Russian attacks prevent Mariupol evacuation again, Ukraine says

  • Russia’s bombardment of Ukraine widens, with raids reported on east-central city of Dnipro and airfields in western Lutsk and Ivano-Frankivsk.
  • Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, braces for an all-out assault as Russian military convoy edges closer.
  • Ukrainian officials say Russian shelling again prevented evacuations from Mariupol, where conditions are critical.
  • US and its top allies are revoking Russia’s “most favoured nation” status amid pressure campaign on President Vladimir Putin to end the war.
  • Ukrainian envoy to UN dismisses Moscow’s accusation that Kyiv is operating US-backed biological weapons laboratories as “insane delirium”.

Here are the latest updates:

UN experts say Russian media law amounts to information ‘blackout’

A Russian law giving Moscow stronger powers to crack down on independent journalism is placing Russia under a “total information blackout” on the war in Ukraine, UN independent experts have said.

Moscow last week blocked Facebook and other websites and passed a law that imposed a prison term of up to 15 years for spreading intentionally “fake” news about the military.

“Russia’s recent adoption of a punitive ‘fake war news’ law is an alarming move by the government to gag and blindfold an entire population,” three independent UN experts appointed by the top UN rights body, the Human Rights Council, said in a statement.

” … the law places Russia under a total information blackout on the war and in so doing gives an official seal of approval to disinformation and misinformation,” they continued.

US sanctions Russian board members at Novikombank and ABR Management

The United States has sanctioned several board members at Novikombank and ABR Management, including Vice Governor of St Petersburg Vladimir Nikolaevich Knyaginin, over the Ukraine crisis, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

More than 7,000 people evacuated from four Ukrainian cities, Zelenskyy says

A total of 7,144 people were evacuated from four Ukrainian cities on Friday, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said in a televised address, a sharply lower number than managed to leave in each of the two previous days.

Zelenskyy accused Russia of refusing to allow people out of the besieged city of Mariupol and said Ukraine would try again to deliver food and medicines there on Saturday.

Yellen says US economy strong, but spillovers expected from Russia sanctions

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said that the US economy was strong while acknowledging that inflation was a problem and there would be spillovers from sanctions against Russia.

She also said that a tighter monetary policy to fight inflation could cause a recession, but she had confidence in the Federal Reserve’s ability to balance that.

US accuses Russia of violating ‘nuclear safety principles’

The US has accused Russia of violating nuclear safety principles, saying it was concerned by “continued Russian firing on nuclear facilities” in Ukraine but added that there were no signs detected yet of any radiological release.

“We are monitoring reports of damage to a research facility in Kharkiv. Near-term safety risk is low, but the continued Russian firing on nuclear facilities must cease”, US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said on Twitter.

UK Defence Ministry says Russia attacks Lutsk, Ivano-Frankivsk

The United Kingdom has said Russian air and missile forces had conducted raids in the past 24 hours against the western Ukrainian cities of Lutsk and Ivano-Frankivsk.

Russian tactical aircraft supporting the advance of Russian ground forces were primarily relying on unguided “dumb” munitions, the UK Ministry of Defence intelligence update posted on Twitter said.

Images show Russian military units moving closer to Kyiv

Satellite images have shown that Russian military units were continuing to deploy closer to Kyiv and actively firing artillery towards residential areas, a US private company said.

According to Maxar Technologies, multiple homes and buildings were on fire and widespread damage as well as impact craters were seen throughout the town of Moschun, northwest of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.

Blinken, Ukraine’s Kuleba express concern over Russian ‘disinformation campaigns’

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba shared concerns over Russia’s “disinformation campaigns” during a phone call on Friday, the State Department has said.

The two top diplomats spoke hours after the UN Security Council convened at Moscow’s request to address Russian allegations that Kyiv was developing a biological weapons programme, claims that Washington has forcefully rejected.

Blinken and Kuleba also discussed Ukraine’s direct talks with Russia that took place in Turkey earlier this week, US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.

Russia using cluster munitions, incendiary weapons, Ukrainian human rights lawyer says

Oleksandra Matviichuk, head of the Center for Civil Liberties in Kyiv, said the group has gathered evidence of Russian forces using unguided bombs, cluster munitions and incendiary weapons.

“That’s why we have so [many] casualties among civilian populations,” Matviichuk told Al Jazeera.

