War in Ukraine: Kyiv anger at Russian evacuation plan as Zelenskyy slams ‘deliberate murder’

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A man carries a woman as they cross an improvised path while fleeing the town of Irpin, Ukraine, Sunday, March 6, 2022.

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Ukraine has rejected a purported offer by Moscow for humanitarian corridors and local ceasefires, calling the plan “unacceptable” and “immoral” as it involves transporting civilians to Belarus and Russia.

Russian media reports said the evacuation plan would be implemented on Monday to allow civilians to be moved out of Kyiv, Kharkiv, Mariupol and Sumy.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said late on Sunday that Ukraine will not forgive Russia for all the victims and suffering the war it started had caused.

The international nuclear energy agency the IAEA has expressed serious concern over the safety of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants as they fall into Russian hands.

Follow the latest developments in our live blog below:

06:42

Monday’s key points:

    Ukraine has rejected a Russian offer for local ceasefires and humanitarian corridors from four cities, as the plan involves transporting civilians to Belarus and Russia. Two attempts to evacuate civilians in besieged Mariupol failed on Sunday.More shelling was reported early on Monday in Kyiv suburbs and at Mykolaiv, 500km south of the capital.Oil prices have soared to a 13-year high as Washington weighs up a potential ban on Russian oil imports.Polish officials say more than a million people have crossed the border from Ukraine since the Russian invasion began. UN figures on Monday say more than 1.7 million overall have fled abroad.President Zelenskyy has warned that Russia intends to attack Ukraine’s defence enterprises. On Sunday he issued a new appeal for a Western-imposed no-fly zone and warplanes.The IAEA says it is very concerned for the safety of Ukraine’s nuclear power stations, citing communication problems with staff at the Zaporizhzhya plant, shelled by Russian forces last week. The next round of talks between Russia and Ukraine are due to take place on Monday. More tech companies, including TikTok and Netflix, have suspended their services in Russia.Several thousand people were arrested in anti-war protests in Russia on Sunday, while demonstrators marched throughout European cities in protest at Moscow’s invasion of UkraineClick here for a review of Sunday’s developments.

12:31

Mayor of Hostomel ‘killed by Russian army’

The mayor of Hostomel, a town northwest of Kyiv, has been killed by the Russian army, the local authority said on Monday in a Facebook post.
“The mayor of the city of Hostomel, Yuri Illich Prylipko died while distributing bread and medicine to the sick, and comforting the wounded,” the statement said.
“He died for the community, died for Hostomel, died as a hero. Eternal memory and our gratitude.”
The Hostomel district hosts the Antonov military airport, which had been attacked by Russian forces on February 25, the day after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began.12:19

Blinken vows to ‘defend every inch of NATO territory’ at start of Baltics tour

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday assured Lithuania of NATO protection and American support as he began a lightning visit to the three Baltic states that are increasingly on edge as Russia presses ahead with its invasion of Ukraine.

The former Soviet republics of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are all NATO members and Blinken is aiming to reassure them of their security in the event Russia chooses to expand its military operations.

“We are bolstering our shared defense so that we and our allies are prepared,” Blinken said, stressing that the U.S. commitment to NATO’s mutual defense pact is “sacrosanct”.

“We will defend every inch of NATO territory if it comes under attack,” he said. “No one should doubt our readiness, no one should doubt our resolve.”

Memories of Soviet rule are still fresh in the Baltics and since the invasion of Ukraine last month, NATO has moved quickly to boost its troop presence in its eastern flank allies while the U.S. has pledged additional support.

Blinken opened his Baltic tour in Vilnius, where Lithuanian support for Ukraine’s resistance to the Russian invasion is palpable as signs of solidarity with Ukrainians are evident in many businesses and on public buildings and buses.

Blinken arrived in the Baltics late Sunday from non-aligned Moldova, which is also warily watching the war on its doorstep, and Poland, where he visited the Polish-Ukrainian border and met with refugees from Ukraine. (AP)

READ MORE: Blinken pledges US support for Moldova amid Ukraine war

12:10

UN says refugee numbers surge to 1.7 million

The United Nations’ refugee agency says the number of people who have fled the war in Ukraine has increased to more than 1.7 million.

In its latest updated figures, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees on Monday put the number of people who have arrived in other countries since the Russian invasion started on February 24 at some 1,735,000. That’s up from more than 1.53 million on Sunday.

