Russia announces limited ceasefire; more talks planned

  • Delegations from Ukraine and Russia are set to hold a third round of talks at 14:00 GMT.
  • Moscow has announced a temporary ceasefire and a plan to evacuate Ukrainians from several cities, mainly to Russia and Belarus.
  • Kyiv has rejected the proposal as “immoral”.
  • Previous ceasefire attempts in the southeastern port city of Mariupol collapsed over the weekend.
  • Russia’s top diplomat will reportedly meet with his Ukrainian counterpart on Thursday in Turkey.
  • The UN has warned that Russia’s invasion has triggered the fasting-growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.

Here are all the latest updates:

WHO confirms additional attacks on healthcare infrastructure

There have been at least seven attacks on Ukraine’s healthcare infrastructure since the beginning of Russia’s offensive, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

“As of 7 March, nine verified incidents of attacks on health care in Ukraine have been published on the Surveillance System of Attacks on Healthcare (SSA), seven with “Confirmed” certainty level, and two with “Possible” certainty level,” a WHO official told the Reuters news agency in an email, referring to the organisation’s database.

The number of verified attacks was up from four the previous day.

The official gave no information on the perpetrators of the incidents since the WHO surveillance system has no mandate to collect information on them.

Russia will stop offensive ‘in a moment’ if Ukraine meets demands, Kremlin says

Russia has told Ukraine it is ready to halt its offensive “in a moment” if Kyiv meets a list of conditions, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said.

Peskov told the Reuters news agency that Moscow was demanding that Ukraine cease military action and change its constitution to enshrine neutrality.

The Kremlin also wants Kyiv to acknowledge the annexed Crimean Peninsula as Russian territory and recognise the self-proclaimed separatist republics of Donetsk and Luhuansk in Ukraine’s east as independent states, he added.

Peskov told Reuters all the demands had been formulated and announced during the first two rounds of talks between Russian and Ukrainian delegations, which took place last week.

EU to discuss Ukraine’s membership bid this week

European Union leaders will discuss Ukraine’s application to join the 27-nation bloc in the coming days, EU Council President Charles Michel has said.

“The EU’s solidarity, friendship and unprecedented assistance for Ukraine are unwavering. We will discuss Ukraine’s membership application in coming days,” Michel tweeted.

EU leaders are scheduled to discuss the war in Ukraine and the country’s bid to join the bloc at an informal summit in Paris on Thursday.

Hundreds of Ukrainian communities without electricity or water supply, official says

Attacks by Russian forces have left more than 900 communities in Ukraine without any supplies of electricity, water and heating, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak has said.

“Barbarians of the XXI century. Russia damaged/destroyed 202 schools, 34 hospitals, 1500+ residential buildings,” Podolyak tweeted.

His remarks came as Ukraine’s energy ministry said 646,000 people across the country had no access to electricity, and that 130,000 were currently without gas.

Russia sustaining ‘huge losses’: Analyst

The military situation in Ukraine did not change radically over the weekend, according to Nikolay Mitrokhin, a Russia expert and researcher at Germany’s Bremen University.

Mitrokhin told Al Jazeera there had been limited Russian attacks near the key southeastern port city of Mariupol and in the eastern region of Luhansk and Ukrainian counterattacks near the northeastern city of Kharkiv.

“There is a general feeling that after 12 days of fighting both sides exhausted their resources,” he said.

Some of Russia’s vehicles – including tanks and armoured personnel carriers – have become stuck in heavy mud or have run out of fuel, Mitrokhin added.

Amid the issues, Moscow is now concentrating more forces on the Ukrainian border ready for a second offensive, he said. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s military equipment is scattered nationwide, Mitrokhin added.

But while Ukraine has tens of thousands of battle-tested servicemen and volunteers to call on, Russia “faces a crisis with decent infantry,” he said.

“There aren’t many cadres with combat experience,” Mitrokhin added, noting that Moscow was sustaining “huge losses”.

