Live blog: UN confirms over 400 civilian deaths, 1.7M Ukrainians flee war – TRT World

Russian troops batter encircled Ukrainian cities with missiles and attempts to evacuate civilians from several areas continue as Russia’s war on Ukraine goes into 12th day.

The latest round of negotiations between Moscow and Kiev kicked off in the Belarusian city of Brest.
The latest round of negotiations between Moscow and Kiev kicked off in the Belarusian city of Brest. (AP)

Monday, March 7, 2022

Kiev: Russia-Ukraine talks show ‘positive results’

A third round of talks between delegations from Russia and Ukraine that took place in Belarus brought some progress on opening up humanitarian corridors.

“We have achieved some positive results concerning the logistics of humanitarian corridors,” Kiev’s presidential adviser Mikhailo Podolyak tweeted.

However, Russia’s chief negotiator Vladimir Medinsky said in televised remarks that “our expectations from negotiations were not fulfilled”.

“We hope that next time we will be able to take a more significant step forward,” he added.

Medinsky said that he hoped that civilian escape routes would open on Tuesday but stressed that it was too early to be sure.

“We hope that starting from tomorrow, these corridors will finally start working. The Ukrainian side has given its assurances,” he said.

The third round of negotiations has ended. There are small positive subductions in improving the logistics of humanitarian corridors… Intensive consultations have continued on the basic political block of the regulations, along with a ceasefire and security guarantees. pic.twitter.com/s4kEwTNRhI

— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) March 7, 2022

Over 1.5 million people have fled Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion, UN says.
Over 1.5 million people have fled Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion, UN says. (AFP)

US: Russia ‘trying to recruit’ Syrians

Russia is in the midst of efforts to recruit Syrians to fight on its behalf in Ukraine, a senior defence official has said.

The official, who briefed reporters on a conference call on condition of anonymity, said the Kremlin is “trying to recruit Syrians” to aid its war effort, confirming media reporting from the weekend on the matter.

Russia has been seeking to utilise the expertise of Syrian fighters in urban warfare to “deal a devastating blow to the Ukraine government,” the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

UNSC set to discuss humanitarian situation in Ukraine

The UN Security Council will hold a meeting to discuss the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Ukraine.

The meeting was expected to start 2000GMT, three diplomats said.

France and Mexico last week worked on a resolution to the UN Security Council to address the humanitarian impact, but it was unclear if it would be formally tabled on Monday’s meeting. 

1.7 million refugees have fled Ukraine. A large number of them children, many unaccompanied or separated from their families.

Together with @UNICEF, we urge neighbouring countries to ensure the immediate registration of unaccompanied & separated children. https://t.co/ohAM4yr9Ak

— UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency (@Refugees) March 7, 2022

UN concerned for 100,000 children in Ukraine institutions

Nearly 100,000 children live in institutions and boarding schools in Ukraine and parental consent should be sought before evacuating them abroad during the Russian invasion, the United Nations has said.

The heads of the UN agencies for refugees and for children made a joint plea for vulnerable youngsters caught up in the crisis to escape the conflict.

Unaccompanied and separated children fleeing the escalating conflict in Ukraine must be protected, UNICEF chief Catherine Russell and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said.

“Many are unaccompanied or have been separated from their parents or family members,” Russell and Grandi said.

More than 1.7 million people have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion on February 24 – among them hundreds of thousands of children.

Every effort should be made to reunify children with their families when possible, if such reunification is in their best interest

UNHCR & UNICEF

At least 13 killed in shelling on Ukrainian industrial bakery

At least 13 people were killed when shelling hit an industrial bakery in Makariv, around 50 kilometres west of Ukraine’s capital Kiev.

Rescuers posted a message on Telegram saying around 30 people were within the area of the bakery at the moment of the shelling. 

The message was deleted shortly afterwards with no further details provided.

Emergency services said they also rescued five people trapped in the rubble. The bakery was not functioning at the time of the incident.

Ukraine parades captured Russian soldiers

The Ukrainian military has paraded captured Russian soldiers before the media and made them recite repentances for their invasion, prompting the Red Cross to warn prisoners must not be mistreated.

Eyes red, faces gaunt and in some cases scratched, 10 young Russians in green fatigues were lined up before the press and cameras at an event on March 4.

It was the second such act in a week organised by Ukraine’s SBU intelligence service.

Kiev risks ceding moral ground over the Russian invasion to Moscow, which has accused it of torturing detainees.

“Prisoners of war and detained civilians must be treated with dignity,” the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said in a statement.

