Ukraine latest updates: Civilian convoy leaves besieged Mariupol

Ukraine news from March 14: Attempts to evacuate civilians and deliver badly needed humanitarian aid had failed for several days.

A woman walks past building damaged by shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine
A humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Mariupol. a besieged city of 430,000 in Ukraine [Evgeniy Maloletka/AP]
  • A new round of talks between Russian and Ukrainian officials has paused and will resume on Tuesday.
  • At least one person was killed and 12 wounded when a shell hit a residential building in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv.
  • Russian forces hit a television tower outside the western city of Rivne, killing nine people, according to the regional administration.
  • Russian-backed separatists in Donetsk say at least 16 people were killed after remnants of a Ukrainian missile landed on the city centre.
  • More than 160 civilian cars have been able to drive out of Mariupol after numerous failed attempts at evacuating residents from the besieged city.
  • The European Union has adopted a fourth package of sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.


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These were the updates for March 14:

Ukraine says 4,000 people evacuated from front-line cities

Ukraine has been able to evacuate more than 4,000 people from front-line cities on Monday via seven humanitarian corridors, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in a video statement.

Vereshchuk said three other humanitarian corridors did not operate successfully and she accused Russian forces of firing on civilians who were evacuating the Kyiv region. Russia has denied firing on civilians.

US concerned about China aligning with Russia

United States national security adviser Jake Sullivan has raised concerns about China’s alignment with Russia in a seven-hour meeting with Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi.

The meeting took place in Rome as the US told NATO allies and several Asian countries that China had signalled its willingness to provide military and economic aid to Russia to support its war, two US officials who spoke to the Reuters news agency on condition of anonymity said.

Washington warned Beijing of the isolation and penalties it will face if it helps Moscow in its invasion of Ukraine. One official described the meeting as “intense,” reflecting “the gravity of the moment.”

US defence secretary adds Bulgaria to European trip

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is adding a stop in Bulgaria to a Europe trip focused on bolstering NATO allies as war rages on in Ukraine, the Pentagon has said.

Austin will leave on Tuesday for Brussels, where he will attend a NATO meeting before travelling to Slovakia. In Bulgaria, Austin will meet military and civilian leaders, it said, without offering further details on his agenda.

Bulgaria, Moscow’s closest ally during the Cold War, is now a European Union and NATO member state that has condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

UNHCR hails record $200 million in private sector donations for Ukraine

The United Nations refugee agency has said the private sector provided “record-breaking amounts” towards its efforts to support those displaced by the invasion of Ukraine.

“In just over two weeks, companies, foundations and philanthropists have contributed over $200 million towards UNHCR’s Ukraine emergency response,” it said in a statement.

The agency estimates that more than 2.8 million people have been forced to flee Ukraine as refugees since February 24, while at least two million more have been displaced inside the country.

Ukraine’s foreign legion joins the battle against Russia

On February 26, just two days after Russia invaded Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy put out a call to foreign volunteers to join the Ukrainian armed forces, announcing the creation of an international legion.

Two days later, the president signed a decree waiving visas for any foreign nationals wishing to join the Ukrainian army, while the foreign affairs ministry launched a website providing details on how to apply.

Read the story here.

World Bank approves $200m in additional funding for Ukraine

The World Bank has announced it is making available nearly $200m in additional and reprogrammed financing to bolster Ukraine’s social services for vulnerable people — on top of $723m approved last week.

The financing is part of a $3bn package of support the World Bank previously announced for Ukraine over the coming months.

The Take podcast: Is Russia’s Syria playbook being used in Ukraine?

What can 11 years of war in Syria tell us about Ukraine? This week marks the anniversary of Syria’s uprising and there still seems to be no end to conflict in sight.

There’s also another date that resonates: September 30, 2015, when Russia intervened on behalf of President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

Russia said it tested at least 320 new types of weapons in Syria, some of which are now in use in the war in Ukraine, and it is using tactics that seem to come from what has been called the “Syria playbook”.

We look at how the people all too familiar with that playbook see Syria’s story in Ukraine.

Ukraine’s economy could collapse if war drags on: IMF

The Russian invasion could plunge Ukraine into a devastating recession, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said.

At a minimum, the country would see “output falling 10 percent this year, assuming a prompt resolution of the war,” the IMF said.

The lender added that if the conflict is prolonged, the situation will worsen. Citing wartime data for conflicts in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen, it predicted the “annual output contraction could eventually be much higher, in the range of 25 to 35 percent.”

Anti-war protester interrupts main Russian news show

An anti-war protester has interrupted the main news programme on Russia’s Channel One with a banner that called on viewers to “not believe the propaganda” and “stop the war” on Ukraine.