Reporting by Mansur Mirovalev in Kyiv.

A column of Russian military vehicles is seen abandoned in the snow, in a forest not far from Kharkiv
A column of Russian military vehicles is seen abandoned in the snow, in a forest not far from Kharkiv [Sergey Bobok/AFP]

Ukraine to hold next bond auction on Tuesday

Ukraine will on Tuesday hold the next auction of local one-year bonds to raise money for its fight against invading Russian forces, the country’s finance ministry has announced.

After Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, the Ukrainian government said it hoped to raise about $1.36bn through new bond issues. It raised 8.1 billion hryvnias ($273m) in its first such auction last week.

Russian defence official accuses Ukraine of thwarting humanitarian corridors

A senior official in Russia’s defence ministry has accused Kyiv of not complying with agreements to create humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians, according to a report by the country’s Interfax news agency.

“As of 1:00 pm, the Ukrainian side did not fulfill any conditions for the creation of humanitarian corridors,” Mikhail Mizintsev, the head of Russia’s national defence control centre, was quoted by Interfax as saying.

It was not immediately clear if Mizintsev meant 1pm Moscow time (10:00 GMT) or 1pm Kyiv time (11:00 GMT).

Ukrainian forces have retaken Mykolayiv regional airport, local official says

Ukrainian forces have recaptured the regional airport in Mykolayiv, southern Ukraine, from Russian troops, according to the region’s governor.

“The roads are open, we control the bridges, you can safely leave Mykolayiv [city] and other towns,” Vitaliy Kim said in a televised statement.

Ukraine says Black Sea port of Olvia hit by ‘strike’

Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry says the country’s Black Sea port of Olvia, which is under concession to Qatari sea port operator QTerminals, has been hit by a military “strike”.

Nobody was wounded, the ministry said without providing further details.

QTerminals, a joint venture between state-owned Qatar Ports Management (Mwani Qatar) and shipping and logistics group Qatar Navigation (Milaha), won the 35-year concession in 2020 to develop and operate the port.

Russia’s foreign minister to meet Ukrainian counterpart: Reports

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba plan to meet on Thursday on the sidelines of a diplomatic forum in the Turkish resort of Antalya, according to reports by Russian news agencies and Turkey’s top diplomat.

Mevlut Cavusoglu told Turkish media the pair had agreed to meet and said he would also attend the discussions.

Ankara, which has close ties with both Moscow and Kyiv, has repeatedly tried to position itself as a mediator between the two sides.

Kyiv is yet to confirm if Kuleba will meet with Lavrov as reported.

Third round of Ukraine-Russia talks to be held soon

A third round of talks between delegations from Ukraine and Russia will start at 4pm Kyiv time (14:00 GMT), Podolyak, one of Kyiv’s negotiators, has said.

The two sides agreed a tentative plan to create humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians during the second round of talks, held last Thursday.

Thousands of civilians evacuated from Irpin, Ukrainian police say

About 2,000 civilians have been evacuated from the town of Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, according to a statement by local police.

The statement did not make clear over what period the evacuations had taken place.

(Reporting by Natalia Zinets, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

Blinken says US has ‘sacrosanct’ commitment to NATO’s Article 5

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has reasserted Washington’s commitment to NATO’s Article 5 – the alliance’s principle of collective defence – at the start of a whistlestop diplomatic tour of the three Baltic states.

“The United States commitment to Article 5 … is sacrosanct,” Blinken told reporters in Lithuania.

The clause means any attack against one country in the 30-member state alliance is considered as an attack against all of its signatories, effectively committing them to protect one another.

Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia – all NATO members – are increasingly on edge as Russia presses ahead with its invasion of Ukraine.

INTERACTIVE- NATO members in Europe expand eastwards

Is Putin likely to face the ICC over Russia’s actions in Ukraine?

The International Criminal Court is investigating Russian President Vladimir Putin over possible war crimes in Ukraine.

