Skip to main content

U.S. surprised at Poland’s decision to give MIG-29 jets; Starbucks, McDonald’s join list of companies suspending operations in Russia. Meanwhile, Zelensky presses West to recognize Russia as ‘terrorist state’; Two million refugees have left Ukraine, the UN says

This digest has now been archived.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

Children pose for a photographer in the bomb shelter in Mariupol, Ukraine, Sunday, March 6, 2022.Evgeniy Maloletka/The Associated Press

Editor’s note: Our live coverage on this page has ended. Follow the latest Russia-Ukraine news and updates as heavy fighting continues amid evacuation efforts.

Here are the latest updates on the war in Ukraine:

  • Firefighters try to extinguish a fire after a chemical warehouse was hit by Russian shelling on the eastern frontline near Kalynivka village in Kyiv, Ukraine.Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    1 of 36

1:26 a.m. ET

Kyiv wakes up to air raid sirens

Kyiv residents awoke Wednesday to an air raid alert urging them to get to bomb shelters as quickly as possible over fears of incoming Russian missiles.

Kyiv regional administration head Oleksiy Kuleba issued the air raid alert saying there was a “threat of a missile attack” on the Ukrainian capital. “Everyone immediately to shelters,” he said, later lifting the alert as the all-clear was given.

Air raid alerts are common, though irregular, keeping people on edge. Kyiv has been relatively quiet in recent days, though Russian artillery has pounded the outskirts.

Kuleba said the crisis for civilians was growing in the capital, with the situation particularly critical in the city’s suburbs.

“Russia is artificially creating a humanitarian crisis in the Kyiv region, frustrating the evacuation of people and continuing shelling and bombing small communities,” he said.

-The Associated Press

1:20 a.m. ET

Ukraine’s air defences having success against Russian jets, U.K. says

Britain on Wednesday said Ukraine’s air defences were having success against Russian jets, likely preventing Russia from controlling the airspace.

“Ukrainian air defences appear to have enjoyed considerable success against Russia’s modern combat aircraft, probably preventing them achieving any degree of control of the air,” the Ministry of Defence intelligence update posted on Twitter said.

Britain’s assessment also said Russian forces had failed to make any significant breakthroughs in fighting north west of Kyiv.


12:36 a.m. ET

Harris to face questions around Polish fighter jet deal

Vice President Kamala Harris’ trip to Warsaw to thank Poland for taking in hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s invasion took an unexpected turn before she even left Washington. She’ll be parachuting into the middle of unexpected diplomatic turbulence over fighter jets.

The Polish government on Tuesday came out with a plan to transfer its Russian-made fighter planes to a U.S. military base in Germany, with the expectation that the planes would then be handed over to Ukrainian pilots trying to fend off Russian forces. In turn, the U.S. would supply Poland with U.S.-made jets with “corresponding capabilities.”

But the Poles didn’t run that idea past the Biden administration before going public with it, and the Pentagon quickly dismissed the idea as “not tenable.”

And it meant Harris was flying into fractious terrain Wednesday as she opens a two-day visit to Poland and Romania and tries to patch things up.

-The Associated Press

11:54 p.m. ET

Staff at attacked nuclear plant to become propaganda tools, Ukraine says

Ukraine’s energy minister said Russian forces that now control a Ukrainian nuclear plant are forcing the exhausted staff to record an address that they plan to use for propaganda purposes.

Russian troops have been in control of the Zaporizhzhia plant, the largest in Europe, since seizing it an attack on Friday that set a building on fire and raised fears of a nuclear disaster. It was later determined that no radiation was released.

Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko said on Facebook that about 500 Russian soldiers and 50 pieces of heavy equipment are inside the station. He said the Ukrainian staff are “physical and emotionally exhausted.”

Russia describes the war as a “special military operation” and says it is conducting targeted attacks. Halushchenko’s reference to propaganda appears to refer to Russian efforts to show it is not endangering Ukrainian civilians or infrastructure.

-The Associated Press

10:09 p.m. ET

Russia to extend humanitarian corridors Wednesday

Russia said it is ready to provide humanitarian corridors on Wednesday for people fleeing Kyiv and four other Ukrainian cities, as the number of refugees created by the biggest assault on a European country since World War Two surpassed 2 million.

Mikhail Mizintsev, head of Russia’s National Defence Control Centre, was quoted as saying by the Tass news agency that Russian forces would “observe a regime of silence” from 10 a.m. Moscow time to ensure safe passage for civilians wishing to leave Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv and Mariupol.

