Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday reiterated his demand for a no-fly zone over his country.
In a televised address, he said that the global community will be responsible for a “humanitarian catastrophe” if it does not enforce such a zone.
Ukraine on Wednesday said that as many as 5,000 people, including foreign students, were estimated to have left Ukraine’s Sumy city in two stages through the humanitarian corridor agreed between Kyiv and Russia. Ukraine, however, accused Russia of shelling the humanitarian corridor between Zaporizhzhia to Mariupol city.
A spokesperson for Russia’s foreign ministry claimed that the country took control of the nuclear power plants at Chernobyl and Zaporizhzhia solely to prevent “any attempts to stage nuclear provocations”.
Earlier today, the International Atomic Energy Agency said that it has lost remote data transmission from safeguards monitoring systems installed at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Russia had taken control of the power plant last month.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that he was no longer pressing North Atlantic Treaty Organization for membership. The statement assumes significance as Ukraine wanting to join NATO was one of the reasons stated by Russia to invade the former Soviet country.
8.55 pm: Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reiterates his demand for a no-fly zone over his country, Reuters reports. He says that the global community will be responsible for a “humanitarian catastrophe” if it does not enforce such a zone.
“Russia uses missiles, aircraft and helicopters against us, against civilians, against our cities, against our infrastructure,” Zelenskyy says. “It is the humanitarian duty of the world to respond.”
6.25 pm: The last flight carrying Indians who were in Ukraine will take off tomorrow, bringing an end to the evacuation operation, NDTV reported, citing unidentified officials. The last flight will reportedly bring back government officials to India.
6.15 pm: The European Union will add 146 members of Russia’s upper house of Parliament, as well as 14 Russia-linked oligarchs to its sanctions list, European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen says, according to AFP.
5.56 pm: Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says that the Chernobyl nuclear power plant has lost electric supply after the grid supplying power to the plant was damaged.
“Reserve diesel generators have a 48-hour capacity to power the Chornobyl NPP,” he says. “After that, cooling systems of the storage facility for spent nuclear fuel will stop, making radiation leaks imminent.”
5.25 pm: Russia’s objective in the ongoing military operation is to ensure Ukraine’s neutral status, and it would be better if this is done through peace negotiations, the spokesperson for the Russian foreign ministry Maria Zakharova says.
5.12 pm: Union minister Piyush Goyal claims that the last batch of Indian students has left eastern Ukraine and is now heading towards the western part of the country, according to ANI.“...They’ll soon enter the neighbouring countries and will be evacuated from there,” he says.
5.05 pm: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces that his country will send another shipment of highly specialised military equipment to Ukraine.
Trudeau adds that he held discussions with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about sanctions against Russia and humanitarian assistance for Ukraine.
4.55 pm: Russia took control of the nuclear power plants at Chernobyl and Zaporizhzhia solely to prevent “any attempts to stage nuclear provocations”, the spokesperson for the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maria Zakharova, says.
Zakharova describes the possibility of such nuclear provocations as a “risk that obviously exists”.
4.25 pm: The Centre brought students stranded in Ukraine back to India without any discrimination, Union minister Piyush Goyal claims.
He alleges that the Congress and other Opposition leaders tried to politicise the issue. “In the time of a crisis, all the people should unite, but during this period of crisis, Opposition leaders engaged in false propaganda instead of reassuring people,” he claims.
3.50 pm: The European Union says it has decided to toughen sanctions on Russian leaders and oligarchs.
3.40 pm: Britain announces new aviation sanctions giving its authorities the power to detain any Russian aircraft and to ban exports of aviation or space-related goods to Russia.
“We [Britain] have also strengthened the current overflight and landing ban on Russian aircraft, laying new legislation today to make it a criminal offence for any Russian aircraft to fly or land in the UK,” a release by the British government says.
3.20 pm: American Congress leaders reach a bipartisan deal on providing $13.6 billion in aid to Ukraine and European allies, reports The Associated Press. Leaders hope to clear the measure through Congress by Wednesday and the Senate by the end of the week
American President Joe Biden had sought $10 billion in aid for Ukraine but with high support, the figure increased to $12 billion on Monday and $13.6 billion on Tuesday.
3.05 pm: Poland said it is ready to provide Ukraine with MiG-29 fighter jets, but it can only act within the framework of NATO, reports The Guardian.
Jakub Kumoch, an advisor to President Andrzej Duda, said the United States does not want the plans to come to Ukraine from American bases. Kumoch said Poland can act, but only within the framework of NATO.
2.45 pm: Civilians are leaving Sumy in cars after a humanitarian corridor was established for a second consecutive day in the city, Reuters reports, citing city’s mayor.
A humanitarian corridor is a temporary demilitarised zone that allows evacuations and transport of aid in a crisis-hit area.
