The latest developments on the Russia-Ukraine war:
LVIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian authorities say that Russian warplanes have carried new strikes on residential areas in eastern and central parts of the country.
Ukrainian officials said that that two people, including a 7-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.
KYIV, Ukraine — Belarusians living in Ukraine have formed a military unit and are preparing to join the fight against Russia.
Jan Derbeiko, 26, said he has been living in Kyiv since November 2020 after being forced to leave Belarus for participating in protests against President Alexander Lukashenko.
“I had a job and I had plans for future, but the war happened here,” Derbeiko said. “At that moment, I decided to stay here. I’ve already lost my homeland and now my new home is being destroyed.”
Derbeiko urged all Belarusians “who have a conscience and honour left” to provide “maximum support to the Ukrainians.”
He said the squadron of Belarusians, which grows each day, he is preparing to take their positions when the Russian soldiers attack Kyiv.
Russia’s Central Bank has sharply tightened currency restrictions amid crippling Western sanctions over the Russian war in Ukraine.
The bank ordered the country’s commercial banks to cap the amount clients can withdraw from their hard currency deposits at $10,000. Any withdrawals above that amount would be converted to rubles at the current exchange rates.
It also told commercial banks to stop selling hard currency to clients, a measure that will likely foment a black market for foreign currency. The draconian restrictions are unprecedented since the Soviet times when the authorities maintained strict hard currency controls. The Central Bank noted that the currency controls were tightened because of the Western sanctions that froze a large share of the Central Bank’s hard currency reserves. The crippling blow to the country’s financial system also prevented Russia from getting foreign cash.
LVIV, Ukraine — Authorities evacuated thousands of people from the eastern city of Sumy on Tuesday, a senior Ukrainian official said.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said that 5,000 people, including 1,700 foreign students, were evacuated from Sumy.
Vereshchuk reaffirmed that Ukraine will not accept Moscow’s offer to establish safe corridors for civilians to head toward Russia, saying it will only agree to safe exits leading westward.
Vereshchuk said that the evacuation from the southern port of Mariupol failed Tuesday because the Russian troops fired on a Ukrainian convoy carrying humanitarian cargo to Mariupol that was to carry civilians from the city on its way back. She said the city was in a “catastrophic situation” cut from water, power and communications, adding that a child in Mariupol has died of dehydration.
The Russian military has denied firing on convoys and charged that the Ukrainian side was blocking the evacuation effort.
KYIV, Ukraine — The Ukrainian president’s wife thanked the country’s allies Tuesday for their support and urged them to do more to deter Russia.
Olena Zelenska said in an open letter to global media released Tuesday that the Russian invasion amounted to “the mass murder of Ukrainian civilians.”
She said that “the most terrifying and devastating of this invasion are the child casualties,” mentioning eight-year-old Alice who died on the streets of Okhtyrka while her grandfather tried to protect her and Polina from Kyiv, who died in the shelling with her parents. She also cited 14-year-old Arseniy was hit in the head by wreckage, and could not be saved because an ambulance could not get to him on time because of intense fires.
Zelenska added that “this war is being waged against the civilian population, and not just through shelling,” citing the lack of basic medicines in the besieged Ukrainian cities.
She seconded President Volodymyr Zelensky’s call on Western allies to help counter the Russian air superiority, saying “close the sky, and we will manage the war on the ground ourselves.”
The Russian military offered again on Tuesday to provide humanitarian corridors for civilians to leave five Ukrainian cities after several previous attempts to establish safe exits have failed.
Ukrainian officials said that Russian shelling again made it impossible for civilians to use the corridors on Tuesday despite a deal reached a day earlier. The Russian military has countered the claim, alleging that Ukraine only has allowed civilians to use one corridor from the city of Sumy and blocked other routes from Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Mariupol.
Russian Col. Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev said Tuesday that the Russian military has announced it will stop firing at 10 a.m. Wednesday to let civilians leave safely via the corridors. He suggested setting up a hotline between Russia and Ukraine to coordinate the evacuation.
WARSAW, Poland – Poland said it would give all of its MiG-29 fighter jets to the U.S., apparently agreeing to an arrangement that would allow them to be used by Ukraine’s military. Ukraine has pleaded for more warplanes.
The decision came Tuesday as Washington was 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. Ukrainian pilots are trained to fly Soviet-era fighter jets.
The Polish Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Poland is ready to deliver the jets to the U.S. Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
“At the same time, Poland requests the United States to provide us with used aircraft with corresponding operational capabilities,” it said.
UNITED NATIONS – Ireland’s foreign minister saluted the resilience and courage of Ukraine’s women. The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations hailed their bravery in defending their homes and country. And the head of the International Monetary Fund told “sisters” in Ukraine: “We admire your courage, we share your pain, we stand with you.”