It was unclear if the proposed routes would pass through Russia or Belarus, conditions previously opposed by the Ukrainian government.

Ukrainian authorities said ceasefire violations once again scuttled attempts to evacuate Mariupol, the city on the Sea of Azov that has been surrounded by Russian troops.


9:47 p.m. ET

Bosphorus ship spotter traces shifting fortunes in Ukraine conflict

A hobby ship spotter from Istanbul has been photographing ships on the Bosphorus Strait for years and his hobby has helped him predict important geopolitical events: From his terrace in Istanbul, Yoruk Isik has a clear view of the Strait, a key link between Asia and Europe, connecting the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara, which in turns joins with the Aegean and Mediterranean.

Last week, Turkey implement parts of the Montreux Convention, a 1936 international pact that allows Turkey to limit the transit of warships in the straits, are closed the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles to military traffic.

-Janice Dickson in Istanbul

9:13 p.m. ET

Ambulances in Ukraine have become targets in Russian invasion, say medical personnel

Across Ukraine, medical personnel say ambulances have become targets in a Russian invasion that has fired artillery shells on kindergartens, bombs on apartment blocks and mortars into civilians. On Tuesday, Russian troops near Mykolaiv fired at a minivan emblazoned with red cross markings. Inside were staff travelling to work at a local orphanage. Three women died, Ganna Zamazeeva, head of the Mykolayiv Regional Council, wrote in an impassioned post on Telegram.

“Every day, on the instructions of their Fuhrer, Russian troops commit crimes against humanity on our land,” she wrote.

Ukraine’s medical system has experienced other serious strains in the war. Sixty-one of the country’s hospitals have been knocked out by attacks, Health Minister Viktor Lyashko said Tuesday. He blamed “terrorists from the aggressor country.”

Russia denies taking aim at civilians, in the face of ample documentary evidence to the contrary.

-Nathan VanderKlippe

8:16 p.m. ET

McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Starbucks join consumer giants suspending business in Russia

McDonald’s Corp., Starbucks Corp., The Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo Inc. and packaged-goods giant Unilever PLC are suspending operations in Russia.

McDonald’s, which opened its first location in the Soviet Union on downtown Moscow’s Pushkin Square in 1990, announced that it would temporarily close 847 locations in Russia. The company said it will continue to pay the salaries of the roughly 62,000 people it employs.

Unilever, which owns hundreds of brands including Dove and Knorr, suspended imports and exports of its products in Russia, and cut off advertising spending there, but did not fully halt operations.

Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Starbucks all announced they would suspend their business operations in Russia, though PepsiCo said it would continue to sell essentials such as milk, baby formula and baby food. Read full story.

-Susan Krashinsky Robertson

7:33 p.m. ET

Women make up vast majority of Ukrainian war refugees in Poland

Natali Ticegko holds a bouquet of roses outside a refugee centre in a village hall in Krowica Sama, Poland.Anna Liminowicz/The Globe and Mail

Shortly after Natali Ticegko crossed the border into Poland from Ukraine on Tuesday, someone gave her a bouquet of pink roses in honour of International Women’s Day. She appreciated the gesture and in normal times, she’d join in the celebration. But not now.

Ms. Ticegko, 30, left her husband in Donetsk and she has no idea if he’s dead or alive. “This day for me, it doesn’t matter,” she said as she clutched her five-year-old son. As she waited to register at a refugee shelter in the Polish border town of Krowica Sama, she scrolled through photos of her husband and came close to tears with the flick of each picture. “I don’t care about women’s day this year, maybe after the war.”

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine brought new meaning to International Women’s Day, given the scale of the conflict and the mass of refugees fleeing for safety.

The Ukrainian government’s decision to ban men aged 18 to 60 from leaving the country has meant that the vast majority of the two million people who have fled the fighting have been women.

- Paul Waldie in Krowica Sama, Poland

6:50 p.m. ET

Pentagon says Poland’s jet offer for Ukraine ‘not tenable’

Poland’s offer to give its MiG-29 fighter jets to the U.S. so they can be passed to Ukraine raises serious concerns for the NATO alliance and the plan is not “a tenable one,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said in a statement.

The prospect of jets departing from a U.S./NATO base in Germany to fly into airspace contested with Russia in the Ukraine war is concerning and the U.S., Kirby said, will continue to talk to Poland about the matter.