The channel, which describes the Russian invasion as a “special operation” to “de-nazify” Ukraine, said it was undertaking an internal review into the incident, the Tass news agency reported.

Could China help end Russia’s invasion of Ukraine?

Tense relations with the United States and Europe have pushed China and Russia even closer in recent years.

But Beijing has come under international pressure to condemn the invasion of Ukraine, which goes against its own stated principle of protecting sovereignty and noninterference.

Ukraine says it evacuated 548,000 people since start of war

Ukraine has evacuated 548,000 civilians since Russia launched its invasion on February 24, the country’s Deputy Interior Minister Yevheniy Yenin said in a televised interview.

“Only in the last 24 hours, our emergency rescue crews have attended over 600 calls, including over 250 at sites of Russian shelling,” he said, adding that 50 people had been pulled out from under the rubble of destroyed buildings in this time period.

ICJ to rule in Ukraine case against Russia on Wednesday

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has said it will rule in the case that Ukraine has brought against Russia on Wednesday.

In a hearing boycotted by Russia on March 7, Ukraine had asked the court to order Russia to cease military activities, arguing the invasion was based on a faulty interpretation of the Untied Nations genocide treaty.

Russian troops focus efforts on capital Kyiv

Russian troops have refocused their efforts to seize Kyiv, firing artillery on suburbs, a local official said on Ukrainian television.

The official also said a town councillor for Brovary, east of Kyiv, had been killed in fighting there and shells fell on the towns of Irpin, Bucha and Hostomel, which have seen some of the worst conflict during Russia’s stalled attempt to take the capital.

Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan, reporting from Kyiv, said residents in the capital were in for another nervous night, after the shelling of an apartment block in the early morning hours killed at least one person.

“A lot of the residents are very worried that that [attack] may have been an opening salvo for the war for control of the capital,” Khan said. “Military analysts are suggesting it may have been a way to keep pressure on the Ukrainians even as the talks were going on.”

Aid convoy attempting to reach besieged Mariupol blocked

Russian forces have blocked an aid convoy trying to reach the besieged port city of Mariupol, Ukraine said, while a first column of cars was allowed to escape.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, a senior presidential aide, said Russia had yet again blocked a humanitarian aid convoy trying to reach the city with supplies.

A first convoy of cars was allowed to leave the city at 1pm (11:00 GMT), Andrei Rempel, a representative of the Mariupol city council who is now in Zaporizhzhia, told the Reuters news agency.

“In the first two hours, 160 cars left. There are probably already many more now. We don’t know when the first cars can get to Zaporizhzhia as there are still many Russian checkpoints that need to be passed,” Rempel said.

Erdogan says unclear whether Turkey will buy more Russian arms

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan has said it is too early to comment on Turkey’s possible purchase of more Russian weapons given Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Under the current circumstances, it would be premature to talk about what the future shows right now. We have to see what the conditions bring,” Erdogan said, speaking in Ankara alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

NATO member Turkey was handed US sanctions in December 2020 over its purchase of Russian S-400 missile defence systems and had been criticised by Western allies over the move. Ankara has said it was forced to opt for the Russian weapons because allies did not provide arms on satisfactory terms.

Russian, Israeli leaders speak again about Ukraine war

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke again with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett about the war in Ukraine.

The latest conversation dealt with ceasefire efforts, as well as Israeli humanitarian aid in the region, according to an Israeli official.

The Kremlin said the call had been at Israel’s request. Bennett has held numerous calls with Russian and Ukrainian officials in an attempt to assist efforts to resolve the conflict.

EU adopts fourth package of sanctions against Russia

The European Union has adopted new sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, with diplomats saying the oligarch Roman Abramovich was among the individuals listed.

The EU presidency, currently held by France, tweeted that the ambassadors of the bloc’s 27 member nations approved a fourth package of sanctions, hitting individuals and companies “implicated in the assault on Ukraine”.

Their names were to be made public in a “quick” publication of the EU’s Official Journal legally announcing all the European Union’s decisions, it said, adding that the sanctions were worked out in concert with Western partners.

Abramovich, the billionaire owner of the Chelsea football club, was added to the list of wealthy Russians whose assets in the EU can be seized and entry into the bloc refused, diplomats told AFP.

Putin discusses Ukraine with Israeli prime minister

Russian President Vladimir Putin has discussed the conflict in Ukraine by telephone with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, the Kremlin has said in a statement, adding that the call had been at Israel’s request.

Bennett told Putin about his recent contacts with leaders of several countries on the subject and both agreed to continue their dialogue, the Kremlin has said.

