Ukraine war: Thousands evacuated from Sumy arrive safely as Russia offers new ceasefire

Ukrainians cross an improvised path under a destroyed bridge while fleeing Irpin, in the outskirts of Kyiv
Ukrainians cross an improvised path under a destroyed bridge while fleeing Irpin, in the outskirts of Kyiv Copyright AP Photo/Felipe Dana
By Alasdair SandfordEuronews with AP, AFP
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Thousands have been safely evacuated from Sumy under new ceasefire arrangements, but Ukraine claims Russia has attacked the planned evacuation route from Mariupol.


This was Tuesday's live blog. For the latest updates on Wednesday click here.

Thousands evacuated from the northeastern town of Sumy have arrived to safety under new ceasefire arrangements, allowing for the evacuation of besieged areas.

However, Ukraine has accused Russia of violating the plan near Mariupol by shelling the planned route.

The Russian army has offered a new ceasefire on Wednesday morning to allow for further evacuations along the "humanitarian corridors".

Meanwhile, the UN says two million refugees have now fled Ukraine since Russia's invasion.

Follow our live updates below for the latest on the Ukraine war:

Tuesday's key points:
  • Moscow's second ceasefire and 'humanitarian corridor' offer in two days — to evacuate civilians from Mariupol, Kyiv, Sumy, Irpin and Chernigov — involves transporting civilians to a choice of destinations: Belarus or Russia, but also to places in Ukraine. 
  • Ukraine has accused Russia of shelling the planned evacuation route near Mariupol, in violation of the ceasefire.
  • NATO's chief says there are 'credible reports' of Russian forces targeting civilians.
  • Latest UN figures say the number of Ukrainian refugees to have fled abroad has now topped two million.
  • Unconfirmed claims by Ukraine say they have killed Major General Vitaly Gerasimov, first deputy commander of Russia's 41st army, near Kharkiv. 
  • Brussels was due to unveil new plans to ditch Russian fossil fuels to achieve greater energy independence following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.
  • President Zelenskyy addressed the House of Commons, saying Ukraine "shall go on to the end" in an echo of the famous 1940 speech by Winston Churchill.
  • For a summary of Monday's developments click here.

Russia enacts six-month ban on foreign currency sales to citizens

The sale of foreign currency will be suspended in Russia until September 9, the country's central bank said in a statement on Wednesday. The country has been hit by unprecedented Western sanctions over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Between March 9 and September 9, "banks will not be able to sell foreign currency to citizens," the statement said, noting that Russians will be able to exchange foreign currency for rubles during this period.


First civilians evacuated through 'humanitarian corridor' arrived safely

The first civilians evacuated via humanitarian corridors from Sumy, 350km northeast of Kyiv, arrived "safely" to the country's central regions, Ukraine's deputy head of the president's cabinet announced Tuesday.

"Good news, civilians have been evacuated from Sumy. The first convoy of 22 buses has already arrived in Poltava" in southeast Kyiv, Kyrylo Tymoshenko announced on Telegram.

"1,100 foreign students will continue to be evacuated by train to Lviv. Now everyone is safe, has received food," he continued.

The second column of 39 buses of civilians is on its way and is "already in the Poltava region", he said.

"I am happy that the work of the evacuation team at this stage has been very successful. Thank you to the people of Sumy for bravely fighting the enemy for 13 days," he concluded.

At least 21 people, including two children, were killed Monday night in Russian airstrikes on a residential area of Sumy.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said that Ukraine would not accept Moscow's offer to establish safe corridors for civilians to head toward Russia. It will only agree to safe exits leading westward.

Vereshchuk said that the evacuation from the southern port of Mariupol failed Tuesday because the Russian troops fired on a Ukrainian convoy carrying humanitarian cargo to Mariupol that was to carry civilians from the city on its way back.

She said the city was in a "catastrophic situation" cut from water, power and communications, adding that a child in Mariupol has died of dehydration.

The Russian military has denied firing on convoys and charged that the Ukrainian side was blocking the evacuation effort.