Ukraine has been pleading for more warplanes and Washington has been looking at a proposal under which Poland would supply Ukraine with Soviet-era fighters and in turn receive American F-16s to make up for their loss.

A transfer of the MIGs to Ukraine is fraught with complications as neither NATO nor the European Union want to be seen as directly involved in the transaction, which will significantly raise already extreme tensions with Russia. The U.S. has no plan to directly transfer the planes to Ukraine.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said any decision about delivering offensive weapons must be made unanimously by NATO members.

-The Associated Press

6:15 p.m. ET

‍Russian warplanes carry out new strikes on residential areas

Ukrainian officials said that that two people, including a seven-year-old child, were killed in the town of Chuhuiv just east of Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine late Tuesday. And in the city of Malyn in the Zhytomyr region west of the capital Kyiv at least five people, including two children, were killed in a Russian air strike.

The Russian artillery has pounded the outskirts of Kyiv, forcing civilians to hide in shelters while water, food and power supplies have been cut, said Yaroslav Moskalenko, an official who coordinates humanitarian efforts in the Kyiv region.

He said that the shelling made it impossible to evacuate the bodies of five people who died when their vehicle was fired upon in Borodianka near Kyiv and the bodies of 12 patients of a psychiatric hospital there. He said that another 200 patients were stuck there without food and medicines.

-The Associated Press

6:01 p.m. ET

‍Fitch cuts Russia’s rating, says debt default imminent

Fitch Ratings Inc., one of the big three U.S. credit rating agencies, downgraded Russia’s sovereign rating by six notches further into the junk territory to ‘C’ from ‘B’, saying a default is imminent as sanctions and trade restrictions have undermined its willingness to service debt.

The rating firm pointed to Presidential decree, which could potentially force a redenomination of foreign-currency sovereign debt payments into local currency for creditors in specified countries.

“‍Further ratcheting up of sanctions and proposals that could limit trade in energy increase probability of a policy response by Russia that includes at least selective non-payment of its sovereign debt obligations,” the ratings agency said in a statement.

On March 16, Russia is due to pay $107 million in coupons across two bonds, though it has a 30-day grace period to make the payments.

The ‘C’ rating in Fitch’s assessment is only one step above default, bringing it in line with the Moody’s current equivalent score of ‘Ca’.


5:15 p.m. ET

Evacuations begin from besieged Ukrainian cities

5:01 p.m. ET

S&P 500 drops in rocky session as U.S. bans Russian oil imports

Losses accelerated into the end of Tuesday’s up-and-down session, a day after steep declines that saw the tech-heavy Nasdaq confirm it was in a bear market. The benchmark S&P 500 fell for a fourth straight session.

The TSX also ended at its lows for the day, losing 0.34%, with once again the oil and materials sectors helping to limit losses in the Canadian market.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 184.74 points, or 0.56%, to 32,632.64, the S&P 500 lost 30.39 points, or 0.72%, to 4,170.7 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 35.41 points, or 0.28%, to 12,795.55.

Brent crude topped $130 per barrel along with other commodities, triggering alarm over surging inflation and the impact on global economic growth. U.S. gasoline prices hit a record on Tuesday.

-Reuters, Globe staff

4:10 p.m. ET

Ukrainian children with cancer escape to Poland in complex rescue mission

A mother and her two-year-old child undergoing treatment for leukemia are among dozens of young cancer patients that escaped across the Ukrainian border into Poland on March 8. Video obtained by The Globe and Mail showed Yana Vorobyova and her son Nikita in the basement of the Chernihiv Regional Children’s Hospital on March 4, where they had been sheltering since the Russian invasion began.

The Globe and Mail

In one of the most complicated evacuations likely ever managed from a war zone, 73 Ukrainian children suffering from cancer were rescued from besieged cities around the country and driven across the border into Poland on Tuesday.

The sick kids – along with their mothers and siblings, 173 people in all – reached the border in a police-escorted convoy of four buses and seven ambulances. The majority had been evacuated from the main children’s hospital in Kyiv, the war-battered capital, while others had been rescued from increasingly dire situations in front-line cities such Zaporizhia, Odesa, Mykolayiv and Chernihiv.

The eight children and their moms from Chernihiv had been in particular distress, having spent most of the previous 12 days hiding in a basement bomb shelter as the Chernihiv Regional Children’s Hospital ran dangerously low on food and medicines, including painkillers, while Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces bombarded the city.