But what is the actual likelihood of him ending up before the court?

Read Al Jazeera’s analysis here.

The war that opened Europe’s borders

In this episode, Al Jazeera’s The Take podcast looks at Europe’s response to the spiralling humanitarian crisis unleashed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Paris denies asking Putin for evacuation routes to Belarus, Russia

Emmanuel Macron did not ask Putin to open humanitarian corridors from Ukrainian cities to Russia and Belarus, the French President’s office has said in a rebuttal of claims made by the Kremlin.

Moscow announced the proposed escape routes from Kharkiv, Kyiv, Mariupol and Sumy after Putin and Macron spoke by telephone on Sunday. It said the move was taken in response to a “personal request” by the French leader.

But the Elysee Palace told the AFP news agency that no such request was made.

Macron instead insisted on “the respect of international humanitarian law, the protection of civilian populations and the supply of aid,” a French presidency official, who asked not to be named, said.

Indian PM urges Putin to hold direct talks with Zelenskyy: Report

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged Putin to hold direct talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy, according to an Indian government source quoted by Reuters.

Modi and Putin spoke by phone on Monday, according to the source.

“Prime Minister Modi urged President Putin to hold direct talks with President Zelenskyy of Ukraine, in addition to the ongoing negotiations between their teams,” the source said.

Zelenskyy asks allies for military aircraft, boycott of Russian oil

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has asked Kyiv’s allies to provide Ukraine with military aircraft and to boycott Russian oil as well as other exports.

“If the invasion [of Ukraine] continues and Russia has not abandoned its plans against Ukraine, then a new sanctions package is needed … for the sake of peace,” Zelenskyy said in a video address.

Humanitarian corridors are still not open, Ukrainian official says

Russia’s proposed humanitarian corridors are still not up and running, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister has said.

Iryna Vereshchuk said there were nearly 300,000 civilians requiring evacuation from the key southeastern port city of Mariupol, which is under assault from Moscow’s forces.

Russia’s defence ministry had earlier said the routes would be opened in tandem with a ceasefire that would take effect from 07:00 GMT.

A couple is seen embracing as people fleeing Russia's invasion board a train in Odesa
Russian forces multipronged attack on Ukraine has sparked a mass exodus from the country [Alexandros Avramidis/Reuters]

Where do Russia’s proposed humanitarian corridors lead?

Moscow’s suggested exit routes largely lead to Russia and Belarus. The details, according to Russia’s defence ministry, are as follows:

  • There is one exit route from the capital, Kyiv, which leads to Gomel, in southeastern Belarus.
  • There is one exit route from Kharkiv, in northeastern Ukraine, which leads to Belgorod, in southeast Russia.
  • There are two exit routes from Sumy, also in northeastern Ukraine. One leads to Poltava, in Ukraine. The other leads to Belgorod.
  • There are two exit routes from Mariupol, in Ukraine’s southeast. One leads to Rostov-on Don, in Russia. The other leads to Zaporizhzhia, in Ukraine.

Russia shuns Ukraine war hearing at UN court

Moscow has declined to send a delegation to the UN’s top court for a hearing into Ukraine’s request for its judges to order Russia to halt its invasion.

“The court regrets the non-appearance of the Russian Federation in these oral proceedings,” International Court of Justice (ICJ) President Joan Donoghue said at the start of proceedings.

The Russian ambassador to the Netherlands, Alexander Shulgin, wrote to the court and “indicated that his government did not intend to participate,” she said.

Ukraine has asked the ICJ, based in The Hague, to order Russia to “immediately suspend the military operations” Moscow launched on February 24.

Russian police detained 5,000 people at anti-war protests, monitor says

Protest monitoring group OVD-Info says Russian police detained 5,020 people on Sunday for taking part in anti-war demonstrations held in dozens of cities throughout the country.

The rallies marked the latest in a string of anti-war demonstrations in Russia since Moscow launched its offensive. More than 13,300 people have been arrested for taking part in the protests, according to protest monitoring group OVD-Info.