It was International Women’s Day on Tuesday and at a UN Security Council meeting focusing on empowering women economically in conflict areas many speakers decried Russia’s war on neighboring Ukraine, and its impact on women.
But Russia’s deputy ambassador Gennady Kuzmin lashed out at sanctions on his country and accused “a cold Western world” of looking on with indifference for eight years at what he called “the murders perpetrated by the Kyiv junta against women and children in Donetsk and Luhansk,” the Russian-backed separatist areas in eastern Ukraine.
Sima Bahous, the head of UN Women, told the council that in Ukraine “humanitarian needs are multiplying and spreading by the hour,” and the majority of those fleeing the conflict are women and children. She warned of the risk of “a backsliding of women’s rights and women’s access to employment and livelihoods” in the war-torn country.
Bahous told a separate UN Women’s Day event that “the horrifying situation” in Ukraine and its impacts on women also “remind us that all conflicts, from Ukraine to Myanmar to Afghanistan, from the Sahel to Yemen, exact their highest price from women and girls.”
JERUSALEM — Israel said Tuesday it will provide temporary refuge to some 25,000 Ukrainians outside of its Law of Return, under which all Jews are eligible for citizenship.
Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked said in a statement that 20,000 Ukrainians who were in Israel without legal status before the outbreak of fighting will be shielded from repatriation “until the danger subsides.” Another 5,000 Ukrainians will initially be granted three-month visas and will be allowed to work if the fighting continues beyond then. Ukrainians can apply for the program online through the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s website.
Israel expects to absorb around 100,000 Ukrainians through its Law of Return, under which Jews from anywhere in the world can come to Israel and get citizenship, Shaked said.
Established in the wake of the Holocaust, Israel views itself as a refuge for Jews fleeing war and persecution worldwide. But it has been reluctant to absorb non-Jewish immigrants, including Africans fleeing conflict and poverty.
It has also refused to allow the return of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who fled or were driven from their homes in what is now Israel during the 1948 war surrounding its creation. Israel says allowing the return of Palestinian refugees and their descendants — who now number more than 5 million — would spell the end of Israel as a Jewish-majority state.
DETROIT — Skyrocketing nickel prices are likely to ripple through the auto industry and raise costs in the nascent global market for electric vehicles.
Nickel is a key component in automotive battery cathodes, and Russia is the third-largest producer of the metal. Trading of the commodity was suspended Tuesday on the London Metal Exchange after nickel prices doubled to an unprecedented US$100,000 per metric ton.
The LME said trading did not resume Tuesday, and the suspension could last longer given the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Nickel prices have quadrupled in a week over supply issues, and the spike Tuesday forced the LME to shut down electronic and floor trading.
Large automakers General Motors and Toyota said nickel supplies haven’t been affected yet. But a Toyota spokesman in the U.S. said the company is watching the prices. Toyota has seen costs of nearly all precious metals rise, so it’s only a matter of time until it feels the increases, the spokesman said. Tesla, the world’s largest electric vehicle maker, did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
DETROIT — McDonald’s said Tuesday it is temporarily closing all of its 850 restaurants in Russia in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
The burger giant said it will continue paying its 62,000 employees in Russia. But in an open letter to employees, McDonald’s President and CEO Chris Kempckinski said closing those stores is the right thing to do because McDonald’s can’t ignore the “needless human suffering in Ukraine.”
McDonald’s owns 84% of its Russian restaurants. In a recent financial filing, the company said Russia and Ukraine contributed 9% of the company’s revenue last year.
LONDON — Consumer goods conglomerate Unilever said Tuesday that it has suspended all imports and exports of its products into and out of Russia, and that it will not invest any further capital into the country.
The company condemned the war in Ukraine as “a brutal and senseless act by the Russian state” Tuesday. It said it will continue to supply everyday essential food and hygiene products that are made in Russia to people there, but will keep that under review.
Unilever, which owns hundreds of food and personal care brands including Hellmann’s and Dove, also said it has stopped business operations in Ukraine and will instead focus on helping its employees.
LONDON — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky evoked British wartime leader Winston Churchill as he told the U.K. Parliament that his country would fight Russia’s invasion to the end in Ukraine’s cities, fields and riverbanks.
Zelensky told British lawmakers “we will not give up and we will not lose,” in a speech that evoked Churchill’s stirring “never surrender” speech during the darkest days of World War II.
Speaking by video from Ukraine to a packed House of Commons chamber, Zelensky urged Britain to increase sanctions on Russia and to recognize Russia as “a terrorist country.”
Tuesday’s address was the first time a foreign leader was allowed to speak in the House of Commons. Screens and simultaneous translation headsets were set up in the House of Commons so lawmakers could hear him.
PARIS — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris to discuss the response to Russia’s war with Ukraine.