“It’s sad that we have to leave Ukraine, but there is no choice because the children must finish their treatment,” said Yana Vorobyova, the mother of two-year-old Nikita, who suffers from acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Ms. Vorobyova spoke to The Globe by phone as the emergency convoy approached the Rava-Ruska crossing to Poland. A few minutes later, she and Nikita smiled and waved farewell as the yellow school bus they were travelling in passed under the last Ukrainian flag before the border. Read full story.

-Mark MacKinnon in Rava-Ruska, Ukraine

3:39 p.m. ET

Starbucks suspending all business activity in Russia

Coffee giant Starbucks Corp said on Tuesday that it is suspending all business activity in Russia, including shipment of its products and cafes run by a licensee.

The company said that Kuwait-based Alshaya Group, which operates at least 100 Starbucks cafes in Russia, will “provide support to the nearly 2,000 partners in Russia who depend on Starbucks for their livelihood.”


3:08 p.m. ET

UNESCO moves to protect Ukraine’s heritage sites

The United Nations’ cultural agency (UNESCO) said it had bolstered protective measures to preserve Ukraine’s endangered cultural heritage, noting Saint Sophia Cathedral in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv and related monastic buildings a priority.

To avoid deliberate or accidental damages, the agency is marking cultural sites and monuments in Ukraine with the distinctive “Blue Shield” emblem of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.

“The marking with the emblem of the Convention also comes from the fact that Russia and Ukraine are two countries to have ratified this important convention,” Lazare Eloundou Assomo, the director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, told Reuters.

Partnering with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the agency assesses damage by analyzing satellite imagery for priority sites which are endangered or already impacted. A dozen such sites are already covered by the monitoring system, according to the UNESCO statement.


2:30 p.m. ET

Poland ready to place all its MIG-29 jets at the disposal of the U.S.

Serbian Army MiG-29 jet fighter prepares for flight at the military airport Batajnica near Belgrade, Serbia.The Associated Press

Poland is ready to deploy all its MIG-29 jets to Rammstein Air Base in Germany and put them at the disposal of the United States, and urges other NATO members that own planes of that type to do the same, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

U.S. lawmakers pushed President Joe Biden’s administration on Monday to facilitate the transfer of fighter aircraft to Ukraine from Poland and other NATO and Eastern European countries, after a plea on Saturday from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

“The authorities of the Republic of Poland … are ready to deploy – immediately and free of charge – all their MIG-29 jets to the Rammstein Air Base and place them at the disposal of the Government of the United States of America,” the ministry said.

“At the same time, Poland requests the United States to provide us with used aircraft with corresponding operational capabilities. Poland is ready to immediately establish the conditions of purchase of the planes,” it added.


1:20 p.m. ET

McDonald’s to temporarily close its restaurants in Russia

McDonald’s Corp said on Tuesday it would temporarily close its restaurants in Russia, becoming the latest Western company to pause all operations in the country following its invasion of Ukraine.

The fast-food chain said it would continue to pay salaries to its 62,000 employees in Russia.


1:14 p.m. ET

Analysis: Biden’s ban on Russian oil imports will push Moscow closer to Beijing and strengthen China

Isaac Newton’s third law of motion said that, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The same might be said about economic sanctions.

If Russia can’t sell its oil and natural gas to the United States, it will turn east and sell them to China. That market switch is already under way. Beijing probably has already concluded that the war in Ukraine might do more good than harm to the Chinese economy. Last week, it hedged is geo-economic bets by declining to condemn Russia in the UN’s general assembly vote – it abstained. Read full story.

- Eric Reguly

12:48 p.m. ET

12:30 p.m. ET

President Zelensky appeals to Britain: Help fight Russia and punish ‘terrorist state’

In a video speech laced with frustration and desperation, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the British Parliament on Tuesday, calling for the U.K. to recognize Russia as a terrorist state, and to increase sanctions pressure on the Russian regime.

“We are looking for the help of civilized countries. Please make sure you do what needs to be done,” he said, in the historic address to the House of Commons and House of Lords.

Mr. Zelensky’s speech lasted about 10 minutes, where he went into detail about the experiences of Ukrainians over the last 13 days, saying that the country is facing a severe water shortage amid hospitals being hit and children being killed. “We do not want to lose what we have, what is ours. Just the same way as you didn’t want to lose your country and you had to fight for Britain,” he told British lawmakers.