She added that the centre also has gathered evidence of deliberate Russian bombings of civilian infrastructure and humanitarian corridors along which civilians are seeking to leave conflict areas. Russia has denied it targets civilians.

ICC prosecutor opens online portal to gather evidence in war crimes probe

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has opened an online portal to gather evidence of war crimes in Ukraine.

Prosecutor Karim A A Khan said in a statement that he is “closely following the deeply troubling developments in hostilities”, after recent reports of Russian attacks on hospitals and other civilian infrastructure.

“If attacks are intentionally directed against the civilian population: that is a crime. If attacks are intentionally directed against civilian objects: that is a crime. I strongly urge parties to the conflict to avoid the use of heavy explosive weapons in populated areas,” he said.

Technicians repairing damaged power lines at Chernobyl, IAEA says

Ukraine has informed the UN’s atomic energy watchdog that technicians have started repairing damaged power lines in an effort to restore external electricity supplies to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant site.

Electricity supplies to the plant, which is currently under Russian control, were cut off entirely earlier this week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a statement.

“Ukraine’s regulatory authority said work that began on the evening of 10 March had succeeded in repairing one section, but off-site electrical power was still down, indicating there was still damage in other places,” the statement said.

US sanctions Russians over support for N.Korea weapons programme

The US has announced economic sanctions against two Russian individuals and three entities over their support for North Korea’s weapons programme.

The sanctions target “a network of Russia-based individuals and entities complicit in helping the DPRK procure components for its unlawful ballistic missile systems,” the Treasury Under-Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian Nelson, said in a statement, referring to North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Money transfers from abroad will be paid only in roubles, Russia’s central bank says

Russians receiving money transfers from foreign banks will only be allowed to withdraw the cash in roubles, the central bank has said, the latest move in a bid to cope with Western sanctions.

The bank said the new temporary measure would come into effect on Saturday. It did not give an end date.

The bank said on Tuesday that until September 9, banks could not sell hard currency to Russian citizens.

US imposes more sanctions on Putin’s inner circle, Russian oligarchs

The US has announced more sanctions on members of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, as well as oligarchs and others who backed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Treasury Department said in a statement that three family members of Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov were targeted by the sanctions, as was the management board of the sanctioned VTB Bank.

Twelve members of the Russian Duma were also blacklisted, the department said.

Russia to supply Belarus with modern weapons: Belta news agency

The leaders of Russia and Belarus have agreed that Moscow would supply its neighbour with the most up-to-date military equipment in the near future, the official Belarus Belta news agency said.

Belta also said that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko agreed at their Kremlin meeting on joint steps for mutual support in face of Western sanctions, including on energy prices.

The news agency did not provide additional details.

US Defense Secretary to attend NATO meeting in Brussels

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will attend a meeting of NATO defence ministers in Brussels on March 16, Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby has said.

“We can expect the defence ministers to talk seriously about what NATO is doing to better shore up its defences,” Kirby told reporters.

Austin also will later travel to Slovakia for further discussions with leaders there, Kirby said.

Biden expected to sign bill containing $13.6bn in Ukraine aid

US President Joe Biden is set to sign a spending bill that contains $13.6bn in emergency military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. The US Senate gave final approval to the bill late on Thursday, sending it to Biden’s desk for final approval.

“We’re giving the Ukrainians billions for food, medicine, shelter, and support for the over two million refugees who have had to leave Ukraine,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Read more on the legislation here.

INTERACTIVE- Where are Ukrainians fleeing to DAY 16 _ 2.5 million

YouTube blocking access to Russian state-owned media

YouTube is immediately blocking access around the world to channels associated with Russian state-funded media, the company has said, citing a policy barring content that denies, minimises or trivialises well-documented violent events.

The world’s most used streaming video service said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine now fell under its violent events policy and violating material would be removed.

YouTube Spokesperson Farshad Shadloo said the blocking of the Russian outlets was in line with that policy.

Russian shelling prevents Mariupol evacuation, Ukraine says

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has said Russian shelling prevented evacuees from leaving the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, while Russian forces also stopped some buses of people trying to flee the Kyiv region.

In a video address, Vereshchuk said some planned evacuations were successful, including 1,000 people who were evacuated from the village of Vorzel, in the Ukrainian capital area.

Russian forces have laid siege to Mariupol, and Ukraine says 1,582 civilians have died there since the invasion began.

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

Read all the updates from Friday, March 11, here.

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