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Russian shells have struck civilians trying to evacuate from the Ukrainian city of Irpin, killing at least three people, according to local media

This digest has now been archived. Find the latest Russia-Ukraine updates here.

People cross an improvised path under a destroyed bridge while fleeing the town of Irpin, Ukraine, Sunday, March 6, 2022. In Irpin, near Kyiv, a sea of people on foot and even in wheelbarrows trudged over the remains of a destroyed bridge to cross a river and leave the city.Oleksandr Ratushniak/The Associated Press

Editor’s note: Our live coverage on this page has ended. Follow the latest Russia-Ukraine news and updates as a handful of humanitarian corridors open to allow civilians to flee Ukraine.

Russia has invaded Ukraine. Here are the latest updates:

  • Russia on Monday said they will open humanitarian corridors out of Ukrainian cities. A second attempt to evacuate Ukrainians from Mariupol has failed due to continued Russian assault. Meanwhile, Russian shells have struck civilians trying to evacuate from Irpin – killing at least three people, including two children, according to local media. Meanwhile, the port city of Odesa is preparing for an imminent attack.
  • The head of the United Nations’ refugee agency says that more than 1.5 million refugees have crossed from Ukraine into neighbouring countries – calling it “the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.”
  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived in Europe on Sunday to meet with allies about the intensifying situation in Ukraine.
  • The United States, Britain and other Western allies are working on plans to transfer Polish warplanes to Kyiv in an attempt to prevent Russia from gaining total air superiority over Ukraine
  • A top aide of Zelensky says Russia starting to realize the real price of its war in Ukraine.

Editor-in-Chief David Walmsley shares a letter with Globe readers about our Ukraine coverage.


  • A man carries a woman as they cross an improvised path while fleeing the town of Irpin, Ukraine on Sunday, March 6.Oleksandr Ratushniak/The Associated Press

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1:15 a.m. ET

Russia again says it will open humanitarian corridors to Ukrainian cities

Russia’s military will hold fire and open humanitarian corridors in several Ukrainian cities on Monday, the Defence Ministry said, after fighting halted weekend evacuation efforts and civilian casualties from Russia’s invasion mounted.

The corridors will opened at 10 a.m. Moscow time from the capital Kyiv as well as the cities of Kharkiv and Sumy and are being set up at the personal request of French President Emmanuel Macron, the ministry said.

Those who leave Kyiv will then be airlifted to Russia, the ministry said, adding it would use drones to monitor the evacuation.

“Attempts by the Ukrainian side to deceive Russia and the whole civilized world … are useless this time,” the ministry said.

Russia’s invasion has been condemned around the world, sent more than 1.5 million Ukrainians fleeing abroad, and triggered sweeping Western-led sanctions aimed at crippling the Russian economy.

Russian forces are converging on Kyiv, a city of 3 million, but have faced stiff resistance and have suffered heavy losses, according to Ukrainian authorities.

-Reuters


12:00 a.m. ET

U.S. Congress seeks to restrict trade with Russia

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the House is exploring legislation to further isolate Russia from the global economy, including banning the import of its oil and energy products into the U.S.

Amid rising gasoline prices in the U.S., the Biden administration has yet to call for an oil import ban on Russia.

In a letter to Democrats released Sunday night, Pelosi says the legislation under consideration would also repeal normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus and begin the process of denying Russia access to the World Trade Organization.

Pelosi says the House would also empower the Biden administration to raise tariffs on Russian imports.

Congress intends to approve the Biden administration’s request for $10 billion in humanitarian, military and economic support for Ukraine, Pelosi said, as part of omnibus government funding legislation this week.

-The Associated Press


1:18 p.m. ET

Russian gymnast Ivan Kuliak faces disciplinary action for displaying support for Ukraine invasion

The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) said it will open disciplinary proceedings against Russian artistic gymnast Ivan Kuliak for his “shocking behaviour” in displaying a symbol of support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine during an event.

The 20-year-old finished third in the parallel bars final at the Apparatus World Cup in Doha over the weekend and displayed the letter “Z” on the front of his outfit as he stood on the podium next to Ukrainian rival Illia Kovtun, who won the gold.

Russian forces have used the letter Z as an identifying symbol on their vehicles in Ukraine following Moscow’s invasion of its neighbour. Some supporters of the invasion have also been displaying the symbol.

-Reuters


9:13 p.m. ET

Canadians find novel ways to help Ukraine, including booking lodgings they’ll never stay in

When Olivera White was searching for an Airbnb rental in Ukraine, she wasn’t concerned with the number of bedrooms or bathrooms. The Ontario woman wanted the apartment to appear modest – as if the owner didn’t have a ton of money. Mostly, she wanted confirmation that the host was alive.