On Monday, the government rushed through a bill intended to target Russian oligarchs and stem the flow of “dirty” money into the London property market. The Economic Crime Bill, which is expected to achieve Royal Assent this week, forces foreign owners of U.K. property to declare and verify their identities as “beneficial” owners, so as to not allow them to hide behind shell companies or trusts.

Anti-corruption activists and members of the opposition have long voiced concern over how London has become a playground for wealthy Russian elite with ties to the Kremlin, frequently accusing Johnson’s Conservatives of not doing enough to crack down on ill-gotten money. The anti-corruption non-profit Transparency International estimates that there is approximately $2.5-billion worth of property in London owned by Russians with ties to the Kremlin.

In his speech, however, Mr. Zelensky thanked Mr. Johnson for tightening sanctions against wealthy Russians.

The U.K. Prime Minister promised to continue supply weapons to Ukraine. On Tuesday, both the U.S. and the U.K. announced that they would stop importing Russian oil, in response to the Russian invasion. Kwasi Kwarteng, Britain’s secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy said in a statement that Russian imports make up just eight per cent of U.K. oil demand, and the phase-out of Russian oil will take place by the end of 2022.

-Vanmala Subramaniam

11:55 a.m. ET

President Biden bans U.S. imports of Russian oil and gas

U.S. President Joe Biden is banning imports of Russian oil and gas to punish President Vladimir Putin for his invasion of Ukraine, a week after Canada imposed a similar ban and amid mounting congressional pressure on Mr. Biden to act.

Russia supplied only about eight per cent of the U.S.’s petroleum imports last year – an average of 200,00 barrels per day of crude oil and 500,000 of refined products – but Mr. Biden was reluctant to enact a ban for fear of pushing gas prices higher for American consumers.

While Republican politicians have called for more drilling and fracking in the U.S., White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Monday that Mr. Biden will not reverse his ban on new drilling permits on federal land. She also said the President would not rescind his cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline. The line, which was planned to carry Canadian oil to U.S. refineries, was cancelled on Mr. Biden’s first day in office after becoming a flashpoint between environmental groups and fossil fuel companies. Read the full story.

-Adrian Morrow and Jeffrey Jones

10:37 a.m. ET

Putin’s siege of Grozny in 2000 gives Ukraine a dark foreshadowing of Kyiv’s future

With mounting fears of urban warfare as Russian forces advance toward the outskirts of Kyiv, analysts are beginning to draw lessons from President Vladimir Putin’s brutal tactics in his first siege of a European city: the Chechen capital of Grozny.

The battle of Grozny was a horrific four-month bombardment that nearly obliterated the city, killing thousands of people in indiscriminate shelling in the winter of 1999-2000. The Russian military fired massive barrages at the city, using long-range heavy artillery, tanks, multiple-rocket launchers, warplanes, cluster bombs and even ballistic missiles. Read full story.

- Geoffrey York

9:29 a.m. ET

Russian oligarch’s ties to WestJet takeover of Sunwing seen as risk to deal

Steel magnate Alexei Mordashov, known as Russia’s richest man with a fortune worth US$29-billion, has been sanctioned in Europe for his ties to the Kremlin and businesses that support the war against Ukraine. He’s also in line to be an indirect shareholder in Onex Corp.’s WestJet Group, should the Toronto investment company’s proposed takeover of Sunwing Travel Group go ahead.

Mr. Mordashov owns one-third of German travel company TUI AG, which owns 49-per-cent of Sunwing and will become a part owner of the Onex subsidiary, according to the takeover deal the WestJet and Sunwing announced last week. Read full story.

- Eric Atkins

9:05 a.m. ET

Civilian death toll in Ukraine now 474 but more casualties reported: UN

An elderly woman is evacuated from Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022 as demands for safe routes out of Ukraine grow.VADIM GHIRDA/The Associated Press

The United Nations human rights office said on Tuesday that it had verified 1,335 civilian casualties in Ukraine, including 474 killed and 861 injured, since Russia’s invasion began on Feb. 24.

But the civilian toll was incomplete pending corroboration of reports, it said in a statement: “This concerns, for example, the towns of Volnovakha, Mariupol, Izium where there are allegations of hundreds of civilian casualties.”

Its previous death toll for civilians killed, issued on Monday, was 406 civilians.