Bennett has held numerous calls with Putin in an attempt to assist efforts to resolve the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.

Mayor of Ukraine’s Kharkiv says Russian forces firing at city non-stop

The mayor of Ukraine’s front line city of Kharkiv has said the city had been under constant attack by Russian forces, who have fired at central districts causing an unspecified number of casualties.

“They’re firing at us constantly,” Mayor Ihor Terekhov told national television.

A view of destruction in the city of Kharkiv after Russian attacks.
The city of Kharkiv has come under relentless attack [Wolfgang Schwan/Anadolu Agency]

Strike on Ukraine TV tower kills nine: Official

Nine people have died and another nine have been injured after Russian forces hit a television tower outside the western Ukrainian city of Rivne, local authorities said.

“Nine dead, nine wounded,” the head of the regional administration, Vitaliy Koval, said on messaging app Telegram.

Ukraine foreign minister says Iran is ‘against the war’

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said Iran does not support Russia’s war in Ukraine, after a call with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian.

“Iran is against the war in Ukraine, supports a peaceful solution. I asked to convey my message in Moscow: Russia must stop bombing civilians, commit to the ceasefire, and withdraw from Ukraine,” Kuleba wrote on Twitter.

Amirabdollahian is expected to visit Moscow on Tuesday.

Russia says it will attack Ukrainian arms factories

The Russian defence ministry has said it is planning to attack Ukrainian arms factories in retaliation for what it said was a Ukrainian strike on the separatist-controlled city of Donetsk, and urged workers and local residents to stay away.

The defence ministry noted in a statement that Russia believed Ukraine had used cluster charges on a densely populated area of Donetsk.

Ukraine’s Chernobyl loses power again: Operator

Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear power station has once again lost its electricity supply, energy operator Ukrenergo has said.

The retired nuclear reactors lost power early last week but supply was restored Sunday.

Ukrenergo said the power line had been damaged again “before the power supply had been fully restored” and that one of its repair crews will be going into “occupied territory” again for more repairs.

Ukraine urges Russia’s ‘immediate’ expulsion from Council of Europe

Ukraine has demanded that Russia be immediately expelled from the Council of Europe (COE), saying it had no right to remain a member of the pan-European rights body after invading its neighbour.

“We urge you to take a decision on the immediate expulsion of Russia from the Council of Europe,” Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal told the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg, eastern France, via video link.

The council’s executive body had suspended Russia from all its rights of representation a day after the February 24 invasion, but an expulsion would be unprecedented.

NATO to hold extraordinary meeting on Ukraine: Turkish official

Defence ministers from NATO member states will meet in Brussels on Wednesday for an extraordinary meeting to discuss the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to Turkey’s defence ministry.

In a statement, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said he would take part in the meetings and hold bilateral talks with his counterparts.

Civilians are at the front lines of Ukrainian resistance now, not only the army

Western Ukraine’s Lviv has become a hub for people displaced by the war and trying to reach Poland.

More than two million people have fled since Russia invaded the country on February 24. Men between the ages of 18 and 60 have been prevented from leaving and told to stay and fight for Ukraine.

Volunteers are taking on a range of tasks, from helping out refugees to sorting out humanitarian aid, from fighting war propaganda online to even hacking internet servers and Russian military communications.

UN allocates additional $40m to Ukraine

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said the UN will allocate a further $40m from its central emergency response fund to ramp up humanitarian assistance for Ukraine.

In an address to the UN Security Council, the UN chief said millions of people in Ukraine were facing hunger and dwindling water supplies.

The UN refugee agency estimates 2.8 million people have left Ukraine. “They need help and support every step of the way,” Guterres said.

He also sounded the alarm over Russia raising the alert level for its nuclear forces, describing it as a “bone-chilling development”.

Lviv: As refugees flee, a city mobilises for war

Anna holds back her tears as she describes how she left her home in the middle of the night with just a few hastily packed suitcases.

Russian forces were within 40km (25 miles) of the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia and had begun shelling the area.

Read the story here.

Ukraine’s Zelenskyy to address US Congress

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will deliver a virtual address to the US Congress on Wednesday.

“We look forward to the privilege of welcoming President Zelenskyy’s address to the House and Senate and to convey our support to the people of Ukraine as they bravely defend democracy,” House leader Nancy Pelosi and her Senate counterpart Chuck Schumer said in a joint letter to lawmakers.

Pelosi and Schumer said Zelensky’s virtual address will begin at 9am (13:00 GMT).

Could energy independence from Russia spur a shift to renewables?