Russia says six humanitarian corridors to be opened in Ukraine

Russia has said that six humanitarian corridors will be opened around Ukrainian cities to allow civilians to escape.

“Detailed information about the humanitarian corridors was given to the Ukrainian side in advance,” Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.

Kyiv accuses Moscow of manipulation over humanitarian corridors

Ukraine’s deputy prime minister has accused Moscow of trying to manipulate French President Emmanuel Macron and other Western leaders by demanding that any humanitarian corridors in Ukraine exit through Russia or Belarus.

Vereshchuk said Kyiv was calling on Russia to agree to a ceasefire to allow Ukrainians to evacuate towards the western Ukrainian city of Lviv instead.

Ukraine received Russia’s proposal concerning humanitarian corridors early on Monday morning after Macron held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Vereshchuk told a televised briefing.

Humanitarian corridors unlikely while Russia keeps attacking, Kyiv says

Kyiv has said that negotiations are taking place with Russia on establishing humanitarian corridors but warned that such escape routes are unlikely to be set up while Moscow’s forces press ahead with their offensive.

Oleksiy Arestovich, an adviser to Zelenskyy’s chief of staff, said each Ukrainian should be allowed to decide where they want to go but advised against evacuating to Russia.

A man and a child are seen escaping from the town of Irpin
Moscow claims it is only targeting military infrastructure, but Kyiv says Russian attacks have targeted civilian areas in several cities nationwide [Carlos Barria/Reuters]

China says friendship with Russia is ‘rock solid’

China’s friendship with Russia is “rock solid” and the prospects for cooperation between Moscow and Beijing are very broad, the country’s foreign minister has said.

Wang Yi’s remarks, delivered at a news conference on the sidelines of China’s annual meeting of parliament, come after Beijing signalled last week that it was ready to play a role in brokering a ceasefire.

Until now, China’s government has attempted to strike a delicate balancing act over Moscow’s incursion. It has refrained from calling Russia’s attack an “invasion” and neither openly denounced nor supported the move.

Evacuation routes ‘point in the direction of Belarus, Russia’: AJE correspondent

Al Jazeera’s Jonah Hull, reporting from the city of Lviv, in western Ukraine, says there is “no independent verification whatsoever” that Russia is in fact observing a ceasefire to allow for civilian evacuations.

“Significant points of caution need to be applied to what is going on here, on the one hand, because there is no Ukrainian confirmation that it is in any way involved in these corridors,” Hull said.

“The previous two attempts [at evacuation] out of Mariupol were the result of joint agreement between the two sides that came out of ceasefire talks. This looks much more like a unilateral Russian act and indeed a Ukrainian presidential spokesperson has called these actions immoral,” he added.

“Because, and this is the second point of caution, the routes of evacuation being laid out by the Russian ministry of defence point in the direction of Belarus and Russia.

“Which raises the very obvious question just how many Ukrainians under Russian bombardment, knowing that, would actually make use of them.”

Ukraine says Russia’s stance on humanitarian corridors ‘completely immoral’

Ukraine has slammed as “completely immoral” Russia’s stance on humanitarian corridors after Moscow suggested it would allow people to flee Ukrainian cities provided they exited to Belarus or Russia.

A spokesman for Zelenskyy said Ukrainian citizens should be allowed to leave their homes through Ukrainian territory and accused Russia of deliberately hampering previous evacuation attempts.

“This is a completely immoral story. People’s suffering is used to create the desired television picture,” the spokesman said in a written message. “These are citizens of Ukraine, they should have the right to evacuate to the territory of Ukraine.”

French minister: Room for further sanctions against Russia

France and Europe still have margin for manoeuvre to implement further sanctions against Russia for invading Ukraine, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has said.

“Yes, there are margins for manoeuvre. All options are on the table,” Le Maire told BFMTV and RMC Radio.