8:51 a.m. ET

U.S. to ban Russian oil imports over Ukraine invasion

U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to ban imports of Russian oil to punish President Vladimir Putin for his invasion of Ukraine, the Associated Press reported Tuesday. The move comes a week after Canada enacted a similar ban and amid mounting congressional pressure on Mr. Biden to act.

The President scheduled a last-minute announcement for Tuesday morning at the White House to unveil “actions to continue to hold Russia accountable.” The Associated Press, citing an unnamed source, said this would be the oil ban. Chris Coons, a Delaware senator close to Mr. Biden, said on CNN that the President had decided to enact a ban. Read full story.

-Adrian Morrow

8:09 a.m. ET

Some Ukrainian child cancer patients evacuated from siege of Chernihiv, others are still trapped

Yana Vorobiova, and 2 year old Nikita in the school bus deignated to evacuate child cancer patients abroad from Ukraine. Rava-Ruska, Ukraine. 08 Mar 2022 Anton Skyba for The Globe and MailANTON SKYBA/The Globe and Mail

Eight of the children who were trapped in the cancer ward of the main hospital in the besieged Ukrainian city of Chernihiv have now been evacuated along with their parents and doctors to Poland.

The dramatic escape of the sick kids – who spent most of the first 12 days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine taking cover in a basement under the Chernihiv Regional Children’s Hospital – started on Sunday when staff at the hospital decided to take the last open road out of the city before it was completely surrounded.

“It was really scary, but it was the only opportunity to escape,” said Serhey Zosimenko, the director of Evum, a non-profit organization that supports the cancer ward. Read full story.

-Mark MacKinnon

7:44 a.m. ET

Trudeau denounces ‘Putin’s mistake’ in attacking Ukraine, affirms Canada’s support in eastern Europe

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Latvia on Tuesday as he tours through eastern Europe and pledges Canada’s support for the countries on the frontlines with Russia.

“Putin’s mistake in underestimating the Ukrainians, and also underestimating how resolved we all are to stand up and defend our society - the principles that make us free and successful, is something to behold,” Mr. Trudeau said in Riga on Tuesday at the beginning of a meeting with Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins.

The gathering was the first of a suite of meetings with eastern European leaders Tuesday as Mr. Trudeau travels through Europe in an effort to show solidarity with the countries on the frontlines with Russia. Anxieties are higher in the small Baltic states that are wedged in the northeast corner of Europe’s border with Russia, something Mr. Trudeau acknowledged. Read full story.

- Marieke Walsh

7:23 a.m. ET

Ukrainians flee some besieged areas through ‘humanitarian corridors’

Ukrainian civilians began leaving two besieged areas on Tuesday after Russia opened “humanitarian corridors” for them, but Kyiv said Russian forces had shelled an evacuation route from the port city of Mariupol.

Soon after residents began leaving the northeastern city of Sumy and the town of Irpin near the capital Kyiv, foreign ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko reported shelling near Mariupol.

“Ceasefire violated! Russian forces are now shelling the humanitarian corridor from (nearby) Zaporizhzhia to Mariupol,” NIkolenko wrote on Twitter.

“8 trucks + 30 buses ready to deliver humanitarian aid to Mariupol and to evac (evacuate) civilians to (nearby) Zaporizhzhia. Pressure on Russia MUST step up to make it uphold its commitments.”

There were no immediate reports of any casualties and Nikolenko gave no other details. Russia did not immediately comment on Nikolenko’s remarks.

Civilians have been trapped by fighting since Russian troops invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, and officials say food, water and other supplies have been running low in some cities.

Humanitarian corridors from Mariupol failed on Saturday and Sunday, with each side accusing the other of continuing to fire.

- Reuters

6:47 a.m. ET

Russia’s invasion spurs new rush to fortify NATO’s neglected eastern flank

Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly speaks with Eduart Dodu, the deputy commander of the Mihail Kogalniceanu airbase in Romania, where Canada has stationed two large tent-like structures.Nathan Vanderklippe/The Globe and Mail

A scrambled military deployment to the eastern borders of the European Union is being assembled on ground that bears the unmistakable look of neglect. Not far from newly arrived Dutch soldiers walking on muddy gravel at Mihail Kogalniceanu, a Romanian air base near the Black Sea, mouldering Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets sit parked amid the trees.