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has triggered a European quest to lower dependence on Russian gas and move closer to renewable energy – with a simultaneous triumph eyed over Russian President Vladimir Putin and climate change.

The European Commission believes it can replace 24 billion cubic metres (bcm) of Russian gas with zero-emissions renewable energy sources this year.

Read the story here.

Ukraine negotiator says talks with Russia will continue on Tuesday

Talks between Ukraine and Russia have paused and will continue on Tuesday, one of Ukraine’s negotiators said on Twitter.

“A technical pause has been taken in the negotiations until tomorrow. For additional work in the working subgroups and clarification of individual definitions. Negotiations continue,” Mykhailo Podolyak said.

Response to Russia could shape new era: Japan PM

The Russian invasion of Ukraine may have ushered in a new era, Japan’s prime minister has said.

“Whether the world can respond resolutely to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and protect the core of the international order is a litmus test to foresee the era that follows the post-Cold War period,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said.

Japan has frozen the assets of major Russian banks and the assets of Russian President Vladimir Putin and other leaders – and also blocked certain Russian banks’ access to the international payments system SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication).

Photos: Destruction in Ukraine as Russia’s attacks intensify

Russia’s military forces have kept up their punishing campaign to capture Ukraine’s capital with fighting and artillery fire in Kyiv’s suburbs, even as Russian and Ukrainian negotiators held a new round of talks on Monday.

The attacks around Kyiv came a day after Russia escalated its offensive by shelling areas close to the Polish border.

See the pictures here.

More than 160 cars exit Mariupol via evacuation corridor

More than 160 civilian cars have been able to drive out of the besieged southeastern city of Mariupol along a humanitarian evacuation route, the city authorities have said.

“As of 13:00 pm (1100 GMT), more than 160 private cars have managed to leave Mariupol on the road to Berdyansk,” the city council said on Telegram, in a significant evacuation since Russian forces surrounded the city early this month.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) had warned on Sunday that residents faced a “worst-case scenario” unless the warring parties reached an agreement to ensure their immediate safety and access to humanitarian aid.

Russia accuses Ukraine of missile strike on Donetsk; Ukraine denies

Russia’s defence ministry has said 20 people have been killed and 28 wounded by a Ukrainian missile with a cluster charge in the city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine denied launching the attack. “It is unmistakably a Russian rocket or another munition; there’s not even any point talking about it,” Ukrainian military spokesman Leonid Matyukhin told a televised briefing.

Pro-Russian separatists who control part of Ukraine’s Donetsk region said earlier that a child was among those hit in the alleged strike and accused Kyiv of committing a war crime.

At least 636 civilians killed in Ukraine so far: UN

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has confirmed the deaths of at least 636 civilians in Ukraine through to March 13, including 46 children.

The actual toll is likely much higher, it said, since there have been delays receiving and corroborating reports from places with intense hostilities such as Kharkiv and Mariupol.

OHCHR has some 50 staff members involved with human rights monitoring in the country.

Ukraine says more than 100 hospitals damaged

More than 100 hospitals in Ukraine have been damaged since the invasion began, the health minister has said.

Seven have been destroyed completely and “can’t be restored” and 97 more have been damaged by shelling and bombardment, Viktor Lyashko wrote on Facebook.

Lyashko added the healthcare system was operational and almost 2,000 foreign medical doctors and nurses had volunteered to work in Ukraine.

Russia has not asked China for military aid: Kremlin

The Kremlin says Russia has not asked China for military assistance and has sufficient military clout to fulfil all of its aims in Ukraine in time and in full.

The comments by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov come after US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Russia had asked China for military equipment.

Greece, Ukraine discuss plight of war-hit ethnic Greeks

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis says he has spoken to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about the “dramatic” conditions facing Greece’s ethnic minority in war-hit southeastern Ukraine.

The two leaders discussed “the need to open a humanitarian corridor for safe exit and access for humanitarian supplies,” the Greek PM’s office said in a statement.

Greece’s consul general in Mariupol is among those trapped in the city, Mitsotakis said.

Athens last month said nearly a dozen members of the Greek minority of over 100,000 dating to the 18th century had died, blaming Russian attacks.

Ukraine nationalist leader sends warning to Kadyrov

Andriy Biletsky, leader of Azov, a group of mostly ultra-nationalist war veterans in Ukraine, says if Chechen leader Ramza Kadyrov is in Kyiv region “it will be possible to shoot him dead.”

Kadyrov, the leader of Russia’s Chechnya region and ally of Putin, has claimed that he travelled to Ukraine to meet Chechen troops fighting alongside Russian forces.