Macron was briefing Blinken on his most recent round of conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin who is pressing ahead with the Ukraine invasion despite global condemnation and severe sanctions being imposed on his country.
The two men were also to discuss the Iran nuclear talks in Vienna, which are nearing an end with conflicting signals about whether the 2015 deal limiting Iran’s atomic program can be salvaged.
Blinken arrived in Paris for a two-hour stop from a tour of the Baltic states, Moldova and Poland where he heard firsthand dire concerns about Russia’s actions from leaders.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The Dutch defence ministry says it is working with Germany to station Patriot surface-to-air missiles in Slovakia at the request of NATO.
Defence Minister Kajsa Ollongren said Tuesday that the Dutch ruling coalition agrees “in principle” to the deployment on the alliance’s eastern flank as a defensive measure.
Ollongren says that some 150-200 Dutch troops will head east with the missile system as soon as the Cabinet gives formal approval. The defence ministry said the missiles can take down airplanes, helicopters and cruise missiles up to an altitude of 20 kilometres (12.4 miles).
The Dutch military’s Patriot systems have previously seen service in both Gulf wars and were stationed in southern Turkey from 2013-2015 to intercept missiles from Syria.
Germany announced late last month that it planned to send Patriots to Slovakia.
BRUSSELS — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday that Canada will prolong its military mission in Latvia in response to Russia’s war on Ukraine and plans to send more troops there soon.
Canada’s Operation Reassurance is conducting training and exercises alongside its NATO partners in Latvia to help deter Russia from launching an attack on any of the Baltic states or Poland.
“This mission was set to expire next year and in light of the situation in Europe, we decided to renew it ahead of schedule,” Trudeau said. He says 130 more Canadian personnel would join it in coming weeks.
Trudeau also defended Canada’s decision to supply lethal aid to Ukraine, including rocket launchers and hand grenades, despite some weapons shortfalls at home.
“All those weapons are much more useful right now and in the coming weeks, in the hands of Ukrainian soldiers fighting for their lives than they would be in Canadian hands,” he said.
Speaking alongside Trudeau at the Adazi military base in Latvia, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said that Spain is also set to send around 150 more troops to the Baltic state to bolster its presence there.
WASHINGTON — U.S. President Biden announced Tuesday that the U.S. is “targeting the main artery of Russia’s economy” by banning imports of Russian oil, the latest sanction intended to punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.
“We will not be part of subsidizing Putin’s war,” he said in the Roosevelt Room at the White House.
Biden’s announcement came amid rising pressure from Democrats and Republicans, and it reflects a willingness to accept the political risk of rising gas prices to economically retaliate against Russia.
“Defending freedom is going to cost,” Biden said. “It’s going to cost us as well in the United States.”
Although Biden has tried to work in concert with European allies, he acknowledged that many are not announcing a similar ban because they’re more reliant on Moscow for oil and gas.
“So we can take this step when others can not,” he said. “But we’re working closely with Europe and our partners to develop a long term strategy to reduce their dependence on Russian energy as well.”
LONDON — Britain is joining the United States in announcing a ban on imports of Russian oil.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng says oil and oil products from Russia will be phased out by the end of the year. He said the transition period “will give the market, businesses and supply chains more than enough time to replace Russian imports,” which account for 8% of U.K. demand.
Kwarteng said the U.K. would work with its other oil suppliers, including the U.S., the Netherlands and the Gulf states, to secure extra supplies.
U.S. President Joe Biden announced a ban on Russian oil imports, toughening the toll on Russia’s economy in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine. It follows pleas from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to U.S. and Western officials to cut off the imports, which had been a glaring omission in the massive sanctions put in place on Russia over the invasion.
The Kremlin says that Russian President Vladimir Putin had another phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to discuss the situation in Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that he also spoke to Bennett on Tuesday and thanked him for his mediation.
Bennett visited Moscow for a meeting with Putin on Saturday, trying to help broker an end to the war with Ukraine. After meeting with Putin, Bennett spoke to Zelenskyy and French President Emmanuel Macron and also visited Berlin on Saturday for talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Bennett also spoke to Putin by phone on Sunday.
LONDON — Sports apparel and shoe company Adidas is the latest Western brand to halt its operations in Russia because of the Ukraine invasion.
The company said Tuesday that it has suspended the operations of its retail stores and e-commerce website in Russia until further notice, though it continues to pay its employees there.
Adidas, based in Herzogenaurach, Germany, said it will make future business decisions and take action as needed, “prioritizing our employee’s safety and support.”
“As a company, we strongly condemn any form of violence and stand in solidarity with those calling for peace,” the company said in a statement.
It’s also donating 1 million euros (US$1.1 million) to refugee and children’s charities and clothing to the Global Aid Network for people in Ukraine and neighboring countries.
Last week, Adidas suspended its partnership with the Russian Football Union. Nike has also shut its stores in Russia.