The base still boasts a bunker built under Nicolae Ceausescu, though dirt has now slumped into the entrances and concrete is peeling from the ceiling. It offers, in any event, little protection against modern munitions, like those being used by Russian troops in Ukraine not far from here, in a war that has underscored the need for stronger military defences in eastern Europe.

But a plan to build a more modern base will take years, Romanian officials say, even in a place that occupies strategic ground for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Read full story

-Nathan VanderKlippe

6:04 a.m. ET

Russia promises evacuations from Ukraine, but warns it could cut natural gas flow to Europe

Evacuees from Mariupol area arrive at a refugee camp in the settlement of Bezymennoye during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the Donetsk region, Ukraine March 8, 2022.ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO/Reuters

Russia has asserted the right to inflict new damage on Europe by shutting off flows of natural gas, even as Moscow made new promises to allow people to leave the cities it continues to bombard – including Sumy, which was struck by 500-kilogram bombs Monday night, killing at least 18 civilians.

Two of the dead were children, the Ukrainian government said Monday.

Russia pledged that its guns and artillery would go silent around the cities of Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv and Mariupol on Tuesday, allowing people to leave places that have been under heavy shelling, starved of water and electricity. Read full story.

-Nathan VanderKlippe

5:26 a.m. ET

UN says number of refugees fleeing Ukraine reaches 2 million

The number of refugees fleeing Ukraine reached 2 million on Tuesday, according to the United Nations, the fastest exodus Europe has seen since World War II.

“Today the outflow of refugees from Ukraine reaches two million people. Two million,” Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, wrote on Twitter.

The update came as a new effort to evacuate civilians along safe corridors finally got under way Tuesday. The route out of the eastern city of Sumy was one of five promised by the Russians to offer civilians a way to escape the Russian onslaught.

Michelle Bachelet, the U.N. High Commissioner for human rights, is pressing for all civilians trapped by fighting in Ukraine to be allowed to leave safely. She said Tuesday she is “deeply concerned about civilians trapped in active hostilities in numerous areas.”

Bachelet also told the U.N. Human Rights Council that her office has received reports of pro-Ukrainian activists being arbitrarily detained in areas of eastern Ukraine that have recently come “under the control of armed groups.” She said there have been reports of beatings of people considered pro-Russian in government-controlled areas.

-The Associated Press

5:16 a.m. ET

EU to sanction more Russian oligarchs, Belarus banks over Ukraine invasion: report

The European Commission has prepared a new package of sanctions against Russia and Belarus over the invasion of Ukraine that will hit additional Russian oligarchs and politicians and three Belarusian banks, three sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

The sanctions, to be discussed by EU ambassadors on Tuesday at a meeting starting at 1400 GMT, will ban three Belarusian banks from the SWIFT banking system and add several oligarchs and Russian lawmakers to the EU blacklist, which already includes many, the sources told Reuters.

The new sanctions package also bans exports from the EU of maritime technology to Russia, and provides guidance on the monitoring of cryptocurrencies to avoid their use to circumvent EU sanctions, the sources said.


4:46 a.m. ET

Russia calls for return to ‘peaceful co-existence’ with U.S. like during Cold War: Interfax

Russia and the United States should return to the principle of “peaceful co-existence” like during the Cold War, the Interfax news agency cited the Russian Foreign Ministry as saying on Tuesday.

The foreign ministry added that it was open to honest and mutually respectful dialogue with the United States and that hope remained that normalcy in relations between the two countries could be restored, Interfax reported.


2:56 a.m. ET

Ukraine’s Zelensky to address British Parliament

LONDON - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will address British lawmakers via videolink in the House of Commons on Tuesday, the first time a president of another country has addressed the main Westminster chamber.

Zelensky, who has spoken to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on several occasions since Russia invaded his country, has made a number of impassioned speeches to Western leaders in the last week, asking for supplies and military support.

He will address the chamber at 1700 GMT when formal parliamentary business will be suspended. Lawmakers will be able to watch the speech on screens installed overnight, with 500 headsets providing a simultaneous translation in English.

Former world leaders including U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, and Germany’s Angela Merkel, have previously made speeches in other parts of the parliamentary estate on the banks of the River Thames, including in the ornate Royal Gallery or vast Westminster Hall.

“Every parliamentarian wants to hear directly from the president, who will be speaking to us live from Ukraine, so this is an important opportunity for the House,” Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said in a statement.

Ben Wallace, Britain’s defence minister, told Sky News he expected the address to be “incredibly powerful.”