This is because Ms. White has no intention of staying at any of the three Airbnb units she and her husband booked in recent days near the capital city of Kyiv. Instead, they’re part of a global movement of people who are turning to the short-term lodging platform as a means of directly supporting Ukrainians under siege by Russian forces.

In just 48 hours last week, more than 61,000 nights were reserved in Ukraine through Airbnb, for a total gross booking value of almost $2-million. Nearly 3,000 nights were paid for by Canadian guests, an Airbnb spokeswoman said in an e-mail over the weekend.

- Kathryn Blaze Baum and Salmaan Farooqui


8:08 p.m. ET

International Court of Justice to hear Ukraine case seeking halt to Russian invasion

Ukraine will ask an international court for an order halting Russia’s military invasion, saying Russia has falsely accused it of genocide to justify an illegal war, in a hearing Monday and Tuesday in the Hague.

A request for an injunction made to the International Court of Justice, the principal legal body of the United Nations, takes precedence over all other cases, enabling Ukraine to receive a prompt hearing.

Ukraine brought its case under the UN’s 1948 Genocide Convention, which contains a provision for settling disputes at the ICJ over how the convention is interpreted and applied. Ukraine alleges Russia is misusing the convention – the world’s response to the mass murder of Jews and others during the Second World War – by claiming it as a pretext for its own attacks, which Ukraine describes in its legal filings as genocidal themselves.

A lawyer for Ukraine says the case is important, even if Russia refuses to comply with court orders, because it reinforces the legal basis for sanctions and other actions intended to isolate Russia.

-Sean Fine


6:25 p.m. ET

Zelensky calls West’s sanctions on Russia “not sufficient”

In a video statement Sunday evening, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky heaped criticism on Western leaders for not responding to the Russian Defense Ministry’s announcement that it would strike Ukraine’s military-industrial complex, while telling employees of these defense plants not to go to work.

“I didn’t hear even a single world leader react to this,” Zelensky said. “The audacity of the aggressor is a clear signal to the West that the sanctions imposed on Russia are not sufficient.”

Zelensky called for organizing a “tribunal” to bring to justice those who order and carry out such crimes.

“Think about the sense of impunity of the occupiers that they can announce such planned atrocities,” he said.

The Russian Defense Ministry announced Sunday that its forces intend to strike Ukraine’s military-industrial complex with what it said were precision weapons.

“We urge all personnel of Ukrainian defense industry plants … to leave the territory of their enterprises,” ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement carried by the state news agency Tass.

-The Associated Press


4:57 p.m. ET

In Odesa, opera singers and perfumers seek to defend city from Russian destruction

Members of the Odessa National Academic Opera and Ballet Theater sing the Ukrainian national anthem while volunteers fill sandbags for use in defensive positions in the city preparing for a Russian attack. President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that Russia is preparing to bombard Odesa.

The Globe and Mail

Odesa, the city whose grand edifices on the Black Sea stand as a cosmopolitan testament to Viennese, Italian and Russian architects, has largely been spared from the aerial bombardments and artillery attacks that have turned streets in other Ukrainian cities to rubble.

But on Sunday, the lengthy wail of air raid sirens was followed by an announcement from the military that it had shot down a Russian aircraft near the city – and, then, a grim warning from president Volodymyr Zelensky.

“They are preparing to bombard Odesa,” Mr. Zelensky said. Such an act, he warned, would constitute not just a war crime, but a crime against history. Odesa has long been revered by Russians, built on land seized from the Turks by Catherine the Great, with cobblestone streets once frequented by Alexander Pushkin and sweeping beaches that have long drawn legions of Russian tourists.

Before troops under Russian President Vladimir Putin began a campaign that has destroyed Ukrainian cities like Kharkiv and Mariupol once considered more inclined toward Moscow, few believed it was possible for the invading forces to desecrate Odesa. Mr. Putin, they believed, would not dare sully what was once a jewel of the Russian empire.

Now, such an outcome is taken as a given.

-Nathan VanderKlippe in Bucharest, Romania


3:05 p.m. ET

U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner arrested in Russia on drug charges

WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner was arrested last month at a Moscow airport after Russian authorities said a search of her luggage revealed vape cartridges containing an oil derived from cannabis, which could carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Griner, who plays for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, has played in Russia for the last seven years in the winter. She last played for her Russian team UMMC Ekaterinburg on Jan. 29 before the league took a two-week break in early February for the FIBA World Cup qualifying tournaments.