The 27-nation European Union has imposed three packages of sanctions on Moscow over its aggression on Ukraine, including freezing Russian central bank assets and disconnecting seven Russian banks from the SWIFT financial messaging system.

China Red Cross to provide humanitarian aid to Ukraine

The Red Cross Society of China will provide humanitarian aid to Ukraine, the country’s foreign minister has said.

Wang’s confirmation of the move to supply aid came as he reiterated a call for talks between Moscow and Kyiv to continue.

One million Ukrainians flee to Poland

More than one million Ukrainians have fled to Poland since the start of the Russian invasion, including 142,300 on Sunday, the Polish Border Guard has said.

“Traffic on the Polish-Ukrainian border is growing, today at 07.00 [am] 42,000 people arrived in Poland from Ukraine,” the agency tweeted.

Russia likely seeking to reduce Ukraine’s access to news: UK intelligence

Russia is probably targeting Ukraine’s communication infrastructure to reduce access to reliable news sources, the United Kingdom’s defence ministry has said.

“Ukrainian internet access is also highly likely being disrupted as a result of collateral damage from Russian strikes on infrastructure,” the ministry said in its latest daily intelligence update.

UK may ease immigration rules for Ukrainian refugees

The UK’s Home Secretary, Priti Patel, wants to set up a new scheme to allow more refugees fleeing conflict in Ukraine to enter the country, according to a report by The Sun newspaper.

The UK has already announced visa schemes for those who have family in the country or a willing sponsor, but the government has been criticised by opposition lawmakers for not doing enough to help compared with its European neighbours.

“I’m urgently escalating our response to the growing humanitarian crisis,” Patel told The Sun, citing her own experience visiting the Polish border last week.

“I am now investigating the legal options to create a humanitarian route. This means anyone without ties to the UK fleeing the conflict in Ukraine will have a right to come to this nation.”

Japan in talks with US, Europe over banning Russian oil imports

Japan, which counts Russia as its fifth-biggest supplier of crude oil, is in discussions with the United States and European countries about possibly banning Russian oil imports, Kyodo News has reported.

The report comes after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday the US and European allies were exploring the possibility.

Asked about a potential embargo on Russian oil imports, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno declined to comment on the country’s communication with the US. Russia accounted for 3.63 percent of Japan’s imports of crude oil last year.

While sanctions imposed on Russia are not expected to directly affect Japan’s ability to ensure a stable supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG), they could indirectly affect energy-related projects, Industry Minister Koichi Hagiuda said.

Russia says it will open humanitarian corridors

Russia’s defence ministry has said it will enforce a ceasefire and open humanitarian corridors allowing civilians to leave several Ukrainian cities, including the capital, Kyiv, from 10am Moscow time (07:00 GMT), according to reports by Russian news agencies.

Exit routes will also be established from the cities of Kharkiv, Mariupol and Sumy, the ministry said.

Australian missiles ‘on the ground’ in Ukraine: Morrison

After Australia last week promised Ukraine $50m in missiles, ammunition and other military hardware to fight Russian invaders, Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday said: “Our missiles are on the ground now.”

He also described Russia and China’s closer relationship as opportunistic rather than strategic, labelling the alliance as an “arc of autocracy”. He said Russia and China would prefer a new world order to the one that has been in place since World War II.

Morrison criticised Beijing’s failure to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s expansion of trade in Russian wheat while other countries are imposing sanctions.

S Korea to cut transactions with Russia’s central bank

South Korea has decided to sever transactions with Russia’s central bank, its foreign ministry says, in another move joining Western countries’ efforts to ratchet up sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

Russia calls its actions in the neighbouring country a “special operation”.

Ukraine, Russia prepare for third round of peace talks

After nearly two weeks of war, Ukraine and Russia are expected to meet for the third round of negotiations, which both sides said could take place on Monday. The location and exact time for the talks were unclear.