Sales in Russia account for only about 3% of Adidas’s total global revenue, according to company data.
WASHINGTON — U.S. President Joe Biden’s top intelligence official said Tuesday the U.S. believes Russia underestimated the strength of Ukraine’s resistance before launching an invasion that has likely caused thousands of Russian casualties.
Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told a congressional panel that U.S. officials believe Russian President Vladimir Putin feels “aggrieved” by Russia’s failure to subdue Ukraine and that he perceives that he cannot afford to lose the war. But what Putin might consider a victory could change given the escalating costs of the conflict to Russia, Haines said.
Despite Putin’s announcement that he would raise Russia’s alert level for nuclear weapons, Haines said the U.S. has not observed unusual changes in Russia’s nuclear force posture.
Haines said it is “unclear at this stage” whether Russia will try to conquer all of Ukraine, something that would require more resources than Putin has committed.
HELSINKI — Flights from the eastern Finnish town of Savonlinna near the Russian border to the capital, Helsinki, have been temporarily suspended due to disruptions in GPS signal in eastern parts of the Nordic country, preventing pilots from landing safely.
Finnish communications authority Traficom confirmed Tuesday that GPS disruptions have been recorded in eastern Finland, but declined to comment on how long or how wide the disruptions were.
Transaviabaltika, a Lithuanian airline that operates on the Finnish domestic route with a small turboprop plane, said its pilots have tried landing several times at the Savonlinna airport since Sunday, but have been forced to turn back to Helsinki each time as the GPS signal was disrupted.
Finland shares a 1,340-kilometre (833-mile) land border with Russia. The lakeside town of Savonlinna is a mere 70 kilometres (43 miles) from the border.
In late 2018, the Finnish government said the country’s GPS location signals were intentionally disrupted in the northern Lapland region and the country’s prime minister acknowledged that it was possible that Russia was the disrupting party.
At the same time, the Norwegian Defense Ministry said Russian forces in the Arctic disturbed GPS location signals during a large NATO drill in the country.
GENEVA — The international scientific laboratory that is home to the world’s largest atom smasher says it is suspending Russia’s observer status and halting any new collaboration with Russia or its institutions “until further notice.”
The European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, said its 23 member states — all European, plus Israel — condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine is one of seven associate member states, and Russia, like the United States, Japan and the European Union, has had observer status.
The CERN council made the decisions about Russia at a special meeting on Tuesday and expressed its support “to the many members of CERN’s Russian scientific community who reject this invasion.”
CERN is home to the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest particle accelerator.
HELSINKI — Finland will donate 15 decommissioned ambulances and two fire trucks to Ukraine, and they are expected to be delivered in the country within a week, Finnish media outlets say.
Ten of the ambulances come from hospital districts across Finland and five from rescue services, Finnish public broadcaster YLE said Tuesday.
The ambulances have just recently been taken out of service, YLE said, quoting health and rescue officials. Decommissioned ambulances are usually sold, but now it was decided to donate them to Ukraine, YLE said.
Finland will also give humanitarian help to Moldova including a field kitchen, five large multi-purpose tents for emergency accomodation and two shower tents to be used by refugees from Ukraine.
A Danish ambulance services and patient transportation company Falck said last week that it donated 30 ambulances to Ukraine and neighboring countries.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — A Latvian lawmaker has traveled to Ukraine to fight alongside Ukrainians, the Baltic country’s Justice Minister Janis Bordans said Tuesday.
Juris Jurass, who is the chairman of the Saeima assembly’s Legal Affairs Committee and a member of the same party as Bordans, “has volunteered to defend the territory of Ukraine and to fight against the invaders,” the justice minister said.
“He made the decision based on his private and moral principles,” Bordans told the Baltic News Service. He was not immediately available for comments.
On Twitter, Ukraine 4 Freedom, a volunteer project by students of international relations at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, wrote that he had joined a foreign legion unit for international volunteers.
MARIUPOL, Ukraine — Civilians in the besieged port of Mariupol in southeast Ukraine are anxiously waiting for news of evacuation efforts as they struggle to survive in a city where bodies have been left uncollected on the streets.
Since Saturday, Russian and Ukrainian authorities have committed to setting up evacuation routes but efforts have repeatedly collapsed amid more fighting along the route. Another effort was made Tuesday.
With water supplies cut, people have been collecting water from streams or melting snow. Power cuts mean that many residents have lost internet access and now rely on their car radios for information, picking up news from stations broadcast from areas controlled by Russian or Russian-backed separatist forces.
Looting has become widespread for food, clothes and even furniture, with locals referring to the practice as getting a “discount.”
GENEVA — The International Committee for the Red Cross says it’s not involved in any evacuation of civilians from two Ukrainian cities and is emphasizing the strict rules under international law about the use of the red cross emblem in an armed conflict.
