation and ensure affordability, the government has said.
The trade and industry ministry over the weekend said there had been cases where essential foodstuffs had been purchased “in a volume clearly larger than necessary for private consumption (up to several tons) for subsequent resale”.
Trade organisations representing retailers had proposed retailers be allowed to limit the volume of specific goods sold to individuals at any one time, the ministry’s statement said.
Russia to let banks cut back reporting results
Russia’s central bank has announced it is allowing lenders in the country to reduce the frequency of their financial disclosures, a measure it said was necessary to mitigate sanctions fallout.
The bank of Russia, however, will still require financial institutions to submit reports to it, a step it said would “make it possible to fully exercise effective supervision over their activities and analyse the sector.”
Al Azhar imam calls for ending war
The grand imam of Egypt’s Al Azhar Al-Sharif, one of the highest seats of Sunni Islamic learning, has called for doubling efforts to end the war in Ukraine.
“We are witnessing Ukrainian civilians leave their homes in quest of safety and security, which is a true test of our humanity,” Sheikh Ahmed El Tayyeb said in a statement.
“I call on the international community to increase humanitarian aid to Ukraine, and exert further efforts to end the war,” he added.
Türkiye’s Erdogan holds phone call with Putin
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke by phone with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and discussed the war in Ukraine, the RIA news agency has reported.
Evacuation of civilians from Mariupol to start at midday
The city council of Ukraine’s Mariupol has said an evacuation of some of 400,000 residents trapped by encircling Russian forces would start at 1000 GMT (12:00 PM local time) under a temporary ceasefire that will last till 9:00 PM.
A similar plan had to be abandoned on Saturday after the ceasefire was not fully observed, with both sides trading blame.
Ukraine health centres have been attacked: WHO chief
The World Health Organization has confirmed “several” attacks on health care centres in Ukraine and is investigating others, the agency’s chief said.
The attacks caused multiple deaths and injuries, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus added in a Twitter message.
“Attacks on healthcare facilities or workers breach medical neutrality and are violations of international humanitarian law,” he said.
Russia strikes Ukrainian military air base
Russia has struck and disabled Ukraine’s Starokostiantyniv military air base with long-range high-precision weapons, Russia’s defence ministry said.
“The Russia armed forces continue to strike the military infrastructure of Ukraine,” Russian defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.
He said a Ukrainian-controlled S-300 missile system had also been destroyed by Russian rocket forces and that Russia had downed 10 Ukrainian planes and helicopters over the past 24 hours.
Ukraine conflict to last months, if not years: UK’s Raab
The conflict in Ukraine is set to last months, if not years, Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab has said, adding international allies would need to show “strategic stamina” to ensure Russian President Vladimir Putin fails.
“Our mission with our allies is to ensure Putin fails in Ukraine and it’s going to take some time – we’re talking about months, if not years – and therefore we have to show some strategic stamina, because this is not going to be over in days,” Raab told Sky News.
More than 64 people detained at anti-war protests in Russia
More than 64 people have been detained at anti-war protests in Russia’s Far East and eastern Siberia, OVD-Info protest monitor has said.
The monitoring group said people were detained at protests in the Russian Pacific port city of Vladivostok and the Siberian city of Irkutsk.
400,000 people held hostage by Russians in Mariupol. That’s more than half the population of Washington D.C.
The occupiers didn’t let to evacuate people. There has been a continuous shelling of civilian houses, many are injured or killed.#NoFlyZone
— Sasha Ustinova (@SashaUstinovaUA) March 6, 2022
UK intelligence: Russia targeting populated areas in Ukraine
British military intelligence has said that Russian forces were targeting populated areas in Ukraine but that the strength of resistance was slowing the Russian advance.
“The scale and strength of Ukrainian resistance continue to surprise Russia,” British military intelligence said in an update.
Russia “has responded by targeting populated areas in multiple locations, including Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Mariupol.” Russia has repeatedly denied that it is targeting civilian areas.
Ukraine: Over 11,000 Russian troops killed in war
More than 11,000 Russian troops have been killed since Moscow launched an invasion of Ukraine on February 24, the Ukrainian armed forces’ general staff has said.
A day earlier, it put Russian casualties at over 10,000. It did not report Ukrainian casualties.
S.Korea will implement export controls against Belarus
South Korea will implement export controls against Belarus for “effectively supporting the Russian invasion of Ukraine”, Seoul’s foreign ministry has said.
Israel PM returns from surprise trip to Russia
Israel’s prime minister has returned from a surprise trip to Russia where he met President Vladimir Putin and discussed the war in Ukraine.
Naftali Bennett flew to Moscow on Saturday, where he met the Russian leader for three hours. The trip was made “in co-ordination and with the blessing” of the Biden administration, according to Bennett’s office.
Bennett spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy after his meeting with Putin. He then flew to Germany to meet Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
Russia alleges Ukraine making nuclear “dirty bomb”
Russian media has cited an unnamed source as saying that Ukraine was close to building a plutonium-based “dirty bomb” nuclear weapon, although the source cited no evidence.
The TASS, RIA and Interfax news agencies quoted “a representative of a competent body” in Russia as saying Ukraine was developing nuclear weapons at the destroyed Chernobyl nuclear power plant that was shut down in 2000.
Ukraine’s government has said it had no plans to rejoin the nuclear club, having given up its nuclear arms in 1994 following the break-up of the Soviet Union.
Blinken in Moldova amid Ukraine refugee crush
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Moldova pledging America’s support to the small Western-leaning former Soviet republic that is coping with an influx of refugees from Ukraine and warily watching Russia’s intensifying war with its neighbour.
