War in Ukraine: new ceasefire and evacuations in Sumy, update on the situation

WAR IN UKRANE – After the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Thursday, February 24, the war will enter its fourteenth day on Wednesday, March 9.

Situation on the ground, aid, sanctions and international responses, consequences… The HuffPost gives the point below about everything it takes to preserve these last hours.

The situation on the ground

The United States, continuing its talks with Poland, believed that Warsaw’s proposal to supply its MIG-29 aircraft to the US military and then hand them over to Ukraine is not “viable”, the spokesman said. from the Pentagon Tuesday.

Poland said on Tuesday it was ready to move “all its MIG-29 aircraft to the Ramstein base (in Germany) without delay and free of charge and make them available to the United States government”.

The first civilians evacuated via humanitarian corridors from the city of Sumy in northern Ukraine have arrived “safely” in the center of the country, the deputy head of the presidential administration announced on Tuesday.

A new ceasefire must come into effect on Wednesday to allow the evacuation of other civilians, the Russian army assured.

This did not stop it, according to Ukrainian emergency services, from bombing the town of Malyn on Tuesday evening, in the Zhytomyr region, west of Kiev, where five people, including two babies born there last year, died after the destruction of seven houses.

The evacuations also continued in the Kiev region, despite fires on humanitarian corridors, according to local government chief Oleksii Kouleba.

In Irpin, AFP saw hundreds of people waiting to cross the river of the same name on foot, on makeshift walkways made of planks, wooden pallets and metal carcasses, in the direction of Kiev, along the only axis not yet occupied by the Russian army. According to the Ukrainian police, about 2,000 residents managed to escape from this place.

However, some 300,000 civilians were stranded in Mariupol, an important strategic port on the Sea of ​​Azov (southeast), according to Kiev, accusing the Russians of not respecting the humanitarian corridor.

International reactions

The United States said on Tuesday it feared Russian forces would “take over” Ukraine’s “biological research structures” and seize sensitive materials.

“Ukraine has biological research facilities and we are actually quite concerned now about the possibility of Russian troops trying to take them over,” US diplomacy number three Victoria Nuland said during a parliamentary hearing.

Remote monitoring systems for nuclear materials at Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear power plant have stopped sending data to the International Atomic Energy Agency (AEIA), it said Tuesday.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 and took control of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, site of the worst nuclear disaster in history in 1986. More than 200 technicians and guards are stranded at the site, working under Russian supervision for 13 days straight .

Rafael Grossi, the head of the IAEA – the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog – “indicated that the remote transfer of data from the safeguards systems installed at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant had been cut off,” the IAEA said in a statement.

“We will fight to the end,” Volodymyr Zelensky told the British Parliament.

The Ukrainian president spoke via video link during an intervention to increase support for his country after the Russian invasion.

In an interview broadcast by US ABC, Volodymyr Zelensky also confirmed that he no longer wanted to push for Ukraine’s membership of NATO, one of the questions that officially motivated the Russian invasion.

He says he is ready for a “compromise” on the status of the separatist areas in eastern Ukraine, whose independence Russian President Vladimir Putin has unilaterally recognized.

Help and Punishments

President Joe Biden announced Tuesday that he had imposed an embargo on US imports of Russian oil and gas.

This decision was made “in close coordination” with US allies, he said.

The United Kingdom will stop importing Russian crude oil and petroleum products by the end of 2022, the government has announced.

Foreign currency sales in Russia will be suspended until September 9, the country’s central bank said in a statement on Wednesday, hit by unprecedented Western sanctions following Russian military intervention in Ukraine.

Effects

The number of refugees fleeing Ukraine since the Russian army’s invasion on Tuesday has surpassed two million, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said.

At least 406 civilians have been killed and 801 injured since the start of the war, according to the UN, stressing that the balance sheets are likely much lower than reality.

The controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany, the target of retaliatory measures taken by Berlin and Washington after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is “dead” and cannot be “revived,” a US official said Tuesday.

German justice has launched an investigation into possible war crimes committed by Russian troops in Ukraine.

Shortly afterwards, Spanish courts announced the opening of an investigation into “serious violations of international humanitarian law” as a result of Russia’s “unjustified act of war” in Ukraine.

McDonald’s and Starbucks have decided to temporarily close their branches in Russia, while French cosmetics group L’Oréal and Swiss watchmaker Swatch Group are closing their stores.

Tens of thousands of users of the Airbnb tourist rental site have booked accommodation in Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion, not to get there, but to help locals.

On March 2 and 3, 61,000 nights were booked in the country, worth a total of nearly $2 million, a company spokesperson told AFP on Tuesday.

The London metal market suspended the listing of nickel, whose price, which had already broken a record Monday, briefly climbed above $100,000 a ton in the morning.

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