Videos have shown buses leaving northern Sumy and heading toward Mariupol in the southeast bearing a red cross on the side. It’s not clear who put them there.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the International Red Cross was “forbidding the use of its emblem on our cars,” without elaborating.
ICRC spokesman Ewan Watson said “we don’t forbid per se” but cited rules about use of protective emblems like the red cross. “In armed conflict, it may be used by medical staff and facilities, including army medics and vehicles. It may also be used by Red Cross and Red Crescent workers, vehicles, facilities, and the humanitarian relief they bring,” he said.
ICRC said it has no staffers in Sumy but has been working with Ukrainian and Russian authorities toward an agreement to help people leave Mariupol.
LONDON — Trading in nickel, much of it produced in Russia, was suspended Tuesday on the London Metal Exchange after prices doubled to an unprecedented US$100,000 per metric ton.
Nickel is used mostly to produce stainless steel and some alloys, but increasingly it is used in batteries, particularly electric vehicle batteries.
Russia, facing severe economic sanctions after invading Ukraine, is the world’s third biggest nickel producer. The Russian mining company Nornickel is a major supplier of the high-grade nickel that is used in electric vehicles.
Nickel prices had quadrupled in a week over supply issues and the spike Tuesday forced the LME to shut down electronic and floor trading.
Trading in nickel will not resume Tuesday and the halt could last longer than that “given the geopolitical situation which underlies recent price moves,” the LME said Tuesday.
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican says it is willing to “do everything to put itself at the service” for peace in Ukraine.
Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said that Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who is Pope Francis’ secretary of state, spoke by phone with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday. In the call, Parolin “relayed the deep worry of Pope Francis for the war underway in Ukraine and reaffirmed what the pope said last Sunday,” Bruni said.
Francis had announced he was sending two cardinals to Ukraine this week to express Christian concern for the suffering and stress the pope’s oft-cited words that “war is madness.” Parolin also told Lavrov that the Holy See is willing to do everything to help bring about peace.
GENEVA — The UN. human rights office says it has confirmed 474 civilian deaths in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on Feb. 24.
The office said Tuesday that the number of confirmed civilian injuries now stands at 861.
The UN office uses strict methodology and only reports casualties it has been able to verify.
It acknowledges that the real figures are much higher, in part because intense fighting has delayed its receipt of information and many reports still have to be corroborated.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The U.K. delegation to the global chemical weapons watchdog says in a tweet that it and a group of supporters walked out of a meeting Tuesday in response to what the delegation called “unacceptable Russian falsehoods on Ukraine.”
It was not immediately clear what the Russian representative said at the behind-closed-doors meeting of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ executive council to prompt the walkout.
The British delegation tweeted a photo of more than 50 people standing with two Ukrainian flags on the steps outside the OPCW’s headquarters in The Hague.
France’s ambassador, Luis Vassy, says in a tweet that the walkout by European Union nations and their supporters came as Russia’s representative “was denying basic facts about Ukraine” and other issues tackled by the OPCW.
In a written statement posted on the OPCW’s website, U.K. ambassador Joanna Roper urged the organization to be vigilant. “The UK remains concerned that Russia may use the pretext of chemical weapons to try to justify its illegal actions in Ukraine and we know only too well that Russia is also prepared to use chemical weapons against others,” she said.
KYIV, UKRAINE — Tuesday is International Women’s Day, an important official holiday in Russia and Ukraine dating from the Soviet era. Women are normally feted with flowers and chocolates and speeches, but this year the holiday was overshadowed in Ukraine by war, and in Russia by economic chaos.
Sugary messages of love and support were shared on social networks as in previous years, but many were tinged with sorrow or pleas for peace.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky opened his morning video address Tuesday saying: “Ukrainians, we usually celebrate this holiday, the holiday of spring. We congratulate our women, our daughters, wives, mothers. Usually. But not today.”
“Today I cannot say the traditional words. I just can’t congratulate you. I can’t, when there are so many deaths. When there is so much grief, when there is so much suffering. When the war continues,” he said.
BRUSSELS — NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says Russia’s armed forces may be deliberately targeting civilians as they try to flee the military assault on Ukraine.
Stoltenberg said Tuesday “there are very creditable reports of civilians coming under fire as they try to evacuate. Targeting civilians is a war crime, and it’s totally unacceptable.”
He told reporters in Latvia that the humanitarian impact of the almost two-week long war “is devastating.”
“We need real humanitarian corridors that are fully respected,” he said.
Asked what NATO can do to help, Stoltenberg said: “We have a responsibility to ensure the conflict does not spread beyond Ukraine.” NATO is boosting its defenses to ensure that members near Russia and Ukraine are not next on Moscow’s target list.