Nearly three-fifths of the total – nearly 1.03 million — arrived in Poland, according to the agency. Over 180,000 went to Hungary and 128,000 to Slovakia.

11:57

Why is Russia’s offer of humanitarian corridors being rejected by Ukraine?

Russia’s purported offer of local ceasefires accompanied by a handful of humanitarian corridors to allow civilians to escape the fighting is not the first of its kind.Previous such measures have fallen apart and Moscow’s armed forces continued to pummel some Ukrainian cities with rockets even after the announcement.The defence ministry in Moscow said safe passages would open for civilians from the capital Kyiv, the southern port city of Mariupol, and the cities of Kharkiv in the east  and Sumy in the north.Some routes, however, would funnel civilians toward Russia or its ally Belarus — unlikely destinations for many Ukrainians. “Providing evacuation routes into the arms of the country that is currently destroying yours is a nonsense,” said UK Europe Minister James Cleverly.The Russian proposal was reminiscent of similar ones in Syria, where in 2016 a joint Russian-Syrian proposed setting up humanitarian corridors out of eastern Aleppo. Human rights activists said the tactic, coupled by brutal sieges, effectively gave residents a choice between fleeing into the arms of their attackers or dying under bombardment.The government in Kyiv has rejected Moscow’s latest proposal as “unacceptable” and “immoral”.The Ukrainian government is proposing eight humanitarian corridors, including from Mariupol, that would allow civilians to travel to the western regions of Ukraine where there is no Russian shelling. (with AP)11:34

UK government has only issued ‘around 50’ visas to Ukrainians

The British government is under the spotlight over its policy towards refugees from Ukraine. Foreign Office minister James Cleverly did not dispute reports in media interviews on Monday that only “around 50” visas had been issued. He admitted that “only small numbers” had come to the UK from Ukraine so far since the Russian invasion began.So far London has only accepted Ukrainians with family connections in the UK. There is confusion over whether a humanitarian route is being planned.In contrast, European Council President Charles Michel says the EU should prepare to take five million people from Ukraine (see post below). 11:27

11:14

France denies asking Putin to open humanitarian corridors to Belarus and Russia

France has denied reports from Moscow that President Macron asked for humanitarian corridors to be opened in Ukraine to take civilians to Belarus and Russia.The Russian army announced on Monday the establishment of local ceasefires to evacuate civilians from Kharkhiv, Kyiv, Mariupol and Sumy, cities plagued by heavy fighting. Russian state media reported that it came at the request of the French president during his phone call with Vladimir Putin on Sunday.Ukraine rejected the Russian proposal on Monday as “not an acceptable option”.The Elysée said on Monday that Paris was demanding, along with Western allies, an end to the Russian offensive, for international law to be rrespected, civilian populations protected, and aid to be delivered.According to an adviser, Macron reminded Putin that Russia was waging war on Ukraine, not the other way round. (with AFP)10:58

Russian gymnast Ivan Kuliak wears symbol backing invasion

CLICK HERE TO READ OUR FULL STORY.10:37

Russia snubs UN court hearings in case brought by Ukraine

Russia has snubbed a hearing at the United Nations’ top court into a legal bid by Kyiv to halt Moscow’s devastating invasion of Ukraine.The court’s president said Russia’s ambassador to the Netherlands told judges that his government did not intend to take part in proceedings, and the hearing went ahead without the Russian delegation.Ukraine is seeking an emergency ruling requiring Russia to stop its invasion, arguing that Moscow’s justification for the attack is based on a faulty interpretation of genocide law.Kyiv argues that Moscow’s claims of genocide by Ukraine in Donetsk and Luhansk that Vladimir Putin used as a pretext for his invasion are fabricated.Ukraine’s nine-page legal filing launching the case argues that “Russia has turned the Genocide Convention on its head” by making a false claim. It adds that “Russia’s lie is all the more offensive, and ironic, because it appears that it is Russia planning acts of genocide in Ukraine.”The request is linked to a case Ukraine has filed based on the Genocide Convention. Both countries have ratified the 1948 treaty, which has a clause allowing nations to take disputes based on its provisions to the Hague-based court.A decision is expected on the request within days, though that does not mean Russia would abide by any order the court might issue. (with AP and Reuters)

Additional sources • Reuters

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