As the invasion entered its 13th day, Russia continued dropping a steady stream of rockets and shells on population centres. Children were reportedly among more than 10 people killed by Russian aerial attacks in the northeastern city of Sumy and its suburbs on Monday night. Local leader Dmytro Zhyvytsky shared the tragic update in a Facebook live video that was translated by BBC.
Ukraine: Humanitarian conditions worsen
Fears were mounting about the thousands of civilians trapped in besieged Ukrainian cities as Russia continued to bombard residential areas on Tuesday, preventing evacuations. The New York Post reports Russia’s United Nations ambassador claimed Moscow would hold fire Tuesday morning and grant safe passage to residents of Sumy, Zhytomyr, Kharkiv, Mariupol and suburbs of Kyiv. But the plan was met with doubt by Ukrainian leaders after several previous efforts to establish the so-called humanitarian corridors were shattered when Russia renewed its attacks.
Moscow confirms humanitarian corridors active
Interfax news agency reports the Russian armed forces have confirmed that they have declared a ceasefire and have opened the humanitarian corridors from Kiev, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv and Mariupol starting at 8 am Malta time. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said, “For a safe evacuation of civilians from populated areas, a ceasefire is declared and humanitarian corridors are opened.” Over 150 people have been evacuated from Kiev and “operations are underway”, said the governor of the capital region, Oleksiy Kuleba.
Russia holds 300,000 civilians hostage in Mariupol
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote in a tweet that “Russia holds 300,000 civilians hostage in Mariupol and prevents humanitarian evacuation despite agreements with the mediation of the International Committee of the Red Cross.” He said a child died of dehydration yesterday! “War crimes are part of Russia’s deliberate strategy. I urge all states to ask publicly: Russia, let the people go! “
Non-stop attack on Kyiv suburb
The mayor of Bucha, a Kyiv suburb, said her city was being hit nonstop by Russian artillery fire, leaving corpses strewn in the streets. “We can’t even gather up the bodies because the shelling from heavy weapons doesn’t stop day or night,” Mayor Anatol Fedoruk said. “Dogs are pulling apart the bodies on the city streets. It’s a nightmare.” The city of 36,971 was one of several in eastern and central Ukraine that Russian forces continued to bomb overnight Monday into Tuesday. Soldiers and volunteers worked to fortify the capital of Kyiv, where President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed to stay, despite the looming threat from Russian forces to the north. He defiantly revealed his location during a video posted on social media Monday and vowed, “I’m staying in Kyiv.”
Zelensky opens to dialogue on Donbass and Crimea
Meanwehile, Zelensky has said they can discuss and find a compromise with Russia on Crimea and Donbass on how to continue living, but Ukraine will not accept an ultimatum from the Kremlin. In an interview with ABC, Zelensky said, “If we talk about temporarily-occupied territories and republics not recognised by anyone, we can discuss and find a compromise. For me it is important to know how the people who want to be part of Ukraine will live in those territories,” he said, citing “security guarantees”. “It’s more complicated than just recognising; this is another ultimatum and we’re not ready for an ultimatum.”
Yanukovich urges Zelensky: “Stop the bloodshed”
The former pro-Russian president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, has asked Zelensky to “put aside pride” and stop the war “at any cost”. The appeal is contained in a letter published by Russian media, according to the Kyiv Independent. “I want to make a request, presidential and even a little fatherly, to Zelensky,” said the former president. “Volodymir, perhaps dreams of becoming a true hero, but heroism is not ostentation, it is not fighting to the last Ukrainian,” he said.
EU Eurobonds to finance energy and defence spending
The European Union is preparing to launch “large-scale” bonds to finance energy and defense costs, according to Bloomberg. Quoting confidential sources, the agency writes that technicians are working to develop a plan to be presented after the next Versailles summit scheduled for Thursday and Friday, March 10 and 11. The amount and structure of the operation have yet to be decided.
Russia is the most sanctioned country in the world
In just 10 days, Russia has become the world’s most sanctioned nation, doubling the number of sanctions against it and surpassing Iran, Syria and North Korea. Castellum.AI, which tracks global sanctions, notes that Russia had 2,754 sanctions against it before February 22, a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine as independent and ordered Russian troops to the region. Russia invaded Ukraine two days later. As of Monday, 2,778 more sanctions had been added to Russia because of the invasion. The total of 5,532 sanctions now puts Russia atop the list of sanctioned countries, with Iran following at 3,616, Syria at 2,608 and North Korea at 2,077.
Putin message to Russian women
Russian President Vladimir Putin has directly addressed women linked to the soldiers that have been sent to invade Ukraine, telling them they should be proud of the troops. In a video message released in the early hours of Tuesday morning, Putin singled out the “mothers, wives, sisters, brides and girlfriends of our soldiers and officers”, saying, “I know how worried you are for your loved ones. You can be proud of them, just as the whole country is proud and feels for them,” he said. Putin also stated that conscripts “will not be involved” in combat operations in Ukraine and that reserves would not be mobilised. “The set goals will be achieved only by professional soldiers. I am confident that they will reliably ensure security and peace for the Russian people,” he said.
More US troops will deploy to Europe
The Pentagon has announced Monday another 500 US troops would be deployed to Europe to reinforce NATO’s flank, including, Poland, Romania, Germany and Greece. Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said, “These are purely defensive forces.”
Apocalypse clock 100 seconds from midnight
The Apocalypse Clock remains 100 seconds from midnight, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, who annually keeps track of the dangers of a nuclear holocaust, has announced. The organisation, which has reunited in recent days, had set the risk at 100 seconds from Armageddon as early as January, on the occasion of the annual update of the hazard assessment. “The invasion of Ukraine by Russia and the conquest of the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia mean that humanity has arrived at the closest point ever to nuclear self-destruction,” explained a spokesman. The Doomsday Clock has been offering its ratings for 75 years.