Russia is continuing its invasion of Ukraine, with a third column currently heading towards Kiev. Ukrainian President Zelensky spoke to British MPs asking for more help for his country.
→ READ. War in Ukraine, 14th day: update on the situation
► Sumy civilians arrived safe and sound
The Russian army on Tuesday announced a new truce for the evacuation of civilians in Ukraine from 0700 GMT on Wednesday, after the implementation in the morning of humanitarian corridors. “Russia announces a ceasefire regime from March 9 10:00 a.m. Moscow time and is ready to set up the humanitarian corridors”announced the cell in charge of these questions within the Russian government, quoted by the agency TASS.
The first evacuation corridors for civilians were set up on Tuesday morning, particularly in Sumy in the northeast. The first civilians evacuated from the city have arrived ” safe “ in the center of the country, Tuesday evening. Evacuations also continued in the region of Kiev, the Ukrainian capital. In other towns, such as Boutcha in the north or Mariupol in the south, civilians remained stranded.
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry has accused the Russians of not respecting the humanitarian corridor in Mariupol, a besieged port in southeastern Ukraine. “The enemy launched an attack exactly in the direction of the humanitarian corridor”he denounced, assuring that the Russian army had not “not let children, women and the elderly leave the city”.
► A third Russian column is heading towards Kiev
The Pentagon estimated that “2000 to 4000” Russian soldiers had died in Ukraine. This is the first US estimate. The figures given by the Kiev authorities are much higher but difficult to verify.
In addition to Sumy, where Russian airstrikes killed Monday evening at least 21 people including two children, heavy fighting also took place in the city of Izium (east). Russian forces “created terror in the city, bombing civilian premises and infrastructure”before retreating, according to the Ukrainian army.
→ ANALYSIS. War in Ukraine: the springs of a reception of refugees with variable geometry
Kharkiv, the second city of Ukraine (1.4 million inhabitants), 50 km from the Russian border, was still holding Tuesday March 8 despite an encirclement and intense Russian bombardments, according to Western observers. The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense said that Russian General Vitali Guerassimov had died near this northeastern city, information not confirmed in Moscow and immediately unverifiable from an independent source.
The United States on Tuesday reported a new Russian line advancing towards Kiev from northeast of the Ukrainian capital, as the main column of Moscow forces coming from the north has been at a standstill for several days. “Since they haven’t made the geographical progress that we think they expected to make, they have increased the bombardment of the city with a mixture of missiles, rockets, artillery fire and airstrikes”a US official said, with more and more civilians affected as a result.
He also reported information on “street fighting” inside Kiev, who remain “isolated”. “We believe that a lot of it is reconnaissance,” he concluded.
► Hundreds of dead civilians since the start of the invasion
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in #Ukraine@UNHumanRightsUA recorded 1,335 civilian casualties in the country (474 killed & 861 injured) between 24/02/2022, when #Russia‘s armed attack against Ukraine started, & Monday 07/03/2022.https://t.co/WVe7Y3fmSLpic.twitter.com/R5PrTS5TRZ
— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) March 8, 2022
The UN Human Rights Office said 474 civilians had died since the start of the Russian invasion, in addition to 861 injured. Those numbers stood at 406 and 801 respectively 24 hours ago. The organization’s Twitter account says the actual numbers are likely “much higher”.
The bar of two million people fleeing the fighting in Ukraine to find refuge abroad has been exceeded, according to the latest UN counts. Poland alone hosts more than half of all refugees who have fled since the start of the Russian invasion.
► Volodymyr Zelensky on video in front of British MPs
Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, appeared in Britain’s parliament by video conference in a khaki T-shirt and seated next to a Ukrainian flag, in a historic intervention to drum up more support for his country after the Russian invasion. He was greeted by a standing ovation from British MPs.
US President Joe Biden has announced that the United States is imposing an embargo on Russian oil and gas. Washington had so far wanted to spare its Western allies, while Germany opposed the measure. The United Kingdom has also assured that it will stop imports of Russian oil by the end of 2022.
→ EXPLANATION. Ukraine: even without a declaration of war, the Geneva Convention must apply
The American fast-food chain McDonald’s announced on Tuesday that it had decided to temporarily close its 850 restaurants in Russia and to suspend all its operations in the country, thus following in the footsteps of many multinationals which have decided to distance themselves from Moscow. Starbucks also announced that its 130 cafes will temporarily close.