The two delegations last met in the Brest region in western Belarus for two rounds of peace talks and agreed to have humanitarian corridors in place in the embattled cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha to facilitate the evacuation of civilians.

Damaged building in Kharkiv
A man walks in front of a building damaged by shelling by Russian forces in Kharkiv [Oleksandr Lapshyn/Reuters]

However, the attempt to evacuate Mariupol failed on Sunday, according to the Kremlin and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Russia and Ukraine blamed each other for failing to adhere to the agreed ceasefire.

Russia has sought to cut off Ukraine’s access to the Sea of Azov in the south. Capturing Mariupol could allow Russia to establish a land corridor to Crimea, which it annexed in 2014.

Gold rises above $2,000 on soaring Ukraine fears

Gold has risen to more than $2,000 in Asian trade as investors flee to the safe-haven commodity over fears about the effect of the Ukraine war on the global economy.

The precious metal hit a peak of $2,000.86 an ounce, its highest level since September 2020.

Traders have been sent running to safety as Russia continues with its invasion of Ukraine, which has battered equity markets and sent oil prices to a 14-year high, adding further upward pressure to already high inflation.

US Congress to ‘explore’ Russian oil ban: Pelosi

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the chamber is “exploring” legislation to ban the import of Russian oil and that Congress intends to enact this week $10bn in aid for Ukraine in response to Russia’s military invasion of its neighbour.

“The House is currently exploring strong legislation that will further isolate Russia from the global economy,” Pelosi said in a letter.

“Our bill would ban the import of Russian oil and energy products into the United States, repeal normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus, and take the first step to deny Russia access to the World Trade Organisation.”

Russian invasion displaces Ukrainians who fled Donbas conflict

Sasha and Nastia slowly inhale the smoke from their cigarettes. Their paths have never crossed before, but they exchange knowing glances in wordless understanding when they realise they are both from Ukraine’s Donbas region.

The women, who only gave their first names, are standing in front of the main train station in Przemysl, a Polish border city, where hundreds of refugees arrive daily on trains from the Ukrainian city of Lviv.

Both had fled Ukraine following the Russian invasion of February 24. But there is more that they have in common.

Read more here.

Two big-name accounting firms to leave Russia

Two of the so-called Big Four accounting firms – KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers – are pulling out of Russia over its war in Ukraine.

Both firms said they would end their relationships with their Russia-based member firms. KPMG said it was also pulling out of Belarus.

KPMG International said in a statement it would be “incredibly difficult” to have its Russia and Belarus firms leave the network. KPMG has more than 4,500 employees in the two countries.

PricewaterhouseCoopers said it has 3,700 employees at its PwC Russia firm and is working on an “orderly transition” for the business.

Ukraine official: Russia steps up nighttime shelling of cities

Russian forces have stepped up their shelling of Ukrainian cities in the centre, north and south of the country, Ukraine Presidential Adviser Oleksiy Arestovich says.

“The latest wave of missile strikes came as darkness fell,” he said on Ukrainian television.

He said the areas that came under heavy shelling include the outskirts of Kyiv, Chernihiv in the north, Mykolaiv in the south, and Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city.

A man opens his arms as he stands near a house destroyed by Russian artillery shelling in Ukraine.
A man stands near a house destroyed in Russian artillery shelling in Horenka village near Kyiv, Ukraine [Efrem Lukatsky/AP Photo]

Arestovich described a “catastrophic” situation in the Kyiv suburbs of Bucha, Hostomel and Irpin, where efforts to evacuate residents failed. Evacuations also failed in Mariupol in the south and Volnovakha in the east because of the shelling.

Zelenskyy says Russia sanctions not sufficient

Zelenskyy has appealed to the West to strengthen sanctions on Russia.

In a video statement, the Ukrainian president criticised Western leaders for not responding to the Russian defence ministry’s earlier announcement that it would attack Ukraine’s military-industrial complex.