KYIV, UKRAINE — Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov has released new estimates of casualties and damage from the Russian war, saying Russian military actions have killed 38 children and wounded more than 70.
Overall at least 400 civilian deaths have been recorded and 800 wounded, though “these data are definitely incomplete,” he said in a video address.
It was not immediately possible to verify the figures.
He said Russian strikes have destroyed more than 200 Ukrainian schools, 34 hospitals and 1,500 residential buildings.
He estimated some 10,000 foreign students, notably from India, China and the Persian Gulf are trapped by the fighting, and described attacks on British and Swiss journalists.
He claimed that Ukrainian forces have killed more than 11,000 Russian troops.
“Russian invaders fire on humanitarian corridors through which civilians are trying to escape,” he said, without saying where.
Russian officials did not comment Tuesday and have only acknowledged several hundred deaths among Russian forces.
BERLIN — The German federal prosecutor’s office is looking into possible war crimes committed by Russian forces in Ukraine.
The prosecutor’s office said Tuesday it has launched a so-called “structural investigation” — a preliminary investigation against persons unknown which entails looking for evidence leading to possible suspects who could be prosecuted.
It’s unclear whether or when a prosecution of any suspect would actually be launched and what the chances are of any defendant eventually being brought to court in Germany.
Germany applies the principle of universal jurisdiction for serious crimes. In a groundbreaking verdict in January, a German court convicted a former Syrian secret police officer of crimes against humanity for overseeing the abuse of detainees at a jail.
BEIJING — China says President Xi Jinping has criticized sanctions imposed on Russia over its war against Ukraine as “harmful to all sides,” in a video summit with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
China has largely backed Russia in blaming the U.S. and its allies for provoking the conflict and has abstained in votes at the United Nations over whether to condemn Moscow for its actions.
In its readout of Tuesday’s conversation, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said Xi expressed “anxiety and deep pain” over the fighting, and urged the sides to pursue peace talks in which he said China was willing to play a role.
Xi gave no indication on what sort of resolution China was looking for and the only details he gave concerned the impact of sanctions.
“We want to strive together to reduce the negative effects of the crisis,” Xi was quoted as saying. “Regarding the impact of sanctions on global finance, energy resources, transport and supply chain stability, in terms of a world economy already burdened by the pandemic, it is harmful to all sides.”
LONDON — Britain’s defence minister says his staff will help process applications from Ukrainians fleeing war, after criticism of the sluggish U.K. effort to take in refugees.
Britain says it expects to take in as many as 200,000 displaced Ukrainians, and has set no upper limit on the number it will accept. But as of Monday night, the government said only 300 visas had been issued.
French officials have accused Britain of turning Ukrainians away at the English Channel port of Calais, telling them to apply for visas at British embassies in Paris or Brussels.
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said Tuesday that “we can do more, we will do more” to speed up people’s journeys to the U.K.
MOSCOW — Russia says it has summoned the Irish ambassador to Moscow a day after a truck was driven through the gates of the Russian embassy in Ireland during a demonstration against the war in Ukraine.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday it told Irish ambassador Brian McElduff that Russia demanded an apology from the Irish authorities and for Ireland to pay compensation.
Russia likened the incident to “a tactic widely used by terrorists” and said Irish law enforcement had not acted to stop it. The Irish Times newspaper reported Monday that the driver of the truck was arrested.
KYIV, UKRAINE — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called for the expansion of humanitarian corridors for Ukrainian civilians fleeing war, and more support from the Red Cross.
In a video address Tuesday from an undisclosed location, he said a child died of dehydration in the blockaded southern seaport of Mariupol, in a sign of how desperate the city’s population has become.
He pleaded again with Western countries to provide air support.
He said evacuation buses have been sent to Mariupol, but said there was no firm agreement on the route, so “Russian troops can simply shoot on this transport on the way.”
Zelenskiy accused the International Red Cross of “forbidding the use of its emblem on our cars,” but did not give details. Videos of buses heading out of Sumy and toward Mariupol have had signs with a red cross on the side but it’s not clear who pasted them there.
LONDON — Estee Lauder is the latest foreign company to halt its operations in Russia after the invasion of Ukraine.
The New York-based cosmetics giant said in a statement late Monday that it has decided to suspend all its commercial activity in Russia, “including every store we own and operate.” It’s not clear how many retail outlets it has in Russia.
Estee Lauder also said it’s suspending shipments to its Russian retailers and will provide “compensation and support” to its Russian employees. The company owns more than two dozen brands including Clinique, Bobbi Brown and MAC Cosmetics.
LONDON — Energy giant Shell says it will stop buying Russian oil and natural gas as well as shut down its service stations and other operations in the country amid international pressure for companies to sever ties over the invasion of Ukraine.
Shell says in a statement Tuesday that it would withdraw from all Russian hydrocarbons, including crude oil, petroleum products, natural gas and liquefied natural gas, “in a phased manner.”