On Saturday, the U.S. State Department issued a “do not travel” advisory for Russia because of its invasion of Ukraine and urged all U.S. citizens to depart immediately, citing factors including “the potential for harassment against U.S. citizens by Russian government security officials” and “the Embassy’s limited ability to assist” Americans in Russia.

Griner’s agent, Kagawa Colas, said she was in close contact with her and her legal representation in Russia. “As this is an ongoing legal matter, we are not able to comment further on the specifics of her case but can confirm that as we work to get her home, her mental and physical health remain our primary concern,” said Colas.

-The Associated Press


2:50 p.m. ET

TikTok blocks new video posts in Russia in wake of government’s ‘fake’ news law

TikTok said Sunday that users won’t be able to post new videos in Russia in response to the government’s crackdown on social media.

“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,” the company said in a statement on Twitter. “Our in-app messaging service will not be affected.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday intensified a crackdown on media outlets and individuals who fail to hew to the Kremlin line on Russia’s war in Ukraine, blocking Facebook and Twitter and signing into law a bill that criminalizes the intentional spreading of what Moscow deems to be “fake” reports.

TikTok is part of the larger Chinese tech company ByteDance.

-The Associated Press


1:47 p.m. ET

American Express suspends operations in Russia and Belarus

American Express said on Sunday it was suspending all operations in Russia and Belarus, joining a growing number of Western corporations to boycott business there over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

“In light of Russia’s ongoing, unjustified attack on the people of Ukraine, American Express is suspending all operations in Russia,” the credit card company said in a statement on its website. “We are also terminating all business operations in Belarus.”

American Express follows U.S. counterparts Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc., which announced a suspension of their Russian operations the previous day, as well as payments company PayPal Holdings Inc.

-Reuters


1:42 p.m. ET

Quebec doctors are providing virtual training for Ukrainian health-care workers

A group of Quebec doctors are offering training on life-saving procedures to Ukrainians contending with the Russian invasion.

McGill University in Montreal says the Steinberg Centre for Simulation and Interactive Learning is creating multimedia content to support urgent health-care needs in Ukraine.

The school says the videos were filmed in a simulated operating room and translated from English to Ukrainian.

The videos teach basic life support techniques and emergency life-saving procedures that can be performed by non-surgeons, including chest tube insertion and airway ventilatory management.

-The Canadian Press


1:17 p.m. ET

Bennett says Israel will try to mediate on Ukraine even if prospects poor

Israel will continue trying to mediate between Russia and Ukraine even if success seems unlikely, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Sunday after returning from surprise talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ukraine has requested that Israel serve as intermediary, citing the government’s good relations with both Kyiv and Moscow. Bennett’s office said he had spoken three times over the weekend with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

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.

“We will continue to assist wherever this is requested, even if the chances are not great,” Bennett said. “The moment there is even a small opening, and we have the access to all sides and the capability, I see it as a moral duty to make every attempt.”

-Reuters


12:41 p.m. ET

Pope Francis says he has dispatched two cardinals to Ukraine

Pope Francis says he has dispatched two cardinals to Ukraine, a highly unusual move.

The pontiff said Sunday 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.

Francis did not say where exactly the cardinals had gone, but said they represented him and all Christian people with the message that “war is madness.’’

Referring to Ukraine as “that martyred country,” Francis called for a cessation of violence, the establishment of humanitarian corridors and a return to negotiations.

“In Ukraine, rivers of blood and tears are flowing. This is not just a military operation, but a war that sows death, destruction and misery,’’ he said in his traditional Sunday blessing.

-The Associated Press


12:37 p.m. ET

Russia interfering at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, IAEA says

The International Atomic Energy Agency has said Russian forces are tightening their grip on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, Ukraine’s largest, that they seized last week.

The director general of the agency, Rafael Mariano Grossi, said Sunday 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.”

-The Associated Press


12:29 p.m. ET

French food group Danone suspends investments in Russia

French food group Danone said in a statement on its website that it was suspending investments in Russia, and that one of its two factories had closed in Ukraine, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“We have decided to suspend all investment projects in Russia, but currently maintain our production and distribution of fresh dairy products and infant nutrition, to still meet the essential food needs of the local population,” said Danone.

In Russia, Danone runs the Prostokvashino dairy brand.

-Reuters


10:56 a.m. ET

U.S., Europeans discussing banning Russian oil imports, Blinken says

The United States and European partners are exploring banning Russian oil imports, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday, but 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.

Blinken, who is currently on a trip across Europe to coordinate with allies against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, added that he discussed oil imports with President Joe Biden and his cabinet on Saturday.