“This will be an unforgettable welcome for you, Don,” Biletsky said in a tweet, referring to Kadyrov’s nickname that mimics the title of Italian mafia leaders.

Ukraine negotiator: Talks with Russia hard, ongoing

Talks between Russia and Ukraine have started and communication between the two sides is hard but ongoing, Ukrainian presidential adviser and negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak said on Twitter.

Tweeting a photo of the talks, which are being conducted via video conference, Podolyak said: “The parties actively express their specified positions. Communication is being held yet it’s hard. The reason for the discord is too different political systems.”

Israel will not be route to bypass Russia sanctions: foreign minister

Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid says Tel Aviv will not be a route to bypass sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States and other western countries.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is coordinating the issue together with partners including the Bank of Israel, the Finance Ministry, the Economy Ministry, the Airports Authority, the Energy Ministry, and others,” Lapid said during a visit to Slovakia.

Ukraine to demand ‘immediate’ ceasefire at talks

Ukraine says it will demand an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian troops as a fourth round of negotiations to end the more than two weeks of fighting started.

“Peace, an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of all Russian troops – and only after this can we talk about regional relations and about political differences,” Kyiv’s lead negotiator Mikhailo Podolyak said in a video statement posted to Twitter.

Ukraine: Two killed in attack on Antonov aircraft factory

Ukrainian authorities say two people have died and seven were injured after Russian forces struck an aircraft factory in Kyiv.

The news portal published pictures and videos showing a huge cloud of smoke billowing from the Antonov aircraft factory northwest of the city.

The company builds both cargo and passenger aircraft.

90 children ‘killed’ since Russia invaded Ukraine

The office of Ukraine’s general prosecutor says 90 children have been killed and more than 100 others wounded since Russia invaded the country.

“The highest number of victims are in the Kyiv, Kharkiv, Donetsk, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kherson, Mykolayiv and Zhytomyr regions,” it said in a statement.

Russia denies targeting civilians in what it calls a “special operation” to demilitarise Ukraine.

INTERACTIVE_RefugeesDAY18 - March13_ 2.6 million

Ukraine presidential adviser: Over 2,500 Mariupol residents killed

More than 2,500 residents of the Black Sea port city of Mariupol have been killed since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said in a televised interview.

He said he was citing figures from the Mariupol city administration, and accused Russian forces of preventing humanitarian aid reaching the encircled city. Russia says it does not target civilians.

Instagram no longer accessible in Russia

Instagram was inaccessible in Russia after Moscow accused its parent company Meta of allowing calls for violence against Russians, including the military, on its platforms.

The move comes after Facebook and Twitter were blocked in early March as part of sweeping efforts by Moscow to control information available to Russians about its invasion of Ukraine.

Instagram appeared Monday on a list of “restricted” online resources on a list published by Russia’s media regulator Roskomnadzor.

instagram logo
Instagram’s app was not refreshing in Russia without a VPN [Thomas White/Reuters]

Kyiv building residents in tears

Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan, reporting from in front of the struck residential building in Kyiv, said emergency services were still going through the rubble.

“You can still smell the burning,” he said, noting that the strike had destroyed both the front and back sides of the nine-storey structure.

“Throughout the day, we have seen people come back here in tears, just looking at the building, their homes that have been completely destroyed,” added Khan.

“It’s a residential area. There’s a football pitch [very close to the building], there’s no military target anywhere here.”

Kyiv building hit by shell
At least three people were wounded in the shelling, according to officials [AFP]

UK donates power generators to Ukraine

The UK’s business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng says his country will donate more than 500 mobile generators to help Ukraine and weaken Russia’s attempts to cripple its power supply.

The generators will be enough to power 20,000 buildings, the business secretary said.

“Sending portable electricity generators to Ukraine will help keep essential services running, weaken Putin’s attempts to cripple Ukraine’s power supply, and help support the extraordinarily brave Ukrainian response to the Kremlin’s war waging,” Kwarteng said in a statement.

Ukraine deputy PM: Ten humanitarian corridors agreed

Ukraine says it will try to evacuate trapped civilians through 10 “humanitarian corridors” on Monday, including from towns near the capital Kyiv and in the eastern region of Luhansk.

“We will, once again, try to unblock the movement of the humanitarian convoy carrying food and medicine to [the port city of Mariupol] from Berdiansk (in southeastern Ukraine),” Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereschuk said in a video address.

Ukrainian children flown to UK for cancer treatment

The UK says it is providing cancer treatment to 21 seriously ill Ukrainian children as Britons were urged to open their homes to people fleeing the war.