The decision comes just days after Ukraine’s foreign minister criticized Shell for continuing to buy Russian oil.
LONDON — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is set to address Britain’s Parliament — the first time a foreign leader has been allowed to speak in the House of Commons.
Screens and simultaneous translation headsets have been set up in the House of Commons so lawmakers can hear from Zelensky at 5 p.m. (1700GMT) on Tuesday.
World leaders have previously addressed British lawmakers elsewhere in Parliament, but not in the House of Commons itself.
Zelensky has previously thanked Britain for its support, which includes humanitarian aid and defensive weapons.
GENEVA — The UN’s top human rights official is warning that a new Russian law allowing harsh punishment for spreading what is deemed to be fake information about the armed forces adds to concern about repressive legislation in Russia.
High Commission for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet told the UN Human Rights Council that “space for discussion or criticism of public policies — including (Russia’s) military action against Ukraine — is increasingly and profoundly restricted.”
Bachelet said some 12,700 people have been “arbitrarily arrested” for holding peaceful anti-war protests and noted that media are required to use only official information and terms.
She said she’s concerned about repressive and vaguely defined legislation, and added that “further legislation criminalising circumstances of ‘discrediting’ the armed forces continues down this concerning path.”
The new measure, signed into law by President Vladimir Putin on Friday, allows for prison sentences of up to 15 years. It has prompted some foreign media to suspend operations within Russia.
LONDON — Britain’s defence secretary says the invasion of Ukraine will be Vladimir Putin’s downfall as the Russian leader struggles to defeat and occupy a country that has put up unexpectedly staunch resistance to his armies.
Ben Wallace said Russian forces are already “exhausted” after facing logistical problems and suffering thousands of losses in the first 13 days of fighting. He added it’s “an impossible task” to occupy a country of 44 million people that is bigger than France and Germany combined.
“This will be Putin’s end … and so it should be,” Wallace told the BBC.
Putin is already “a spent force” in the wider world because the international community has decided the invasion of Ukraine and the humanitarian catastrophe it has unleashed are unacceptable, Wallace said. The international sanctions imposed on Russia “are reducing his economy to zero,” and Putin is responsible for that, Wallace said.
GENEVA — The number of refugees fleeing Ukraine reached 2 million on Tuesday, according to the United Nations, the fastest exodus Europe has seen since the Second World War.
“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 underway 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 UN 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 UN 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.
TOKYO — Japan says it has suspended the assets of 32 more Russian and Belarusian individuals as part of international sanctions against Russia.
The additional sanctions announced Tuesday target 20 Russians including head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov, deputy chiefs of staff and a press secretary for President Vladamir Putin’s govenment, and deputy chairmen of the state parliament. The list also includes business executives with close ties to Putin and his administration such as Volga Group, Transneft, the Private Military Company Wagner and USM Holdings, according to a statement jointly issued by the foreign, finance and trade ministries.
The sanction targets also included 12 Belarusian officials and business executives, including Belarus’ National Olympic Committee President Viktor Lukashenko, as well as 12 organizations in Russia and Belarus.
Officials said Japan is also banning exports of oil refinery equipment to Russia and general purpose goods to Belarus that could be used to strengthen the country’s military capability.
WARSAW, Poland — Poland’s prime minister is calling for even tougher sanctions against Russia in order to dismantle President Vladimir Putin’s war machine.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki made his comments as he departed Warsaw for visits to NATO countries Britain and Norway.
He told reporters that strengthening NATO’s eastern flank and pushing for more sanctions would be the main topics of discussion. In particular, Morawiecki wants to urge other European countries to replace Russian crude oil and gas with deliveries from other countries.
“In order to hit Russia effectively, our blow must be consistent and long-term if military action continues,” Morawiecki said.
Poland has been building a gas pipeline, Baltic Pipe, meant to import gas from Norway.
He called Baltic Pipe “a symbol of Poland’s sovereignty, of Poland’s independence from Russia, from gas blackmail … everything which has made it possible for Putin to build a war machine.”
TALLINN, ESTONIA — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is wrapping up a short tour of the three Baltic states aimed at reassuring the former Soviet republics that NATO will guarantee their security as Russia’s war with Ukraine rolls on unabated.
Blinken was meeting with senior Estonian officials in Tallinn on Tuesday, a day after hearing appeals from both Lithuania and Latvia for more support and greater U.S. and NATO troop presence to deter a feared Russian intervention.
“We will defend every inch of NATO territory if it comes under attack,” Blinken said Monday in Riga. “No one should doubt our readiness. No one should doubt our resolve.”
Leaders in all three Baltic states have expressed grave concerns about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intentions for former Soviet bloc countries that are now allied or otherwise linked to the West.
Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said the Russian invasion of Ukraine had shown the Baltic countries in particular the need to bolster air and coastal defenses. He added Latvia would like its security cooperation with NATO to be “more efficient.”
Lithuanian President Gitanes Nauseda told Blinken in Vilnius that a policy of deterrence was no longer enough and that “forward defence” was now needed. He predicted that “Putin will not stop in Ukraine if he will not be stopped.”
KYIV, Ukraine — Safe corridors intended to let civilians escape the Russian onslaught in Ukraine could open Tuesday, officials from both sides said, though previous efforts to establish evacuation routes crumbled amid renewed attacks and it was not clear how large the operation would be if it happened.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said Tuesday that both sides agreed to a cease-fire from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Ukraine time (0700-1900 GMT) for the evacuation of civilians from the eastern city of Sumy.
The first convoy with evacuated civilians in buses or private cars is to leave at 10 a.m. (0800 GMT), on a single route toward the Ukrainian city of Poltava. She said Russia’s Defense Ministry agreed to this in a letter to the International Red Cross.
Those being evacuated from Sumy include foreign students from India and China, she said. The corridor will also be used to bring humanitarian aid into Sumy, she said.
She reiterated that Russian proposals to evacuate civilians to Russia and Belarus were unacceptable. She didn’t elaborate on the possibility of evacuating Ukrainians toward western Ukraine.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — The head of the World Health Organization’s Europe office says it has confirmed 16 attacks that have affected the provision of health care in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion.
Dr. Hans Kluge also told reporters Tuesday that Ukrainian health authorities have “remarkably” maintained COVID-19 surveillance and response since the invasion began on Feb. 24, though they reported 731 deaths related to the pandemic over the last week.
Kluge warned that “sadly, this number will increase as oxygen shortages continue” — with older people disproportionately affected.
He also said broken supply lines are harming the ability to treat conditions like diabetes and hypertension. Catherine Smallwood, senior emergency officer for WHO Europe, said the attacks on health care in Ukraine have led to at least 9 deaths and 16 injuries.
LONDON — Britain’s defense secretary said Tuesday that there are reports Ukrainian special forces destroyed over 20 Russian helicopters on the ground overnight as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to face logistical problems and fierce resistance.
Russia’s advance toward the capital, Kyiv, continues to face pressure from Ukrainian forces around the nearby towns of Hostomel, Bucha, Vorzel and Irpin, the U.K. Defense Ministry said in an intelligence update released late Monday. In addition, a lengthy Russian column remains stuck on the road north of Kyiv.
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said Russian forces are becoming more and more desperate in the face of such military and supply holdups, leading to “indiscriminate shelling” of civilians.
WASHINGTON — The World Bank says it has approved more than US$700 million in emergency support for Ukraine.
Dubbed FREE Ukraine, it includes nearly $500 million in loans and guarantees and $134 million in grants, with Japan promising another $100 million in financing. The aid is meant to help the Ukrainian government pay wages of hospital workers, pensions and other social programs.
“The World Bank Group stands with the people of Ukraine and the region,” World Bank President David Malpass said. “This is the first of many steps we are taking to help address the far-reaching human and economic impacts of this crisis.”
The World Bank also said it is preparing a $3 billion package of support for Ukraine and the region to help it cope with the flood of displaced people fleeing the fighting.
ISLAMABAD — Pakistan sent an aircraft to Poland on Tuesday to evacuate more than 300 Pakistanis who escaped fighting in Ukraine.
Pakistan International Airlines says most of them are students.
Pakistan has refused to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, even as it denounced war as a solution to differences and called for negotiations and a cease-fire. Prime Minister Imran Khan met with President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin just hours after the Russian leader sent tanks into Ukraine on Feb. 24.
Pakistan abstained from last week’s U.N. General Assembly vote condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
TOKYO — Japanese automaker Nissan is planning to halt production at its plant in Russia because of “logistical challenges.”
Nissan Motor Co. did not provide a specific date but said Tuesday production will stop “soon.” Its plant in St. Petersburg produced 45,000 vehicles last year, including the X-Trail sport utility vehicle.
The Yokohama-based manufacturer said the safety of its employees is its top priority.
Nissan earlier stopped exports to Russia.
LVIV, Ukraine — Russian aircraft bombed cities in eastern and central Ukraine overnight, Ukrainian officials said. Shelling pounded suburbs of the capital, Kyiv.
In Sumy and Okhtyrka, to the east of Kyiv near the Russian border, bombs fell on residential buildings and destroyed a power plant, regional leader Dmytro Zhivitsky said. He said there were dead and wounded but gave no figures.
Bombs also hit oil depots in Zhytomyr and the neighbouring town of Cherniakhiv, located west of Kyiv.
In Bucha, a Kyiv suburb, 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.”
LVIV, Ukraine — 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.
LVIV, Ukraine — 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.
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