-Reuters


10:54 a.m. ET

Ukraine calls for Russia and Belarus to lose IMF and World Bank membership

Ukraine Prime Minister Denys Shmygal on Sunday said he had signed a formal request to foreign governments, including the United States, for termination of Russia and Belarus’s memberships of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

“These two countries violated their obligations and directed their policies towards war,” he said in a statement.

-Reuters


10:35 a.m. ET

Footage captures a shell exploding near civilians fleeing Irpin, killing at least three

Dramatic video shows the moment a shell exploded near civilians trying to flee Irpin, Ukraine, killing at least three, with photos of the aftermath showing bodies with suitcases. Earlier, a group of journalists was near shelling in the city as the Russian invasion pushed toward Kyiv.

The Globe and Mail


10:22 a.m. ET

Trudeau departs for Europe to meet with allies on Ukraine response

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau departed for Europe on Sunday to meet with allies about the intensifying situation in Ukraine.

Trudeau has meetings set for Monday in London with the prime ministers of Britain and the Netherlands.

In the days to come, Trudeau is to meet with other leaders in Riga, Latvia, Berlin and Warsaw, Poland. He’s also due to meet with the secretary-general of NATO and with Canadian Armed Forces members during his trip.

Trudeau left Canada as plans to evacuate civilians from a Ukrainian port city collapsed for the second time.

-The Canadian Press


10:06 a.m. ET

More than 360 civilians confirmed killed in Ukraine so far, U.N. says

At least 364 civilians are confirmed to have been killed in Ukraine since Russian troops invaded on Feb. 24, and another 759 wounded, although the true numbers are probably “considerably higher”, a U.N. monitoring mission said on Sunday.

The updated figures, relating to casualties through March 5, added a further 13 deaths and 52 injuries to the casualties that the monitors from the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reported on Saturday.

-Reuters


9:49 a.m. ET

Ukraine presses west for more sanctions on Russia as number of refugees expected to reach 1.5 million

The number of refugees fleeing Ukraine was expected to reach 1.5 million on Sunday as Kyiv pressed the West to toughen sanctions and deliver more weapons to repel Russia’s attack now in its 11th day.

Ukrainian police said there was relentless Russian shelling and air raids in the northeast Kharkiv region, reporting many casualties, while the U.N. World Health Organization said there had been several attacks on Ukrainian healthcare facilities.

People who have been able escape Ukraine spilled into neighbouring Poland, Romania, Slovakia and elsewhere, Ukrainian Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called on those in areas occupied by Russian troops to fight.

“We must go outside and drive this evil out of our cities,” he said in an address on Saturday night.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, after meeting U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the Ukraine-Poland border, said he expected new sanctions and weapons for Ukraine in coming days.

-Reuters


9:23 a.m. ET

Russia strikes Ukrainian military air base with long-range weapons

Russia struck and disabled Ukraine’s Starokostiantyniv military air base with long-range high-precision weapons, Russia’s defence ministry said on Sunday.

“The Russia armed forces continue to strike the military infrastructure of Ukraine,” Russian defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.

“On the morning of March 6, strikes were carried out by high-precision long-range weapons. The Ukrainian air force base near Starokostiantyniv was disabled.”

He said a Ukrainian-controlled S-300 missile system had also been destroyed by Russian rocket forces. He said Russia had downed 10 Ukrainian planes and helicopters over the past 24 hours.

-Reuters


9:22 a.m. ET

Putin says Ukraine responsible for March 3 nuclear power plant incident

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday accused Ukrainian radicals for an incident on March 3 at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, the Kremlin said.

French President Emmanuel Macron asked Putin by telephone about a fire at Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant.

“Vladimir Putin informed about the provocation by Ukrainian radicals in the area of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant,” the Kremlin said. “The radiation levels are normal.”

-Reuters


9:16 a.m. ET

Over 2,500 detained at anti-war protests in Russia, monitoring group says

More than 2,500 people were detained at protests on Sunday in 49 cities across Russia against President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, according to an independent Russian-based protest monitoring group.

Thousands of protesters chanted “No to war!” and “Shame on you!”, according to videos posted on social media by opposition activists and bloggers. The OVD-Info protest monitoring group said 2,502 people had been arrested.

Dozens of protesters in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg were shown being detained. One protester there was shown being beaten on the ground by police in riot gear. A mural in the city showing President Vladimir Putin was defaced.

Reuters was unable to independently verify the footage and photographs on social media, or to reach Russia’s interior ministry for comment.

-Reuters



8:54 a.m. ET

South Korea will implement export controls against Belarus over support of Russia

South Korea will implement export controls against Belarus for “effectively supporting the Russian invasion of Ukraine”, Seoul’s foreign ministry said on Sunday.