Prisoners “are absolutely protected against ill-treatment and exposure to public curiosity including images circulating publicly on social media,” it said.

As numbers and images of captured soldiers in #Ukraine are circulating, let’s recall the protections afforded in the #ThirdGenevaConvention for the protection of their dignity and humanity, their physical and mental integrity. #IHL

🧵on ten protections https://t.co/Ftcss5Bk6r

— Cordula Droege (@CDroegeICRC) March 7, 2022

Le Drian criticises corridor offer as a ‘trap’

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has criticised Russia’s offer of humanitarian corridors for Ukrainian civilians as a “trap” that could possibly lead to more bombing in Ukraine.

Le Drian referred to Russia’s tactic of bombing and then offering humanitarian corridors in the past, citing Aleppo in Syria and Grozny in Chechnya.

He said in such cases Russia’s proposal of establishing humanitarian corridors actually led to more bombings after negotiations failed.

“We must not fall into traps,” Le Drian said after a meeting of European ministers.

I’m even wondering if in Russian military schools there are classes to explain: ‘bombing, corridor, negotiations, breach (of negotiations), we start it all again’. It’s quite tragic but unfortunately it sends shivers down your spine

Jean-Yves Le Drian, French Foreign Minister

UK announces further $302M aid to Ukraine

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a further $302 million to Ukraine, bringing the total UK aid to the war-torn country to $690 million.

Johnson said $131 million of the fresh aid will be paid straight to the Ukrainian government.

Speaking at a press conference at Downing Street alongside his Canadian and Dutch counterparts, Johnson stressed the importance of solidarity with Ukraine.

“As Ukrainians resist Russia’s onslaught with courage and tenacity, the international community must aid their struggle in every way we can,” Johnson said.

Britain says it expects to take in as many as 200,000 displaced Ukrainians.
Britain says it expects to take in as many as 200,000 displaced Ukrainians. (AP)

Fighting in Ukraine has sparked the biggest and fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II, according to the UN. In total, 1.7M have fled to seek refuge in neighbouring countries.

TRT World reports from the Polish-Ukrainian border pic.twitter.com/QYXEr1cVjx

— TRT World (@trtworld) March 7, 2022

European leaders oppose banning Russian energy imports

The leaders of Germany, Britain and the Netherlands have cautioned against abruptly banning Russian energy imports as part of sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, saying there were no immediate alternative supplies.

The pushback came after the United States on Sunday said it was in “active discussions” with European nations about shutting down Russian oil imports as further economic penalty over Moscow’s aggression.

“Europe has deliberately exempted energy supplies from Russia from sanctions,” German Chancellor Olaf scholz said in a statement.

“Supplying Europe with energy for heat generation, mobility, electricity supply and industry cannot be secured in any other way at the moment,” he said.

READ MORE: Russia-Ukraine stand-off: What are Europe’s natural gas alternatives?

At least 406 Ukrainians dead, 1.7M flee due to war: UN

More than 1.7 million Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s invasion have so far crossed into Central Europe, the United Nation’s refugee agency has said.

Poland – which has the largest Ukrainian community in Central Europe – has received more than 1 million Ukrainian refugees since the conflict began on Feb. 24.

A total of 1,735,068 civilians – mostly women and children, as men stayed home to fight – have so far crossed the border into Central Europe, the UNHCR said.

Moreover, the UN human rights office said it has been able to confirm the deaths of 406 civilians in Ukraine.

It said that another 801 injured civilians had been confirmed as of midnight Sunday. 

The rights office uses strict methodology and only reports casualties it has confirmed.

Day 12 of 🇷🇺 Russia’s war on 🇺🇦Ukraine:

– 🇺🇦 demands civilian evacuations towards Lviv, not 🇷🇺

– 🇺🇦 forces retake airport in Mykolaiv

– 🇷🇺 army convoy near Kiev still for days

– 209 people killed in besieged Kharkiv, 133 civilians – police

– 3rd round of Moscow-Kiev talks pic.twitter.com/VML7WMnnj5

— TRT World (@trtworld) March 7, 2022

China calls Russia its chief ‘strategic partner’ despite war 

China’s foreign minister has called Russia his country’s “most important strategic partner”.

Wang Yi said Chinese ties with Moscow constitute “one of the most crucial bilateral relationships in the world.” 

“No matter how perilous the international landscape, we will maintain our strategic focus and promote the development of a comprehensive China-Russia partnership in the new era,” Wang said at a news conference on the sidelines of the annual meeting of China’s ceremonial parliament.

“The friendship between the two peoples is iron clad,” he added.