The children and their immediate family members arrived from Poland on Sunday evening and will be assessed before being sent to hospitals to continue their care.

Announcing their arrival, health secretary Sajid Javid said: “I am proud that the UK is offering lifesaving medical care to these
Ukrainian children, who have been forced out of their home country by the Russian invasion while undergoing medical treatment.”

Russia: No reason for UN peacekeepers to be sent to Ukraine

Russia sees no reason for United Nations peacekeepers to be sent to Ukraine, RIA news agency quoted the Russian foreign ministry as saying.

Pyotr Ilyichev, director of the minitry’s international organisations department, said there was no need for peacekeepers as Russia was in control, RIA reported.

A new round of talks between Russia and Ukraine will be held on Monday via video link and will start at 10:30am Kyiv time (0830 GMT).

Al Jazeera journalist asks Zelenskyy about mental strain of war

Al Jazeera’s Step Vaessen asks Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about the mental strain he is under after more than two weeks of war.

He took questions from journalists in a secure compound in Kyiv.

Russia warns it may be forced to pay foreign currency debt in roubles

Russia’s finance ministry says it had approved a temporary procedure for repaying foreign currency debt, but warned that payments would be made in roubles if sanctions prevent banks from honouring debts in the currency of issue.

The finance ministry said in a statement that Russia has enough funds to meet its debt obligations, but criticised Western sanctions freezing the government and central bank’s foreign currency accounts as a desire to organise an artificial default.

At least one killed, three wounded after shell hits Kyiv residential building

Ukrainian state TV reporting that at least one person has been killed and three others injured when a shell hit a residential building in Kyiv.

Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser at the ministry of interior, put the death toll at two, adding that three others were hospitalised.

Land corridor ‘links’ annexed Crimea, separatist-held Donbass regions

The deputy head of the annexed peninsula of Crimea claims that a land corridor now links the area with the separatist Donbas region in eastern Ukraine.

Russian news agency RIA Novosti quoted Georgiy Muradov as saying that Russian forces had taken control of the road from Crimea to Mariupol.

There was no confirmation from Ukraine.

According to Muradov, this could help provide people in the Donetsk region with humanitarian supplies. At the same time, Kyiv said that Russian troops blocked a convoy with aid supplies for the besieged port of Mariupol in Donetsk.

Observers assume that one of the goals of Russia’s attack on Ukraine is to establish a land corridor from the separatist areas bordering Russia in eastern Ukraine to the Crimean Peninsula. Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

“Ukrainian troops are shooting in all directions”

Our correspondent Abdel-Azim Mohammad on the fighting between between Ukrainian and Russian forces in the eastern parts of Irpin – where thousands of civilians are trapped.

“We are in the heart of Irpin city, the front line where the Ukrainian army is engaged in fierce fighting with the Russians. We tried to advance towards downtown, but it seems that the Russians made it before us.

The Ukrainian troops are shooting in all directions, saying Russian snipers are stationed on rooftops to prevent the civilians from leaving the city. Dozens of residents were seen leaving from this area as well as the eastern side of Irpin.

Ukrainian servicemen help evacuate an elderly woman, in the town of Irpin, Ukraine on March 6, 2022..
Tens of thousands of civilians are stuck in the city [Andriy Dubchak/AP]

The Ukrainians said they managed to fend off the Russians this morning. You can see the Ukrainian army’s forefront, they are trying to force the Russians back.

To my right, also fierce exchange of gunfire. It seems the Russians are advancing from more than one direction (natural sound… firing)… heavy machine guns and anti-craft guns are fired… (natural)…. (sky) they are firing into the air. It seems like a drone is hovering above… (natural)…. In this spot, and a few minutes before we arrived, dozens of civilian residents had left the city.

They claim the Russian forces granted them only a 15-minute window to leave the area before roads are closed. Many of the residents who were stranded in the eastern suburbs of Irpin managed to leave.

The Ukrainian troops are adamant to fight to force the Russians back since thousands of civilians are still trapped in northern and eastern parts of the city.”

Ukraine war must end, Russia’s fertiliser and coal king says

The war in Ukraine is a tragedy that must be stopped or there will be a global food crisis as fertilizer prices are already too high for many farmers, Russia’s coal and fertiliser king Andrei Melnichenko said.

“The events in Ukraine are truly tragic. We urgently need peace,” Melnichenko, 50, who is Russian but was born in Belarus and has a Ukrainian mother, told Reuters in a statement emailed by his spokesman.

“As a Russian by nationality, a Belarusian by birth, and a Ukrainian by blood, I feel great pain and disbelief witnessing brotherly peoples fighting and dying.”