The ministry did not detail what measures would be taken, but said they will be applied in a similar way to moves already taken by South Korea against Russia. It condemned Moscow as having launched an “armed invasion” of Ukraine.

South Korea said last month it would tighten export controls against Russia by banning shipments of strategic items and join Western countries’ moves to block some Russian banks from the SWIFT international payments system.

-Reuters


8:38 a.m. ET

Fleeing sanctions, oligarchs seek safe harbour for superyachts

Most of the Russians on the annual Forbes list of billionaires have not yet been sanctioned by the United States and its allies, and their superyachts are still crushing the world’s oceans.

Take the Dilbar, for instance. The superyacht stretches one-and-a-half football fields in length. It has two helipads, berths for more than 130 people and a 25-meter swimming pool that itself can accommodate another superyacht.

Dilbar was launched in 2016 at a reported cost of more than $648 million. Five years later, its purported owner, the Kremlin-aligned Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov, was already dissatisfied. He sent the vessel to a German shipyard last fall for a retrofit reportedly costing several hundred million dollars.

Dilbar was in drydock on Thursday when the United States and European Union announced economic sanctions against Usmanov – a metals magnate and early investor in Facebook – over his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and in retaliation for the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.

“We are joining with our European allies to find and seize your yachts, your luxury apartments, your private jets,” President Joe Biden said during his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, addressing Russian oligarchs. “We are coming for your ill-begotten gains.”

Seizing the behemoth boats could prove challenging. Russian billionaires have had decades to shield their money and assets in the West from governments that might try to tax or seize them.

-The Associated Press


8:16 a.m. ET

Russian assault halts Mariupol evacuations for a second time

A couple enter a shelter with a baby in a stroller during Russian shelling outside Mariupol, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.Sergei Grits/The Associated Press

A Ukrainian official says a second attempt to evacuate civilians from a southern city under siege for a week has failed due to continued Russian shelling.

Evacuations from the port city of Mariupol were scheduled to begin at noon local time (5 a.m. ET) during a 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. local ceasefire, Ukrainian military authorities said earlier Sunday.

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.

A similar ceasefire planned for Mariupol and the nearby city of Volnovakha collapsed Saturday, trapping residents under more shelling and aerial bombardment by Russian forces.

-The Associated Press


7:35 a.m. ET

Zelensky says Russian rockets have destroyed Vinnytsia airport

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russian rockets had completely destroyed the civilian airport of the central-western region capital of Vinnytsia on Sunday.

Earlier the authorities said emergency services were working to put out fires at the airport caused by the rocket strikes.

-Reuters


7:27 a.m. ET

Allies consider sending warplanes to Poland if Warsaw delivers Soviet-era planes to Ukraine

The United States, Britain and other Western allies are working on plans to transfer Polish fighter or ground attack jets to Kyiv in an attempt to prevent Russia from gaining total air superiority over Ukraine and intensifying the war.

Speaking from Moldova on Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed that the aircraft-transfer plan was in the works.

“We are looking actively now at the question of airplanes that Poland may provide to Ukraine and looking at how we might be able to backfill should Poland decide to supply those planes,” Mr. Blinken said. “I can’t speak to a timeline but I can just say we’re looking at it very, very actively.”

Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly became aware of the audacious plan to bolster the fighting power of the Ukraine air force during her visit to Poland on Wednesday and discussed it with her Group of Seven counterparts in Brussels the next day, said a diplomatic source who was not authorized to speak publicly about the plan.

“This idea [to supply jets to Ukraine] is more than wishful thinking,” he said. “We agree that the allies need to support Ukraine and that it cannot be done through NATO. Hence the creative ideas like this.”

-The Globe’s Eric Reguly in Belgium


7:00 a.m. ET

Desperate Ukrainian civilians cling to shaky ceasefire as way out of besieged cities

Local residents look for cover as they escape from the town of Irpin, after heavy shelling on the only escape route used by locals, while Russian troops advance towards the capital, in Irpin, near Kyiv, Ukraine March 6, 2022.CARLOS BARRIA/Reuters

Russian shells once again struck civilians trying to evacuate from Ukraine’s hardest-hit places Sunday, as cities across the country sought to bring people to safety.

Ukrainian authorities said they intended to once again organize safe routes out of cities like Mariupol, where people are so desperate they are hydrating from snow, and Irpin, which has seen heavy shelling.

Shelling on civilians departing Irpin on Sunday killed at least three people, including two children, according to a local media report distributed by the Ukrainian parliament.

Still, authorities in Mariupol said they would once again attempt to send civilians through a safe corridor, beginning at noon Sunday.

Mariupol has now been without electricity, heat and water for six days. Its Internet and phone service has been cut off.

