the highlights of Wednesday 9 March

On the fourteenth day of the invasion of Ukraine, Wednesday, March 9, Russian troops surrounded at least four cities: Kharkiv (second largest city in Ukraine), Sumy (northeast), Chernihiv (north of Kiev) and Kiev, the capital, still under Ukrainian control, preparing for an imminent attack.

Russia and Ukraine have agreed on a ceasefire to allow the creation of several humanitarian corridors around areas heavily affected by fighting in recent days.

A bombed children’s hospital in Mariupol

A children’s hospital in Mariupol, a besieged port in southeastern Ukraine, was destroyed by Russian shelling on Wednesday, regional official Pavlo Kirilenko said. According to an initial preliminary report, 17 adults were injured “among the hospital staff”he announced on Ukrainian television, specifying that there are currently “no child” among the injured and “no deaths”.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky quickly responded on Twitter, writing that: “people, children are under the rubble” “Cruelty! (…) Stop these murders”he wrote again. In a video on his Twitter account, we see buildings blown up from the inside, rubble, sheets of paper and shards of glass lying on the ground.

The international community reacted quickly and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson repelled an attack “immoral”reminds the UN that there is no health facility “must not be a target”

Some 300,000 civilians have been trapped for days by fighting in the strategic port of Mariupol, in the southeast of the country, on the Sea of ​​Azov, deprived of water, food and electricity and where humanitarian aid has been unable to take place.

Chernobyl power plant cut off from electricity grid

After the Zaporijia nuclear power plant, it is now Chernobyl’s turn to focus concerns in Ukraine. The plant, the cause of the worst civil nuclear disaster in 1986, “has been completely disconnected from the electricity grid due to military action by the Russian occupier. There is no longer any power supply on the site”, said Ukrainian operator Ukrenergo. Located in an exclusion zone, the Chernobyl site includes decommissioned reactors and radioactive waste facilities.

Given the time that has passed since the accident in 1986, “the thermal load of the pool and the volume of the cooling water are sufficient to ensure efficient heat dissipation without electricity”, estimated the IAEA, which “does not see a major impact on safety”she added.

A power outage “would cause more problems” in the four power plants operating in the country, “where it is absolutely necessary to cool the fuel present in the reactor core or in the pool”, says the head of the IRSN. Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi has called for the utmost restraint. He has repeatedly offered to visit Ukraine to set up a framework to ensure site security during the conflict, the first to take place in a country with a major nuclear program.

Negotiations progress

Russians and Ukrainians agreed on Wednesday to respect ceasefires around a series of humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians, the Ukrainian government said.

Russia has found “some progress” in negotiations with Ukraine, a government spokeswoman said. Russia’s Goals “does not include the occupation of Ukraine, the destruction of its state or the overthrow of the current government”she said, reaffirming that she was not targeting the civilian population.

Turkey will host Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers on Thursday for their first face-to-face meeting since the start of the Russian offensive in Ukraine. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has stepped up mediation efforts since the start of the crisis, argued on Wednesday that: Turkey can talk to both Ukraine and Russia “We are working to prevent the crisis from turning into a tragedy”he stood on it.