Poland to give its MiGs to Ukraine in exchange for US F-16s

Poland said it would give all of its MiG-29 fighter jets to the US, apparently agreeing to an arrangement that would allow them to be used by Ukraine’s military. Ukraine has pleaded for more warplanes.
The decision came on Tuesday as Washington was looking at a proposal under which Poland would supply Ukraine with Soviet-era fighters and in turn receive American F-16s to make up for their loss. Ukrainian pilots are trained to fly Soviet-era fighter jets.
The Polish Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Poland is ready to deliver the jets to the US Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
“At the same time, Poland requests the United States to provide us with used aircraft with corresponding operational capabilities,” it said.

New ceasefire offered for Wednesday morning, Russian army says

The Russian army announced a new ceasefire for the evacuation of civilians in Ukraine from 7 am on Wednesday, domestic media reported.

"Russia announces a ceasefire regime from 10 am Moscow time on 9 March and is ready to implement humanitarian corridors," the Russian government's unit in charge of these issues was quoted as saying by the TASS agency.

The ceasefire along the humanitarian corridors did not go according to plan on Tuesday, as Ukraine accused Russia of violating the ceasefire near Mariupol by shelling the agreed route.

Ukrainian officials said that Russian shelling again made it impossible for civilians to use the corridors despite a deal reached a day earlier.

The Russian military has countered the claim, alleging that Ukraine only has allowed civilians to use one corridor from the city of Sumy and blocked other routes from Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Mariupol.


Israel to take in tens of thousands of additional refugees from Ukraine

Israel said Tuesday it would provide temporary refuge to some 25,000 Ukrainians outside of its Law of Return, under which all Jews are eligible for citizenship.

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked said in a statement that 20,000 Ukrainians who were in Israel without legal status before the outbreak of fighting will be shielded from repatriation “until the danger subsides.”

Another 5,000 Ukrainians will initially be granted three-month visas and will be allowed to work if the fighting continues beyond then. Ukrainians can apply for the program online through the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s website.

Israel expects to absorb around 100,000 Ukrainians through its Law of Return, under which Jews from anywhere in the world can come to Israel and get citizenship, Shaked said.


McDonald's closes all restaurants in Russia

McDonald’s said Tuesday it is temporarily closing all of its 850 restaurants in Russia in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
The burger giant said it will continue paying its 62,000 employees in Russia. But in an open letter to employees, McDonald’s President and CEO Chris Kempckinski said closing those stores is the right thing to do because McDonald’s can’t ignore the “needless human suffering in Ukraine”.
McDonald’s owns 84% of its Russian restaurants. In a recent financial filing, the company said Russia and Ukraine contributed 9% of the company’s revenue last year.
Coca-Cola and Starbucks also suspended their operations in Russia by Tuesday night.
Read the full story here: ⬇️

'The right thing to do': McDonald's closes all restaurants in Russia

euronews“Our values mean we cannot ignore the needless human suffering unfolding in Ukraine,” the company's president and CEO said.

'We shall go on to the end', Zelenskyy tells British MPs

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed British MPs in what has been deemed an "important opportunity" by the House of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle.

"We shall go on to the end", Zelenskyy said, invoking a famous speech by UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the same spot on 4 June 1940, as World War II raged across the continent.

The MPs responded with a standing ovation. 

Read the full story here: ⬇️

'We shall go on to the end', Ukraine's Zelenskyy tells British MPs

euronewsZelenskyy repeated his demands for a no-fly zone above Ukraine -- a proposition rejected by Western leaders due to fears it might provoke a world war.


US president announces Russian fossil fuel import ban

President Joe Biden ordered an embargo on US imports of Russian oil and gas on Tuesday, a further tightening of sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine meant to "deal another powerful blow to Putin".

The embargo on energy imports was decided "in close coordination" with allies, Biden stated.



CERN suspends Russia's status 'until further notice'

The international scientific laboratory that is home to the world’s largest particle collider says it is suspending Russia’s observer status and halting any new collaboration with Russia or its institutions “until further notice”.

The European Organisation for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, said its 23 member states — all European, plus Israel — condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine is one of seven associate member states, and Russia, like the EU, Japan and the US, has had observer status.

The CERN council made the decisions about Russia at a special meeting on Tuesday and expressed its support “to the many members of CERN’s Russian scientific community who reject this invasion”.

CERN is home to the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest particle accelerator.

Read the full story here: ⬇️

CERN suspends Russia's observer status following Ukraine invasion

euronewsThe decision is the latest fallout in the international scientific community following Russia's invasion of Ukraine at the end of February.

Additional sources • Reuters

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