“People are literally being forced to live off snow,” Laurent Ligozat, an emergency coordinator in Ukraine with Médecins Sans Frontières, said in an interview published by the humanitarian group. “Hospitals, supermarkets, and residential buildings have suffered heavy damages. And it is not possible to bring any relief supplies into the city,” he said.

Attacks led to the abandonment of an evacuation attempt the previous day, when evacuees came under fire from Russian forces. In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky, blamed poor communication and bad discipline on the part of the Russian military.

“We appointed the locations for civilians to gather to be evacuated. Unfortunately, the Russian Federation can’t effectively control their soldiers on the ground, who continued shelling the evacuation routes,” he said Saturday.

-The Globe’s Nathan VanderKlippe in Romania


6:42 a.m. ET

Zelensky pushes call for Ukraine no-fly zone

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is pushing his call for foreign countries to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

Establishing a no-fly zone would risk escalating the conflict by involving foreign militaries directly. Although the United States and many Western countries have backed Ukraine with weapons shipments, they have sent no troops.

“The world is strong enough to close our skies,” Zelensky said in a video address on Sunday.

NATO countries have ruled out policing a no-fly zone, which would bar all unauthorized aircraft from flying over Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday that Moscow would consider any third-party declaration of a no-fly zone over Ukraine as “participation in the armed conflict.”

-The Associated Press


6:40 a.m. ET

U.S. top diplomat Blinken reassures Moldova amid refugee influx from Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday reassured Moldova’s leaders that the United States would rally international opposition to Russian aggression “whenever and wherever” it occurs.

Speaking alongside Moldovan President Maia Sandu on a tour through eastern Europe in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Blinken also said that the United States supported Moldova’s aspirations to join the European Union but that the process would be decided by the EU.

Moldova says more than 230,000 refugees have crossed its border with Ukraine since the war began on Feb. 24.

Asked what assurances Washington could give Moldova in light of Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine, Blinken pointed to U.S. efforts to mobilize the international response that is isolating Russia and hurting its economy.

“Whenever and wherever that aggression might appear, we’ll do the same thing,” he said.

Moldova on Thursday formally applied to join the European Union. The move was likely to rile Moscow, which has an estimated 1,500 troops based in the breakaway region of Transnistria in Moldova’s east.

-Reuters


6:27 a.m. ET

More than 1.5 million have fled Ukraine for neighbouring countries, U.N. says

The head of the United Nations’ refugee agency says that more than 1.5 million refugees have crossed from Ukraine into neighbouring countries since Russia invaded.

Filippo Grandi, the U.N. high commissioner for refugees, tweeted on Sunday that it is “the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.”

His agency didn’t immediately give a more precise update on the refugee figures. Grandi is visiting countries that border Ukraine.

-The Associated Press


6:27 a.m. ET

Russian forces will observe temporary ceasefire in Mariupol and Volnovakha

An official in one of Ukraine’s pro-Russia separatist region says Russian forces will observe a temporary ceasefire Sunday in two Ukrainian cities. An agreement to allow civilians to evacuate collapsed a day earlier amid continued shelling and the flight of refugees to neighboring nations.

Eduard Basurin, the head of the military in separatist-held Donetsk, said safe passage corridors for residents of the besieged port city of Mariupol and the city of Volnovakha would reopen Sunday. He did not say for how long nor whether a cease-fire would accompany the evacuation.

Ukrainian officials confirmed that evacuations from Mariupol would take place starting from 12 p.m. local time. Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk regional military administration, said a ceasefire would be in effect between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m.

-The Associated Press


5:55 a.m. ET

Ukrainians fleeing Russian invasion arrive in Poland in record numbers

People wait to board a bus at a temporary accommodation centre, after fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in Korczowa, Poland, March 6, 2022.YARA NARDI/Reuters

Record numbers of refugees headed into Poland from Ukraine with the total number expected to surpass 1 million people later on Sunday as Russian forces escalated their invasion.

Fresh data shows Polish border guards cleared as many as 129,000 people at border crossings on Saturday, the most in a single day since the war started, bringing the total to 922,400.

“Forecasts indicate that today the number of people who entered Poland from Ukraine from February 24 will exceed one million,” Polish Border Guard spokeswoman Anna Michalska said.

-Reuters


5:55 a.m. ET

US considers sending planes to Poland if Warsaw sends fighter jets to Ukraine: Blinken

The United States is considering sending planes to Poland if Warsaw decided to send fighter jets to Ukraine, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on a visit to Moldova on Sunday.