Russia threatens Western companies with arrests, seizures: Report

Russian authorities, facing potential economic calamity as Western sanctions take hold, have threatened foreign companies hoping to withdraw from the country with arrests and asset seizures, the Wall Street Journal has reported.

Russian prosecutors have issued warnings to several foreign entities – via calls, letters and in-person visits – including to Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Procter & Gamble, IBM and Yum! Brands, the parent company of KFC and Pizza Hut, according to the business daily, citing sources familiar with the matter.

They have threatened to arrest officials who have criticised the government or to seize assets, including intellectual property.

“The warnings have prompted at least one of the targeted companies to limit communications between its Russian business and the rest of the company, out of concern that emails or text messages among colleagues may be intercepted, some of the people (familiar with the matter) said,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Ukrainian soldiers take cover
Ukrainian soldiers take cover from artillery fire in Irpin on the outskirts of Kyiv [Felipe Dana/AP Photo]

US, China aides to meet amid tensions over Russia

The US and China are sending top aides to meet in Rome on Monday amid mounting tensions between the two countries over the Russia-Ukraine war, with the US saying Russia has asked China for military equipment to help press its campaign.

In advance of the talks, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan bluntly warned China to avoid helping Russia evade punishment from global sanctions that have hammered the Russian economy. “We will not allow that to go forward,” he said.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has put China in a delicate spot with two of its biggest trading partners: the US and the European Union. China needs access to those markets, yet it also has shown support for Moscow, joining with Russia in declaring a friendship with “no limits”.

‘Black day’: Zelenskyy condemns army base attack

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says it is a “black day” after Russia shelled a military base in the western part of his country and less than 25km (15 miles) from the Polish border.

Zelenskyy said in his nightly address on Sunday that Russia fired 30 rockets at the Yavoriv military base. He said the attack killed 35 people and injured 134 others.

Zelenskyy said he had given Western leaders “clear warning” of the danger to the base. He warned “it is only a matter of time” before Russian missiles fall on NATO territory.

Russia preparing for several fresh attacks: Ukraine

The Ukrainian army says Russian troops are trying to gain a foothold in occupied positions, maintain the pace of their offensive and preparing for fresh attacks.

“The enemy is forming and moving strategic reserves to our borders,” the Ukrainian general staff said in a daily bulletin early on Monday, adding that fresh attacks were expected on Kharkiv, Sumy and the Kyiv suburb of Browari.

The Ukrainian side charged that Russian forces were destroying stationary military and civilian infrastructure in the country, in contravention of international humanitarian law.

Blinken, Ukraine’s Kuleba talk on efforts to stop war

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, have discussed during a call the diplomatic efforts to stop Russia’s invasion of its neighbour, the State Department said in a statement.

“Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Kuleba discussed ongoing diplomatic efforts to stop Putin’s war of choice,” said spokesperson Ned Price.

“The Secretary reiterated the United States’ steadfast solidarity with Ukraine in defence against the Kremlin’s continued brutal aggression.”

Biden speaks with France’s Macron: White House

US President Joe Biden and France’s Emmanuel Macron have underscored in a telephone call their commitment to holding Russia accountable for the invasion of Ukraine, the White House said in a statement.

Zelenskyy hopes for meeting with Putin

Zelenskyy says the main task of his delegation at talks with their Russian counterparts was to arrange a meeting between himself and Putin.

“Representatives of our countries are holding daily talks via video conference,” he said, describing the task of the Ukrainian delegation as a “difficult path”.

Zelenskyy also said a humanitarian convoy to Mariupol was blocked by Russia who “disrupted the movement of aid and buses”, adding the convoy will make another attempt to move on Monday.

People help a woman to cross a destroyed bridge in the town of Irpin outside Kyiv, Ukraine.
People help a woman cross a destroyed bridge during an evacuation in Irpin outside Kyiv [Marko Djurica/Reuters]

Zelenskyy renews call for no-fly zone

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged NATO to impose a no-fly zone over his country or see its member states attacked by Russia.

“If you don’t close our sky, it is only a matter of time before Russian rockets fall on your territory, on NATO territory,” Zelenskyy said in a video address.

Chechen leader Kadyrov says he travelled to Ukraine

Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Russia’s Chechnya region, has said that he travelled into Ukraine to meet Chechen troops attacking Kyiv, the Reuters news agency has reported.

Reuters said it could not independently verify whether he was in Ukraine or had travelled there during the conflict.

Chechen state television channel Grozny posted a video on its Telegram social media channel that showed Kadyrov in a darkened room discussing with Chechen troops a military operation they said took place 7km (4 miles) from the Ukrainian capital, Reuters reported.