“I didn’t hear even a single world leader react to this,” Zelenskyy said. “The audacity of the aggressor is a clear signal to the West that the sanctions imposed on Russia are not sufficient.”

Zelenskyy also called for organising a “tribunal” to bring to justice those who order and carry out such crimes. “Think about the sense of impunity of the occupiers that they can announce such planned atrocities,” he said.

The Russian defence ministry had said its forces intend to attack Ukraine’s military-industrial complex with what it said were “precision” weapons and urged staff to leave, in a statement carried by the Russian state news agency Tass.

Volodymyr Zelensky delivering an address, standing behind a lectern
Zelenskyy criticised Western leaders for not responding to the Russian Defence Ministry’s earlier announcement that it would attack Ukraine’s military-industrial complex [Ukraine presidency via AFP]

US does not believe Russian assault on Odesa is imminent: Official

The US does not believe a Russian amphibious assault in or near the Ukrainian city of Odesa is imminent, a senior US defence official has said, amid growing concern about a potential attack on the city.

The official, who spoke to the Reuters news agency on condition of anonymity, estimated Russia had launched about 600 missiles since the start of its invasion and deployed into Ukraine about 95 percent of combat forces it had pre-staged outside of the country.

Russian forces continued to try to advance and isolate Kyiv, Kharkiv and Chernihiv and are meeting “strong Ukrainian resistance,” the official said.

Netflix halts service in Russia

Streaming giant Netflix has suspended its service in Russia.

A statement from the company cited “circumstances on the ground” for its decision to suspend its Russian service but did not offer any additional details.

The US-based platform had already halted its acquisitions in Russia, as well as its production of original programmes.

Earlier, social media giant TikTok announced it was suspending the posting of all video content from Russia in order to keep its employees safe and comply with new regulations in the country.

Moscow on Friday signed into law a bill introducing jail terms of up to 15 years for what is deemed “fake news” about the Russian army.

Bolshoi conductor quits after pressure

Tugan Sokhiev, the music director and principal conductor at Moscow’s prestigious Bolshoi Theatre, has announced his resignation, saying he came under pressure to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Russian said in a statement that he was resigning “with immediate effect” from his post at the Moscow theatre as well as his equivalent position at France’s Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse.

Read the full story here.

Russian conductor Tugan Sokhiev rehearses with the Orchestre National du Capitole of Toulouse
Tugan Sokhiev announced his resignation on March 6, 2022, saying he came under pressure to take a position on the Ukraine conflict [File: Eric Cabanis/AFP]


Russian forces interfering at Ukraine nuclear plant: IAEA

Russian forces have tightened their control on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant since seizing it on Friday, the United Nations nuclear watchdog has warned.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, said he was “extremely concerned” after Ukraine’s nuclear regulator informed the agency that staff members at the plant, the largest in Ukraine, are now required to seek approval from Russian forces for any operation, even maintenance.

Read more about this story here.

Poland refugee count surpasses a million

More than a million refugees have crossed the border from Ukraine into Poland since Russia launched its invasion, Polish border guards have said.

“Today at 8:00 pm [19:00 GMT] the number of people from Ukraine into Poland exceeded a million. This is a million human tragedies,” the border guard service wrote on Twitter.

US mulls possible ban on oil imports from Russia

The US government is consulting with its European allies on a potential import ban of oil from Russia.

“We are now talking to our European partners and allies to look in a coordinated way at the prospect of banning the import of Russian oil,” US Secretary of State Blinken told CNN.

The debate also revolved around “making sure that there is still an appropriate supply of oil on world markets,” Blinken said. “That’s a very active discussion as we speak.”

US President Joe Biden has not explicitly ruled out such a move.

There are more details on this development here.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken participates at the Civil Society roundtable in Chisinau, Moldova
Blinken says the US is in ‘active’ discussions with allies over a potential ban on Russian oil imports  [Olivier Douliery/Pool via Reuters]

Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the Ukraine-Russia crisis.

Read all the updates from Sunday, March 6, here.

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