“We are looking actively now at the question of airplanes that Poland may provide to Ukraine and looking at how we might be able to backfill should Poland decide to supply those planes,” Blinken said. “I can’t speak to a timeline but I can just say we’re looking at it very, very actively.”

The visit came after Blinken visited NATO-member Poland on Saturday as the alliance bolsters its eastern flank in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

-Reuters


4:42 a.m. ET

Talk of Russian nuclear escalation is brinkmanship, Raab says

British Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab described talk of the threat of Russia using nuclear weapons in its invasion of Ukraine as brinkmanship and rejected President Putin’s statement that likened Western sanctions to a declaration of war.

“I think its rhetoric and brinkmanship,” Raab told Sky News when asked about a possible nuclear escalation by the Kremlin.

“(Putin’s) got a track record as long as anyone’s arm of misinformation and propaganda … this is a distraction from what the real issues are at hand - which is that it’s an illegal invasion and it is not going according to plan,” Raab said.

He rejected Putin’s statement from Saturday that likened the West’s sanction’s to a declaration of war.

“Sanctions are not an act of war, international law is very clear about that,” he said. “Our sanctions are entirely both legally justified, but also proportionate to what we’re trying to deal with.”

He also called on China and India to help increase diplomatic pressure on Russia.

“China has got a job here. They’ve got to step up as well - this is a permanent member of Security Council - and India as well. We need to expand the diplomatic pressure,” Raab said.

-Reuters


A woman and her son are seen through a bus window as they arrive at a temporary accommodation centre, after fleeing Russian invasion of Ukraine, in Korczowa, Poland, March 5, 2022.YARA NARDI/Reuters


3:21 a.m. ET

Mariupol to try evacuating civilians again

The city council of Ukraine’s Mariupol said an evacuation of some of 400,000 residents trapped by encircling Russian forces would start at 12:00 p.m. local time (1000 GMT) on Sunday under a temporary ceasefire that will last till 9:00 p.m..

A similar plan had to be abandoned on Saturday after the ceasefire was not fully observed, with both sides trading blame.

-Reuters


3:11 a.m. ET

Blinken visits Moldova to reassure, pledge support

U.S. 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 neighbor.

Blinken was meeting on Sunday 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. More than 230,000 people have fled into Moldova from Ukraine since the war began 11 days ago.

Blinken said Moldova’s welcoming of refugees is an inspiration to the world.

“We admire the generosity of hospitality, the willingness to be such good friends to people who are in distress, and, indeed, I want to do everything we can to help you deal with the burden that this has imposed,” he said.

Russia already has troops in the country of 2.6 million that are stationed in the disputed territory of Transnistria and are being closely watched as Russian President Vladimir Putin presses ahead with the invasion of Ukraine. Although it has no plans to try to become a member of NATO, Moldova formally applied to join the European Union just three days ago in a fast-track bid to bolster its ties with the West.

-The Associated Press


3:01 a.m. ET

UK defence ministry likens Russian tactics to those used in Chechnya, Syria

British military officials on Sunday compared Russia’s tactics in Ukraine to those used in Chechnya and Syria, where cities were bombarded and heavily damaged after Russian forces faced unexpected resistance from their defenders.

The strength of Ukrainian resistance continues to surprise Russian forces and they have responded by targeting populated areas, including the cities of Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Mariupol, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said in its daily intelligence briefing.

“This is likely to represent an effort to break Ukrainian morale,” the ministry said in a statement. “Russia has used similar tactics in Chechnya in 1999 and Syria in 2016, employing both air and ground-based munitions.”

Russia’s advance has been slowed by attacks on its supply lines, the ministry said. As a result, there is a “realistic possibility” that Russia is now trying to disguise fuel trucks to reduce losses.

-The Associated Press


2:53 a.m. ET

Watching Ukraine, Bosnians remember the trauma of Sarajevo and their war

A Sarajevo youngster stares out of the window of a shell-shattered building in the file photo from July 17, 1995. Eighteen children were killed and 47 wounded in the city in the previous month.Rikard Larma/The Associated Press

News reports from Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities under unrelenting bombardment by the Russian Army have been triggering painful memories among the survivors of the 1990s siege of the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo.

And yet, many have been spending hours on end glued to their TV screens since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine late last month.

“Not so long ago, we were them,” said Amra Muftic who survived the 1992-95 siege, watching news reports showing civilians taking refuge from Russian rocket attacks, shelling and gunfire in basements and metro stations.

“If our experience is anything to go by — and I have a gut feeling that it is — things are about to get much worse,” for them, she added.

Bosnian Serb forces laid siege to Sarajevo in the early 1990s, during the bloody break-up of Yugoslavia. Some 350,000 people were trapped, for 46 months, in their multiethnic city, subjected to daily shelling and sniper attacks and cut off from regular access to electricity, food, water, medicine, and the outside world.