Blinken is meeting with senior Moldovan officials who are appealing for international assistance in dealing with more than 120,000 refugees from Ukraine that it is now hosting while also seeking security reassurances against potential Russian aggression.
Canada urges citizens to leave Russia
Canada has called on its nationals to avoid all travel to Russia because of its invasion of Ukraine and on Canadians in Russia to leave the country.
In an update to its travel advice, the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommended that its nationals “avoid all travel to Russia due to the impacts of the armed conflict with Ukraine.”
US, Poland exploring deal to provide warplanes to Ukraine
The US has negotiated with Warsaw about Poland’s supply of Soviet-era warplanes to Ukraine in return for F-16 jet fighters, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Biden administration is in talks with Poland about supplying warplanes to Ukraine, the newspaper said, citing US officials.
Stressing that details such as how the agreement will be made and how the planes will be delivered to Ukraine are still being studied.
The media has had a different take on the crisis in Ukraine compared to other conflicts.
Viewers have called out reporters and guests for their ‘double standards’, and dubbed the narrative that’s being pushed as ‘racist’. pic.twitter.com/PjwE8y3lOt
— TRT World (@trtworld) March 6, 2022
China tells US don’t fuel flames in Ukraine
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that China opposes any moves that “add fuel to the flames” in Ukraine.
Blinken said that the world would be watching to see which nations stand up for the principles of freedom and sovereignty.
The two spoke by phone on Saturday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.
Wang called for negotiations to resolve the immediate crisis, as well as talks on creating a balanced European security mechanism. Wang said the US and Europe should pay attention to the negative impact of NATO’s eastward expansion on Russia’s security.
The US State Department says Blinken underscored to his Chinese counterpart that the world is acting in unison in response to Russian aggression and will ensure that Moscow will pay a high price.
China has broken with the US, Europe and others that have imposed sanctions on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.
China says that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations should be respected, but that sanctions create new issues and disrupt the process of political settlement.
Biden speaks Zelenskyy, pledges support
US President Joe Biden, in a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, welcomed decisions by Visa and Mastercard to suspend their operations in Russia, the White House said.
“President Biden noted his administration is surging security, humanitarian, and economic assistance to Ukraine and is working closely with Congress to secure additional funding,” a White House readout of the call added.
Separately, Zelenskyy noted in a tweet that the phone call also included the “continuation of sanctions” against Moscow.
As part of the constant dialogue, I had another conversation with @POTUS. The agenda included the issues of security, financial support for Ukraine and the continuation of sanctions against Russia.
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) March 6, 2022
Russia intensifies aerial, ground offence on Ukraine’s port city
Russian forces have intensified shelling in the port city of Mariupol, including with the use of aeroplanes, the city’s mayor has said.
“The city is in a very, very difficult state of siege,” Vadym Boychenko told Ukrainian TV.
“Relentless shelling of residential blocks is ongoing, airplanes have been dropping bombs on residential areas.”
Boychenko said that thousands of children, women and the elderly came under fire as they arrived in the morning for a possible evacuation through a safe passage corridor.
The mayor added that Russia had promised to stop the shelling of Mariupol, a port city of 430,000, and Volnovakha, a city in the east, but violated the ceasefire.
Russia has made significant advances in the south, clearly seeking to cut off Ukraine’s access to the sea. Capturing Mariupol, which has been fending off the attack for six days, could allow Russia to build a land corridor to Crimea, which it annexed in 2014.
Mastercard, Visa suspend all ops in Russia
Mastercard and Visa are suspending their operations in Russia, the companies have said.
Mastercard said cards issued by Russian banks will no longer be supported by its network and any card issued outside the country will not work at Russian stores or ATMs in the latest blow to the country’s financial system after its invasion of Ukraine.
Mastercard said it made its decision after discussions with customers, partners and governments.
Visa said it’s working with clients and partners in Russia to cease all Visa transactions over the coming days.
The suspensions are a follow-up to more limited moves earlier in the week to block financial institutions from the networks that serve as arteries for the payments system. Russian people have already been hit hard by heavy sanctions and financial penalties imposed by the US government and others.
Starlink to boost terminals in Ukraine
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he had spoken to SpaceX boss Elon Musk and announced the country would receive more of its Starlink satellite internet terminals next week.
“Talked to Elon Musk. I’m grateful to him for supporting Ukraine with words and deeds,” Zelenskyy tweeted.
Musk said on Thursday that Starlink was the only non-Russian communications system still working in some parts of Ukraine in the wake of Russia’s invasion.
Separately despite calls, Musk said that it will not block Russian new sources as part of sanctions on Moscow-funded media.
UK announces six-point response against Russia
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged other leaders on Saturday to join a six-point plan to respond to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, ranging from humanitarian support to inflicting the most economic pain possible on Moscow.
Ahead of meetings with leaders from Canada, the Netherlands and Central Europe in London next week, Johnson said on Saturday that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion had to fail and be seen to fail.
“It is not enough to express our support for the rules-based international order – we must defend it against a sustained attempt to rewrite the rules by military force,” Johnson said in a statement.
He listed his objectives, which included an international humanitarian coalition for Ukraine, support for its self-defence and maximising economic pressure on Moscow.
Johnson also called for diplomatic paths for de-escalation with the full involvement of Ukraine’s government, stronger security in the European-Atlantic area, and an end to the “creeping normalisation” of Russian activities in Ukraine.
After meeting the prime ministers of Canada and the Netherlands on Monday, Johnson is due to host leaders from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia – countries experiencing an influx of refugees caused by the invasion – on Tuesday.
Britain is planning to move more quickly to sanction Russian businessmen through new legal measures which will be sent to parliament on Monday.
For live updates from Saturday (March 5) click 👉🏽 here
Source: TRTWorld and agencies