2.15 pm: More than 20 lakh people, mostly women and children, have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded the country on February 24, the United Nations refugee agency says.
The agency says that the exodus from Ukraine is Europe’s fastest-growing refugee crisis since the World War II. More details here.
1.35 pm: Governor of Sumy city, Dmytro Zhyvytskyi, says that 22 people, including three children, were killed in the airstrike by Russia on March 7, the BBC reports. “Three bombs in one evening... It was a terrible night,” he says.
12.55 pm: The Ukrainian government has banned exports of rye, barley, buckwheat, millet, sugar, salt, and meat until the end of this year, Al Jazeera reports, citing a cabinet resolution.
12.30 pm: Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba will meet his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, during a summit in Turkey, the BBC reports.
This will be their first meeting since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. The meeting is likely to take place on March 11.
11.45 am: The governor of Ukraine’s Sumy city says that the humanitarian corridor announced on Tuesday in the city will continue today as well, the BBC reports.
Some 5,000 people are estimated to have left Sumy in two evacuation stages, according to the Ukrainian government.
11.40 am: The New York Times says that it is temporarily removing its journalists from Russia after Moscow imposed new legislation that effectively outlaws independent reporting on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“Russia’s new legislation seeks to criminalize independent, accurate news reporting about the war against Ukraine,” Danielle Rhoades Ha, a spokeswoman for The Times, says in a statement. “For the safety and security of our editorial staff working in the region, we are moving them out of the country for now.”
11.05 am: The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine says they continue to hold Kyiv despite attacks by Russian forces overnight, reports The Guardian.
10.40 am: Visuals from Ukraine:
10.20 am: Loud series of explosions are being heard in Kyiv and the surrounding area since morning. Residents have been asked to go to the nearest shelter, The Kyiv Independent reports.
8.44 am: The International Atomic Energy Agency says that it has lost remote data transmission from safeguards monitoring systems installed at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.
“The agency is looking into the status of safeguards monitoring systems in other locations in Ukraine and will provide further information soon,” it adds.
Russia had taken control of the power plant last month.
8.36 am: Russia announces a humanitarian ceasefire in Ukraine for Wednesday morning to carry out the evacuation of the civilian population, AFP reports, citing Russian news agencies.
A Russian defence ministry cell charged with humanitarian operations in Ukraine says that the ceasefire would be between 10 am and 3 pm Moscow Time (12.30 pm and 5.30 pm in India)
8.32 am: Michael Kofman, the director of the Russia Studies programme at the Center for Naval Analyses think tank, says that the humanitarian corridor created by Russia are “somewhat of a joke”, reports the BBC.
Kofman tells the BBC that Russian forces were once again showing they were not reluctant to use heavy artillery fire in the presence of civilians.
8.27 am: Georgia’s former Minister of Defence Irakly Okruashvili arrives in Ukraine, along with other Georgian volunteers, says Ukraine’s defence ministry, reports Al Jazeera.
Okruashvili is “in Ukraine alongside Georgian volunteers to help us fight against the Russian occupying forces,” says the the ministry.
8.23 am: Global brands McDonald’s, Starbucks, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and General Electric announced decision to temporarily suspend their business in Russia in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine, reports The Associated Press.
8.18 am: The Ukrainian defence ministry alleges that Russia violated the temporary ceasefire it announced on Tuesday to allow safe passage to civilians.
“Russian forces are now shelling the humanitarian corridor from Zaporizhzhia to Mariupol,” tweets ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko. “8 trucks + 30 buses ready to deliver humanitarian aid to Mariupol and to evac civilians to Zaporizhzhia. Pressure on Russia MUST step up to make it uphold its commitments.”
7.40 am: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he was no longer pressing North Atlantic Treaty Organization for a membership, reports AFP. The statement assumes significance as Ukraine wanting to join NATO was one of the reasons stated by Russia to invade the former Soviet country.
Zelenskyy also says he was open to “compromise” on the status of two separatists territories Donetsk and Luhansk that Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised as independent just before beginning the invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
A look at the developments from Tuesday:
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for more Western action against Russia as it continued with the invasion. He said that the responsibility for the deaths in Ukraine rests not just on Russia, but also those “who did not save our cities from airstrikes, from these bombs, missiles, despite the fact that they can”.
- The evacuation of Indian students stranded in the northeastern Ukrainian city of Sumy began on as they boarded buses to head towards central part of the country. As many as 694 people, including families living in Sumy have left for the central Ukrainian city of Poltava.
- The Indian Embassy in Kyiv urged citizens to leave besieged cities in Ukraine using the humanitarian corridor that was set up earlier in the day.
- The United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, said that two million people have fled Ukraine due to the Russian attack.