More than 11,000 people were killed during the siege, including over 1,000 children. Countless others were wounded.

“We know how they feel. We survived the longest siege in modern history” said Elma Vukotic, an anesthesiologist, as she and her fellow healthcare workers stood earlier this week outside their Sarajevo hospital, clad in their medical robes and holding balloons in the blue and yellow colors of the Ukrainian flat — and, coincidentally, also the Bosnian one. Vukotic said their spontaneous show of solidarity was the least they could do for their Ukrainian colleagues.

-The Associated Press


1:25 a.m. ET

Russia claims Ukraine had been building nuclear ‘dirty bomb’

Russian media cited an unnamed source on Sunday 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 on Sunday 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.

Shortly before the invasion, Putin said in a grievance-filled speech that Ukraine was using Soviet know-how to create its own nuclear weapons, and that this was tantamount to preparation for an attack on Russia.

He cited no evidence for his claim.

-Reuters


11:43 p.m.

Ukrainian paramedic remembered for bravery

Ukrainian paramedics use a national flag to cover the grave of their colleague Valentyna Pushych in a cemetery in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, March 5, 2022.Efrem Lukatsky/The Associated Press

A Ukrainian paramedic who was shot while on her way to evacuate injured people from the outskirts of Kyiv was buried in the country’s capital on Saturday.

Valentyna Pushych was known locally as “Romashka,” which means “Daisy.” A friend described her as a “daredevil,” who was never afraid to “get under bullets.’

She was always “running to the most dangerous places” to rescue to the injured, Nataliia Voronkova said.

Pushych used to be a well-paid worker at a transport and logistic company. But in 2016, she joined the army as a paramedic in response to the separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Several women, including some dressed in camouflage jackets, cried as her body lay in a casket at a service. A portrait of Pushych was on a wall nearby.

At the cemetery, red roses were placed on Pushych’s body. After she was buried, the dirt was covered with the flag of Ukraine.

-The Associated Press


10:24 p.m. ET

China tells U.S. don’t ‘add fuel to the flames’ in Ukraine

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken that China opposes any moves that “add fuel to the flames” in Ukraine.

Blinken says the world is 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 says the U.S. and Europe should pay attention to the negative impact of NATO’s eastward expansion on Russia’s security.

The U.S. State Department says Blinken underscored that the world is acting in unison in response to Russian aggression and ensuring that Moscow will pay a high price.

China has broken with the U.S., 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.

-The Associated Press


10:00 p.m. ET

Nearly 1.5 million Ukrainians have fled since start of war

The number of Ukrainian refugees was expected to reach 1.5 million on Sunday as Russia continued its attack 11 days after invading Ukraine and Kyiv pressed for further Western action, including more sanctions and weapons.

Moscow and Kyiv traded blame over a failed ceasefire plan that would have let civilians flee Mariupol and Volnovakha, two southern cities besieged by Russian forces. Another round of talks was tentatively planned for Monday as Ukrainians who could escape spilled into neighbouring Poland, Romania, Slovakia and elsewhere.

-Reuters


8:50 p.m. ET

Putin warns Ukraine could lose statehood

Russian President Vladimir Putin continued to pin the blame for the war against Ukraine on the Ukrainian leadership and on Saturday warned that Ukrainian statehood is in jeopardy.

Speaking at a meeting with female pilots, Putin said that if Ukraine’s leaders “continue to do what they are doing, they are calling into question the future of Ukrainian statehood.”

“If this happens, it will be entirely on their conscience,” Putin added.

Ten days after Russian troops invaded Ukraine, Ukrainian forces continued to resist, managing to keep control of key cities in central and southeastern Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Saturday.

In a video address to the nation Saturday night, Zelensky urged Ukrainians in cities taken over by the Russian forces to fight back.

“It is a special kind of heroism — to protest when your city is occupied,” Zelensky said. “Ukrainians in all of our cities that the enemy has entered — go on the offensive! You should take to the streets! You should fight!”

Thousands of Ukrainians in cities held by Russian forces took to the streets on Saturday. Some climbed Russia’s military vehicles and waved Ukraine’s yellow and blue flag.

In Kherson, a city of 300,000 in southern Ukraine, the Russian military were reported to fire warning shots to disperse the crowd, but the protesters were unfazed.

“Every meter of our Ukrainian land, recaptured by protest and humiliation of the occupants, is a step to the victory of all Ukraine,” Zelensky said.

-The Associated Press



Russia-Ukraine live updates: Here’s what happened on Saturday, March 5