WHO confirms additional attacks on Ukraine health care 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed seven attacks on health care infrastructure in Ukraine since the start of war.

“As of 7 March, nine verified incidents of attacks on health care in Ukraine have been published on the Surveillance System of Attacks on Healthcare (SSA), seven with “confirmed” certainty level, and two with “possible” certainty level,” a WHO official said in an email, referring to its database.

At least nine attacks on healthcare facilities in Ukraine recorded by WHO – seven “confirmed” and two “possible”. Supplies of oxygen, water and medicines are running out, including at a psychiatric hospital near Kiev where hundreds of patients require round-the-clock care pic.twitter.com/oz8iTVuhos

— TRT World (@trtworld) March 7, 2022

Russia will stop ‘in a moment’ if Ukraine meets terms: Kremlin 

Russia has told Ukraine it is ready to halt military operations “in a moment” if Kiev meets a list of conditions, the Kremlin spokesperson has said.

Dmitry Peskov said Moscow was demanding that Ukraine cease military action, change its constitution to enshrine neutrality, acknowledge Crimea as Russian territory, and recognise the separatist republics of Donetsk and Lugansk as independent states.

There was no immediate reaction from the Ukrainian side. 

Macron says situation in Ukraine getting worse every day 

French President Emmanuel Macron has said that the situation in Ukraine was getting worse every day, and that France will continue to put pressure on Russia through sanctions.

“The situation is worsening each day. People die, fatigue settles in. .. We have not managed to obtain a ceasefire,” Macron told LCI television.

EU countries need to move quickly against Russia: Italy 

Italy’s prime minister has called for European Union countries to act swiftly with sanctions against Russian individuals and companies.

“And now we have to act, all of us, with speed on this point,” Mario Draghi said in Brussels in brief comments to reporters ahead of a meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

In separate remarks after meeting von der Leyen, Draghi said Italy, France and Germany were swiftly implementing sanctions against Russian oligarchs, while “others less so”. 

He didn’t give further details.

Some 2,000 civilians evacuated from Irpin near Kiev

About 2,000 civilians have so far been evacuated from the town of Irpin near the Ukrainian capital Kiev, police have said.

A police statement did not make clear over what period the evacuations had taken place.

 Ukrainians fleeing Irpin were caught in shelling by Russian forces on Sunday and forced to dive for cover, Reuters witnesses said. 

Roads in Ukraine’s ‘humanitarian corridor’ mined: ICRC

Refugees trying to escape the besieged Ukraine city of Mariupol using so-called humanitarian corridors were left stranded as the road they were directed towards was mined, the ICRC has said.

Dominik Stillhart, director of operations at the International Committee of the Red Cross, urged both military forces to come to an immediate agreement on the exact routes and times available for those seeking safe passage out of the country.

“So far we have seen, unfortunately, only agreements in principle. But they have immediately broken down because they lack precision,” he told BBC radio.

“They lack the kind of… agreements over times, over roads, over whether people can go out or goods can come in,” he added.

Russia-Ukraine talks to start soon

The third round of talks between delegations from Russia and Ukraine will take place at 1400 GMT in Belarus, a Ukrainian negotiator has said in a tweet.

“Third round. Start at 1600 Kiev time. Delegation unchanged,” Mikhailo Podolyak wrote. There was no confirmation yet from Russia.

Last week, the sides agreed to open humanitarian corridors to allow civilians out of some combat zones, but none of them has worked so far, with the sides accusing each other of violating local ceasefire.

Türkiye to hold 3-way talks with Russia, Ukraine

Türkiye’s foreign minister has announced a tripartite meeting with Ukraine and Russia to be held at the Antalya Diplomacy Forum later this week. “We will hold this meeting in a tripartite format in Antalya on Thursday, March 10,” said Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Expressing hope that the meeting “will be a turning point” and “important step” towards peace and stability, the Turkish foreign minister said Ankara would “continue to make efforts for a lasting peace.” 

The Antalya Diplomacy Forum will be held on March 11-13 in Türkiye’s southern resort city of Antalya.

Zelenskyy seeks international trade embargo on Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has asked the international community to provide Ukraine with military aircraft and called for new sanctions against Moscow, proposing a boycott of Russian oil and other Russian exports as well as a halt of exports to Russia.

“If the invasion (of Ukraine) continues and Russia has not abandoned its plans against Ukraine, then a new sanctions package is needed … for the sake of peace,” he said in a video address.

Talks between Russia and Ukraine will begin at 1200 GMT, the Belarusian Telegraph Agency (BelTA) was quoted as saying by Russian state television.

Kiev rejects Moscow-proposed corridors to Belarus, Russia

Ukraine has rejected Moscow’s offer of humanitarian corridors to Russia and Belarus, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.

“This is not an acceptable option,” she said, after Russia proposed the passage for civilians from Kharkiv, Kiev, Mariupol and Sumy.

The civilians “aren’t going to go to Belarus and then take a plane to Russia”.

Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy:

– Future of Europe being decided by Ukrainian resistance

– Calls for boycott of Russian oil, Russian exports, imports

– Asks Western leaders to give him military aircraft

– Ukraine will not levy taxes on companies that can’t currently afford them pic.twitter.com/yLGV1DfnZa

— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) March 7, 2022

Humanitarian corridors are still not open: Ukraine

Humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians out of Ukrainian cities are still not up and running, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.

Vereshchuk said there were nearly 300,000 civilians requiring evacuation from the southeastern port city of Mariupol, which is under assault from Russian forces.

UN representatives had joined negotiations, she added.

Mayor of town near Kiev killed by Russian fire

Russian forces have killed the mayor of Gostomel, a town near the Ukrainian capital Kiev that is home to the strategic Antonov military airport, city authorities said.

“The head of Gostomel, Yuri Illich Prylypko, died while distributing bread to the hungry and medicine to the sick,” the city said on its Facebook page.

Prylypko was shot dead along with two others, it said, without specifying when. “No-one forced him to go under the occupiers’ bullets,” it said. “He died for his people, for Gostomel. He died a hero.”

Hundreds of thousands in Ukraine cut off from aid: UN

Hundreds of thousands of people inside Ukraine have been cut off from life-saving aid due to the military encirclement of cities, a UN report said, calling urgently for safe passage.

Attempts are under way to create humanitarian corridors after two days of failed ceasefires intended to let civilians flee. Such routes are also critical for bringing aid such as water, food and medicine.

“Reliable and predictable ‘windows of silence’ and ‘safe passage’ are urgently needed to relocate people whose lives are at risk and provide life-saving humanitarian relief supplies,” said a bulletin from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Blinken says US has ‘sacrosanct’ commitment to NATO’s Article 5

The United States has a “sacrosanct” commitment to NATO’s Article 5 guarantee of mutual defence between member-states, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during a visit to Lithuania.

Ukraine’s fight an inspiration for Taiwan: FM

Ukrainians fighting against Russian invaders have inspired the people of Taiwan, the island’s foreign minister Joseph Wu said, as he announced millions of dollars in aid for Ukrainian refugees.

“Despite great adversity, the government and people of Ukraine have been fighting with tremendous courage and determination,” he told a news conference.

“Let me say this from the bottom of my heart: You have been an inspiration to the Taiwanese people in facing threats and coercion from authoritarian power,” he added, referring to China.

India urges direct negotiations between Putin and Zelenskyy

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to hold direct talks with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a phone conversation, according to an Indian government source.

“President Putin briefed Prime Minister Modi on the status of negotiations between the Ukrainian and Russian teams,” the source said, declining to be named ahead of an official statement.

“Prime Minister Modi urged President Putin to hold direct talks with President Zelenskyy of Ukraine, in addition to the ongoing negotiations between their teams.”

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy calls on Western countries to boycott Russian oil, imports and exports, reiterating the urgent need for more warplanes to help Kiev defend territory against Moscow’s invasion pic.twitter.com/LuXTgrJDvS

— TRT World (@trtworld) March 7, 2022

Wheat hits 14-year highs amid Ukraine war

Chicago wheat futures have risen by more than 6% to 14-year highs on concern that global supplies will be disrupted until the Russia-Ukraine conflict is resolved.

The wheat market rose over 40 percent last week, its biggest weekly rise on record, and hit its highest since March 2008 today, at $12.60-1/4 a bushel. Chicago Board of Trade most-active wheat rose 6.6 percent to $12.53-1/4 a bushel at 0927 GMT.

Russia and Ukraine together account for about 29 percent of global wheat exports, as well as 19 percent of corn exports.

Ukraine sets export quotas on key agricultural products

Ukraine has set export restrictions on the crop and other agricultural products, the Interfax Ukraine news agency reported.

According to a government decree, a license issued by the authorities is now required in order to export wheat, poultry meat, eggs and sunflower oil.

Quotas were also introduced for the export of cattle and beef, salt, sugar, oats, buckwheat, rye and millet.

Gas prices rocket to record peaks on supply fears

Europe and UK natural gas prices have hit record highs on supply fears, as the European Union and the United States mull sanctions on Russian energy.

Europe reference Dutch TTF gas price surged more than 60 percent to 345 euros per megawatt hour in morning deals and UK gas hit 800 pence per therm.

Russian stance on corridors completely immoral: Ukraine

Ukraine has condemned a Russian proposal on humanitarian corridors, calling it “completely immoral” after Moscow suggested it would allow people to flee Ukrainian cities provided they exited to Belarus or Russia.

“This is a completely immoral story. People’s suffering is used to create the desired television picture,” a spokesman for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Oleksiy Arestovich, said.

 “These are citizens of Ukraine, they should have the right to evacuate to the territory of Ukraine,” he said, adding that negotiations were taking place with Moscow on establishing humanitarian corridors, but that they were unlikely to be set up while Russian forces keep trying to advance.

Russia ‘trying to manipulate’ world leaders on humanitarian corridors

Russia is trying to manipulate French President Emmanuel Macron and other Western leaders by demanding that any humanitarian corridors in Ukraine exit through Russia or Belarus, a senior Ukrainian official has said.

Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said Ukraine was calling on Russia to agree to a ceasefire to allow Ukrainians to evacuate towards the western Ukrainian city of Lviv instead.

Russia says six humanitarian corridors to be opened in Ukraine

Russia has said that six humanitarian corridors would be opened around Ukrainian cities to allow civilians to escape.

“Detailed information about the humanitarian corridors was given to the Ukrainian side in advance,” Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.

He added that Russia had shot down three Ukrainian Su-27 fighters, one Su-25, two helicopters and some drones. It was not possible to independently verify the claims.

Pro-Russian separatists carry out offensive in Mariupol: Russia

Pro-Russian separatists have carried out an offensive in the southern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol and fighting took place mostly in the western part of the city, Russia’s defence ministry said.

Russian troops would suspend fire to open a humanitarian corridor out of the encircled city of 400,000, the ministry added.

Air strike at Ukraine’s Vinnytsia airport kills 9

Nine people have been killed after Russia forces bombed the airport in Vinnytsia on Sunday, 200 kilometres (124 miles) southwest of the capital Kiev, Ukrainian rescue services said.

“At 0500 GMT on Monday, 15 people were pulled from the rubble. Nine of them were dead, five civilians and four soldiers,” they said on Telegram, adding that they were continuing to look for survivors.

Russian delegation departs for fresh talks with Ukraine

A Russian delegation has departed for Belarus where it will meet Ukrainian negotiators for the third round of talks about ending hostilities, the Sputnik Belarus news outlet reported.

Last week, the sides agreed to open humanitarian corridors to allow civilians out of some combat zones, but none of them has worked so far, with the sides accusing each other of violating local ceasefire.

Russia’s Interior Ministry says more than 4,300 anti-war protesters who condemned Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine have been arrested but independent monitoring groups estimate the real number is much higher pic.twitter.com/qycqtkZnz8

— TRT World (@trtworld) March 7, 2022

Russia arrests over 5,000 in single day for protesting war

Russia has detained more than 5,000 people protesting President Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine in dozens of cities, an unprecedented number as Moscow clamps down on anyone opposing the Kremlin’s military assault on the country.

OVD-info, which monitors arrests during protests, said police had detained at least 5,016 people in 60 cities during the anti-war protests.

‘Putin will not stop in Ukraine’, Lithuanian president says

Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nauseda has warned Washington’s top diplomat Antony Blinken that a failure to stop Russia’s aggression in Ukraine would lead to a global conflict.

Addressing the US secretary of state as he began a tour of Baltic states, Nauseda said Russian leader Vladimir Putin “will not stop in Ukraine” and that the world had an obligation to help Ukrainians “by all means available.”

“I mean indeed all means if we want to avoid the Third World War. The choice is in our hands,” he said.

Russia snubs UN court hearings in case brought by Ukraine

Russia has snubbed a hearing at the United Nations’ top court into a legal bid by Kiev to halt Moscow’s invasion.

A row of seats reserved for Russian lawyers at the International Court of Justice was empty as the hearing opened. The hearing went ahead without the Russian delegation.

The court’s president, American judge Joan E. Donoghue, said Russia’s ambassador to the Netherlands informed judges that “his government did not intend to participate in the oral proceedings.”

China-Russia friendship still ‘rock-solid’: Chinese FM

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said the friendship between China and Russia, Beijing’s “most important strategic partner”, was still very strong, despite international condemnation of Russia’s ongoing invasion.

“The friendship between the two peoples is rock-solid, and both sides’ future cooperation prospects are very vast,” said Wang at an annual press briefing, and offered Beijing’s help in mediating peace.

He added that China would send humanitarian aid to Ukraine and was “willing to work with the international community to carry out necessary mediation”.

Some 5M people could flee Ukraine

As many as five million Ukrainians are expected to flee the country if Russia’s bombing of Ukraine continues, the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said.

“We must prepare to receive around five million people … We must mobilise all the resources of the EU to help those countries receiving people,” Borrell said, adding that the country “will need more schools, more reception centres, more of everything,” he said.

UK not easing rules for Ukrainian refugees

Britain has not been easing its rules for Ukrainian refugees seeking to come to Britain but it does expect its existing route to expand quickly, minister for Europe James Cleverly said.

Britain has already announced visa schemes for those who have family in the country or a willing sponsor, but the government has been criticised by opposition lawmakers for not doing enough to help compared with its European neighbours.

“You’ve got to remember that two weeks ago this situation didn’t exist at all,” he told BBC TV. “We’re looking to create something at a very, very large scale very, very quickly. Initially, of course, it will be slower than we would like. But that will pick up.”

With NATO unwilling to close Ukrainian airspace, US Secretary of State Blinken says they are “looking actively” to see how it can send F-16s to Poland if Warsaw sends its fighter jets to help Kiev resist Russia’s invasion.

We map where NATO forces are deployed in Europe 👇 pic.twitter.com/QNB2PQuBEJ

— TRT World (@trtworld) March 7, 2022

Russia knows Zelenskyy’s whereabouts: Israeli officials

Russia has informed Israel that it knows the whereabouts of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, according to Israeli media.

Russians told several countries that they don’t want to cause harm to the Ukrainian leader but prefer to keep him alive and arrest him, Israeli Channel 12 reported, citing unnamed Israeli officials.

There was no comment from Ukrainian officials on the report.

Russia’s Gazprom continues gas shipments via Ukraine

Russian state natural gas company Gazprom has been continuing to supply gas via Ukraine at the same volume as a day earlier of 109.5 million cubic metres per day, Russia’s Prime news agency reported.

Still room for further sanctions against Russia: France

France and Europe still have margin for manoeuvre to implement further sanctions against Russia for invading Ukraine, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has said.

“Yes there are margins for manoeuvre. All options are on the table,” Le Maire told BFM television and RMC Radio.

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy gives the title “Hero City” to Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Mariupol, Kherson, Hostomel and Volnovakha, a reference to the Soviet Union awarding the same to cities for bravery against Nazi invaders in WWII.

We look at day 12 of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: pic.twitter.com/ltvw7NOqwE

— TRT World (@trtworld) March 7, 2022

Russian banks plan to issue China-linked payment cards

Some Russian banks have been planning to issue payment cards linked to China’s payment system, according to a report by Russian state-owned news agency Tass.

The plan aims to link Russia’s Mir and China’s UnionPay systems to provide payment options for purchases and cash withdrawals abroad. Sberbank, Alfa Bank, and Tinkoff Bank are among the Russian banks considering the plan, according to Tass.

Some Russian banks already operate China’s UnionPay payment system, including Rosselkhozbank, Pochta Bank, Gazprombank, Bank St. Petersburg, Russian Regional Development Bank, and Zenit, the report said.

China exports up 16.3 percent as trade with Russia surged

Chinese exports in January and February have risen to a combined 16.3 percent on surging global demand and a spike in trade with Russia, according to customs data released.

The growth rate exceeded economists’ expectations of a 15.7 percent gain from a year earlier. Exports to Russia rose 41 percent compared to the same period in the previous year.

Shipments from the world’s second-largest economy were valued at $544.7 billion in the first two months, the data from the General Administration of Customs showed.

Moscow Exchange to remain closed through Tuesday

Russia’s stock market will continue to suspend trading operations today and tomorrow as trading sessions and settlements will both be closed in all Moscow Exchange markets through March 8, according to the Moscow Exchange (MOEX) and Russia’s central bank.

The Bank of Russia said schedule of trading on MOEX, which was suspended until further notice after plummeting a whopping 33.3 percent on February 24, will be announced on its website before 0600 GMT (0900 Moscow time) on Wednesday.

Trading on MOEX was suspended until further notice after plummeting a whopping 33.3% on February 24 when Russia launched the war on Ukraine.

At least 364 civilians have been killed, including 25 children, in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began, according to the UN. Its human rights wing believes the real figures are much higher as allegations of hundreds of civilian casualties pour in from the town of Volnovakha pic.twitter.com/zZYfg6vSeT

— TRT World (@trtworld) March 7, 2022

Uniqlo defends decision to stay open in Russia

The parent company of Japanese casualwear giant Uniqlo has defended a decision to keep Russian stores open even as rivals Zara and H&M suspend operations in the country.