Ukraine’s ambassador to London was given a very rare standing ovation when he appeared in the chamber to observe Johnson answering lawmakers’ questions last week.


2:29 a.m. ET

‘Humanitarian corridor’ set to allow civilians out of Ukraine’s Sumy: deputy PM

Civilians will start leaving the besieged Ukrainian city of Sumy on Tuesday under an agreement with Russia on the establishment of a “humanitarian corridor,” Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.

“It has been agreed that the first convoy will start at 10 a.m. from the city of Sumy. The convoy will be followed by the local population in personal vehicles,” she said in a televised statement.

Civilians have been trapped by fighting since Russian troops invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. Moscow calls its actions in Ukraine a “special military operation.”

Russia proposed giving the residents of Sumy, in northeastern Ukraine, and Mariupol, a southern port city, the choice of moving elsewhere in Ukraine on Tuesday, Russian news agencies reported.

Other humanitarian corridors proposed by Russia would travel through Russia or Belarus, something Ukrainian authorities have previously rejected.


12:41 a.m. ET

Russia dangles prospect of safe corridors; Ukraine skeptical

Safe corridors intended to let Ukrainian civilians escape the Russian onslaught could open Tuesday, Kremlin officials said, though Ukrainian leaders greeted the plan with skepticism since prior efforts to establish evacuation routes crumbled amid renewed attacks.

With the invasion well into its second week, Russian troops were making significant advances in southern Ukraine but stalled in some other regions. Soldiers and volunteers fortified the capital, Kyiv, with hundreds of checkpoints and barricades designed to thwart a takeover. A steady rain of shells and rockets fell on other population centres, including the Kyiv suburb of Bucha, where the mayor reported heavy artillery fire.

“We can’t even gather up the bodies because the shelling from heavy weapons doesn’t stop day or night,” Mayor Anatol Fedoruk said. “Dogs are pulling apart the bodies on the city streets. It’s a nightmare.”

-The Associated Press

10:57 p.m. ET

Lviv struggling to feed people fleeing war

The mayor of Lviv said the city in far western Ukraine is struggling to feed and house the tens of thousands of people who have fled here from war-torn regions of the country.

“We really need support,” Mayor Andriy Sadovyi said.

More than 200,000 Ukrainians displaced from their homes are now in Lviv, filling up sport halls, schools, hospitals and church buildings. The historical city once popular with tourists had a population of 700,000 before the war.

The mayor said the city needs big tents equipped with kitchens so food can be prepared.

Hundreds of thousands more people could arrive if humanitarian corridors are opened up from cities now under siege from Russian troops.

The embassies of the U.S. and EU countries also moved to Lviv from Kyiv before the invasion.

Lviv is the main transit point for those fleeing just across the border to Poland. Many of the 1.7 million Ukrainians now abroad passed through the city. The United Nations has called the situation the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.

-The Associated Press

10:46 p.m. ET

Dolly Parton dedicates country music awards show to people of Ukraine

Singer Dolly Parton dedicated the Academy of Country Music Awards show to the people of Ukraine on Monday during a music-filled ceremony that saw Miranda Lambert crowned entertainer of the year.

Taking the stage in a mirrored jumpsuit, Parton made one of two tributes to Ukraine while opening the annual awards ceremony at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. The show was live-streamed on Prime Video for the first time.

“I want us to send our love and hope to our brothers and sisters in Ukraine. Why don’t we just dedicate this entire show to them and pray for peace,” the 76-year-old country music matriarch said to loud applause.

Brad Tursi of Old Dominion thanked Parton for the dedication as the band accepted their award for group of the year, adding that it felt strange to be celebrating while “people are fighting for their lives.”


8:50 p.m. ET

Ukraine says Russian general killed

A Russian general was killed in the fighting around Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, which Russian forces have been trying to seize since the invasion began, the Ukrainian military intelligence agency said.

It identified him as Maj. Gen. Vitaly Gerasimov, 45, and said he had fought with Russian forces in Syria and Chechnya and had taken part in the seizure of Crimea in 2014.

It was not possible to confirm the death independently. Russia has not commented.

Another Russian general was killed earlier in the fighting. A local officers’ organization in Russia confirmed the death in Ukraine of Maj. Gen. Andrei Sukhovetsky, the commanding general of the Russian 7th Airborne Division.

Sukhovetsky also took part in Russia’s military campaign in Syria.

-The Associated Press