Head of the Chechen Republic Kadyrov meets with Russia''s President Putin near Moscow
Kadyrov is a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin [Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via Reuters]

Bermuda revokes licences for Russian-operated planes

Bermuda’s aviation regulator has said it is suspending certification of all Russian-operated aircraft registered in the British overseas territory due to international sanctions over the war in Ukraine, in a move expected to affect more than 700 planes.

The regulator said it was unable to confidently approve the planes as airworthy due to the effect of sanctions on its ability to conduct safety oversight.

Manufacturers are no longer providing parts to Russian airlines as part of the sanctions.

US condemns attack on base near Polish border

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has condemned a Russian attack on a large Ukrainian base near the border with NATO member Poland, which killed 35 people and wounded 134, according to a local official.

“We condemn the Russian Federation’s missile attack on the International Center for Peacekeeping and Security in Yavoriv, close to Ukraine’s border with Poland,” Blinken wrote on Twitter. “The brutality must stop.”

Russia-Ukraine war military dispatch: March 13

Military Dispatch Day 18

  • Russian air raids hit a Ukrainian military training base near Lviv.
  • Ukrainian officials have said there was an increase in civilian evacuations.
  • Russian troops have cracked down on protesters in the Russian-controlled southern city of Kherson, Ukraine.
  • A US journalist was killed by Russian troops near Kyiv.

Here is a round-up of all the key military developments from Sunday – day 18 of the Russian invasion.

Russian default no longer ‘improbable’

Russia may default on its debts in the wake of unprecedented sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine, but that would not trigger a global financial crisis, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva has said.

Georgieva told CBS’s “Face the Nation” programme that sanctions imposed by the United States and other democracies were already having a “severe” effect on the Russian economy and would trigger a deep recession there this year.

The sanctions were limiting Russia’s ability to access its resources and service its debts, which meant a default was no longer viewed as “improbable,” the IMF official said.

Asked if such a default could trigger a financial crisis around the world, she said, “For now, no.”

Zelenskyy urges software giants to stop supporting their products in Russia

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called on US software firms Microsoft and Oracle, and German business software group SAP to halt support services for their products in Russia.

“Stop supporting your products in Russia, stop the war!,” he wrote on Twitter.

‘Never heard of that’: China responds to reports Russia sought military help

The spokesperson for China’s embassy in Washington has responded to media reports that Moscow had asked Beijing for military equipment since launching its invasion of Ukraine by saying, “I’ve never heard of that.”

The spokesperson, Liu Pengyu, said China’s priority was to prevent the tense situation in Ukraine from getting out of control.

“The current situation in Ukraine is indeed disconcerting,” he said in an emailed response to an inquiry from the Reuters news agency.

“The high priority now is to prevent the tense situation from escalating or even getting out of control.”

Ukraine, Russia to resume talks

Ukraine and Russia will hold a new round of talks on Monday, officials have said.

Talks would resume by videoconference, Mykhailo Podoliak, an adviser to Zelenskyy and part of the negotiating team, has said.

His statement on Twitter confirmed an earlier statement by Dmitry Peskov, the spokesperson for the Russian presidency.

Ukraine says thousands evacuated from front-line cities

Ukraine was able to evacuate more than 5,550 people from front-line cities on Sunday via nine humanitarian corridors, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has said.

She said 3,950 people were evacuated from towns and cities in the Kyiv region.

Fatigued staff ‘stop safety-related repairs’ at Chernobyl

Staff operating radioactive waste facilities at the Chernobyl nuclear plant have stopped carrying out safety-related repairs due to exhaustion, as they have not been relieved since Russia seized the site last month, Ukraine has told the UN nuclear watchdog.

“The Ukrainian regulator informed the IAEA that staff at [Chernobyl] were no longer carrying out repair and maintenance of safety-related equipment, in part due to their physical and psychological fatigue after working non-stop for nearly three weeks,” the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement.

A general view shows the New Safe Confinement (NSC) structure over the old sarcophagus covering the damaged fourth reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, in Chernobyl, Ukraine
Russian forces seized control of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in late February [File: Gleb Garanich/Reuters]

ICRC issues stark Mariupol warning

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has warned that residents of the besieged port city of Mariupol face a “worst-case scenario” unless Russia and Ukraine reach an agreement to ensure their immediate safety and access to humanitarian aid.

Ukrainian authorities say the city has been subject to relentless bombardment since Russian troops surrounded it on March 2. Read the full story here.


Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the Ukraine-Russia crisis.

Read all the updates from Sunday, March 13 here.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies