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Russia-Ukraine live news: Talks to resume as offensive escalates | Russia-Ukraine war News

  • A day after Moscow escalated its offensive by shelling areas perilously close to the Polish border, besieged Ukrainians hope renewed diplomatic talks with Russia might open the way for more civilians to evacuate.
  • The ICRC warns residents of Mariupol face a “worst-case scenario” unless Russia and Ukraine reach an agreement to ensure humanitarian access.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warns the Russian attacks could expand to neighbouring countries and urges NATO to impose a no-fly zone.
  • At least one person killed and three others injured when a shell hit a residential building in Kyiv.

 

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Here are the latest updates:

Table of Contents

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 Russian 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

UK’s Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng says Britain 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 (Russian President Vladimir) 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

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 Donbass 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, Kiev 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 frontline where the Ukrainian army is engaged in fierce fighting with the Russians. We tried to advance towards downtown, but it seems that the Russian 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.
Tens of thousands of civilians are stuck in the city [Andriy Dubchak/AP]

The Ukrainian said they managed to fend off the Russian 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 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 injured 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 says 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 Russian President Vladimir 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.