Tadashi Yanai, president of Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing, said the conflict should not deprive people in Russia of clothing. “Clothing is a necessity of life. The people of Russia have the same right to live as we do,” he said.

Aluminium, copper prices hit record highs on Ukraine

Aluminium and copper prices have struck record highs on supply fears linked to Russia’s invasion.

Aluminium reached $4,026.50, the first time the lightweight metal had breached $4,000 per tonne.

Copper’s new record stood at $10,845 per tonne.

Danone suspends investment projects in Russia, production to continue

Paris-based food company Danone has said it is suspending all investment projects in Russia amid the war in Ukraine.

The company, however, said, it will maintain production and distribution of fresh dairy products and infant nutrition in order to meet the essential food needs of the local population.

“This war could last for a long time. If so, it will lead to increasing difficulties for the population affected to get hold of basic goods,” it said in a statement.

Russia likely seeking to reduce Ukraine’s access to news

“Russia is probably targeting Ukraine’s communications infrastructure in order to reduce Ukrainian citizens’ access to reliable news and information,” a post by Britain’s Ministry of Defence on Twitter said.

“Ukrainian internet access is also highly likely being disrupted as a result of collateral damage from Russian strikes on infrastructure.” 

Russia to open humanitarian corridors

The Russian military is set to hold fire and open humanitarian corridors in several Ukrainian cities including the capital Kiev at 0700 GMT (10:00AM Moscow time), the Interfax news agency cited Russia’s defence ministry as saying.

The corridors, which will also be opened from the cities of Kharkiv, Mariupol and Sumy, are being set up at the personal request of French President Emmanuel Macron and in view of the current situation in those cities, it said.

Those who leave Kiev will be airlifted to Russia, the ministry said, adding that it would use drones to monitor the evacuation and “attempts by the Ukrainian side to deceive Russia and the whole civilised world … are useless this time”.

West asks for Russia to be suspended from Interpol

Several Western countries have called on Interpol to suspend Russia from the international law enforcement organisation, according to British Home Secretary Priti Patel.

The UK, United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have requested “the immediate suspension of Russia’s access to its systems”, and asked Interpol’s executive committee to make a decision this week, Patel tweeted.

“Russia’s actions are a direct threat to the safety of individuals and to international law enforcement cooperation,” Patel added.

As Russia’s war on Ukraine enters day 12, a mass exodus continues as women try to find safe passage for children and the elderly. But for people in Mariupol, failed ceasefire plans left them trapped without food or water.

We map the surge of Ukrainian refugees 👇 pic.twitter.com/vOhfGxuxVN

— TRT World (@trtworld) March 7, 2022

Australia: Ukraine war a ‘moment of choice for China’

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “a moment of choice for China”, urging Beijing to end its tacit political and economic support for the war.

Morrison pressed China to shape the actions of its Russian ally and prove that Beijing is committed to global peace and the principle of sovereignty, saying “No country would have a greater impact right now.”

“The crisis that now grips Europe heralds a moment of choice for China,” Morrison told the Lowy Institute, a Sydney-based foreign policy think tank.

Netflix, TikTok block services in Russia to avoid crackdown

Netflix and TikTok have suspended most of their services in Russia as the government cracks down on what people and media outlets can say about Russia’s war in Ukraine.

“In light of Russia’s new ‘fake news’ law, we have no choice but to suspend livestreaming and new content to our video service while we review the safety implications of this law. Our in-app messaging service will not be affected,” TikTok said on Twitter.

Netflix cited “circumstances on the ground” for its decision to suspend its Russian service but did not provide further details.

Ukraine claims its forces killed 40 Russian soldiers in Luhansk

Ukraine has claimed that its forces killed 40 Russian soldiers and destroyed 11 military vehicles in the Luhansk region. 

It said the Russian army continued its offensive operation against Ukraine by focusing its main efforts on besieging the cities of Kiev, Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Sumy and Mykolaiv, reaching the administrative borders in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

The statement added that Russian forces had begun regrouping to attack the capital Kiev.

S.Korea to cut transactions with Russia’s central bank

South Korea has toughened its financial sanctions against Russia by banning transactions with Russia’s central bank.

South Korea’s foreign ministry said it has decided to immobilise any assets held by the Russian central bank in the won and to sever transactions with Russia’s central bank, following similar moves by the United States and the European Union.

The new penal ties on Russia follows Seoul’s March 1 decision to ban transactions with seven major Russian banks and their affiliates, including Sberbank.

China says most of its citizens evacuated from Ukraine

Beijing’s embassy in Ukraine has announced that most of the approximately 6,000 Chinese nationals previously in the country have been evacuated.

“At present, most Chinese compatriots in Ukraine have already been evacuated,” the embassy said in a social media statement which urged remaining citizens to evacuate as well, saying “The tense situation in Ukraine continues to deteriorate”.

German ministers warn against boycotting Russian oil

Germany’s finance and foreign ministers have cautioned against banning Russian energy imports as the West searches for ways to tighten the screws on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

Foreign minister Annalena Baerbock said Germany was prepared “to pay a very, very high economic price” but “if tomorrow in Germany or Europe the lights go out, it’s not going to stop the tanks,” suggesting sanctions could not be sustained long term.

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner was also sceptical of an oil ban. “We should not limit our ability to sustain ourselves,” he told the newspaper Bild.

New Zealand expands sanctions on Russia

New Zealand’s government is set to introduce legislation to allow it to impose sanctions against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. It will be the first time New Zealand would have levied sanctions individually on a country.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the sanctions will give the country the ability to freeze Russian assets in New Zealand.

It would prevent people and companies from moving their money and assets here to escape sanctions imposed by other countries, and stop super yachts, ships and aircraft from entering the country’s waters or airspace.

Firefighters try to put out a fire in central Ukraine’s Vinnytsia where Russian rockets destroyed a civilian airport, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pic.twitter.com/UjGJydwgc4

— TRT World (@trtworld) March 6, 2022

Russia reported to be recruiting Syrians for Ukraine war

Russia is recruiting Syrian fighters experienced in urban combat as it ramps up its assault on Ukraine, according to US officials quoted by the Wall Street Journal.

Moscow, which launched an invasion into its Eastern European neighbour on February 24, has in recent days recruited fighters from Syria hoping they can help take Kiev, four US officials told the US daily.

Russia entered the Syrian civil war in 2015 on the side of regime leader Bashar al Assad. The country has been mired in a conflict marked by urban combat for more than a decade.

One official told the Journal that some fighters are already in Russia readying to join the fight in Ukraine, though it was not immediately clear how many combatants have been recruited, and the sources would not provide further detail.

Foreign fighters have already entered the Ukrainian conflict on both sides.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has claimed around 20,000 foreign fighters from more than 50 countries have travelled to the country to join Kiev’s forces.

US Congress to ‘explore’ Russian oil ban, enact $10B in aid for Ukraine this week 

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said the chamber is “exploring” legislation to ban import of Russian oil and that Congress intends to enact this week $10 billion in aid for Ukraine in response to Russia’s military invasion of its neighbour.

“The House is currently exploring strong legislation that will further isolate Russia from the global economy,” Pelosi said in a letter.

“Our bill would ban the import of Russian oil and energy products into the United States, repeal normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus, and take the first step to deny Russia access to the World Trade Organization.”

Ukraine and Russia to face off at World Court over genocide accusation

Ukraine will ask the United Nations’ top court to issue an emergency ruling requiring Russia to stop its invasion, arguing that Moscow’s justification for the attack is based on a faulty interpretation of genocide law.

Although the court’s rulings are binding and countries generally follow them, it has no direct means of enforcing them.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Russia’s “special military action” is needed “to protect people who have been subjected to bullying and genocide” –– meaning those whose first or only language is Russian –– in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine’s suit argues that the claim of genocide is untrue, and in any case does not provide legal justification for invasion.

The case it has lodged at the World Court, officially known as the International Court of Justice (ICJ), centres on the interpretation of a 1948 treaty on the prevention of genocide, signed by both countries. The treaty names the ICJ as the forum for resolving disputes between signatories.

Last week, the executive board of the International Association of Genocide Scholars issued a statement saying that Putin was “misappropriating and misusing the term ‘genocide'”.

“There is absolutely no evidence that there is genocide going on in Ukraine,” the association’s president, Melanie O’Brien, told Reuters news agency.

The Russian embassy in The Hague did not immediately respond to questions from Reuters about the case.

The ICJ can order fast-track “provisional measures” in a matter of days or weeks to prevent a situation from worsening before it looks at the merits of a case, or whether it has jurisdiction.

Ukraine sought provisional measures from the court in 2014 after Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and the ICJ ordered both sides not to worsen the dispute.

The hearings start at 10 am (0900 GMT) with Ukraine presenting its case. 

Russia is due to respond on Tuesday.

For live updates from Sunday (March 6) click 👉🏽 here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies